Curb appeal projects (pix)

June 16, 2009

I mentioned a few days ago that I painted my formerly plain white front door wood grained red. What do you think? Should I paint it a few more times till it's a solid color, or leave it as is? I also painted door hardware oil rubbed bronze, then poly'ed it. Please excuse my ugly cement stairs. They will at least get a good pressure washing soon. What should I do with them?

This is the clemantis on the left just before you climb the front steps.

These are the pots (formerly plain clay) I painted a couple of years ago, not at all serious painting, but just to add a little color and whimsey. They were a lot of fun to do.

Last week I bought two small junipers to go at the garage corners. I painted the clay pots to match the front door, then did the decorative painting on them.

Have you ever trimmed junipers to look like twisty topiary trees?

I didn't back up to give you an overall picture because I'm embarrassed that my hanging baskets and the planter between the two garage doors aren't blooming yet. This was my first year of trying winter sowing, and I got started late, so my petunias are still puny, but I think one is starting to get a flower. I also did pansies, marigold and three types of flowering ground cover. I just finished planting my baby parsley, corn, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, sugar peas, carrots and zucchini. Tons of plants for very little money! :o)

Comments (51)

  • barb5

    You are so talented! I love the color you chose for the door, but I do agree in that I think I would go for a solid red. Your pots are terrific- beautful and cheery.

    I planted my first clematis last year- C. jackmanii. It is nothing like yours in that it is straggly, but I have it on a trellis that is too short and it is waving in the wind. Not sure what I should do at this point, but I have to figure something out because I would love it if it looked like yours someday!

  • lovetorenovate

    love your door and pots. how about some ceramic hand painted tiles on the risers of your concrete steps? i was trying to google some photos of this - but have to run to work now. i do think pressure washing will make a huge improvement. good job!

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    Not sure real sized shutters (sized to cover the window when closed) will fit into the siding on your home. You might go to the one sided rustic kind, but even that doesn't get you past the two big pairs of windows . .. . measure it out and come back here if it does . . The color on your home and some of the finishes you get to work with are not so rustic so I'm thinking skip the shutters and window boxes and consider something more in landscape and bright tone on the front door - go a little more modern since your siding color against the white trim evokes that. Instead of painting the new wood white, what if you wash it with a warm gray paint that is near the tone of your siding - since you went through a winter with it untreated (fine - it is probably heading towards driftwood already so you have some nice grain elements) take some ben moore graystone http://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/paint-color/graystone and water it down by 1/2 and wash it onto all the wood. Paint the ceiling of the porch and make the front eave and face of the gable match the house (darker like bm deep creek on the eave and lighter like bm squirrel tail on the face of the gable) See if this blends the gray and white and some wood in a more mod-cottage way. Then, for the front door, you need a bright color. I recommend a bright yellow gold - something not neon or contemporary - but warm and charming - like bm california hills http://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/paint-color/californiahills Then, may I suggest you concentrate on flowering shrubbery that get pretty tall instead of stuff on the house . . . native daisy is usually found everywhere and is prolific . . .that is one idea. . . evergreens on the side might be nice with flowering shrubs in front of them and bulbs in front of that . . .daffodils . . echo the yellow door in the choice of flower . .
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  • Kathleen McGuire

    Love your front door color! What is it? Put another one or two coats on for a solid. It will look awesome! I love the touch of whimsy your pots add too!

  • barb5

    I saw a recent show on HGTV where they did just that- put painted tiles on the outdoor walkway and stairs. The house they did was more of an arts and crafts, and the result was wonderful.

  • lottamoxie

    Wonderful and creative! Absolutely YES to a *solid RED* painted door. Glossy red will just pop beautifully.

  • zipdee

    Those pots are adorable and look awesome with what you've planted in them, nice punch of color. I agree with everyone and would paint the door a solid red. Wonderful job!

  • pugga

    I'm going along with everyone else about painting the door a solid color. I really like that red you chose.

    I've been trying to figure out how to clean up the hardware on my front door. It used to be that shiny brass and is now shiny in some areas and worn in others. I thought about trying Rub 'n Buff on it. I want to get rid of the shiny brass with a more updated tone. What kind of paint did you use?

