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A Facelift for the Cottage

March 26th, 2012

Last summer, painting the shutters, doors, and foundation of the house was on the to-do list. Then we purchased the lot next door and spent our time getting a new edible garden space ready instead. As a result, the painting never got finished but we enjoyed a lot of great homegrown vegetables.

Since we have had such warm weather here in NE Ohio this past week and the soil is still too wet to work, we decided to get a jump on painting in order to mark a few more items off the “to-do” list. Off came the shutters, down came a few doors, and we were off.

We found this fantastic little sprayer that hooks up to an air compressor. It uses pint jars for the paint. That way you can use a few different colors, or in our case, primer and paint. Simply close up the jar when you’re not using it. It’s called the Critter Paint Sprayer and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It turned a job that would have taken me hours with a paintbrush into minutes. It’s also made to be repaired and comes with a parts list for each part, I can certainly appreciate that!

Our current shutters were painted green by me the first year we moved in (10 years ago). They were starting to look a little dated, not to mention they were faded and shabby looking. I settled on black as my color of choice for the shutter/doors a few years ago figuring it would be a classic look with our tan siding.

The foundation was also given a fresh coat of paint. I’ve always read that using a dark color on the foundation anchors the house to the garden. After one coat of paint I stood back and was amazed, it’s completely true. Not to mention, the plants and flowers look fantastic up against the dark background. I think the green was competing with the plants all along.

The exterior doors on the house were also in need of a fresh coat of paint, most of them were peeling and they were getting quite faded as well. Most of our exterior doors aren’t covered with porches and thus they take quite a beating. After a fresh coat of paint and some new knobs I couldn’t believe how nice they looked.

The weather has once again turned too cold to paint, so I turned my attention to scraping the loose paint on the exterior door trim. Not a fun chore, but a necessary chore. I’m all about getting the job done right, even if I don’t plan on being here forever. We inherited a lot of “good enough” jobs when we purchased this place and I’d never want to pass any of those along to someone else. (if you don’t have one of these painter’s tool in your toolbox I’d highly recommend getting one, I love it and use mine all the time and not just for painting).

There are still four more doors that still need a coat of paint (I know we have lots of exterior doors), when the weather wArms that will be the first thing to get finished so it can officially be crossed off the list. In the mean time, we will be replacing all the porch posts as a few of them are completely rotten. It’s a good thing they’re not structural! We’ll be going with square posts painted in white with a little bit of trim detail.

Overall, things are shaping up nicely. It’s nice to see the house getting whipped back into shape. We’ve spent so much time focusing on the gardens the last couple years that the house has been slightly neglected. My neighbor even stopped by the other day to tell me how much she liked what we’ve done. If I had to pick a favorite house color it wouldn’t be tan, but you live with what you’ve got. I’m more of a cedar shake, dark bluish gray, or a crisp white when it comes to the color I most like to see on a house.

What’s your favorite house color?

If you’ve got a lot of painting to do – invest in these tools. For not much money you’ll save yourself tons of time and a lot of hassle!

21 Comments to “A Facelift for the Cottage”
  1. Sincerely, Emily on March 26, 2012 at 9:29 am

    What a good feeling. Love the little pint sprayer you are using. Everything does look fresh and clean when freshly painted. Your shutters and doors look wonderful!! I need to get back to our backyard “shop” that I started a year ago and another shed toot his spring. we have an airless sprayer. It works great, but is a pain to clean. it will be a good feeling when I get our painting done also!

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

    • Susy on March 26, 2012 at 11:58 am

      I used an airless sprayer last time I painted the shutters – and yes they’re a HUGE pain to clean. This one is so nice, simply fill with soapy water and spray that through it, then rinse. That’s for water based paint of course, for oil based you use some mineral spirits.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. Sherri on March 26, 2012 at 9:46 am

    That looks absolutely fantastic – well done!

    Reply to Sherri's comment

  3. Emmon on March 26, 2012 at 10:01 am

    What a great alternative to planting early! (with the risks of frosts they will probably still hit us — we’re in southeast Michigan).

    Reply to Emmon's comment

  4. Jennifer Krieger on March 26, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    I am right there with you on house colors: slate blue is good; white with dark green trim, good, too; and once in a while a pale yellow or grey is nice.

