Board And Batten Siding – Pick My Presto

Hi there, and welcome to another Pick My Presto post!

This week I played around with a photo sent in by a gal named Jennifer Scott. The email she sent us read:

Hi Kevin and Layla!

Attached is a photo of the exterior of our 1970’s era home. We’ve lived here for 5 years raising our kids ages 11, 7 & 5. In that time, we have busted our chops updating the interior, one project at a time. My hubby is a first grade teacher who didn’t inherit the handyman gene, so we have to save extra long so we can hire everything out.

What to do with this exterior?! Bids just for the siding come in at over $10,000! And those quotes didn’t even address the complete eyesore, which is of course, the brown painted faux stone made out of some type of concrete composite. Got any affordable ideas?!

Thanks, you guys (Minnesota speak for y’all).



Here’s the photo she sent in for me to presto change-o:

I stared at it for a few minutes and thought- “what if they added more board and batten in place of (or on top of?) all the stone parts? They’ve already some of it cladding the inset area around the front door, so maybe it would look alright on the front of the house too?” I put this drawing together to show them what that might kind of look like…

(Move your cursor on and off of the photo below)

(Here’s a still photo for those who aren’t able to view the interactive photo above)

(Note: My drawings are for inspirational purposes only, and the ideas shown in them are just that. Spontaneous, totally flexible, just-for-fun, ideas. And since this is a just-for-fun-photo-consultation, and not an actual-and-perfectly-to-scale-virtual-consultation, I have no idea if any of the ideas, colors or finishes I used in the drawings would actually work in real life. Boo ya.)

As you can see, I drew in some board and batten to cover the rock parts with the help of my friend Mr. Adobe Photoshop. White side lights and a warm wood front door make the entry area pop a little more, and a new (white) garage door with gooseneck sconces above it give that side of the facade a freshened-up feel. After I popped the garage door in, I drew inspiration from it’s 4-pane windows and added a couple little horizontal pieces of molding to the window above the front door. I like the way it ties those two areas together. And last but not least, I got rid of the little planter area cutting into the sidewalk, and snuck in a couple of big plant pots filled with flame-shaped evergreen topiaries on either side of the door. Again, just ideas. (Take ‘em or leave ‘em Jennifer!)

Then I got to thinking- “maybe they’d want to see a few more paint color options, just for fun”. So I put together a few different drawings for them to have a looksie at. First up, a light biscotti color…

(Move your cursor on and off of the photo below to see it switch from before to after)

(Here’s a still photo for those who aren’t able to view the interactive photo above)

Then a dark beige…

(Move your cursor on and off of the photo below to see it switch from before to after)

(Here’s a still photo for those who aren’t able to view the interactive photo above)

Then a dusty blue…

(Move your cursor on and off of the photo below to see it switch from before to after)

(Here’s a still photo for those who aren’t able to view the interactive photo above)

Then, just ’cause you never know what everyone is going to be drawn to, I pulled that color level thing-a-ma-jig in the opposite direction, and tried a warm brown, with a dark aqua-colored door…

(Move your cursor on and off of the photo below to see it switch from before to after)

(Here’s a still photo for those who aren’t able to view the interactive photo above)

OR, maybe just keep it super simple and tone down the stones with some kind of stain or opaque paint (?), for this kind of a look…

My favorite’s the gray one with the board and batten siding…especially when it’s surrounded by a sky full’a blue…

(Move your cursor on and off of the photo below)

(Another still photo for those who aren’t able to view the interactive photo above)

Hope that gets those creative gears a’ turnin’ and thanks so much for the opportunity to pick your presto this week, Jennifer! I look forward to Photoshoppin’ another interior space sometime next week!

Wanna submit a photo for our Pick My Presto series?

Send an email to¬†PickMyPresto [at] aol [dot] com titled, “PICK MY PRESTO- Living Room. (Replace the words Living Room with whatever type of room you’re actually submitting.) In the body of the email, include your name, your blog name (if you have one) your design likes & dislikes, and one photo of the space in question. (No links please.) It should be clear, and measure at least 400 pixels high x 600 pixels wide. (In other words: at least 4″high x 6″ wide) The bigger the better! Make sure it’s a photo you’re comfortable with us showing and writing about on our blog. Then, whenever I’m feelin’ the urge, I’ll randomly select someone’s email and have a little fun creating some traditional or cottage style presto change-o inspiration. Oh, and since I love surprises, I probably won’t email you to let you know I’ve “picked your presto” unless I have a specific question for ya about your space.