  • IdaClaire

    Oceanna, I adore those painted pots! I agree about painting the door a solid red, and will look forward to seeing more input about your "ugly cement stairs" as I have that same issue that I'm pondering.

  • ladyamity

    Those pots......you sure do have the patience....absolutely precious!!!!!

    The whole entry is bright, cheery, welcoming.....happy, even on a cloudy day who wouldn't smile walking up to your front door!

    Oceanna, you are extremely talented! And did I mention Patient? *smile*

  • trailrunner

    Once again you show such talent and creativity. I love the colors and those pots are darling. I don't know how to do a topiary but I saw this link...http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/topiary/msg0907425322793.html

    there is a topiary forum :) '
    I too think the door will look great solid red. Very cheery and brings good luck. c

  • sis3

    Another vote for the solid red door. Love the pots! Could you possibly paint the steps after pressure washing them? Not to take the focus from the pots, but with your talent you could make them look very attractive!

  • oceanna

    Thank you all for your kind comments!

    I'm really surprised that you are 100% on that I should paint the door solid. Everyone who has seen it in person has been 100% that I should not paint it solid. Now I'm confused.

    Barb, that divine clemantis was there when I bought the house, and I just love it. I can tell you it gets morning sun mostly, and afternoon shade. It also likes to be watered every day when it's warm weather. I never water it in winter, but this is Seattle and it rains all winter. I've only fertilized it once in about 4 years, with Miracle Gro -- I should do better, bad me. I figure it's just happy where it is for some reason only Clemantis know. Every summer it goes crazy with giving flowers for weeks. I just love it. Good luck with yours!

    Lovetorenovate, my daughter has the Mexican tiles on her porch steps and they look great. I'll think about that, but the tiles are expensive and the truth is I could paint on whatever I want... make it look just like tiles.

    Kmcg, what is it indeed? I started with cherry red, premade at the hardware store, I think Valspar. I had her mix it darker. It was too dark, so I bought another cherry red and mixed them myself. The door still looked too dark but I'll be darned if I was going to buy a third quart and another trip to the store. I remembered I had some red several-years-old INterior paint, so I grabbed that and put a coat on and it didn't cover well, and as it first went on it looked kind of pinkish, which was scary. At that point I was really unhappy until I looked at it as it started drying and decided it looked kind of neat just as it was. So then I started asking everyone who saw it and they all said it was awesome. IF I had it to do over again, I'd tape the panels. I'd start with a lighter base color and dry brush a darker color over that, I think. If I do this solid, I'm going to have to sand it and pretty much start over, getting the store to mix a new color.

    Pugga, take the hardware off. Rough it up and knock off any loose stuff with sand paper. Then spray primer on it, just a light coat. Then paint it with whatever you like. Then hit it with several coats of polyurethane (I brush that on). What I used was Triangle Crafts Sophisticated Finishes. The color is "blackened bronze metallic surfacep." I got it at Michaels and just put it on with a soft craft paintbrush. It's water soluable. You know, they looked so bad, well the handle did, I figured what the heck, it was worth a shot and cheaper than replacing the hardware. I don't remember what it cost -- probably about $3. Right now I'm painting all my kitchen cupboard hardware with it. :o)

    Amity, I guess I am patient. I was an artist by profession for Boeing for 23 years, so spent 40+ hours a week doing meticulous work. I'm a Taurus and we're supposed to be patient, right? lol! I really enjoyed painting all the pots. I'd do it for a living but I doubt there would be any money in it.

    Trailrunner, haha, I should know there is a forum for everything at GW! You are so sweet to have looked that up for me, and reading it you probably just saved me from making a big mistake, plus saved me work. I suspect the junipers will look just fine there as is. :o)

    Sis3, yes I can paint them to look like anything I want. The thing is it rains all the time here. Those dark spots you see are moss growing on the steps. I really need to pressure wash them, my walkway, and my driveway. I'm wondering if paint would hold up to pressure washing every year? I'm thinking about concrete stain too. I'm just awfully afraid to make a big mistake out there. What do you think about our weather and pressure washing versus paint?

  • burnGirl

    Looks awesome. Those little pots are so cute.

    How about adding some nice looking, pale brick colored stone tiles on the stairs. It could get little expensive, but might work great.

  • casajakada

    I love the red door and think it looks great with the wood grain showing through. However, that doesn't always translate well in pictures on here. Your front entrance is so welcoming & charming.

