Thursday, October 8, 2015

One Room Challenge // Exterior // Week 1

Guess what? It's time again...the One Room Challenge hosted by Linda of Calling it Home. Eep! Even though I've been looking forward to this event since the paint dried on my bedroom nightstand, here it is, T-minus 6 hours, and I've only just decided to go for it.

People who regularly read this blog will be surprised, and also not surprised, to learn I'm not going to be finishing off our powder room over the next six weeks. For reasons I can't explain because they're too depressing and too complicated, it's being drywalled over. Yep, the panic room will soon be a closed and hollow chamber in the middle of our house that may or may not ever again see the light of day. I know.

Regrouping. The powder room (RIP) would have been the obvious choice for this challenge, but that's off the list. The list of Option B's is quite large. More rooms need help in this house than don't. Guest room? Front entry? Our bathroom? They all haunt me in my sleep, but I didn't want to pick-a-room-any-room just for the sake of blogging about it, and I definitely didn't have spare money lounging around for a big remodel. Trying to keep it real around here and all.

As I was mulling over what room I could realistically tackle on a budget, without too much of Ryan's help (don't worry, we're still happily married- I'm just trying to give him a break), that would be interesting enough to blog about, and that I would be capable of getting good "after" pictures of (no really, it's a problem), we happened to receive a gift so generous and humbling it makes me want to cry.

I don't really know how to write these next sentences. Let's just say that an unnamed familial benefactor is giving us $5000, and has specifically designated it for a new front door and garage door. On the one hand, it's kinda comical that my father-in-law (oops, I shouldn't have said that), finds our crumbling house so troublesome that he would send us a gift that outrageous. On the other hand, I'm so grateful and unspeakably blessed by it (and we need. them. so. badly.) that, well, yeah, like I said. I don't know how to write these sentences.

Will a simple Thank You suffice? I hope so, because there is so much more behind those two words than I could ever say.

So we were charged with updating the doors on the outside of the house. They're in mega-bad shape. After looking into prices, and picking myself up off the floor, it seemed like $5K was just right to cover it. It even seems like we can stretch it just a teeeeny bit further and replace the shutters as well, and a few smaller things, like the, um, shattered doorbell. Which, sidenote, I didn't realize was shattered until I was taking pictures for this post. #doorbellforthewin.

I thought, well, we're already planning on doing this, so maybe I should blog about it. Yer basic Curb Appeal / Stop Embarrassing the Neighbors Project.

Why did it take me until 6:52 pm the night before the ORC to commit to this? If I'm honest, fear.

I have a laundry list of fears about this project. That it'll be boring for my readers. That I won't get good reveal pictures. That people will think it was a waste of money. That people will judge my doorbell. That my choice of garage door won't be cool enough. That I can't get it done in time. That my minivan will be in the driveway for one of the pictures and you'll find out I drive a minivan. That I'm tackling things I know nothing about and therefore will totally fail at. That the weather will kill everything and that IF the weather allows me to finish the project, that my after pictures will be a house surrounded by dead brown stuff (actually this is less a fear and more a guarantee, given the end date of November 12th- it is NOT pretty here at that time of year...the only thing I could hope for is snow...)

You get the idea. Internet shame in all its glory. That is the risk here. I admit I had to emotionally vomit all over Grace before I realized it boiled down to that one simple fear. What will people think of me? Well, it's a bad idea to have a blog if you're going to be worried about that.

So Man Up, This is Happening! It will unfold in real time, I'll be making it up as I go, I could fall on my face, and I super hope you follow along. Bring on the dancing girl emoji: I'm going to make over the front of my house.

And after all that, I know you're dying to see how bad it needs to happen!

Welcome to our home, dear friends! I tried to take as bad a picture as possible to help those reveal pictures look better in the end. :) Believe it or not, it actually looks much better than when we moved in. There used to be a giant brick of an evergreen bush in front of the window on the left, which we called the meatloaf bush. We added the magnolia tree on the right - it replaced a creepy shrine of some sort. This summer we carved out all the landscape beds and put down mulch.

And there are the front doors. The gap in between them is so wide when they are closed, that you can actually see through it. That's not toasty in winter. The doorknob barely works. Even we are confused as to when or how it is locked, and guests are totally unable to leave the house without our assistance. Kinda cool if you're Kathy Bates...not so much for normal social affairs.

