Curb appeal comes in many shapes and sizes.

Back when we first laid eyes our home in 2014 it already had that classic waterfront farm house feel we immediately fell in love with. From a distance it was lovely, but upon closer inspection, the exterior paint on the wood siding was a little worn and tired, the roof more green than we would have chosen, and the porch floor color and lighting choices were very different than what we wanted for the house. 

This summer we've been focusing on improving the curb appeal/making updates more to our taste for our home through a three step approach. 

  1. Improving the existing garden/beds around the house
  2. Addressing exterior paint issues
  3. Overall porch projects and paint

After working through the first two major steps, our home is really starting to look great. The fresh paint is clean and crisp, the new roof color on our metal roof is much darker gray and less green, and the garden has really been coming into its own this summer.

With the first two steps complete, we turned our attention to our home's front porch. More specifically, we wanted to finish up some work that we started shortly after we bought the house, and make our front porch a welcoming sight for visitors.

When we started work the front door was home to two oversized brass light fixtures that were installed in the early 1990s. They were badly weathered from the salt air, were far too large for their location, and just didn't go with our general design aesthetic. 

As a result, the brass fixtures were retired in favor of two more traditional farmhouse lights for either side of our door.

With the lighting starting to look the part, I wanted to add some casual seating to set the tone for the porch. I started looking for a nice set of chairs that would look at home in this location and I happened upon the perfect pair when our neighbors offered us a pair of vintage chairs they'd found that weren't going to work for their yard. They needed some clean up, so to seal in the wonderful patina an afternoon of work to sand off the rust and grime and apply a coat of sealer made them ready for their new home outside.

The stairs leading up to the porch, as well as the porch floor, had also see better days. Peeling paint, splintered treads, rotten railings and floor boards, and missing sections of stairs required some pretty extensive fixes to make everything sound again. We repaired, removed, sealed, and corrected several issues before we could give it a fresh coat of paint. As usual, Lulu was largely bored by this whole process.

As we mentioned in our prior post about our paint color selection for the exterior of the house, we made a major misstep with our initial porch flooring color selection. The first color we chose, Sherwin Williams Chatroom, was just too gray green for the floor. Don't get me wrong, it was wonderful to get a coat of paint on this floor that I've disliked since day one, but the color was just a little bit off. 

After licking my wounds from our incorrect color choice, I swallowed my pride, bought a gallon of Sherwin Williams Dorian Gray, and began correcting our mistake. 

The new color was much more what we were hoping for. It's a true gray and one that will make the porch a much more calming space.

This color gray is far more in keeping with the general style of "casual waterfront farmhouse" that I'm going for with our new color palette.

With the porch repair and floor paint complete, it was time to start accessorizing this wonderful space. To add some color and life to the porch I wanted to add two potted plants to either side of the front door. On a trip to HomeGoods I found two large ceramic planters that I really liked.  

Keeping with the accessories finds theme, I also found a great deal on a couple clearance lanterns at Target.  

No porch makeover is complete without a welcome mat. As luck would have it, this Target doormat was not only on sale, but it also truly embodies the sentiment I'd like to embrace for all visitors to our home. 

A subsequent trip to HomeGoods turned up these adorable outdoor pillows (and a new boat print that will find a home somewhere inside). I loved the pattern as well as the tie in of the green and aqua.

With my accessories purchased, I excitedly started on the "fun" part of the front porch makeover. My excitement quickly waned when I realized the scale of the pillows was WAY off for the size of the chairs. It looks like the pillows tried to eat the chairs as if they were giant anacondas going after their next meal, and given my intense fear/dislike of snakes, anything that makes me think of these creatures is a no-go in my book. So back to HomeGoods they went. 

With my disappointment aside, I kept moving forward though, planting two new sedums in moisture max soil. My hope is that the right soil will help bridge the gap between waterings when we're at the house, but time will tell. I set them on either side of the door along with the chairs, mat, and lanterns. The gardening boots and four legged sidekick sure do look cute in the photos, but were also there to assist me in my efforts. 

I grabbed a throw pillow from inside to get a better idea of the size pillow I'll need for the chairs, and think a small lumbar pillow will work much better than the 22"x22" pillows I tried on the first attempt.

