True Value DIY Blog Squad 2011

Happy 4th of July! Hope you and yours are having a fabulous, firework-filled weekend!

We’re teaming up with True Value again this summer and fall, and we thought we’d share a True Value-related update about the outside of our house today. Here’s what it looked like last week…

And here’s where we’re at with it as of right now…

Still lots of work to do, (landscaping, square columns on the porch, shakes on the gables, shutters on the windows, not to mention the front door is still unsealed/stained/painted and there’s a bunch of old paint that needs to be removed from the front of the steps. Oh! And let’s not forget about all the window trim that still needs to be painted!) but it’s slowly but surely coming along!

The first thing we had to do was clear away all the crazy vines and brush that had grown up on the left side of it…

Our reciprocating saw came in very handy that day…

And it was so cool to finally get a gander at that side of the house after all these years! (Note: I look forward to re-landscaping that side when we’re done painting. Can you say hydrangeas!?)

There’s Kev, up on the our neighbors ladder. (Thanks David and Cindy!)

And here’s a shot of the other end of the pressure washer he used to get all the dirt off our house…

It’s our new favorite toy!

Hey wait a second. What does all that stuff around his head remind me of?

Oh yeah…

(hee hee)

Kev used a paint sprayer made by Ryobi to coat the body of the house with paint…

We settled on a color called Pelham Gray Medium/Light (by Martin Senour for their Williamsburg Collection. Thanks to
Kelly in Georgia for the tip!) And thanks to a boat load of comments about it on our Facebook page, I’ve been using a 2″ angled brush to paint the window trim a color called Cloud White by Benjamin Moore. We wanted to go with an earthy color on the cinderblock because we thought it would look a little more like a stone cottage that way. (Versus painting it a pastel or some other color that might look unnatural on a “rocky” material like (bumpy) decorative cinderblock.) Plus, we like the way it warms up the house. The color scheme before was so desaturated…we just wanted to pinch its cheeks and perk that baby up a bit!

We got the paint and most of the other supplies we’re using from the folks at the Tallasee True Value, here in Alabama.

They’ve been super helpful and we always love visiting their store. Check out their massive lumber yard…

I see a ceiling-related kids room project in our future!

Next up on the exterior (after we finish painting all the trim of course)- faux cedar shakes on the gables! We ordered some samples from a company called Amazulu, and we can’t wait to see what they look like!

We’re also lookin’ forward to seeing what the rest of the blog squad does this year too. Sounds like there’s lots of great projects in the works by these talented folks!

Katie at
Josh at
Kate at
Brian & Paul at
Roeshel at
Sarah at
Bruno at
Taylor at
Marian at

PS- You can find more info True Value (and the DIY blog squad!) on Facebook and Twitter!

Disclaimer: We were selected by True Value to work on the DIY Blog Squad and have been compensated for our time commitment to True Value-related blog posts. We have also been compensated for the materials needed for our True Value-related DIY projects, however, our opinions are entirely our own and we have not been paid to publish positive reviews.


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  1. Miss Kitty says

    I just love the colors you chose to paint your house! Those colors would look good on a brick house too (do you find that more people in the South paint brick houses than other places?) That photo of Prince William’s cousin in that crazy hat next to Kevin was hilarious!

  2. Sandra says

    Love the new look. Can’t wait to see the finished product. Especially those cedar shakes. Are you going to put your shutters back up? If so, what color?

    • says

      We haven’t decided yet. We’re going to look at it after the cedar shakes go up, and make a decision. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  3. Megan Hull says

    Kevin’s saw awesome with the power tools that even Princess Beatrice couldn’t stay away! You crack me up!

    I love your blog and always look forward to the projects from you and the Blog Squad! My blog has been sleeping for several months while we sell our old house and move, but in a few months I’ll have something to show as we redo our 1970s raised ranch into a vintage modern home!

  4. says

    love the colours. the cloud white it perfect. We are planning a trip to AL next month. spending a week in gulf shores, then checking out Union Station, you have me totally intrigued after that video you posted last month. (btw, did you and kev buy the house in the video?…it is sold) I am looking online at a couple of other charming listings…any suggestions or contacts in Union Springs? A bit of work is okay, too many reno’s would be beyond my ability right now. Maybe if we get one of the homes on Hunter street you can use us in a segment. Then we are going to spend a day in Prattville (my hubby is finally taking me…mostly to shut me up) he has business in tuscaloosa and somewhere around birmingham. Any suggestions on other stops or must stops would be totally appreciated? Total time we will spend in the good state of Alabama will be around two weeks so any day trips or suggestions on stops or flea markets around August 13th would be greatly appreciated. I would like to find some really great things to do around union station. I need to make him fall in love with the place. thanks….love and Kev are great inspirations. I am an artist and am starting up an etsy site soon. check out my daughters site (also a designer and artist) anniesmosaics on Etsy. she is so talented(you may want her to be a guest :) she is very photogenic and outgoing, we are doing the starburst mirror when she is staying with us for 6 weeks this summer.

