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

Our (final) front door… the interior

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Dear DIY Diary,

I am writing this post in anticipation of the Home Depot Installers finally installing our new front door (again) today.   Do you remember when they installed the wrong door??   The door with the door swing in the wrong direction??


It’s been 6 weeks since that debacle and the day has finally come.  The new door arrives in a few hours…. and I’m a little nervous.   I hope that everything is right this time and that the installation goes smoothly (fingers crossed, knock on wood!).   Oh yeah, and that the installers show up on time as opposed to 4.5 hours late like last time.


Punctuality would be sweet.   I’ve already prepped our foyer by moving out our furniture and area rug and the awesome door hardware that we purchased is sitting nearby just raring to go.  It’s noon now.  They’re scheduled to show up at 3 pm.   We’ll see how it goes.   Wish us luck!



Dear DIY Diary,

It’s 2:37 pm.   Joey texted to tell me that they called and are on their way.  EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!



‘Sup, Diary…

4 pm.   Just got word.  They’ve arrived.  Finally.  I suppose an hour late is an 80% improvement from last time, though.  :/



It’s 7pm and the new door is in.  And it’s awesome. It’s amazing to know that I can finally paint it and make it our own.

This is Christina, signing out


So, yeah.   Door is in and after a bit of elbow grease, the interior is now a crisp, shiny white.  After it was first installed, it looked like this…

First off, THIS is the way the door was meant to be.   Having the door-swing in the correct orientation is like a breath of fresh air.   It just fits.  It makes the flow of the foyer the way it’s supposed to be.   Heck, yeah.

As for the painting process… Because the outer trim was raw wood, I decided to prime it first with shellac primer to prevent any of the wood’s oils from soaking through my finish (I like the Zinsser 1-2-3).  Here’s the door after priming the trim…

Already looking better, right?

I waited the 45 minutes recommended on the primer can, then painted the door and door frame with a foam roller and brush.  My poison paint of choice was Sherwin Williams Proclassic paint in extra white semigloss (the same paint that I used on the built-ins and wet-bar).   During the process, I asked Joey if he would take a few “action” pics of me painting.  I always like to see my favorite bloggers in action, so I thought I’d follow suit.   He obliged and snapped away as I continued to paint.  So, there I was, minding my own business, thinking that he was getting some good action shots.   And then I uploaded my pics to my computer only to discover that…


…Men. Cannot be. Trusted.

(Okay, so I sort of laughed in defeat as I made this discovery,  And then added a tasteful “censored” sign, because why not.  But, seriously Joey… NOT relevant to the project!) 😉

Among the other non-relevant shots, he did get this one…


No, I did not do my hair.  Unless you count “frosting” it with paint.   Which happens EVERY.TIME.

Once I was done, the door looked like this…

Don’t you just wanna reach into the photo and softly pet that smooth, glossy surface?  Oh, yeah.

And yes, I typed those last statements in the voice of Barry White.

Seriously, though.  The Proclassic paint just leveled right out and created a nice smooth finish.  I’d marry this paint if I wasn’t already taken.

So, enough suspense already…. ya wanna see the foyer all put back together???



I love you, door.

And our foyer loves you, too.   You make it look GOOOOOD.

As for the hardware, we chose a more modern door handle to suit our new door (the outside of which you’ll see in my exterior door post)…

And I couldn’t heart it more.

A little before and after goodness…

I am so absolutely over-the-moon crazy about this door.  The entire doorway fits the house so much better stylistically.   Like it was meant to be here originally.  Which is exactly what I was going for.   In the end, I really couldn’t be happier.

Next, I’ll give you a little exterior door post.  And I’ll tell ya… exterior door painting is giving me a run for my money. I’ve got quite the what-not-to-do-post in the making, so stay tuned.

TDC Before and After