    I think the idea of painting the steps would work and I'd check with someone knowledgeable at Lowe's about paint and what products to use against the rain. Depending on the budget, I'd also think about a brick veneer, slate, or other stone product to cover the steps, taking into consideration the texture to prevent them from being slippery from the moisture.

  • dilly_dally

    Those pots are just the cat's meow! Very cute.

    ✔ Solid red door.

  • oceanna

    I love the red door and think it looks great with the wood grain showing through. However, that doesn't always translate well in pictures on here.

    Thanks, Casajakada. I'm wondering if that's the problem or if all the people who saw it in person just have bad taste?

    I'll check with the gals in my Lowe's paint department, good idea. I think I'll also keep an eye out in CL for some brick veneer... can't hurt to look. A saltillo tile might look great, but I'm not sure if unglazed tile is okay in this weather. I'll ask.

  • sis3

    I am not sure of my facts here but I think that painting the steps may be the answer to the moss problem. I suspect that if the concrete is thoroughly cleaned (perhaps an acid wash followed by pressure washing?) then correctly sealed before painting with the best type of paint (concrete paint?) then not only would your steps look beautiful and totally custom, but also the moss may not be able to easily find a home! Just a thought! I would definitely get professional advice on the prep, sealing and paint, but I don't see why properly prepped painted concrete would not stand up to all kinds of use/abuse!

    If you decide to go ahead it may be best to keep the design on the treads very simple as they may have to be touched once in a long while due to wear from foot traffic. The risers could be gorgeous!

  • amac

    I would NOT paint the door a solid red! It looks very authentic as it is now. It now appears to be an expensive wood door. If you painted it solid - it might just look like a steel door. I love it like it is and it looks very natural and you did an awesome job!


  • holleygarden Zone 8, East Texas

    I agree that perhaps the door just doesn't translate well in photo.
    Since you are so talented, why don't you get regular tiles and paint them yourself? They could be very inexpensive. In fact, I once went to a tile manufacturer's and asked to look at the broken tiles. I got all that I wanted (they had a HUGE pile of all kinds) and did a mosaic with them. You might think about that. Oh, yeah, and because they were broken they were free! :)

  • oceanna

    Sis, thanks for your thoughts. I called two hardware stores and both times the gals in the paint departments couldn't tell me withether paint or stain would hold up to pressure washing better. What's worse, they tried to fake it. I hate it when people do that. My guess is stain would hold up better because it penetrates. It seems to me that if there's the slightest flaw anywhere, a pressure washer will lift up paint. I dunno about the moss -- good question, though. Anyway, in the end they transferred me to the flooring guy who said slate tile is my best option to be durable, non-slip, permanent and easy care. So maybe I'll find a deal in CL? In the near future all it's going to get is a pressure washing, but that will make it look better. Maybe I should decoratively paint the risers, seal them well, and that's all? As you say, they don't take traffic, water doesn't stand on them, and I can always touch them up. I could make my own stencil and stencil them, I'll bet.

    Thanks, Amac and Holleygarden. I dunno. Actually it IS made of steel, or fiberglass, or compressed industrial waste, or some mystery material. Maybe I should have said that. I don't know what it is. I just know what it's not. It is not wood. Only now it looks like it is wood.

    Since you are so talented, why don't you get regular tiles and paint them yourself?

    Actually, I do have some bisque tiles from the days when I did some ceramic work. I'm just not sure who has the right kind of rack for firing them or what that would cost. Mosaic is something I've thought about playing with. It could be fun. Do you have a picture of your mosaic, Holley? The last tile store I asked for broken tiles said they don't let the public have them any more for fear of lawsuits. Doesn't make good sense, does it?

  • holleygarden Zone 8, East Texas

    I don't have pictures - that was a couple houses ago. ;)
    Too bad lawsuits have to ruin everything!!!!
    Another thing I did while I was doing the mosaic project (it was a fireplace surround), was ask people if they had any leftover tiles from projects. Got several beautiful tiles that way. They didn't know I was just going to break them! Anyway, the only thing you need to remember on that project is that the tiles need to be the same height so when you grout it will be even.

