First impressions count. Transforming the front of our house.

It is with great pleasure that I can now announce we have finished the front of our house! Hooray! I might put up some bunting to celebrate our achievement. I am no longer embarrassed, perhaps even proud now, of how it looks. It’s taken two years though; there was so much to do and we could only afford to do a bit at a time.

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At the very beginning we looked at getting a new front door. The original was a scruffy white with gold coloured ‘furniture’ (that’s door speak for the shiny metal bits) but even the cheapest composite versions were over £1000 so we couldn’t really justify it. Instead we painted it with an external waterproof paint in sage green, and replaced the gold with polished chrome. It made an unbelievable difference and set us back less than £100.

The slate house number sign is made to order, and illuminated by the exterior wall lights. They are up & down lighters and look really pretty at night. The only thing that would make them better would be a dusk to dawn sensor so I didn’t have to remember to turn them off!

To complement this the most recent (and in my opinion best) addition is our storm porch. It’s made from softwood as it’s cheaper than oak so has had two coats of primer and the green exterior paint on top to protect it. Apart from the practical benefits of protecting us and the front door from the worst of the elements (our postman is particularly grateful!) It has created a ‘proper’ entrance on an otherwise flat house.

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We’re lucky to have a pretty big lawn at the front of the house, and this is where the sun falls in the evening. For the first time last week we took a picnic blanket to the front and the girls ate their dinner outside, it was really satisfying to be able to enjoy a whole new area of our home. It was too open at first so we have enclosed it with a low fence and a picket gate. It defines the area, gives us more privacy and helps to make it obvious where our house ends and next door begins

The huge expanses of empty brick wall needed covering with something, as did the area of new bricks used to block up the second front door. We built a raised bed using sleepers and filled it with as many evergreen plants as we could fit, including jasmine to climb up the wall. My frustration with plants is waiting for them to grow. I love paint because the transformation is immediate, but with plants you have to wait at least a year to even begin to see the fruits of your labour. Now we are entering spring those backbreaking hours are starting to pay off with a new flower or shoot appearing each time I look.

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We’ve recently had the moss removed from the roof so our garden is no longer littered with it every time it rains, and last but not least was the removal of the wobbly concrete slabs to make way for a new stone chipping path, framed by block paving bricks. If money was no object we’d have chosen a bound resin or entirely block paved design as they’re a bit easier for pushchairs and wheely suitcases (for my many exotic holidays obviously) but this alternative seems to work pretty well. Stone chippings are more practical than gravel because they don’t spread so easily and end up everywhere but the path.

So, just for my own satisfaction and the chance to be a little bit smug, here is a reminder of what it used to look like. The only bit of this picture I’d like to keep is the sunshine. Come back my long lost friend!

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