Also, I can't help these plants. I have the blackest of all black thumbs (remember?) so I'm giving myself the grace to NOT worry about the landscaping for this project. Would I like to have beautifully manicured shrubs planted and appropriately pruned sedum and mulch without weeds on Reveal Day? Of course. But that's a pipe dream my friends. That part is going to wait for Spring when I can enlist my mom (who, ironically for her plant-killing daughter, had a career in landscape design) to come visit and help me with all that stuff.

Who knows how many poor guests have been sliced by that thing?

Here's a look at the window screens. The bad news is, the multiple thrash wounds they seem to have suffered give insects free licence to hang out in our house. The good news is, the windows are so old they barely open wide enough for it to be a problem.

And the shutters....bent, dirty, yuk. And where I am normally a big fan of white, I don't think white shutters are doing anything for the look of this house.

Continuing our walk of shame, here's a close-up of the garage door...

It's not too noticeable from far back, but up close it's clear this thing is on its last legs. I don't know if its insulated or not, but I don't really think so. In the winter, the mudroom off the garage is so cold, we just call it the cold room.

The lights hang crookedly and are generally decrepit.

The house numbers.

Ah, I love the smell of corrosion in the morning. Bonus challenge with these. IF they can be removed, there will be a rusty stained outline of them leftover. They're not mounted on wood, but on vinyl. So how do you cover up the marks they'll leave behind? Can you just paint that?

Well, that's the house. All I know is that I want a carriage-style garage door, and a black front door. Ever since Kate & Will's engagement was announced in front of that beautiful door at No. 10 Downing Street I've neeeeeeded a black front door.

I'll refrain from divulging more plan details until next week, but I do have our first project update! As I wrote this over the course of tonight, the garage installer we hoped to work with stood us up. Ryan asked him if he could please swing by tonight to help us figure out if we were planning to order the right thing. He said he would. We waited all night (instead of running the pressing errands I had), and Ryan finally texted, "Are you still planning to stop by tonight?" after 9 o'clock. And the full content of his response was "No."


Aw yeah, this is going to be fun. Until next week my loves!!


  1. While this all was hilarious, this is an awesome area to tackle for the ORC because the difference is going to be so drastic. So looking forward to following along!! P.S. Our white garage door is rusted and bent in the middle so you're not alone.

    1. Emily! I am so glad I am not alone in the garage door department! It's a daunting project for sure but I'm glad to have this challenge to hold me accountable. Here goes nothing!

  2. I can't wait to see how this turns out! The front of my house is a scary and sad disaster. I am so embarrassed some days that I bolt from my car into the house before the neighbors can speak to me. So, I am excited to live vicariously through you!:)

    1. Thanks for talking me off the ledge and convincing me I can do this!! And I am so glad I'm not the only one with Curb Un-Appeal going on! :)

  3. What an amazing gift and doing what you're planning to the front will make such a huge difference! Your house has great lines so I think this is really going to make it shine!!! Looking forward to following along:)

    1. Thank you Christine! Yes, when we bought this house I felt like it had good bones and there was a lot of potential. (Of course back then I had no idea how much cash it would take to actually realize that potential, haha, ooops!) - Excited to finally get this spruced up!

  4. #yougotthis I can't wait to see what you do. I have total faith you're going to make this shine. Minivan and all.

    1. Haha, oh no! Was kinda hoping no one would read that fine print. :) Of course you already knew... :)

  5. Hi Laura, so happy I found your blog via your comment on mine! What an amazing gift from your father-in-law! I can't wait to see what you do with the front of the house. I'm sure it will be nothing short of beautiful, you have great style!

  6. We did the same projects in May that you are undertaking now. The only difference is that our front door wasn't replaced. We bought a great carriage style garage door at Home Depot. You might want to look into their doors before you make a decision.

    Cindy R.

  7. I love that someone I doing the exterior! I will be following along to see the transformation. Good Luck, Holie

  8. You absolutely cracked me up with everything you wrote! I'm looking forward to following along:) BTW, I have a very similar ugly doorbell...luckily my dog growls at visitors before they have a chance to ring it!


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