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20170817_141206

Marvelous Architecture of Martha’s Vineyard

Ugggh.  I am so guilty and feel terrible that I haven’t created a blog post in such a long time!  Sorry!  It all started back in early June.  First my husband was surprised to find out that the Army was promoting him.  So planning for a ceremony and party occupied a bit of our free time, then on top of that excitement we decided to make an offer on a house we liked, which ultimately resulted in us having to get our house ready to put on the market, an offer from the military to move to Italy (which we ultimately turned down), and celebrating my son’s graduation from 8th grade, and both my husband and my birthdays within 2 days of each other…. June was a whirlwind and July hasn’t been much better.

Thankfully there was 4 days of respite amongst all of it.  My husband surprised me with a trip to Martha’s Vineyard for my 40th birthday!  I had never been there but had read several books that are set in the relaxed, upscale, posh island.  Besides spending some time lying on a beach I was most looking forward to perusing the streets taking in all the great shingle clad architecture.  Martha did not disappoint!  Architecture ogling started as soon as our little plane touched down.  The airport with its whitewalls natural wood shiplap ceiling, detailed beams complete with turnbuckles offered a worthy welcome to this picturesque little island.  Check out those beams!

I really expected to see more grand homes with lots of weathered gray cedar shake siding, and while those did exist I think some of the large compounds were tucked away in the meandering woods of the island so their residents can enjoy privacy.  I was so surprised to find lane upon lane of adorable little Victorians dripping in gingerbread details.  The first sample of vintage Victorian architecture was our little B&B, the Oak Bluffs Inn.  Painted in pretty pastel shades of blue, lavender and pink it was a quintessential Victorian with seashore inspired antiques decorating the inside.  Our little cottage was a separate building in the back yard and was simply appointed and perfect for relaxing.  Very private and no TV.

oak bluffs inn

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oak bluff inn carriage house

A few blocks over the Victorian delight continued with tons of shaded streets lined with adorable doll house like seasonal residences.  The area known as the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association (MVCMA) is a community ripe with adorable Victorian homes in every color of the rainbow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And yes, the parks, beaches, and lighthouses were gorgeous and every meal we had was excellent – so many great restaurants to choose from.  I’d go back to Martha’s Vineyard in a heartbeat.  Alas a return trip will have to wait because, fingers crossed, if everything goes well in the next month or so we’ll be moving! Stay tuned!  In the meantime, amidst purging and packing I promise to be better about blogging regularly and will share some highlights and ideas from some of my recent clients and moving tips too!

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20170817_141206

Four Poster and Canopy Beds

Nothing makes a bedroom statement like a fantastic four poster or canopy bed. Their dramatic height can add some much needed visual interest to a room where normally the furnishings are lower in profile, think low platform beds, nightstands, dressers and the like usually aren’t too high. That said, a tall framed bed isn’t for every bedroom, namely those that are smaller in square footage or have low ceilings, which can make those rooms feel more cramped. Four poster and canopy beds come in designs for every style, modern, classic, traditional, ornate. I’ve assembled a collection of my favorite canopy and four poster beds out there and info on where to find them.

four poster beds

 

canopy beds

 

poster bed

 

canopy bed

 

  1. Quatrefoil Canopy Bed      $340
  2. Natural Venice Bed       $1919
  3. Borden Four Poster 2 Piece Bedroom Set       $960       (comes with a nightstand)
  4. Inspire Q Solivita Off White Linen Canopy       $744
  5. Argos King Bed          $2099
  6. Tommy Bahama West Indies Bed       $2299
  7. Manhattan Champagne Gold Canopy Bed     $935
  8. Eugenie Jane Four Poster Bed     $3299

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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20170817_141206

What to Wear Wednesday: Summer Event Staples

It’s been a while since I posted a fashion oriented post, I’ve been busy. It seems like every time I turn around there is another event to either plan or attend this summer. The kids are wrapping up school, warm weather is here and folks just wanna get together and have fun. Summer events are even more enjoyable if you look and feel great at all of those June weddings, graduations, birthdays and evenings on the town. True, there is a time and a place when it doesn’t matter if fashion is comfortable or not, but when it’s hot and sticky outside you just want to be cool, comfortable and collected. Here are a few of my favorite staples for easy summer event style.

