Orange Front Door!

It happened. I can pretty much retire from life because having an orange front door = I’ve made it. The ornate and scrolly front door that came with our house was obviously a more recent update from the wrong decade that didn’t fit in with the style of the house or its owners. We have been slowly bringing our porch back to where it belongs and replacing the door was a major piece of the puzzle. Sources below!A surprising amount of man and woman hours went into this very minimalist door:

The door is a cheap composite wood slab that’s been sitting in our garage for 3 YEARS. We considered hanging it ourselves but after watching videos, we got the feeling this is one of those rare jobs we should hire out. Thankfully, we had a family friend who was passing through town and was kind enough to do it for us. (Orange County friends: if you need a handy man/door hanger I am happy to pass along his info. He does excellent work!) It took him and my father in law a good 8 hours to hang with multiple specialty tools and years of experience. Our house is not even a little bit square, so this would have been a nightmare to DIY. Front doors aren’t one of those jobs you can walk away from and come back to in a few days/months, which is our coping mechanism when things go wrong. I planned on adding some kooky trim work once it was hung, thinking our house wasn’t modern enough to pull of the plain slab look, but after it was in place I loved it unadorned.

The hardware is part vintage, part new. As mentioned on my huge door hardware post from awhile back, this amazing brass escutcheon was a new-old-stock vintage find! Fear not: Rejuventation sells reproductions of the exact one. But I scrambled hard the night before the last-minute hanging to purchase a lockset locally and was thankful my top choice, this Schlage Bell lockset, was in stock at the third store I visited. While I wish the rosette was chunkier and I really dislike the ornateness of the deadbolt that came with mine, the knob has a good mid century shape, very similar to our interior knobs. The door color is orange perfection, Behr Fireglow, the same color we used on our master door and screen door and crazy backyard wall. With our old door, I took the opportunity to experiment with a few other colors (coral and turquoise), knowing orange would be the forever color when we upgraded. I surprisingly really liked the turquoise, a great compliment to our current exterior color and all our blue agaves, and was a little worried orange would clash in comparison. Of course, that shouldn’t stop you from painting your front door your favorite color right? Orange actually looks SO GREAT and I was dumb for even worrying about it.

One thing to consider when choosing front door paint colors, which I didn’t, is that darker colors combined with intense, direct sunlight make for greater heat. I would never think of orange as a dark color, but it is. This one in particular is a deep base paint, and you can feel the difference in thermal intake. By mid afternoon the door is hot to the touch. We’ve had trouble with our previously perfect fitting door starting to bow by the end of each day after prolonged Southern sun exposure with the unseasonably hot weather we’ve had in the past few weeks. By morning, it’s back to normal, telling me it’s not a water issue (I have never sealed a door so well!), but rather differences in temperature on each side of the door. I’m sure the slab, compared to our previous paneled door, is less able to roll with temperature changes, but I’m sure my dark color contributes too. Things to think about, and an issue we aren’t sure how we’ll address. I have a feeling that it will be fine for the half of the year it’s overcast and mild (which should be right now but whatever…)mid century front door porch turquoise bright blue aqua bullet planter cone light vintage mailboxAs far as actually painting the door, it should have been the simplest job ever right? WRONG. Painting this was a nightmare and I can’t remember a recent “easy” project that went so bad. I started with my normal preferred exterior paint, Behr Marquee, in a semi gloss. The same paint we used on our master/backyard door and screen door without issue. However, the front door is larger and has the sun directly hitting it for many hours of the day, showing every roller/brush mark imperfection in the sheen. I started with a 5″ foam roller and it was a disaster! I couldn’t get a smooth finish for the life of me, mostly because my paint was drying before I could get to adjacent areas, leaving differences in texture.

Before buying a sprayer or going with flat matte paint, I turned to IG for advice and got so many great ideas! Thanks to my friend Kimi (you must check out her AMAZING house and bow down to the queen), who coincidently got a new front door the same day as us and was kind enough to share what her professional painter did, I went with a different paint. An alkyd, similar in application to old school oil based paint, and what is often used nowadays for trim and doors in public spaces. It smells and takes awhile to dry, but I was easily able to brush it on and get an even finish over the whole door, though my roller texture from the first coats are still slightly showing through. Her painter took it a step further and rolled on, then brushed over for the ultimate in even coverage. I wish I would have known and done all this to begin with, but now I know for next time! Another great suggestion that also would have worked was adding Flood Floetrol to the latex paint to slow dry time (many thanks to the wonderful Melodrama for that tip – have you seen her adorable house???!!!). I bought some of that too for future use, especially on trim work!

