What would a perfectly fine house be without a decent pair of shutters? Hm, glad you asked. First, in the picture below check out my wow-there-once-was-a-shutter-here-sun-stain that has persisted since one fine day a few months ago I walked outside and basked in a beautiful autumn mist and when the yucky, warping, plastic, ill-fitting shutters (let me tell you how I really felt about them) caught my eye and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I pulled them off the house and for a moment loved the impromptu decision and then I realized, “oh crap, something should go there.” But there was no turning back.
After I pulled off the old yucky shutters I looked for quotes on rustic wood shutters to replace them. I was shocked that the cheapest quote was $425! Yikes! Time to get out the measuring tape and the saw, I knew I could do it for less. And so can you. My shutters ended up costing only $22, here’s how I did it.
- 1×3′s (use lock-in-grove boards if you can find them!)
- 3″ wood screws
- sand paper and/or sander
- mitre saw
- pocket jig
- wood glue
- wood clamps
- measuring tape
First, measure your window. For the record a true shutter should go from the top to the bottom of the window and be half the width of the window, plus if the window is rounded and the top, the shutter should be also. These shutters are purely decorative, but they mirror the window as if they were actually functional. I did not build shutters half the width of the window, given the decorative only nature, but I thought the width was ample.
Next, choose a style. I built one like a house by the kids’ school. I was driving carpool and snagged a photo on my phone. I like the rustic style. Other styles are easier to build, but seems if you’re going to go through the effort build what you want.
I used 2×4′s to build the frame, connected with pocket jig screws:
When cutting wood you want to be the exact same length you can stack them on the mitre saw for one clean cut:
I mark the end of my pieces if I am building more than one project out of the same wood, it helps me keep it organized:
I glued together 1×3′s for the backing and braced them with clamps:
Then I attached the 1×3 board to the 2×4 frame with 2 inch wood screws. Pre-drill pilot holes then sink in the screws to the back:
Next attach the cross wood (if you want any) I originally created a T look, but liked two cross pieces better. The great thing about building your own is you can choose what you like. I attached the cross pieces with wood glue and 2″ screws into the back.
I wanted rustic looking shutters so I cut random pieces out of the sides with a jig saw and hit the shutters with a hammer. Then it was sand, sand, sand with a rough 60 grit paper.
The only thing left is to paint. I had left over paint from the garage doors, matching the shutters to the doors would look fantastic.
Line the shutters with the top of the window. I was afraid to drill into stucco because I had heard of people cracking their stucco and having to replace the whole thing. I enlisted the help of my brother-in-law, a general contractor. He was so unafraid. He drilled pilot holes into the inside corners of the shutters and then drilled straight into the stucco with 4″ dry wall screws.I was worried that you would see the screws, but you barely can in the corner (look in the shadow!) I wish I could give more detail, but make sure you use the right materials for your exterior before cracking or breaking something.
I’m not sure what i love more, by $22 shutters, or not having to stare at the sun bleached stucco every time I come home!
Here are some more after shots:
Friday I will post on the after pics of the curb appeal. Happy Creating!
This update is such an amazing bang for your buck. One can of spray paint and a little time and my exterior lights look completely new. The poor lights had seen better days:
As part of the curb appeal week, I wanted to rescue them from their dirty, sun bleached life. The process was really easy, but before I outline it, I am not an electrician, please be careful!
1. TURN OFF THE ELECTRICITY TO YOUR LIGHTS by tripping the breaker. My lights were connected on the “entry” switch. Make really, really sure there is not power going before you begin!
2. You’ll need some spray paint. My favorite spray paint, that I have used before like on this project, is Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze. It costs around $6 at Wal-mart.
3. Remove the lights from the house by unscrewing attaching nuts and detaching the wires.
4. Remember to place ALL pieces in a ziploc baggie so you don’t loose anything!
5. Now disassemble the lights:
6. Clean the glass and the lights. I wrapped my wires with baggies and rubber bands before beginning to make sure they didn’t get wet (or later spray painted). Use some mild dish soap and a rag or scrub brush to get the dirt and bird poop off… just this cleaning step will make an unbelievable difference.
7. Fun part. Time to spray paint. After your lights are completely dry, lay out all the pieces to paint. If you are using a plastic drop cloth make sure it won’t blow onto your project and make a mess. Apply two coats.
8. Allow the spray paint to dry and then retrace your steps to put the lights back up. I am amazed at how great they look.
