An Easy Side Entrance Makeover

October 16, 2017

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 




We're Chris + Julia

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Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.

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This post is sponsored by HANDy Paint Products. 

While the entire side yard just went through a major transformation, there was one small area that still needed a makeover desperately before we deemed this part of the yard complete. The entrance into the garage has always looked rough since we moved in, but it only took us an afternoon to turn it around. Here’s the before, complete with peeling paint and a fist-sized light fixture.

While prior to painting, all the door just required was some light sanding and washing, the trim’s peeling paint was coming off in sheets and it seemed like it needed a completely fresh start. We absolutely could’ve sanded it (for days), but Chris pulled out our pressure washer and the peeling paint was all gone in less than 20 minutes.

Ahhh, bare trim, a dirty-looking door that’s actually just scratched up, our old dryer vent that we also needed to cover and…an excellent light fixture. Ha! Chris installed our new light fixture from Rejuvenation (isn’t that copper interior amazing?! It’s on sale right here) before painting. Sometimes you just need a little something pretty to keep your motivation up–I get it. 

Speaking of little, for small painting projects like trim work, the HANDy Paint Cup is our favorite. Its solvent resistant and holds up to a pint of paint or stain. But maybe my favorite part is the built-in magnetic brush holder–life-saver! And a comfortable handle that means no hand cramps.

We poured in some paint+primer satin exterior off-the-shelf white paint that’s ultra-durable to weather and got to work.

The trim and door only took a coat and a half before it was looking brand new again.

We considered painting the door black but decided a coat of white paint, like the trim, would probably go a lot further in making the area look fresh.

To finish it off, we capped the old dryer vent chute with a dummy cover, laid down our favorite wooden doormat, added a potted boxwood and, well, the light you’ve seen.

It’s easy to look at a small area like this and think, “Ooo! We have to replace the trim and the door is so beat up.” And continue to push it off…like we did for so long. But, we learned that even less than a quart of paint  has a lot of power.

Any small, but mighty, paint projects happening at your place?



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What do you think?

  1. Talene says:

    How did that doormat hold up??

  2. Summer says:

    Great update! That kind of thing is often hard to get to, but is always very satisfying and impactful.

    Would you mind sharing where you got your black booties? They’re super cute! ;)

  3. Brad says:

    I really like that pail! I bought one a few months back when I was getting ready to paint a bunch of rooms in advance of our second child. I was reluctant to even get/use a pail, much less pay the extra three bucks for the “model” with disposable liners and the magnet but I am SO glad I did. It makes the whole process cleaner and smoother. (I’m generally a pretty sloppy person)

  4. Amanda says:

    I just wanted to take a minute and say that I love your posts sponsored or not. I feel you do a fantastic job of being genuine even in your sponsored posts and I can happily say I have the upmost confidence that you would not post about something you genuinely didn’t like or found useful. Also, I love LOVE your podcast with Preston, so much so I wish it was weekly. *hint* ;)

  5. Tina says:

    I have a door just like yours that also has a cat door (my door leads from the hallway to the basement). Can you please tell me how you sealed around the edges of dog door? There is a nice gap between the edges of the cat door and my door and I think it looks awful.


    • Chris says:

      There are a few little gaps on ours, because of the carve-out areas of the door, but we just tried to position the dog door so that it was flush in the most places possible.

  6. C says:

    Has it always come with that ghost dog face on the dog door?

  7. Casey says:

    I think you have a ghost bear at your house. Is this a halloween decoration? (2nd picture down)

  8. C says:

    I’m in no way sponsored, but would also like to mention then handy liners that you can get for the pail! They make cleanup a breeze and are recyclable so you don’t feel too guilty about being wasteful.

  9. Karyl says:

    Looks like a shiny new penny, especially with that copper light. But why does it look like there is a black bear looking out from behind the dog door in the ‘before’ picture?

  10. Sarah says:

    Love this – it looks beautiful! Would you mind sharing the grey exterior color? (We love these paint cups for all of our projects, thanks for sharing.)

    Also, keep up the good work – sponsored posts and all!

  11. Amanda says:

    That light is so stunning!

  12. Erica says:

    I have a wood gate that has peeling paint and I was considering power washing as a speedy way to remove it. How do you handle the clean up? Don’t the paint chips get splattered everywhere?

  13. Jessica says:

    Hi, love your posts! Can you please share what color the rest of your house & trim is? Love that grey & white color combo. Thank you!

  14. Milena mandelli says:

    That looks amazing!! Did you guys install that doggy dog? If so, where did you buy it?
    Thank you!

  15. Flo says:

    It looks much better, amazing what a little work and paint can do!