 

SOURCES

knob – Schlage | escutcheon – similar | paint – Behr Semi Gloss Alkyd

mailbox – DIY | doorbell – Rejuvenation | address numbers – Home Depot (painted)

plant stand – vintage | planter – TJ Maxx | doormat – Target

sconce – vintage | entry mirror – Amazon | interior sputnik – Practical Props

 

Now that everything is mostly in place on our porch, and there is an abundance of brass, I totally have my eye on this mailbox. I quickly DIYed our mailbox with some bamboo and spray paint, but it’s time for something a little more durable. That white on white would be so cute, ya? Thanks for reading!! xoxo Jenny

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The Backyard Turns One

Last summer/fall, not unlike this summer/fall, was a time of big yard work. But instead of front yard redoes, it was backyard redoes, and it was the first yard we ever really landscaped, if you can call our very minimal application landscaping. We did a lot of winging it when it came to our plants and hoped for the best. One year in, I’m happy to report that everything rooted, is alive, and is bigger than it was last year = we didn’t totally fail!

We tweaked some minor things over the past year (and added a massive fireplace!), but most of the change is simply growth. It’s amazing to see how large and in charge many of these previously wimpy plants have become. It’s a comparative jungle out here now. But possibly the best testament to landscape success is that I’ve only had to water a handful of times out here, only during heat waves. The grass gets sprinkled a little each week during our hot summer/fall, which I’m sure seeps down to the roots of some of our plants, but they get nothing else besides winter/spring rains. And yet, life sustains. Thrives even. Desert minimal dreams reached.

(Painted cinderblock wall here. Butterfly chair info here. Screen door talk here. Fire pit post here. See the patio here.)
Umm, ya to this new (old) Malm fireplace. I’ve got a problem. A minor fireplace addiction. I can’t say no to dang stuff on Craigslist. Our small fire pit is perfectly fine, I told myself, as I picked this beautiful beast up with the intention of selling it. But when I set it up to take photos for selling and “just to try it out”…you probably can guess the pathetic rest. It stole the show and now owns me. It seems as if it’s meant to be here, and been here all along. The color, yellowish golden tangerine, is way weird next to the colors already out here, but the scale is so right. It has a presence, height, and spark that our small fire pit lacks as a focal point. What would you do? Let me remind you that just inside is another (totally nonfunctioning) vintage fireplace, but let me also remind you that these things, for whatever reason, bring a big smile to my face and I can see it – and smile – from many vantage points inside. Our $10 trash yuccas are going nuts. We bought these, actual branch trimmings, from a nursery’s compost pile. Within a few months of “planting” (sticking the branches in the ground), they rooted and started taking off. We did move them closer together than we originally planted…we had no idea how much room they’d need, and it soon became apparent not very much. They require VERY little of us (yes!), but we do pull off babies every few months to keep their silhouette lean and sculptural. (More info on all our plants here.)We ended up moving another yucca cutting back here from the front yard, where we have decided to plant the most pathetically small/off scale/baby palm trees (which you can kinda see here). It was a tough call to move it because it had just started sending out the prettiest bloom, a message I can only interpret as “I am happy.” It replaced a pony tail palm right here (second picture), that itself was quite happy and growing, but too slow and small. I need to find a new spot for it.The trash agave attenuatas have grown so much. They are taking over the space and a few have constantly been pushing out pups the past few months…cha-ching for the front yard. This one literally came from a trash pile (second pic is how it looked when we stuck it in the ground) and has grown into a beast that would be in the $100s if purchased retail instead of dumpster dived.
I know I said I’m not a flower person, but I can get into this crazy mess. I don’t know what this plant is, other than a Home Depot clearance plant, but it is freaking out with flowers. I love it and so do hummingbirds.I still haven’t properly potted all these wall plants, but they are all still alive and possibly adding a little purpose to this nonsensical fence situation.The San Pedro cactus have almost doubled their height and some are growing arms! They still are ridiculously small for this spot, but I have faith that a few more seasons will bring proper scale. Dracaena marginatas going strong. I know you shouldn’t have favorites but these are my favorite. I even planted some more just to the left of these where we recently ripped out a needy umbrella tree from the patio. Amazing what a year can do:Our painted wall, as bright and as crazy as the day I painted it. I love it more than ever. But of course wish it could extend all the way up, a problem for another year.

