Front Exterior & Front Yard

My Vision For My House Exterior

Now that my house is painted, I can’t stop daydreaming about, and planning for, my outdoor projects. I’m so excited to tackle some of these this year. The really big  and expensive projects, like getting a new driveway, will probably have to wait. But I can still do quite a number of much more budget-friendly projects to add some major curb appeal to the house.

If you missed the post yesterday showing the house as it was when we bought it compared to how it looks now with the new siding and new paint, you can click here to see it. But here’s the front view as it is now…

All day yesterday, something was bothering me about the front porch (other than the sagging roof line on the porch roof, which will be fixed soon). I came back and looked at the pictures about 10 times before I finally realized what seems “off” to my eye. It’s the side wall on the front porch where that second door was closed up.

From that angle above, it looks just fine. But from the front of the house, it looks off to me. And I finally realized that the reason is because that one very small wall really should be stone, not siding.

Well, I just happen to have a whole stack of stones that they took off of the side living room wall, so I’m having a stone mason come today and tell me if adding that stone right there is even feasible, and if so, how much he’d charge me to do it.

So as I was mulling over that idea, as well as the other 100+ exterior and front porch ideas swimming around in my head, I finally climbed into bed around 11:00 with my phone in hand so that I could scroll through Instagram for a bit before falling asleep. And as I was quickly scrolling through Instagram, one post stopped me in my scroll, and I had to go back and take a closer look. It was the before and after of a recent Fixer Upper posted by Joanna Gaines. Did you see this?!

What?!?! That looks like someone copied the middle section of our house, pasted it onto another lot, and gave it a makeover, right? It’s so similar!

And for the record, do you notice how the cedar shingles wrap around to that side porch wall? That confirmed to me that mine should, in fact, be stone.

So that really started my wheels spinning. I was too tired to do any photoshopping last night, but I got up this morning and got busy. (For the record, I don’t actually use Photoshop. I use a program called Paint Shop Pro that you can find on Ebay and Amazon for a fraction of the price. And I do very quick mockups, so they’re nothing like the quality my Photoshop expert mom does, but they at least give me an idea of how something will look.)

I love the landscaping, the railing, the columns. So I copied those and pasted them onto the picture of the front of my house, along with the dark blue shutters and window box that I found on Pinterest the other day, just to see what it would look like.

Oh my. Y’all, if I can get my house to look like this in reality, I won’t even bother with that big, expensive front elevation/porch remodel that I had planned. I would be perfectly content with this.

Combine that with what I have planned for the studio…

…and you can start to get a vision for what this house might look like when I get all of these outdoor projects done.

A few more things…

The ramp on the front porch is going to be removed.

We currently have a ramp from the music room doors to the sliding door at the back of the sunroom. And when we do the driveway and carport in the back, we’ll also have another ramp from the studio to the carport. So another ramp in the front of the house isn’t needed.

I also plan to cover the current concrete porch with wood so that I can have a traditional stained wood porch. And I love the idea of a wood porch and brick combination, similar to this…

I don’t plan on replacing the sidewalk completely…

…but I would like to look into having it resurfaced (maybe stamped to look like stone?) and then I’d like to widen it visually with something like bricks or pavers on each side, along with plants of some sort lining the edges on both sides. I love that look, but I know nothing about plants so I have no idea what to use that would be low maintenance. Monkey grass? Basically this — concrete, pavers, and plants lining the sidewalk — except that I want the plants only edging the sidewalk and not taking over the entire yard.

So I have plans. Big plans. 😀 And I’m so excited to get started on them!! But today is not the day. It’s 19 degrees outside (feels like 11), and that’s hibernation weather for this Texas girl. I’ll just have to keep dreaming and planning and photoshopping until warmer weather gets here.

In the meantime, I have plenty of other projects to work on. My new living room drapery fabric arrived yesterday, so I have some sewing and other indoor projects to keep me busy for now. If you missed the sneak peek of the new fabric, you can check it out on my Instagram.

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Ha! I JUST noticed that exact post from Joanna this morning and thought, “hey, this looks like Kristi’s house in Texas…wonder if she’s seen this?!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lisa E
    January 17, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Oh my goodness, love the mock-up, especially if it saves money from not adding a porch addition! 😉 It seriously looks amazing! Excited for you!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 9:56 am

    I saw the episode and then the side by side on instagram and your house immediately popped into my head! It’s a much simpler and more attainable makeover and one that works with the original style and period of your home. Perfect!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Theresa P
    January 17, 2018 at 10:03 am

    So much to do! It will look amazing!

    Can’t wait to see the drapes!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Carol F
    January 17, 2018 at 10:14 am

    I love this new direction! It really works for your house! I thought you were going to eventually remove the Austin stone off your house.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 17, 2018 at 10:18 am

      I wanted to at one time (not too long ago), but there’s just sooooo much of it, and if I can make it work, I want to. Now that the house is painted all one color, I actually think it looks quite nice.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 10:33 am

    I love how the shutters and window boxes in your mock-up make the house look so lively and beautiful – and I already thought yestrday that it is beautiful now 🙂 Great idea to go with these ideas and to forgo the moer extensive – and expensive – plans you had in mind. With some nice landscaping (and there should be plants that are low maintenance for your weather!) it will look stunning!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 10:34 am

    I love the new mock up. It is perfect.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 10:36 am

    Wow…it’s going to look SO pretty!

