I am cheating here as this is not actually the order of how we tackled the house project but I wanted to start with the front of the house. Now it’s not actually anywhere near where I would like it to be but the changes we have made have significantly improved it’s kerb appeal. Hopefully later in the year when we have some nice weather we can do a little more, address all of those snagging items which we seem to neglect. Although to be fair with an 8 month old and a 4 year old it can be challenging to find the time. Anyway, I digress.
When we first moved in, in summer 2017, the house had previously been divided into 3 separate flats, I think back in the late 70s (looking at planning online and the documents from the purchase). The main entrance was on the side and wasn’t very welcoming. I wanted desperately to move this to the front of the house. The obvious place for me was to do this where the window was. The HUGE obstacle both physically and financially was that in order to do this, even before factoring in the cost of the door, was to move the electric meter. So after having other priorities inside the house we didn’t manage to get this finished until the autumn of 2018. This meant having Western Power booked in (and paid for at vast expense), to move the main power supply to the house, our energy supplier to move the meter and our electrician to put in new cables to connect it all together. It was a logistical challenge to say the least. We also in advance had to dig the new trench for the new power supply cables ensuring it met with the requirements from Western Power and collect the necessary supplies from their local depot. We obviously managed to get this done and looking back now, am so glad we did.
After comparing the front of our house to those of the same type on our street, we discovered that there were the original timbers under the render. My husband was very keen to expose and restore them. We knew that when the house was first built, the area to the left had been a porch and the original front door would have been inside the porch to the left. There was no way that we would be able to restore this as it was now our utility room, which had also been the bathroom for the ground floor flat when we first moved in.
The front of the house was very shabby and in need of a lot of TLC. We didn’t think that the timbers and the render at the very top would last the winter. The paint was flaking off in many places and we didn’t want the timber to get any worse. My husband and father-in-law painstakingly stripped all of the paint, this included the mouldings above each window. We need to hire scaffolding to enable us to get to the very top.
At this point we’d obviously made the decision to do the work ourselves, there was no way that we would be able to afford to get people in to do this. We love the feeling of accomplishment when we do work ourselves (especially when it works out!).
It took a while to decide the paint colour of the timber and I spent a lot of time online looking at front doors. I must admit in the end I was so indecisive that I had to do some mock ups of what the front would look like. I knew I wanted a bit of colour. But when looking at the doors online, there were limitations as I had decided that the best type of door for us would be a composite. Mainly due to the low maintenance and security features. And being used to using my trade colour charts where the possibilities are endless, it was a personal challenge to be limited! My favourite by far was the Edinburgh style door from Solidor. As you can see below I was unsure whether to go with teal or yellow. In the end the yellow was more mustard rather than sunny so I opted for the teal.
As for the rest of the timber, the grey was too dark and the white just looked a bit too stark. So I changed my mind completely and went for a pale grey. We primed all of the timber with white so we could see what that looked like before the top coat. I didn’t keep a record of the primer but we used Dulux Dove Grey in Weathershield (see photo below of a well used tin!)
Before and After…
Voila! New door, timber stripped, repaired and repainted and render repaired and painted. It probably would be better to have waited for a sunny day but the last photo was taken mid October 2018. I could take another photo, however we currently have a huge bag of sand on the front which obscures the door (typical!).
This summer I would really like to give the white on the ground floor another coat, make sure that we do around both sides, paint the fence, create a nice bin storage area, and add some plants. Oh and make the step into the front door permanent.