December 6, 2017:

Hola!

It's COLD here. Cold and windy. But the Sun has been out for the past 2 days so it's bright, and that helps me to bear the cold and the short days. Only 15 more days to Winter Solstice, and then each day, a few more minutes of daylight will magically begin to be added, and even though the cold and snow will continue, the "worst" will be over because I know we are over the hump and headed toward the Spring Equinox.

Meanwhile, I am busy decorating the tree. I dug out an old collage of photos from the former Maison Newton (above). Gosh, that was a beautiful fireplace. My current gel fuel fireplace is great, but no match for that large and lush gas fireplace in my former home. In my case, downsizing meant not only much less square footage and a single story (which IS nice), but no fireplace until I purchased my gel fuel fireplace. I love it, but there was only one wall I could put it on, and this current living room is much smaller than my former living room, so I sized the fireplace accordingly. (It was also much less expensive and did not need to be installed by professionals).

Yesterday I womaned up and muscled, huffed, puffed, cussed some, breathed heavily and heaved mightily to get my Christmas tree up the basement stairs and dragged into the living room, and then into position in front of the picture window overlooking the front of the house. Whew! Quite the work-out. But I wasn't ready this year to switch to a "single woman of a certain age" (4 foot tall) tree. Maybe next year...NAH!

Jan

Friday, March 27, 2015

Pondering Front Porch Improvements

Hola everyone!

It's that time of year -- spring is here, well, at least astronomical spring is here in this neck of the woods -- today's high is only going to be 29 degrees F.  Two weeks ago it was 71!  Ah yes, the joys of spring in southeastern Wisconsin.  Blech!

While I continue to be housebound because I HATE the cold and refuse to work outside in such weather to continue "spring" clean-up, I have been contemplating various home improvement projects around this old single story rancher.

I have two pine trees along the south lot line that need to be removed.  CHA-CHING!  I have masonry (concrete) capstones that top the brickwork across the front of the house, one of which is cracked and two of which are definitely sloping the wrong way (water is running toward the siding, not away from it), that need to be repaired.  Caulking is not cutting it.  CHA-CHING!

So what am I doing?  Buying more flower pots.  LOL!


Above is the listing photo of this house that I bought last May and moved into in July, 2014.  Okay looking, but blah.

One of the first things I did after I moved in was paint the mailbox bright red to add some zip to the front facade. Then I hunted around for some planter boxes online and scored a good deal at amazon.com on some vinyl Chippendale-style planter boxes and two large planter-pots that fix perfectly inside.  I filled them with African daisies and asparagus ferns and placed them on either side of the front door:


Better.  It's a little hard to see but I also hung a glass and metal butterfly decoration from one of the prongs on the mailbox, too.  But the front facade is still missing - curb appeal.

Thus, about 10 days ago the purchase of two more Chippendale-style vinyl planters and pots to put inside; those will go at the bottom of the front steps this season, to try and dress things up a bit while I contemplate (and save up for) other improvements to make:


The Chippendale planters are made in Italy and they snap together (like a puzzle) -- no screws or glue needed.  They are vinyl and are easy to keep clean and bright.  The planter pots (two stacked inside each other on the left), are also vinyl.  They have two plugs in the bottom that can be removed for water drainage, and are made in the USA:


I have been thinking about adding:
  • white vinyl railings to the front stoop
  • narrow shutters on either side of the picture window
  • new porch light - size and color yet to be determined
  • planter boxes underneath the short windows - black? or white?
I wasn't sure if a railing would work on the stoop -- it is not a large space (about 3' x 6'), but I found some photos on line that look similar to my porch size, and I think it would work on my house:

Photo source.

If I get a railing installed this season, I would probably just flank the sidewalk in front of the bottom step with a pair of planters and remove the other pair to my back patio, I'd have to see how it looked but I'm thinking having planters on the porch with the railings in place would make it too crowded feeling.

Photo source.
The house above is down the block from mine and is its mirror image floorplan wise.  I almost bought this house, but they had done a lot of remodeling inside and were asking $10,000 more than other houses were going for in the neighborhood.  I put an offer on it but we couldn't agree on price.  Ain't she pretty?  Massive curb appeal!  The picture window is the same size as mine so I know there would be room for narrow shutters on either side of mine:

Tuxedo grey raised panel shutter,
Home Depot.
Black raised panel shutter,
Home Depot.
 I like the look of these raised panel shutters I found online at Home Depot.  I don't have room for shutters on my two short windows though, they are spaced wider apart than the windows on the house above and my end window is mere inches away from the corner of the house, leaving no room for a shutter.


.

That is why I'm thinking planter boxes to add some oomph to the short windows.  White?  Black?  Would white planter boxes look out of whack if I frame the picture window with black or charcoal grey shutters? I don't want to do everything in white.  It doesn't look like it in the photos of my house (top 2 photos above) but those short windows are each 75" long!  Vinyl window planter boxes would be pricey (about $184 each for closet non-custom size of 72"), but they would be really pretty:
Photo source.
 How about a red door to go with my red mailbox?

Photo source.
I love the color combination above -- the colors on my house would be nearly identical.  And I'm absolutely wild about that red door!

Photo source.
Above is another house with a color scheme of red, black, white and a taupe-y like siding color.  If I can get my house to look as cute as the two red-door houses above, I will be one happy camper!

Also on the agenda is expanding and curving the flower beds to cut down on lawn area, and doing some transplanting.  I'm going to have to get my digging mojo on!

Last year I thought a lot about adding  a pergola to "enclose" the front stoop, but for the price of a vinyl pergola I could get my shutters, window boxes and vinyl railings and still have money left over to buy some plants for expanded planting beds.

Oh - and here's a picture I just took of the front porch light:


From the top of the wall mount to the bottom of the light is not quite 13".  It can't go much longer than that because of the built-in address plaque below.

I don't find it obnoxious.  Maybe just paint it?  (How?)  The metal finish has faded to a dark grey and there is some corrosion, but no obvious rust.  The fixture matches the one at the side (kitchen) door on the driveway.

Lots to think about...

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