April 1, 2022

House Project: Finishing the Exterior

We had a lot of rain in March, and it was often too wet for digging swales or spring planting. So Dan chose another project from the to-do list - finishing the exterior of the house. It wasn't a huge project because this is all we have left -

The last exterior wall to do, with the original c.1920 windows and shiplap wood siding.

So, while waiting for the ground to dry out, that's what Dan has been doing. 

We started upgrading the siding back in 2011, when we replaced the kitchen windows. We've gradually worked our way around the house, replacing the original single-glazed windows with energy efficient ones and tweaking the wall insulation if possible. Then new siding and trim go up, and we paint. 

Considering how many years this task has taken, we wondered if we could still get our original barnboard siding. And if we could, what would it cost! The sheets we bought in 2011 were $20 each. When Dan went to Lowes to see what was available, the original pattern was no more. But he was able to find a pretty close match, except the cost now is $45 per sheet and the sheets are thinner. We're glad we saved the wall with the least square footage until last.

Dan also wanted to replace the gable vents, but didn't like the price or quality of the ones for sale. So he made his own.

Lastly, the trim got a fresh coat of paint.

The exterior of the house is finally done! It feels like a milestone. There are still two more rooms to finish on the interior, but that probably won't be for awhile. The next house project we want to tackle, is putting up the two extra solar panels we didn't use for the fridge and freezer. But even that must wait when the ground is workable. "Food first," so planting must be the priority.


Rosalea said...

Your house looks beautiful Leigh. Does Dan put screening behind the louvres to keep out critters and bugs?

daisy g said...

Great job! How rewarding it must be to tackle these things on your own. It looks like a brand new house!

Leigh said...

Rosalea, thanks! Yes, definitely screening! If he didn't, I'm sure we'd have mice and squirrels and snakes taking up residence in the attic.

Daisy, it's very rewarding. Both in a sense of accomplishment, and in saving money. It really is a different looking house than what we moved into. :)

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Wow Leigh! Talk about a long term project coming to fruition - it looks great.

That Dan. I am literally convinced there is nothing he cannot do. ("Do not like the gables available, let me just make a new one...)

Also, that is a shocking increase in price in approximately 11 years.

Retired Knitter said...

Great job! And it looks great.

You should put together an album of pictures you have taken - before and after pictures - of the interior and exterior changes - sort of like a pictorial history of the house under your care and a pictorial history that could be transferred to the new owner whenever that occurs. I am quite sure that any new owner would be most appreciative and interested in the journey you and your house have traveled.

Leigh said...

TB, thanks! One thing about Dan is that he likes personal challenges. Then too, it's a matter of the time it takes versus the cost. Sometimes one wins out, sometimes the other.

Yes, the price increase is discouraging. But, that's our new normal.

RT, thanks! I actually started collecting pictures to make a before and after album, but never got very far with it. I've even thought about putting it all in a book, something like 5 Acres & A Dream: The House.

Lady Locust said...

That looks beautiful! Love those windows~ Isn't it amazing how relatively small (by comparison) projects can make such a big difference?

Ed said...

I had the same question as Rosalea though I was thinking about bats instead of squirrels. I saw your answer.

It is always great to see a major project such as that one completed, though I wish the feeling lasted a bit longer. I'm guessing it will be right on to the next project. Always so much to do and seemingly so little time.

Goatldi said...

I always thought it was an interesting intersection of lives when I found that you moved into and started renovating in 2011. That is when we moved into our 42 acres in Shasta County. And where i first found your blog.
I just love the do it yourself and ingenuity of all you have done. I especially enjoy your it doesn’t all have to be done right now philosophy. It seems that I see many “modern “ homesteaders now rushing to get through and get finished with everything as soon as possible and make it happen. Which is kind of sad in my heart because homesteading is not a lifestyle it’s not a disposable journey. It is a way of life. You set a great example for everyone in the way you do things.
Your home looks beautiful and as always I will be anxious to see what you pull out of your hat next time. Congratulations!

Michelle said...

Congratulations! It must feel lovely to have a 'finished face' to smile on the neighborhood.

Leigh said...

LL, thanks! It is amazing how the seemingly little things make a big difference. It's a relief to have it done!

Ed, I hadn't thought about bats, but we have those too, so that's another critter we want to keep out.

Dan can't sit still so, yes, on to the next project!

Goatldi, actually, we moved in in 2009! It just took me two years to decide what to do with the kitchen. :p I have to admit, though, that learning to take our time didn't come easily at first. But there were so many things to do and only a limited amount of time and money, so it had to be that way. I'm sure most folks would have done the house first, but we needed a garden, so that came first. We wanted critters so we needed housing and fencing. We had to install a wood stove. Etc., etc. It seemed to go slowly at the time, but looking back, we've accomplished a lot.

Michelle! I'm sure our neighbors appreciate it! We've been working on the house for 13 years now. When we first moved in and met the folks across the street, they told us they did all their upgrades and renovations themselves and it took 17 years. Knowing that helped a lot. I knew the neighbors understood.

SmartAlex said...

Very nice! We've put all unnecessary projects on hold these days, but still seem to be doing a lot. We recently purchased a few boards and LVL beams to modify a 2018 garage project and everything was over 30% higher than the original purchase.

Florida Farm Girl said...

You must be so pleased that the house is all finally wrapped up in its new skin. It looks lovely.

Leigh said...

Alex, for motivated people, I don't think there's any such thing as putting projects on hold for long! That's a huge price jump, but that's the world we live in now.

Sue, very much so! There's still the interior and a few outside tweaks, but having the exterior finally done feels like a definite check off the list. :)

Nancy In Boise said...

Looks great!

Unknown said...

Hi Leigh. Would you believe that my son got me your book, 5 Acres and a Dream for my birthday just a few days ago. Wow. I'm very glad you write like you think/talk. It's refreshing. I'm starting out alone on my homesteading journey and there is so much to it. I'm grateful and hoping to accomplish learning many new things about self reliance. I will be sure to order every book you've written. Thank you for being so open and real. 🙋🏼‍♀️🌹from Northern Minnesota

Leigh said...

Thanks, Nancy!

Unknown, hello and welcome! Your kind words just made my day! Homesteading is one of the most challenging thing we've ever done, but also the most rewarding. I hope you'll comment often, and share your progress. Or maybe start a blog of your own. It's such a great tool for record keeping. :)