As we approach ‘locked and loaded’ status for interior selections and orders for our home renovation, I am now turning my focus elsewhere – outside the house, to be specific.
Even though I know and employ daily the elements and principles of design, when it comes to exterior design, my mind just shuts down. I don’t really think about it that much, to be honest with you. I’ve never lived an indoor-outdoor lifestyle (I grew up in the Buffalo, NY area, so…), and we have never spent a lot of time hanging out in our yard or on our old deck. I’m all about interiors – well, interiors and exterior color consulting – but just color!!
Anyway, we hired a landscape architect to help us come up with a comprehensive landscape plan – from our front driveway and backyard ‘terrace,’ to all of the plantings and everything in-between. We’re still not sure how much we’ll implement now vs. later, but I’m surprised by how excited I am about the possibilities for our little yard!
We’re still working through schematic design but here are a couple of snapshots of the concept sketches overlaid on our property’s site plan.
Whatever Phase I ends up being, at minimum it will include our back patio or ‘raised terrace’ as I apparently need to start calling it. It sounds much fancier that way, right? We have two sets of French doors that will lead to a small landing, with two steps down to the terrace. Nothing terribly outrageous here – probably bluestone, our gas grill, and our existing patio furniture (with new seat cushions).
Again, our yard is not very big – so I was pleasantly surprised by how much we’re actually going to be able to do with it! The play structure will be in play for several more years, but slightly repositioning and rotating it 90 degrees creates an opportunity for a cozy little seating area. Right now things are kind of wacky back there, because our home’s previous owners hastily filled in the pool after the house sat on the market for months, and the current landscape design is really geared around a pool. Yes, around here, having a pool with no backyard is considered less desirable than a small backyard with no pool. Welcome to New England.
I won’t go into all the details of what’s happening behind there, but it will involve some low-maintenance fruits and veggies, and maybe a little water feature. The best part about our new backyard? It will be fully fenced in – pure, unadulterated bliss for these dog owners (and our bunny-chasing beagle)!
We are screening in our side porch (on the right side of the front of the house), and just making some minor tweaks/enhancements to the front walkway and driveway. The front porch is being rebuilt once our new mudroom is up and running, but it will maintain the same shape and general look. I’ll be excited to finally up my curb appeal by incorporating some seasonal planters, as well – on the front porch, and possibly one big urn as the ‘focal feature’ in the middle of the brick path to our front door.
We also decided, since about half of our house was receiving new siding, to just go ahead and re-side the entire house so it all looks the same. It was due to be painted anyway. Which means in addition to selecting interior colors, I also had to decide on paint colors for the outside of our house! I knew I didn’t want to drastically change anything – I like it yellow, and it is unique in our neighborhood. But I do want to warm up the white a bit, and tweak the yellow ever-so-slightly. A little less lemon-y, a little more Meyer Lemon-y.
These are all colors from Benjamin Moore’s Williamsburg collection – my absolute go-to favorite for exterior color, in particular. The front door was painted Colonial Verdigris a couple of years ago for my first One Room Challenge. I still love it and don’t want to change it.
They started work on the siding and exterior trim yesterday!
Since the interior part of our project is slated to be complete in December, I’m giving myself a pass on figuring out outdoor furniture for the backyard and screened porch, probably until the New Year. That way we’ll have it by springtime. Welcome to New England :).
This next week in the construction process is pretty critical. Mostly critical from a timing perspective. We are due to insulate within the next couple of days, then blueboard and plaster right on its heels (walls!!). If these milestones are delayed in any way, our ‘Christmas or bust’ mantra could pretty quickly become ‘busted.’ If you see me over the next two weeks, please remind me to breathe :).