First Up, the cotton maxi dress. You can’t get much more comfortable than something that feels like you’re in cotton PJs. These are so versatile, you can dress them up for a party with strappy heels and some bold jewelry or tone them down with flip flops and a straw hat for the beach. I am loving the olive green on the first one. Olive and white are my favorite summer clothing colors because they look phenomenal with a tan (and I happen to be one of those awful people that tans easily, even under a coat of sunscreen… don’t hate me).

cotton maxi dresses

 

  1. Lulus Lost in Paradise Cotton Maxi Dress     $54
  2. ANGL Floral Waves maxi Dress    $65
  3. Cosabella Rimini Racer Maxi Dress     $72
  4. Forever 21 Crochet Maxi Dress  $48
  5. Felicity and Coco Striped Maxi Dress        $88 

Next, the summer night out / wedding appropriate short dress.  The more casual polka dot Banana Republic number would be perfect for an evening barbeque while the black off the shoulder dress is fitting for a hot date.

summer cocktail dress

 

  1. Calvin Klein Placed Sheath Dress       $108
  2. Lulu’s Never Enough Black Off the Shoulder Dress         $49
  3. Banana Republic Swiss Dot Off-Shoulder Dress       $98
  4. J McLaughlin Nicola Sleeveless Dress in Radiowaves         $205 
  5. Forever 21 Stripe Twist-Front Dress  $35 

While socially acceptable to pair a nice dress with bare toes at the beach or even at a pool party, virtually everywhere else it’s a faux pas.  Here’s a selection of adorable heel sandals that could pair with a number of the dress selections above.

summer event sandals

 

 

  1. Louis et Cie Hilio    $129   
  2. Bandolino Armory     $53 
  3. Vince Camuto  Lorrana       $95
  4. Lucky Brand Jaleela  $89
  5. Calvin Klein Valene     $72

And while we’re at it why not add a few more necessary essentials.  Pick one or two of these to complete the perfect summer event look.

summer accessories staples

 

  1. Bowtie Choker Necklace      $8  
  2. Pink Aviators      $15
  3. Tortoise Charm Bangle       $25
  4. Beaded Ball Earrings  $65 
  5. Cha Cha Tassle Block Earrings     $48
  6. Sparkling Leaf Headband    $8 

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20170817_141206

Pamper a Camper: Surprisingly Adorable RV Renovations

Camping isn’t for everyone.  Sure, there’s purists that think it must be done in a tent, without electricity or any creature comforts, then there’s some that recognize the convenience of an RV or camper.  The thing with campers is, they don’t get used all that frequently, so they’ll last for decades but often sit accumulating issues without anyone paying attention to them and their look and décor becomes outdated.  I think a small camper redo would be a great mini-flip project, and I recently saw an adorable one in the June issue of Country Living.  Mandi Gubler of VintageRevivals.com revamped her 1973 Bell Travel Trailer into some retro-kitsch-cuteness.  Can you believe the transformation?  It’s adorable.  Here’s a few before and afters of her trailer, “The Nugget”:

travel trailer interior reno

I found that there are quite a few camper renovations out there that deserve some showing off so I thought I’d share them here.  This first one from The Noshery kept some of the unique vintage appliances, polished them up and mixed them with modern decor.

This one  from Fancy Farmgirl (whose blog it seems sadly doesn’t exist under that name any longer)  is light and bright, making the space seem so much larger.

These camper renovations are makeovers of quintessential Airstream trailers, with their telltale stainless steel  accents and domed roofs.

And finally here’s another before and after highlighted by Country Living.   The change from old fake wood to bright aqua ceiling and white cabinetry bring this Airstream into the current decade.

 

 

This makes me want to embark on finding a camper to flip…. I can hear my husband grumbling now… but no worries honey, for now, you’re in luck, I’ve got nowhere to park it.