    • Layla says

      Hey Sherri!
      I don’t think that there’s much shopping in Union Springs anymore, but Prattville has some great spots to shop! We like Prattville Pickers, J&G and Memories. The historic downtown area is fun to walk around too! (shops, cafes etc.) We also love going to Fairhope, Alabama which is close to Gulf Shores. Hope you have fun while visiting! :)

  5. Natasha says

    LOVE the new color! Your ideas are awesome…wish you could share some creativity with me by osmosis or telepathy or something! ha! It’s kind of funny how small the world it. I came to be a blog reader of yours through Pioneer Woman and loved your blog from the start. It was through digging through older posts that I discovered you live in the Prattville area. I grew up in Tallassee/Reeltown, so each of your posts gives me a little taste of home now that I live in Iowa! Of course, today’s was especially more “homey” for me! Thanks for all the ideas you give and keep up the good work!

  6. says

    Hi Layla! Love, love, love all that you and Kevin have done to make your house truly a home. I pretty much live out my decorating fantasies through you guys these days!!

    A long, long time ago, you posted about how to add your handwritten signature and smiley faces at the end of your posts. I’ve searched and searched and can’t find the original post. If you get a minute (I know you are beyond crazy busy) would you mind sending me a link or tell me how I could get one, too? Thanks so much! Kim

    • Layla says

      Hey Leen!
      We’re actually not sure about the shutters yet. We planned to build some of our own, but if we do, we’re not sure what color to paint/stain them. We’ll see. It’s definitely a work in progress! :-)

  7. Tonja Giles says

    WOW!! That color is gorgeous! It has certainly made a HUGE difference to the cottage exterior! How exciting to see your home so transformed!

  8. says

    Wow, Layla, I just love the colors you chose. Your house looks so warm and inviting. I can’t wait to see your new hydrangeas! (I just planted some myself.) Happy 4th!

  9. kelly says

    Looks GREAT!! And I know that was a TON of work, but so gratifying to see it done. I am c-o-v-e-r-e-d in Pelham Gray right this minute!… taking a break from finally getting to spray paint all of the wicker on my screened porch. I am intrigued by the faux shingles..gonna check them out. We have an entire wall (outside the kitchen) that is going to be covered in shingles of some kind.
    have a happy 4th!
    kelly in georgia

  10. says

    Layla and Kevin,
    The Lettered Cottage looks great in it’s new duds! The warm, natural color adds a Craftsman period touch to it. Did you both power wash and paint the entire home by yourselves?! We are going to be tackling that project in the near future, but have so much prep work and repairs. We also have Amazon Jungle like growth to clear away.
    Your Friend,

  11. LaVerna DuBois says

    Hey Guys,
    I’m lovin what you’ve done with the paint color switcher-oo. I chose a natural base for our house the last go around and it dried a pink-ish/purple-ish hue. So NOT what we were going for. AND once we finished, our neighbors loved it so much we now have three houses along the same street (in a row) the same color variation. They say immitation is the highest form of flattery, but that too was not what we were going for. We were thinking we’d take a trip down grey lane but now you’ve got us second guessing.

  12. says

    fabulous job!

    i am gearing up to make all of my “visualized ideas” happen to the exterior of my home, too, which also includes hydrangeas! thanks for the inspiration.

    do you like when doors and shutters match or do not? i can’t decide!

    happy 4th


  13. Cindy Jones says

    absolutely love the color! can’t wait to see what you chose for the front door color. i’m thinkin’ a hydrangea blue would be awesome.

  14. Melinda Ke says

    Wow. it looks fantastic so far, I love the warm color you guys chose! I can’t wait to see when it’s all finished. :) Btw , I love the photo with the saw…it reminds me of rambo in the jungle. Ha!

  15. says

    I love the color Layla so cozy. I really hope you leave that door wood/stained and maybe some wood shutters, shakes and colums. What ever you choose I am sure it will be perfect.

  16. says

    OMG, that picture with Beatrice in her wacky hat next to Kevin made me laugh out loud! Although I must say that I think Kevin’s “hat” made a lot more sense than Bea’s did, that for sure!

    Love the new color of the house, it makes a world of difference, that is for sure. Isn’t it amazing how something as “simple” as paint can do that?



  17. says

    Wow! Such a big difference with the color! I always like it when the trim is dfferent colored than the house. Looks great! I just blogged a bunchof backyard stuff that we did. It is a lot of work!

  18. says

    Love the color, really warms it up! Loving how the windows are looking and I think it would look really pretty to have some natural wood shutters, maybe the same color as the door? It’s something we’re wanting to try on our house, maybe some cedar ones. Anyway, I love it and totally agree about hydrangeas!

