Category Archives: Exterior

Plain Jane House Gets Its Makeover

We spent the weekend in my hometown in southern Illinois,

+ while there — as is my way — I perused the listings on realtor.com.

Do you do that, too?

Anyway, I was surprised that there were so many houses under $100 grand!

For example, this plain Jane (with lots of potential!) is only $49,900!

You can see more in the Realtor.com listing, here.

cape cod of greenville front exterior

Just yesterday on Facebook,

my cousin from my hometown posted the photo of a house

she was interested in buying, + guess which one it was!

Hard to believe, but yes — the plain Jane house!

cape cod of greenville front exterior

Say no more!

I was soon dashing over to Pinterest for some design inspiration to share,

+ here’s what I found, from the blog, Nesting With Grace.

It’s another plain Jane house, this one with a small porch.

(Some of my cousin’s Facebook friends suggested that ‘her house’ needed one!)

But something’s not quite right.

The wrought iron porch column + the stair railings

were all the rage, back in the 50’s + 60’s — but today, it looks dated + too thin.

It needs to be replaced with something more substantial,

  + on that note, here’s the stunning AFTER:

I know!  It’s like night + day, isn’t it?

It looks like they’ve replaced the wrought iron with white vinyl,

which is probably in stock at your local build-o-rama.

The light fixture’s been updated to something larger,

+ there’s a new mailbox + new house numbers.

Even though the porch is quite small,

there’s room for a sweet + welcoming French cafe chair.

The new front door has been painted a pretty shade of blue:

Now, pay close attention to this:

all the accessories — the chair + the flower pots —

echo the blue of the door + the white of the posts + railings.

For yet more color coordination, the shutters are painted the door blue,

+ the pair of white Adirondack chairs even have blue pillows.

There’s a lot going on,

but keeping everything in just one color family

makes the design cohesive + not too crazy or too busy.

 

The landscaping’s been updated with some classic boxwood shrubs

+ some pretty pink + red Knock-Out Roses, which bloom all season.

(Notice how the red is repeated in the red stripes of the U.S. flag.)

The new white window boxes add architectural detail,

+ their small evergreens (dwarf Alberta spruces?)

will provide winter interest when the roses go dormant.

Let’s have one more look at the $49 grand house in my home town:

cape cod of greenville front exterior

It’s easy to envision some of the blog house’s AFTER features here, isn’t it?

Remember — it, too, was once a plain Jane!

Now it’s time to share on Facebook!

Stay tuned for my cousin’s + friends’ reactions!

 

 


Happily Fertilizing In The Garden

My friend in Florida suggested I use SUPERthrive vitamin plant brew,

. . . so I just fed it to everything in our garden . . .

superthrive

. . . one watering can at a time!

IMG_0712

It was quite a job, since we have lots of new plants in our yard,

but I love gardening so much, it’s not work for me!

Anything for my plants!

The instructions say that SUPERthrive can be used

in addition to other types of fertilizer.

That’s a good thing, considering all the “brews” that I add to my plants!

When anything new gets planted, we always add root stimulator,

a.k.a. Quick Start, by Miracle Grow.

root stimulator

As the season progresses, about once a week, I add fertilizer,

each one formulated for different sorts of plants.

My ferns + hydrangeas apparently grow best in acid soil,

IMG_0674

so they are fed with this:

hydrangea food

 Fun fact:

Endless Summer hydrangea flowers turn blue if their soil is acidic,

which means they’ll coordinate nicely with all my blue garden accesories.

Here’s one of three** we just planted, with my beloved bird bath,

made with a blue + white transfer ware plate:

IMG_0700

The birdbath is resting on an old hollow tree stump,

+ the silvery green plants in the background are pulmonaria,

more commonly known as lungwort.

IMG_0593

My pretty blue gazing ball usually rests nearby on a white iron stand.

This morning I was moving stuff around, so I just snapped its photo on the lawn:

IMG_0710

Here is one of my most favorite garden accessories —

my cobalt blue glass star!

We have three** of them hanging from a branch of a tree,

where they manage to catch the sun in both morning + late afternoon.

IMG_0706

** Why groups of three, you ask?

Design professionals insist that odd numbers

are more pleasing to the eye than even.