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    • heyruthie says

      OMGoodness! It’s your “afterthought” or “low budget” option that has me at hello. I LUV the one that keeps the rocks, but has them “toned down” with stain of paint. It looks awesome! you didn’t even change out the garage or add the new lighting, and it still looks 200% better! WOW! if I were Jennifer, I’d get moving on that one right away! (Added benefit of leaving the stone? Many potential buyers see stone on the front of a house–even fake stone–as a selling point. So, you may be retaining resale value, while saving money, and gaiing a lot of style!)

  1. says

    I love your ideas! It look much more updated and contemporary. It respects its architectural details and I like that.

    I really like the creamy (very light yellow) one. It looks so warm and inviting.

    Enjoy your weekend, my friend!


    Luciane at

  2. says

    I’m lovin’ the gray and the dusty blue ones…oh and the aqua door is fab! :) Great job Layla and much better than a $10,000 quote! Yikes!
    Have a blessed weekend!

  3. Lisa says

    Beautiful transformation idea! I like the blue and grey. I think they both would look really pretty in the winter surrounded by snow. :-) I would pick grey.

  4. says

    Stunning!!! I love these!
    I like the dusty blue but the biscotti one is a close second. I hope this helps them to figure out what to do!

  5. Jackie says

    …homeowner pick a color that blends better with the stone and paint and invest in better landscaping for curb appeal

  6. says

    I LOVE that besides the paint, most of the work lies in covering up the stone and working with what you have! I think this is great bc this should save them money! And by seeing this they know how great it will look!!! Awesome work Layla!

  7. Natalie says

    Wow, what an amazing difference! Dusty blue is my fav! I may have to try this on my house to replace the ugly white siding next to my beautiful brick. Thanks for the idea! :)

  8. carol says

    I also am REALLY liking that you did some of the inside of the peak white, what a dramatic difference that makes!

  9. says

    Another amazing job! I really like the light gray one as well, but it really is remarkable how just “staining” the stones really helps. It’s definitely a great budget-friendly option, or perhaps even a temporary solution as they save up for the big changes. I hope they take this one all the way, though! The gray with the warm wood front door is just stunning.

  10. says

    Layla, you are an absolute *genius*! I looked and looked at that picture before looking down at your inspiration and couldn’t come up with a thing. I would pay big money for someone to do the thinking — like that — for me!!! My favorite was the grey too. . .I like the “details” you added — I think that made all the difference. Incredible. . .thanks for sharing.

  11. AJ says

    Grey with white trim is perfect. I quite like the lines of this home and would love to see the interior! Does the homeowner have a blog??

  12. Kaitlyn C says

    I instantly thought of the simple fix, just by grey-washing the stones, and I like the texture that they provide. I think that is a DIYable project! I would definitely take it on if I were a homeowner because it doesn’t involve any structural changes.

    Love all of the color options, too, but the grey stone is still my fave!!

    • Patty Posteraro says

      What great ideas! I like the gray stained or painted stones also. Using the money for a new garage door would give it a whole new look.

      • says

        Yes, the grey stained “stonework” is an excellent DIY solution. Cheap, easy, and preserves the faux-stone in case it ever becomes retro-chic. The right garage door would work wonders on this site.

        We’re currently searching the market for a home, and I’m surprised by how much I am drawn to these 1970s houses. I used to think they were ugly and outdated, but I’m starting to really appreciate them. I have a feeling that in ten or twenty years, those ugly features like the fake concrete stone might actually be desirable. So keep what you can intact.

  13. Deb-IL says

    I think doing some kind of stain/wash over the stone and then adding in the rest of your changes is a great look. And as far as cost to do it and future maintenance for a non-handy couple, that’s their best bet. As usual you hit the details perfectly.

  14. kelly says

    Wonderful solution!!! Besides the board and batten, replacing the front door made a HUGE difference…some of the changes they could phase in. If they really want to do more, I think cedar shake shingles replacing/topping the diagonal boards might help even more (stained/painted the same color as the board and batten). It would work beautifully with the gray color.
    On another note (but related) Layla, you’ve done the presto-chango things with your exterior right? You know we would all love to see your possibilities!!
    kelly in georgia

  15. Marm says

    Fantastic change! I love the gray and white too. I hope they use your suggestions and then send you a photo so you can post that.

