Curb Appeal Conundrum

You know what's intimidating? Choosing an exterior paint color. It costs a small fortune to have your house painted, and it's downright paralyzing to think about choosing the wrong color. Am I the only one with this problem?

For the past week, we've been fiddling with the front exterior of our house. I've talked a little about our ideas for improving the curb appeal, and we started working on some of those ideas this past week.

Here's our blank slate:

First the husband built some shutters out of $60 worth of cedar fence pickets.

We propped them up to see if the regular cedar would look OK with our brown brick, but we didn't like it that much.

We thought a grey stain might look better, so we used a sample we already had in our garage.

And we looked at them and said, "Meh." They weren't terrible, but they weren't great either.  Something about the color combination wasn't working for us.

Part of the problem is that we also plan to paint the siding and replace the roof, so it's hard to picture what it will look like when we have those done.

While he was making stuff with his saw and the cedar pickets, I asked the husband to build me a custom lattice for the blank wall by the front door. Can you picture this covered with green vines?

I was inspired by the beautiful espalier vines I've seen in the Highland Park neighborhood in Dallas (something like this). I wish I could snap my fingers and have it be covered in beautiful vines, but I guess I'll have to exercise some patience.

Anyway, here's where we stand right now. New shutters that we like but don't love (yet!), and a lovely lattice that we wish we could instantly cover in greenery to get that lush look we want.

We already picked out some dark, charcoal grey shingles for the roof. (In case you're wondering, we got insurance money after a hail storm.) We've been tossing around the idea of a grey/brown color for the trim, so I used my elementary Photoshop skills and tried out some different mock-ups.

In option #1, I added the dark roof and "painted" the trim. Then I put some fake greenery on my lattice just for fun. Oh, how I wish plants grew faster.

In option #2, I tried the shutters in a darker shade and kept the trim its current color.

So, there we have it! I'm curious, what option do you like better? Or do you have another idea that you think we should try? 

Gardening experts, do you have any ideas for fast-growing vines we can put on the lattice? I'm such a novice with landscaping, and I could really use some help!

PS. I know I have been a terrible blogger lately. Suffice to say, we've had a lot going on. Big life decisions, traveling for a wedding, hosting birthday parties, drowning in work, you know how it goes. I'll be out of town for a business trip all next week, so please bear with me while I get through this crazy busy time. The husband is a busy bee with all these home projects now that he's on summer vacation, and I'll have more projects to reveal very soon!

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  1. I like the dark shutters! It seems to trim the whole window area instead of the shutters just jumping out at you. Have you considered staining that area around the left window the dark color too? Then the trellis and garage door play off each other size wise and you carry some of that dark shade over to that side. I'm sure it will look great when you finish no matter what you decide.

  2. I like option 2 better than 1, but I personally just like more and brighter colors. I know that would be very scary to do. I guess it depends on whether you'd prefer your house to recede into the trees/background, or be more visible and stand out more from the street? That's very much a personal preference! Whatever you do - make sure it's what YOU GUYS want to do!! ;)

  3. I totally like the second choice better. The dark roof and shutters pop, and I think there is definitely more "curb appeal." Glad you are back. I've missed your posts. (even though you will be off on a business trip!) I don't have any experience on vines that grow well, but Wisteria is beautiful when in the right spot.

  4. I like the grey/brown trim color in option 1 with the dark shutters in option 2. Just my two cents. I'm sure whatever you pick will be lovely as usual.

    As far as plants, stick with native vines. Unfortunately I cannot recommend any as I'm in Houston, but I planted mostly natives in my front yard and I can pretty much forget about it and it looks gorg year round!

  5. Option #1 with dark shutters!

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