November 11, 2013

Exterior Reveal: DIY Curb Appeal on a budget

Hello all! I am finally back! Yay! We have been busy, busy bees working at our new home. I am mission gblogging and sharing photos so much but between school, blogging, our antique mall booth, my family and friends and personal life, studying for school, photography and everything going on... I am literally pooped! So, I decided we were at a good stopping point to just show you how our exterior is looking today. 

So I won't keep you waiting but I wanted to first show you what our first home looked like BEFORE.  It was a very pale yellow-cream-ish color with a muted teal door and trim. I'm assuming they were going for a be achy look and it was "cute" when we saw it but all I kept really seeing was more potential. I'm not really a fan of painting trim a color unless its black or white but no colors. I also felt like some proper landscaping and a new exterior paint color and shutters could do wonders. The bones were there... and don't get me wrong... I wish it had more architectural interest but this is just the norm around here beachside in Florida. It's a typical mid-century home just a few blocks from the beach. How could YOU pass that up? 

There's a huge tree in the front with little orange berries on it so if anyone knows what type of tree that is, tell me please! We knew we'd want to trim the bottom branches and take out those bushes from underneath the tree so the tree could "breathe." I know it took a sigh of relief when we did start to rip them out. Can you imagine that? Seriously, I just laughed out loud.

I adore our neighbor's mature tree. Amazing. Mature trees equals drooling. Ours will get there. I hope you enjoy that we bought our home from the smiley face realty company. I didn't want to give out personal information with us or the company on here so a smiley face and "under contract" is it.

Overall, we are pleased with how everything has turned out. This is our "first" real home that is "ours" and not a rental and I think that is what we are most enjoying. Being able to do whatever we want to "our" home and seeing our money go towards "our" home as well. It certainly will not be our forever home but for a starter home, it is going to be pretty darn gorgeous when we're ready to say goodbye.

Throughout the pictures, I will be adding little things here and there about how we did it and where we got our things from. At the bottom of this point, I will also be doing a full source list for those of you who always ask! You're welcome ;-)

We'll first start with my cute little mailbox that Ryan surprised me with. I've been eyeing this thing for months! We bought it from Lowes and had to purchase the mailbox stand with flower box separately than the mailbox. I choose black for a higher contrast. I also ordered decals off of Etsy from Country Craft and Vinyl. She was very reasonable priced so I was excited to order them! Just a little personal touch for the mailbox that is very inexpensive and will make yours stand out from your neighbors for less than $10.00 I always have a garden flag in my yard and for less than $20.00 on Ebay and sometimes even cheaper than that and a stand you can find anywhere... it's a cute addition to the mailbox area. You also can change each flag out each season, etc.  

We also had a small mailbox that was attached to our house when we bought it. Originally, I figured I'd hand paint a sign with our house numbers on it for by the front door in this area. But instead and for a lot cheaper, I used a $1 can of spray paint also from Lowes and gave this mini-mailbox a facelift in high gloss black and again, gave the addition of the decal address numbers for that custom, personal touch.

And now for the big reveal... I'll just give you pictures because I doubt anyone is reading what I write today. Or ever for that matter. For kicks, make me feel better if you are and leave a comment :)

We first started pulling out all of the overgrown bushes, flowers and shrubs. It instantly made the whole yard look neater. Next, we looked at paint colors. For some time now, I knew I wanted a nice "greige" (Grey/Beige) color for the interior and exterior of our home. I knew exactly what to paint it by remembering what we had painted my mom's North Carolina home a few months back. The color is "Oatlands Subtle Taupe" in matte by Valspar. I ADORE this color. Sometimes it looks grey and sometimes it looks beige but mostly, it's the perfect in between! We bought a bucket of it from Lowes when they were having their rebate for paint event going on so we ended up getting a rebate of $20 from them as well on top of our military discount which made the paint very affordable.

I have to tell you something funny. I painted everything with my paint sprayer. I got through both sides of the house and the front and still had half a bucket left. So what's a girl to do? Well you would think, hey, finish painting the back! No. We have textured walls in our home so I went to town on the interior as well. Who can say that they painted the interior to include a sunroom, living room, dining room, hallway, kitchen and guest bathroom as well as the exterior of our home for just over $100. This girl.

