Our front door.  The exterior. FINALLY.  

Howdy, folks!   So, I’ve decided to jump out of order with my posts this week because I’m SO ready to show you guys some updated exterior pics of the front of our house.  Ya see, first I painted the rusty green gate to the courtyard a crisp black, then I painted our front door once it was installed… but I’m showing you the front door and exterior shots first.  Because I’m excited.  And it’s my blog. 🙂  Then, I’ll go back next post and give y’all a tutorial on painting our metal gate with befores and afters of that project.

So, onward…

If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout this front door process it’s this.   I am not meant to paint exterior doors.  And also, some projects seem like they’d be straightforward… but they aren’t.

Either that or I just simply haven’t discovered the right paint yet.

Part of the problem, well, most of the problem is that our new door has no texture.  It’s perfectly smooth.  I love this about our door, but it definitely posed a problem when it came to painting it.

Painting the interior side of our door was a piece of cake thanks to the self-leveling property of the Proclassic paint by Sherwin Williams, but I didn’t realize until I was in the trenches with the outside of our door that most exterior paints don’t do that.

I’d thought about removing the door and spraying it, but it has a specific type of hinge that doesn’t allow the pin to be removed, and I was VERY hesitant about removing the hinges from the door frame after our old door practically fell off due to a stripped frame.  So, I decided to go the old-fashioned way with a brush and foam roller.

Colorwise, I decided to paint the door the same charcoal color that I’d painted our old door (Black Bean by Behr) in their Exterior paint + primer.   It worked well with our old door, but then again… that door had texture to it, so I never really noticed textural issues with the paint.

I followed the same process as when I painted our old door, but after 2 thin and even coats, I had brush strokes galore…

It doesn’t look that bad here because of the lighting, but trust me.  It was visible from the street.  Easily visible, in fact.

So, I decided to splurge on a $30 quart of Sherwin Williams Resilience paint matched to the same color…

Prior to painting, I busted out the sanding block and smoothed the finish across the entire door…

Then, I applied one thin and even coat of the SW paint…

Although there were still some roller marks visible, it was WORLDS better than finish with the Behr paint.  Now, I should’ve just stopped here (an old joke in which a head of cabbage should’ve “quit while it was a head” is rattling around my brain right now).  But, like many Americans these days, I figured that if one was good, two must be better.  So, I painted another coat to “make it perfect”.

And I was wrong.  So wrong.   In my attempt to further annihilate the roller marks, I made them, like 50 times worse than they were with the Behr paint.

IF ONLY I COULD MAKE YOU SEE WHAT IT REALLY LOOKED LIKE.  This picture doesn’t even slightly do it justice…

Again, you could clearly see the roller marks from the street.  And it looked BAAAADDD.  I think part of the issue is that our front porch isn’t shaded.  We have only about an 18 inch overhang above it, so differences in sheen are more punctuated with the sun bouncing off of it.    As for that fourth coat,  I think my mistake was that I applied too much paint, thinking that it would self-level.  It.DID.NOT.   Plus, it had a very stippled, coarse texture to it.

At this point, I was quite dramatic.  And I apologize to the cookies that will never again see the light of day.

That next morning, I woke up bright and early and busted out the sanders.   This sander for the areas around the molding…

And the orbital for the flat areas…

I did as much of the sanding as possible with the door shut to limit the dust inside, then I opened it to get around the edges.  I finished up with a sanding block to get any remaining rough areas…

My tips for painting prep post-sanding are as follows…

1. Remove as much dust as possible from your surface with a Swiffer rag first.  This will prevent your final step (tack cloth) from getting gummed up faster than it needs to.

2. Clean all the dust around prior to painting.  Everywhere.  Shake out your drop cloths, vacuum loose dust.  Just get rid of it.  Fully clean prior to painting.  Nothing is more frustrating than applying your paint only to have a random gust of wind or someone messing with your drop cloth accidentally blow dust onto your finish.

3. Right before applying paint, use tack cloth to remove all remaining specks of dust and debris from your surface.  Tack cloth is magic stuff, my friends.   It’s sticky and gets up everything.  Keep a supply on hand.

After I’d completed all of the above steps, I applied another thin and even coat of paint to the door.   This time, I applied the paint and then used LONG strokes from the top of the door to the bottom to eliminate as many roller marks as possible.

The result was better but still not perfect…

…but at this point, I basically claimed defeat and decided to leave it.   I accepted that it would just have to be imperfect for the time being.   And I was at peace.

But alas, the paint gods laughed at me.

