We continue to pick away at the dated and energy-inefficient features of our 1970s ranch. We’d put off replacing our paper-thin, single-pane, silver-aluminum windows — one with a BB-gun hole covered with a piece of Scotch tape — because of the expense. But now that it’s done, I am thrilled with the result.
No longer can I hear people talking in the yard next door through my closed office window. No longer are the cracked plastic seals and shiny aluminum of the old windows distracting from the view inside and out. We expect immediate savings on our cooling and heating bills thanks to these high-efficiency windows (Don Young Aluminum Thermal Break).
Let’s compare “before,” “during,” and “after” photos, shall we?
BEFORE: Here’s how the house looked soon after we moved in. Don’t even ask what I was thinking with two Christmas wreaths at the door AND a leftover Halloween pumpkin.
DURING: I soon ripped off the inoperable shutters and the fake mullions on the windows. I pulled out the dwarf nandinas crowding the porch steps. I painted the wooden door green and the surrounding trim a creamy white. The lawn was drying out, and the liriope edging disappeared.
DURING: Two years ago, we added a gabled entry to the front porch, replaced the porch lights, and poured large concrete slabs to replace the cracked, water-collecting, tiled front walk. I ripped out the thirsty lawn on the hot, sunny side and planted architectural, drought-tolerant specimens in steel containers and other pots, mulching the entire space with gravel for a courtyard effect.
BEFORE: The small lawn was difficult to keep watered and didn’t enhance the entry. Also, the far wall of the house looked crummy, exposed, and too white.
AFTER: Here’s the space today. Although white or tan windows are trendy, I went with bronze in order to get a dark, almost black, frame on the interior, which I like because you notice the exterior view instead of the frame itself. Outside, I like how the dark color outlines the window like eyeliner, and it matches our existing bronze-clad doors in back and the front-porch lights.
The ugly back wall now blends into the background thanks to a greige coat of paint (Sherwin Williams SuperPaint in Mega Greige) and a clumping ‘Alphonse Karr’ bamboo.
AFTER: Yay! I think I now need to repaint the door surround to match the rest of the greige trim, to de-emphasize the traditional sidelights. But I’m worried that that the green of the front door won’t pop against it. What do you think? Repaint trim and door maybe?
And here are a few gratuitous garden pictures to end my post. Natives winecup (Callirhoe involucrata) and purple skullcap (Scutellaria wrightii) add color to the retaining-wall bed by the driveway. ‘Green Goblet’ agave narrowly survived the ravages of deer antlering last winter and is putting on new growth.
Have a great weekend!
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