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20170817_141206

Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue

The colors of old glory, perfect in their patriotism and symbolism of the US of A, yet colors that are often poorly designed and styled.  Frequently this patriotic color combo is avoided altogether because, let’s face it, nobody wants their house to look it came straight out of a 1980’s issue of Country Living or like Grandma’s reproduction Amish quilt.  Doing red, white, and blue right can be hard, but it CAN be done.  With some patience and a discerning eye the colors of the USA can be great in a nautical look, a playful kids vibe, a rustic farmhouse look, or a more traditional style. Here are a few examples of red, white and blue styled rooms that look oh, so perfect!

Nautical

Here’s a modern nautical bedroom from County Living.  Before looking at the room you might think that striped bedding AND striped wallpaper would be overdoing it, right?  Nope, in here with the simple metal bedframes and lots of bright light it all works.  I particularly love the curtains that are each different large scale nautical flags!

nautical red white and blue bedroom

Farmhouse

This farmhouse cottagey look DOES utilize an Amish looking quilt, but it’s styled so perfectly with the warm white walls and pops of strong red (not a washed out red that would look too country) in the nightstand and vase of poppies.  The jute rug adds a natural, neutral element that grounds the entire space.  Photo via pinterest.

farmhouse red white and blue

 

Traditional

This traditional space featured on B.A.S. is a relatively small space with tall ceilings.  The designer here went crazy with mixing patterns, BUT it’s visually supported by so much neutral and white that it totally works.  It doesn’t look cheesy Americana or anything, just a fun version of traditional, and it totally works.

traditional red white and blue

 

Another traditional space, this one by Andrea Schumacher, mixes soft blues, bold reds and tones it all down with neutral grasscloth wallpaper.

traditional bedroom red white blue

 

Exterior

This classic color combo works on home exteriors as well just like this one here by Andrea Braund.

 

And certainly, if there is any place where you can get away with a little bit of patriotic kitsch, it’s the front porch, since it’s almost more like holiday decorating than permanent decorating.  This one, which I think is a several years old styling by Pottery Barn, still looks classic and cute.

patriotic porch

Have a fun Memorial Day weekend and please take a moment to remember all those who have died in service to our nation and have given so much to keep us free!

20170817_141206

Summer Patio Styling

So yesterday I wandered the aisles of HomeGoods just trying to kill time until my car was finished getting tires at the nearby service station.  I know, this is a dangerous combination, free time and HomeGoods… the potential for frivolous spending was high.  I rounded the corner in the kitchen/dinnerware section (a section in which I had no business being in, since I don’t need anything for my kitchen) and there it was.  It was an oh, so, cute display devoted to a number of items covered in flamingos.  They screamed summer (my favorite season).  In particular this set of Isaac Mizrahi melamine flamingo plates really caught my eye.  But I showed restraint.  I left those plates at HomeGoods, but thought about them for the rest of the day.  They were still on my mind this morning so I thought I’d dedicate the blog to them today.  I’ve put together a summer patio styling based on these adorable plates, just in time for the unofficial start of summer this coming Memorial Day!

The Inspiration

Summertime plates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Patio Styling in Time for Memorial Day

Summer patio styling

  1. Isaac Mizrahi Flamingo Melamine Plates       $4.99 ea      Available at HomeGoods
  2. West Elm Soleil Metal White 42 in. table and 4 chairs       $1295
  3. Capri Blue Scalloped 9 ft. Umbrella Canopy        $69.99
  4. Eamonn Aqua Blue/ White Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug        $74.10
  5. Bormioli Rocco Rock Bar Set of 6 Highball Glasses – Pink             $29
  6. Shore Tall Polyterrazzo Planter         $99
  7. Grand Nain ‘Naine’ Banana Tree        $24.95
  8. Kate Spade New York All In Good Taste 20-Piece Flatware Set        $59.99
  9. Fiesta Bistro Large Serving Bowl              $38
  10. Pink Melamine Pitcher, 1L         UK 12.75
  11. Flamingo Bird Napkin by Mannzie     $29.36

Maybe if these plates stay on my mind I’ll go back and pick a few up.  Is there anything out there that you totally don’t need but can’t resist because it’s just so darn cute?  Let us know, we’d love to hear about it!

