It has definitely been a busy few weeks around here. I had a summer goal of giving our home exterior a major DIY restyle, without costing a major amount of money! I’m so happy to say almost everything is complete! Our home had pretty interesting red brick on a good portion of the house. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either, so it stayed for a while. I started looking for ideas to give the brick a white washed look, when my husband came across a technique called German Smear. We watched a few tutorials that we found on Pinterest, and thought that it looked pretty easy, and very affordable so we decided to go for it. Still being on summer break, I had the time to do it myself. Here are a few pictures of the house before:
Lots of red brick, and the small fence around the yard was in major need of paint! Also, notice the four skinny column posts. They were starting to rot out from the elements. You’ll see how my husband took those out and replaced them in upcoming pictures. Don’t mind the dying grass either!
Here the porch is plain concrete, stained and cracked.
You may be seeing this picture sideways, but I wanted to show you the bag of white mortar I bought. I mixed this with a solution of water until it was about the consistency of pancake batter. Next, I washed down an area of brick with water from the hose. Then, I covered the floor of the area I would be working in. I started applying the mortar mix to the brick using a large tile sponge. You can find them in the tile section of your home supply store. I wanted to cover almost all of the brick, with a tiny bit showing through. If I wanted a solid covered look, I would have chosen to paint the brick with paint. I was really after an aged look, that would still allow for a bit of the historic brick to be appreciated. Be sure to work in sections, always remembering to generously wet the area (with a hose) that you will be working on first. On an indoor application, you can use a spray bottle of water to wet the surface.
I was instantly in love with the way it looked! I used my technique of applying with sponges and I also used a cheap paint brush to get the mortar mixture in between the bricks. It wasn’t until I was almost done with the front of the house that I came up with a much faster way of applying. I used an old broom with hard bristles to apply, and it went much faster, and I could reach the high spots without having to get up on the ladder. Lesson learned! So, if you have a big space to apply, try this! Below is what it looked like after all the brick was covered. It took me two full days to apply it all. You can chose to apply it heavily or sparingly, to achieve the look you want. I decided I may have covered it a bit heavier than I wanted, so I gave it a quick power water wash to knock some of it off. I did this within an few hours so the mortar wasn’t completely hardened. If you make a mistake, be sure to wash it off asap.
We then decided to paint the yard fence and the change the front door.
This image may be sideways if your viewing from your phone, sorry. Anyway, we found the exact door we were looking for at Home Depot, you can find it here. I decided to have it painted Amherst Gray by Benjamin Moore. We hired a painter to repaint the yard fence and the door. He sprayed it, which I highly recommend for a nice smooth finish.
There it is! I love the color! I also added this new porch light from Lamps Plus, which you can find here. But, wait…look at that old concrete porch! We were planning to use wood plank TILES to cover it, but after a few estimates, I changed my mind! It wasn’t going to be in the budget. Soooo, I decided to achieve the same look by faux painting it!
I started by painting a base of light gray paint. I used a paint I already had: acrylic, low sheen exterior paint. It would probably be best to use a paint specifically made for painting cement. Then, we measured off 6″ sections that would be the “wood planks.” We used a chalk snap line to mark the lines across the length of the porch. Those are my son’s cute little legs. 😉
After that, I mixed a dark gray (using Amhert Gray and Carbon colored exterior paint) to paint out my faux grout lines. Then, I mixed my Amherst Gray paint with 50% water, and used a hard bristled brush to brush on paint in a long strokes, stopping every so often to create a circle or oval shape for a faux knot in the wood. I played with the knots to get a look I thought looked realistic.
Here’s the end result! It was so easy to do, and I love it!! Also, take a look at the ceiling too. I painted it a pale aqua color yesterday too! I have always loved a pale blue porch ceiling, and when I was perusing Instagram yesterday morning, I came across a post from a friend @mrserikaward, who had posted the most gorgeous porch and blue ceiling, so I decided I was going to go for it! You can head over to her blog to read more about it here. Basically, it is a Southern tradition to paint the ceilings of porches blue to simulate the look of sky and ward off evil spirits. I happened to have a gallon of turquoise/aqua paint in my garage that was much brighter, so I toned it down with some white paint to create the perfect pale color.
“Frequently considered just a Southern superstition, blue porch ceilings have actually been a long-standing tradition in many parts of the country for centuries. Giving your own outdoor space a hint of blue is the perfect way to play into history, and it just might keep wasps, evil spirits and nightfall away, too.
Once upon a time in the deep South, many people painted their porch ceilings a specific shade of Haint Blue, a soft blue-green, to ward off evil spirits called “haints.” It’s especially common in the historic homes around Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. Although ghosts and goblins might not be front-of-mind for modern homeowners, many continue the tradition of blue porch ceilings to keep ties to their home’s Southern roots.
But blue porch hues aren’t exclusively Southern. Further up along the East coast, blue porches are still prevalent in cities like Boston and Philadelphia where Victorian homes are popular. Victorian-era homeowners favored color inspired by nature, such as brown and olive green. Light blue porch ceilings, it turns out, match the color of the sky perfectly and help to visually extend daylight even after the sun has begun to set.
Sky blue paint might actually fool insects as well. Many people theorize that porches painted a soft blue will trick wasps and other insects into thinking it’s the sky, taking their nests elsewhere.”
I’m so in love with the impact these simple DIY techniques made to our home! I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the transformation. Let me know if you have any questions!
Also, notice the new column posts….they’re not finished yet. My talented husband will be adding trim, base and crown moldings to them soon. Oh, and the front landscape is next!