  19. says

    I vote for no shutters- I doubt your house (I’m guessing it was built sometime mid-century?) would have had them originally anyway. Also, be cautious about using a power washer- it can push water through tiny cracks in the masonry and mortar and then you are left with moisture problems. Use the lowest pressure possible. Love the new color!

  20. says

    Hahaha! The reference to that hideous wedding hat has me cracking up. That’s what I call a royal mess! :D
    The new house color looks so much more cheery. I was surprised that its named a gray. ??? Oh, and based on my experiences in both Florida and North Dakota, True Value people are so helpful.

  21. becky says

    Kevin I dont know if Layla told you, but we do happen to have True Value stores in Minnesota…what-do-ya-say?! ROADTRIP?!

  22. Kati says

    I think I was the lone dissenter when you showed these ideas back in April, but I’m so glad you went with your unerring instincts–the house looks fantastic! I’m also looking forward to seeing the process unfold; thanks for giving us the play-by-play!

  23. Kim in MD says

    I love, love, love the colors you chose! I laughed out loud when I saw Beatrice and her fascinator in that photo with Kevin! :-)

  24. says

    Layla it looks great! :) I kind of like it without the shutters but I’m sure the shutters will ‘finish’ it nicely! and YES to hydrangeas!!! We are building a new house this fall and I require 4 things only: a security system, a farmhouse sink, a covered front porch and hydrangeas! :)
    Good luck with all that painting-blech! lol it’s not a fun job!
    Tell Kevin to be careful on that ladder! They make me so nervous even when used with care-I think it’s the Mom in me ;)

    • Layla says

      Thank you Kristi! I love the sound of your 4 requirements and I will definitely tell Kevin (again!) to be careful. Those suckers scare me too! :-D

  25. Dawn says

    Love the new color! I used Williamsburg brown house beige (which is a lovely khaki color) in the main parts of my house and spare bedroom. I can’t wait to see what you guys do. I know the cedar shakes will add tons of texture but I bet the shutters go back up but painted a different color… :) Good luck! I”ll be watching!

  26. tammylee says

    Hey the new exterior paint is looking good. Question?…did you do a “pick-my-presto” for your exterior ideas on your own home?

  27. says

    Okay guys, I spit all over my monitor when I saw the picture of Kev and Beatrice. You gotta give a little warning before you do that. LOL. I love the color of the house. It really seems right considering the cinder blog’s texture. It’s already an adorable house, but can’t wait to see the finished product. Again, thanks for making me bust-a-gut laughing today.

  28. Lisa says

    HAHA, Layla, that image with the Princess and her hat totally cracked me up! You are so funny! Love the color…

  29. says

    Can you give an honest and gritty answer to how easy it was to use a power paint sprayer? I am getting ready to paint my house this summer but am quite cautious to use a paint sprayer for the first time. A few homes in our neighborhood have used them and you can see overspray on the foundations on the shingles… Was this your first time using a sprayer or do you have experience from another project?

  30. Kim says

    Love the new paint color. I am suprised it is a grey, it looks beige on my computer. We need to paint our house too, so I will check out your color at our local True Value!

  31. says

    Layla, Just went back and looked at the pick my presto ideas on your house. Pretty funny I realized my ideas I mentioned above you had already done in the presto chango. Anyway I would love to see that
    presto with square would colums too:)

  32. Gai says

    Hi, I have been reading your blog for a while …but today it brought tears to my eyes. The Ace Hardware in Tallassee AL….my father in law lived in Tallassee for over 15 years…we lost him last March. He would always take me to all the little antique shops, yard sales, even the basement of an old building in down town Tallassee, where I bought old windows from the Mill in town. Thanks for your wonderful posts, today was a very special one to me.

  33. Heather says

    Looking great! The house looks much less cinder-blocky with the new color! The previous color was kind of a concrete color, but this really does perk it up! Nice choice! :) Can’t wait to see what the shakes look like.

  34. sue says

    The bamboo site is amazing–great unique products. I finally found the 12 foot bamboo pole I’ve been looking for to hang curtains from! THANKS!

  35. Kathleen says

    Love the new paint colors. It really warms the place up. I vote for shutters back on the house – wider ones than what you had will look more in scale with the windows I think. I can’t wait to see what you do next!

  36. Eileen K. says

    Hi there – I am interested in your exterior paint color for our own house. When I google “Pelham Grey”, it only comes up in “Pelham Grey Light” not “Pelham Grey Medium.” Is there a darker color available and is that what you used on your house?

    Thank you!

  37. says

    Wow! The newly painted house looks great! With all that lawn though, I wonder if ya’ll use a conventional mower or a riding one? You should check out our models and see what you think!

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