  16. Tara says:

    I bought these after seeing another one of your posts. They are seriously amazing. I used to just go straight out of the can butt the handle and the magnets. So good. Thanks for sharing products that you know are worth it!

  17. AnnMarie says:

    Wow! It’s amazing what a little paint, a new light, a mat, and a boxwood can do! It even makes the house paint look better and more vibrant. And the copper inside of that light is awesome!

  18. Cathy says:

    I may have missed this from a different post, but what pressure washer do you have? I’m thinking about investing in one, as i’m now discovering more uses for one – cleaning our concrete patio, outdoor furniture, and *hopefully* getting grime off of an used outdoor playset. Any other big things you use yours for that i should consider? Thanks in advance! :)

  19. We have a bunch of these small projects to get to. Seeing yours is good motivation!

  20. Alex says:

    What a nice easy update! So relevant and spot on!

  21. Kimberly says:

    P.S. Not that it should be a comparison but I think you do a far better job with sponsored content than other popular blogs I read. It’s always helpful info (even if I ignore the advertisement part) and you curate very applicable and good sponsors. I honestly think comments about your site being “all sponsored” are just from jealous people.

  22. Kimberly says:

    Did you link the doorknob somewhere? We’ve replaced all our outside knobs and deadbolts but are looking for one exactly like this for the garage door! (keypad and knob in one)

  23. Stacy says:

    Great before and after! I just did some touch up painting and it makes such a difference! And I used to think why buy something when I can just use an old/disposable cup but the handy paint cup is totally worth it.

  24. Marlene says:

    Love how your house is always evolving, sponsored or not. I love it since your esence is always there!

  25. Molly says:

    I love those paint pails! We use them in our house too and they’re amazing!

  26. Eric says:

    I’m always amazed at what a fresh coat of paint can do. That paint can is amazing. If I had something like that I know everything around my house would always be touched up.

  27. katie says:

    I understand that this is a business and you need to make money, but literally 90% of your posts are sponsored now… I don’t remember the last time I read one where you didn’t get something for free. Please try to mix it up and include some more genuine content or you’re going to lose more readers.

    • Julia says:

      That’s simply not true. We only accept a max of four sponsored posts a month (spots we don’t always fill because we are very picky) and we post between 20-30 times a month. Maybe you’re missing posts??

      We also really strive to make our sponsors content relevant and interesting. This project was something we needed and wanted to do and are grateful one of our favorite tool brands wanted to sponsor it.

    • Roxie says:

      Katie, speak for yourself. If this bothers you so much, please, stop reading it then. I, for one, am impressed that Chris and Julia have made such an incredible livelihood for themselves that the rest of get to enjoy and be inspired by. While I secretly wish companies would send me stuff too (even though I don’t blog ;), it’s nice to know what products are out there and how they work. I often jump to my favorite blogs for info before googling these days when researching for my own house related projects. So, Chris and Julia, keep it up! You’re not losing this reader.

      • Cathy says:

        I second Roxie’s sentiment! Keep up the good work, CLJ!

      • Jennifer S. says:

        Third! :) I too find value in your sponsored posts and think your execution is spot on.

      • Jillian Hunt says:

        I love all your posts and frequently reference them as well! I love even the sponsored posts because they are always helpful, relatable, and filled with great tips! AND I am so happy y’all are able to make a living doing something that all your readers benefit from! I love that you are paid for all your hard work! I will be a lifetime reader- keep it up!!!

    • Niesha says:

      I disagree with Katie. Your posts, even sponsored, always feel genuine. I appreciate your opinion on products and refer back to your website often for those sponsored posts and projects to use in my home.

  28. Sam says:

    Girl, so many typos in this! :\

    • Julia says:

      Can you be more specific?

    • Jeanna says:

      Do you mean shoot for shute? I didn’t notice any others………….and remember these folks are exhausted physically and emotionally. They have a brand new baby, and just lost their beloved dog, so please don’t be so critical.

    • AnnMarie says:

      The only one I noticed was “shoot” instead of “chute” (about covering up the old dryer outlet). And it’s certainly understandable! And I still understood what she meant. ^_^

      • Julia says:

        All fixed! Thank you! It’s a lot easier to fix a mistake when 1. I know what the mistake is, and 2. The correction comes from a place of genuine care.

      • Elana says:

        Wait, there’s shoot and then chute? English isn’t my first language, I had not realized that there were two different words! I thought it was just “shoot”. And it was called a chimney shoot because the smoke shot out the top of it…..

      • Julia says:

        English is crazy…and it IS my first (and only) language.

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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