Project Cottonwood Lane – Huge Exterior Makeover

Things around here on Cottonwood Lane are turning upside down.  Welcome to the madness!!  This week, a huge exterior makeover to our home is underway.  Since our house will be such a mess for some time, my blogging plans may change just a bit as our renovations will present new challenges over the coming weeks/months.  However, I am very excited to share the process and the progress.

When we bought our “fixer upper” four years ago, we knew the windows and stucco would have to be replaced.  The previous owner had the brick home covered in stucco, but now it has cracks in many areas so the inspector told us it would have to be redone.  ARGH!  Good news though…I would get to change the color and the look to be more in line with my long-term plans for our property.

Additionally, the windows we acquired with the property were not up to new efficiency standards and the appearance of them was problematic for my overall design plan for both the interior and the exterior.  First and foremost, the goal was to eliminate all of the divided light panes in the windows to clean up the look and let more light into our smaller spaces.  Secondly, I wanted to change the color for more contrast with the interior and exterior colors.  More on that later!

On a recent visit home to Dallas, I saw this property and loved it.  It certainly provided some inspiration for the direction with the exterior finishes of our home.  For our project, I will be lightening up our stucco and stone and installing black framed windows which will create a dramatic, more modern look like this lovely home.

I also loved this transitional exterior featured in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles.

Our home was built in 1972, so there were several things I could not change about the home…most notably, the ceiling heights.  Our last home had 16-foot ceilings in the main living areas and 9 foot ceilings in our basement so the expansive spaces were much more grand, as were the windows which is why we fell in love with our last home (shown here).

So, you might be asking now…”why would you leave that home and go to a smaller one with much lower ceilings?!”  Three main reasons…location, location location, a huge lot in the middle of town (for our fur babies) and the investment opportunity.  This is not our dream home, but it had great bones and I could redesign it to our liking.

Because of our shorter ceiling heights, it became critical to “open up” our windows to help give the allusion of larger spaces and allow in more light.  You will see a huge difference once these projects wrap up.

Our past and future projects

Phase One of “Project Cottonwood Lane” included gutting the main floor and the basement to start over prior to moving in.  We literally took the whole main floor (entry area, living area, dining room, kitchen, breakfast room, second eating area and the powder bath) down to the studs and remodeled everything.  Same with the basement which included a new living area, a kitchen/full bar, a full bathroom, a theater and a temporary utility room.

Phase Two was the remodel of the master bathroom and a hall bathroom upstairs.  Posts on those projects are forthcoming!

Phase Three is our present project…all new windows and exterior doors, all new stucco and exterior stone.  It is kind of a tough one because I would much rather be spending all of this money on other projects.  However, I keep reminding myself that it will make a huge impact on both the interior and the exterior of our home and help create a much more modern look for our 1970s home.

Phase Four and Five involve expanding the size of our home.  Phase Four involves bringing our attached 2-car garage into our home to add a large family room.  Plus, the enclosed sunroom next to our garages (our “mud room” now) will be rebuilt to become my new laundry room and office/workroom for me (mostly to store my enormous collection of serving ware and glassware!).

Phase Five will entail scraping our additional attached 3-car garage to build an 8-car garage for my husband’s toys.  We are still trying to decide whether or not we take the garage up or not to add a large guest suite and office for my husband.  Our architect currently has them drawn that way.  HUGE decision!  More on that later…

Phase Three – Exterior Makeover

Now that we are in this phase, I will share the process and progress as it goes along.  For this post, I will discuss how I came to the decisions for the windows, doors, stucco color and stone color.  The next posts in this series will cover each step.  First, the prep and installation for the window and door replacements.  Next, the stucco repair and replacement and finally, the stonework.  Hopefully, I will have hair left at the end of all of this!!

The original windows are very busy visually, so it was important to me to remove those visual “distractions”.  We live in a beautiful area with lots of trees and great views.  Presently, the view out of our home is being blocked by the divided light windows.  Hence, the decision to order windows without window panes.  I am so excited for this update!!

Because of the stunning weather we have here in Colorado, we open our windows almost daily (except in the winter, of course!), especially in the mornings and evenings, so we did want to continue to have slider windows in certain areas to keep the air flow going.  Think about how much better they will look without the divided light panels!

Finally, because we are lightening up our exterior stucco color (it presently has a peachy tone), I chose black for the windows to provide a more dramatic contrast.  It will make a huge difference both from an interior perspective and for the exterior.  Right now, all of the exterior colors are too similar…all light, neutral tones.  I recommend a stronger contrast of colors if your home is either very light or dark for a more impactful design.  We had to replace our roof last year so I chose a graphite black roof color so it would coordinate with my future plans for the exterior makeover we are embarking on now.

Here is a sneak peek of the progress!  Stay tuned for the next post which will cover the replacement of the windows.  And, please pray for a smooth process (and my neighbors)! 😉

Thankfully, I have these three pumpkins in the yard with me regularly watching all the fun!

Thank you for coming along on this journey of our exterior makeover.  I am hoping that writing about the process will be somewhat therapeutic while the renovations are ongoing.  As I eagerly await the outcomes, I want to encourage you that these types of projects ultimately will bring you joy.  I would love to hear about any new projects you have going on in your home!  It might help me feel that I am not alone here.  Right?!

You might like to stop by my Pinterest board featuring Exterior Inspirations.  For even more inspiration, you can go to my Pinterest page for thousands of pins on 50+ topics!

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  1. Julie Briones | 13th Jun 18

    Fun stuff happening, Holly! I’m excited for you and all that is happening now, and in the future! That pic of the pups makes me smile. You have much diversity in your furry friends! 😉

    • Holliday Johnson | 13th Jun 18

      Thanks, Julie! The bulldog puppy in the back of the pack is a neighbor’s dog that is a frequent guest here! But, you are right…they couldn’t all be more opposite. It is quite cute!

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