    While you are considering all things…

    We wish our front porch was a little deeper…while looking for options, I have come across several folks that have raised their landscaping to extend the porch with stone…a much larger seating area…and, in your case, more maneuverable space for you and Matt to come hang out on pleasant afternoons… sipping some sweet tea, munching soft ice and enjoying all you’ve worked to accomplish 🙂

    Here is the original inspiration link if you’re interested…

    and actually…it has me pinning others now that you have me looking at it…THANKS!!!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Theresa P
      January 17, 2018 at 11:16 am

      This is a super cool idea! i love the idea of a larger, more maneuverable porch! and it might be a way to extend some of the austin stone across the front of the house to balance out the stone even more! i think the paint has added a lot of balance, but this would do even more!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Julie S
    January 17, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Yes, oh yes ma’am. You will not be needing to get into expensive elevation changes if you do this lovely facade work. I love it.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Like those mock-ups. Personally I don’t feel you need the stone on that wall and in fact think it may make that side of the house appear too heavy. But, that’s just my opinion. You’ve lived there for awhile now, I’m sure you are anxious to get the outside looking as special as the inside. One thing you may consider is keeping the ramp and just disguising it with landscaping. The reason being, since it already exists, it would just be kind of nice to have in the event of an emergency.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Marianne in Mo.
      January 17, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      I thought the same thing about the ramp. In case of emergency, Matt may need an access from another part of the house besides the back way. I just don’t know if it would serve him well being so near the kitchen part of the house, where many house fires occur. ( I envision him passing by the windows on the porch and breakfast room and down that ramp) I would think of having one off the master when it’s time to redo that area. On a side note – are your emergency services aware that you have someone with a mobility issue? You can contact them and make a note of it, so if services are needed, they can specify on the radio call to be aware that Matt uses a chair. As for your photo mock up, I love the whole thing! I thought that fixer upper house looked familiar!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Susan C
      January 18, 2018 at 11:43 am

      Love the mock-up ideas! My first thought on the front ramp was the same–in the event a fire prevents a back exit for Matt, should you consider keeping the front ramp? You may have all that covered though.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Red salvia never has to be watered after it is established and it’s so pretty – deer don’t like Salvia. It does need to be cut back by 1/3 once a year. Lantana is also very hardy without water. Blue plumbago is gorgeous and pretty hardy – but it does have to be watered.

    The lantana and red salvia are hardy through the winter – I use the blue plumbago in pots on porch during the summer – I could plant them but too old to dig holes so I just get new ones every spring from HEB.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 10:46 am

    I really like the new mock up, without the porch attention. It fits the house better. And I gotta say I LOVE, beyond LOVE, those blue shutters. Do you know what paint color you are going to use. I’m kinda interested, not for shutters, but for trim in northern, AZ.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 17, 2018 at 10:46 am

      That’s porch addition–darn auto correct.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 17, 2018 at 11:39 am

      I haven’t even looked at blues for the shutters yet, but I’ll probably start by testing out the Benjamin Moore Gentleman’s Gray that I was planning on using on my kitchen cabinets a year ago.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Could tell me the exact Paint Shop Pro Program you use? I went to Amazon and there are multiple choices. I like that you can “add things,” not just edit color and such.
    I love your page and also follow you on Instagram. What a talent you have!

    Thank you.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 17, 2018 at 11:40 am

      I would recommend the most recent, which I believe is Paint Shop Pro X9 or something like that. I plan to upgrade soon, since my version is older.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Judy M.
    January 17, 2018 at 11:08 am

    No, no, no to the stone. The stone on your house dates it terribly. I think you should remove it and use siding on those areas. The window boxes and landscaping are lovely! You are doing an amazing job with your house. Love your posts.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 17, 2018 at 11:42 am

      I like the stone. 🙂 There’s nothing dated about Austin stone in Texas. It’s used on new construction all the time around here since it’s quarried in the hill country of Texas and very abundant.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        January 17, 2018 at 12:57 pm

        Agreed! I’ll even go a step further and say that if we remove all the features that “date” our homes, soon our architectural history will disappear. We need to see well maintained homes from every decade and design period. Sure, update for functionality but let them show their age!

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Marianne in Mo.
        January 17, 2018 at 4:32 pm

        Agree! You aren’t in the midwest with all the farm houses. It wouldn’t be a Texas house without that stone! When we visit our daughter there, we go looking at new development displays for fun, and they all have varying degrees of the stone, and it’s awesome!

