A Master List: What’s Left to do on the Exterior??

September 3, 2020

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Several weeks ago, we gave our contractors a hard end-of-September deadline to get the exterior done. We have a large video shoot here at the beginning of October and realistically, it could start snowing at ANY moment here in Idaho and we want to make sure we’re sealed up before the weather turns. Our goal is a contractor-free fall and winter since last year’s was SO INTENSE (sometimes I can’t believe how long we’ve been essentially living with contractors) and we’re cautiously optimistic we’re gonna get there.

(Above are the initial Exterior design renderings. Read more about them here

There is a lot A LOT going on inside right now– but for the sake of word count and sanity, this list is just what’s left to do on the Exterior THIS MONTH. (keep your fingers crossed)

  1. Finish installing siding
    1. Smart Side paneling around dining room and breakfast nook
    2. linear siding (on front and side of house)
    3. remainder of eaves and soffit

  2. Entry Area
    1. Add arch back into portico. After looking at it for a couple weeks, we just can’t shake the thought that the portico should be arched, to mimic the front door going in.

    2. Install front door
      1. This was the door that was in the dining room when we moved in originally and it was in rough shape so we sent it off to a professional to get restored. He discovered it’s Butternut Wood, a rare cousin to walnut, and has sent us a few photos and it’s looking beautiful.
      2. Jamb needs refinished
      3. Change swing of door
    3. Hang Tongue and Groove under porch ceiling
    4. Lay flagstone walkway and stairs leading to porch
    5. Remove old stone pillars on either side of walkway (we were initially going to keep these and just cap them and add a cute fence but decided to nix them altogether for fear they would clash with the flagstone)
    6. Install new Lighting. There will be 2 wall mounted gas lanterns and 3 hanging gas lanterns in the porch area and a new lamp post where the stone pillars used to be.

  3. Finish Roof. We’re 80% there, but we ran out of some of the starter pieces. More materials were ordered and should get here today so the roof should be finished by sometime next week.
  4. Install Stone around garage and large living room window.
    1. All of the stone arrived this week and we met with the mason to figure out a mortar color. We narrowed it down to three that he is going to mock up for us in an over-grouted look but the stone is starting to go up TODAY (supposedly).
    2. The chimney will also get covered in stone. There are a lot of details to work out around the power vent area.
  5. Balcony Area
    1. Install handrail. This has been designed and sent off and will hopefully arrive next week.
    2. Add another epoxy coat to the balcony floor. The first one was done last winter WHEN IT WAS SNOWING to protect the dining room through the season and we really need another one to finish the job.
    3. Install lighting.
    4. Add a trellis (I mean, this is bonus points area)
  6. Install new garage doors
    1. These should arrive next week!
    2. Install copper goose necks lights above each door.

  7. Finish Painting. They started painting this week (Benjamin Moore Graphite) after a lot of caulking–have you ever thought about caulking an entire exterior?! Nightmare fuel.–and they are FAST so I’m hopeful this will be a quick and easy check off the list.
  8. Install copper rain gutters. The crown jewel! We had a gutter guy come last week and measure and advise on placement and the install will be one of the very last things that happens.

This was the first time we wrote this all out and I’m trying to be hopeful but not feeling very confident to be honest. Haha. The good news is we are managing SEVERAL different groups of contractors for this project. The roofers, painters, masons, landscapers (that will install the paths), siding crew and general contractors–not to mention the electricians, plumbers, sheet rockers for the bathroom that are also happening right now) ARE ALL working simultaneously but separately on their projects which helps. If it was one group of contractors doing this entire list, I don’t think we’d have a chance. But because everyone is kind of working on their thing at the same time (while we try to keep it all straight–send prayers!) maybe there’s a chance. There’s totally a chance.

Even when this is all done, I should note–our exterior won’t be completely complete. There’s one remaining original window left in the house in the kitchen and even though it was so tempting to swap it out we KNOW the location and size and everything will change when we fully renovate our kitchen (hopefully next year). The side entry door will likely also shift with that renovation so our plan is to make them work for now (I think I’ll spray paint the exterior of the window even!) and revisit those areas next year. This was a hard decision, but the snowball effect was already going so strong on the exterior that there was no way we wanted to live with a dismantled kitchen or mudroom for the next 6-8 months. So that’s why the kitchen window is still there. And we’re not swapping out the side door for a dutch door quite yet and the railing is going to stay the same for a little while longer. As much as we’re pushing for an “after” by October, in reality, this house will always be a work in progress.


What do you think?

  1. Colleen says:

    Hi Julia
    I see that the exterior pant color is Benjamin Moore graphite. But what is the color of the window trims and roofline. It looks like more of a pure black. I love the way they contrast each other. Would you mind sharing that color. Thanks so much!

    • Chris says:

      The windows are painted black from the Pella factory. It’s just their black color. The trim on the roofline is the same as the siding – the light may just be hitting it differently.

  2. JC says:

    Hi! I love the stone on the exterior. Can you share the brand, stone, color, etc?
    Thank you!

  3. Juliette V says:

    I mean it has to be a work in progress, right?! It’s how you make your living. I’m so glad you changed the front portico to match the door arch. That’s a design tip 101 I’d think! Plus the advise is to typically choose a front door that works well with the window panes and just flows. Will you share the cost breakdown on the renovation? It’s looking amazing!

  4. Katie says:

    I love the siding and the “mitered” corners! Can you share the product you used?

  5. George Costakis says:

    I am probably in the minority here, but removing the arch corrected the architectural inconsistencies that made this house look like a McMansion. Whoever did the design corrected two other major issues. They reduced the roof slope and added proportional, evenly lined up windows. Good job to that person.