I left the door open for ELEVEN hours (I finished painting that last coat at 9:30 am, and finally closed the door at 8:30 pm).  And when I woke up the next morning, I opened the door (STTTTIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCKKKKK!!!!!! <- The door screaming at me).  Aaaaaaand small bits of paint came off around the edge of the door.  What the deuce???!!!   After all of the coats that I’d painted before (after which I’d only left the door open for 4-5 hours post-painting).  The paint DIDN’T BUDGE.  But after I finally was okay with leaving the door as is (and after I’d left it open for almost half a day), it stuck and I lost bits of paint.

Oy.  #morecookiesplease

So, I still need to paint another coat.

But in the meantime, the missing spots aren’t terribly obvious, so I’m gonna wait for my interior cheerleaders to reassemble and motivate me to repaint the door without crying.

And I’m gonna smile anyways and show you what I will call “after” pictures (as I listen to the smallest violin in the background).   First, though lets look at the doorway when we closed on the house.

Now, it looks like this…

Painted gate, new front door, neater courtyard.   Joey basically laid down cardboard to smother the weeds and then layered decomposed granite on top.   The fact that the painted door looks better here than it had, just tells you what it looked like before.   All in all, though, the courtyard is feeling more modern and much better kept.  Eventually I’ll add some potted plants and such to gussy it up and add some color and softness.

We found that random brick (next to the door) in the courtyard after we moved in.  It says “ST JOE” on it.   Clearly the yard knew he was comin’.  Haha! 😉 Sooner or later we’ll change out the lighting fixtures, but I’m being really picky since they’ll have to coordinate with the lanterns we choose.  And honestly, I’m fine with them until I find the perfect replacement.

The hardware is this exterior door set that I picked up from Home Depot….

It’s modern and sleek and everything that I wanted for our door.

A view of the outside of the courtyard….


I think one of the BEST things Joey could’ve done was add that rock border and the nandena bushes to soften up the front.  It’s so good.  I need to either paint or replace those lanterns since they now pale in comparison to the gate.   I was hands-down gonna paint them, but recently one stopped working.   If we can fix it, I’ll paint it, if not, we’ll have to replace them.  Like I mentioned before, we’ll eventually replace them anyways, but in the meantime they may as well look nice.

And now a before and current view of the house.  Here she is on closing day…


And now…

We’re working on getting the grass to green up and we have a bit of hedge-trimming in store, but aside from that, things are starting to coming together. The orange roof is even starting to look slightly less offensive.   It’s just amazing how the front door really makes such an impact.  It was exactly what this house needed, in my opinion.   I want to give the mailbox a little makeover with some of the charcoal paint (instead of that brown) to tie it in to the house, and the rotting wood shakes on top need to be replaced as well (I have some fun ideas for that). But these are relatively little things that we’ll knock out as we have the time.

So, that’s our exterior house update at this point.  Does anyone have any suggestions for getting that front door more uniform?  Since I have to do another coat anyways I’m open to all suggestions.

TDC Before and After

“Get over it!” – Our Master Bathroom

Sometimes my Type A personality is a tough thing to get past.   I’m a detail person.  Details must mesh with one another, especially when it has to do with a project that I’ve worked on myself.  And when a project feels half-done (or like it doesn’t flow) I can’t think of much else besides fixing it until it’s actually complete.   Which explains why our master bath has been a huge mental pain in my arse for the past 5 months.  My Type-A-Ness has been hitting the crazy-meter.  And no, it’s not because it’s ugly.  That’s a fact that I accepted when we bought the house.  It’s a detail thing.  A paint detail thing to be exact.

Just in case you haven’t seen our master bathroom, allow me to introduce you (prepareyourself)

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This room is decked out with navy blue and purple cultured marble (with swirls of mauve… we must not forget the mauve), 80’s floor tile with stained grout, peach walls, and what I like to refer to as our “coffin-shower”.  I mean, just tell me that doesn’t look like I’m buried alive…

Not to mention the cramped, poorly thought-out layout with zero natural light.   It’s quite the gem, really.

Honestly, nothing short of a full gut is going to save this room.  We know this.  So, the only things that I could think to do to freshen it up as we save for a complete renovation was to give it a good scrubbing and paint those awful peach walls.

And my color of choice was white.  It was really the only option.  I refused to give that terrible marble the satisfaction of trying to match it in any way.

My goal was to match the trim paint but use an eggshell finish (as opposed to the semi-gloss that was on the trim).   Since we didn’t have any trim paint on hand, I basically just held up a bunch of color swatches to the trim and ended up with Behr Ultra Pure White 1750, which according to the swatch I had was a nice true white.  Not too bright and blue, not too yellow.  Just nice.  Or so I thought.

