Porch Column Makeover – Faux-Real!

There are certain aspects of original vintage home charm that I love, love, love…and other elements…um, not so much. Glass door knobs, YES! Original wavy glass windows, YES! Original creaky wood plank flooring, YES! 1960’s antebellum style turned wood porch columns….No no no! When we purchased our 1960’s brick colonial almost 7 years ago, the exterior need a major facelift. It had been painted pea soup green with dark green shutters and light green trim…including our lovely porch columns. The first year we were here, we had the exterior painted and decided to change the trim to classic bright white. That worked for a while, but still left me with a feeling that I needed to be sitting on the front porch in a giant laced hoop skirt, fanning myself, ready to serve our guests with a glass of cold sweet tea.


I’ve read a lot of articles online in the blog-world lately of folks adding faux wood beams to the inside of their homes. This got me thinking…what about adding that same rustic charm to the exterior of our home?

Not much to look at here...skinny white columns...yuck!

Not much to look at here…skinny white columns…yuck!

Enter the HGTV show Fixer Upper. If you aren’t already totally addicted to this show, like the Mr. and I are, then you will be as soon as you watch one episode. Not only are Joanna and Chip Gaines about the cutest, most lovable couple on the planet Earth…the budgets they work with to improve the homes they work on is realistic. The average American family does not have $1.5 million to spend on a vacation home in Bali, nor do they have $300,000 to renovate their modest suburban home. That’s why we enjoy Fixer Upper so much…their interior decor style is classic and comfortable, with a nod to vintage, and their renovation projects seem to be in the realm of achievable.

Here are a few snapshots we used for inspiration:







The Mr. and I kept noticing how the Gaines like to incorporate a rustic Texas style of stained wood exterior beams on their remodels. We wanted to use that as inspiration for our own porch columns, but without the heft price tag of completely ripping our current wood beams out and hiring an architectural team rebuild our porch structures. Luckily, we knew some local carpenters (Don’t Call It A Flip LLC). We showed them a few photos of what we were after, they were able to find a great price on some local cedar wood and knocked the job out in 1 day!! They simply built new porch columns AROUND our old ones, so we didn’t have to rebuild the structures from scratch.

Then the Mr. spent a 2nd day giving the new beams 2 coats of stain and sealer and VOILA…no more Gone With the Wind inspired porch columns. We used an exterior semi-transparent stain/sealer by Sikkens in Chesnut Brown. A gallon of this awesome stuff runs about $40-$45 at Home Depot.




Here’s the final product! Pretty awesome, huh?



Why did we wait 7 years to do this project? I have no idea. Sometimes you just need some inspiration to get the motivation you need to complete those DIY projects. Hopefully, this will show you that this type of project is affordable to easy to achieve…and if you are handy with woodworking, this project is totally doable in a few days. Now only if my garden would grow back so we have something to look at!



Before & After: Guest Room to Nursery

Howdy folks! If you were wondering where the heck I was for most of 2013, I was busy cookin’ a baby! The Mr. and I welcomed our Little Miss Sunshine, Sunny Grace, on December 16th of 2013…just about a week shy of Christmas (and almost a week past her original due date!). She is the most amazing treasure that we’ve ever received!!

Stevie Wonder had it right...Isn't she lovely!

Stevie Wonder had it right…Isn’t she lovely!

Apparently, it’s true what they say about pregnant ladies and the need to “nest.” I guess most normal women simply spend that time cleaning and getting rid of some extra clutter. I took “nesting” to an extreme level. Just ask the Mr.! I drove him crazy! Every day I was purging old clothes, getting rid of worn out Tupperware, re-arranging pictures on the walls and running the vacuum about every 3 hours! What a perfect time to also turn our guest room into a nursery!!

A sweet cottage style nursery...with soft colors and vintage touches!

A sweet cottage style nursery…with soft colors and vintage touches!

I knew I wanted to keep a cottage feeling to what used to be the guest room, with the use of soft colors and vintage inspired items. Once we found out that we were having a girl, I started going bonkers with the color pink! The the Mr. made me tone it down with accents of green and yellow. We purchased some wonderfully fun artwork from Marius Valdes and Susie Ghahremani to add a sense of whimsy to the walls. (Artwork frame tip: If you purchase a frame for your artwork from Hobby Lobby, they will attach wall hanging hardware and wire to the back of it for just $1!!)

Who doesn't love a sock monkey?

Who doesn’t love a sock monkey?

The only big splurge for the room were the black-out curtain panels, which were purchased at Pottery Barn Kids. We turned to places like Etsy, Ebay, Craigslist to score some really fantastic deals on crib bedding, pillows, vintage toys (every nursery needs a sock monkey!) and artwork. The adorable vintage wooden rocker was a $30 score off of Craigslist.

Remember this old dresser? Looks a lot better after a fresh coat of Chalk Paint!

Remember this old dresser? Looks a lot better after a fresh coat of Chalk Paint!

Remember this dresser? If not, it was featured in this post…it went from drab to fab with some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White. We decided to keep it in the nursery and add a changing pad to the top. Using a dresser for a babies changing station is awesome! We store the wipes and the diapers in the top two drawers…and pull out whatever we need while changing baby Sunny. A handy change of clothes are stored in the drawers below for easy access and whatever we don’t want gets tossed in the cute white wicker hamper (purchased from Overstock.com).

Come on in...but you may have to change a diaper while you're here!

Come on in…but you may have to change a diaper while you’re here!

And of course, nothing is more fitting for a nursery than a few personal touches! The beautiful antique quilt was a gift from my mother and the vintage Kermit the Frog was my all time favorite toy when I was a toddler. The antique Victorian picture frame holds a hand stitched, hand dyed wool applique that I created myself for Sunny’s room. The frame was a $20 purchase from West End Antiques, which I later painted with the same Annie Sloan Chalk Paint that I had left over from the dresser project.

Nothing like a fun craft project to keep you occupied for 9 months!

Nothing like a fun craft project to keep you occupied for 9 months!

This little craft project was a perfect distraction for me during the first 4 months of my pregnancy. I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, or what is otherwise known as extreme, 24-hour morning sickness. Then at 16 weeks, we received some abnormal hormone testing that placed us in a high risk pregnancy category. That same week we received news that my father-in-law was diagnosed with stage-4 colon cancer (just six months after my mother-in-law lost her battle to cancer). Needless to say, 2013 had it’s challenges…that’s why the blog postings were few and far between.

This year, I’m looking forward to all of the surprises that being a new mom will bring to me! I’m excited to learn from the love of my daughter and to teach her about all of the things that I treasure. I also hope to keep writing and posting new stories when I can! And thanks to all of our friends, family and coworkers who offered their love and support during our sometimes trying journey to being new parents! Here’s to hoping 2014 stays Sunny!

Copyright 2014. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.