  16. Debbie from the Wichita Mtns. says

    Simply beautiful! I know they will be saving their hard earned teacher pennies to make this happen. I haven’t found a project you have done that I haven’t loved. You have a gift!

  17. says

    My favorite is the one you made the change to the stones, it would be a simple and budget friendly idea. I live in a golf course community and some of the new homes that are going up are actually done with the grey stone and they look beautiful.

  18. jennifer says

    This might be my fave presto yet!! I really love the idea that 1st grade teacher Daddy off for the summer can paint, even if he’s not handy because even this 1st grade teacher can paint!!

    I know you have the great disclaimer about don’t know if it can work etc., but when there are goose neck lights like that above a garage door, do they have to be wired or are there “motion” kinds that work on some big battery?

  19. Michelle@Make 5 dinners in 1 hour says

    Love it! You are so talented! It even looks like an affordable project. That is what I love about what you do. It is all very real and something we can actually do. :)

  20. AngieN24 says

    I love them all but first one is my favorite. I also love that you gave her the stone painting idea as well, which could be a more affordable option since they have to hire out the work. Beautiful as always Layla! My husband and I love reading your blog! You and Kevin are such an inspiration to us both! Keep up the great work! =D

  21. says

    That’s great! And, I just have to say (again)… you are SO talented in the Photoshop department! Were you a graphic designer in the past? Anyway… I love how you work in so many of the details, and make it all look so great together!

  22. Paulina J! says

    You are one smart, talented, cute cookie :) I like the one you picked too. What I appreciate the most is all the options you gave them. If they can’t afford the first option they can do the one where they stain the stone, which is an improvement of what they now.

    You are such an inspiration. We’ll be moving soon and plan to browse through your website for ideas and inspiration.


  23. says

    Oh my, this is great. It totally transforms this house and brings it out of the past!
    They all look fantastic, I cannot choose a favorite!

  24. says

    I like any of the lighter colored choices. Changing the garage door and then taking some of those details to the entry and the upper window makes it!!!! Love the changes!!!! (Even though they are only ‘virtual’).

  25. Maureen says

    Very clever solutions! The first is my fave and economical. What about a vintage pne door from salvage? A perfect 80/20 blend of modern/antique.

  26. says

    We have a 1970s house and I have done much of what Layla has done with ours-the last one with the dark beige paint is close to what I chose, and I have a black door which stands out nicely. I LOVE our garage door (it is nearly exactly like the one Layla chose but I added black trim detailing to tie in with the door). However, I have to tell you that the garage door was very expensive because it is wood. The impact it has had on the curb appeal has been amazing, though! Scary, but it is my favorite part of our home’s exterior!

    I also like toning down the stones with gray and that solution might be more economical. Good luck and have fun!

  27. says

    AWESOME Layla…wow I wish I had just a fraction of your wisdom and talent!!! I love the Biscotti one or for the super cheap…painting the whole thing as it is right now like your greyed out photo…either one works.

  28. says

    hmmm…I like that biscotti color, myself! It’s difficult to work with that A-frame architecture, this looks really neat!

  29. Misty says

    Love the dark beige b&b one the most! When I see pick my presto I get allllll excited. I know they are time consuming but you need to do more….many more (please). They are probably my fav design feature of any DIY blog that I read. I am not a person that can look at a before space and a mood board and visualize the final picture.

  30. says

    Wow. Love the changes you have here. What a big difference they make without a complete redo. I would love to have your recommendations on our living/dining room. It is a very used space in our home but it needs some major help. I need to get some good photos. I am so excited!!!!!!!!!1


  31. ileana says

    Oh, I love the ideas you gave, but the dusty blue is my favorite!! Have any actual paint color names of ones you like? I would love that for my own home. I’m tired of all the brown in my neighborhood.

  32. AnnW says

    This was fascinating. You ought to make this exterior thing a bi-weekly feature. What I liked was that they could paint the stone a little, then save up the money to paint the house and put on the cladding. You are really good at this!! AnnW

  33. Dorothy says

    Very nice! I like the gray too. And Jennifer is right on: you guys= y’all or all y’all. It seems you have to explain this: my daughter once had an interview with two people in Mississippi and used the term “you guys,” and her interviewers burst out laughing. Who (in Minnesota) knew??? LOL

  34. Kati says

    Wow–I love, love, love the first Presto with the gray and white board & batten! Stunning and inspiring! Thank you for sharing it!

