With Spring on the horizon, I'm more excited than ever to finally begin transforming the front of our house. The only thing we've changed since moving in over 2 and a half years ago(!!) is removing some grab bars either side of the front door which had been there to assist the elderly previous owner. Other than that, everything remains. Even the internal window blinds! (Yep, all front rooms still yet to be renovated!)
Having just recently spent all our pennies on a new kitchen, we don't exactly have oodles of cash to play around with for this project. But it was on the 2017 Renovation list, and we really want the front of our home to be a true representation of the inside - which is a loved, working progress of a home. NOT a forgotten unloved home, as it has so looked up until now! We also hope to host a few parties in our new kitchen over the coming months too and we want our guests to be welcomed through a pretty exterior. (Let's just forget about that ugly dated hallway they'll have to then go through for now though!)
So, instead of a full front-of-house renovation - where I thoroughly intend on having a reclaimed beautiful stained glass door (er - when I win the lottery). Instead, we're going for more of a Spring refresh. A good coat of fresh paint throughout, some added greenery and other smaller DIYs to come in the future to brighten it all up a little. I'll share some of my plans for that at the end, but first - what it looked like pre-makeover...
I don't think the outside of this house had been painted in YEARS. The salmon-y red colour is actually just sun-bleached red - and lord knows how long it takes for paint to get sun-bleached in the UK?! The door is obviously quite dated in style, although I am thankful it's wood and NOT a cheap horrible uPVC equivalent, but those random circular glass details just makes me feel queasy. We updated the front of our old house with a good lick of paint and new door furniture and it looked (almost!) brand new. So we're hoping to do the same here too.
FFX.co.uk an online company for basically all things DIY (including tools, building materials, paint to name a few) very kindly provided the supplies for this project, including some cream masonry paint for the lintels and window sills, a deep midnight blue exterior wood paint for the door, some masking tape and a fresh set of new brushes - we're always in need of some new brushes, and these Draper ones were bloomin' brill, not a single thread of bristle loss!! (Pet hate. Don't you hate that too?!)
So with supplies in hand and frosty weather passing, I skipped to it and finally began sanding the front door. I used a combination of power sanding (our multi-tool does the job with a sanding attachment!) and just regular hand sandpaper. I found the current paint on the door was like sanding crayons - It was very very waxy and power sanding was just a bit too abrasive and left too many deep scuffs. I was also keen not to over-sand as the paint may well have been lead-based as we don't really know how old it is. So just a little sand was all we went for, making sure to remove any peeling bits around the frame and generally giving it a bit of a scuff-up so the new paint adheres well.
The current paintwork on the door is quite sloppy as if it'd been painted before masking tape was invented (ha!), because there just isn't a single crisp edge. It had very clearly been free-handed and whomever did it, didn't do a great job. I really didn't want to spend forever scraping the old paint off the glass - and I was quite conscious I may scratch the glass up at the same time, so instead I just masked an area that included a bit of the glass to be painted. This isn't ideal, but it will give us a nice crisp line - and like I say, it's not (hopefully!) the *forever door*.
And then, on went the paint! We've gone for a deep midnight blue - although I also considered popping pinks, pastels, neon yellow and grungy black. Basically folk, I like colour! But midnight blue took my particular fancy for that hour, and away I went with it. It took three coats to cover up the red, but I bloomin' love it! The colour that is, not the door. It's a satin finish and a really on-trend colour right now! It'll also give the door a fresh coat of added protection against weather, including no more sun-bleaching!
The lintels and window sills also got a new coat of paint too - in fact, I think it was this part of the front that looked the worse. A sun-bleached door is one thing, but lintels and sills? No thanks. The condition of our window sills aren't great - some of them are cracked and the bottom window was quite badly peeling too. So, I decided to scrape the many layers of paint off with the help of a heat gun. (I'd usually use Peel Away, but with our house being on the road, I could envision some pesky investigating child touching it and their parents suing me for chemical burns, so yeah - I stayed clear of that!)
I couldn't quite get all of it off, but after a quick sand, it felt smooth enough to then paint onto. I haven't bothered to strip the upstairs sills, purely because you'll never really see them, so it kind-of seemed like a waste of time. The paint we're going for on these, is a matt cream colour. Again, I was torn between cream and grey on this - but cream was a little more safe and hopefully more 'fresh' looking too. Here's a few snaps, including me up the ladder - it was a ridiculously cold day (despite the deceptive blue skies and sunshine!) hence the giant hoody and multiple socks get-up ;)
The cream is much lighter than I thought it would be and is more of an off-white. I am however very glad it's not a darker cream - I'm not a great fan of orange/beige variations of cream! I do however think it looks far more sophisticated now, a lot fresher, modern, and the home looks loved again, albeit it with some ugly blinds. The off-white cream and dark door combo definitely works well, although I'm still not loving that actual door. But I'm am super glad I took the time to strip the bottom window sill, it's the crispest one on the street!
We do intend on replacing the door handle and letterbox in the near future too - I'm thinking brass would look good against the blue (opinions gratefully received!) but as I say, our budget for this is limited at the moment, so that'll be something to come in a month or two. We'd also like to add some more potted plants to the front, in a very European kind of fashion. (Basically a whole row of pots) And most importantly, a climber and trellis for some pretty flowers to stretch their way up the house. Some window boxes (perhaps faux ones) are also on the list and I have a great idea for a DIY house-number I'd like to create too. Oh and maybe add some lighting as well. Basically, still lots to do! But for now, we're loving this new look!
What do you reckon? Do you have any front-of-house updates planned for this Spring?
*Materials kindly provided by FFX. All thoughts, opinions and reviews are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who support this blog! :)