Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Exterior Plans & Lamphouse News

So, in my last post I mentioned that we'd be talking about some exterior projects and some exciting Lamphouse developments. 

I'll start with the Lamphouse stuff since it's quick and easy and I'm really excited to share the reason we've been sort of slacking around the house (well, at least blogging about it).

We put a digital photobooth in the Grand Wagoneer!

The Lampy camper is still around and we just used it last week to take some fun family portraits but for now, it only goes where its rented since there's such a large amount of labor involved. We decided earlier this year to add a digital photobooth to our fleet that would be a lot easier for us to set-up (and park!) than the camper and would be a lot better suited for large events like weddings and concerts and stuff.

The photobooth part is actually in the back and you stand behind the tailgate and pose for a few pictures then pick up the prints out of the side window.

Speaking of the Grand Wagoneer tailgate, Conan took out the old carpet and replaced it with a custom, oak liner. It's BEE-YOU-TEE-FULL you guys. Stunning. 

We've done a couple of little events to test it out and it's super fun and works like a charm. It's no hand-developed portrait but people do really enjoy how quick and simple it is and I can't say that I blame them. 
We even tested it out ourselves and it's pretty darn fun, I must say!
Alright, back to house business! Let's talk exterior plans for this big old house!

The exterior of the house hasn't gotten a whole lot of love since we moved in five years ago but that's only because frankly, it scares the living bejeesus out of me/us.

One of the very first things that had to be done was replacing a rotten soffit. My mom and dad built some really "exciting" scaffolding to pull that off. Here's the old pops getting ready to throw a hammer at us for buying a house that was falling apart. Jk, he was holding a paintbrush.

Next were a few cosmetic changes like planting some flowers and building a beautiful picket fence:

So, after all of those things and the odd window re-corded here and there, our house isn't in terrible shape on the outside but it's definitely not in the greatest shape either. The list of little things that need to be done (wood replaced here, window re-glazed there) seems so insurmountable that I would just as soon close my eyes the moment I get out of my car and not open them until I'm inside. 


If we're serious about being stewards of this old house we have to take care of all of it, not just the fun, inside, decorate-y parts. 

So about a month ago, I decided that I was going to get serious about putting some paint on the house. Every.single.time I mention starting another interior project, the first thing my dad says is, "What you really need to do is get some paint on this house." Ugh. I wish he wasn't right, but he is. And the only way it's ever going to get done is if I just pick a place and get started. 

I decided a couple of weeks ago that the most logical place to begin would be the front of the house. The siding on the front porch, since it's sheltered, is in pretty good shape and we wouldn't need any scaffolding. The second floor, right above the front porch, is also in decent shape and it wouldn't require scaffolding either. 

So, about the front porch.
Ever since we've moved in, the front steps have been a total mess.

The paint was coming off,

pieces of rotten wood were falling off,

some of the risers weren't even attached to anything anymore.


So, over memorial day weekend, Conan and I set out to replace them. We bought new risers and new treads and we were all ready to pull up the old ones, easy peezy, put new ones down and be done with it. 

Then we started taking things apart. Dang. 

The stringers were in really rough shape, too.

Big chunks of rotten wood were being pulled out with the risers so we decided it would be best to just scrap the whole thing and start fresh.

We bought new stringers then came home and using the old ones as a template, re-built four of them. 
You can see from all of these pictures that the porch decking itself is also in rough shape. But we did a little pricing on that and let's just say neither of us have a kidney to sell on the black market right now so...that's a no.

We did have to pull up a few pieces, though to replace the very top riser. We scraped the old paint off and put them back where they were.

Here's Conan screwing something to something else. Power tools, yeah! 

It was a lot of that. Cut, cut, screw, repeat.
By the end of this (very long) day we were kind of on auto pilot. Our neighbors were having a memorial day party and generously offered some frosty refreshments but I don't have to tell you guys that power tools and pints don't mix. But man, they sounded like they were having a good time!

When we got to the last tread, about 12 hours after we began this project, I ran inside and got a marker. 

Fun fact: when my parents were remodeling their old house when I was growing up, I remember my mom insisting on having us all write something on the studs before the walls were put up. I'll always remember that as an integral part of a project and so, every room we've worked on in our house has a little message from us hidden somewhere. The front steps were no exception! 

So, there's the finished product!

Like I said, the decking is still pretty rough but they are about 1 BILLION times more sturdy and much more worthy of our old house. They really do make things look so much cleaner and nicer and I can't wait to put some paint on them in a month or two. You aren't supposed to paint treated lumber for a little while so that it can dry out so that gives me time to decide on some colors for the front of the house. Here's my inspiration so far: 

I really like the dark green on this house. I've been trying to focus on houses that have columns similar to ours to see how they handled painting them but I don't think I would paint ours two different colors like this. Maybe too much green that way? 

This one is really pretty and I love all of the different colors. I really think that our house needs at least three, maybe four colors since we have some decorative shakes on the third floor and the porch eaves that are kind of similar to the third floor of this house. My only concern is that this house is a little more ornate than ours so there might not be room for all of the different colors that I like so much on our house.

Speaking of several colors, I passed by this house on my way home from work last week and I just fell in love with the subtle differences in grey and blue.

This crappy cellphone picture doesn't do it justice but I really think that with a darker contract color maybe on the screen windows, this could be the perfect inspiration. I especially like the different color on the little scalloped shakes.

Thoughts? As you can see, I'm really leaning toward a green color palate. Funnily enough, we've always known that we were going to paint the house green - it was the inspiration for the name of our old Etsy business, Green House Paper years ago : )

So, I'll keep you guys abreast of any exterior developments that are made. It's likely to be a slow and arduous process that stretches out over the next several years I expect.

In the meantime, I've got a couple of little projects on the second floor I'm tinkering with and will share when I get the chance.

Keep Smiling!


  1. I love greens (and some yellows) and I have to say I'm really glad you don't like turquoise or teal. There is so much of that these days. I've always called turquoise the color that shouldn't exist.

    1. Yeah, I've found after many walks through neighborhoods around these parts that the green-ish houses tend to look a little less hot than the lighter colored houses if that makes any sense? I'm not sure if I've seen any turquoise houses around here, though. We do see a LOT of light gray w/ white and black around our neighborhood, though.

  2. I really love the green tones in that last inspiration photo. Are you dead set on painting the new porch steps? I could see them looking pretty gorgeous with a wood stain. Bravo on the porch update!

    1. Awesome! The last one is my absolute favorite, now I just have to figure out how to get the same colors without being a creeper and just walking up to their house with a fistful of paint samples : / Also, it's funny you should mention that because Conan was originally wanting to just stain them so we'll see on that one...


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