Real People, Renovating. Today we continue our seven-part series written by Katherine Scarrow, who decided to renovate an original condition 1940s bungalow with her boyfriend, Chris. “It didn’t seem like such a big fat scary deal to him,” she says, while she brought “abundant enthusiasm and profound naïveté” to the project. Why the difference in attitude? Chris was born into a family of builders and designers, while Katherine “grew up in a home where no one was even remotely deft with a hammer.”
Part 6: Curb Appeal
Cedar shakes, a nautical light fixture and white paint: We were going for an “East Coast cottage” look with the reno’ed front of the house.
There were a number of challenges with the front yard, including the driveway and brick veneer; however, the biggest obstacle by far was the porch. We loathed the original concrete porch, which had a metal handrail that jutted to the side. A big challenge was to configure a new front-facing cedar porch and figure out a way to build it without having to remove all of the concrete.
Front porch: $1500
Cedar shakes: $200
Outdoor cottage lantern: $30
The original front: "Stone" veneer, (bent) metal railing, concrete porch
The front, mid-reno: new front door replaced, concrete side steps removed
The front, mid-reno: new porch, with front-facing steps
The finished front: Warm, attractive, landscaped, homey — approachable!
Cedar shakes on the gable. We didn’t need to do this, because the original white vinyl was in fairly good condition — but we really like the effect.
The red bricks we laid on the pathway. Chris found them on Kijiji — $50 for 200 bricks, sourced from an old Toronto post office.
What we would have done differently:
I would have loved to rip off the stone veneer and paint the red brick underneath, but it would’ve been too difficult and expensive.
Design and Reno Difficulty?
On a scale of 1 to 5 expert heads of any kind — 5 representing the highest in difficulty or potential for disaster — we give this space a 4 of each. Everything about the front yard was a challenge.
We strongly recommend:
On larger, multifaceted projects like the front yard or the backyard, plan carefully. We spent weeks and weeks configuring the design for the front walkway and porch, and were glad we did. It can be extremely costly — not to mention wasteful in terms of time management — to just dive in without thinking everything through.
Supplies for front porch: Home Depot
Coastal beige “UL160-11” paint: Behr Masonry, Stucco and Brick paint
Cedar shakes: Lakeshore Lumber
Plants: Lowe’s, Sheridan Nurseries
Brick (from an old Toronto post office): Kijiji
Outdoor cottage lantern: Hampton Bay Brushed Nickel 1, Home Depot
Next Up — The Grand Finale: The Backyard!