a simple facelift and a pretty summer porch

While our home still feels so new to us, I have to constantly remind myself that it is pushing 8 years old. I know that's not OLD by any means, but some places are showing their age.

Our porch definitely needed some attention. Our HOA turned our decks and windows/doors over to us last year, but our siding and roof still belong to them. They repainted all the siding last year which was a happy surprise, and the roof still look great. But our porch had seen better days.

We actually use it a good bit. I typically bring my groceries in the front door (since our only other entrance is through the garage/basement). We also have summer dinners out here (it faces east so it's incredibly comfortable on summer nights). Also sometimes the kids play out front so I'll sit here and watch them.

After the long winter and nasty spring pollen, the porch was looking a little... tired. #pollenprints
The wood porch was past due for a good cleaning and a coat of paint/stain. The decking of the porch that is covered was in pretty great shape but the steps were pitiful. The front door also needed to be polished.
I used a product called Scott's Liquid Gold on our front door. A few of our neighbors have given up with the "real wood" upkeep and have painted the doors a wood color. BUT I have found that the polish REALLY livens it up. I have to polish it about 3 times a summer and once in the spring after the winter since it dries out. It really does make the world of difference!
The paint/stain we used was from Behr. It's called "Solid Color Wood Stain" and the color was Chocolate. A neighbor actually gave it to us. Since we live in a townhouse community all the porches on our row are made out of the same stain/color. So we help each other out ;) He moved and left us the paint since we mentioned once that we wanted to do something similar. It also gave us an idea of what it would look like since we could see the finished product on his house!
It went on as dramatic as this picture looks ^^

You know how you don't realize how bad something ACTUALLY looks until you make it pretty and then look back at the before? I couldn't believe how badly the deck was in need of a fresh coat until it was finished. WOW!
This paint/stain was nice because we didn't have to sand anything. We just cleaned the boards really well and brushed it on. No wiping necessary. It was dry to the touch within minutes and I was able to walk on it a few hours later. We let it sit overnight before moving the furniture back.

(I had AWESOME luck last year with geraniums, so I'm hoping for the same luck this year! The porch faces east so it gets intense morning sun but is gorgeous in the afternoon). 

Speaking of furniture...
We kept the bistro set and I trashed the old green covers that weren't doing this porch justice. I grabbed a few summery throw pillows instead. Much better! (and if you look close enough we hadn't finished the far side- that is done now though ;) )

The door freshly polished looks stunning! I am planning on keeping the Americana decorations up until July 4th. Then I'll swap it out for something more bright and summery.
And for a full view...

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