Amazing Before & After Exterior Home Renovation

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What started as the need for a new roof became the most amazing before and after, exterior home renovation.

We quickly realized that when you’re making even small changes to the exterior of a home, it impacts other things.

before pictures of our front porch

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Our New Roof

We had a cedar shake roof and it desperately needed to be replaced. Cedar shake can be one of the more expensive roofing materials so we started looking at alternatives.

The problem with the alternative was that the decking for a shake roof is completely different than that of a conventional roofing product or a metal roof which was also something we briefly considered. What we ended up with was a cedar shake look using GAF Grand Canyon Shingles Color: Storm Cloud Gray.

Because we changed the type of roofing materials we had to tear off the roof completely and add traditional roof bracing and sheeting. Since we were doing this, it seemed like a good time to have new insulation blown into our roof.

Since our second floor which includes our primary bedroom and attic space is tucked into the roof the addition of insulation to the whole space has made a huge impact on the warmth of our 2nd floor.

Who Knew Adding a Front Porch would be so much Trouble?

After thinking about the cost of the new roof, we knew that it was something that we would not be doing ever again so I suggested putting on some kind of a front porch to provide a little protection from the elements by our front door.

Things quickly turned into a whole exterior makeover that included a large new porch and front entry.

This consequently led to new siding and new windows and of course a new front door.

Once we had decided to invest in this new major renovation with structural changes we met with an architect to do it right. Being an Interior Designer I got busy with the details.

architectural drawing of the new porch for our exterior home renovation

Picking Out the Siding was not an Easy Task

After the roofing, the siding was one of the big decisions we had to make early on. Finding a siding color that we liked proved to be difficult.

We eventually chose LP Smart Side Siding. We liked the quality and we could get it in a custom color. Home Depot had exactly what we wanted. The paint color we chose was Sherwin Williams: SW: 7602 Indigo Batik.

I’m still as in love with the color today as when I chose it. We get so many compliments on it and if imitation is truly the sincerest form of flattery then we are very flattered because many people have copied our house color. The trim and corner boards are all white and the contrast is stunning.

Now that our exterior walls were getting resided additional insulation was added to the entire home exterior.


1. To restore to good condition; make new or as if new again; repair

2. To invigorate; refresh; REVIVE

New Front Door

I chose a wood front door. I never dreamed that I would have anything but a painted door. However, it turns out that I liked the contrast of the wood with the blue and white house. Our door is a Shaker Style Door from Classic Craft American Style Collection – English Walnut: 007 We opted for the dental molding shelf detail on the exterior of the door. If we had a garage, I would have chosen the same doors for our garage door.

Exterior Lighting

Both Handy and I are pretty quick to make decisions and with all the renovations we’ve done to this house, we surprisingly don’t regret many decisions. I get tired of things and sometimes want a change but rarely have regrets.

I’m a firm believer in your first gut instinct probably being your best choice.

We were no different with lighting. I knew I wanted black, traditional, and nothing fussy. Then it basically came down to a light collection that had a hanging pendant for the new portico, wall sconces for the other exterior walls, and the back door light. We worked with a local lighting store and quickly chose them.

The Side of Our House

We live on water and what most people would call their backyard, we call the front of the house because it faces the water. Our front door is on what most people would call the side of their house.

The original owners who built this house wanted the large floor-to-ceiling windowed wall to face the water so that put the front door where it is. Consequently, our back door which goes out of our kitchen to our outdoor kitchen, and our shed are on the other side of the house, across from the front door.

Does any of this make any sense?

On that side of our house where we have our back door we also added a small little porch overhang. Again for protection from the elements. It also adds a really nice detail to that side of the house.

The Shed

Since we don’t have a garage, our shed is our primary space for outdoor storage. It also is adjacent to the side of our home and very visible from the street so the roof and siding need to match the house.

Once “Handy” started taking things out of the shed to start work on it, it became clear that the shed was also in serious need of some hard work.

The shed basically needed to be rebuilt from the inside out but it is now a sturdy well built structure that we use for the things most people have in a garage.

There is a tool bench for all the tools. We have cabinets to house everything from ball jars to yellow paint. There is a rack system that fits plastic storage bins and coolers.

We also got rid of an old refrigerator and old freezer and replaced them with a new, energy-efficient refrigerator/freezer. I do miss the extra freezer space but in the big scheme of things it serves us much better. I don’t forget what is in there and we eat our freezer food regularly.

It’s an organized space that is actually very attractive for a shed.


We had to do a little bit of new landscaping and we added new window boxes to the front window. It didn’t make sense to have all this brand new siding and windows and put back the ratty old window boxes.

Energy-Efficient Home Renovations

When we were planning this we had two very important things we wanted.

1) Make our home more energy efficient to lower our gas and electric bills

2) Use products that would last at least our lifetime if not more. If we do ever sell this house, potential buyers can rest assured that the home’s exterior is pretty much maintenance-free.

Recently I wrote a post about things you can do to make your home more energy-efficient. You can find that HERE

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you get an amazing home transformation without spending a lot of money?

The best way to transform your home’s exterior is to put a fresh coat of paint on the front door. Give it a new color that will pop with the rest of the house.

A few cans of paint are a relatively inexpensive way to change your home’s appearance.

I’m loving white paint on siding, especially if it’s brick. Then paint the window frames black and add natural wood shutters along with a bright-colored door.

Where do you start with an exterior remodel project?

I just happen to have timelines and checklists in my FREE Resource Library.

If you are a friend of Living Large in a Small House you have access to all of those printables. Home improvements take planning to get them right and keep your project cost under control.

Important things to know about home renovations

Always budget for 15-20% overage. You can always expect to run into issues that cost $ that you weren’t expecting.

It also typically takes more time than expected. Our exterior project took almost a year. We had contractor delays, weather delays, and material delays (even before the 2021/2022 material issues).

The exterior of our home after an extensive renovation.

Upcoming Home Renovations.

We tripled the size of our kitchen when we did a major kitchen renovation 10 years ago. While I still love my kitchen, it’s in need of a refresh and that is definitely on my next project to-do list.

Our primary bedroom also could use some love. The floors are the original hardwood and because I don’t want to go through the process involved with sanding, staining, and sealing them, I’m considering painting them!!!

Lastly, our great room needs a new coat of painting and I’m thinking of going with the 2023 trend and painting them a bold color with possibly a texture paint finish. I don’t know how “Handy” is going to feel about that. 😉

In Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this before and after of our home exterior renovation. It’s funny how we didn’t think the house looked all that bad until we look at it now. The new design just adds so much more character and interest to our home. The front porch is like a big “welcome to our home” hug!

Not only did we get a fresh new look but an absolutely beautiful home. The change to this home’s curb appeal is astounding.

Peace and Love,

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On the podcast this week, I talk with my daughter Annie and my handy husband Keith about putting a new kitchen in her Dallas home in 8 days.


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    1. I can’t believe what a difference it made!