Outdoor light makeover

imageI decided to give these ugly outdoor lights on our house a makeover. Although the style is not what I would choose were I buying new ones, the price of two cans of spray paint was much better than new lights.imageimageI bought two cans of oil rubbed bronze spray paint and went to work. I knew I didn’t want to go to the trouble of taking the lights off the side of the house, but more importantly, I couldn’t get them down without a struggle because the screws were pretty reluctant to come out. Instead, I created a cocoon of newspaper around the lights, taping it off around the base of the light.  (Note: if you’re going to do this same technique, be sure the fold the newspaper up and tape it at the bottom to create a trough to catch drips)
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After! The improvement of how the lights look is so huge. I don’t even mind them at all anymore, and I love how they blend in with the house and create a layer of colors on the house.imageIf there are any small projects that you want replaced like lights, spending the few dollars on spray paint is a great way to make it look better and buy some more time before upgrading.

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One woman and a reciprocating saw

The weather has been wonderfully cool in the morning this past week. Its pretty abnormal for June but it makes the perfect time to get big projects done outside. I decided to tackle all the overgrown bushes in the front of our house and with the help of a reciprocating saw, two days later the house is refreshingly sans bushes.

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Here is a before of the house. The bushes had probably been growing as long as the house has been here, which means over 30 years if not 40. As you can imagine we weren’t sure how to get them out at first. With the root base being so large and established pulling them out with a truck didn’t seem likely, plus with the well lines going out from the house in the area of a couple of them, digging them out with a backhoe might damage those lines.FullSizeRender 22

Zach has been working 70+ hours a week at the hospital because they are short staffed so he’s been too wiped out to help me do manual labor around the house when he is off. His Brother Brady cam and helped me pull out one side of the first bush to open it up so I could reach the center to cut them out. We had thought there would be a chance the root base might be shallow and the truck pull them out but that thought was squashed in about two seconds.

The bushes were so overgrown that I had to climb under them to get near enough to the larger branches to cut them out. The space was too tight for a chainsaw, so Zach rigged me up with his reciprocating saw one evening and the next morning I went to town on these giant green meatballs that were taking over the front of the house.FullSizeRender 20

I successfully removed two the first day in about two and half hours in the morning since I had some things to do the rest of the day. The feeling of cutting out those bushes was so satisfying that I went out later that evening and cut off the bases of the three bushes that ran along the north end of the front of the house, leaving them lay right where I cut them until the next morning. I hauled away two loads of cut up bushes that evening also and the next morning I attacked the rest.

In all, the hours it took me was just a little over one day and Its incredible the difference it makes on the house.

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The front of the house is actually visible now that the bushes are gone and I am so empowered by the fact that I did this alone. Its amazing what a person can do with some motivation, a saw, a trailer, and some know-how. Now that I have taken these out I feel confident that almost anything I want to complete in the yard is fair game!

Front Door Inspiration

If you read my entryway makeover I already mentioned that I want to do a new front door fairly soon. I painted our entryway a deep charcoal gray, which I love, but I now really want a new door to let in more light.

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Our current front doors are double, which is pretty unnecessary. We have used them both on a couple of occasions when moving initially into our house, but otherwise we mainly use one side.

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I would love to do a really wide front door with windows on either side, maybe some windows above the door or in the upper half of the door. Since the house doesn’t have air conditioning (which I like a lot of the time) a screen would be nice to get a breeze through the house. Ideally I would want a door with a screen for summer and glass for winter so we could leave it open at times for full light.

I have been looking for inspiration for the front door and I found some via Pinterest and some blogs that I think could work for our slanted roof over the front door and would get more light into the entryway. These are from a great blog SL by Stephanie Lynn who put together 55 front doors from various magazines.

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The height of the windows on this door is along the lines of something I would do, although I would never choose the glass designs like this example. To me intricate glass pains take away from the door being the focal point, and its too old fashioned for my taste. The window height is great however, as the idea of someone on the other side being able to see right in even if you don’t necessarily want them to is not what I am looking for.small-changes-front-door-de

This door shows the same type of window height-wise as the last one, with a lovely bold color and no glass designs. The three long windows are really nice to let in some light without being too revealing, and the cheery color of the door makes it pop against the smokey blue of the house.
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This door is fabulous, although the wood is a little on the red side which might not go with all house colors. This door is unique how it simply knocks out the top two panels on a standard door and replaces them with glass. The side windows being divided into panes mimics the look of antique windows and brings a timeless elegance to this entryway.traditional_door_300

This door shares the antique side panel window look with the previous door, but keeps things simple with black and white paint which creates a timeless color pallet that is still quite a pretty combination. The design on the door is a little different then most which keeps it feeling classic and still unique. Ultimately for our door I would still want some windows in the actual door.

untitled-4This window shows the option of doing a small curved window above the doorway, combined with side panel windows that don’t go all the way to the floor. With three dogs in the house, keeping the windows above nose height is a serious practical consideration in anything that we do with our entryway, so this door is a good example of what we could do that would still allow maximum light. The class storm door is a nice addition and the subtle coloring of the storm door is great because it doesn’t stand out much from the actual front door. This would definitely be something I would try to do with ours if we did a storm door to keep it from taking over the focal point of the entryway. which would allow us to leave the front door open entirely and let in full light. There would still be the dog nose prints to deal with though…

The over the door window would be tricky because of our slanted roof line. This low profile curved window would likely be the only window that might fit over our front door. Ideally I would combine side windows, windows in the upper third of the door, and the curved window at the top. That would let in a ton of light and give me the bright entryway that I have been hoping for!

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This inside view from House of Turquoise is almost exactly what I want. I even love how they painted the door a bright color to pop on the inside. So many times we put all the touches on the outside and forget about inside. That would let in a ton of light and give me my bright entryway!