A note on the longevity. I have used this spray paint before on all my interior hardware two years ago and it still looks amazing. As for exteriors, my sister did this same project last year on her home and one year in there is no sun bleaching or wear. It really will hold up, even in extreme weather!
Here are some before and afters:
It’s like new lights for six buckaroos. Love it!
Clearly mother nature missed the memo on my epic curb appeal week.
I’m pretty bummed out. I will have to post the finished pictures later than I had hoped… both the shutters and the exterior lights are done, I just have to put them on the house, and as anxious as I am to finish project curb appeal, I’ll pass on electrocution in the rain, it’s really not my thing.
Here’s a sneak preview of the shutters mid-build:
And the removing exterior lights to update them:
Don’t fret fair ones, soon the rain clouds will part and the sun will shine in blog land again soon. Until then,
Post sponsored by Sherwin-Williams Paint. Create your own ideas here.
Ecstatic doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about the new paint on my garage doors. My house looks totally new and the curb appeal just took a huge leap. Here’s a reminder of what I started with:
We called it the “garagemahal.” The doors had never been painted before! They were yellowing and looked terrible. The doors bothered me from day one, but sometimes I am funny about exterior home improvements; while indoors feel like free reign, outside I think, people will see it. All the more reason to do it right. I hope this blog is helpful for you if you’re planning to do exterior paint.
- Choose the right paint. Sherwin-Williams paint is high quality and my favorite. The people who work in the store are so helpful and knowledgeable. They have different paints, but their “Duration” paint is great for exteriors, perfect for places with extreme weather (here!) and doesn’t fade. Also it has a lifetime warranty! Completely worth the extra dollars to insure your home improvement will look great forever. The best part is, this stuff goes on like butter. Honestly, so smooth, and such a great coat, if you think painting is hard this paint will change your mind.
- Choose the right color. This is, as always, a matter of opinion, but here is mine. If you live in Venice or somewhere in South America a bright orange garage is awesome, go for it. I would. But if you live in the suburbs, stick to something that will blend in. In my deserty area we use a lot of browns, garage doors are often the same color as the stucco or a stark, dark contrast. The latter is my favorite. I love the deep dark rich colors. I used Sherwin-Williams #6083 “Sable”. It’s gorgeous. I love having a big garage, but I don’t want anyone to say, “wow, check out that fuchsia chevron garage.” No esta bueno people.
- Get enough to apply two coats. The person mixing your paint can help you with this. If you’re pricing it out my garage measures 18×8 and 7.5×8 and I used 1.5 gallons of the Duration paint.
- Decide how much you need to paint. If you paint the garage doors do you need to paint the air vents? The drain gutter? The side door? Pick a stopping point before you start. Some projects have the ability to run away from you, so have a game plan ready before wielding the paint brush. Also, allow enough time to finish at least one entire door at a time, halfsies won’t work well for this project
- Paint when it is 60 degrees or warmer so the paint dries well. Also, make sure no storm clouds are rolling in or it won’t be too windy. You don’t want rain to come down or leaves to blow onto a wet/sticky garage door (the thought makes me cringe!)
Okay! So here are the basic steps and a few points to note about painting a garage:
- Pull the emergency release before starting (the red cord). This will let you move the door up and down while painting and someone won’t accidentally open it while you’re working.
- Make sure the doors are both dry and clean before you start. You can use a power washer, hose or even a dry paintbrush to get the dirt off.
- Tape off the doors. Get around the perimeter and the rubber strip along the bottom.
- We used a paint sprayer (read this if you’re debating a spray gun or a roller). But if you’re using high quality paint like SW “Duration”, a roller will also look beautiful. Paint the edges then work your way in.
- Resist the temptation to paint the folds! You will only see the old paint when you open and close your garage, but if you paint in between the sections when summer rolls around the paint will melt, get sticky, pull apart and it’s a big ole mess. In the desert it might even stick together and break your garage door when you move it (worst case scenario). Hey, I can cook an egg on the pavement, trust me on this. Plus, painting the folds would be a pain and time consuming, seriously skip it.
- Paint in smooth, even rows (or sprays). And give the doors ample coverage, touching up where needed. You can push the garage door up and down to reach areas better if you need to. Use a ladder or strong stool to brace the door if needed.
- Finally, put your doors up after painting to let them dry. Wind or dust is less likely to stick to the wet paint. I kept the doors up for about three hours and it was 70 degrees.
Here are some more before and after pictures.
Thank you Sherwin-Williams for making such a great paint I had to resist the urge to grab a spoon and eat it. Join me soon for the other two projects left on my curb appeal party this week.