Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ideas Wanted!

This is my beloved house.

My husband and I became first-time homeowners almost 3 years ago. This is a real dream come true especially with me being a "mostly" stay-at-home mom. Less than 1 month after moving in, our insurance company told us we needed to add hand rails to the cement steps at each entrance within 30 days or our coverage would be cancelled. We freaked out and my husband and his dad built steps with rails over the existing steps. They did an amazing job under the pressure of a tight deadline.

Ever since we've been debating whether to paint them, stain them, let them weather. Right now I feel that they stand out way too much. When I give directions, I say, "We're the house with THE STEPS!" I would like them to blend in. I am thinking of using a white stain pickling effect I saw once on HGTV. We will be adding some lattice to the sides of the steps. I want our Cape to look more Cape-y. Someday I would also love to add window boxes, have a curved path from the steps, and of course there's always the dream of the white picket fences with roses ...

All of my blog friends are so creative and full of inspired ideas. If you have any suggestions as to how to make the steps blend in more; how to Cape-ify my home more; colors for the door/shutters; any ideas; please feel free to share in a comment!

Until replacing the shed gets put on the to-do list (aka the budget), I try to make this little shabby shed as cute as I can.

Thanks for taking the time! I so look forward to reading any suggestions!



Connie said...

Elyse, that is truly and absolutely adorable, honey!! To not "stand out" the steps should be white or that pickling effect you mentioned. All your other ideas are "spot on" though, chickee. Adorable and charming! Our home is only 4 years old and when it needs painting I'm painting it white with black trim and my red door will be even "redder"!!!!!

The Old Painted Cottage said...

I definitely see them being painted white. Your house is completely adorable by the way, and I'm totally loving your plates in the ground!


Connie said...

I just want to echo the other comments, YOUR ideas sound perfect. And, I too love those dishes in the garden...I'm TOTALLY going to do that! Good Luck!

Stephanie said...

Well, I love of course that would be my vote!

tam said...

Hi my dear Elyse!
First of all what a lucky well actually blessed girl you are! Your house is a doll house and you have done such a great job so far with all of your talents! This is right up my alley-I love, love, love doing these kinds of projects so I am very envious of you! I agree white is the color to go with.Although you would be surprised how good it looks when you match up the door and shutter color on your porch. You can dress the top of the rails of the steps up with embelishments, using caps. They come in wood or copper tops many different styles. Another quick and inexpensive way to get a certain look is to change your porche light fixtures. I think flower boxes are a great idea and lots of times you can find "Free" wood left over from someones projects-yep on craigslist! LoL-seriously! And there are those really cool cobble stone molds to pour cement in to make your curved walkway you want. That is something you can do little by little until it is done. Gosh I could go on and on, because like I said I love doing these kinds of projects. Have fun with that -I can hardly wait to see what you do I know it will be fantastic! ~Smiles~Tam!

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

What a wonderful house you have! I agree with the others, definately paint the railings and lattice white. That will give it the cape cod look for sure. And a curved path to the steps is a wonderful idea. When time and money permit, hydrangeas, roses, lavender all would be wonderful plants to add to your landscape.

Stephenie said...

Elyse, I just love your house. It's so cute. I love that sign on the shed and I just love how you used those dishes as a little fence!!!

Lori said...

Elyse, aaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy!!! sorry, i just had to do really really works too...i am giggling already...hee hee...
your house is adorable!!! i like it just the way it is...i would definitely paint those stairs white and put some caps on the top of the rails...

Grammatically Delicious Designs said...

What a cute, cute house. I have a completely white porch that I thought I was going to love. I do, but I wish I would have left the 'floor' natural wood, so it would not accumulate so much dirt. I do live in the country, though. Maybe white decks are better in the city. Definitely do the handrails in white. It will be darling.


Anonymous said...

I think you need to learn how to make the winding walkway so you can come over and help me make mine!

Kymberly Foster Seabolt said...

