Maybe it’s chipping paint, sun damage, or a dated hue—no matter how cool a house’s interior style is, sometimes the outside looks, well, blah. If your home leaves something to be desired in the realm of curb appeal, there’s hope yet. For serial renovator Ashley Petrone, updating an exterior is as simple as a fresh coat is crisp white paint.
Before moving to her current home in Northern California, Petrone lived in multiple homes, including an RV, where redo-ing the exterior simply wasn’t in the cards. Naturally, after buying her new home less than a year ago, Petrone made sure painting the exterior was at the top of her renovation to-do list. Given that she finished the paint job in record time (two and a half days, with the help of her mother), we figured the newly minted exterior paint-pro would be the perfect expert to tap for tips. Petrone’s number one rule? “Just go for it,” she says.
It’s OK to hire extra hands
Prior to actually painting the house, Petrone knew the exterior needed to be pressure-washed. After weighing the pros and cons of doing that on her own, she opted to hire out the job for timing reasons. Because the only other cost was the paint, which barely topped $500, this didn’t prove to be an expensive splurge.
Carefully deliberate over the paint
Choosing the right shade of white was the hardest part of the process for Petrone. About two weeks before she actually started painting, the designer started painting seven 12×12 inch squares around different areas of the house. “It was great because [over the course of two weeks] it was raining, it was cloudy, it was sunny… Every day, I just went out and would see how the colors were changing with the weather. That is something I don’t think people take into consideration. When it’s really overcast, the color of your house completely changes,” cautions Petrone. Take time to live with your color options before picking one—after all, fixing a bad exterior paint job isn’t as simple as fixing a bad interior paint job.
Don’t dwell on the challenges
Is there a design feature you straight up wish wasn’t there, like a circular window or a poorly placed column that you can’t remove? Paint is a great way to either hide what you don’t love about your house or at least make it look a little better. For Petrone, the front of her home features two decorative—and, according to the designer, unwelcome—cut-outs. They were a major part of the conversation over whether she would even buy the home. “I was always talking about how I hated those holes. I thought they were so ugly and I was like, I just need to fill these circles!” says Petrone. “But now after living here for a little longer, I think they’re just so unique.” The fresh coat of paint helped her see them in a different light, and now she’s embracing the flaws.
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