We also purchased raised paneled shutters from Lowes which ran us about $100 for the front. I painted all the trim back white so it would pop against the new paint color. I went back and forth for awhile about painting the "feature" wall that the windows are on. Everything is stucco on the home but they decided this needed an accent wall and laid brick on this portion of the front. Palm to the forehead but hey, we'll work with it. It ain't broke so I ain't fixing it, right? We decided to leave it white and if we hated it, we would just take the shutters back off and paint it the same color as the house as well. We ended up not minding it obviously and she stayed the same color. This large tree in the front we believe to be a East Palatka Holly. We are currently working on trimming it up but I love it already.

You may have also noticed the brick planters that we have in front our porch and also at the end of the house. At first, we thought for sure, 100%, no doubt about it we were going to tear those bad boys out. But after crunching some numbers and with my mom and I brainstorming, we decided we would work with them. And I actually really do not mind them now that we have new landscaping and a freshly painted exterior. Plus, do you even KNOW how much work that would have been? I was nervous.

We spent a couple hundred dollars on plants, flowers and shrubs alone. I will source all of them at the bottom of this post. That is what added up the fastest but I know in a few years when everything is maturing, it will be wonderful and so worth it! We tilled up the grass and widened the depth of the beds from the house. The first project we tackled when we moved in was hanging our American flag. It is so important to have a flag flying at every house we are at. Freedom is not free and it's a great reminder to look at everyday.

I should have written down all the names to thee plants, trees, flowers and shrubs but I suck and just wanted them in the ground so I threw away all the tags but I sourced them all at the end of this post just for y'all! All I know is I adore this tree. I ALWAYS look at them when we go to Lowes or Home Depot. They are so bright and the pink isn't actually a flower, it's a leaf! This tree was a little pricey at $79.99 but I knew I wanted something with a TON of contrast and color. And I also wanted something different, not just another palm tree like everyone else.

The lantern in the background is one of my mom and I's favorite finds. It is actually cast iron and the stained glass is actually handmade by someone here locally! We found it at a yardsale while my mom was in town helping me landscape our yard... and get this, it was only $5.00! We asked how much and the girl says... "$5.00 firm." I almost stole it right there and couldn't believe it! The glass is worth more than that but yes we will take it! It's a great impact piece and actually a larger lantern that works perfectly on that side of the house with that faux wall I'm assuming to hide hoses, etc.

We also discovered this rock underneath a TON of bushes near the front porch. Why on Earth they would cover it up, I do not know. And we have also been randomly finding more of all different sizes every time we plant something new or tear something out. I think it is pretty cool and noticed a few others in the neighborhood have them incorporated into their landscaping as well. It has to be original to the house so I find that pretty cool that we discovered it and got use out of it.

I painted the front door high gloss black for a nice contrast as well. We purchased the outdoor lantern light from Lowes as well for around $60. Not too bad at all and it also has a sensor light on it for movement as well.  I already had the wicker chairs from our back patio. At first, I, of course, wanted rocking chairs but since we kept the planter, there would be no rocking... so we improvised and saved money at the same time! I gave each chair a once over of $1.00 black spray paint from Lowes and transformed them! They look brand new now! I'm on the hunt for some bright green cushions for the chairs but haven't had any luck finding any yet... so if you see any, let me know! :-) See below, they really need more contrast but for now, I am enjoying being able to sit on the front porch!

Here's a side view of the front porch from the front flower beds. We have the old Florida style windows and are thinking about replacing them here in the near future. For now, those of you may know this already but in the summer, I actually take the screens out. It gives the house a cleaner feel and the windows also! You would be amazed at the difference that something FREE can do!

Here's an up close view of the light. I LOVE it and knew I wanted it right when I saw it.

I already had these urns from our last home. I spray painted them gloss black awhile back and knew when we moved in, I wanted them on either side of the garage for height. They were just over $20 each at Lowes and are concrete. That is a STEAL in case you were wondering. And I know you can't see them but we also bought new house numbers and put them above the garage. The original house numbers were below our porch light. I had to PRY them off and the stucco came with them so we had some patch work to do as well but for less than $5.00 a tub, that was a quick fix.

These lanterns below are from Ikea. I need a smaller one instead of 2 large ones but I have yet to make a trip to Orlando since we moved. If you're in the local area and want to get one, holler at your girl!
 I also added LED candles to each lantern & the cast iron one at the end of the house. They are all beautiful lit up at night, I just wish y'all could see it in person!