  • oceanna

    That's a great tip, Holley. Did you make up a pattern, like was it a picture? Did you make it right in place? Or on a mesh you stuck up when the design was done?

  • saltnpeppa

    Wow!! You are one great painter!! Your pots are so totally charming!! I love how you can take a plain clay pot and make it look like something that would come out of an upscale garden shop!!

    I like the door as it is, too, The red is just the right pop:)

    I saw you mentioned slated.....I have seen either HD or lowes run a special on slate sometimes - maybe something to watch for when you are in there.


  • oceanna

    Thank you, Scooby! I think I need to take a run to the hardware store and see what they've got. I wish I could just use paint, as I know how to work with that. But I'm afraid in time it will peel.

    I did find an inspiration picture I LOVE. Isn't this just yummy?

    I'm thinking about that and cost and labor and the railing uprights come down onto that surface, so I dunno how to cut tile around those. I do have some 4" bisque tiles I could glaze/paint any way I want, but my risers are 7". That would mean needing bullnose, which is very expensive. But I sure love that look. Champagne taste on a beer budget. sigh

    I'm thinking about stain, and that's about $80/gallon, plus buy a sprayer, plus buy contrasting colors, plus buy a grinder. sigh

    So I'm thinking about paint. I know paint. I love paint. Paint is cheap. But we've all seen ugly peeling paint on concrete. sigh

    Heck, I'm not sure what to do. Everything looks so costly and difficult and iffy that maybe I should just work on loving my stairs as they are?

  • holleygarden Zone 8, East Texas

    Love your inspiration picture. You know, you could paint on concrete now, and in the future if it starts to peel, perhaps you could cover it up with something else at that time. I had a painted porch one time, and that paint never peeled. I think it had been on there for at least 10 years - and really, I think a lot longer than that. Maybe the old oil based paint held longer. Or perhaps a coat or two of polyurethane. Or - maybe you could use garage paint. Just throwing out suggestions. Surely someone knows how to keep paint from peeling off concrete.

    Anyway, as far as the mosaic, I did not have a picture, but that would be beautiful (I'm not that talented). I just had several different tiles all in the same color family and we just put them on as close together as possible. Sort of laid them out beforehand. No mesh. Just grouted the tiles like you would for a floor. As I recall, the grout was very fine and specifically for vertical surfaces (like for a bath). We had to hold the tiles up on the vertical surface for a few minutes so they would hold, but it was easy.

  • roobear

    Oceanna, what about using Magic Colors removable paint instead of concrete stain?

    Not sure how it would hold up to pressure washing-

    However you can use it on almost any surface including concrete, it dries quickly like acrylic paint, holds up well to outdoor elements-almost totally non toxic- and is easily removable with their solvent plus soap and water in case you should make a mistake, or in a few years if it starts to peel/ fade or you want to change it, get rid of it etc.

    I know this is a more "safe" option but if they were my concrete front steps and I wanted to paint them I would prefer to have creative freedom without the worry of being too permanent.

    Your flower pots are too cute by the way.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Magic Colors Removable Paint

  • bonniee818

    Love your pots! Fantastic job & you will "wow" everyone who comes to your home!

  • oceanna

    Holley, thanks for brainstorming with me. I think Poly is a no-no outside but they do have sealing products meant for concrete. I'll bet your mosaid was pretty. Do you know they have stencils that mimic mosaics now? That's a tempting thought! The patches of paint would be so small I doubt they'd peel. I am thinking about cleaning the steps, then stenciling the risers and calling it good.

    Roobear, thanks. I never knew there was a paint like that. I book marked it. I like creative freedom, you're right.

    Bonnie, thanks.

    Look at what I found while snooping around... can you believe what this lady did? I phoned her and she said those blocks were 2' wide and she couldn't make lines that were less than 3/4" wide because of the wicking. That's what those stains do, they wick/bleed/smear. So that's why I was amazed to find this. There's a link there that shows exactly how she did it. Pretty interesting.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Ooolala check this out

  • bronwynsmom

    I love the concrete acid stain idea, and you are just the one to pull it off.
    One caveat, and one idea for you...polyurethane is not a good choice for exterior surfaces. Go over to the paint forum where they can explain why.
    The idea...have you considered painting your railing bronze? I think it would give you a more cohesive porch than the white does.
    And I vote for solid red, too.

