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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