Renovation Tales | make an entrance


part i

If you have been following my renovation tales over the last year, you will know that we have mostly been concentrating on interiors. As such the outside of our house has been somewhat neglected and over the 5 years we have been here it has started to look a little tired. Yes there are plants growing in the gutter and an awful lot of builder-y dust on the doorstep. We have had people on site for three weeks and I haven’t quite got round to tidying that up yet. The reality of renovation is a messy one.

make an entrance | humphrey & grace

Our house was built in the early 1930’s and I just love it’s eccentricities. We have render, brick, timber and tiles on the front. I’m not sure if the plans were indecisive or if it was intentionally eclectic but love it I do. When we moved in it had very old aluminium replacement windows which, without exaggeration, fell out of their frames when opened. We had the original cast iron gutters, entirely dangerous as they were holding on by a bit of thin air and actually the one over the garage fell off last week. At least I won’t have to pull the plants out of it now… Given that neither of these features were salvageable and in the case of the windows they were not even original, we have now replaced the majority of them with modern alternatives. I would love to say we had the budget to use timber or leaded light windows but sadly we don’t so uPVC it is.

While replacing the gutters upstairs last year we had scaffolding around the house and took advantage by painting the woodwork and render above the porch. That is where it stopped though and the downstairs never quite got finished.

So, to this rather sad end, it is time to tidy it up and make a more appealing scene! While collecting images for this mood board I realised just how much I feel the front of a house is improved with plantlife. If that involves flowers then so much the better but actually a pretty topiary is perfect and since our house is all but symmetrical this really appeals to me.


As the house is already characterful I am looking to more of a tidy up and organise than a major refurbishment. You know what I have learned though? Sometimes these relatively easy updates can make such a difference. Don’t underestimate the effect of a fresh coat of paint and a good tidy up on the overall appearance and feel of whatever the project is you are undertaking!

With that in mind I am planning to repaint using a Sandtex white masonry paint and a black wood stain by Sadolin. I have chose a pair of these Vincent wall lights to replace the odd pair we currently have at either side of the house. One has been hidden for so long being the hydrangea that I’m not even sure if it comes on any more. And then to dress up the plain-ness of the porch a little I have chosen a pair of Nith square glazed terracotta planters which I will plant up with topiary. And perhaps a few lavender plants beside the front door. There is something lovely about the scent as you brush past on the way into the house. When we first moved in there were some big old gnarled lavender bushes along one side of the driveway which were a delight. Unfortunately they had to go while we tackle the immense problem with bindweed and I have missed them since.

I’m excited to get this project underway and am looking forward to sharing the results soon!

J x

there is a light...

this post is sponsored by B&Q


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