ITA that "The Steps" - although beautifully constructed - definitely pull the eye away from your charming home. I would paint/stain them to match the house, with a complimentary floor color. Railings and ballisters white, for example. Resist the urge to go "basic gunmetal gray" with the floor, however. You might be surprised how eye-catching a great floor color can be on a porch.

We have a big old house with a wrap-around porch and people thought I was nuts when I replaced the grey/tan floor paint with ruby red but we love it and get rave reviews.

I vote paint/stain to blend but give it a pop of complimentary tone on the floor.

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog - while blogging around ;) Love all your stuff - where can I get those beautiful clothesepegs - I want some - going to check out your etsy shop now.

Wendy said...

I think white steps would be charming! Love your china in the planting beds. Very sweet!

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

Elyse, your home is as precious as YOU!!! I think that painting them white would be perfect. I can also see your vision with a little path leading up to the steps.


Fete et Fleur said...

White, most definitely! The plates in the ground are genius!


Elyse said...

Hey Big Sis! I'm promsing you an email really soon...just working on a "note" for law journal right now.

I'm not surprised that your home is absolutely adorable--as is that shabby shed. I think the steps might be really cute if painted, although I admit to having a weird fascination with pickling. I have to tell you, though, that my favorite idea for your house was the planter boxes that you mentioned. I love those things; they add such charm everywhere I see them!

Is this going to be a busy week for you? Here's hoping you have a smooth Monday!

xo, Lysie

Barbara Jean said...

What an adorably cute house, and love your little shed sign and plates.
I'm with everyone else as far as painting the rails and lattice white.
Maybe your house trim color would look good on the steps. It would lead your eye right up to the door. (and white would be a real bother to keep clean).
Plants on the rails is a great idea, and I love window boxes, and the path idea too.

Something to consider down the line: A small peaked little porch covering extending to the flat edge of the porch. (this would require posts, but not much work really). The facia board across the front could be either the trim color, (It would just sort of frame the shole thing), or it could be white. You would need to decide that as you go.

Will look forward to checking the progress.

Barbara Jean

Orchardviewcottage said...

Love your cute house!! I have the same problem with mine, except I have a back deck and two big balconies that are still the raw wood color.. I love the idea of white on the railings and a different color for the floor.. I think it would break it up a little. I am looking into a tinted stain for mine, my house is light yellow with red doors and light green shutters and roof. I am debating a stain with a red or green tint for mine... maybe I'll post this summer for ideas, too!! I may even steal your plate border idea!! Love IT!!

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit late for Pink Saturday but am glad I was so I could see your adorable house. My suggestion would be to paint the posts white and the steps/railing a grey to match the roof. That way it would all blend in. You could put a few pots with flowers that compliment the shutters on the stairs. You also might want to find some kind of treads to go on the stairs - just for safety reasons when the paint is wet - and also to cut down on the wear on them.

Well, that's a bit more than I intended to say - but your house is just like something I would love to own.


I love all your ideas for your cottage! That sign on your shed is a fav of mine, I also did a border in my garden using the plates and cups and saucers but my kids have broken most of them ): White would look good for the steps but I also thought that the trim color would look good and would be easier to keep clean. Your cottage is adorable!

Sharon said...

I think your house is adorable! Your plans for the steps sound just right. Love the idea of china for the border. I may have to copy that. I think your shed looks just fine, doesn't look like it needs to be replaced in the picture anyway.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for comment..white pickling sounds great! Although I prefer warm whites ivory,buttermilk or antique white for a real cottage feel,white is so stark! Out here where I live hydrangeas galore,cosmos,wild flowers like in Provincetown..Cape their yards,sorta natural messy,seagrass! The shutters are too strong in the color you have now..maybe something softer.I love what you did with the shed! What a great idea for china!

Anonymous said...

