Before and After: A Cheery $1300 Exterior Redo Brings Tons More Curb Appeal

published Sep 6, 2020
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About this before & after
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Before: Yellow-brown brick house exterior

With all the time spent inside your home—eating, sleeping, etc.—it can be easy to forget about the impact that the outside of your home has. If that’s the case for you, here’s inspiration to get you thinking about curb appeal from Sarah Wissinger and her husband Nick (who blog at Sarah & Nick).

Sarah and Nick live in a 1950 yellow brick ranch that they’d always fantasized about painting clean white. But when they purchased it a few years ago, “it was surrounded by huge evergreen bushes and shrubs that were overgrown and continued to get worse over the next four years,” Sarah says. “We had slowly been cutting down shrubs on our own, but there were too many that had grown very large root systems that we just weren’t equipped to handle on our own.”

“Last summer we hired our friend’s landscaping company to completely remove all of the shrubs and fences that surrounded the house, and to create mulched beds that we could grow in down the road,” Sarah says. “While we (and our neighbors) were glad to see all of the overgrown hedges and shrubs removed, it really accentuated the fact that the yellow brick house just wasn’t our style and really moved up our timeline for wanting to paint it.”

After spending the last few years renovating the inside of their home, Sarah and Nick wanted the outside to reflect them and their style as well. “Seeing the outside of our house previously didn’t spark any happiness in me, and I knew that painting it a bright white would just make me love it so much more,” Sarah says.

Before they started painting, Sarah and Nick pressure washed the entire house, filled any small gaps with mortar, and re-caulked and sealed around doors and windows. They decided to use limewash from Romabio after hearing good reviews. While it’s usually used to create an aged/washed-off look, Sarah wanted to use it for a solid white color. “In truth, it would have made more sense to use their masonry paint, but it’s simply just not readily available and I could purchase the limewash easily at Home Depot,” Sarah says. She decided to go for it anyway.

Sarah and Nick knew they’d have to do this project in stages in their free time, so they decided to use brushes to paint the house, rather than renting a sprayer. “We knew that we would only be able to work on the house in our free time, and the amount of prep that would be required to cover doors, windows, gutters, ground, etc. to spray the house seemed really daunting,” Sarah says. “It would also create a lot of waste in plastic sheeting, etc. By brushing the house, we had essentially no prep, and the only cleanup was rinsing out brushes.”

Being able to stop and start when necessary was also helpful for when their hometown’s summer weather topped 90 degrees. Sarah and Nick did all their outside painting on cooler days and during non-working hours, breaking when necessary.

Sarah and Nick also outfitted the porch with fresh decor, including modern Windsor-inspired seating and plenty of plants. They’ve also since added some perennials to their front flower beds. “We’ve loved seeing how much they attract bees and butterflies,” Sarah says.

Now, the outside of Sarah and Nick’s home feels like a reflection of the inside. The best part? The exterior update—excluding pro landscape removal—cost just $1300. “We didn’t receive a quote on how much painting would cost, but we imagine that we saved a significant amount by doing this ourselves, even if it took much longer,” Sarah says.

As for using limewash to get a solid white paint job, Sarah knows that she might expect some changes to the home’s exterior in the future. “I think that our house looks great right now, but I do realize that what we’ve done hasn’t really been done before (as far as my Google searches tell me) and that we’re somewhat of a guinea pig,” she says. “I’m eager to see how the limewash fares over the coming years, but as of right now I’m not worried.”

“We love our house and plan on living in it forever, so we really want to make it a home that represents us and our style,” Sarah says. This update achieved just that—and made the home a bright, cheery beacon for passers by, to boot.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.