John likes to make strange declarations like that. For example, after talking about how both bacon and mustaches were trending, he once proclaimed that “the mustache is the bacon of the face, and bacon is the mustache of breakfast.” But back to the front door. Our first house had a red door. Our second house had a yellow door. And our new house has a….
Yup, it’s a happy little blue door. It’s sort of a peacock meets teal with enough gray to keep it from going neon when the sun hits it.
When it came to picking the shade, first we taped up a bunch of swatches in almost every color of the rainbow (we tried red again, some green tones, a bunch of blue options, and other colors like plum, orange, navy and charcoal). Then we stepped back about ten feet, took note of what we liked best, and stepped back a lot more – just to make sure we still felt the same way from further back. We did this a few times during the day and evening to make sure the colors we loved in direct sunlight didn’t look crazy or change a ton when the front door was in shade or lit up by the porch light at night.
Then I painted the cream sidelights white like the rest of the house’s trim. We really wanted the sidelights to be their permanent color before finalizing a front door hue, just in case the old creamy-yellow trim was throwing us off. So after rubbing them down with a magic eraser to get all of the bug guts off, I just used an angled brush to apply the same white exterior paint that the painters left behind (and later used a razor to scrape the excess off the glass panes).
That helped us to narrow it down to four contenders: Spirit In The Sky, Blue Lake, Peacock Blue, and Tranquil Blue (all by Benjamin Moore). We’re actually convinced any number of colors could have worked (nearly all of the swatches looked nice with the white trim and natural brick) so we just went with what we liked the best.
Then it was test swatch time. After the whole oops-we-picked-the-wrong-siding-color snafu, I didn’t trust swatches without putting a big ol’ rectangle of color right on the door. So here’s how things looked after I applied each of our four samples on four of the raised panels of the door, being sure to give them each nice thick coats so the true color was easy to see, but not goobery and drippy. Colors tend to darken as they dry, so we did that “live with them a hot minute and evaluate them throughout the day” thing. That’s Blue Lake in the top left, Spirit In The Sky in the top right, Tranquil Blue in the bottom left, and Peacock Blue in the bottom right.
And the winner is Blue Lake…
The others all looked either too dull or too neon in certain lighting situations throughout the day. Here she be, all glossy and gorge.
It only took about half a day to get it painted. As for the finish/type of paint, we used BM’s exterior paint that the guy at the desk recommended for doors called MooreGlo in Soft Gloss, which is their version of a semi-gloss finish (didn’t even need primer since it’s self-priming). We only needed to buy a quart, so this whole project was pretty darn cheap, which feels great after basically sweating money out of our pores for the last month or so on bigger inspection-item fixes that we needed to check off.
When it comes to painting doors, my favorite method is to start in the morning so the door can be open all day and has time to dry before you have to close and lock it at night. I like using an angled brush only – although John loves a foam roller, so it’s a different strokes for different folks thing. Literally.
I have a certain order that I swear by, so first I paint the frames of each raised rectangle, then I paint the insides of each of them as you see in the photo above. Then I paint the flat planks around them and between them, always going in the direction of that plank (I pull my brush from top to bottom to do the vertical plank down the middle, then I go from left to right to get all of the horizontal slats, and at the very end I drag from top to bottom to do those vertical parts on each side of the door).
I wait for that to dry about an hour (or two if it’s super humid) and then I do the whole thing again, in the same order. Then I just give it the rest of the day to dry and lock it up at night. Oh and we like to remove the hardware, so that’s why it’s off (we reattach that right before we lock the door in the evening).
We also updated both the door knocker and the doorbell, so we’ll be back with those details tomorrow (they involved a dremel and some paint as well as a bit of a manhunt).
Oh and I repainted the sides of the door but not the back, so that’s still a hazy dusty blue color like the rest of the trim in the foyer… but I’d love to paint the back of the door the same happy blue shade once we nix the blue trim and wallpaper going on in the foyer and get some nice white trim and sidelights in there as well.
So that’s how one quart of paint and one morning of work made our house smile. Not bad, right? It took me waaay longer to take pictures of the finished product than it did to actually do it (is it just me or has it been raining for 40 days and 40 nights?). Heck I think the little doorknocker and doorbell upgrades took longer than painting the door.
The lesson? If you’re putting off painting your door, jump on that pony. Then your house won’t be all “oh hi it’s you, whatevs” when you come home. It’ll be all “Hiiiiiiiiii! Welcome!!!! It’s so nice to see you!”
