Analysis Paralysis - Our Exterior Plans

tiny-rehab.JPG

I've been eagerly anticipating renovating the exterior of our house since before we actually owned it,  so i was particularly surprised by my own feelings of crippling insecurity as final decision time approached.

The exterior is a big deal - we are redoing most of it, and the choices we make can't easily be changed if we aren't happy with them. 

Current-Exterior.jpg

Above is the current exterior view. 

To-Do

  • new siding (all horizontal)
  • new framing around windows
  • new front door
  • new porch posts
  • move electrical boxes
  • paint
  • possible removal of perplexing partial concrete wall

Done

  • new roof
  • new soffit
  • new fascia
  • new windows
  • new fence

 

Front Door

I looked around quite a bit at front doors. Home Depot has a somewhat affordable ($800+) line of midcentury modern doors, but they aren't carried in store, so we would have to blindly order and hope for the best. Also, they only come in SUPER bright colors that we would need to paint over. Luckily, I came across the post on retro renovation that compares a whole bunch of midcentury modern door companies, and wouldn't you know it, one of the suggested places was right here in Austin. 

Tri-Supply has a series of fiberglass doors called Spotlights. They are a few hundred less than the home depot series and are completely customizable as far as woodgrain/smooth fiberglass and various glass options. AND they all have non-curvy trim!! These are some of the choices pictured below. 

tri-supply-midcentury-modern-Door-Options.jpg

Progress

I made some mockups of the vision I had for the house and calmed a bit. I left a note in the mailbox of a white house in our neighborhood that we love, inquiring about the paint used. They responded and were so kind and helpful.

Despite these steps, the nerves persisted. Em V deemed this our "analysis paralysis". 

We decided it would be a good idea to talk to our friend Lauren (an interior designer) before moving forward on anything. I sent her my mock ups along with a lengthy description of my hopes and fears. This consisted mostly of the fact that our home is a straight up cottage, but we want to give it a midcentury modern vibe. Our neighborhood is full of redos that fit into this category, and some are much more successful than others. Essentially, we don't want our house to look like a cottage that we slapped a midcentury modern front door on and hoped for the best. My mockups are below-- I left the stove on the porch for good measure ;). 

All White + Various Door Options

tiny-rehab-exterior-diamond-door.png
tiny-rehab-exterior.jpg
excuse the horrible photoshop of this door. it would have trim around it! 

excuse the horrible photoshop of this door. it would have trim around it! 

Grey Trim + Various Door Options

I added in some grey trim on the roof line, and this seemed to pull things together. 

Grey-Trim-Diamond-Door.png
Grey Trim - Rectangle Door.png
Grey-Trim-Square-Door.png

Lauren served as the voice of reason that we desperately needed. She felt that we were definitely on the right track-- she preferred the grey trim and rectangle door. She also pointed out some details we missed (evenly sized trim for the door and windows, painting the porch ceiling) and even sent over a mockup that included cement blocks! She is officially added to the list of people who have been SO generous of their time and skills and we are tremendously grateful. Check out her mockup below.

We are probably holding off on landscaping for now, but how great do those agaves look?

We are probably holding off on landscaping for now, but how great do those agaves look?

So...what did we decided? It's less fun if we tell you right now.  Em and I also love to keep our decisions shrouded in ambiguity in case something goes awry so we can trick ourselves into believing that's what we intended all along. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts. Which door option do you prefer?

X

Em O

Cement Vs. Ceramic Tile: Why We Chose Ceramic For Our Bathroom

I started this process with my heart (naively) set on putting cement tile in the main house bathroom. I didn't really have a particular justification for this, other than the fact that it seemed like all of the tile that had caught my eye in the last year or so was encaustic cement.  I particularly fell in love with the halfmoon pattern from cle tile. The only problem, as with most of the cement patterns I liked, was the price tag. At $15.50 per square foot, we would be spending quite a bit on the floor tile alone. Then, since we did the nicer floor, we needed to do the nicer tub...and a nicer vanity...the typical OVERrenovation trap that we've been warned so much about. 

The one I really loved also had black in it, but they don't seem to carry it anymore.

The one I really loved also had black in it, but they don't seem to carry it anymore.

Despite my overspending anxieties, we decided to move forward with the halfmoon because we really didn't like anything else quite as much. And then I went to "check out" and realized that shipping would be $250. And that was the end of that.

I searched around locally for the next couple of weeks trying to find a similar pattern for a reasonable price, but came up empty handed. 

I ended up having a conversation with a very helpful woman at Castle Flooring here in Austin, and she spelled out for me all of the reasons (in addition to the price) that encaustic cement most likely wasn't the right choice for us. 

Cons of Cement Tile

  • Difficult Installation: we plan to install this flooring ourselves and we were advised that, even for professionals, cement is very difficult. With the already high price tag, getting professional installation is not an option for us.

  • Sealing: Cement is very porous and needs to be thoroughly sealed. Over and over and over. This was a wake up call that, as a rental, we would be setting ourselves up for extra work, and/or extra stress worrying about protecting the tiles from stains etc.

  • Thickness: Cement tiles are verrrryyy thick in comparison to porcelain or ceramic. If you aren't gutting your bathroom like us, you can run into some pretty wonky height differences installing cement tile, such as your toilet being significantly higher than before. For us, the biggest concern is that our bathroom butts up to the wood floor in the living room. It would be quite a step up into the bathroom with the thickness of cement.

Cool porcelain tile at Castle Flooring. Looks so similar to cement!

Cool porcelain tile at Castle Flooring. Looks so similar to cement!

It became clear that all signs were pointing to my cement dreams coming to an end. I started going down the porcelain and ceramic tile rabbit hole and was really pleasantly surprised with how many patterns I liked.

After looking at literally every result under my many queries for "geometric pattern tile", we finally decided on the Merola Tile Twenties Diamond from Home Depot. Yes, my search of specialty tile stores near and far led me all the way back good ol' home deeps. It's funny how that works. 

Low cost, easy (fingers crossed) installation, low maintenance, durability-- ceramic tile just made a whole lot of sense for us. Seriously, you guys, we ended up paying around $3 per square foot. Plus, i'm a fan of the classic tumbling block pattern, but also love that the other orientation offers a completely different alternative.

Cement Vs. Ceramic Tile: Why We Chose Ceramic For Our Bathroom
Cement Vs. Ceramic Tile: Why We Chose Ceramic For Our Bathroom

Of course, with more choices, comes...more choices. And thats where you guys come in. Please help us end the bathroom tile decision saga by voting for which pattern you prefer on our most recent instagram post!

Alright, that's it for me. We will be reporting back as to whether ceramic tile is really as easy to install as they say it is!

-Em O

UPDATE: To see the final result of our bathroom head to this post.