  • Happyladi

    I like the door now, but I bet it would look good a solid red, too. I love your pots, you are very talented. You might want to paint your light to match your hardware. And I agree, the railings would look good painted to match, also.

    I painted my outside light and house numbers last year but didn't do my door handle and it really needs it. I was worried about it holding up, but I think I might try it.

  • oceanna

    Bronwynsmom, I agree, you can't use poly on concrete, but I didn't know you can't use it outside. I already did use it on the doorknob, but that is somewhat protected by the roof. I hadn't thought of painting my railing bronze, but I really like the idea, thanks! There is some rust on it... what do I need to do about that? And then I can't poly it? How about spar varnish? I have that too.

    Happyladi, thanks. Hmmm... you're probably right about the light. This is the domino effect! I think yes, paint your door handle. Just put protective coats on top of it.

    Yeah, one of these days I may sand the door down and start over. sigh

    I just ordered this stencil. What do you think of not painting/staining the whole porch, just doing this on the risers so they look carved?

  • kitchenkelly

    That is gorgeous!

  • holleygarden Zone 8, East Texas

    oceanna, that stencil is absolutely stunning! How beautiful! I can't wait to see the finished project.

  • oceanna

    Thanks! I hope it works out. The stencil is from Royal (online). You know, one thing I thought about was doing the stencil with plaster, instead of with paint. If I were going to paint the whole porch, I'd definitely do that. I'm just not too sure if I should paint the whole porch.

    Another question. I got a 3-M hook and put it on my door yesterday. I waited an hour as it said to, then hung a lightweight wreath on it. Today I opened my front door only to discover the hook let go and dumped my wreath and hurt it. :o(

    So how do y'all hang a wreath on a metal door?

  • pollyannacorona

    Oceanna, if you do it in plaster on your risers wont it get kicked too much and crack? That might be better suited to an area like crown molding and ceiling areas. If you paint/draw the design on your risers it will last longer. How about just a darker outlining of the cutout design and getting a bit of that effect as the tile you posted on this thread, I bet you could easily pull off that same look. It could look as though its only stamped on, I think you could start a new trend!

  • roobear

    I'm with pollyanna, I wonder about the durability of the plaster on the risers. Your a very talented artist, you could easily use the stencil and just shadow areas to create depth.

    Were you thinking about painting the stencil to look like a row of colorful tiles or just one whole design pattern?

    Thinking about the permanent/removable paint, I think it would hold up to pressure washing considering you paint cars with it and can send them through a car wash.

    Paint might give you a brighter look than a stain- so I'm not sure if that would be better or not.

    Then again working with paint might be easier, if you plan on doing a lot of detail work-I can't really say, I've never used a concrete stain.

    In any case you've got me thinking about buying some of the paint and doing something with my concrete landing for fun.

  • oceanna

    You're probably right that it could get kicked. That's why I figured it needed to be sealed in with paint if I did it. I'm just kicking ideas around.

    Basically at this point what I'm planning to do is exactly what you see in the pic of the stencil... except doing it on plain ol' concrete, and using black and grey for the shading... so hopefully it will give the illusion that the cement is carved.

    But you know how these things can go... you start doing something and then you don't like it, so you change it. I'm doing something with essentially no precedent that I can find.

    Roobear, what color would you paint your porch? And have you checked into the cost of that paint?

    Everyone, if you painted my porch, what color would you choose? I was thinking about the "liquid iron" stain... but what if the thing looks too mustard or too orange and stands out like a sore thumb? I'm a bit scared. I suppose I could try that, and then paint it if it didn't work? I can see this getting into some money if I keep exxperimenting. Of course, I could always make up the iron stain and test it on a concrete block, no problem. It's just that something that looks good small might look bad big. Can you hear me making chicken noises over here? bawk bawk bawk!

  • ladyamity

    Couldn't wait to have some ME time to leisurely read this post...excited to see what you might be doing next!

    That stencil is fab!
    I bought a stencil about 4 years ago to do our front porch/cement but was discouraged by so many naysayers that I put the stencil away and forgot about it.

    Now, after seeing your stencil and your idea, I'm getting all excited to see what you plan to do as I might just follow suite! LOL

    Talking about painting your handrail....
    Every six months or so I was washing/scrubbing our very rusted, 20+ year old, almond, security door.

