A Welcome Change

Almost all of what we have done to our home has been DIY.  Reflooring, tiling, built-in’s and paint… we’ve tackled (for better or worse) most of the projects ourselves.  Sometimes it has been to get EXACTLY what we are envisioning (like we did here) and sometimes, frankly, it’s just cheaper.

But every now and then we’ve hired help to get a job done (like we did here).  And a few weeks back, Tyson and I decided it was time to get a little extra help on some exterior projects.  The list included:

  • Painting the garage doors.  The paint was beginning to chip.  Also there was a small section where we had touched up with “as close as we could get” paint after repairing the door when we ran into it with a hardshell storage case that we forgot was on top of our car.  True story.  You can’t tell in this photo, but in real life, if you know where to look, you can see it.

  • Repairing and restaining the treads and handrails on the stairs coming up to our front door.  This area gets a ton of sun and everything was looking REALLY shabby.

As bad as these look, I promise our home is not normally roped off with Caution Tape.  Our guy, Mike, put that up when he started removing the treads.  And I forgot to take true “before” photos, so you get a pic that looks like it came from a condemned house. Plus, this photo is after everything was power washed so it’s looking especially scary. Awesome!

  • Re-staining our front fences.  The fence on the right was replaced two years ago when we re-landscaped our backyard.  The contractor had removed the fence to get the bulldozer into the backyard and the poor fence promptly disintegrated.  We then had one fence that was new (and unprotected) and one that had very old, chipped stain.  It was definitely time to even things up.

All of this is doable for do-it-yourselfers, but facing several weekends of work or hiring out, Tyson opted for getting help and I opted for not having an overwhelmed husband.

But that doesn’t mean that we didn’t get a little “helpful” in the process.  We need to repaint the entire exterior of the house next year and Tyson played with Photoshop so that we could begin to consider color options.

I love using Photoshop on projects like this.  I get nervous making decisions on large scale items.  Playing with a photo helps me feel like I’m making a more informed choice.

We thought we would try out a darker color on the garage doors, but the house felt lopsided doing just the doors.  We liked the idea of painting the face of our home on the left the same color as the garage doors to balance things out.  We also decided to use a medium stain on the fences to help them fade more into the background.

It’s truly amazing how fast the entire project got done. What would’ve taken us several weekends, these guys knocked out in a matter of days. And although there are a few things that I would’ve done differently (a little more sanding here or a little more priming there)  we are incredibly happy with the results.

  • Cleaned up garage doors and fencing.  The paint we picked ended up being a little warmer than our Photoshop version.  I think I like a cooler tone so we’ll definitely be playing with Photoshop and paint colors more before next year.  However, there’s no more chipped or uneven paint on the garage doors and the fences blend nicely into the background which is a welcome improvement.

  • The stairs look brand new.  Well… that’s because they are.  The treads were completely replaced and then painted.

Aren’t those pretty?!

Let’s look at that again.



Yay!  I can invite people over again without having to blindfold them at the curb.

So that’s the latest chapter in our story.  With the rain and crumby weather on it’s way, we are doing our best to wrap-up those outside projects.  What about you… Do you have anything that you are trying to finish up for the season? Do you ever hire out even when you like to do it yourself?  Am I the only one who can’t get over how bad we let things get before we take care of them?  Sheesh!


  1. Jennifer S says:

    What a great post! Your house is beautiful, and the stairs especially look elegant. Also, what an intelligent use of Photoshop! I never thought of doing that… but will be photoshopping paint colors all over the place in the near future. I love that idea and never really get the full effect from painting sample patches. Doing this is perfect!

    We are hopelessly inadequate DIY job performers, however. So painting is about the extent of what we’d attempt to tackle ourselves.

    Fun read and great pics. You’re making the loooong drive to Florida much less boring. Good thing I’m not the one driving!

    • Danielle says:

      You are very sweet… thanks! Photoshop is the best for helping Tyson and I make visual decisions and “get” what the other person thinking. It’s obviously not perfect, but it gives us a visual target to shoot for. I highly recommend it.

      You are cracking me up with your Disney comments! I can’t wait to hear about your trip and unique perspective on all things Disney.

    • Danielle says:

      I love me some blue arrow! I’m still terrible at taking photos and it helps me point out (HA!) what I’m talking about. Plus, I feel so accomplished when I use them. I’ve very Photoshop challenged. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Victoria Elizabeth Barnes says:

    This probably goes without saying, but I envy the process where you just took pictures, and the project completed itself!

    The after version of your steps looks like something out of Better Homes & Gardens. Plus, magical since you didn’t have to be the ones to pry up the old treds and rebuild the thing!!! I imagine that any bits you saw that you might have spent a little more time on were MORE than outweighed by the fact that you didn’t have to do it!

    Pumpkin orange is going to be a great accent against the black and white!

    • Danielle says:

      So seriously… I know how hard you’re working on your beautiful porch, but it was very nice to have the project get “magically” done. Writing a check wasn’t so magical, but I could get use to it. 🙂

      And please know I already have porch envy over your beautiful space. Did you see out postage size porch? It’s really more of a landing than a porch… tiny, tiny! I’m looking forward to adding the pops of orange this week. Can’t wait to share!

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