  6. Joy says:

    Oh my gosh .. you guys must fall into your bed every night. You have so much going on and you are doing such an awesome job. I’m so in love with your house, I’m so happy it is yours .. I can’t imagine anyone else living in there.

  7. Anne Webb says:

    Lots to do, but so exciting! What does it cost to run gas to porch fixtures? Is it like a couple hundred? Or in the thousands? We’re building soon – I can’t forget the real gas lamps like we saw in Nashville ????

    • Julia says:

      It depends on how far the line has to move. They sometimes charge by the feet. Ours was close by so it wasn’t too expensive (hundreds)

  8. Angie Gardner says:

    Girl. Bless your heart, I’m exhausted for you reading all this. We lived through a remodel last summer and Fall that took over our whole house, so I know how emotionally exhausting the process can be. I feel like you need to stick your head in the sand a while and ignore the details- letting it all move on past you – just to maintain your sanity. BUT on a more positive note, you have accomplished SO MUCH!!! Your house is looking amazing. I hope that you are taking tone for YOU in this process!!

  9. Kailey says:

    Love love love!! I am in LOVE with the siding and paint ???? As for the portico – instead of an arch, what about doing open wood beams in the triangle opening, craftsman-style? That way it feels open and you can see the arch of the front door, but it’s not the awkward arch within the triangle? It would match the angularity of the portico and roof, but would draw attention to the door arch feature ❤️ Just an idea! ????

    • Kailey says:

      Meant to add – the wood beams could be stained or could be smooth wood painted to match the trim/siding.

    • Sarah says:

      I like this idea! I agree with George C. And Stacey that the portico shouldn’t be an arch bit I also don’t like that you can’t see the beautiful front door. But opening it up to you don’t have that heavy triangle sounds like a GREAT idea!

  10. Milly says:

    I am confident you will get this all done! The exterior is already looking so beautiful. One thing I’d be curious to learn more/hear more about that isn’t talked about frequently is the project management aspect of all the things going on. Do you and Chris create the timelines and prioritization list? Looking at your list I’d love to know your process on how you figure out the order of what needs to get done first.

    • Julia says:

      We are the serving as the project managers right now, but mostly Chris to be honest, while I keep this side of the business running. It’s a lot of constant calls, checking in, timelines, deadline reminders, re-ordering, etc. The tricky thing is making sure it’s all done in the right order so no one is waiting on someone else.

  11. Linda says:

    So happy you’re installing copper gutters! Anything else would detract from the overall look. I put copper gutters on my house in Pittsburgh and it was the best decision. I had people stop and tell me my gutters were gorgeous LOL. So happy your dad has joined the team! We need photos of the new groundskeeper!! ????

  12. Esther says:

    As a dutchie: loving the dutch door. ???? can’t wait to see the after in October. (Without the Dutch door for now obviously)

  13. Julie says:

    It’s going to be so gorgeous! Plus the thought of no contractors for a few months will push you through it.

  14. Julie Buchanan says:

    Just wanted to say THANK YOU for sharing all that you do – I love watching all your updates from afar :) Also, I’m so happy you are adding back the arched back in the front entrance – I was a little sad that it was taken out originally! Good luck on your list!

  15. Emily says:

    This list is long, so I’m glad you mentioned that there are multiple contractors working the job. Hopefully your CLJ team is alleviating some of the work load, and helping to keep things on time (I would need a team with your to do list). I am crossing my fingers and toes that you all get this done by your hard stop!

    It’s an amazing amount of work you’ve accomplished in the amount of time you’ve lived there. It will be nice for you all to have a quiet fall and Christmas! Your tree with those windows – gorgeous!

  16. Sarah says:

    Could you show the stone pillars and side railing in your insta stories? I’m not quite sure what you’re talking about.

  17. Oh. Em. Gee! I’m stressed just reading this, BUT….I also know you WILL get it done!!! It’s gonna be amazing!!!

  18. JL says:

    Okay, wow… And this is just the list for the exterior! That graphite paint against the green landscape is simply stunning. A coat of black paint to the kitchen window, side door and railing will be just fine until next year’s kitchen reno. I’ve gone back and forth about the portico. Always thought the arch within a triangle felt a bit off-kilter, but not sold on the fully covered portico. A suggestion to consider – add beams (the same color as the door) across the bottom of the portico leading to the doorway. That would allow you to have that open arch AND also complete the triangular shape of the portico (hope that makes sense). We’re all rooting for you!!!

  19. Candice says:

    I loooove the dark paint!
    Will you pleeeeease do a step by step on spray painting the window?
    We have slowly had the glass replaced in our windows, but have to keep the frames. The frames are bare metal, a dull grey after 30yrs. I’ve been wanting to paint them black but there’s surprisingly very few tutorials on painting residential window frames that are not wood. I mean, wood is “easy”.
    What the heck do I do with these window frames?! I have painted the interior of two- one by hand and one w/ a can of spray paint (which was awful inside!).

  20. Brenda says:

    Fingers crossed!

  21. Heather says:

    2. 1. Add back arch! Nothing else matters! I can’t think of anything more exciting. besides the final results!

    • Angie RS says:

      Yes!!! I know I shouldn’t be this invested in someone else’s house, but my heart leapt when I read that they’re putting the arch back in. Love it!

      • Jessica says:

        SAME!!! I couldn’t understand why it was taken out, so I was pretty excited as well to see they’re putting it back.

      • Julia says:

        It wasn’t really taken out. The barrel is still there–the trim was just added to the front, so it’s pretty straight forward to remove it…hopefully haha

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