    Reply to Jennifer Krieger's comment

  5. KimH on March 26, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    I love the update.. It looks great!

    I dont know that I really have a favorite color for a house.. Stone is really my favorite.. but failing that, I’d say white, tan, or beige.. You can do anything in the world with it by changing the trim colors..

    Reply to KimH's comment

  6. tj on March 26, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    …Your place looks fantastic! I love the color of the shutters against the tan siding – perfect! :o)

    …Thank you for the references as I will be needing these this summer. Our home is in need of exterior paint this year so I’ll be repainting the siding and the trim. I will definitely be looking at these tools you mentioned.

    …I love a simple traditional white house and I also love the naturally gray cedar shake homes too. I love the homes you’ve been pinning on Pinterest btw. My dream house is just a simple little white farmhouse, not too big but a big barn. And a meadow. And a large garden area. And a pond. All surrounded by woods. That’s all. *giggle* ;o)

    …Do you use clean straw or aged straw to put down in your garden? I noticed it in the one photo and had to ask. Great photo too btw! :o)


    Reply to tj's comment

    • Susy on March 26, 2012 at 10:09 pm

      I usually use clean straw that I get from the local farm supply store for mulching my paths/walkways in the garden. It’s not organic, but I haven’t been able to find a source for organic straw. Works like a charm keeping the weeds down and keeping the paths cleaner.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Arika on March 27, 2012 at 12:35 am

    New paint color looks great! It’s amazing what a new coat will do. Would love to see a pic of the newly-painted foundation with plants against it (as you mentioned) :) Good work!

    Reply to Arika's comment

  8. daisy on March 27, 2012 at 5:51 am

    Great job on the painting! Thanks for the information on the tools. I like that the sprayer is repairable. Not much is these days.

    I love blue or sage green for a house color. Our house came grey. Very blahhhhh… Next house, I’ll be painting!

    Reply to daisy's comment

    • Susy on March 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm

      I love it when I can find a product that can be repairable, I hate throwing things away that quit working more than anything.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Andrea Duke on March 27, 2012 at 6:37 am

    I love the black! I have quite a few things that are black. It’s just become a color I really like these days.

    The old shutter color looks like the green color you used on those really cute basement stairs you showed here recently :)

    Reply to Andrea Duke's comment

    • Susy on March 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      I’m definitely a green person, though I’m loving black more and more as well. I’m also becoming more of a white lover as well.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  10. Jessie Davis on March 27, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    So glad I saw this post! I am just starting the process of house hunting for my very first home and I happily expect it to require a good face lift. I adore the paint sprayer you are using and had never considered something like it, but I’ll definitely have to invest in one for the many projects I’m sure to encounter. When I was walking the dog today I was thinking about what kinds of accents I would want the home to have and shutters was at the top of the list. I think they give it a beautiful, home-sweet-home touch. Very nice work!

    Reply to Jessie Davis's comment

  11. Christine on March 31, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    That paint sprayer is so cool!!! I must have one. Thank you!

    Reply to Christine's comment

  12. Brian on July 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    What size compressor did you use to power the critter?

    Reply to Brian's comment

    • Susy on July 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      2 HP

      Reply to Susy's comment

  13. Missy on July 31, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Hi Suzy, I love the updates on your home. Your house looks fantastic! I also have green shutters right now and have wanted to paint them black. I am wondering if your shutters are vinyl or wood? Mine are vinyl and I wonder if I can use latex paint on them using the critter?

    Reply to Missy's comment

    • Susy on July 31, 2012 at 3:47 pm

      Thanks for reading & commenting. My shutters are vinyl. Just use a good primer before applying the latex paint. We used a Kilz primer that will go from oil to latex and it worked great. Our previous paint job on the shutters was latex and it wasn’t peeling at all when we repainted (and they were done 10 years ago).

      Reply to Susy's comment

  14. Dana Moss on May 18, 2017 at 7:19 am

    What kind of paint and what color did you use on the foundation and the door?

    Reply to Dana Moss's comment

    • Susy on May 20, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      Black, we loved the darkness of it. We have used the same black for the barn here in Maine and still love it!

      Reply to Susy's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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