Don’t fall off your chair. Today I finally have a reveal for you! Our before and after of our elevation makeover, where we overclad the exterior of our double brick 1970s house.
Yep, it’s been a while. If this is your first time to my blog, welcome! Basically we decided to overclad our existing double brick and rendered (poorly rendered!) three bedroom 1978 house, which once upon a time we named The Crap Shack.
Originally our house was that 70s dark red-brown brick – you’ve probably seen a million of their type around.
Here’s the house back when we moved in! That gorgeous wisteria is blooming so valiantly, but sadly it wasn’t quite enough.
The brick wasn’t terrible but it was very dark and heavy and such a strong colour, so when we bought the house nine years ago we decided to do a budget refresh and Mr Nerd and I rendered it ourselves using a render product with the paint mixed in.
It definitely brightened it up for the interim but after a while it looked a bit shabby and we were just thinking about how we could modernise and update it when the opportunity to work with came along. We chose and panels with a feature wall done in cedar paneling and now we love how the house looks.
What we initially envisioned would be a relatively straightforward project extrapolated into a project more complicated and time-consuming than we had first thought (this is basically the storyline of every single Grand Designs episode ever made). We were okay with that – it’s just less blog-friendly!
I probably sound like I am whinging but for once in my life, I am genuinely not! Our 1978 house was just at that age where a lot of things needed upgrades (like new gutters and a new carport) and Mr Nerd and I are both of similar mind – when we do something to the house now, it’s like well, we might as well do it properly. So we’d rather save up and do it right. Don’t forget, our house was built in the 70s and had long been a rental property with the bare minimum carried out on it for years before we got our hands on it – she was overdue an upgrade in almost every area. We plan to be here a while longer and it felt like one thing led to another thing:
- Ripping off the old crummy, leaking carport meant having to save up for and get a new carport.
- Installing new gutters, downpipes and fascias meant waiting for council to install new underground power as they needed to cap the existing electrical lines running into the house through the fascias.
- Cutting and knocking down the funny brick wall on the side of the house meant having to buy a gate to go there instead. (Who knew nice gates were so expensive? I did not).
It was all worth it. I love Scyon’s products and I’m grateful and glad we did it – I would use cladding again in a heartbeat if we were renovating another older home (or use it in a new-build if I were building). Not only have we improved the way the exterior of our home looks, but how it functions (new double carport, extended driveway, extra parking bay, walled-in garage, new patio and deck etc).
But I am laughing at my naïve former self who thought we could redesign our elevation, hire contractors to the do the install, paint, add a new carport, add a new back patio and decking, do hardscaping down the sides of the house, pour a new driveway, landscape, tidy it all up and shoot it in the space of four months! I think sometimes I live in blogger-land rather than reality, and I not only have an overinflated, optimistic sense of my own abilities but also a propensity to naturally underestimate how long things will take. Mr Nerd is the more practical one.
THAT SAID. Doing this kind of project in a four month time frame would definitely not be impossible. Your project could be WAY more straightforward than ours was. But we were restricted by time and budget – not to mention the minor issue of another pregnancy (another delightful HG pregnancy) and a newborn baby (babies so rudely throw a spanner in your renovation plans) to add into the mix of an existing toddler, a needy dog, work, life, Game of Thrones etc. Ugh, and one contractor who we hired towards the end of the project (unrelated to the cladding). I won’t tell you the whole story because it’s such an energy drain (maybe one day I’ll share) but we ended up having to pay for another company to rip out their work and redo the whole job. We did have other contractors who were great – I’ve put their details at the end of the post.
You can find all my old posts about the process here:
Disclaimers done, here is our house before and after now! Thank you to the lovely Crystal Patterson for taking the professional pics – the others are mine.
OUR WINDOWS: A lot of people had asked me about our windows and asked if we had these redone as part of the cladding makeover. While old blog posts of mine have talked about how we spray-painted our old aluminium windows, years ago we had these replaced with new double-glazed ones with that low-e glass. The old aluminium windows looked heaps better spray painted, but they were very old, some you couldn’t open at all, and they had super thin glass and in winter you could walk past a window and literally feel the cold seeping into the house. Double glazing isn’t cheap but it has made a huge difference here.
I did so much gardening to get the house ready for these photos but looking at them now, I sort of wish I’d cut the garden back even more to show off the cladding more, but, kids. (Sometimes it is an effort to find time to just cut my toenails, or ‘feet nails’ as Little Nerd kind of disturbingly put it the other day.