We added my bird bath into this little odd and straight bed. I felt like the sidewalk had harsh lines and wish it was curved but adding new curb appeal and soft details really helps it. We re-used the rocks that were originally in the picture above around the bushes around the tree in our front yard and kept this area clean with new flowers & shrubs and my cute little bird bath.

Ok, so let's recap...

Here's the BEFORE

And here's the AFTER

It doesn't even look like the same home to us and it certainly does not feel like it. We are currently working on getting our grass back green like the above BEFORE photo. We are working hard to water all of our new flowers and love the life that it brings to the front of our home. I also plan to paint the gates of our fence white and spray paint the hardware with a coat of gloss black to update it. All fences around here are tied into each other so I can't paint everything! We also want to work on giving the beds more of a defined edge from the grass and we have put down grass seed to help fill in, in certain areas and especially around the new beds where we had to tear out grass. 

So let us know what you think of our exterior makeover. I'll be back soon for a source list and price list for everyone. But simple as I can put it... and it's never been so true, paint works wonders. Now if only Lowes would start sending me free product or gift cards to shop there as often as I do for my projects, I would be set! Let us know if you enjoyed this post by commenting below! Feel free to pin any of the images by hovering over each image and clicking to pin on Pinterest. Talk to y'all soon!

Exterior Paint Color: Subtle Oatlands Taupe in matte by Valspar
Front door & shutter color: True Black by Valspar in high gloss
Exterior lantern: Lowes Home Improvement
Front Door: Original to home
Bird Bath: Tractor Supply (Although I couldn't find it on their website)
Wicker Chairs: Craigslist find
Mailbox Post: Lowes Home Improvement

Large Tree in front yard: East Palatka Holly
Pink tree: Bougainvillea
Green spiked plant (variegated): Flax lily
Red leaf plant: Red dracaena
Yellow green plant (urns): Croton
Green shrubs: Ixora



  1. Love it. (and yes. I read every word) Your pictures sure do make me miss Florida.

    Enjoy your new home.

  2. Lovely. Identifying your plants: the pink tree you planted is a bougainvillea, the green spike plant is variegated flax lily, the red-leaf plant is a red dracaena and the yellow-green plant in the planter near the bougainvillea is a croton. I think you may also have ixora shrubs, but it's hard to see them. I'm sad to inform you that I believe your main tree is a Brazilian Pepper Tree which in non-native and highly invasive species in Florida from the same family as poison oak—so take care to wear gloves when trimming it. They are on Florida's prohibited plant list, and it is possible that it may need to be removed in the future.

    1. Thank you, all of those sound correct! I looked up the Brazilian Pepper tree and I'm sure it's not that one but that was a good guess. Someone else believes that it is an East Palatka Holly which I believe to be correct after doing some research! Thank you for your comments and reading everything! Xo

  3. I read all your words! Just so ya' know. :) I'm guessing I live within 20 minutes of your home, so I know the plants, home style and those "Florida Windows" quite well, lol. :) I see someone already beat me to identifying your plants. I love my Bougainvilla's too! Note: You say it like "bow-gan-vee-yah" :). We also take our screens out for 3/4 of the year (the A/C months) because we love the unobstructed views.
    Your makeover is lovely! You've done a great job. :)

  4. Beautiful, as always, Ally! I am so glad I read the comments before I posted as I was going to post the names of the plants as well. LOL You really did do such a wonderful job and being able to call a home your own is such a good feeling! CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Thanks Emily! I knew they were all correct as soon as someone said them! One of those things where the names are on the tip of your tongue! Thank you so much again! XO

  5. Wow! What a difference! You guys did an amazing job! Enjoy your newly made over home! -Jen

    1. Thanks Jennifer! We are really enjoying it! Thank you for stopping by! XO

  6. Looks great Ally, I enjoyed seeing your makeover. I read everything also!
    I moved in February to a new home here in Florida, however I started on the inside! Maybe next year for the outside!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to come by! I hope you are enjoying the process as well! XO

  7. Thank you so much for giving me hope that I can paint our home on a budget! :)

    1. Hi Lee!

      Oh I'm so glad you got stop by! It was truly a proud DIY and our wallets were happy as well! ;) Hope you can stay and look around! thanks for visiting my blog!

  8. Hey Ally-
    Your house looks wonderful!!
    I want to tackle painting our own house, what type/brand is your sprayer?

  9. Beautiful changes - very striking! Yes, I read it all.. :)
    I also found some beautiful rocks in our yard - gray & white granite I think - that I have incorporated into our gardens. Free is always good! haha

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