|   SHOP    |    ABOUT    |    CONTACT   |


Before and After: Exterior Trim and New Gutters!

Things have been really quiet on the blog this summer.  With the end of a big house poject, I hope to have more time sharing my ideas, stories, and projects on the blog.  While I am super active on Instagram, the blog tends to be VERY slow.  So lets kick off this new season with a before and after of my big summer project, exterior trim and gutters.  What is trim you may ask? Well, it is all the framed areas of the house.  Think of it as an outline in your coloring book, or a frame on a picture.   All of our trim and facia* (facia* is the structure underneath the gutters) not only needed to be painted, there were many parts that were rotted and needed to be replaced.  You may have noticed we have a duplex.  We co-own this side-by-side duplex with our friend Eric.  Cable and I live in the left side, and him in the right. We decided to do this big DIY project together this summer.  We started planning this project in the spring, and every weekend in the summer was pretty much devoted to working on this project.  Goodbye summer and friends, hello brick and paint in my face!  Oh and keep in mind all the pictures here are just ONE HALF of the house (the other side looks just like our side).

Crazy what a coat of paint will do!  We chose Benjamin Moore's, Sun Valley for the doors and French Beret for the trim.  We had originally chosen black instead of the deep blue/gray. Clearly we made the right choice.  I love that the door is a ray of sunshine every time you see it!  In gray Seattle weather, you need to be reminded of the sun sometimes.  I wish I had a progress shot because SO much work went into this besides just a coat of paint.  Here is a list of all the things we did in a nutshell:

Fixing Trim, Facia, and Gutters:

  • Get quotes:  A very long process of calling dudes to tell you how much it is to replace gutters and fix the facia.  Some showed up hungover and smelling of whisky.  Some showed up 6 hours late.  Some were just right.  Make sure they give you a piece of paper with their card and quote, you will mix them up.  Three months later you will decide half of what they quoted you you will do yourself to save money.
  • Get the right tools or have a neighbor that is a professional house painter:  Co-owning is great because that means you share the cost of stuff like this.  Between both sides, we had mostly everything we needed.  I think power tools was the only way to get the boys motivated to actually devote their weekends to this beautifying project.  That and our basement flooding (more on that later).
  • Demo:  Rip off all the rotting gutters (carefully and safely because there will be lead) and take to the dump.  We have spent a lot of money at the dump, it is not cheap.  I will never complain again about neighbors leaving junk in their yards.   There is a reason rich neighborhoods look nice, because they have $$$$.  It is so expensive, around $80 per load because we were always over the weight limit!  I think we went about four times.  I am glad we do not live in a rich neighborhood, clearly we would not live up to their standards.
  • Repair, patch, caulk, sand:  This was the fun part.  But, before we actually painted everything we had to replace and repair rotting sections.  I was happy not to do this part, as the guys just took care of it.  It took about two full days to do that while I prepped and caulked. Caulking is fun by the way.  Oh and do not forget to re-glaze your windows!  The glaze is the putty that holds the glass in the windows.  This was also fun.  Sanding is not fun.  
  • Paint:  We primed first with tinted primer, then painted two coats of paint.  I forget the finish type, but if you are still reading this and really want to know I will reward you by finding out.
  • Gutters:  After an entire summer of work, it was finally time to fork over some cash to the gutter guy.  He came and finished in one day!  We chose black for the gutters, and it looks fresh.  I highly recommend him.  
  • Details:  Technically we are not done.  We still have not replaced our house numbers or replaced or painted our light fixtures.  But I expect this will happen slowly over time.  Oh and then there is scraping paint off the glass of the windows and painting our storm door in the back.  Eh, probably will happen next summer.
Overall the project went smoothly.  Yeah there were days we sort of wanted to kill each other, but that is totally normal when you are doing annoying exterior house projects.  Obviously we would all rather be subway tiling our backslashes right now.  But gutters are important.  So important when it rained after we took them off our basement flooded.  Team effort really got the job done.  And between three heads coming together, I think we did a pretty good job of doing things ourself.  Unlike some people [cough* caugh*] the previous owner.

Oh and people might think you are insane or a perfectionist because you want to scrub off all the teal paint that was slathered all over the brick AROUND the TRIM.  So annoying right?  It's like the previous owners painted their trim in the DARK!  Any new paint would be framed by big teal brush strokes all over the house.  So I took it upon myself to obsess over this and try and scrub off the paint with paint thinner (gross and scary since it can melt your skin off).  Finally I realized I should listen to Eric and paint over the paint with artists paint.  Hey we are artists after all!  So we did just that trying to meticulously match the brick with various mixed colors and textures.  Bob Ross would be very proud.  We feathered the fuck out of that brick color to make it look real.  And it looks GREAT!  I wish I had a photo so you can a agree with me.

Oh the back!  Let me explain.  See that little roof over the railing there?  That was being held up by one 2x4 and maybe 2 nails.  So yeah, that had to come down.  I guess the renters who lived here before maybe built to keep rain out of their face when they went down to the basement to do laundry.   You may have noticed the back trim was bright teal.  It was like daggers of ugliness pierced our eyes every time we went in the backyard, which was a lot.  And everything was rusty, rotting, dirty and gross.  There was also a crazy 2x4 keeping the gutter up just above the downspout you see there.  We took that off before I took this picture.  To make things more annoying, a square bit and screws were used to screw these things into place.  Who has a square bit?  Not us!   Otherwise that roof thing would have come down right away! 

The FENCE!  Doesn't that look so much better than the wire awfulness?  Cable was OBSESSED with replacing that as soon as we were done painting trim.  I had the idea of doing a horizontal fence and staining it black.  I guess we should have stained it matching our trim color, but we just wanted to get this done before rain came so we just used what was at Lowe's. We used the existing metal structure of the previous fence to build upon.  So this took about a day to do.  SO much better!

Hanging out in the backyard just got prettier!

UPDATE:  This post was featured on Apartment Therapy!  


  1. Oh my goodness this looks amazing! We have been working like crazy on house projects since we bought our house last year. And I know how labor intensive it can be. Having to do all the prep work and other silly things that no one ever notices is frustrating but necessary. You guys did an incredible job making it look good and taking your time to do it the right way. And I love the yellow door with the black and brick!

    1. Thanks Andrea! Yeah, totally agree with the unnoticed details and work. Everything takes twice as long as you think, be forewarned. Owning a house is a lifestyle indeed. I am pretty sure we started getting eye-rolls from friends when we had to say no to EVERYTHING they invited us to because we had to "work on the house." But hey, I love it and I am really happy our basement will no longer flood.

  2. LOOKS FANTASTIC! job well done you guys!

  3. Bravo! And when it comes to house painting (ie: covering with artist paint), just listen to Eric even if you think it is a ridiculous idea. I learn this the hard way on almost every job we work on together! Love the yellow doors.

  4. a total transformation - wonderful! and love the yellow doors:) xoxox