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Building a Dream: Our Vacation Rental Property Series #5

Designers and Floorplans

Rental season in the OBX is gearing up for us right now, so I’ve been busy with handling last minute crises like broken icemakers and area rug cleaning.  But four years ago, we were only concerned with making sure we created a home that fit both our family and our future rental clients.  We loved to peruse home design magazines that were filled with floorplans and websites where you can order a stock floorplan.  Initially, we thought that getting a custom home would be far too expensive and that we’d be stuck with a stock plan.  We were so wrong about that!  Our builder recommended a few designers, we perused examples of their past work online and ultimately went with his recommendation on who he thought would give us the result we were looking for.  In the end the design of the home was very affordable.  It cost us only about 1% of the total home cost and we got exactly what we wanted!

Personal Wish List

Our personal wish list included these design features:

  • 5 Bedrooms, 4 + baths
  • A relatively small footprint at about 2500 sq. ft.
  • Efficient use of 2500 sq. ft. (i.e. no dead space)
  • An energy efficient “green” home
  • A pool
  • A bathroom at ground level for pool users
  • Built on stilts, a common thing for homes in OBX to avoid potential flooding. Even though our home was in an area at low risk for flood we wanted to go as tall as the HOA allowed in order to get any ocean views possible. *(more about this below)
  • A reverse floorplan, meaning that the main living areas are on the top floor. Again, our goal was to maximize any potential ocean view.
  • Incorporation of a “ships watch.” Yep, you guessed it, highest potential area for views.
  • Stairs situated on the side of the home (center stairs, while popular, take up and break up open floor plans).
  • An open floor plan on the main living level.
  • A traditional beachy appearance on the exterior utilizing finishes like painted cedar shake and board and batten
  • Potential space for a future elevator (knowing that someday faaaaaar in the future it may be our retirement home, or at least more appealing for future buyers. Lugging up a weeks’ worth of groceries up 3 stories is NOT ideal.  Oh, the things we do for a glimpse of ocean!)
  • Highest ceilings we could possibly achieve with a 35’ HOA imposed roof height limit
  • Lockable storage

Vacation Renter’s Wish List

During this process, we also consulted with local property management companies to ensure that we created a home that would be “rentable”.  Therefore, we had some real requirements we felt we had to meet on top of our own personal wish-list.  Rental requirements included:

  • A home that sleeps at least 12. Many vacationers choose to rent homes with family or friends and pool resources, and for some reason a home that sleeps 12 is the “sweet-spot” of rentability / cost effectiveness for the OBX rental market.
  • As many en-suite bedrooms as possible. So that families joined together on vacation can at least have a private bathroom.  We made 3 bedrooms en-suite and the other 2 share a jack and jill bathroom.
  • Room for as many king beds as possible. We were able to make 3 bedrooms king, 1 queen and then a kid’s bunk room with 4 twins.
  • A pool
  • A hot tub
  • An open, chef’s kitchen
  • A dining area that can seat as many as the home sleeps, so in this case, 12.
  • A rec room with a hang-out spot (most renters want a pool table, but we weren’t willing to make the lower level rec room big enough to hold a real pool table, so we made it large enough for a shuffle-board table, mini-bar, half bath and loveseat)
  • Parking for at least 5 cars
  • Outdoor living area

Whoa, that’s a lot of stuff to cram in 2500 square feet!  Thankfully the lists overlapped a bit, so we gave our requirements and some exterior sample photos to our designer and he came up with a perfect floorplan and use of space.  I recall us just working through a few tweaks here and there before we were ready to get cracking on the build!

Design-Build Firm, Designer or Architect?

