Outside

Doors Be Darker

Favorite project ever! Okay, not really at all. (I just couldn’t help trying to match Sherry’s enthusiasm from yesterday’s post), but this is a nice simple way to update basic garage doors so they look a little more stately. Back when we had our house’s exterior patched & painted right after moving in, we opted not to get the garage doors painted since we knew it was a task that we could easily tackle ourselves. Well, 12 months later and it’s finally done.

These two doors were sporting the same cream color that the old trim was before it went white, which wasn’t a very good look since it was nixed everywhere else. So we debated going bright white, medium gray/brown like the siding, or with a nice dark gray/brown color that’s a few shades deeper than the siding (like the tone of our metal window frames with the white sills).

Talking about those options pretty much got us nowhere, so we hopped in the car and drove around the neighborhood. We saw lots of white doors and black or deep gray/brown ones, and even some medium gray ones. And after staring at them all like neighborhood creepers, we decided that rich dark ones on a brick house was our favorite combination.

I kicked off the paint-fest with a cleaning party, courtesy of a hose-down (note: not nearly as fun as a hoedown) and a wipe / dry session with a rag.

This painting task quickly promised to be more involved than our previous rendezvous with a garage door, mainly because there were some added maintenance tasks involved – like redoing the patchy caulk around the weather stripping trim.

Since I know I’d be re-caulking anyways, I figured I’d go ahead and remove the weather stripping entirely since it would make my paint job easier and more thorough (I’d be able to paint all the way to the edge of the door, rather than stopping at the weather strip, which could shrink back in colder months and show an obvious unpainted line). I used my crowbar to pry off each strip, and then used a spackle knife to scrape off as much of the old caulk as I could.

These weren’t tough tasks, but they ate up about an hour before I could get to actually painting anything.

The paint color we chose was Urbane Bronze by Sherwin Williams, which was the darkest color on the same swatch as our siding color (Anonymous) which pretty much guaranteed that they’d go well together.

We bought a gallon of it in their Duration line since that’s what the house painters used and loved (it’s supposed to be extra durable and even has exterior primer built in). The Urbane Bronze color was nearly identical to the color of the dark metal window frames and oil-rubbed bronze light fixtures around our house, and it even tied into the charcoal roof pretty nicely, so it was an easy choice.

Painting was a combination of brushing (around the recessed panels and edges) and rolling (everywhere else). I worked in small sections so that the brushed portion didn’t dry and become tacky before rolling.

The first coat was fairly spotty looking, but that’s to be expected. I was just happy the second coat was enough – although it’s hard to tell in this photo since the sun spots are making it more uneven looking than it really was.

After the main part of each door was painted, I also raised them up bit-by-bit so I could paint the cracks in between each section of the door. That way it didn’t flash stripes of cream color every time the doors went up and down. This took a fair amount of patience because I had to let each part dry before raising the door a little more to do the next one.

The next day, once everything had dried, I reattached the weather stripping and recaulked the edges. I hate caulking against brick because it’s basically impossible to get a clean line against the craggy surface (I’ve tried painter’s tape in the past, but the result wasn’t much better), but since I was already working against the previously uneven caulk/paint job, I wasn’t going to beat myself up over it.

We actually contemplated painting the weather stripping Urbane Bronze to blend with the door, but after staring at it (and a few of our neighbors’ garage doors again) we decided going white like the rest of the trim on the house (Snowbound by Sherwin Williams) was the better bet. I opened the garage doors when painting these so I wouldn’t have to worry about getting any paint on them, which made this step go pretty quickly.

After a bit more drying, and a second coat, we were officially back in business. And by business, I mean Clara could reclaim her favorite chalking spot. Just don’t look too closely – that needs a nice power wash.

Oh and we also contemplated adding some decorative hardware, like some handles or what-not, but none of the options that we found felt like a good fit for our doors. We might try hunting a little more online, so we’re open to suggestions if anyone’s got some.

In addition to just being glad the cream is gone, we also like how the darker doors seem to tie in with other dark accents – like the light fixture and those dark metal window frames.

Overall, it’s not the world’s most exciting update, but it feels good to have it checked off the to-do list (finally). They feel like they ground the house a little better and don’t get lost in the beige-iness of the surrounding driveway and walkways.

