The reconfigured exterior of the Two Flat is complete! In this post, we’re showing off new siding + trim, a brand new front porch and the tongue and groove porch ceiling.
The siding project at the Two Flat is (structurally) complete! This a huge milestone that’s been months in the making. If you’ve been following along, you may have read about some of the challenges we uncovered while working through the exterior design of the home. There were quite a few potential design variations along the way, but despite all our design decision paralysis, we love the final look!
As a reminder of where we started, the photo below is what the house looked like the day we took possession. The massive shrub/tree blocked a lot of the awkward angles, but it was in need of some serious love.
Exterior | Before
Exterior | Today
Let’s Call This… Step 2?
Since the decisions surrounding the pitched porch roof ended up acting as an unofficial Step 1 in the process, let’s call this structural work Step 2. And Step 3 will come in the form of a fresh coat of paint(!) and some tidy landscaping(!), but Chicago weather has us holding off until springtime for those jobs. In the meantime, we’re still narrowing down paint colors and have been scouring the web and snapping pics of colors we love as we drive around our fair city. We’re pretty certain that we’re leaning dark, but who knows?
A Siding Pivot
As can be seen from these close up before/after shots, this house has been through lots of choppy exterior upgrades(?) throughout its 130 years of life. There were layers of original wood siding and multiple types of asphalt siding – and on top of all that, the mix of modern aluminum and vinyl siding. The aluminum was in fairly good shape overall, and we were hoping to salvage what we could and patch the rest back in. However, with the amount of reconfiguring that became necessary, there simply wasn’t enough siding left to make it worth salvaging. We peeled off the aluminum siding that was able to be saved and used it to patch in damaged sections on the rear of the house. Lemonade out of lemons, right?
Exterior Close-Up | In-Progress
Exterior Close-Up | Today
With the new lack of siding at the front of the house came a need for modern, sturdy siding. We’ve used LP SmartSide in the past and continue to be very happy with the results, so it was the obvious choice for us here. Much like on the rear of our Chicago home, we opted for 6 inch boards with a 5 inch lap (aka: the height of the siding ‘reveal’) for a classic look. Prior to landing on this, we’d actually gone down quite the modern siding rabbit hole, at one point even considering a vertically oriented board and batten style! Those dreams were squashes once those installation costs rolled in, however, so we stuck with our tried and true method.
Tongue and Groove for the Porch Ceiling
As we reconfigured the front porch of the home, we knew we wanted to bring in some natural wood accents. The porch ceiling was an easy choice, since it’s exactly what we’re hoping to do to our own home someday! Our contractor supplied cedar tongue and groove boards that will eventually be stained to complement the paint color that we select. We’re thinking the whole thing will be sort of warm, but somehow moody if that makes sense? Time will tell!
Exterior | In-Progress
Exterior Porch Ceiling | Today
Cedar Trim For the Long Haul
The window and door openings, as well as the corners of the home were also trimmed in cedar, but in this case we selected 1″ x 4″ boards. The trim and siding were caulked for weather-sealing and a seamless look. Cedar is naturally rot resistant, so it will hold up nicely in our climate.
But What About the Sides of the House?
We’ve gotten a lot of questions about how we’ll handle the sides of the house, and we completely understand why. Our two flat literally touches both the home to the left and the apartment building to the right, so there’s much less siding to deal with! Luckily, the existing aluminum on the sides of the house is in very good shape due to lack of exposure to the elements. Once the weather turns (and we decide on a color palette!) we’ll be able to paint the sides – as much as can be reached – the same color as the front.
The photo above is a very good indication of our level of excitement for this portion of the project to be complete! With the drywall wrapped up on the inside and the siding complete on the outside, we’re thisclose to taking the project over, leaving us equal parts nervous and ecstatic! The Two Flat is feeling more like a home every day, and each completed task gets us one step closer to the finish line.
Which Paint Color Would You Choose?
Curious minds want to know, if you could paint the Two Flat any color, what would it be? We keep being inspired by dark warm greens, or maybe even a deep chameleon-esque gray like Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal? We’re all ears!