We learned so much from this process, and it was fun!  Our major takeaways: When you are building at the beach there may be special building codes or just good practices so I highly recommend hiring a designer who is from the area where you are building and is familiar with both the codes and the concept of vacation rentals in that specific area.  A common misconception is that you have to hire an architect when in fact, a designer, in conjunction with an engineer can accomplish the same great design for your home!

To View or Not to View… That is the Question!!!

*A funny story about those views.  Our property is about 2 blocks from the beach, in a treed neighborhood with other homes between us and the beach.  We had absolutely NO IDEA if we’d build this house and have an ocean view.  All of our neighbors were smaller/ lower homes so there was no way we could ask them to stand on their deck and know if we’d get a view.  We attempted to duct tape our digital video camera on 40 feet of PVC pipe and raise it over the trees on the highest point on the property.  We did this in the presence of our designer and builder and they probably thought we were a  couple of nutjobs.  We may have felt legitimate had it worked, but it didn’t.  The resolution on our camera wasn’t good enough to see that far.  Maybe if we were building today we’d use a drone.  Anyway, we went into the design and build process knowing that all those requirements on our list for an ocean view may be for naught.   Spoiler-alert! In the end, from both the top deck, main living area and the ships watch we DID achieve the tiniest ocean view ever!  Even still, we love it, with all the windows and doors open it feels like a treehouse up there viewing bright blue skies through the tall live oaks and pines.  It’s heaven.

Our dream beach house in OBX!

 

dream beach house ground floor

 

dream beach house bedrooms

 

dream beach house floor plan

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Shiplap, shiplap, shiplap! With a twist.

I feel like all we’ve heard about the last 2 years on design TV is shiplap, shiplap, shiplap!  Thanks to Chip and Jo on HGTV’s Fixer Upper the 6-inch-wide horizontal wood planking has become a popular design feature for a light, yet rustic farmhouse look.  But what about a twist on this traditional shiplap look?  I was flipping through the LL Bean Home Summer 2017 Catalog and while I’m not a huge fan of their very country looking furniture, I was taken by a few shots with a natural ashy wood colored shiplap.  Even styled with their basic furniture this version of shiplap lended a modern styling to the overall look.  So, I went on a search for some other versions of shiplap than the basic white and found a few great looks that I wanted to share.  Turns out shiplap looks great in natural wood, a rainbow of colors, and even in black!

natural shiplap

 

natural shiplap

 

blue shiplap

 

aqua shiplap

 

green shiplap

 

deep hued shiplap

 

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DIY Board and Batten Hallway

Easy Board and Batten Project for Under $200!!

So as many of you may know, I own a vacation rental property in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. (And you can read all about our adventure embarking on a vacation rental here). Is it wonderful owning a beach house? Yes, it is. It is a sanctuary for my family. Is it ALL bliss though? No, it’s not. Wait. Why, you ask? Because our dream home is rented out to folks who mostly don’t take care of it and don’t worry about damaging or breaking anything, and, in a way, I can’t blame them, they are on vacation. They aren’t worried about spilling sticky stuff down the front of the cabinets, cleaning the crusty stuff off the grill or dinging the walls as they roll their suitcases down the hall. After a season of rentals, I often feel like crying as I wander the house assessing the last 4 months of “wear and tear.” Occasionally, there are issues that take a professional intervention. For example, we recently had to have sensors installed on the exterior doors that turn the HVAC system off when the doors are open. When renters leave the doors open while the AC is running, then hot, moist air from outside colliding with cool dry air inside, not only creates monster electric bills, it also creates excess humidity and potentially mold in the house. Thankfully though,  most renter rigors can be fixed pretty easily (magic erasers are a wonderful thing). In the 3 years since our rental had been built, I was continuously either magic erasering or repainting our 2nd floor hallway because it got a lot of abuse from things banging against it; suitcases, laundry baskets, coolers, you name it, it’s apparently bounced off the poor flat-painted walls of this hall.

