September 15, 2005

Curb Appeal

As I've mentioned on and off, we've wanted to put a window in our front gable since we moved in over three years ago. As long as we've been here, the gable has looked bare and a photo from when this place was broken down and decrepit shows that it used have a fancy attic vent and gingerbread. While putting that back could have looked nifty, we really wanted a window so that the attic could have the potential to become a real room some day.

This summer we finally had the funds saved up for such a project. After learning that the lancet window I really wanted would cost about $4000, I put aside such foolish notions and figured out what might be within the realm of possibility. We finally settled on three rectangular windows (two small ones flanking a larger center window), which can be seen all over our neighborhood on houses similar to ours.
The side windows are fixed and the center is a double-hung. I really wanted the gothic arches and diamond design for the muntins on the upper part of the center window, but even that would have added to the cost quite a bit. We got another cheaper, but equally authentic if not so Gothic pattern.

All this we decided way back in June. We also met with the contractor and decided on fiber cement shingles and made a few other design choices. It all seemed to be on track.

The window came in towards the end of July and the store started bugging us to get it out of their warehouse. In mid-August our contractor was all set to do the installation when we hit a snag. I am apparently incapable of getting good information out of the lumber yard and what I thought I had learned about fiber cement shingles was not accurate. Their cost was way too high and they would take over another month to get. So we had to rethink what we wanted and decide whether we wanted a different shape of fiber cement shingle that was easier to find and cheaper or did we want to get cedar after all.

We went with cedar. We really wanted something other than half-rounds and with cedar we had far more choices for patterns and designs. We bought a box of arrow shingles and a box of square shingles from Vintage Woodworks, which arrived in just three days. They were a really great company to work with.

Once we got the shingles, we had to paint all 192 of them. We spent three days priming every side of every shingle and then painting everything except the back. We also primed and painted all the trim for the window and additional trimwork. We weren't paying our contractor for his painting expertise, so we did all that work ourselves.

This Monday morning the contractor and his assistant rolled in.

When they arrived the house looked like this:

And then this:

Then the cutting started:

And there was a hole:

Followed by a window:

On the second day, they cut and installed a ridge vent, put a frame of trim around the gable and the shingling started:

And went on:

Until suddenly it was done:

We'll have some puttying and touch-up painting to do, but the worst is over. It rained today and I checked for leaks. Everything is dry. I keep going outside to look at my pretty house. It looks a lot better already and just wait until we get the rest of the vinyl taken off and replaced with something else some day. But that is a project for some other year.


Very nice! The Gothic window doesn't seem like it would have fit the character of the house as well, anyway, and these windows let in lots more light!

Posted by: Lenise at September 15, 2005 04:58 PM

The Gothic muntins are on most of the windows in the neighborhood and although there is only one house around here with a lancet window, I figured that if it was good enough for American Gothic, it would look okay on my house too. But the price of this window was far more reasonable and I'm really happy with the results.

Posted by: Jordana at September 15, 2005 05:41 PM

And by the way, don't get sick!!

Posted by: Lenise at September 15, 2005 06:58 PM

It's amazing how much more interest the front facade has with the window and shingles. Wonderful work!

Posted by: Meredith at September 15, 2005 08:13 PM

It looks great!

Good luck with the cold. We all had one and it seems that every friend and blogger I know has been sick.

Posted by: mary at September 16, 2005 07:49 AM

Your house DEFINITELY has curb appeal. And it's so nice to hear folks say loving things about their homes...staying there...etc...With folks constantly on the move, your improvements sound very satisfying. Too many families make changes in their homes just to sell.

Btw, love your porch. I'd be sitting out there right now, if I were you! Oh, and your picket fence is super. I want one!!!

Posted by: melissa at September 16, 2005 08:25 AM

Melissa, our curb appeal is all for us. We really don't want to move. We like our neighbors and our location, and we like our house a lot too.

The porch is nice, though the mosquitoes aren't. I don't use it as much as I should though because the baby is such a wiggler and would head straight for the steps.

Posted by: Jordana at September 16, 2005 09:09 AM

Speaking of American Gothic, I really think you owe it to your loyal readers to get dressed up, find Justin a pitchfork, and get someone to take your picture in front of your new creation.

Just sayin'...

(By the way, the house looks great.)

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at September 16, 2005 10:55 AM

Oooh- that gives me an idea! Jay in the pack'n'play on the front porch while mama sips lemonade. Ahhh.

Posted by: Lenise at September 16, 2005 11:04 AM

That looks so incredible. Don't you love projects that make such a big difference!

Is there are room up in your attic?

Posted by: chris at September 16, 2005 03:17 PM

It looks fabulous, Jordana! It really changes the whole front of your home...just wait until there is a room there someday!


Posted by: Kim at September 16, 2005 08:14 PM

Wow, I love it! Hope you are feeling better!

Posted by: Busy Mom at September 16, 2005 10:40 PM

Ditto! It looks super! I, too, want to know if there is a room up there....

Posted by: angie at September 17, 2005 03:02 PM