I was hoping to write this post much sooner, but hey, house projects always take longer than anticipated, right? Honestly, our garage still doesn't have any siding on it after 6 months, and you can still see the scaffolding up on the left (still finishing some trim paint), so we're definitely not done, but it'll happen. Someday. But! For all intents and purposes, we're basically done with the hard stuff.
When we were looking around for a house, we were looking for a project, mostly because we wanted a cheap house. Like, really cheap. And in Tacoma's housing market, that's not too hard, especially if you're ready to put in a little elbow grease to get the most out of your cheap house. We had looked at the house behind the one we ended up buying, but the interior was awful. It needed to be completely re-done. The exterior was fine, but the interior was pretty bad. We decided to pass on that one and as we walked home, we saw the house we ended up buying. It looked like a dump. The exterior was in sorry shape. We didn't even bother looking at it because we figured with an exterior like that, there was no way the interior was decent. Well, we were wrong, and the interior had been completely remodeled. Unfortunately someone had done a terrible job of keeping up the exterior shingle siding and had done the worst paint job I've ever seen on a house. they barely even masked off the windows and doors and sprayed a thick coat of paint right over paint that was already peeling.
So in January, we ripped it all off. After looking into some construction companies around town and getting some estimates, we ended up just doing it ourselves. My Dad and Uncle came down from Alaska, along with my brother, who was heading back to college after being home for Christmas break, and then my cousin and other brother drove up from Portland to help as well. My Dad and his brother worked with my Grampa for years doing construction on houses, so it was almost a reunion tour of my Grampa's old construction business, Auke Bay Builders! It actually felt really cool to be able to work alongside my family like that. Anyway, Dan & I did all the demo before they showed up, so when they arrived we got right to the siding... after hauling 600 lbs of old shingles to the dump.
It took about two weeks total. There were a couple snafu's to fix after taking off the old siding. The front porch had some weird off-kilter-ness to it, so my Dad squared it up. But many hands made light(ish) work, and I was so thankful to have the expertise of my Dad and Uncle available. Replacing the old shingle siding with new shingle siding would've been too expensive, so we went with HardiePlank Lap siding, which is nice because it's not actually wood, it's fiber cement material. This makes it fire-resistant, among other things, which is nice. Plus, you only have to score with a knife and then snap in order to cut pieces, rather than sawing each one, which saved a ton of time. I love the look of shingles, and it fits the style of our house, so we decided to do cedar shingles in the gables, which I think looks super sharp.
We decided to paint it a dark charcoal. After seeing some darker colored houses around town, I thought it looked both modern and classic. I figure there are so many houses painted "safe" colors like beige, I wanted to do something more unique and bold. We tested a couple shades of charcoal and ended up with a near-black shade, but after painting the whole house, I'm in love with it. I feel like we've got the snazziest house on the block!
Since the interior of our house isn't in need of immediate renovation, our next project (well, other than finishing the siding on the garage to match the house...) will probably be fencing in our side yard in front of the detached garage to give us more enclosed, private yard space. I got these patio tiles
at Ikea the other day from the As-Is section (35 tiles for only $1 each!!), so I'm excited to start installing them soon! I'd like to make some more raised beds to expand our veggie garden, too.
I'm so proud of the work we've done in less than a year. I always get sad seeing all the run down craftsman homes around town that obviously used to be so beautiful. When we were looking for a house, I wanted to be able to revive one of those homes back to it's former glory, so it's been really fun actually getting to do that. Our house had sat vacant for years before we moved in with no one taking care of it. Thankfully the interior hadn't fallen into disrepair, so we've been able to focus all our energies on fixing up the exterior.