I do this in my interiors, too.

  • * * *

Finally, in my quest for beautiful flowers + lots of ’em,

I add Bloom Booster to my flowering plants:

bloom boost

We planted an informal hedge of oak leaf hydrangeas last fall,

+ most of them are flowering already:

IMG_0703

You may notice that the oak leaf hydrangea’s flowers are elongated

+ consist of hundreds of tiny, white petals . . .

IMG_0702

. . . whereas the Endless Summers’ flowers are round-ish,

with larger petals.

IMG_0704

What the hey — I have never met a hydrangea that I didn’t love!

We’ll probably add more to our garden as the summer progresses.

Stay tuned!

(If you’re interested in my post

about the front foundation bed of our Dutch colonial, go here.)

IMG_0683


Finally! Our Informal Hedge!

From the minute we closed on our Dutch colonial,

I have been trying (but failing) to design our lot line landscaping.

Then this happened.

Just last weekend, I found (my favorites!) Oak Leaf hydrangeas

at Menards, a Midwestern home improvement store:

oak leaf alabama

$11 each for one gallon size plants!

Can you believe it?

Yesterday we drove to a Menards about an hour away,

to find enough plants (7 total) to  make our informal hedge.

Like this, hopefully:

oak leaf hydrangea big hedge

Back to NOW — here we have our new plants,

marching along our lot line, at left (below).

Imagine, if you will, what our hedge will look like, in a few years:

Good things come to those who wait!

Oak Leaf hydrangeas grow to 6′-8′ tall by 6′ x 8′ wide.

This means our backyard will be less of a fish bowl.

Our hedge will begin + end  between 2 large existing trees —

a huge walnut (L) + a gorgeous maple (R):

Oak Leaf hydrangeas have cone-shaped white flowers

which turn a pretty, faded pink as the blooming season progresses.

Yes, those flowers are gorgeous,

but in my opinion, their leaves are the all stars.

Look at what happens in the Fall:

Is it any wonder that Fall is our favorite season?

Anyway, I am so relieved + happy,

after suffering through all those months of indecision.

oak leaf hydrangea 2

It’s hard to believe I found one of my favorites,

+ at such an affordable price!

Fingers crossed we’ll find the time to plant them THIS week.

Stay tuned!



Beautiful Stone

Another morning, another walk with Chloe the Dachshund:

DSC00211

Here she is, admiring the tile sidewalk

at the entrance of a former movie theater-turned-church in our downtown.

DSC00210

What a neat feature, don’t you think?

I wish I knew more about it, like what material it is

+ how it stays so good-looking through our area’s long, cold winters!

Next, here’s a church message board that caught my attention.

JAZZ?  Yes, please!

DSC00205

Actually, I’ve seen this post before — several times, in fact.

Each time, I make a mental note to attend said jazz service,

but I’ve not yet made it.  Stay tuned.

But back to the church.  Here is a photo of its front facade:

DSC00206

Here’s a close up of one of its windows.

Notice the wedge-shaped stone in the middle, on top:

DSC00207

Architectural fun factoid:

that feature is called a keystone.

Geography fun factoid:

Pennsylvania is known as “The Keystone State”,

+ the distinctive shape is often seen in various logos, like these:

keystone penn

keystone penn 2

Now we’re all set, just in case the Final Jeopardy category is State Mottoes.

You’re welcome.

Perhaps, if you’re really paying close attention,

you recall that our house’s beautiful stone foundation

is nearly identical to that of the church.

DSC09966

DSC00206

Interesting, no?

Once again, my curiosity is piqued.

What kind of stone is that, + was it locally sourced?

Is one person or company responsible for its installation?

DSC00202

I also need to find out the year in which our house was built.

Stay tuned!


THE CAVENDER DIARY

2 GROWN MEN vs a 40 YEAR OLD HOUSE

Earnest Home co.

The New Traditional

down to earth digs

life in and around the garden

bubblewrappedblog

Poppable Reviews of Books, Movies, and Beauty

Lifestyle & Design Online

Sharing our life, our style, & design online.

Hommemaker

A Life & Style Site by Orlando Soria

Hooked on Houses

A Fun Place to Get Your House Fix