It's amazing how a few accessories can transform a space. I didn't realize how much warmer and inviting the porch would feel, especially with the addition of the plants.

I was also thinking ahead when it came to the lanterns. While I plan on moving them inside when not in use (to keep them clean, dry, and bug free), I also know how hot this porch gets in the afternoon sun. I didn't want wax candles to melt, so I purchased plastic LED flickering "candles" which will achieve the same look, be better suited to the hot temperatures, and will be safer to have than a lit candle on a staircase.

The final item we have yet to install is this new door knocker. 

We'll have to be a bit creative in hanging it as we don't want to drill more holes in the metal door, but Alex is working through a few solutions to that challenge.

While the look is on the simple side, that was intentional. I tried to be restrained as we didn't want the porch to look cluttered, and fewer items means fewer items to clean and maintain! 

Overall, I had a great time making over this small space. It's easy to get bogged down in the details of a larger scale renovation, and these are the types of projects that keep me energized and excited about what's to come!

Comments 13


Noel M
7/12/2017 at 2:56 PM

I've heard there is a hack where you can take a wine bottle, fill it with water and then stick it in your soil, neck down and the water will slowly filter into your plant. I haven't personally tried it, but maybe worth a shot?!


I seem to recall seeing that somewhere too, Noel! Pinterest perhaps? I mentioned it to Alex when I was planting these but at the time we didn't have any empty wine bottles on hand. Maybe "making" two empty wine bottles should be our project this weekend so we can ensure our plants are well hydrated? ;)

Noel M
7/12/2017 at 3:28 PM

All in the name of plant care!

7/13/2017 at 2:09 PM

I do this for all my potted plants... found out the hard way that you need to soak the soil first, or the wine bottle will just drain straight into the pot in a few minutes.Alt smile You can 'screw' the wine bottle deep into the soil right next to the stem of the plant but it seems to work better for me to use a terracotta spike (aka Plant Nanny) to hold the bottle.

7/12/2017 at 5:57 PM

I am so pleased with our same "flickering candles"...seeing them from indoors, outdoors, etc. they just exude ambiance! You'al are making good progress!! franki


Thanks, Franki!Alt smile

7/13/2017 at 11:35 AM

I have an outdoor led candle lantern that I just love. (Mine is solar, so that's just one more problem that I don't have to worry about). It's one of my very favorite purchases that I've made this year and I just love walking out onto the porch to look at it. It flickers and is just lovely. Trust me when I say that you won't regret your purchase of those.


Nice! I'm looking forward to seeing ours in action!

7/13/2017 at 5:42 PM

The porch is so welcoming. And an evening/dusk photo would be really nice. Or a gif to demo the flickering candles. Loving these more frequent posts. Thanks!

Jen T
7/16/2017 at 11:25 PM

I've loved seeing all of your exterior updates the past several weeks- the foursquare is looking beautiful! Sorry you had to paint the porch twice, but the Dorian Gray turned out really well! We've used it in two rooms in our house, it seems like such a nice, balanced gray.

8/26/2017 at 9:45 AM

Love your blog! Love the porch redo. The doggie seems to like it too lol. Just a tip for saving money at Lowes for your home improvement projects: I buy a coupon at I separate my purchases into $100 transactions so i can use 1 coupon per transaction ($20 off $100). This way I am saving 20% just with the coupon alone. Then i go to Raise or Paypal digital gifts and buy a lowes gift card. This can save another 10% depending on the discount at the time and I use the giftcard to pay for the purchases.

9/13/2017 at 10:37 AM

Kurb appeal is the biggest thing for me when improving a house. There are 2 reasons for improving a house, to improving the living whilst in the house and to improve the value of the house for when you look to move. Kurb appeal is the biggest thing for me when trying to seel a house. If the viewers are happy when they pull up at the house they are far more likely to place a bid then if they were to turn up to an un-treated front garden area for example. this house has fantastic kurb appeal, I must say, great job!

9/28/2017 at 6:50 AM

The transformation was perfectly amazing! Now its starting to motivate me to have my own porch makeover.

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