Major Exterior Renovation Projects

If you have followed me for a while on Instagram, you probably have seen a lot of ugly "before" pictures. I guess you have to put up with the "ugly" to truly appreciate the "pretty," or in some cases the "better than it was." Here are some of our biggest exterior projects so far. 

The most important thing we tackled right away was getting the house structure itself into a more solid condition.  It had been empty for at least two years and it really showed. The geothermal HVAC system had stopped working at some point. Overhauling it was the first priority because we were in the middle of a record breaking cold winter in our area and we were freezing!

The roof was the original from 1989 and was leaking, so it became one of the highest priorities too. But before we got a beautiful new roof, we wanted to add stone to the main chimney. That was a good call because many stones and chunks of mortar came sliding down the roof during this during the process. See the top of that chimney?  It's about 36 feet off the ground. I literally could not even watch the stone mason up there.  Every single bump and sliding noise sent me running to the window to make sure he hadn't fallen off.  Then the stonework scope of work began to expand. The exterior stonework had never been completed and much of the foundation was also still cinder block like the chimneys.  Amazingly we found a gigantic pile of the stones under leaves at the edge of the woods. And that pile just kept on growing as we dug in. It turned out to be plenty enough to finish the foundation stonework and the main chimney. This was one job I was so glad we did not attempt to DIY because there is no way either of us could have climbed up there and lived.

After the stonework was added to the chimney...

At this point we made one of the biggest changes we made to the house, the one that I have always been the most nervous about. We painted the shakes and trim. Before, the entire house looked to us like one big blob of grey-brown wood. The details kind of got lost. But many of the shakes and facia boards were rotten and had to be replaced and had to be repainted or restained anyway. We felt like it needed some color to break it all up. But it's quite non-traditional for this style of house. After pouring over hundreds of log home photos, I found very few with color on them. But we liked the idea of a color, so we did it. I always cringe at the thought of the original owners, who had it custom built by Hearthstone Homes, coming back to see green shakes and thinking we have ruined the house.

After all of the painting and stonework was done, it was roof time! I have always loved that romanticized scene of a log cabin with a metal roof. It just seemed perfect. But we thought it was way out of our price range. After having a parade of roofing companies giving estimates, we found one who actually seemed like he knew what he was doing and was very reasonably priced. So in the end, I got my dream roof. And I have to say, the sound of rain on this roof is every bit as lovely as I imagined it would be.

Oh and we had gutters installed too.  Check out these original wood gutters!  They could best be described as....ineffective.

So here are the exterior befores and afters. 

And after...

So as you can see, it's waaaaaaaaay better than it used to be but we have so much more work to do. Because for one thing, that ugly garage door is driving me insane...