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Rebecca B
        January 18, 2018 at 8:01 am

        I like the stone too. If we removed something just because its not the current fad then all houses would look alike. We have lots of bedford stone houses around where i live. They were built in the 50s but you dont see that building material being used anymore because it is too expensive for anyones budget unless they are rich.
        On another note I vote shutters too.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 11:38 am

    So many good ideas listed–enlarging the front porch, if viable is a great idea and would give some curves to the straight lines. Everything you have planned looks great. I think making the walkway larger with pavers is a wonderful idea. Your sidewalk will power wash easily (well, not too easily) and with the addition of pavers to make it larger will be an asset. I have a brick house and an aggregrate sidewalk so I added brick pavers to each side.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Hi there! Just saw the house you mentioned above is for sale. Here is the listing just in case you wanted to see more pics 🙂 You’re doing a fabulous job on your home and I love seeing all the changes!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 11:44 am

    I thought the same thing as others when I saw the show. I thought of your house and how the transformation would be perfect.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Texas Memaw
    January 17, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    I haven’t read all the prior posts, but I’m wondering about the height of the porch roof. When you talk about fixing the sagging, will the porch roof be raised so that the tops of the windows will be visible from the street? As it is now, it looks like your front porch has half-closed eyelids! If you put a layer of wood on top of the concrete porch, it will close it up even more. Those front windows need to be eyes-wide-open!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 17, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      My front porch is pretty much exactly like the Fixer Upper house. My door and windows will show just as much as they do on the “after” photo of that house. There’s no way to raise the porch roof without some pretty major construction, which I’d like to avoid if possible.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    The mock up is amazing! This is just what I was hoping to see. 🙂 Nice job, Kristi…and Joanna 😉

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    I really love those blue shutters and that porch railing. Makes your whole home cohesive with the shutters you want on your studio. A few perennials can go along ways towards making your outdoors look homey and welcoming.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Your new choice of drape fabric is spot-on. the color looks spectacular next to the rug. I can’t wait to see the finished drapes hung up in the room. I also like your minimalist approach to outdoor landscaping. Sometimes less is more. The blue shutters are also an excellent choice.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Genelle McDaniel
    January 17, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    I’m so in love with your plans!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    I really like your new mock up………. the Fixer Upper house was great inspiration. Have they shown the house across the street from your mom yet?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    Absolutely loved the mock up of the shutters, window boxes, landscaping, and little brick porch on your studio! Everything about it is perfect to me. So fun you found that home that’s so similar to the middle of yours. I see why you want the stone to wrap around that side, but I’d worry about losing inches – your front door is already so close to the left hand side that from pics it seems there’s barely room for that added bit of railing and column (which I love). I’ll be staying tuned to see what the stone mason says. Fingers crossed!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Love the mock-up of the exterior of your home! The blue shutters make such a difference. Since adding shutters is not a big project have you thought about adding them first? I can’t think of a faster way to add curb appeal to your home, now that your home is painted, than adding the shutters.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    We recently redid our concrete front path in brick colored pavers, and the company simply set the pavers in sand on top of the existing concrete path. They had to jackhammer the last few feet to make the path even with the curb at the street, but they said the concrete was actually the best base for the path. We did lose a step at the front of the house with the extra height, but that didn’t bother us. Because it didn’t need to be jackhammered, it was relatively quick.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    I love the mock-up and the idea of keeping the stone. It has a bit more character than just all siding. The only suggestion I would make is leave the ramp, as another safety out of the house. It could be hidden from street view with shrubs and plants. Either way, that is becoming a gorgeous home. Maybe we will see you in one of the home magazine spreads when you are through.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sharon C
    January 17, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    I absolutely love the mock up of your exterior designs Kristi. The blue shutters and window boxes make a huge impact and that porch mock up also seems to suit your home so well. What a difference these things and some landscaping will make. We also widened a concrete pathway with brick panels on the side, and it took a blah pathway to chic and it made a huge visual difference for very little outlay.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 18, 2018 at 5:11 am

    Gosh, I am not even a “blue person” and when I saw those blue shutters, I thought, WOW. I know that you will enjoy whatever you decide. But the outside doesn’t have to match the inside, does it?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 18, 2018 at 8:28 am

    The blue shutters! I just love it! I can’t wait to see some of this come to fruitation.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Alta Craig
    January 18, 2018 at 8:41 am

    The house is looking great, and the addition of the landscaping and other remodeling for the porch will certainly add to the value and to your enjoyment of your home. I do hope you will reconsider removing the handicap ramp off the front porch, however. As a wife of a volunteer firefighter, I am aware of the limited amount of time that occupants have to escape a house on fire, and, Heaven forbid, if ever a fire were to break out in the rear of the house, it could possibly be a life-saving feature for Matt to be able to exit the house through the front door and get away from the house via the front ramp. I am sure it could be disguised with landscaping and still be available in case of an emergency.

    I too saw the Fixer/Upper episode with the bungalow that resembles your home, and think it is a great example of what can be done with a porch such as yours. It will be exciting to see it come to fruition once this freezing cold is done in the South, lol!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mrs Mike
    January 18, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    that pop of blue on the shutters looks wonderful! Can’t wait to see the end results!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 18, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    FWIW, Your future porch/railing update will look WAY AWESOMER than Joanna’s. The way her window is not centered between the porch columns would drive me crazy, LOL. Yours is going to look AMAZING!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 18, 2018 at 10:14 pm

      Mine’s actually not centered either. 🙁 But I don’t think mine is quite as off center as the Fixer Upper window is, and my front porch is wider so it feels roomier. I can’t wait to start on it!