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Upping the Garden Apartment’s Curb Appeal (Front and Back!)

This post is in partnership with Schlage.

As the dust has been settling around the garden apartment (like, the literal drywall dust – we’re still far from the finish line!), I’ve been obsessing over the cleanliness of our freshly painted doors and new interior hardware. Every time we pop down to cross off another to-do, it’s not surprising for Scott to find me buffing the dust and debris off the shiny new door knobs and wiping down dirty fingerprints. The battle is long and the struggle is real, but it’s so satisfying to start seeing things get checked off our list.

Something else we crossed off? The exterior door hardware! With the addition of our back mudroom, we’ve added two new exterior doors to the garden. Including the front door, this brings our total to three doors that were in need of updated, secure (and pretty!) handlesets, and we’re happy to share that it’s a quick and incredibly impactful way to up the curb appeal – in the front and back! Simply put, it’s a small, affordable detail that makes us happy every time we look at it.

A long, long time ago, we inherited this front door to the garden unit, which was perfectly fine. Just like our own, we painted it Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue, a deep yet vibrant blue. The hardware was okay – definitely not our first choice, but over the years, the lock had become finicky and much too loose to be considered safe.

We nixed it once and for all, in favor of a Schlage Century handleset with a matte black finish, and just as we knew it would, this small swap has made a world of a difference! In-between the more time consuming renovation jobs, these easy tasks are so, so welcome. I touched up the blue paint while we were at it, and the entryway is well on its way to being much more inviting.

Schlage’s door hardware makes installation a snap with an included template, and Scott was able to check off every door in less than 15 minutes each. The Century style we chose required that an additional hole be drilled to accommodate the handleset, which needed no math on our end thanks to the easy paper template! With the template lined up, we could make our mark, and Scott used his impact driver to quickly drill out the necessary hole:

Above, Scott’s working on the back door, the one that leads into the new mudroom! If you’re trying to make sense of where it’s located in relation to the rest of our home, it’s just underneath the back staircase, off of our patio:

Both mudroom doors received the same Century handleset as the front, and after quite a bit of debate, we decided to paint them bright white – but for different reasons. Our goal is to paint the concrete foundation a fresh white at some point this year, and although we were this close to painting the back door black (how pretty would that be with the brass Century handleset?), we opted for a white door to allow it to blend into its surroundings. (More on the interior exterior door in a second!)

During the construction phase of the garden renovation, we also had our contractor add a junction box for an outdoor light. We landed on the same cute cobalt sconce that we have above our patio bench, which helps to add some color against all the white:

When you enter through this back door, you’ll come right into the mudroom, which we’ll only access when we need to get into the utility room. If you’re our future tenants, there’s an additional exterior door that we’ve added for their safety and privacy!

From inside the apartment, we like that it looks like it could be any other door in the home! Here, we tossed around the idea of a black door, a minty door, a grey, blue or pink door. We were half joking about the pink, but for a long while, we did think we’d go with black. Ultimately, we realized that we like how this exterior door looks just like the bedroom, bath and furnace doors, and so to keep it feeling seamless, we decided to keep it white. Both of the mudroom doors are painted in Valspar’s Ultra White, and the Schlage Plymouth knobs on all three resemble closely the Bowery interior hardware throughout the rest of the unit. Soon, that single lite will get a frosted film that will still allow light to pass through while giving our tenants’ their personal space.

Little by little, step by step, we’re making waves down there! And don’t mind me if I’m following closely behind with a damp cloth to keep dusty fingerprints at bay.

A big thank you to Schlage for partnering with us on this home update, and the same to all of you for supporting our sponsors! In addition, Schlage is currently hosting a huge Superb Curb Appeal Sweepstakes. Enter now for a chance to win a Schlage Sense™ Smart Deadbolt, a $1000 gift-card from The Home Depot and a design consultation from home-design blogger, Our Fifth House! You can enter right here through July 16th. Good luck, friends!

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  • Stacy6.23.17 - 9:38 AM

    Are the hinges black as well? It looks like they might be. If they are, did you buy black hinges or just paint (or…do something else to) the ones already on the doors? I want to change my hardware to black but it bothers me so much – like, way too much – when the hinges don’t match!

    And I love the handle sets you chose!ReplyCancel

  • Pam6.23.17 - 4:22 PM

    Love that handleset. We have the same one but with the Schlage Sence deadbolt lock. Love it!ReplyCancel

    • Pam6.23.17 - 4:28 PM

      Here is a photo of our door with the Schlage Sense and Century.

      • Kim6.23.17 - 4:34 PM

        Pretty! Have you been enjoying the Schlage Sense deadbolt? We just ordered one!ReplyCancel

        • Pam6.23.17 - 5:33 PM

          We really like it Kim. No need for me to ever take keys out of my purse between the Schlage Sense and my Nissan has push button start. Also great that it works easily with my Apple Home app. So on my way home close to my house I turn off alarm AND unlock the front door! Works well with iPad at home. Despite reviews which say we needed Apple TV which we did not need. Go for it. You will love it. I think. Insurer Reports gives the Schlage Sense the best review.ReplyCancel

          • Pam6.23.17 - 5:35 PM

            Oh my. My iPhone autocorrect ruined my comment. I meant to say Consumer Reports not Insurer Reports LOL.

          • Kim6.23.17 - 5:46 PM

            SO happy to hear this! Thank you for the feedback. We couldn’t be more excited to install ours!

  • Monika & Sam6.24.17 - 1:05 PM

    How bright and airy the apartment is…when can I move in? ? Love the crispness of the white with the black and with the pop of blue makes everything just perfect.ReplyCancel

  • Molly6.24.17 - 11:05 PM

    Hey Kim and Scott! I read your post about sage burning from a few years ago and was wondering if you still use it? I’ve never tried it but I’m quite curious and I’d love to try it! I just have no idea which kind to get and how exactly to use it. Thank you in advance for the feedback you always provide!ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.25.17 - 8:50 AM

      We do! We actually saged the garden apartment before we started renovating, and we’ll probably do it again when we’re done. We got our smudge stick at Whole Foods, and I think it was called ‘white sage’. Crazy, but we’re still using the same stick from the time I first wrote that post! We smudge maybe 4 times a year, or when we’re feeling stuck, troubled or just feel like we need to set the reset button.ReplyCancel

  • Good to know that changing out door hardware isn’t the serious undertaking that I thought it was! All of our outdoor door hardware desperately needs the change so we might just have to take this project on this summer. Thanks for the encouragement!ReplyCancel

  • Vicky6.26.17 - 10:25 PM

    Love the new look? Definitely need an update to our original 1963.ReplyCancel

  • Halle7.1.17 - 12:43 PM

    For frosting the glass on the door, I recently used some frosted contact paper in a geometric design to frost 3 windows in our house, 2 in bathrooms, and 1 in our kitchen. It was easy to install by myself, and it’s holding up well so far. I bought it for $7 a roll at Home Depot (in the appliance section), so it’s an inexpensive method to try!ReplyCancel

    • Kim7.3.17 - 10:02 PM

      Thank you! We found a roll on Amazon that we can’t wait to try, but good to hear that Home Depot sells it as well – in case we screw up our first roll. :DReplyCancel

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We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

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