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Filed in PROJECTS & DIY — March 27, 2022

Hard to believe how much we accomplished and what our exterior looked like before this major refresh. It’s something I’ve dreamed about since we bought our home over 5.5 years ago. Good things take time. Here we are about 7 weeks later and our home looks nothing like it did before. All due to a major push from the One Room Challenge and Better Homes and Gardens, we finally got to some much-needed projects and creating the exterior I’ve always wanted for our home.

We tackled pretty much our entire exterior; brick walls, porch, deck, patio and landscaping. All small connected spaces for one major exterior refresh! Finally, it feels great to have our exterior match our interior, our little Modern Cottage.


To start, we painted our brick a fresh, creamy, bright white. Updating the brick made all the difference. We took the front porch from dark and lacking, to modern and full of character and charm. We built out the columns, added wood shutters, modern matte black lighting, updated the garage door hardware, landscaping, and of course furniture.


Next, we worked on the deck. Weather was a real struggle during this challenge as a lot of the work was outdoors, and the rain held us off a couple weeks. The deck had to be fully dry before re-staining and it also needed several days to dry and cure before any moisture got to it. We re-stained our faded and cracked deck in Sherwin Williams —- in “Realist Beige” I love the warm toned white. It’s the perfect white in the bright full sun our deck has, it isn’t too cool toned. Whereas, all of my Sherwin Williams white colors looked almost too cold in the bright sun. Then, built an outdoor dining table and sofa for the deck. I love having this additional space for hosting and enjoying time outside.


The deck stairs lead right to the patio underneath. This space was so fun to work on, mostly just simple cosmetic updates. We left the deck floor exposed on the patio since it’s a fresh white now and added our favorite string lights to the ceiling. I also added a basket pendant, my favorite DIY pendant to make. Make it work outdoors by using a puck light with remote, creating a similar look to a solar pendant light. We also built out the columns on the patio. Hung the cutest fringe hammock and wrapped the chain in jute rope for a relaxing retreat. We made wood planters for the back walls, and a coffee table for our seating area on the patio. Last year, we made the sofa and chairs. Fresh coat of my favorite black on the French doors, Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black. Then, gave a makeover to our new fire pit. I love the concrete finish but wanted a bright white with black lava rocks. I’m after the look you see all around Seaside. I used Rust-Oleum High Heat spray paint in white on the fire column. Totally safe and intended for projects like this. I ordered black lava rock from Amazon and it’s lost in the mail so hopefully it arrives soon. However, our column came with lava rock, so we get to use it until it arrives. I love the white concrete finish so much!


We worked on the landscaping throughout the whole challenge really. We started week one by reworking our front flower bed in front of the porch. Added ferns to my DIY aged pots (see more in IG story highlights) on the porch, and planters to both sides of the garage. The flower bed got a row of Lily of The Valley, one of my absolute favorites! We added a white Button Gardenia shrub on the end with a Limelight Hydrangea to compliment my very tall and full white Peonies. This bed I wanted to be very classic, greens and white florals. A simple and easy to manage bed that had a classic, beautiful look. Off the deck stairs leading to the patio we put in brick edging to create a flower bed off to the side. We planted Karl Foerster, Arrowwood Viburnum, and Variegated Lilyturf. I wanted this bed to be very wispy and serene. I love the Karl Foerster and Arrowwood and look forward to those well into fall! My pots are a mix of vine, spike, Diamond Snow, Angeolina, and all the little white flowers.

Such a labor of love but now our exterior finally matches our interior and we couldn’t be happier with it! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments. See more on IG stories/saved to highlights for behind the scenes and a video tour.

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  1. Kari says:

    We are wanting to paint our brick house white. What color did you use?

  2. Lauren says:

    Beautiful! Do you remember which stain color you used on the columns? Thank you!

  3. Lori says:

    I didn’t see where you mentioned the creamy white color paint for outside brick? My brick painted white looks cold. Thank You!

  4. Sandra says:

    Love it!! What color of stain did you use on the columns and outdoor bench?

  5. Jess says:

    I would love to know the name of the white you chose for your brick!! I would also love to hear if you painted your porch concrete or if it’s just naturally that color. I’m debating painting mine. Also, curious if you painted your porch ceiling?

    • Hi! The masonry paint is in this post. It isn’t a mixed paint color. It looks like a creamy bright white on our home and is great. I did not paint the porch ceiling or the concrete.

  6. Kelly says:

    Hello, can you tell me the color and name of the stain you used in the columns?

  7. Michelle Perry says:

    What is color of your column stain?

  8. Barbara Finley says:

    What color stain are your columns? And wood type

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Grace Oaks Designs is an interiors and lifestyle brand located in Central IL.
Creating homes that are both stylish and deeply rooted in livability. Offering design services and inspiration encouraging an elevated everyday.