Wow!I am so honored! I am thinking just black..for door and shutters,more classic.Green gray is earthy and would not go with white siding.If you pick black which is a good neutral and will not devalue your know how New England is about color!For steps I would not go white if you choose black for shutters and door,maybe a stain or layer paint and sand in between for worn look in different colors,jadeite green,soft buttercup and lastly a deep maroonish red.Sand edges of stairs and railings so all colors come through....seal with Exterior Varathane,does not yellow is the best but pricey.

Claudia said...

Elyse, I definitely think the pickled white is the way to go. The steps won't stand out then but be part of the cottage look of your lovely home. I love the plates you have put in the ground. What a great idea - one I might steal, by the way!


Anonymous said...

Oh PS..I use to use a toothbrush to splatter for a worn look also,dip in all colors then run a ruler or any piece of wood along top of toothbrush face down ,swaying motion about 20" or so above surface.

Anonymous said...

Such a precious home - and I'm SO thrilled that it is yours!!
Wonderful advice already and I think I would paint the rails the same color as the siding on your house and the steps the same color as your shutters. And YES window boxes will be the adorable icing on the cake! Have fun!


Unknown said...

Oh, I love the idea of the white, that to me really says New England. I really love your shed, especially how you used those plates as a border.


Anonymous said...

Geez I cannot get your cottage out of my head..I was thinking a periwinkle gray(not too girly)for shutters would look lovely with hydrangeas and roses and white pickling on steps.I love the periwinkle and gray cottages on Cape too but their colors are brighter.

LaurieStar said...

Elyse - I think your house is adorable as is - and I really don't think the steps stand out that much - but I am a firm believer in white. I think they would look pretty in white or off-white and blend in nicely. It would make your landscaping pop too - it's already pretty.
I wanted to thank you also, for your post to me about Pink Saturday. I haven't done anything about it yet, but I may - and I appreciate you actually responding to my question! You're the best! :) said...

I don't think you need any advice at all, your ideas sound just perfect!

Brian + Cheryl B. said...

while white steps would look wonderful - I would caution about how painted steps are far slipperier(?) than non painted ones are (I live in MI, where that can be an important thing to consider . . .)
The idea of window box's is a great one!! You could tie the porch in with them by putting hanging box's along the outside of the railings (they sell supports for such that hang over your railings))

Anonymous said...

Hi Elyse!!!stopped by to say hi... glad we connected love your blog & all your ideas.. I will stay in touch. xoxox Laura

Betzie said...

Hi Elyse!
Thanks for visiting me today! I would paint the railing white. Maybe add a few little boxwoods(slow growers) and I just love my pink Knock-out roses...they bloom all summer and fall!
Have fun decorating!

Jennifer said...

Hi Elyse...I would paint them white! Also...A little awning or canopy over the door would be cute. I think window boxes make a huge difference on a house too! I am lovin' the plates...will have to try that this summer!

KatCollects said...

I think they might look nice painted the same shade as the shutters. I love the dishes in your flower beds, so sweet. Thank you so much for sending me the sweet bunny picture, it made me smile!

Unknown said...

ELYSE!!!!! Your house is so cute! It kind of reminds me of my house :) If it were my home, I would probably paint the steps white :) I think I would do the shutters maybe in navy. Your shed is so CUTE!! My hubby wont let me do that to ours :( I love the plates too, I think I am going to try that this summer! So cute Elyse, love it all!


Marilyn in NM said...

You have an adorable home! Whatever you decide will be great, you've got very good taste. I'm an "old" house lover and have had my old green cottage for 30 years and am still needing And there are some great ones right here in your comments. What a great group of bloggers!
I'll be back reading more later! Love your blog!
Marilyn in NM

SweetScarlett said...

White white white!!!
You will wonder why you waited so long!

Stickers and Stuff said...

the white stain pickling effect sounds good - is that like lime wax kind of!?!?
I did that to our dining table and it looks lovely - you still see the wood grain but it looks oldish too.
I think it might need less maintenance and will look better with the wear marks too.
Sweet house you have the plates are cool.

Cynthia's Cottage Design said...

Hi Elyse!