    One day out of sheer frustration at having to scrub it again, I pulled out my paints.
    Painting iron/metal that will withstand the outside elements can be done!

    My security door is going into it's third year being painted, with a couple cans of clear, satin sealer on top and so far, it looks as good as the day I painted it.
    Just wanted you to know that it can be done, cheaply! (because we all know I won't spend a dime if I don't have to. lol)

    A New Bronze, Security Screen door = $158.00 min.
    Old Almond Security screen door painted = under $20

    Before - Almond, 20+ year old, metal security door.

    After - Good Cleaning. Spray Primer. Bronze Spray Paint, Espresso glaze (mixed myself at kitchen counter) wiped on top of bronze. 2 Cans Satin Sealer/Spray. Two+ years outside....so far, so good.
    Our porch light was black but I put a couple coats of bronze glaze/then sealer over it and it matches the door perfectly.

  • natureperson

    I love the front door and all the pretty pots! I wouldn't change a thing!

  • roobear

    Oceanna I was thinking about maybe painting some faux tiles on my concrete risers or the concrete landing area-not really sure, just started kicking the idea around.

    I called the paint company, but they're closed till Monday-so I'll have to wait to get my questions answered.

    I did read from others that have used the paint that it's 20.00 a Pint, 33.00 a Quart, 125.00 a gallon and the Remover is 15.00 a Pint, 26.00 a Quart, 95.00 a gallon. However these prices were from a couple of years ago so I'm not sure.

    With the concrete, you would also want to use their clear coat as a base to seal the pores of the concrete, so removal is easier and then paint and lastly cover again with clear coat to allow better protection.

  • oceanna

    Amity, nice work on your door and light! Isn't it just amazing what we can do with a little paint? And why send a perfectly good working door, or fixture, or doorknob, or kitchen cabinet handles to the dump when a little paint will make it look brand new and classy? Our money is better put away for our old age, or if someone has so much money they don't know what to do with it, they can do some fab charity work with it.

    Natureperson, thanks!

    Roobear, thanks for the cost information and for trying to call them. I wonder how much it would take to do a porch like mine? The thing about sealer is once you use it, you can't stain the porch. So you'd paint first and then seal, or the other way around?

    Let me ask again... what color would you paint mine? That's another place where I start running into trouble... thinking what if I want to change the house color later? I guess repaint at that time.

  • lv_r_golden

    The pots are darling and the red is great but I have to vote for solid red (in a satin finish) as well.

    Re: the gray concrete - just an idea and not too expensive either - how about painting the railing gloss black, getting a new black traditional lantern (flat or satin black) for the porch light, repainting the door hardware, possibly getting a face plate for behind the door hardware (maybe that even connects the lock and the handle or even just the handle) and not worrying about the concrete steps. You have great bold colors that pop and the steps are the next thing you see, some black will make the gray be the "medium" color and more recessive, you won't even see the stairs. Too many other things to look at.

    Your porch is very appealing now, fun, bright. The black is just an idea.......now I am pushing my luck offering up ideas here but another idea would be a satin black door with brass hardware and light, gloss black railing and your great pots. Brass hardware kick plate across the bottom of the door would give a real traditional/ classic look. The current pots would be great and you could change them out (or paint them) - anything would look great.

    Again, just thinking out loud.....

  • Happy_Go_Lucky_Gayle

    I rarely come here to this forum. But, you have a wonderful front door now. Love the pots.

    The Stencil is Awesome. I'll have to come back and see the finished product.

  • roobear

    Oceanna a pint size of their paint covers 15 1/2 square feet- which I think is pretty good.

    Their clear coat goes on first because it keeps the paint from seeping into the concrete pores so it's easy to remove the paint and some isn't stuck in the concrete. They recomend it when painting on surfaces that aren't totally smooth like concrete, unfinished wood etc. You can use the same stuff as a top coat to help protect the paint.

    I think it all comes off (clear coat and everything) when you use the remover-one of the things I want to ask them.

    I'm not sure about a full color for the steps-I was seeing more of the plain steps with the pattern accent on the risers. But a full color might look nice with the pattern on the risers, what color were you leaning to?

