Exterior Reno: STUCCO! And Paint. But STUCCO!

By Melissa

This is where we landed after the roof, landscaping, windows and new front door.

If last April and this April had a baby, it would be the devil himself. No, like really. In the midst of all of this quarantine business, I just keep thinking how grateful I am that we aren’t doing the same things this year that we did last. For the past 11 months, I’ve said that April 2019 was the longest month of my life. (Luckily, or unluckily, I believe that April 2020 will easily take that title, but for completely different reasons.) But last year, man, it was bonkers. First and foremost because we the stucco on our house. Which was good! And we were so grateful to have that project underway, but goodness, it was a headache. I’ll go into that process in just a bit, but before that, I want to keep complaining. 🙂 In addition to having our stucco take half the month and into May, our AC also went out in our upstairs. And then our outside fridge went out. And then we all got them stomach flu one week. And that was the week before Easter, which coincidentally was the same week as both of my little kids’ birthdays. Basically it was a never ending saga of things going wrong. But we survived that! And we weren’t in quarantine! And this year is bound to be better, as long as we can survive staying home! (We did have an isolated barfing situation earlier this week, but I am pretty sure we are out of the woods!)

So anyway, remember how I said that we did the stucco on our house? It made THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE!!! (I know I’ve said that about every step, but honestly this time. 😉) I was so excited to get this project going, however, I was ill prepared with what living through it would be like. First up, scaffolding around our entire house. Not that big of a deal, I can keep my small children from climbing it. But then they also laid plastic and paper down to catch all the dust and debris that came off the house. Okay okay, also not the biggest deal in the world, right? Right. But it was such a headache. And I get to complain because I had to deal with it.

This was after they tore all the pop outs off!

So first up, they did the mud layer. That was such an awesome visual for the house because it covered all the old shapes of the windows that we had changed and pulled the pop outs off and such. So it gave us a good visual of what it might actually look like when it was done! But it was a very cement-y grey color that was a little prison-esque. And also, it made SUCH. A. MESS. So on top of that plastic they laid down, was so much gravely dust and chunks of stucco. It wasn’t horrible on it’s own, but the mud layer had to cure for over a week! So all of this mess was just hanging out in our front and back yard while we waited. 

Also during this time, they had taped plastic over all of our windows, which was very kid of them to keep them nice and clean since they were brand new. However, our AC for our upstairs went out during this time. We were working with a home warranty company (long story for another day) and needless to say, they were not prompt. So we had no AC for the better part of the month. One of our friends lent us a portable AC unit that we tried to put in our kids’ room, but since the windows were taped shut, we couldn’t vent the portable unit, which made if impossible to use. Not the end of the world, but frustrating. So we had all of the kids sleeping in the toy room while Philip and I slept on the couches in the family room. Our upstairs was basically unusable. Even though it wasn’t super hot at the time, without any ventilation in our home, it was stifling. 

ANYWAY, basically it was a few weeks with a whole lot of complaining on my part. And as soon as the white stucco started going up, I WAS IN LOVE. It looked so clean and so finished! Yes, of course we needed to paint the trim and doors still, but good heavens, it was an immediate improvement, in the biggest possible way! It was so smooth and so white and so completely different than what we had before. In the afternoon when the sun is setting on it, it is just glowy. It is 850% worth all of the headache that went into getting it to this point. And while yes, it was expensive, I am just so amazed at how much you can change the look of a house just by doing the stucco. I think had we done everything else and not this, it wouldn’t have made the impact that our changes did. Can you tell that I’m just so happy with it???

After that, we had a painter come to finish the trim, paint the garage doors and paint the exterior doors in the back of the house. Before he started, he recommended having a repairman come check out some old wood on our back porch which just made the project take a little longer than we thought. The painter gave us our initial quote in May and he didn’t end up starting and finishing until the very end of June. 

So if we are keeping track, that means that our roof got started in November, and SEVEN MONTHS LATER, we finally finished with contractors at our house! It was a long and slow process, but dang, we are both so happy with how it turned out. 

And next up, I got to finally gussy it up with all the details! My next post on the house will be my last, but definitely an exciting one! It is where I can share all of the outside details of our home and all of the things that make it feel just so personal to us. So get ready!

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