Before I put up some pictures demonstrating what we did to change the exterior of our house, let me give you a little background about how we ended up living where we currently live.
Six years ago, Brayden was about to enter kindergarten and we were not comfortable sending him to the neighborhood school where we were currently renting a home across town. The problem was, where we wanted to move to, nothing was available! We didn't even bother consulting a real estate agent - we were pretty particular about the area we knew we wanted to move to, and of course, much of it was restricted from our consideration simply because of cost. So, we were over here all the time, driving through the neighborhoods, looking for "new" for sale signs.
If that had been our desire right now, it wouldn't have been much of an issue. Due to the decline in our economy, there are a lot of homes for sale right now. However, back in 2004, it was a sellers' market - and "for sale" signs were rare indeed. We looked at two houses in an area closer to the school, where some close friends lived at the time, and were crushed when they went to someone else.
I had shared with John over how I had begun praying as I drove through our usual path, asking God to open the door to just the right house. So, that's what he did, one afternoon, after playing golf. However, this time, he slipped into a neighborhood we hadn't really investigated. It "fit" the parameters of what we were looking for, but wasn't really the "ideal" that we thought we wanted. As he drove, John prayed that a "door" would be opened - and then he drove by a guy working on a rock structure out in front of his house. John told himself that if the guy acknowledged his "wave" - he would turn around and talk to him about what he knew of houses for sale in his neighborhood. The homeowner gave John the "guy-nod" and that was all it took for John to stop.
When John asked him, "Do you know of any houses in the area that might be going up for sale around here?" The guy responded, "How about this one?". It turns out, he was debating putting his house up for sale and moving to Bend. An afternoon visit later, we were negotiating prices, and there you go, without a real estate agent on either side, we had purchased a home.
The house required a lot of renovations, which I think I've posted on before. We had a ton of help from very special friends that saved us during that time, as John was recovering from a very serious hospitalized bout of pneumonia (That's a post story for another time, we thought we might be losing him at one point as the original diagnosis after the x-ray was a lung-full of blood clots....) and we needed all the help we could get. As it all turned out, we have long since stopped wishing for being in those "alternative neighborhoods". We LOVE our neighbors and have no desire of ever leaving. Originally, we had hoped to expand the size of our home by remodeling the north side and adding on another 700 sq. feet. But, purchases of a ski boat, vacations, and other realities or indulgences of life took over, so the idea got tabled.
This year, we decided that we ought to be real with ourselves and recognize that that remodel is a long way out from considering given the downturn of economy - and we might as well just paint the house (which we had put off because we didn't want to do it twice with a pending remodel). One idea led to another (99% of the ideas coming from John as he handled almost all of the details of this project) - and we ended up adding decorative rock siding, new windows (our old ones were very energy inefficient and in bad shape....) and a little change-up with the front most portion of our house, to break out through part of the wall and put in a large window instead. John, with the help of Travis, also did "soffits" (no idea if I'm close to the spelling on that one), under the eaves, with John ending the project with strategically placed can lighting to make it look extra special in the evening.
We are REALLY happy with the results. It makes me feel like our home is a place I'm even more cozy and content with - John and the folks that did the painting and window installation all did a phenomenal job.
So, here are the "BEFORE" shots - because we changed out a closed-in exterior patio on our master bedroom (far right) to a windowed wall when we first moved in, the paint surrounding that window has never perfectly matched the rest of the house. Also, the window grid of that new window didn't match the rest of the windows which were plain with an external wood grid placed overtop.
This front most part of our house actually looks into the garage. We had to put black paper behind the "tacky" distorted-image windows on the side - and that little plaque that has our address on it is actually hiding some electrical wires....
You wouldn't believe how fast everyone got everything done, which meant things changed very quickly. I like how the gorgeous blue sky helped give us the "everything is better" perspective with these "AFTER" pictures......
Given all the extra upgrades John opted for with this, it will now be even longer before we consider adding on to the size of our home, but at this point, that has really not been much of a concern for us (though, when the Schilling family is here, along with the Whites - and three dogs, I do consider it now and then!). Sometimes small is cozy - and well, the blog is title "The Cozy Corner" for a reason....... =)