This post is sponsored by Lowe’s.
Paint. It’s magical, isn’t it? As a quick refresher, this is the summer that we’re focusing on our Tree House exterior, and we’re doing our best to keep it budget friendly. Although we know that there is likely some original clapboard under the vinyl siding, we don’t know if it’s in good shape or where it may be lacking. The only way to assess any damage would be to remove the vinyl completely, and that’s an entire can of worms that we’re not ready to take on. Someday? Absolutely. Today? We’re not (financially) ready.
Although it’s not our first choice (in both material and color), the vinyl siding is in overall decent shape, so we’re leaving well enough alone and turning our attention towards the small(ish) changes that will, hopefully, have us seeing our home in a new light. Like painting the trim!* We’ll also be wrapping the deck around to the front of the house and adding landscaping to soften everything up. We partnered with our friends at Lowe’s to bring our ideas to life, our one-stop shop to find everything we need from exterior paint to greenery, decking materials to lighting upgrades – and on a budget!
*Several of you have asked us along the way why we don’t paint the vinyl siding. It’s an option, however, we decided to invest our time and money into a larger deck. See this post for what we have in mind!
View from Street | Before
View from Street | Progress
Alright, there are a few things happening here. The big patch of weeds in the front of our home is gone. Hooray! All of the formerly brown gutters were replaced with white, and we even sprang for gutter guards (best decision). Our contractors also removed the wall that separates the side deck from the front yard, and already we can envision how the wrap-around porch is going to look. Can you see it? (Squint!)
Most importantly, all the brown paint is now bright white! We held our collective breath, crossed our fingers and hoped that a few gallons of fresh white paint would make us feel differently about the tan vinyl, and you know what? It did. It did! The old chocolate-colored trim felt heavy and dated. The bright white trim feels fresh, shiny and new! Our contractors used Sherwin Williams Pure White in exterior grade HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams Everlast with a satin finish. It’s the perfect exterior white that has the slightest hint of warmth, preventing it from feeling too stark.
The rarely seen view above (it’s around the left corner from the street view) shows how sweet the original casement windows look when dressed in white. We’ll also be adding landscaping around the tree, starting in this back corner and working towards the front deck / porch.
Side of House | Before
Side of House | Progress
And Who Remembers This View?
Here’s the Progress!
I’ve never been a huge fan of the way storm doors look, and after removing the rusty white storm door we inherited, I actually pushed back on Scott when he wanted to replace it. Let’s not have a storm door!, I begged. It will look much cleaner! But he wouldn’t budge; storm doors are a near necessity Michigan, both for keeping out the cold in the winters and allowing the fresh air in on a warm day.
I changed my tune when I saw the options available from Larson. We chose the full view Larson Tradewinds door in black, and as soon as we opened the box, I got it. Storm doors can look good! (In fact, we love it so much that we’ll be ordering another for our home in Chicago!) It converts easily to a screen door and can be held open by a small button that you push with your foot – no more fussing with a small metal slider! We even upgraded the handle to this matte black handleset, and it’s all just so handsome. I’m a convert.
A Small Lighting Upgrade = Big Impact
We swapped out the old exterior lights (most of which were broken) to these allen + roth Birchwood Dark Sky LEDs, which was by far the easiest – $65! – decision we’ve made on the project so far:
The door above is off of our master bedroom, and we’re looking forward to the day that we can swing it open wide and step onto our front porch with a hot mug of coffee.
Our main door is actually a side door, and you can see that below on the right (the bedroom door is on the left):
Let’s Take a Closer Look at the Eaves
Oh, hey, eaves! Did you notice how much brighter things look now that the eaves are no longer cracked, peeling and yellowed? The combination of matte black exterior lighting and white trim has our whole hearts.
Back of House | Before
Back of House | Progress
What a difference paint makes! We say it every time, but it couldn’t be more true.
Right now, our contractors are working on building out the new deck, and we’re setting our sights on landscaping! Scott’s mom and dad are meeting us at Tree House to lend a hand with all the greenery, and we couldn’t be more excited to dig around in the dirt. Stay tuned!
Lowe’s Items In This Post:
HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams Everlast Satin Exterior Paint | allen + roth Birchwood Black Dark Sky LED Outdoor Wall Lights | Larson Tradewinds Storm Door in black + matching handleset
Wow! This looks so much better! I can’t wait to see the deck!
Us either, haha.
Kim and Scott, this is such a great transformation!! Thanks for sharing. I can’t believe the difference the white trim makes either. Keep up the hard work!
We have the exact same storm doors and I love them.
I never thought I’d admit to loving a storm door, and yet here I am!
It looks SO good! Crazy how much paint can do, every time. Did you two paint the trim yourselves or have your contractor do it? My husband and I are debating painting our trim and I’m wondering how long it might take us if we did.