One of the questions I get asked the most about the cladding is the colour scheme we chose. The main thing we wanted to achieve with the paint scheme was making sure it worked with our existing terracotta roof – a roof we didn’t want to paint. Obviously I know you CAN paint a terracotta roof, but when we looked into it, it seemed like firstly, one more cost, and secondly, not entirely recommended. Please correct me if I’m wrong – I know paint technologies are changing rapidly all the time – but a couple of companies told us that they wouldn’t actually spray-paint a glazed terracotta roof because it won’t stick under the harsh Perth sun.
Also, painting the roof seemed like just another cost, another thing to have to fork out for and maintain – when there were ways around it, like er, not painting the roof at all.
In the end we settled on a very simple colour palette of black and white. The black/charcoal is Dulux Monument, which turned out to be a good choice as Monument is also a Colorbond colour, so we could get gutters, fascias and the carport done in the same shade. The white is my favourite white, Dulux Natural White. (You CAN paint Scyon cladding any colour you want – I say this as a lot of people think they come in a limited number of colours, but they come pre-primed and you paint once installed). The black and white worked with the cedar feature wall and the terracotta roof, which, if you look closely, has tiny little bits of charcoal in it. I can say now that I honestly don’t mind the roof colour at all – I think it works, and the focus is on the cladding.
I’m a little bit embarrassed that we haven’t yet painted the driveway and we still have to re-build the edging wall around the garden. Just envision that whole driveway freshly painted (thinking a light grey) and the back garden paving re-done too, and the lawn extended to the edge of the decking, and the side of the house where the utilities are, that dirt all paved and graveled… we’ll get there!
Now let’s head to the back for a peek – but first, do you remember what it used to look like, with 70s sunroom/sleepout? The sleepout was mission brown – we painted it white.
Already our place looks different from when we did the shoot – now the garden has boofed up even more. Recently the kids and I were driving home and I found like, 48 tons of century plants (agaves) and aloe vera on the side of the road during green waste collection (you might have seen my hoard on my Instastories).
I was SO happy. Century plants cost like, $42 at Bunnings these days! Crazy Bunnings people.
I promptly filled my car to the brim with them (thank you, greenwaste gifters) and I have planted those all over the garden en masse (stealing the garden idea of this Bayswater home tour which I just featured. Greenwaste collection is the best.
We also now have a new/old/upcycled letterbox!
Mr Nerd mounted our old letterbox, which used to be kind of wonky because one evening when we first moved here, I reversed into it driving TO the pub.
I never loved that letterbox and it was on our list of ‘things to upgrade’ for like eight years. We looked at new ones, but finally Mr Nerd ripped the old box off the metal legs and mounted it to these jarrah sleepers and we painted the letterbox black. Learn from me: when an overly earnest three year old asks if he can help you paint something that everyone who comes to your house is going to see, don’t say “I don’t see why not”. JUST SAY NO. Walk away from the eyes. Just walk away.
Our neighbours also had a crappy letterbox, so we asked them if they also wanted to upgrade. It does kind of look like a horse hitching post.
For the most part we had great suppliers and tradespeople.
SUPPLIERS AND CONTRACTORS
Carpentry and deck
Cladding and cedar wall put up by Tim Phillips and his team from
Limestone retaining wall by carport
Chris Reeve and his team from
New carport and patio
New patio lights
New gutters, fascias and downpipes
Us and our family members
The other week there was an old lady who was walking past our house and she said she’s lived in the area for 30 years and she always loved walking past our garden because it reminded her of her garden when she was a child.
“It has that wild feel to it,” she said, which I took as a compliment. She said she loved that there were so many different plants and flowers, which is basically because when it comes to gardens I change my mind all the time. At one stage I was like, “I want an English cottage style garden” and planted rosemary and lavender and gardenias. The next stage I was like, “We need more natives!” so I bought natives. (Now I’m obsessed with tropical plantings and succulents and also xeriscaping, which is drought-friendly gardens landscaped to need very minimal water). The end result is sort of a jumbled lot of plantings that would horrify any landscape designer, but we have frogs and blue tongue lizards and bandicoots and the two cutest little bearded dragons living in all that undergrowth. The old lady took some cuttings.
Now let’s head over to the sides of the house – the utilities wall first. You can see where we visibly got tired of rendering and just gave up… eight years ago.
WAY better with the cladding huh? We still have to tidy up the paving here, obviously.
I can’t tell you how much more we love the house now – the cladding has transformed the way the house looks. So much more pleasant, less creepy-looking!
Now that the cladding is all done, I can’t stop envisioning the footpath paved in recycled red brick with a white grout, and the back yard paving all finished, and I also want to spray paint those sheds in our back garden black or Monument and string up festoon lights… we always say to each other, “And then we’ll do this, and then that’s it, no more renovating,” but I think in reality we’ll never stop, there will always be something more we will want to improve – but it’s fun. Maya x