It’s so funny to compare it to the portico as it looked back when we bought the house. Complete with a really old wreath on the broken slatted screen door (we took that down asap). And remember how green those front steps were before we power washed them?
Oh but one more thing. Remember that time a deer photobombed my front door photoshoot? Wait you don’t because I didn’t tell you about it yet. Allow me to paint you a picture. I’m snapping a few photos, and here comes my deer friend, stage right.
He saunters across the yard right in front of me and stops to chew on a few weeds by the door. Directly in front of my shot. I’m telling you, I never laughed so hard. Dude must have thought our yard looked extra welcoming, what with the smiling door and all. It certainly wasn’t a lush lawn that was drawing him in…
UPDATE: I quickly snapped this instagram picture on the way back from our evening walk, and it one captures the green undertone in our teal door so it finally looks like real life. Leave it to the ol’ cell phone to take a more accurate picture than the fancy camera. #nofilter #instagrambeatsDSLR
Whoops, I almost forgot to tell you about how I scrubbed and re-sealed the existing hardwoods right before we moved in (literally, like 26 hours before we moved in). The new hardwoods upstairs were looking so flossy and glossy, I didn’t want the ones in the office, living room, and dining room to feel so 2000 and late. So I gave them some love.
First I swept up the random dust and old faux Christmas tree leaves and all the other stuff that was left behind.
Not a bad pile for an empty looking room, eh?
Then I bought this stuff at Home Depot because I had heard good things about it when it comes to cleaning and glossing up floors that are old/dulled/mildly scratched (you know, floors that don’t need a full re-finishing but could use some moisture/polish to fill in small scrapes and seal them again).
You know, little stuff like this.
After sweeping, the next step was to use their floor cleaning spray, by just working my way around the room spraying it on the floor and following that with the mop (with the cleaning pad on it). This made me mad sweaty, yo. So I give it a 7 on the exertion scale. You’re not just swabbing over the floors like you’re swiffering, you’re scrubbing the heck outta them to get them nice and clean.
Then came the actual sealing/polishing step. This was a lot less rigorous (so you ARE doing the swiffer motion here). The idea is just to gently spread out the liquid that you’re pouring out of the bottle as you work your way out of the room. Oh and for this step you have to use a polishing pad on the mop (it’s more like a lamb’s wool pad while the cleaning one is a bit more scrubbing-sponge-like). Note: see the green painters tape on my mop? That thing came out of the box all wonky and broken, so I had to MacGuyver it together.
In this picture you can see how the floor that I had done was all moisturized and shiny (top left of the pic below) while the floor behind the polish pad is kind of dull and dry.
Sadly, by the time I worked my way out of the room I was only mildly impressed. Parts of it had dried and looked just like they did before (dull, grayed, slightly scratched, etc) while other areas that were still wet looked awesome.
But once they dried… they were all chalky and dry again. I’m not sure if it was just something about our floors and the way they were refinished decades ago (some folks must love this stuff since we heard great things) but it wasn’t an awesome enough result for me to get going on the other two room’s floors. So it was back to Home Depot, where I bought another brand called Rejuvenate. It came in satin and high gloss but I chose high gloss since the floors upstairs are nice and shiny, which we like.
I still used the same Bona cleaning spray and the same Bona mop (with the cleaning head on it) since I already had those on hand and didn’t mind the job they did. It was just the Bona sealer that had left me high and dry (ok, just dry). So I switched ol’ wonky-mop’s head to the polishing one, but this time instead of using it to spread the Bona stuff, I worked my way out of the room with the Rejuvenate wood floor restorer. The room looked like this before:
And this after:
Granted it still had to dry a bit in that shot above, but the comparison between the Bona stuff and the Rejuvenate stuff definitely left us liking Rejuvenate a lot better. It went on more evenly and left everything rich and sealed looking – even well after it dried. Nothing looked chalky a few hours later, and I was able to apply two coats in each room (you could apply them a few hours apart instead of waiting 24 hours like the Bona stuff required) which was awesome. I even went back and did the office again with the Rejuvenate stuff instead of doing a second coat of Bona in there. And I was so much happier with it.
Here’s the dining room all dry. Flossy and glossy, eh? This is how the living room dried as well, and the office looks the same now that we went over it.
Have you used a floor cleaning and resealing system to bring life back to dull, mildly scratched, or chalky floors? Did you try Bona, Rejuvenate, or something else? Ever tried two different options for a
smackdown to the death what’s-better comparison?