I am finally getting a little time to visit everyone, I've missed surfing and seeing all the pretties so much! Anyway, you have a gorgeous cottage sweetie! I love it! What a blessing to have something so wonderful to work with!

Hmmmm, lets see, I know anything you do will be spot on fabulous! The only thing I can think of is , after you put in the lattice you were talking about, I would probably do plantings all along the sides and bring out the front planting bed a bit. That way the step won't stick out as much and the won't be noticed as much if the plants on the side grew to almost the height of each step. That's really all I'd do because otherwise it looks fabulous! I love the colors on your house, and maybe painting the steps the house color will also make it blend in too. But I think the plantings will really do the trick :)

I was giggling when I read that you put them up fast, because we did that with a back deck, I have 2 levels of decking but the top one is WAY too small, lol, it was a rush job we have been living with for 15 years now, so now it's on my to-do list :) We can all relate :) But whatever you do, I know it will be perfect kiddo!

Enjoy your Day! Hugs, Cyn xox

Maryjane-The Beehive Cottage said...

Hello My Sweet Eylse!

I love your darling home and thank you for sharing it! You know, the first thing I thought was...painting them white! I think the stairs would blend in with the house but also at the same time if painted white they would be a lovly focal point! Does that make sense? Cute little clay pots lining the stairway...just read other comments and white looks like the majority! LOL! Wow, so many fantasic ideas from our blogger sisters! What ever you do will be wonderful!

Love ya,

cottage farm villa said...

Dear Elyse, what a cute little house!!! I too would paint the rails and side lattice white. I personally would not stain or pickle. I also would paint the steps and porch landing area a medium to dark grey to contrast and compliment the roof. I think a light medium blue or light grey for the shutters and front door would look sweet! I would also take out the old overgrown bushes in front and redefine the flower beds (curvy) along the front of the house and around the sides. A big curve at the corner of the house with a small ornamental tree planted there would look great. New bushes and flowers, soil and topped with cedar mulch. As in flower arranging, just remember to buy plants of the "same" in odd numbers. I would buy bushes that don't grow any taller than 2 1/2 - 3 feet so it will always look neat and controlled and they won't get "woody". I would also lay greyish flagstone in sand or cement to make a (curved) path from the bottom of your steps to the drive way. I would tear out the sod between this new path and the driveway and put soil and small flowering bushes and flowers. This really can be very simple and minimal cost - if you and hubby do it all yourself. One more thing that would look great would be to have a carpenter construct a small overhang/roof over the front door. Either top it with the matching shingles or grey metal - a grey to match the landing and steps and blend with the existing roof!

That's what I might do! You have a great eye for if you go with a blue you could find just the right blue...I'm thinking a chalky, dusty, light to medium. Just stay away from anything that resembles "baby blue" eeek!

I think many other colors would go with the white and grey of the steps... red (see my red door post), black, aqua, and don't forget the the buttercream yellow house with white shutters! All cottage-type, cape cod-ish! If you go with grey shutters, pink flowering bushes would be beautiful! With grey shutters, you could possibly do a Red door. Good luck! Have fun!

Oh, and the future window boxes...too cute.

Stephanie said...

Hi Elyse

Thanks for visiting my blog :) I like your idea of whitening the steps one way or another...another thing you might want to try is some landscaping around the steps ... maybe then you wont look like the house with "the steps." But seriously your house is adorable!


Unknown said...

I think your steps are great and sturdy looking. I have "step issues" with my condo, so I notice things like that. The pickling idea sounds great to me, very New England-y and Cape-y!
Also, I think your shed is absolutely adorable!

Cathy said...


Definitely white steps.

xo Cath

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints said...

Your blog is just delightful. So glad I stumbled upon it:)

{Bellamere Cottage} said...

I LOVE the plates in the cute is that? Very clever.

Blessings and smiles,

Sweetina said...

Oh I love your home!!!
It's perfect and cozy and just the right size.
Thanks for visiting me on my blog...I sure needed a freind lately~
The sun is beginning to shine again...
Big Hugs~