I woke up to snow the other day. Snow. In May. It’s not OK, but I’m not going to let it get me down! It is indeed spring, so today I want to share with you our front stoop makeover. Last year about this time we decided to tackle our front steps, which, like most home reno projects, snowballed into so much more.
We inherited the front stoop when we moved in and with it came water damage. You see, when they were installed, many moons ago, they were done incorrectly which led to pretty major leaks in the basement right below them. We tried a patch job right after moving in, but it didn’t do the trick and so we were forced into prioritizing this project. We’re the “if we’re going to do it, do it right” people, so we decided to replace them with brick and bluestone to match the skirt on the house. Yes, this was an investment, and no, we didn’t DIY this one. Well, not all of it anyway.
In addition to the steps, we also did a little painting and landscaping to really bring our front elevation to life. All in, this probably took about three weeks to complete, which included a week for our sub to build the new stairs and some weekend hours from us to wrap it all up. Here’s the process rundown:
1. First, we removed the evergreen bushes around the front. They were HUGE, too close to the foundation, and blocked the pretty brick skirt. It was time for them to hit the chipper. Ryan started this process, but then we brought in the big guns (our landscaping neighbors) to finish the job. Well worth the investment in the pros.
2. My wonderful husband then took down the old steps. This was a pretty quick process which speaks to the quality of the old stairs.
3. The next day, the very talented Aaron Sarver from Sarver & Son Masonry arrived. In addition to the stairs, we decided to have him remove the cracked concrete walkway and replace it with pavers. This was easier to do in conjunction with the stairs, and again, might as well do it right. Removing the concrete turned out to be a major chore and added a day to our timeline.
4. Aaron then built the inner core of our stairs with concrete blocks before starting on the brick and then finishing it off with bluestone treads. The final touch was the new walkway done in pavers in a herringbone pattern. I won’t go into detail on the building process because, quite frankly, it isn’t my area of expertise. I will say, it was a cool process to watch, and man can those pros move quickly!
5. Next, Ryan and I got our hands dirty and spent a few days lining the front beds, where the bushes had been, with leftover brick and creating beds on either side of the walkway. In went a few evergreen bushes and hydrangeas for summer color as well as spring bulbs. The walkway was lined with matching hostas which we “borrowed” from other areas of our yard.
6. Finally, the door. I don’t particularly love the door we have, but a coat of paint goes a long way! I went with black to create a focal point and I think it looks quite striking against the beige siding and green shutters. Ryan also removed the aluminum trim around the door exposing the original wood trim which dates back to when the house was built almost 200 years ago. This got sanded down and then got a fresh coat of high-gloss white exterior trim paint.
This was a big renovation project, but I can’t tell you how happy we are with the results. The house looks fresh, inviting, and we have no more basement leaks! I realize this kind of makeover might not be in the works for everyone, but there are super easy updates you can make right now for $100 or less. Check out my recent blog post to get my 10 Easy Outdoor Updates Under $100 and shop my picks!