We bought our home in 2010, and while it had good bones, it needed A LOT of TLC. We were able to see past the rough issues, in exchange for a location we wanted in a price range we could afford.
We are not afraid of hard work. We can be patient. We have lived in this home for 5 years, and there have been so many areas inside and out that needed attention. Even if we had the money, we don’t have the time to attend to all of these areas at once.
Just to backup a bit, this is what our home looked like when we purchased it 5 years ago:
Not totally ugly, just needed a lot of attention. Bushes unkept, weeds growing. Ugly roof. Front door was rough. But from a distance, it didn’t look too bad.
We knew we wanted a new roof, but a new roof is an expensive proposition. So we waited. Did little things, like trim bushes, add landscaping rocks, paint shutters, clean siding, replace light fixtures.
***this photo was not taken last night. This photo is one year old, from July 2014, four years after we moved in.***
Lots of little things, totaling less than $200, made a difference in making this home look more “loved”.
But when you walked up close, you would have noticed that this home still had some curb appeal issues. Doors are so important for making a home look up-to-date, well-kept, and appealing.
Our front door wasn’t cutting it for us.
Saying it lacked curb appeal is an understatement. I had done my best, adding a vinyl “welcome” cling and painting it (I’m pretty sure the prior owners had painted the front door with interior flat paint, it was beat up and rough). I added a wreath and we put on a new door handle.
But you didn’t have to look far to see it’s flaws.
Between an ugly storm door, awful caulking job, and bad painting, it was just rough. After we re-roofed our home earlier this year, it made us want a new door even more.
Unfortunately, new doors are not cheap, so we waited. The other unfortunate thing about our front door is that it let no light through. If you are inside our home, you will realize quickly that the living room isn’t super bright, because it’s covered by the porch. This is great for energy-efficiency, but not great for light. So the front “entryway” of our home felt dark, cramped, and dank. Kind of like a cave. And if you know me, you know I don’t like caves whatsoever. It may or may not be a phobia. We won’t go into that today.
We knew we could not change the tight size of our entryway, and that’s fine. Only guests ever use our front door, so it’s really not a big deal. But we could change the way the entryway felt to us inside.
Earlier this year we came up with a solution that would work in our already tight home-improvement. You see, we took on the major task of adding space to our home, which incurred a lot of expenses. Was it worth it? Yes, but still expensive! We decided: no Valentine’s day, birthday, mother’s/father’s day or Christmas gifts for each other. We were buying each other a new door. We knew we needed a door with lots of light. We knew we still couldn’t afford anything out-of-this-world expensive. We looked at a lot of options. Mission-style doors are very popular right now, and even though we love them, they don’t match our Cape-Cod style home. We finally pulled the trigger and ordered the door. And waited. And waited. It was only 6 weeks, but it felt like an eternity (wait…did I say earlier that I had patience? Because I don’t).
While I was waiting for the door to arrive, I ordered new door hardware. We ordered Schlage hardware, which we used on all of our interior doors. If you special-order door hardware you can choose for the interior to match your interior hardware, while your exterior can be whatever you choose. We used buyschlagenow.com and it went from order to our front door within 1 day. Seriourly, I don’t know how they did this (shipping was free!). I would highly recommend them, based on our experience.
Once the door arrived, it took Nathan about a half of a day to install it, He’s pretty handy, and while I wouldn’t say it was too difficult, it takes awhile to make sure you get everything level and secure. And we love it! Get ready for photo overload.
The interior has improved dramatically, too. Our once-dark corner lets in a lot of light, and makes our small entry-way feel much larger. It look a little while for us to adjust, as it always felt like our front door was open :-).
That light was so very needed. Photos don’t show the difference in before and after, in terms of how much better our entryway feels–inside and out.
We’ve come a long way. I am so amazed what a difference the front door has made in making our home feel more fresh and current.
So as a review:
We still have one major front porch project that I’m hoping to work on in 2016. Here’s where we stand on our front of the exterior renovations:
*Clean up landscaping *Added landscaping rock border *Replace front light fixture *Painted shutters *replace roof *replace front door
*Replace porch flooring (prior owner loved maroon everything, painted the concrete, and it’s now peeling.)
*Replace skinny front porch columns with something larger
*Change out character-less, sagging vinyl porch ceiling with wood beadboard
*Add porch ceiling fan
Even though we still have a decent amount of projects left, it’s a huge improvement from where we were.
Sometimes it’s hard to wait till you can afford to do projects, but when you do them, and you do them the way you want them, the reward is greater. I really enjoy our front porch these days.