If you are curious, you can find some very classy befores of this yard right here, but they basically go something like this, enjoy:

Backyard to do:

I hope I’m back soon sharing plants up front! We are deep in the shoveling so much rock phase right now, but are getting close to completion. I just have a few more areas to plant/tinker with. The backyard successes have made plant selection for the front yard way easy. We have the same minimal-deserty-cheapskate feel going on. All succulents, mostly dug up for free by my husband. So much so that he, one of the least gardeny people I know, has earned the joke nickname AGAVE MAN. Licence plate material, right?!

DIY Mid Century Screen / Divider

Things are moving along in the front yard slow and steady. Our most recent project is an exterior decorative wood screen inspired by the pages of a 1961 Sunset book, Entryways and Front Gardens, a photo that has haunted me for years! Obviously adding non structural architectural details can completely change the feel of a facade, but the ease and impact surpassed all my expectations. The front of our house has a long, boring expanse that needed to be visually broken up. Plants are usually an easy answer, but a narrow plant bed sits below, preventing any substantial plant from successfully or safely growing here. While discussing ways to hide our poorly located breaker box, I suddenly remembered the Sunset book project – the perfect match to our issues.We followed the basics of the original frame design, but used 2×6 instead of 2×4 for the inside square blocks to expand the size and open it up a bit. I liked the original mix of squares and bars, but wanted more overall pattern consistency, so the whole family played around with the design for a while until we got something we liked. We used redwood for outdoor durability, but since we will be painting it, pine probably would have been fine and cheaper (we spent around $150 for everything). I’m tempted to paint it a crazy accent color, orange or turquoise being the obvious contenders, but I think a slightly darker shade of the house color will do the trick for now.The completed screen is really top-heavy so we made sure to dig deep. Digging was by far the worst part of the project, but this set-up really helped break up our clay: a 1.5″ drill bit with a 12″ extender. Our 9′ posts were sunk about 2′ deep. Forty minutes of leveling, three braces, and two bags of Quikrete later, our screen stands tall, straight and strong.The original plan was to use the screen to hide a poorly located breaker box. However, once we put it together it became clear that everything looked so much more balanced and better if we placed it one space over. This project doesn’t exactly lend itself to experimentation (once it’s in the ground), so I was a little nervous to switch up our plans on the fly, but I’m so glad I went with it. I’m (mostly) confident that everything will pull together once I paint the screen and get the landscaping done up here. I’m left looking for other solutions to hide that box, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something. My best idea so far has been build a second screen – duh. Husband is not really feeling that one, so time will tell where this story goes. Here’s the two locations we considered: Lessons learned: Never underestimate the power of a (comparatively) tiny screen, or it’s bonus shadows! Next time I go down this road, I’m taking this idea and going HUGE, like cover my whole house huge because it is that good and that transformative:(A fun bonus to this project is that we are planning to build a wood divider in-between our family room and dining room so I took the opportunity to get a spacial feel of size and dimension with this screen inside before we fully assembled it. IN LOVE. All my fears about a divider being too busy, blocking too much light, making the dining room feel too cramped were shot down completely. Can’t even wait for this!)We took a break from the front yard this weekend to clean up our garage, repair a busted backyard fence, and to also address the MOUSE THAT I FOUND IN OUR HOUSE!!! Talk about feeling violated and consumed and conflicted because you love animals but also hate the plague, etc. Let’s just say we drove in our car with a trapped mouse in my lap to an open field and let it go because I’m that person. Until next time friends unless I’ve contracted a rodent borne disease or stress shingles from worrying about rodent borne diseases! xoxo