It’s not hard to imagine how our home looked the first time we visited it one snowy day last November—it’s the five or so stages it’s taken since that muddle the memory.
This weekend I was looking back on old photos from when we got our place in March, and it was a shock to swipe through! It’s been five months of tedious work, done in chunks, and while we haven’t changed the shape or structure of the cabin, it looks like a new version of the same house got plunked in its place, over and over and over again. Add in the new summer surroundings and you have one hell of a recipe for a good transformation! And we’re nowhere near done…
But for now, I’m taking you through everything we’ve done to our home’s exterior over the last five months. ♥ Sabrina
Before we peeled off the old mustard siding, or built the deck, or installed windows and doors, or or or, we had to work the land. It was so pine-covered, we imagined it hadn’t been raked or cleaned up in years, maybe decades. We spent days pulling out tangles of ivy and old shrubs, raking the earth free of pine needles and fallen branches, removing dead trees, and moving a variety of rocks around the property. The sweat that has gone into the landscaping has been plentiful. But it feels so good to have given the earth a breath of fresh air. Check out the side yard transformation by sliding the arrow bar left and right:
Building the deck has given us living space we didn’t expect to use, and we’re nowhere near done! All we’ve finished so far is the walkway leading from the driveway to the entry point of the back deck, and what was simply an extension of the back deck has quickly become one of our favourite spots to hang out. The build is not done, however: phase two will involve finishing the build of the entire back deck, wrapping it along the peak of the house to the other side yard! That will happen over the next month, and we are eager to get it done! Not only will it give us more of what we love, but it will give Piper her dog door back! (see below right, to the right of our windows).
In terms of the process, a deck build is quite simple, but requires that you have lots of specific products and that you’ve planned the engineering side of it, ensuring your post holes are deep enough and spaced appropriately so the deck is safe and sturdy.
On the building itself, atop the plywood walls, we installed our ledger board (the wood beam against the home) using stainless steel bolts, then applied the GCP Vycor building wrap. After wrapping the home and ledger, we installed a J-trim aluminum cap on the ledger which the decking will rest on, then applied a product called Reveal Shield (the big black band) and Zip Tape. This is all to ensure that if any water gets behind the siding, it has a place to run down away from the wood. Nail in some hangers and you’re good to go installing the joists, and then your decking of choice!
On ground level, building a deck requires lots of levelling and planning, and specific products and tools. After layout has been done to figure out where your post holes should be, you dig them! We went the old-fashioned way with a shovel and grunts, and dug about 4′ down before sliding in our cardboard concrete forms. We levelled the tubes and ensured they were all aligned with a string line, then we then mixed and poured concrete into them, keeping the fill line level long each post. Before the concrete dried, we set galvanized post bases to give us something to adhere the posts to, to come. Around the concrete exposure (which on some posts was 3″ and on others was 3′), we placed rocks for now, and plan to just re-do them over time with found quartz chunks and pretty flat rocks.
Siding, Trim and Colours
We cleaned up and painted all of our original cedar wood trim and fascia in Glidden Deep Onyx exterior paint. Our inside and outside corner trim will be EasyTrim in black (which will match our exterior door), and our FastPlank aluminum siding will be installed horizontally. The colour will be, drumroll please…
This! Here is an unedited photo of our original colour creation, a hue we’re calling Piper’s Coat. It’s actually a mix of a few different paint colours: mostly Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal, Black Beauty and Soot. I sent this very paper plate in to the team I’m working with at FastPlank and EasyTrim to be colour-matched and they’ve since sent an aluminum chip sample which looks amazing! We pulled the trigger and now we’re anxiously await the deliver of our custom-coloured siding, wee!
Other Exterior Details
Outside of landscaping, installing the beginnings of our deck, and prepping the exterior for siding, we’ve done a ton of other things to improve our exterior and aid in the transformations. Specifically, we installed two new windows (one in the garage, one in the loft), replaced all other existing ones, moved and replaced the front door, installed new aluminum black soffit and eaves, painted the fascia, installed bug screen, strapping, and copper flashing. Just drag the arrow on the image below to see the transformation:
One of my favourite details has to be the envelope around each opening (windows and doors): we installed Zip Panel flashing tape and copper flashing before installing bug screen, Protecto wrap, and double-strapping it (so the trim has a backer, as does the siding). Our charcoal siding will end up resting atop this, covering everything but the copper and black cedar casing.
As far as windows and doors, we went with triple-glazed vinyl ones from AllWeather in black, which is softer than true black. Our front door is from Trimlite and the hardware is Emtek’s Sandcast Rectangular Keyed Sideplate lock (with a Winchester knob in matte black).
Elsewhere on the exterior, we’re plugging away at the final pieces to be installed in the awkward, hard-to-reach areas. And this week, we’re kicking the landscaping up a notch and having our friend Nick and his crew at Another View install stone steps on both sides of our house! Peep my stories this week for all that and more!