Hallway Before Board and Batten

Board and Batten Hallway before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This past week was spring break and my family and I headed to the beach for some home maintenance and relaxation. (While projects may not sound fun to most people, I have trouble sitting still, so I need a home project to relax). I decided to create a board and batten wall down the hallway in the hopes that the finish (being a semi-gloss, interior trim finish) would stand up to the scuffs and scrapes better than ‘ol flat paint, and easier to wipe off.

DIY It!

First step, after scouring Pinterest for ideas of course, was to measure the walls and acquire the materials needed for the project. We already had decorative baseboard which we wanted to keep. The baseboard stuck out a ¼” from the wall, so we were looking for a material with ¼” thickness that wasn’t too expensive and wouldn’t require too much sanding and finishing. We found everything we needed at Home Depot…in Virginia… apparently our local beach Home Depot didn’t carry this same material, so we bought it in VA and schlepped it all the way to NC.

We used the following materials and equipment:

48” x 1.5” x ¼” vertical battens
48” x 3.5” x ¼” top horizontal battens
6’ x 1” x 2” top caps ripped in half lengthwise (since we didn’t want anything to stick out too far)
Brad nails
Brad nailer and compressor
Measuring tape
Level
T-square or Triangle square
Wood filler and putty knife
Sand paper
BIN Primer
Sherwin Williams SuperPaint Interior Latex Semi-Gloss (The color is untinted white since the rest of the trim in the house was already this color).
Paint Supplies (brushes, rollers, tape etc)
Paintable caulk & caulk gun
Construction adhesive (note we didn’t glue & nail, just nailed, but in hindsight, it may have been a bit sturdier to do both, I suppose time will tell).

Board and Batten Wood Materials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We began by measuring the walls, and determining the pattern in which we wanted to do board and batten.  There are multiple variations; some with wide boards, some with thin, some with a top cap, some without.  Whichever one you want to do is fine but definitely design first, construct second, winging it is not recommended.  After we determined the height of our board and batten and we measured the longest / most prominent wall and determined how frequently we wanted the vertical boards to repeat in a way that we wouldn’t end up with a weird partial batten at a corner.  For us, this was about 14” apart.  On all other walls, which were either broken up by doors or shorter in length,  we first laid the boards out at 14” apart and if they created a weird space we “fudged” the 14” pattern into 13” or 13.5” or even 14.5” apart so that all battens were visually appealing and well-spaced on all walls in this hall.

We leaned each vertical batten in the approximate area where it would get nailed to the wall.  We nailed the first batten in at the edge of the hallway corner on the “main wall”, we measured for accuracy, held the level up against the batten to ensure it was level from top to bottom (nothing worse than crooked battens).  Note this works best with two people, one holds and wields the nailgun while the other measures and levels.  Did each 48”x 1 ½”x ½” on all walls first.

Use a level and triangle square to make sure board and batten is straight and level

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we levelled and nailed on these same boards in a horizontal fashion across the top.  Next, we cut more of those same boards into 12” sections to make the next vertical pieces.

angle cut board and batten near lights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We repeated the levelling and nailing process (which is easier with pieces that are only a foot long).  Finally, we placed, leveled and nailed on the 3.5” boards horizontally across the top and topped it off with a little ledge or top cap.

Already with just the wood up I was liking how it made the hallway instantly more interesting.  Next came the boring, messy parts.  All gaps, joints and nail holes have to be filled with wood putty and sanded smooth.  This creates a mess.  In a space as confined as this we ended up setting off the smoke detectors with dust, and then forgot that our system there was connected to the fire alarm, and since we don’t live there all the time it took us a while to remember the code to shut it off.  We used the caulk to fill in any long vertical or horizontal gaps between the wall and the battens.  If you miss any or think that some gaps are too small to merit caulk, wait until you have a coat of paint up and if you see black space among white boards, you need more caulk.