Now, here’s where things got a little hairy.  As I just mentioned, the color I was going for was a soft creamy white.   But the color I was painting appeared to be brighter… more blue.  I figured that it just needed to dry, so I gave it a chance.  But after spending all day painting (it took three coats… yeah, not super impressed with Behr’s coverage in this case), I stepped back and realized that the paint was definitely more blue.  And that blueness was making our trim appear yellow in comparison.   Ugh.  Not good.   And then I held up my color swatch…. Yup.  Wrong.Friggin.Color.  You’d think I was crazy if I showed you the photo I took to demonstrate this.  It just didn’t capture the difference as it was in person.

Now, did the paint color look completely terrible?  Not completely.   Did it look better than the peach?  Most definitely.  Some may be able to look past it, but I’m an undertone person.  Colors either need to intentionally contrast or match exactly.   The almost-matches-but-not-really thing is NOT cool with me.

So, I purchased new paint, this time emphasizing that the color needed to match the swatch exactly.

And time passed.

And nothing happened.

*coughcough*  I probably should mention that the painting of the bathroom happened in OCTOBER.  I even alluded to it in this post back when I painted our bedroom.  I just didn’t want to post about the master bath until I got it repainted again.

But then, the repainting didn’t happen.  And it kept not happening.  For a long time.  And then I realized something….

NOTHING will make this room look good shy of a full gut.  (pause. rinse. and repeat) Nothing.will.make.this.room.look.good.shy.of.a.full.gut.

I mean, I know this.  I’ve KNOWN this…  So, after this statement bounced around my head for, like, 5 months I finally had a break-through:  If nothing will make this space look good, then why am I stressing over a slightly different shade of white???   Lame, Christina.  Totally lame.  I guess sometimes it just takes time to realize that you need to step back and look at the big picture, ya know??   And I finally did.  I weighed the amount of time and energy I’d spend repainting this hole (and mind you, it’s not a fun hole to paint thanks to all those ridiculous nooks and crannies.  (Heehee! Gross.)) versus the reward (slightly different white paint), and I just.said.NO.   Now, don’t get me wrong… If this were the final space, I’d totally do it.  But really, this bathroom is gonna be ugly no matter what color white it is.  So, we’re gonna rock it as is for a while.

Here’s how it looks now…


Remember how I discussed the difference light bulbs can make on a paint color?  The above picture is a prime example of how a light bulb can make a space seem yellow. That’s a quick switch that I’ll probably make at some point.

You can also see in the pic below that the coffin-shape of the black-shower-of-doom is replicated in our toilet area (…you can even see the shower in the mirror’s reflection!  Nice touch, right? Haha!) …

I’m just imagining someone in the 1970’s wearing bell-bottoms and a a large-collared shirt, planning this bathroom, and thinking how clever and groovy it was to carry the coffin-shape throughout the space.  Heehee!   And ya know what?? I just realized that our bathtub (which is oddly vortex-like)…

Is reminiscent of something else…


Remember that wallpaper that we found behind our wet-bar mirror??  And instead of peach walls (like in the bathroom), they had peach countertops!  Way to tie it all together.  This house must’ve been the place to boogie in its heyday.  😉

So, anyways, that’s the master bathroom.  I have a hard time seeing us doing anything else to it until it’s renovation time (aside from a bit of accessorizing and some hardcore grout-cleaning).  The awkward layout and the fact that both the shower and bath tub plumbing fixtures are set on the weird partition walls rather than exterior walls…

And the fact that the step that leads to the bathtub (??) was tiled around and grouted in (as seen three pics up), mean that only major changes will make a difference in this room.   If the plumbing was placed differently, we could at least take down some of the partition walls to open up the space.  But we can’t.  So, we wait.   I’m excited to someday take a sledge hammer to this joint (given that I can actually LIFT said sledge hammer… I might just kick the walls a lot instead. Heehee!). 🙂

In the meantime, I’m (well WE’RE — Joey’s hatred of this bathroom is as vast as my own) daydreaming of adding a solar tube for natural light, a HUGE glass-enclosed shower with gorgeous tile, maybe a clawfoot tub, and completely reconfiguring the space so that it makes more sense.   It’s actually a pretty large bathroom… The space is just used so inefficiently (and the tub is so massive) that it seems small.  This project will literally be a gut down to the studs once we’re able to do it.   And we wanna do it right, so it may take a bit of time to save enough, but we’ll get ‘er done eventually.

So, tell me…  what’s your favorite part of the space?  The coffin-shower?  The vortex tub?   Any design ideas or suggestions?  Anybody been through a full gut of this magnitude? Any tips or tricks?

TDC Before and After