New House Files Part XI - A New Exterior

As many of my regular readers know, my husband and I have been remodeling a historic family home, one that my husband's great grandfather built in the 1920's.

You can find many of our earlier remodeling adventures and woe's on this page of my blog.

This past spring we tackled a much needed and costly project: remodeling the entire exterior of our home and garage.

Here's the little cottage prior to project start:

The house would have to be completely stripped. The old ceder siding was not salvageable due to the layers of lead based paint. We were quite sad about this.

We researched and hired a company to safely remove the old siding and material underneath. Then, they added a water barrier and insulation (which we did not have before) and  would go on to reside the house.

The crews re-framed windows and doors, created fresh lines and added a large water table trim. We added new windows to our upstairs and we then finished the job with new covered rain gutters.

It was a three week job. Lot's of pounding but wow, did this company do an excellent job!

It was nerve wracking to come up with a new house and trim color. Many of our neighbors and friends had suggestions. However, in the end, we came up with our own original look:

We were very happy with the outcome. It is the first remodeling project that we completely hired out.

We had the doors on the detached garage built by a neighbor who is quite the craftsman. We choose to keep a sliding, barn door style.

I was pleased by how nicely the foliage color of my Twombly Sentinel Japanese Maple popped against the new color of the house. I liked it so much that I sought out another Twombly to anchor the space between the house and the garage.

Most of my plants survived the construction workers boots. I lost some emerging lilies, but I covered most of my precious plants every morning with buckets before the crews started.

I persuaded my husband to splurge on new rain chains instead of gutters for the front of the house. We added them to both sides of the front porch. They make the most charming sounds during rainstorms.

I will admit the that sight of the house makes me smile when I pull into the drive way. It's such an extreme change. We truly went from being one of the more lowly looking homes on the block to one of the nicest.

The challenge is now to find just the right combination of plants around the base of the house. I experimented with some grasses and shrubs. This fall, I'm pulling the darn shrubs out and will start with something else. sigh. Hoping to get it right next year.

But, what do you think? Did we do well in the end? Have you ever taken on such a large scale project for your home?

Cheers, Jenni


  1. It looks amazing!
    We did a very major renovation of our last house so I can sympathise with all the noise and dust. It's so worth it though isn't it?

  2. Your house is wonderful; and I love your barn doors !

  3. If you can choose plantings that will keep those pops of color accenting those darker colors throughout the seasons, then I think it's wonderfully unique! Seems like some well-tended raised bed garden beds out front would suit the look of this house. I think if they're done right, and planned into the rest of the landscaping, they can be so charming. They need to be made of quality materials with decorative touches to match your rain chains or other features. If I ever do this at my house, I may get a little design advice to do it well. I'm fairly new to your blog so can't recall what the rest of your yard is like. Will enjoy seeing what you come up with.

  4. I felt a little panicked when I read the title of this post, I couldn't imagine why you'd be redoing the exterior of your home. Now I see your taking us back in time, tricky! You guys did such a fabulous job selecting new finishes, it looks wonderful. I love that seeing it still makes you smile!

  5. What a great job and the color is perfect. I love it. You'll get the shrubs right, and you've got winter months to think about it, if you don't get something before then. Now you can relax a bit and enjoy the new and lovely look of your sweet home and garage.


  6. The blue is gorgeous. You have done wonders with the house inside and out. Congratulations on persevering through all the ups and downs. You deserve to be very happy in your sweet home.

  7. The blue is wonderful, you made a great choice. Looks fab.

  8. Dear Jennifer. I like that kind of color. I have pained my kitchen wall that same color. For flowers I recommend you strong colors. Red. Yes red and if you think that is too much, strong pinks; cerise. But follow your hart!

    Groetjes uit Holland,


  9. It's certainly a dramatic transformation

  10. Wow! I love the colors you chose. Blue is a difficult exterior color because often, when it's not saturated enough, like yours, it looks like our winter cloudy sky. Your blue, coupled with that nice brown will be cheerful in the winter and it's a great color for red and yellow foliage to play against! It must have been wonderful to let someone else do the work! We redid the exterior of our house a billion years ago when we were both younger and didn't know what we were tackling. We did one side a year so it wasn't so overwhelming.

  11. Wow, Jenni, you should be very proud! that looks grand. Great job. I love the doors on the shed. It was worth the wait!

  12. We oohed and aahed over your house and grounds at the swap, but had no idea where you had started. Now I'm even more impressed.


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