Thursday, June 1, 2017

Extreme Spring Cleaning

You guys, I get bit by the weirdest bugs.
I'm not sure what really got me started, it might have been the combo of our across the street neighbors painting their porch (the rest of their house is brick) or seeing our friends with a similar house to ours, painting their house --- and how fantastic each is looking. It might just be my own internal intensity propelling me. 
Actually, now that I think about it... it might have just been a moment where I was trying to keep the kids busy while I did something else and gave them rags to clean with, and seeing the siding start looking actual-white again, and not being able to resist that glorious improvement.
 Whatever it was, I started washing our house.
I started over our garage door, and as you can see above, there was actual dirt build up.

I don’t know. When we bought this house, I fell in love with it’s good bones, it’s good space, and it’s great location. I had zero emotions about it’s exterior. I didn’t have positive or negative ones. I guess they leaned more towards negative because... well the house looked terrible on the whole. And I’ve never given a lot of thought to exteriors and my dream-look, and at first the black and white seemed boring to me, and the house just looked aged and tired. So in the back of my mind I just kinda figured the exterior, like everything inside, needed a makeover. I even have a photoshopped picture I did before moving of the color I was thinking it would need to be. (Now that I look at it, I don’t really like it. ha. Good thing I couldn’t do it. I was just bored waiting to move, and trying not to go crazy waiting.)

However, recently my interior designer instagrammers have all started posting (here and there) cool houses they see on walks, or inspirational exteriors, or their own work….all these white houses with black accents. And it make me head-tilt and think about my own house. Maybe this house has a great classic look. Maybe I don’t need to change it --- maybe it just needs a little spa day, and a little mascara. (Because let’s face it -- being a classic beauty is always desirable….BUT saving money….well that’s usually the main director of operations in my planning (you know, as long as “saving money” consults with “beauty” )….so yeah, how much money can I save by calling the house good as is….LOTS.)

So I’ve been pondering, what would count as mascara for the house? I’ve been coming up with the plans, I’ve gotten SOME done.

But what I’ve mostly been doing is the spa day(ssssssssssss) for the house, giving a never ending sponge bath. Every time Bronny has been asleep lately I’ve been outside with soapy water and a rag, wiping down the siding. 

Never did I think to myself, “You know what we should do, self? Hand wash the house!!” But here I am doing it. And I would feel like a crazy person only, the difference it’s making is astonishing. I just feel crazy-pleased with the results.

The reason I am hand washing it is because our contractor brother in law told us when we re-sided our first house, that you should not power wash siding, because it forces water behind it and causes rot and mold. Also I’m not sure I could actually get it as clean that way, there are so many cranny’s I’ve dug into with the rag.

I don’t have any good before pictures besides that one up there. Because I just did not foresee a visible shift so strong that I’d want before and after photos. So this may be a really lack luster blog post. But I had to do it, because in real life this really makes a major change (maybe not really an understandable change -- I doubt anyone is like “wow their house is cleaner” But I do think people will think “Wow their house is looking so well kempt these days.” But maybe not know why.) Anyway,  I am riding high on this random change in my house.

The other day I had the chance to just really scrub down the entire front porch. It was encrusted with cobwebs and dirt and it just looked really old and worn out. I was shocked to find that when I scrubbed down the porch roof, a lot of what I thought was peeling paint, was just the cobwebs’ dirty effects. The porch could still stand a repaint, but it suddenly looks awesome, and no where near as worn out and mildly haunted. It now looks like a really happy house. I keep thinking it almost looks like a new house. (That’s my motherly bias talking. It’s still a 1960’s looking house -- but it’s a fresh and homey and happy 1960’s house that’s loved and cared for.)
I mean look at the door frame and window frame -- they glow with clean bright whiteness.
I keep just popping out onto the porch and thinking “I cannot believe a simple cleaning was THIS BIG OF A DEAL!!!"
Also look at my cute fern I found on clearance for $7. That fern adds the best level of “cottage” and  "Anne-of-Green-Gables-ness” to the house. That’s a new summer must (as long I prove able to keep it alive anyway.)

As I’ve been doing this, I keep thinking: “You know this will get dirty AGAIN right?!?!” And I tell myself, “Yep! But this is worth it. Besides this has got to be at LEAST 8-10 years of dirt on here, based on what we know of the ownership. So it won’t get as dirty again for a while. I’m so impressed with this change I HAVE to keep going.”

It’s delightful.

Ok….I’ll stop now with the “I washed my house” crazytown talk. (But I might have more to come later because I’m NOT done washing. This is a ridiculously involved task I have taken on.)

We’ve been doing SO MUCH to our backyard (including washing the back of the house. ha!!) And I want to show you -- but I really want to hold out for a good big reveal post when it’s more done.
But so, one of the projects was raised garden beds, and we bought a lot of dirt for that project and turned out to have leftovers.

Blake had been talking about a project for a while now -- he’s been wanting to address a low spot in our front yard where water collects. So since we had the dirt now, he went for it. It wasn’t on the immediate plan list, but life moved it up the Que..

I don’t have pictures of this, but he dug a trench and laid down a drain pipe from the front gutter, to a pop up drain near the side walk.

Then he added a small retaining wall of bricks which match our patio and tiny drive way add-on area. And then filled it all with our extra dirt. (All three kids where ALL OVER helping filling the wheel barrow. It was quite adorable and somewhat hilarious. But man, little Bronny has been INTENT on doing helper-stuff since he could walk, there was no stopping him and his tiny sandbox shovel. And the girls where right there too.) And now we are watering the grass seed.

Blake and I are both like “WOW! That added SO MUCH. It’s one of those bigger than expected pay offs again.
Maybe not in these photos, I don’t know. But in person it’s so “professionally landscaped looking."

It looks awesome from our dining room table.
Feeling fancy with our clean porch views and our landscaped-selves.

So yeah….I was telling Blake, I think we are at the point now, where we’ve put so much into the house that every little thing we do now looks impressive. And that’s really nice. Because when we bought the house, we were just pouring every ounce of energy in and the difference was not always apparent yet. Some of it just was non-visually impressive, but needed. And some of it was a visual change, but the rest looked so bad it didn’t make sense yet. But we are finally to the “ooo” stage, where each thing does something notably good.

So for now I’m just detail, detail, detail, detail. Each one adds up to something over time. Like painting the (never used by us…but maybe it should be?) rusted out flag holder white. These little things really just take the age off.

I feel like the house is one of those scruffy strays you find (like in a movie or something, because this has never happened to me) and you think this dog is a poor kinda gangly mut, but then you wash it and love it and it’s this pure bread beauty who’s so sweet and wonderful.

I’m really loving this process, and stepping back and seeing the house shine.

As I was waiting for the photos to upload, I scrolled instagram and found this black and white house. Just like I said -- all my instagrammers feeding my mind with good beautiful things. 
Pretty right? See -- classic. 
Sometimes I toy with painting our brick white. BUT only the SMALLEST of toying….because that’s like a HUGE decision. I’m not ready to decide something that big.
Does my porch roof ever want to go black? Hmmm? Not sure, but I LOVE it here.
(Welcome to my endless mental testing of ideas. It never stops in here.)

Anyway. That’s all for today.

I’m so excited to show you our back yard stuff. But I gotta finish it first….back to the grind guys.


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