  • oceanna

    LV_r_golden, thanks for your ideas. Um... I just did paint the door hardware to get rid of the brass, and will probably paint the existing light (budget is tight so won't be buying new) to match it, and maybe the railing too, in the ORB finish. As to the steps, I just ordered the stencil so I'll be messing around with that to see what I can accomplish.

    Gayle, well you ought to come here more often! Thanks for your input.

    Roobear, that's good to know -- a pint wouldn't be enough. Oh, that makes sense about the clear coat going on first. I don't know what color. What do you think? The color of the house body?

  • oceanna

    Thought I'd post an update.

    I pressure washed all the cement in front of the house and it looks so much better! Took a lot of hours but it was very worth it.

    Then I started to stencil one of the stair risers. I did it in black and grey, just as in the picture above. When I stood back to look at it, I didn't like it. The concrete has a bit of a busy look on its own, lots of color variation, tiny pebbles showing through. From far off it just looked dirty. As I neared it, it looked too busy. I think it would work better to have color, and bigger blocks of pattern rather than something so broken up.

    So, very quickly, like within a half hour of doing it, I pressure washed it. This was just regular Plaid FolkArt Acrylic paint from Michaels, mind you. It took quite a bit of time to get it removed from that step. I was surprised by its staying power, which I imagine would be even greater after it had cured for a week. So I also learned that whereas it may not be permanent, it looks like the craft paint would be adequate to the job of stenciling the front of the stairs.

    It looks good as it is, now that it's cleaner. But as I catch up on some other tasks around here, I'll probably keep an eye out for a better stencil, or a pattern where I can cut one. It's now moved to low priority.

    I'm sick and tired of pulling weeds out of my driveway, so I'm busy filling all the cracks with concrete patch. My next door neighbor and the "expert" at Lowes both agreed it's safe for me to put the patch in the expansion joints because it doesn't get very hot around here. I've gone through three bottles and it looks like I may need a couple more. I'm also going to look for a bucket or small bag I can mix up to fix where the walkway settled... it looks to me a bit dangerous, like someone could catch a heel or turn an ankle. So, anyway, the front is slowly getting better and better!

  • sadie709

    Oceana I live in the chicago area and i have been hearing ads like crazy for some product that kills moss and algea. you spray it on and leave it and it activates over time and kills the moss and keeps it from growing back. I dont remember the name but they said it was at fine hardware stores.
    You could also brick the stairs. they make brick slices just for that purpose.
    I like the door as is.

  • emagineer

    I really like the door as it is. Not the same old solid paint we keep using. Yours is soft and welcoming.

    There are a number of theads here with photos on concrete staining/painting. I was going to link one, but too many to pick something right. Do try a search on GW for this. There are more than a few wonderful ideas.

    And, I like the idea of painting the steel screen door. Another project to add to my list. It looks great.

    Also (my old standy), Habitat for Humanity "Restore" store. They have tons of tile, outdoor stone, etc. at half the price from even the less than expensive tile stores. Search for one in your area.

  • stinky-gardener

    Love your creative paint technique on the door--beautiful! The color could not be better. Your pots are cheerful & welcoming, & your clematis is stunning.

    Clematis are fabulous plants, aren't they? They are showy & striking without being ostentatious. They stay humble while exuding so much beauty, lol!

    Please keep us posted if you make further changes!

  • oceanna

    Thanks, Sadie. On my next trip to the hardware store I'll ask. It looks so good right now I wish it would stay that way. I had thought about just spraying it with Clorox, but dunno if that will work or what it will do to the environment.

    Thanks, Emagineer... I like how you put it about my door. :o) I've poured over those concrete threads, so I do know of them. It's just such a scary thing to do, to stain. What if I don't like it when it's done? There's no going backwards on that. I've never been to a Habitat store. I should look for one. Yeah, doesn't Amity's door look great?

    Stinky, thanks for your kind words. I just love that clematis. I can't take credit as it came with the house. About all I know about it is it wants to be watered a lot in hot weather. I LOVE when it blooms! I will keep you posted, thanks. Right now I'm finishing up the driveway, patching all the cracks. I'm tired of weeding it! I am also sealing up the expansion joints... not deeply, but enough to keep the weeds out. It doesn't get that hot where I live, so no real expansion happens. I guess next I'll paint my existing lights out there to kind of update them.

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