Sunday, October 24, 2010

Exterior Paint, Before and After

You may notice that I've changed the photo on my header.  When I started my blog, I borrowed the facade of another...

...Cambridge Greek Revival.  I'm happy to be able to retire that photo and use an image from my own house.

When you last saw the house after the columns were installed, this is what it looked like.  

A coat of paint went a LONG way to unite all the different materials and colors.

This is what it looks like as of this morning.

Isn't the difference amazing?

I don't think I've ever shown this photo.  This is what house looked like when I bought it.

I did a lot of simple projects, always working on the ugliest thing.  I replaced the wrought iron posts at the front porch, repainted the foundation, removed the chain link fence, installed a new cedar picket fence, planted a few shrubs, painted the ugly aluminum door and moved the main power line that ran down the front of the house.  The cedar fence was quite expensive but the rest of the projects were done as weekend projects for relatively little money.

All of these projects resulted in the house you saw when I was applying for my variance in April.

(Click on any of the photos to enlarge.)
And here is the house today.

Remember this view?

The paint totally integrated the original shingles into the new work...and saved me a lot of money.

The beadboard ceiling is painted sky blue.  (I'm not sure why the crown molding is painted blue.  I wouldn't have done that and I'll probably change that.)  Just waiting for the new light to be installed. 

And all the old wood trim on the pediment was scraped, primed and is now looking really great.  (The "Head of the Charles" crew races are taking place on the Charles River this weekend and I just happened to catch a plane pulling an advertising banner in this photo.) 

Here's another old photo of the house when I bought it.  This shows the old deck railings and the handicapped ramp that was attached to the back porch along with a sidewalk that ran across the entire yard to the front door.

You've seen before what I did with that space.  

This is that same view today.

I had to exclude the back porches from this phase of the overall project and they're looking a little tired and sagging but a coat of paint should go a long way to helping them blend in.

The porch ceilings are beadboard and were quite water damaged under the old vinyl siding but hours of scraping and priming by the painters have really cleaned it up.  See why I was worried about color of the primer?  It's WAY off from the color I chose.

Here is the pilaster at the back corner of the house.  The upstairs deck railing was too short to reach the pilaster after the three layers of siding were removed so we added a post and tied it in. It's good enough for now.

(I put a coat of paint on the front door since I took photos this morning)

The sidelights will hopefully go in this week and the rest of the windows should come in the next few weeks.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween.


  1. It looks amazing! Congratulations on having your home looking so fantastic. It is quite the transformation from when you bought it. I love the colors you chose. Love the black front door. Can't wait to see it with sidelights.

  2. I think the transformation is amazing. I love what you have done! I really like the colour you painted it too, you must be very happy with it.. take care, Maryann

  3. Fantastic! Amazing what a little paint (and a lot of hard work) can do. I look forward to your updates!

  4. I'm completely and totally impressed - that is one of the best before-and-afters I have ever seen. I love you house now. It looks so classic and simple and perfect. Well done!

  5. Terrific - that pumpkin should have a really happy face!

  6. I have been waiting for these photos. This is one of the best before and after houses I have seen in a long time. Its magic! You, along with Trina and Mike, deserve an Oscar for houses. Bravo for the wonderful job.

  7. Rosemary,
    That pumpkin is a mystery. I don't know where it came from. Really!

    I think I have a long way to go to match what Trina and Mike have done, but that's a real compliment. Thank you!

  8. You must just be ecstatic. Do you go outside and just marvel at your beautiful home? I am amazed how you saw past what was there when you bought the house. Not everyone would be so bold...or so insightful.

  9. Amazing! Congratulations on bringing back your house's grandness! It is such a beautiful transformation.

  10. hi steve,

    i'm just so impressed. it is so gorgeous. so stately and proper. so upstanding citizen.

    you must be so pleased with the outcome because it really is beautiful. very well done. you are the man!


  11. beautiful! I was really anxious to see the paint job, and kept opening your blog all the time this week!

  12. Oh, your house looks gorgeous! You had a lot of vision when you bought that house. I love the black windows with the black door. You must be really happy with the outcome.

  13. Isabel, Nice to hear from you! Thanks for your kind comments. Steve

  14. Bravo! It looks absolutely amazing. What a transformation!


  15. Steve, it looks absolutely beautiful! What a wonderful transformation you've given this sweet old house! This is when all the stress of decision making, exhaustive research and even those sleepless nights makes you realize that it was all worth it!
    You have great and inspiring vision Steve!

  16. As for the sky blue ceiling in the front porch...I have a friend in Louisiana who says her older cousins informed her that the ceilings of porches are often painted sky blue to trick the insects into thinking it is the sky so they will fly up and away from people. ;) Don't know about this particular piece of folklore, but I thought you might be interested.

    What a wonderful job! I've been waiting for the photos.

  17. Oh looks gorgeous. This is what makes all those headaches worth it...walking up to that view everyday!!! Congrats..

  18. Steve, this is just incredible! What a sense of satisfaction and pride you must have. And, your neighbors must love you, too. When all is said and done, will you continue to live there, or will another house call out to you?

  19. Steve,
    Absolutely, positively AMAZING!!! What a gorgeous Greek Revival you have uncovered. You were truly visionary in seeing this gem under the original facade. I would set a chair across the street and just sit and admire it nightly if I were you! You must be so thrilled to see your dream become reality. You must be the talk of Cambridge!
    I'm so happy for you, and of course your beautiful home. It will stand as testiment to your love long after we all are gone.


  20. Congrats! Beautiful. Beautiful. Now, how about a picture of you sitting out front?

  21. Steve,
    This is absolutely amazing! I even got the chills when I saw the last picture!
    It looks so proper and so elegant-it's absolutely a different house. Your insights and decisions were spot on and this has to be one of the best transformations I have seen. I bet your neighbors are in complete awe. I love the color combination ... love the black door and the larger windows make all the difference. I am so thrilled for you!
    Wonder what Miss Jenny would think? and when is the house warming party? :)

    Seriously...phenominal job Steve!

  22. holy gorgeous palette! it's absolutely perfect.

  23. Steve,
    What a magnificent transformation! I know you must be sooo proud of yourself for accomplishing what you invisioned. Again, you had a great crew, and I think they did the whole thing rather quickly. It's just beautiful. I too would be sitting across the street with a chair and a glass of wine admiring the outcome. I think you would have a few of your neighbors joining you. I think when you replace the other windows and the sidelights, the look will be complete. I love the dark windows and the contrast with the paint color you chose! I'm sure you're happy it's finished in time for the Holidays!

  24. It looks fabulous!

  25. You house is wonderful. Cambridge is a lovely historic town. You have done a lot of work on it the right way. I love the Greek Revival style.

  26. Such a beautiful house! The transformation is really amazing!! How long have you been working on it?


  27. Just your fence painted Silver Chain also? Silver Chain appears white in the photos. Does it look white in person, or does it look light gray? Thanks!

    Susan Billings

    1. Susan,
      The fence is white. I think it looks light gray in person. If you go the recap of the exterior renovation which is here: and go to the last photo, you'll notice the bottom riser on the front steps wasn't painted in Silver Chain. That's an easier place to see the difference.