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We live in a rural area, on a small farm. The house is sort of the least of our worries, if you know what I mean. Nevertheless, every spring, I get the urge to spruce things up around here. I bring out the plants that have wintered in the house, and usually pick up a couple of more for my collection, and spray the pollen off of everything with the water hose, and that is usually enough to freshen it up and give it a little happy color.
Well this year, my husband tried to trump me (and was still successful, by the way) by building a new fence at the front of our property. It looked so good, and he poured heart, soul, muscle and sweat into it for weeks on end before it was done.
I was motivated. I needed more than plants this year. More than a new door mat. I needed color. Our house is a neutral taupe color, with a green roof. Yep, green roof. I don’t know what I was thinking when we built it, but we ended up with green. (Actually, the roofing supply company discouraged me from the brown/tan color because it shows too many dark runs, sooner.) It was our new house, and we loved it, green shingles and all.
A year or two later, we painted the porch columns. Then we added shutters. Green, of course. What else could we do, right? The door was a neutral tannish color. The following year, I hired professional landscapers to replace the overgrown gardenias out front with something more colorful. (We had the longest hard freeze and it snowed here in Louisiana that winter, of course.) and the landscaping never quite grew into its own, so I knew any mention of throwing more money in that direction was going to meet some skepticism.
Then it hit me. I was going to paint the door. I didn’t care if The Working Man (TWM=hubby) liked it or not. It’s my house, too, right? Eek! I decided to paint it teal, my second favorite color…I didn’t want to push my luck all the way into attempting to grace our home with a purple door.
The problem was, those dang green shutters. How could I manage to paint the door a bright, inviting color, and not have it clash with those stupid (I loved them at the time of purchase) hunter green shutters? Paint them. I decided to paint the shutters.
Now, we did not buy wooden shutters, they sell vinyl ones at Lowe’s, and that’s what we got. Louvered ones. Green, louvered vinyl shutters. No way they were gonna look right with that amazing teal door that I was about to grace our front porch with. Nope. They had to be painted.
I asked TWM to bring me some saw horses to the front yard, and I had the shutter’s down before he got back with them and asked why I needed them. That’s kinda my MO around here. I barrel first into it, then it has to be done. (Don’t even ask about the day he came home and I already had the stove out of the kitchen….yep, we got a new one that night.) “I’m painting the shutters.” I told him as he rounded the corner with the saw horses. “Just sit them right there.” His eyes were big, I tell ya. Big. But he didn’t say a word and went back to fence building. I swear, men get smarter and smarter as they age. At least mine does.
I sprayed the shutters off with the water hose, and ran to Lowe’s after spray paint while they dried. I chose a nice exterior brown spray paint (Rust-oleum Universal Paint & Primer Satin Espresso) that indicated that it would work on vinyl, plastic, and a number of other surfaces. I bought 4 cans. I figured that was plenty, and at $5 each, I wanted to stay within my allotted budget. Honestly, I figured I’d have enough left to spray my porch planters with afterward. Wrong.
It was very easy to spray the shutters, and the paint stuck and covered well. The problem was the louvers. The nooks and crannies. Ugh. I used up all 4 cans. (I must admit it was kinda windy, too, but nothing short of a tornado was going to stop me from finishing those shutters.) TWM needed to go to Lowe’s, so I had him pick up 2 more cans.
While he was gone, I spray painted my planters with some teal that I had leftover from painting my light fixtures (another post for another day, but yes, you can paint your light fixtures!), and I was very pleased with myself and how good everything was looking when he got back.
He eyeballed the shutters, not saying much for the first couple of minutes, then I got a “looks good” out of him, as he pointed to the places that I had missed. (those dang louvers). “I’ve got it.” I nodded him toward the fence as I grabbed the bag of paint.
It only took one can to finish the sides and nooks that needed a coat, and one coat was plenty. I was pretty proud of myself. Well, until he came back and asked if I had numbered the shutters when I took them down. Ugh. Of course not. I was too dang excited to think to number anything. The builder that he is, he said “I did.” Of course he did, right? “When?” I asked, confused and not quite believing him. “When I installed them.” Sure enough, they were numbered in back with pencil, left to right, so that if they were ever removed, they would go back in the right place. Who does that? How in the heck, and for what reason did he ever think they would be removed? This whole taking them down to paint idea was all mine, lol. Thankful for his foresight, I allowed him to help me screw them back in place. (The moral of this paragraph is-number your shutters when you take them down, and count on a little more than one can of spray paint per shutter, if you are going in a darker color, like I did. If going lighter, I would probably prime first with a gray primer.)
I painted the front door with Sherwin Williams exterior grade paint, and it took less than a quart. I highly recommend going with the best paint that you can afford, and as the wife of a builder, I can say that I have never met a professional painter that used any other brand. I paid about $20ish dollars for that quart.
I rolled on the door paint with a 4″ smooth roller, to get a nice finish. (I taped off the hardware with masking tape.) and I cut in with a Purdy XL Cub angular brush, which is my favorite for household painting. I applied 2 coats, allowing it to dry an hour in between. The breeze outside really helped it to dry quickly. I left the door open for the rest of the afternoon. Sometimes, even when the paint feels dry to the touch, it can still be tacky and get stuck in the tight areas when it is shut. That can cause the paint to come off in those tight areas. I left it open about 5 hours total, and have never had an issue.
Well, there’s my story on how I got a whole new look for my house for under $50. One day. 50 bucks, and I think it complements the new fence nicely.
Make sure to let me know how your project turns out! -Terri