This might be a first for all you stock photo-loving Instagram people out there–I am going to show the internet the very ugly exterior of my house.
Do you ever look at “before” pictures on DIY blogs and think, “That’s already better than what I have!” I definitely do.
But you shouldn’t feel inferior about the home you are blessed to have. It’s easy for me to be embarrassed about my house’s ugly exterior, but I am blessed to have a solid roof over my head. So today I’m ignoring the embarrassment and showing you my creative solution for my ugly house!
As you read this, think about the weird or awkward parts of your home or your exterior. Knowing what you don’t like can help you improve it!
Related: Want another way to make your home reflect YOU–for insanely cheap prices? Check out my printable wall art on Etsy in the Black Door Shop. You can even get 20% off your order with the code 20OFF. 🙂
The Ugly Exterior
So are you ready to see the ugliness? Wait no longer…. here it is.
First of all, I realized very recently that I never took an actual “before” picture of the front of the house, which is a REAL bummer.
Since that picture was taken, I’ve finished painting and attaching used shutters to the windows on the right, painted my front door, built the window boxes, then painted and attached them.
We also replaced the upper right window that was rotting, but I didn’t do that by myself! Or at all.
So here it is in the middle of that process, crawling baby head and all:
#1: Awkwardly Placed Addition
Here’s what makes the exterior so weird. At some point, someone added a dining room onto the front of the house. While that dining room is great to have, you can see very very clearly there is a big awkward protrusion on the outside.
This bothers me, but it’s something I can’t change unless you want to quick Venmo me like $100k for a renovation. Yes? No? Okay, then I guess I won’t waste my energy freaking about that.
#2: Awkwardly Placed Windows
What REALLY gets to me is the placement of those windows.
I just googled “house with two windows,” and this came up. Just look at those windows… centered equally. Like they logically should be.
Now, look at mine again.
Are they equally placed? Are they near the middle? Not. even. a little bit. They’re pushed all the way to the edge of the addition, making shutters impossible and this terribly awkward amount of empty siding right in the front.
HONESTLY. WHO WOULD DO THIS?!
#3: Very Depressed Landscaping
On top of that, the “landscaping” is so bad that I don’t think it actually deserves to be called landscaping. This is not my area of expertise, but it is an important component of not having an ugly exterior with terrible curb appeal.
It took a long time to figure out the right solution for this, but I was constantly thinking of different ideas.
If you are looking for a solution to some part of your interior or exterior that you hate, the first thing I suggest is utilizing Pinterest to brainstorm.
The second thing I suggest is checking out my Project Planning Printable, which is designed to help you plan and complete any DIY project even if you have young kids like I do. Using this process is what helped me narrow down which ideas weren’t realistic.
One of my favorite ideas was this, but I wasn’t convinced it would look right.
Finally, I got creative (and maybe a tiny bit desperate) and bought this lattice for $15.
I wasn’t totally sure what I was going to do yet, but I felt like there was potential, and anything would be better than nothing!
Step #1: Paint
So first, I spray painted it black to match the windows boxes and shutters.
I used the same kind of paint I used for those projects–is there a way to buy stock in spray paint? If there was, I would have made enough to pay for a full renovation by now!
Okay, so we’re getting places. But I still felt like it looked unfinished, even if I were to attach it at this point.
I was right.
Step #2: Trim
Back to Home Depot I went, and I picked up some trim for somewhere around 80-90 cents a foot. I was able to get a few scrap pieces and I did the math (miraculously it was correct) and had almost nothing leftover.
I had to use my jigsaw, one of my favorite tools ever, to cut them down to exact size. That took all of 3 minutes. Jigsaws are awesome.
Then I used Elmer’s wood glue and 3/4 inch nails to attach the trim, and let it sit overnight.
Doesn’t it already look a thousand times better?! This is when I started getting really excited.
So guess what I did next? Yep. Let me tell you ’bout my beeeeeeest friieeeend…
Step #3: Bonus Project!
The same night I attached the trim, I also found this big planter that had been left from the sellers when we bought the house. I had my eye on this thing since the day we moved, but never found a purpose for it.
(PS, I’m trying to be really cool, but it’s my favorite thing EVER when I find something for cheap or free and am actually able to turn it into something I love. MY FAVORITE THING EVER. But I’m being cool about it, right?)
That first night I just taped off those black strips. It’s a little ridiculous how long that took me.
The next day I spray painted it white. I was a little nervous to do white over the dark planter, but I actually didn’t even do a second coat. It’s not 100% covered, but I liked the way it turned out.
Oh, obviously I also finished tearing out the weeds in there. Duh.
Step #4: Back to the not-bonus steps
Okay, so now everything was ready. Next, a few things happened at once:
1. I took the sweet potato vine out of my window boxes (I just didn’t like how they looked in there) and moved them to the planter.
2. I planted petunias in my window boxes.
3. Andrew held the lattice so I could attach it with some wood screws. Quick and easy.
4.. Andrew moved the planter to the front because it was RIDICULOUSLY heavy.
So after that day, the house looked like this…
Ahh! We’re still not done, but it’s already an improvement!
Step #5: Decorate the Lattice
Finally, I got to do what I had been looking forward to since the beginning. All I used for the last part was $1 terra cotta pots from Walmart and a pack of S hooks.
First, I drilled holes in the pots, which is a little bit challenging. Then I just stuck S hooks through them and hung them right on the lattice!
And yes, those are fake flowers. I’m not going to be able to water these pots, plus I want to be able to change out what’s in them for the seasons.
Ugly Exterior No More!
Here’s a reminder of what the house looked like the day we bought it…
(This was actually our first showing. This poor realtor, I’m so sorry I’m putting you on the internet.)
And what it looks like now…
I love the unique addition of the lattice, and the fact that I can change it for the seasons!
Now, if you change your mind about that $100k donation… I would probably tear out the whole front and completely renovate it. But until then, this makes me pretty happy. 🙂
Now show me your ugly exterior and the awkward challenges you have!
UPDATE: We sold this house as of May 2019, and it sold significantly over asking price! I absolutely believe this improvement helped with the curb appeal and attracting buyers.
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