  35. says

    Love it-my only extra would be to maybe do the inset-that whole piece around the door-in the same color as the trim, and do the trim over the door a few shades deeper OR a complimentary color to the trim -just for fun :)

  36. caroline says

    love love love! what a transformation! and something else… it seems like the two parts of the house are kinda separated. maybe a trellis could be built over the garages that extended to meet the one over the front door that had the same design as that one. it could tie it all together, the lights could be hung from those, and you could add some lovely little plants too :)

  37. hannah says

    My fav’s the grey one too. The stone toned down with paint’s pretty nice too, especially considering it may be their only affordable option.

    That may then be their best option, as they could get some visual relief immediately, and board n’ batten later on when the budget permits.

    Well done, Lettered Cottage!

  38. Barbara says

    It’s amazing how fresh the house looks simply by updating the trim to white! I love both things you did, and I love the grey too. But if budget doesn’t allow them to cover the stone for now, they could always color the stone for now and do the board and batten at a later time when they have the $$. Awesome redo, Layla!

  39. Heather says

    Wow!!! I absolutely love it. The grey and the darker beige are my faves. Love the front door you picked out, and that garage door too (especially with those lights!) Do you ever do follow-up Prestos, which show what the homeowners actually did? Would love to see the actual transformation!

  40. says

    I actually like the one with the stone that’s toned down. It lends texture without being so “in your face.” The others are nice, too, but lend a more contemporary feel. My favorite color is the gray, then the biscotti. I think an aqua door would look pretty with either of those, too.

  41. Kim says

    Another AMAZING edition of “Pick My Presto”, Layla! Gorgeous and budget friendly. I would love to hear what Jennifer likes best. We need to re-paint our cape-cod style house (the storms here in Kansas are hard on the paint!) and you have given me some ideas. I am leaning towards the biscotti color and white rim. My door is currently a fabulous barn red, but I like the warm wood color you used, I also like the soft sage green in your other post, and I like light blue for the door. I also have black shutters right now. What to do???? Love your site, you and Kevin are so gifted. I really look forward to your posts.

  42. says

    I like the toned down version keeping the stone…the reason is due the architecture of the house the other options (although lovely and NOT a reflection of your taste Layla) comes across looking a bit like a fire station. (to me anyway). I think with the toned down version AND adding the topiaries at the front door (as in the other versions) as well a new entry door would be lovely. But then that’s one gals opinion.
    Can’t wait to hear your design show news!! (would love to watch you and Kevin in action as your videos are always so entertaining AND informative)

  43. debbie says

    love the grey color with the rocks painted over. What if u took out the thing above the porch, don’t know whats it called, and added flower boxes under the top window above door and also the front window? The wooden door looks great. The new garage door and the molding on the windows is great. But what do i know? nuttin honey. Lookin forward to ur post on your possible design gig.

  44. says

    I disagree with covering the stone up! That is a WONDERFUL feature. Definitely apply a stone wash and lighten the color, but DON’T cover it up!!!!!

  45. Tenacwalker says

    Giving the entire house a wash of color to tone down the stonework is a stroke of genius! You aren’t changing the house into something it isn’t- you are just making what is there look a *whole* lot better! I love the texture of the stone, but not the color- and you fixed that- wonderful!

  46. carla says

    I like the stained stone. with the different color front door and the new garage door. The Garage door that you picked out fits the entryway better. What bothers me about the design on the house is the siding going in all the different directions ever until you have the money to change some of that . The stained rock looks the best.

  47. says

    I LOVE ALL YOUR IDEAS! You have amazing vision. I just stumbled upon your blog this morning and needless to say I’m a new follower. Your before and after photos of yours and Kev’s home is AMAZING! Thanks for the inspiration….your blog rocks!! xoxo

  48. says

    Not that I count,……….but I think keeping the rock is a MUST and most of the extra cost covering it. I did like the gray. I think keeping in mind the natural rock and decorating around w/browns many be the least costly update!

  49. vel says

    Amazing!!!!!! The house looks so fresh and inviting with your design!! I hope they push thru with this look- any of the looks you made! great job guys!

  50. kla says

    Great idea on the siding… I really think the diagonal “old” siding that remains dates the house. I am thinking they should replace that with horizontal siding much like the dormer on the house. Also they could extend the pergola look out a bit and bring it out over the entry sidewalk??? Love the garage door and the lighter biege/ khaki paints you chose. I think the blues were so common to that period that it doesn’t look as new and fresh as the other colors! Another great job Layla!

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