Filling and sanding seams on board and batten

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After all gaps and holes are filled, sanded and dust wiped off its time for priming and painting.  Note this post is not sponsored in any way, but the ONLY primer I have found that covers up wood knots and prevents the yellow-ish seepage of wood juice (there has got to be a better term for that) through paint is a primer called BIN.  This stuff is pricey, but awesome.  It’s surprising, because it’s milky in consistency and goes on thin, dries fast and will need 2 coats, but it does its job.  It’s really only necessary to apply this to the wood parts of the wall.  After priming and letting it dry overnight, I added 2 coats of semi-gloss paint.  I used a brush on all wood parts and a roller on the wall portions.  In hindsight it may have been helpful to paint the walls prior to putting up the wood or to use a foam roller as that gets in nooks and corners better than a large roller.  Since the board and batten is technically a trim, it looks best in a semi-gloss finish.

board and batten prime and paint

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a Difference!

The project took 1 long weekend to complete and we spent about $200 in materials, and what a difference!  I can only hope that it will make cleaning up after scuffs and dings easier, or at least less noticeable.  Already I like how the amount of white in the hallway makes the area seem larger and brighter than just the plain greige paint.  Hmmm, if this works maybe I could continue it up the 3 flights of stairs too?

Board and Batten DIY after

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Creating Curb Appeal: Easy, Moderate and More Difficult Projects

Sure, it’s nice to flip through the pages of Southern Living or troll Houzz to longingly gaze upon houses with sweeping verandahs, wrap-around porches, or terraced front yards lush with mature shrubs and blooming flowers.  However, the more realistic view of our home’s curb appeal likely consists of a small patch of lawn that may be more weeds than grass, a miniscule porch or portico, and an ugly cement walkway.  If you have a smaller home and a smaller front yard, how do you get that elusive “curb appeal”?  The simple answer is to distract the eye with appealing things to look at, which is, truthfully, easier said than done.  Here are a few tips to up your small home curb appeal from the simple to moderate to the more difficult.

Easy:

Add 2 planters that match on either side of your door or walkway.  Go for a tall planter with a simple boxwood or evergreen for a classic look. This simple front door from Cococozy  looks loads more put together with the boxwoods flanking the black front door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The biggest mistake people make with large pots and tall planters? Well you spent probably over a hundred bucks for large planters and then you figured that you’d want to show off some colorful flowers in them…. only the flowers are usually miniscule compared to the scale of the pot.  So, if you’re using a large pot or tall planter, go with a large plant that matches the scale of the planter.

Easy:

Change up your house numbers.  Most of us probably have numbers that look similar.  Why? Because whomever built the house put the cheapest numbers possible on.  They probably look something like this, right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new font can make a big difference.  There are a ton of options out there, modern, art deco, a variety of metals or tile.  Such a simple switch, for just a few dollars and a screwdriver…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moderate:

Brighten up the front door with some paint.  Sure, it may be a bit of a hassle, especially if you have to go through the process of getting approval from a homeowner’s association, but a new coat of paint on the front door especially in a bright or unexpected hue can make a world of difference.  Be sure though to limit the colors on the front of your house to no more than three or it can go awry quickly.  So, if you have red brick (a neutral, doesn’t count as a color), white trim, black shutters, you can introduce a new color on the front door.  But if you have a blue house, white trim, cedar accents, adding another bold color might be a bit too much.  These doors here are so bright and inviting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moderate:

Add new porch lighting.  Typical homes probably have front porch lights that look like this.  The ones that builders put on community homes are almost always too small (and usually lacking style).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instead, opt for a light or a pair of lights with a bit more visual impact, in either size, finish or both.  These are all better scaled and have much better visual impact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Difficult:

Swap out that boring cement walkway for pavers.  For most, unless you are an uber-DIYer, this will require you to hire someone, especially to remove the old cement walkway and to haul it away because your garbage man won’t appreciate gigantic chunks of concrete in your trashcan.  However, the impact will be amazing and immediate.

This is not appealing, I would not want this walkway to welcome me home every day:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, these walkways would be downright enjoyable to stroll along:

 

Difficult:

If the front of your house is naked and adding a complete porch is out of the question, consider adding a small pergola.  Sure, you’ll still need to probably consult a professional to do it but it’s not nearly as much of an investment as a porch but will provide instant curb appeal and visual impact.