Have you guys painted your garage doors? Did you slowly drive around the neighborhood to check out other door ideas like a creep? All of the homes around us have their garage doors on the side of the house (like ours) so that made it especially neck-craning for us, but thankfully nobody called neighborhood watch on us. That we know of.

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Night Lights

There’s something illuminating going on in our sunroom. And I’m not talking about the fireflies Clara is constantly trying to catch and befriend (she told me the other day that she wants one to live in her room FOREVER). Befriend? Imprison? Potato, potahto.

Yep, our sunroom – er, veranda if you’re nasty fancy – is finally sporting some lighting, courtesy of the new fixtures that we added to the posts in the four corners of the room.

Our original plan last summer had been to install light kits on the two fans in the room, but we never found fan lights we liked… and then we slowly warmed up to the idea of sconces around the perimeter of the space instead of two overhead fan lights (we thought they’d add more in the charm/ambiance department). Until now the room’s usefulness had been setting with the sun every day…. but thankfully our go-to electricians (S.J. Ryan for any locals) changed that by coming out to help us add the new fixture boxes we needed. For anyone wondering about costs, they work on a per hour basis, and we’ll dive into the benjamins a little later for you.

To get all the sconces on the same switch, they tapped into an existing outlet in the space (the one pulled out in the right photo above) that was operated by a switch in the house right by the sunroom door. Then they ran conduit under the deck to each of the other three posts. It was definitely more on the “complicated” end of things since there’s a slab foundation under the sunroom itself (so nothing could be run/drilled under there), which meant that most of the wiring had to be within the posts or run under the deck. If we had realized we wanted sconces on the posts instead of fan lights back when we had the room torn apart (after raising the ceiling and before planking it) this process would have been much easier. Picture Sherry channeling Cher and singing “If I could tuuuuurn back toooooowwwwwwm.”

Now instead we have these small conduit things on the outside of each of the four posts, but we think once we paint them the color of the house they should blend in better. Sherry has big plans to drop some planters in front of them if they still bug her after that. Big plans, people. Huge.

But back to the fun stuff. The lights were Joss & Main finds, which caught our eyes because (A) they were similar to our other outdoor lights, (B) they were the right size, (C) we could get four matching ones (not so easy on craigslist or at our favorite lighting outlet), and (D) they were within our budget ($51 each with free shipping).

They’re not so big that we – well, mainly me – have to worry about walking into them, and the dark bronze finish brings some nice contrast to the room along with the fans.

While we had the pros here, we also got their help removing the old intercom from the wall and terminating the wires properly. Sherry and I were just grateful it didn’t leave any major marks in the wall. Just a small dot where the wires came out (see arrow below) and a couple of subtle holes in the mortar where it was screwed in. We were picturing a giant hole lurking under it with a missing brick or something, so this was a much better outcome. Picture Sherry channeling Cher and singing “Do you belieeeeeeeeeve in life after intercom?”

The sunroom was just one of several rooms that got some electrical attention (here’s a peek at the office before getting a ceiling fixture box and floor outlet under the floating desk).

We’ve been keeping a running list of wiring/lighting to-dos and decided to finally pull the trigger on them all at once for efficiency’s sake. We’ve still got some fixtures to add and drywall to patch, so we’ll dive into those other updates when a few are a little more finished looking, but bulking all the wiring work saved us a good amount of money, so we’ll break that down for you in that update too (still waiting on the itemized bill).

Although a bunch of other indoor spaces got some work done, the new lights outside are the highlight of our electrical punch list. Just as we hoped, they illuminate enough without feeling like giant search lights, they make things feel a lot cozier, and we love that they extend the amount of time that we can use this space. Some nights it means a later bedtime (and maybe a popsicle or two). Other nights it just means not having to sit in the dark while Burger takes his last potty break of the night. Either way, we’ll take it.

How are you guys enjoying your summer nights? Is it weird that I’m tempted to rent a projector or something and watch a movie out here? Not that that requires lighting, so I’m not sure why I’m just having this idea now…

Psst- Teddy’s weekly picture is up, and I’m pretty sure he’s the man.

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