Porch Column Makeover – Faux-Real!

There are certain aspects of original vintage home charm that I love, love, love…and other elements…um, not so much. Glass door knobs, YES! Original wavy glass windows, YES! Original creaky wood plank flooring, YES! 1960’s antebellum style turned wood porch columns….No no no! When we purchased our 1960’s brick colonial almost 7 years ago, the exterior need a major facelift. It had been painted pea soup green with dark green shutters and light green trim…including our lovely porch columns. The first year we were here, we had the exterior painted and decided to change the trim to classic bright white. That worked for a while, but still left me with a feeling that I needed to be sitting on the front porch in a giant laced hoop skirt, fanning myself, ready to serve our guests with a glass of cold sweet tea.


I’ve read a lot of articles online in the blog-world lately of folks adding faux wood beams to the inside of their homes. This got me thinking…what about adding that same rustic charm to the exterior of our home?

Not much to look at here...skinny white columns...yuck!

Not much to look at here…skinny white columns…yuck!

Enter the HGTV show Fixer Upper. If you aren’t already totally addicted to this show, like the Mr. and I are, then you will be as soon as you watch one episode. Not only are Joanna and Chip Gaines about the cutest, most lovable couple on the planet Earth…the budgets they work with to improve the homes they work on is realistic. The average American family does not have $1.5 million to spend on a vacation home in Bali, nor do they have $300,000 to renovate their modest suburban home. That’s why we enjoy Fixer Upper so much…their interior decor style is classic and comfortable, with a nod to vintage, and their renovation projects seem to be in the realm of achievable.

Here are a few snapshots we used for inspiration:







The Mr. and I kept noticing how the Gaines like to incorporate a rustic Texas style of stained wood exterior beams on their remodels. We wanted to use that as inspiration for our own porch columns, but without the heft price tag of completely ripping our current wood beams out and hiring an architectural team rebuild our porch structures. Luckily, we knew some local carpenters (Don’t Call It A Flip LLC). We showed them a few photos of what we were after, they were able to find a great price on some local cedar wood and knocked the job out in 1 day!! They simply built new porch columns AROUND our old ones, so we didn’t have to rebuild the structures from scratch.

Then the Mr. spent a 2nd day giving the new beams 2 coats of stain and sealer and VOILA…no more Gone With the Wind inspired porch columns. We used an exterior semi-transparent stain/sealer by Sikkens in Chesnut Brown. A gallon of this awesome stuff runs about $40-$45 at Home Depot.




Here’s the final product! Pretty awesome, huh?



Why did we wait 7 years to do this project? I have no idea. Sometimes you just need some inspiration to get the motivation you need to complete those DIY projects. Hopefully, this will show you that this type of project is affordable to easy to achieve…and if you are handy with woodworking, this project is totally doable in a few days. Now only if my garden would grow back so we have something to look at!



Before & After: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Dresser

When people ask me what the overall style of my home decor is, I typically say “rustic farmhouse,” though I’m not sure that is a real style or one that only exists in my mind. As an artist and designer, I appreciate all interior styles which sometimes can mean that my house looks as if it is having an identity crisis. I always tell folks that I buy what I like and then make it work within the room. It could be the clean lines of a cupboard or the rusty color on an old sign that inspires the entire look of a room. Overall, I just make sure that my house is inspiring and functional!

A sneak peek at my living room…built in bookcases with ironstone collection and decorating books!

My guest bedroom is probably the most feminine room in the entire house. Inspired by english cottages, the room’s color scheme is made up of soft colors such as rose, green and cream. It’s a nice sized room with lots of natural light.

Skynryd said it best…”Ooh that smell, can’t you smell that smell?” It may not smell like death, but it stinks…

When we bought our home, my mom generously gave us a beautiful antique oak dresser. I loved the overall shape of this piece, especially the bevelled mirror. The only probably is that it gave off a musty smell that I just couldn’t get rid of. What to do?

I hoard, um…I mean…I LOVE decorating books. After flipping through some french and english design books, I thought that this piece would look beautiful painted. I loved the way my step back cupboard turned out once I painted it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, so decided to give it another go. Plus, by covering the entire dresser in a few layers of paint, the faint musty smell would be gone forever!

Here are some photos that I found for inspiration:

Pretty pink victorian room from housetohome.co.uk

Creative french typographic treatment on this antique dresser by ThePurplePaintedLady.com

Very cute painted dresser from VintageChicFurniture.com

I’ve always loved this painted dresser from Miss Mustard Seed, who now has her own line of milk paints.

So I pulled out my drop cloths, paint brushes, and old pocket radio and got to work! I’ve used all kinds of paints on furniture and I do still love the Annie Sloan chalk paint. It’s so easy to work with. You can water it down or build it up to create texture. The color palette is beautiful and offers a nice variety to choose from. The only thing I hate is the expensive price tag…$39 + $15 for shipping. And you really should seal it once painted with a nice thin coat of wax, to avoid flaking.

Here’s the after: a charming painted dresser.

I decided to go simple. No faux distressing, no glazing…just a crisp, cream colored antique dresser. I love the way it turned out. Not only does it have a softer appearance, but it really brightens up the room. Now if I could only find an old primitive bench to put at the foot of the bed….

Tell me what you think? Do you like the “before” or “after”? Have you used used Annie Sloan’s paint?

Copyright 2012. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.