Hi Nicole! Due to time constraints, we had our contractor handle all of the prep and painting work. If we were painting the trim on our primary home, we’d consider doing it in phases. Maybe one side of the house per summer? You’d be done in four years! :) But seriously, we had some lead paint on our home, so we felt safer having him take care of the encapsulation process.
Incredible what paint can do! Looks so different already, and makes the tan actually look good!
Who knew?! We love the way the tan blends in to the wooded surroundings.
I love so much about this post – especially your decision to work with the existing vinyl. It’s so inspiring to see what a difference intentional, and budget -friendly, choices can make. And thank you for sharing that storm door! I’ve always hated them and we don’t have one on our front door right now, but I just might order one now. :)
That storm door is absolutely fantastic! Like Kim said in the post – we’ll be ordering one for our Chicago home as well!
Looks so much better already! I’m curious what kind of gutter guards you chose. The cheap ones don’t work but the expensive ones are more than the gutters themselves! I have trees near my house too so I’d love a recommendation for something that works. Thanks!
They were chosen by the company that installed them and said they’d last the lifetime of our gutters. We basically put our trust in him!
Looks so much better! I never noticed how that small window is butted up right against the front/side door – it does look a little odd. Do you think you’ll change that in the long term?
You’re right, it is definitely a little bit odd! :) the window, however, is original and we love it so we have a couple of plans up our sleeves to help it seal tighter for the cold winter months, but we’ll be keeping the layout as-is to honor the age of the home.
I love the updates/upgrades! I think sometimes people hate something about their houses and think they have to strip it all and start over. While that might honestly be the case sometimes, this post is a great example that you can work with what you have, take it easier on your budget, and still get results that make your eyeballs a lot happier! Thanks for sharing :)
Any suggestions on what color to paint trim and eaves on a home with a RED tin roof?? The siding is white.
I would do black! Red, black, and white would look sharp together.
it looks so good! who knew trim could make all the difference? I’m excited to see your deck come together and the plants you choose for the landscaping.
one note of caution (since I work for an arborist and want to save all the trees!) is to be careful about planting into an established tree’s root system. any sort of disturbance can really affect the long term health of the tree and mulch is what they love best!
it’s always inspiring to see what you guys are up to. keep up the good work!
Thank you for this tip! We’re actually having additional soil added for that reason.
Actually, that’s a really bad thing to do to established trees, especially if it’s in the critical root zone! If extra soil (or mulch) is added around the trunk, it causes crown rot, which will slowly kill the tree. Even burying feeder roots will starve them of oxygen and water, which stresses the tree and makes it more vulnerable to disease and insect damage. Maybe you’re only planning on adding an inch of soil, but I’ve lost count of the number of trees I’ve seen killed by too much fill and I’ve sat through too much arborist training with the requisite cautionary slideshows, so I had to say something just in case. Anyway, here are a few articles that go more into detail on how to protect your trees if you need to add fill or change the grade:
Thanks so much for the great info! Luckily, the landscape crew that did the clearing work knocked the soil level down quite a bit when they pulled the ground cover. We’ll only be replacing soil that was removed recently. Luckily this tree seems very happy and healthy based on a few professional opinions!
I’m so glad to hear that! In the interests of full disclosure, I killed a tree in my own yard by adding soil for a flower bed and to improve drainage when I was younger and dumber (the nicest tree too, ugh, poor tree!), so now I am extra paranoid!
How did you decide to do the half glass/screen door over the full glass door? I can’t decide which one would be better!
We wanted a retractable screen, which was only available with the glass divided into two. It’s still full glass, but with a half screen if we’d like!
I have the same tan color vinyl siding as you do on my house that we inherited when we bought it. I’m trying to think of a shutter color that would update the look-right now they are red. Any suggestions??
We love the combination of tan/white/black so far! Maybe something dark and moody?
I’d keep it simple – black or white.
Our house came with tan siding and red shutters (the trim was already white, thank god). Swapped the red shutters for black, and holy cow, what a difference. I can’t help thinking that the house is “pug colored”, but the end result is so neutral and really sets a nice background for landscaping. Also, we have the same storm door. It’s awesome. I’m jealous you were able to get it in black. We have a full sun, south facing door, and black anything voids our warranty :-(
Everything’s looking great. So excited for you guys!
Haha! We’ll never be able to unsee our house as pug-colored now!
Looks great! Can’t wait to see it done – hopefully before it snows on you!
SW Pure White 7005 is my go to white and it looks so good on your house!
I’m currently eyeing the same allen + roth Birchwood outdoor wall light for my back deck. Thank you for posting your pictures; Now that I see it hung on the wall under the eaves of your house, I can better appreciate the size of this light for my project. I think it will be perfect!
Glad to hear it! It’s pretty substantial. :D