Today I’m joining some blogging friends who are sharing outdoor spaces and I decided to use this opportunity to share a before/after lake house exterior tour: what it looked like when we bought the house, what it looks like today, all the of the DIYs that got us here (and you can see how they held up), plus what I still want to do! When it comes to decorating outside, I am definitely behind my friends, and it’s partly because summer usually arrives a lot later for me here, on the shores of Lake Superior. But it’s also because this year I needed to re-stain the deck (you saw how awful it was in this post), and I spent weeks waiting for a sunny stretch of days to do it. I literally just finished staining it the other day and I gingerly put out the patio furniture just for these photos, haha! You can see it’s still raining a lot – in my photos all of the surfaces are in various stages of wet. The rain drove me inside while taking photos more than once. So unfortunately, I haven’t yet had a chance to decorate beyond putting my outdoor furniture out for the season and buying plants. I’m still hoping to find a great outdoor rug and buy a few outdoor pillows. For a long time, the lake house exterior decor was just cobbled together dribs and drabs: our sad, cheap Walmart loungers, the clearance patio table we bought for the townhouse – and nothing at the front of the house. Since those early days in the lake house, the exterior got a major overhaul: new copper roof, new dark grey metal siding, new black soffit and fascia, and new black windows. Those exterior upgrades motivated me to buy new outdoor furniture for the deck and concrete patio. But I like low, minimal furniture for the deck because otherwise it blocks the view:
Also: I don’t have a lot of room to store bulky outdoor furniture for the long, long winters…
THE LAKE SIDE EXTERIOR – BEFORE
Here’s what the lake side of the house looked like before. It really wasn’t that bad! I just hated that the cedar was only on this side and the other three sides had beige vinyl.
THE LAKE SIDE EXTERIOR – AFTER
What started as a new roof mushroomed into a new copper metal roof, dark grey metal siding, new black windows, new black soffit and fascia, and a new black sliding patio door. Then we stained the deck black, added copper solar lights instead of plain deck caps (which we love!) and built new slatted deck skirting. We also streamlined the garden beds on either side of the deck – transplanting the flowers elsewhere and simplifying with one cedar on either side. We had left the wood we used to frame out the bed natural but this year I stained it black when I re-did the deck. We also replaced the sconces with new copper ferry lights. Oh yes – and we painted the chimney!
With the exterior looking so good, we decided to buy new black patio loungers and build a new live edge patio table – the welded chain detail is something I dreamed up. I also splurged on new chairs for the patio table but thrifted a cute side table, which I spray painted copper and black. We welded a new step (which I recently stained black to match the deck) and then got two modern planters for either side of the patio doors. Normally I’m able to find really lush plants for it, but for some reason it was really slim pickings over here this year.
I repainted the step dark grey and stained it black. It used to be a charred wood finish but I just like how this blends into the deck better. I also bought a second hummingbird feeder and seed bird feeder – and both are this modern copper design. I’m obsessed. They both match the copper roof and copper sconces so well!
DIY DECK STAIN | DIY SLATTED DECK SKIRTING | DIY LIVE EDGE PATIO TABLE | GETTING WINDOWS ENLARGED | COPPER ROOF |REPLACING GARDEN DOORS WITH SLIDING DOORS | METAL SIDING THAT SPARKLES | MODERN PATIO LOUNGERS | MODERN BLACK PLANTERS
LAKE SIDE EXTERIOR – BEFORE
Here’s what I mean about every other side of the house: really boring beige vinyl siding (which was cracked and damaged).
THE LAKE SIDE EXTERIOR – AFTER
This side of the house never really “matched” the other side – but now it does. Last year we built the DIY cold frame garden beds and this year we built a matching charred wood bed around the raspberry bushes (we just finished them the other day – I’ll share a DIY soon). The poor raspberries were trampled the year we had the exterior work done, but now they have recovered a little, and my plan is to nurture them so they make a nice, dense wall of raspberries along this side of the house. I LOVE having raspberries growing in my yard!
I’m not sure I shared an updated photos of the privacy glass. It had been ordered incorrectly and was changed to the rain glass I ordered – I love how it looks. It catches the sunlight and just sparkles from inside. I bought these outdoor chairs a couple of years ago and they have held up so well (these are super similar). Plus they’re the perfect, comfy spot to watch the chooks! The side table is thrifted and the planter is an old one I spray painted black. Again, normally I can find fuller flowers for it but not this year…
THE FIRE PIT – BEFORE
One of our favorite outdoor DIY projects has been how we revamped the fire pit area and DIY welded a modern firepit. Here’s the before:
THE FIRE PIT – AFTER
That’s my exterior tour, with some before & afters! It’s definitely been a long process to get the exterior looking like this and I still have lots of projects to tackle. I want to add some flower gardens, now that I’ve got a handle on vegetable gardening. I’d also like to improve the quality of our lawn and tidy up some landscaping. I have a plan to get the chickens involved, haha. Our yard is a little wild, with woods on three sides and a shore on the fourth. I like to keep it natural, but I want to tame it a little this year. And then also plant some more trees to build up the privacy between us and our neighbors. I want to have a little fun, too, with an outdoor rug, some new outdoor pillows, maybe build some outdoor planters, and re-paint the Adirondack chairs? They could use a fresh coat of paint. But I’m so grateful to be at this place with our exterior transformation – I am looking forward to enjoying it this year! Finally! Our exterior renovation dragged on for so long and then the following year we were busy building the coop and then last year the cold frames took up my time as I struggled to grow food with my lack of green thumgs. So I kind of just want to kick back this summer and soak it all in.
This week I’m joining some of my talented blogging friends for the Summer Seasonal Simplicity Series: Outdoor Spaces Tours! Be sure to check out all of the beautiful inspiration by visiting the links under the images below.
P.S. Don’t Forget to Pin for Later: