Creating A DIY Vine Trellis | Young House Love

Before it gets too cold to do any more outdoor updates around here, we snuck in a fun little project that I’ve been dying to try for, oh 10 years now. Actually the first time I was like “yeah – I want that” was upon seeing one of those cool diamond trellis things waaaay back in 2009 on the outside of this house that we crashed (yes, that’s 10 years ago! Even though I swear 1999 sounds like 10 years ago in my head). I wish we had captured a picture of it for that post, but I think there was blotchy sunlight on it so it didn’t make the final cut. But that family still lives in that house, that diamond trellis continues to thrive, and I continue to gasp at it every time we walk by. It looks a little something like this:

The Diamond Trellis Urge (let’s capitalize it because it has grown into a legitimate condition for me over the years) grew even stronger after we painted our house white last fall. It’s just such a perfect blank canvas for some lush flowering vines. You may have even seen a couple of spectacularly bad renderings of me drawing a diamond trellis on the big white wall on the right of this photo last year on my InstaStories:

And well, now that strong whole-body craving has been satisfied… because MOMMA HAS A DIAMOND TRELLIS.

It doesn’t look like much right now as we wait for everything to grow in, but I have extremely high hopes that it’ll turn this formerly basic spot in our backyard into a showcase moment. And please know that every day I walk out there and whisper encouraging and nurturing things like “grow, my darlings” and “please don’t die on me guys.”

They sell some kits for installing them (like this one and this one) but we decided to buy the pieces ourselves a la cart (that was dumb, just buy the $13 kit – or two if you need more wire). You’ll also need a few basic tools (we added asterisks next to the ones that are required for brick in case you have the same setup that we do).

Materials & Tools

*Reminder: these are items we needed because we were installing a trellis on brick. If you have some other type of siding, you may not need some of these. Like, a regular drill and drill bits should work just fine.

Planning Your Wire Trellis

The very first step for us was to figure out what we wanted our vine trellis to look like. I snapped a picture of the space and dragged it into photoshop so we could play with the scale, size, and placement of the trellis. This is something you could figure out on paper if you don’t have the right software (heck, you can print out a photo and sketch right onto it with pencil), but I highly recommend some sort of “planning” step like this before you start making holes. We did this rendering first, and pretty quickly determined the scale was too large for our liking (just two diamonds tall felt kinda piddly…).

We tried to see if we liked it better with “open” diamonds on the side, but we both agreed it looked too much like an argyle sweater and the “closed” diamond shapes were much better on the ends.

Our final design ended up being a smaller version of the first one we attempted. Thanks to this planning process, we were able to make sure it looked centered on the wall while also staying visually in line with other elements, like the door. It also helped us plan how much material we would need.

Map Out Your Pattern In Real Life

Transferring our digital mockup onto the physical wall was probably the most brain-intensive portion of this project. I wouldn’t even call it hard, it just required some concentration and double checking. We used some reference points in our photos to determine where we wanted our pattern to start on the wall and, through a little bit of trial and error, figured out the precise measurements for each of our diamonds (ours are 25″ apart). If I were doing it again, I would’ve included a tape measure or yardstick in my original photo before photoshopping, that way we could use that for scale – but it worked out just fine without that reference point.

Since it was critical for our final pattern that all of our anchor points were equally spaced and totally level, we marked each anchor point with a small piece of painter’s tape and a marker dot. We didn’t want to write directly onto the brick, especially as we were fine-tuned the placement of everything.

After you mark out all of your drilling spots with tape and a marker dot, it’s time to double and triple check your measurements before you drill anything. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Don’t skip this step. It’s much easier to move pieces of tape than to drill new holes and move everything because you got it wrong. We even broke out a long piece of scrap wood to make sure our top marks were exactly plumb with the bottom holes (ignore those small vertical notches in our brick along the bottom that correlate with nothing, those are some sort of garage ventilation thing and aren’t tape marks – our blue tape marks are closer to the ground and right under the dots that we taped out along the top).

Installing Your Anchor Points

Once your spots are marked, you can get to drilling. Since we were drilling into brick, we used our hammer drill with a small masonry bit to make shallow holes through each of our tape marks, just to make a more permanent mark on the wall before any tape fell or blew off.

Then we went back around with a bigger bit to drill a larger and deeper hole to slip the anchors into. A hammer drill makes these easier because in addition to the spinning motion of a regular drill, it also pulses or “hammers” at the same time to chip away at materials like brick, concrete, or block.

Once all of our holes were made, we went around and tapped in some plastic anchors designed for concrete and brick with a hammer. Typically I would use something like a Tapcon screw to screw something into brick, but in this case we needed something that would work with the screw eye hooks and these did the trick.

Then we went around and screwed in our eye hooks. I had trouble finding ones that (1) stuck out from the wall significantly and (2) weren’t enormous, but these 3″ puppies did the trick. The small size is helpful because it helps them visually disappear (I want your eyeballs to take in the lovely vines, not the metal hooks) and the long length will help separate our trellis from the back wall – so our plant has plenty of room to grow and wrap around the wire on both sides.

They were easy to hand tighten into the anchor at first, and towards the end we relied on a spare drill bit to give us a bit more leverage for the last few spins. These suckers are in there.

Stringing Your Wire

We were using this 1/16th galvanized steel wire rope for our trellis. We had no clue how much we’d need so rather than buy one long uninterrupted reel from the store, we bought several 50ft packs so we could more easily return any unused material. I highly recommend opening and unwinding them fully before you start attaching them, since ours often came out as a tangled mess.

I’ll show you in a minute how we secured the end of the first wire to start the pattern, but this whole process is pretty straightforward. It’s just basically looping the wire through the pattern – up and down, side to side – making sure you’re going to the correct next eye hook. We messed this up once and started to create a wonky diamond, but it was easy enough to fix as soon as we noticed our mistake. It’s literally like putting shoe laces into a shoe. Nothing is permanent and you can step back to make sure it looks right.

We looped the wire through each eye hook twice as we went, because that made it easier to keep the wire taut as we continued to string it through different eye hooks.

It basically looked like this as we went along. So it’s not tied in a knot, but the wire is stiff enough that it holds fairly well with a tight loop like this.

When we came to the end of one 50ft length of wire, it came time to connect a new strand. We hadn’t worked with this stuff before, but we found these aluminum ferrules to be a pretty straightforward way to accomplish this. They allow you to make these loops at the end of your wire by feeding it through one side of the ferrule and then back through the other one.

Then we just used some pliers we had on hand (well, electrical wire cutters – by they had a great tip for this) to crimp the tips of the ferrule, which basically crushed them enough to hold the wire in place for the long haul. Making these small loops on the end of each wire became our go-to way to connect them into one long, continuous strand.

It’s also the technique we used to attach the starting end of our wire to the first anchor point and (once everything was full threaded and pulled fully taut) we made another loop at the end of the wire to do the same thing.

One tip for you is that in order to thread the ferrule, you need to have a very clean cut on the end of your wire. If it’s frayed it won’t slide in and you’ll stand there for 45 minutes trying to get it in there (ask me how I know). We actually had to go buy a new pair of wire cutters for this project because our old pair had become kind of blunt and it was fraying and smashing the wire to the point where it wouldn’t fit into the ferrule. So save yourself some of that frustration and make sure your wire cutters are up to snuff from the start.

Some of the kits come with a turnbuckle that you can use to tighten your wire for maximum sustained tension. We opted not to do one for now just for simplicity’s sake, but if we find ours becoming lose over time we could always add one OR just try twisting some of the eye hooks in the brick a bit tighter to taut things up.

Adding Your Vining Plants

There are all sort of options for good vining plants for projects like this – especially depending on your location and conditions (for example we have deer who love to eat everything) so we spoke to two experts at our local nursery and they highly recommended clematis for our application since it’s a fast grower, it produces nice flowers, deer don’t tend to eat it in our area, and it isn’t dangerous to put near our brick (some ivies are said to be more problematic if they grow on your brick for a long time).

Our local nursery was running a little low on inventory so we grabbed what we could and were able to plant four vines at strategic intervals along the bottom edge of our wire trellis. After delicately unwinding them from the trellis they came with (each plant had a little metal trellis in the pot), we did our best to carefully wrap them up and around the wire in all directions.

We do know that clematis is such a strong grower that the diamond pattern is something we’ll need to continue to train them to hold onto over time (if we didn’t touch them again they might just cover this entire wall with leafy vines and blooms – but we plan to keep an eye on them to make them hug the trellis shape over time, so we’ll share how that goes too.

The last step of this project was to mulch everything and we’ve been watering diligently ever since (this is usually when I whisper my “you grow, girl” encouragements to the vines). We also replaced a couple of dying plants in the bed, so it’s already looking a little nicer back there, even though most of our trellis has yet to be covered with vines.

It has been such a weird fall for us weather-wise (super hot, super dry, now crazy rainy) that who knows what the heck will happen. Even if it’s slow going, we’re really happy with how everything turned out because the wire is nearly invisible against the brick. So until it starts to fill in, it’s not like we’re staring at some ugly messy of wires in the meantime.

I’ve got my fingers, toes, and everything crossed (even my wires!) that we’ll have some great progress to share with you guys next year once things start to fill in. Until then you can find me out back, whispering sweet nothings to my plants.

P.S. Want to see more outdoor projects we have tackled over the years? Here’s an entire archive full of them (from pea gravel patios & string lights & shed organization to decorative oars – ha! – it covers a lot of ground).

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This content was originally published here.

#138: Was Ikea Not “Good Enough” For Our Home’s Kitchen?

Installing Ikea cabinets in all three of our beach house kitchens invites the question: why didn’t we use them in our home’s kitchen in Richmond?! So this week we’re diving into the answer, including what gave us pause about using Ikea back then, how it could’ve changed our final result, and what we’d choose if we had to select kitchen cabinets for our home today. Plus, we share how a simple outdoor project turned into a major plumbing issue at the duplex (yes, another one – the water curse lives on!) and why there was also an emergency call to an electrician one evening, you know, for balance.

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherTuneIn Radio, and  – or listen to it below! Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you may have to click through to the post to see the player.

What’s New

  • That is literally the text I sent Sherry when I realized one of the water shut off valves had been buried over at the duplex. You can see the exposed one in the foreground, and the other should’ve been about 4 feet in front of it, but I dug around for a while and… nada.
  • We always knew it was buried a bit deeper than the other, but you can see below how deeply it had been hidden when the guys were installing the pathway along the side of the house (it was around 4″ below the ground level once the path went in). You can also see how it was so close to the path that some of the plastic edging pieces actually prevented someone from removing the cover.
  • I didn’t take any pictures while I was digging it out because I didn’t expect this to be a moment worth sharing with anyone… and then the water line broke. But the photo below shows some of the aftermath. You can see the box (aka “margarine tub”) removed from the hole in the background. The lid to it is set off to the right side.
  • And here is a detail of the break itself (at the bottom of the picture). It’s not very big, but it sure did release a lot of water very quickly! The pipe wasn’t visible for hours until the water drained, leaving this lovely mud situation.
  • It’s all fixed now and when the plumber reconnected it, he set everything a little higher so that one is level with the ground as well. So we won’t have the issue of it getting hidden again – AND it’s further away from the path, which was also an issue.

That’s Embarassing

Ikea Kitchens

  • And if you’re looking for details on the projects where we’ve used Ikea cabinetry, here they are in order of completion:
Wood Ikea Kitchen With Exposed Brick Chimney and Blue White Patterned Tile
Pink Patterned Tile In Blue Kitchen With Exposed Brick Chimney
  • One last thing on the subject of kitchens. When Sherry mentioned an “appliance garage” as one of the more customized features in our kitchen, she was referring to this area that our cabinet installers were able to put together with stock doors and filler pieces to resemble a cabinet (notice how the cabinet has no back?). We use it to store a lot of our breakfast foods and large/frequently used appliances like the toaster and the crock pot. We just leave it open when they’re in use and close it to hide them the rest of the time.

We’re Digging

If you’re looking for something we’ve dug in a past episode, but don’t remember which show notes to click into, here’s a master list of everything we’ve been digging from all of our past episodes. You can also see all the books we’ve recommended on our  page.

And lastly, a big thank you to Annie Selke for sponsoring this episode. Check it her latest collaboration with artist Laura Park at And get 15% off your order with code YHL15.

Thanks for listening, guys!

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This content was originally published here.

#142: Our Kitchen Is Grosser Than You Think

So it turns out there are some weird spots in the kitchen where germs go to party – so we’re learning more about that (and what you can do about it), as well as talking about why we gave up on those meal delivery kits and found a better solution for our family. We’re also talking about how shopping for your home can be fun, but it can also be frustrating and time-consuming. So we’re sharing our tips for how to streamline your hunt and pick things with confidence. Plus, you’ll hear how our backyard is finally winning the war against our hungry deer, and what new face thing Sherry is obsessed with now.  

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherTuneIn Radio, and  – or listen to it below! Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you may have to click through to the post to see the player.

What’s New

  • I know it’s kind of hard to see in pictures (it all just turns into a blob of green) but we’re extra relieved that our cherry tree and gingko tree not only survived, but came back even better than before.

What’s Not Game

Listener Question

  • When you feel like you’re burning hours and hours shopping for the “perfect” thing for your home (whether it’s a light fixture, sofa, table, basket, bathroom tile, etc) we ultimately think it’s worth it to hold out for something you truly love and not settle…
  • In short: don’t settle for something meh or basic & hold out for “the one” that makes you feel super elated. But if you’ve looked for a while, and still can’t find it – a cheap secondhand option can help you hold out longer for the right thing to come along (so you don’t rush into buying something you’re only feeling warm about because you’re just tired of not having one at all). Note: you can usually resell that secondhand thing on Craigslist later – once you find your long-term favorite – so it doesn’t ultimately have to cost you much at all.
  • We also mentioned that we’ve been using the Google Shopping search function a lot more lately (it’s just the “Shopping” tab on the regular Google results page) because it helps us browse lots of sites at once – which saves us a lot of time versus searching something like “fabric shade pendant” on 10 individual home websites.
  • Like any Google search, it’s not perfect, but it does offer some helpful filters. Sites like Overstock and Wayfair are also good for searching a lot of options of something if you just plug in a keyword or two – they just won’t return results for other retailers like Pottery Barn, Target, Crate & Barrel, West Elm, etc…. which is where that Shopping tab comes in.

We’re Digging

If you’re looking for something we’ve dug in a past episode, but don’t remember which show notes to click into, here’s a master list of everything we’ve been digging from all of our past episodes. You can also see all the books we’ve recommended on our  page.

And lastly, a big thank you to Agility Bed for sponsoring this episode. For Memorial Day you can get 15% off your ENTIRE ORDER. Just visit and enter your email address to unlock the discount. And after the 28th, you can still use the code YHL to get $200 off a hybrid mattress of any size.

Thanks for listening, guys!

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This content was originally published here.

#129: When It Feels Like Everything’s Going Wrong

House projects don’t always go smoothly. We’ve all been there (heck, we’re there right now with the duplex renovation) so we’re sharing some new strategies that we’ve been relying on to keep our spirits up whenever a renovation feels overwhelming, gets delayed, or hits some other unexpected snag. We’re also discussing some upcoming bathroom trends (one of them shook Sherry to her very core). Plus we’re officially starting our no TV challenge.

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherTuneIn Radio, and  – or listen to it below! Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you may have to click through to the post to see the player.

What’s New

  • Below is the photo of the “scrape” the second delivery guy discovered on the other fridge during our most recent trip (don’t mind the tiny water droplets on the door, Sherry was in the midst of desperately trying to wipe the entire issue away). See how convincing/terrifying it was? Especially because it was lined up with the handle screw, totally validating the delivery guy’s theory that a drill had scraped the finish off.
Stainless Steel Fridge With Glue Marks
Silestone Pearl Jasmine Quartz counters with wood cabinets and brick chimney

2019 Bathroom Trend Quiz

  • Above are their examples of “buttery brass” finishes and the “off-kilter tub” that wasn’t as bad as it sounded to Sherry.
  • Below is the “tile statement wall” that I mentioned we did a couple of years ago in our beach house’s hall bathroom:
Blue Accent Tile In Shower Of Hall Bathroom With Wood Door
Aqua Glass Accent Shower Tile In Large Master Bathroom
  • And in the master shower at the beach house, we’ve got an example of an “invisible” shower wall, since the glass pane we used doesn’t have any metal framing (and the consistent floor helps the shower blend in with the rest of the room).
Frameless Glass Shower Panel In Subway Tile Bathroom

Listener Question

We’re Digging

If you’re looking for something we’ve dug in a past episode, but don’t remember which show notes to click into, here’s a master list of everything we’ve been digging from all of our past episodes. You can also see all the books we’ve recommended on our  page.

And lastly, a big thank you to Grove Collaborative for sponsoring this episode. Sign up at  to receive their FREE gift: a trio of Mrs. Meyers cleaners, a set of walnut scrubber sponges AND a tin cleaning caddy. Yup, all of that’s FREE!

Thanks for listening, guys!

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This content was originally published here.

#130: Can Science Help Us Make Our Homes Happier?

Can the colors, furnishings, and accessories that we choose for our home actually make us feel quantifiably happier? Today we dive into the science of joy and learn how some tried-and-true design tricks might actually be affecting our daily moods (and how to make tasks that we don’t love a little more enjoyable). We also pin down a few ways that we’ve unknowingly added joy to our house, and a few others that could still use some work. Plus, the lesson we learned from waiting too long to give up on a piece of furniture, and a big dollhouse fail.

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherTuneIn Radio, and  – or listen to it below! Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you may have to click through to the post to see the player.

What’s New

Living Room With Built In Bookcases and Wood Coffee Table
| | | | | rug & table: secondhand
  • That’s the Instagram photo above where many of you noticed that we had a new coffee table.
  • Here’s a better shot from the other side of the room, where you can see the X-base a little better (with those nice little nooks on each end to slide two white poufs from upstairs).
  • And here’s a closer photo where you can also see that the finish isn’t totally perfect, but it’s functioning just fine for our family (much better than our ottoman in those final days). And we’ll share all the details if we tile the top or refinish it in some other way.
  • I tried to dig up some photos of its deterioration (and the “dandruff” it left all over the house) but we apparently avoided capturing it – or at least vacuumed it up before taking photos. But here’s a random iPhone shot we took last year where you can kind of see the bare spots forming along the top where the faux leather had started to peel. And those white dots on the floor are all ottoman confetti.

That’s Embarrassing

  • Here’s a photo of the Sweet Shop in progress, and the dozens and dozens of little pieces we were tasked with turning into some semblance of a dollhouse-sized candy store. (Note the paper fan blades in the foreground that were meant to become a ceiling fan. Spoiler – that did not happen).
  • Like I said in the episode, I think Sherry did it a great job getting something together just in time for Christmas, and our daughter LOVES IT. As Sherry pointed out, it doesn’t look much like the picture on the box, though.

“Joyful” Decor Discussion

girls bedroom closet pink door wallpaper
Removable Wallpaper Mural With Oranges In Room With Two Twin Beds
  • You can also scroll up to see all of the “circles” and round objects we didn’t realize we have in our living room. When you start to look around, they’re EVERYWHERE.

We’re Digging

  • You can see Sherry’s big gleaming “brasshopper” (brass grasshopper figurine) in the photo below (and you can kinda see the little one that lives on our mantel at home in the second photo of this post).

If you’re looking for something we’ve dug in a past episode, but don’t remember which show notes to click into, here’s a master list of everything we’ve been digging from all of our past episodes. You can also see all the books we’ve recommended on our  page.

And lastly, a big thank you to Annie Selke for sponsoring this episode. Their big Presidents’ Day sale kicks off this week on Thursday (Feb 14th, aka Valentine’s Day) and you can get 20% off basically the whole site! Check it out at

Thanks for listening, guys!

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The post #130: Can Science Help Us Make Our Homes Happier? appeared first on Young House Love.

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How Much Did The Duplex Kitchens Cost? | Young House Love

As our bathroom reno continues (current status: more demo happened, our vanity, tub, & toilet arrived, and we have our plumber & electrician scheduled to rough things in and then we can prep & tile) we thought it would be fun to share a duplex kitchen budget breakdown. *Also, for anyone who has inquired about renting the duplex this fall, there’s an announcement about that later in the post*

Obviously, there are LOTS of factors that affect how expensive a kitchen renovation will be, so let this post just be a reference point for you – not a prescription for how much a kitchen reno should cost. The average kitchen reno in 2019 was $24,047 (according to HomeAdvisor). That may seem pricey to some but feel like a steal to others. Heck, Sherry even saw an expert in House Beautiful’s recent kitchen issue who said “kitchen renovations can run anywhere from $60,000 to $400,000” (!!!!!). The pricetags for these kitchens were nowhere near that, thankfully, but we did want to share some areas that, in hindsight, we could’ve done more affordably.

The breakdown below includes all of the major items in each kitchen, apart from things that were part of the overall renovation of the duplex (like new drywall, electrical & plumbing, floor refinishing, etc). Not that those aren’t critical parts of this room (THEY ARE!) but they were line items that we paid for as a whole house, so it’d be impossible to splice out just the kitchen portion of the bill. But I’ll give you some ballpark estimates and specific examples of what we have personally paid for those line items in other kitchen remodels we’ve done in a minute.

So we’re basically chronically what it takes to go from a blank box of a room to a finished kitchen, aka going from this starting point…

…to this finished kitchen below:

The price breakdown below is just for one kitchen, since the price was effectively the same for each side (these rooms are a mirror image of each other). There aren’t any labor costs listed below because we did all of these projects ourselves, but we’ll get to the labor fees we’ve paid on past kitchen remodels in a second to give you a more complete picture. Please hold (*insert elevator music here*).

I’ll be honest that the total was a little more than we expected, but I guess I’m not surprised to see that two biggest culprits are: counters and appliances.

We have zero regrets or hesitations about picking the counters we did (they’re the same quartz we have in our beach house island). Yes there are cheaper options, especially for a rental, but we have just been so happy with quartz in our own kitchen and at the beach house. No issues at all with staining or cracking or scratching – and it’s nice to have a surface you don’t have to worry about. So while it’s an area we could’ve pinched our pennies tighter, we’re glad we didn’t.

The appliances, on the other hand, are a slightly different story. I don’t regret what we did, but I do see some easy places to save money if we weren’t being so particular.

For one, white appliances would’ve been cheaper all around than stainless steel. But (like it or not) stainless steel still signals “updated kitchen!” to most people and we just thought the look would make our kitchens feel more upgraded to guests. We also could’ve found a cheaper range by not getting a slide-in, and there were cheaper fridges, but most had icemakers and/or water dispensers – both of which we didn’t want (just another leak to worry about – and if the power goes out the ice in an ice maker can melt and ruin the floor if no one’s there to see it).

But the real budget hogs in the appliance department were, surprisingly, the ones that we purchased through Ikea: the hood and the dishwasher. Why? Because we upgraded to versions that we could build in so they’d be hidden. For instance, their in-cabinet recirculating hood was $500 (gulp). We’re ultimately glad we did it, but it does sting a little to see how compromising to a visible under-cabinet hood could’ve saved us a few hundred dollars (this one is just $50!).

Similarly, Ikea’s cheapest option for a cabinet-fronted dishwasher is still $750 which, in retrospect, is probably the most we’ve ever paid for any dishwasher in the history of ever (and it’s not even in a house we stay in!).

So while Ikea and other places offer dishwashers that are much cheaper, we splurged on these because it was important to us that they blend into this space. These kitchens are visible as soon as you walk in the front door, and we didn’t want that row of lower cabinets interrupted by a big stainless steel or white dishwasher front.

So we don’t regret these decisions because they were intentional and we’re really happy with the result – but from a purely budget standpoint, they do stick out as areas where compromising the design could’ve saved us some significant money.

And again, there are several costs not included in that total above (flooring, plumbing, electrical, etc), so I’m not trying to declare this “an $8500 kitchen makeover!” But if it helps to give you a better idea, we typically spend around $3.50 per square foot for a pro to refinish our hardwoods. This kitchen is 11.5′ x 10′, so it would break down to around $402 for that room only if I needed a labor line item for the floors. If you add that additional labor line item to our total, it would bring it to: $8,893.

As for electrical fees/labor/parts, during our first house’s kitchen reno we paid $900 for electrical and our second house’s kitchen reno electrical was $455, but both could’ve been significantly more if we were doing more extensive rewiring. Although if you’re gutting a room completely and removing all the drywall (like we did in the duplex), electrical work is often much cheaper since it’s easier access and faster to run everything. And if you also add a kind-of-in-the-middle electrical labor average of $700 to our total, it would bring it to: $9,593.

We didn’t have plumbing costs for our first two kitchen remodels (since everything stayed in the same place), but in our current house we paid our plumber $650 to move our sink and dishwasher locations, to run a new water line to the fridge, and to extend our gas line to the new gas stove. Magazines always tell you moving the location of things can be a ton of money, so we were pleasantly surprised to change the entire kitchen layout and basically just pay $650 to do it! Well worth it!

And once again, like electrical it’s much cheaper to get plumbing redone if all the walls are open (no drywall = such faster access to run things), so we would guess we paid around $500 in plumbing fees to get the sink hooked up (remember there’s no fridge water line & no gas stove here – nice & simple). So if you want to assign a plumbing labor fee of $500 to our total, it would bring it to: $10,093.

Is a $10,000 kitchen cheap? Nope. But it really isn’t bad considering every single thing in the room wasn’t in there when we started. It was an empty box, and now it has two full walls of new cabinetry, quartz countertops, all new appliances (with a slide in range, a built-in dishwasher, and hidden range hood), accent tile to the ceiling, and nice shiny hardwoods. We’re counting our lucky stars that things like the brick chimney and the hardwood floors were in here hiding the whole time, because they definitely add a ton of character to the space.

Of course I need to point out that these labor costs can vary greatly when it comes to your location and your specific situation/house setup (is there a crawl space? slab? a second floor? a cement wall?) so those are just some fees we’ve paid in the past in the hopes that they help. I know we’ll hear from folks who have paid much less and significantly more for each of those things, but a lot just has to do with your house, what you’re looking to achieve, where you live, who you hire for the job, etc.

One good way to get an idea of average costs is to use a site like HomeAdvisor (this isn’t sponsored, they just always come up when I google things like “average cost to refinish wood floors“) which will show that our typical $3.50/square foot labor fees are on the higher end of those costs at $3.50, so who knows, yours could be less!

And speaking of the duplex, for anyone who has inquired about fall bookings, we released some dates & almost all of them are booked… but the end of this week is still available on the left side, and the end of next week is available on both sides (here’s the link to the right side). We do a minimum 3 night stay in the off season, so you can check in on Wednesday or Thursday (that’s why those are the only dates Airbnb shows) but once you select your check-in date, it’ll expand & you can select your checkout date. Sorry it’s so confusing! And here’s a post about everything you can do there (even the ice cream shop is still open through next weekend) and a post to see the entire duplex before & after.

But back to kitchen renovations for a second, here are a few more posts you might like:

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Things Are Getting Homier At The Duplex!

Last month we shared how refinishing the floors at the duplex made us feel like we turned a major corner at a house we’ve been renovating for over a year (remember when it looked like this?!). And now we are firmly in “the fun part!” You know, where you get to start bringing in rugs and light fixtures and furniture and accessories so it goes from looking like a construction zone to an actual home. It’s THE. BEST. Especially after months and months of expensive improvements that you don’t even see when the drywall goes back up (like plumbing and electrical upgrades).

So let’s just get right into it. Behold, this wall of the left side’s master bedroom that we pretty much rebuilt from scratch:

/ / / walls: SW Spare White / doors: SW White Truffle

That rug is the one we originally bought for the pink house’s living room ( in this post) but it often looked too dark paired with our dark sectional. But in this room with a fluffy white bed on top of it, we think it’ll look worlds lighter and brighter – especially paired with our pretty pink closet doors and that capiz chandelier that we hung between them (which used to hang above our dining table in the pink house – more on that switcheroo here).

We actually added those two closets during framing because it was the largest room but it didn’t have a closet at all originally. So we thought flanking the window with two of ’em added lots of storage and symmetry (whereas just one closet would take a bite out of the corner of the room and feel less balanced).

Here’s the same bedroom, as you view it from the door. We can’t wait to add some thick wooden shelves in that little chimney nook that we were able to expose during the renovation.

Below is a similar view of this bedroom when we bought the house. It was just a boring box, complete with a drop ceiling to hide a whole lot of mold and rot that was going on above it.

The photo below is a picture of the back bedroom on the other side (the right side of the duplex) as it looks now. Over here we reused the only set of original doors that we could salvage: these cool skinny little pine doors, complete with their original hardware.

/ / / / Walls: SW Spare White

They have tiny little latches on each side that stole my heart the second I saw them, along with little faux drawers at the bottom with old cup pulls. So much quirk & character!

And since they’re not standard height (they’re shorter than standard interior doors) we got to add cute little cubbies above them. I love how the curved baskets bring in some texture and some softness with so many rectangles going on around them. Same with the curved chandelier.

We’re also pretty excited about our kitchen progress, since we worked over the holiday break to assemble both sides (not without hiccups – more on that here) but we’re really happy to be mostly over that hump. The appliances are on their way, and our counters should be getting templated and installed before the end of the month. We can see the finish line!!! (Ok, and then we have to add shelves, hardware, and a patterned backsplash, but we’re closer to the end than the beginning!)

cabinets / hood /

That’s the kitchen on the right side and here we are in the adjacent mudroom/laundry room. We still need to build in that storage cabinet, but we’re waiting for the stacked washer & dryer to be installed first. And those painted pocket doors (they’re Oyster Bay by Sherwin Williams) lead to the kitchen, and will probably stay open most of the time. We added them in case people want to shut out the noise when laundry’s going. And because they’re just so dang cute.

 /  / walls: Spare White by SW / doors: Oyster Bay by SW

We’ll also be adding lots of mudroom storage in here, like hooks and baskets galore for shoes, bathing suits, towels and all that good stuff. The outdoor showers are a few steps away from the back door that leads into this room, so this space is going to be a workhorse for sure.

Ok, but now let’s take a peek at the kitchen on the left side of the duplex. We chose some moody blue-green-gray cabinets for this side, but they look bright blue here. Wait for it…

cabinets / hood /

They’re still covered with a protective film that we aren’t going to remove until after the appliances and counters are installed, but you can see from the piece John’s holding up below that they’re a lot grayer and greener underneath the film. We LOVE the color for a beach house. Feels really playful but not too out there.

This is the mudroom off of that kitchen, where we did a similar tile pattern as the other mudroom, but in a totally different colorway. We love how each side feels related to the other side – but not identical. Kinda like they’re cousins but not twins. We still need quarter round trim in here (most of the other rooms are done – but we held off on this room so we can add a few built-ins and then install it).

floor tiles: pink, white, & taup / door color: White Truffle by SW / door: secondhand find (!!!)

So those are just a few of the spaces that look SO MUCH BETTER already – even before our huge truckload of furniture arrives (yes, we’re renting a giant box truck and driving things down ourselves in less than a week!). But even without all the beds and tables and sofas and chairs that are coming, we’re soaking up this PROGRESS, BEAUTIFUL PROGRESS! And you know I’m counting down the days until I can share more photos with furniture and curtains and art and ALL THE THINGS!!!

P.S. To see all of our duplex progress from the very beginning, for around a dozen posts that’ll cover a lot of ground (from buying it and floor planning to rebuilding it, tiling, and refinishing the floors).

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One more P.S. – If you like blog posts, you can get an additional one each week delivered straight to your inbox – and it’s free! Just sign up here (and if you’d like to see a few sample emails first, here’s one, and here’s another one).

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Our Bathroom Reno: The Floor Plan & Tile Picks! | Young House Love

Ok, now we’re cooking with gas! Maybe I shouldn’t use that expression for a bathroom reno… ANYWAY… we’ve made lots of progress since partially demo-ing the room last week (more on that here), and wanted to share our final floorpan with you (IT’S SUCH A GIANT IMPROVEMENT!) and our final tile picks (along with a few other things we debated, why we chose what we chose, etc).

So here’s the old bathroom layout. Yes we lived with it like this for over six years. Yes, it was A LOT of doors (the one leading from the hall to our bedroom is right behind where the tub is below – so there were five in a ten step radius or so). And the only natural light in the entire space basically was stopped by a bunch of walls and doors, so it made it as far as the toilet and maybe the tub on a good day and that was it. It was so dark and cave-like and closed off in here:

Just to refresh your memory, here’s a photo of the bathroom as it looked before last week’s demo session (you can watch a full video of how weird the space was right here too if you wanna be thorough). This photo was taken by John as he was standing in the doorway of the closet and looking back towards the tub (you can refer to the room sketch above to get your bearings a little more).

And here’s the room after our little demo session last week, when we took down all the walls that were blocking the view and the light to have a view of the space that’s a bit more uninterrupted while we planned our next moves (like what goes where, what sized vanity and tub would fit, etc). It was already looking SO MUCH MORE OPEN. I’m sorry for all the caps lock in this post, but bathroom renovations GET ME GOING.

Ok but back to the floor plan, remember this was the original layout for reference:

And after approximately 5,379 different plans and drawings and taping things out on the floor over and over again (and meeting with our plumber & electrician in person to make sure our ideas were actually physically doable and not prohibitively expensive), this is where we ended up:

As for the general inspiration and feeling that we’d love to get from the space, here’s a room that we really like. The soft layered tones and shapes and textures and classic finishes feel really good to us, and they seem like they’d fit so nicely into our house. Our bathroom has been dark and dated and boxed off for so long it’s going to be so nice to have an open, light & airy space to enjoy.

But back to laying out the room for a second. I mentioned that we considered around a million different room layout options & I’m not kidding. Pretty much if you can think of another option we considered it. More windows in the bathroom? We definitely thought about that! In the end we wanted to use that wall space for the mirror & lights over the vanity – and the single window we have provides tons of light now that the walls are down! Plus adding another window to the bathroom would look weirdly unbalanced from the exterior of the house since it would be too close to the existing bathroom window to match the other exterior window spacing back there. That’s just one example of the mental gymnastics we did for every aspect of this room. But I’m never one to stop at one example…

We also heavily considered stealing space from the bedroom or the closet. We mapped out so many versions of that and it always felt silly and over-wrought, and once the walls came down and we realized how big this space is as it is (around 8 x 13′ feet!) we realized we didn’t need a single inch more – in fact we can fit a 72″ double vanity, which is one of the largest ones they make! Plus I get a freestanding tub (a big deep one that I can fully submerge myself in – instead of my knees and entire chest being out – imagine how nice that will be?!) along with a nice walk in shower! We have room to spare just as this layout is.

We also thought about adding access to the closet from the bedroom instead of through the bathroom, but it’s really nice to shower & walk right into the closet to get dressed instead of popping back into the bedroom and back into the closet, and since we could make the bathroom layout exactly what we wanted and keep that closet doorway (while widening and centering it!), we are so happy with things as they are in the plan above. We think it’s going to be stunning and it’ll feel more open with them both connected with a nice wide doorway (so light can flow through the entire space) instead of making them into two smaller rooms on their own.

It was also really helpful to talk to our plumber and electrician to figure out what’s really possible. For example, where the ductwork runs in the shared wall between the bedroom and bathroom means a pocket door won’t work, which is just fine with us because we love the idea of a frosted french door.

And after proclaiming that I wanted a big frosted double french door on the podcast, I realized that in practice it would be annoying to have to shut two doors behind you every time you go to the bathroom (sure you can leave one shut at all times and just enter and exit through the other one, but that misses the point because I thought it would be lovely to see both of them thrown open from the bedroom). Thankfully I think a single frosted door will be gorgeous. Light will flow in and out, and it’ll be easy to just shut one door behind us. Score.

We also heavily considered squeezing in a water closet but after removing all these walls we just didn’t want to add any back in. Sure the toilet might be more private behind a door, but the entire bathroom has a door that we can shut for privacy & we’ve never had a water closet and prefer the open feeling light-filled space more than having a tiny toilet room. I know what I’m saying might make you want to cup my face in your hands and whisper to me that I should trust you, and that I would in fact love a water closet, but we have deeply thought this through (6+ years of planning this reno in our heads – ha!). I fully respect that some people out there might love ’em & even believe they couldn’t exist without them, but we all want different things from our bathrooms and having a soaking tub and a gorgeous walk-in shower was a much nicer way for us to “spend” that space, while keeping everything open and light filled, so we’re thrilled. Also we don’t give a hoot about resale, this bathroom is for us to use & love for a nice long time 😉

Oh and I was completely sure that we wanted to add a window to the closet literally as recently as last week, but when we mapped out where it would have to be in order to make sense and look balanced from the outside of the house, it would have looked insane in the closet (picture it crammed into a corner with the trim literally touching the corner of the closet) and a few people told me they have windows in their closet and it fades their black clothes (THE HORROR!). So we realized that a big light-filled bathroom is our dream, especially with a nice wide & centered door that leads to the closet, and assuming we have some nice closet lighting and lots of functional storage in there, it’ll make us happier than a weird window crammed into the corner that feels like it’s just in the way and in the wrong spot.

Closets like this are giving me so much inspo (we’re planning to use a combo of Ikea wardrobes and drawers and systems + wood/trim to build things in and make them look more custom).

As we mentioned on the podcast this week, now that the layout has become crystal clear to us, we finally felt confident enough to order some of the bigger items for the room – like the tub, the toilet, and the double vanity (we’re probably going to paint it a soft gray-green like the bathroom inspiration picture a few photos back).

And the toilet is the same one that we’ve had for years in our downstairs powder room. We love how nice it looks (it’s like a toilet with upgraded porcelain molding!) and it feels pretty great to finally be upgrading another one in our house (the only one left to upgrade will be the hall bath – and we’re coming for that room next!).

Ok, and back to the tile picks I mentioned! We’re so excited to have finally made a decision (we have looked at more tile in the last week or so than I think ever in our lives). Remember we shared these as inspiration images in last podcast’s show notes when we were talking about our bathroom plans?

Well, we knew we loved a classic tile choice in an interesting and less expected arrangement (like the ones above) so we started to mess around with different patterns on the computer to see what we liked. These were things we made when we were trying to plan the shower wall pattern by the way, and these are all proportions that happen when you’re using 2 x 8″ tiles (the length to width ratio of the tile changes the shapes they make):

After mapping out the three sketches above, and looking at tons of inspiration images (like our two tile inso photos) we decided that we liked the look of “two by two” best. Why? We thought the “four by four” and “three by three” were awesome as well, they just felt like squares (and sort of parquet-ish since we both lived in NYC if you get that reference) and we both gravitated towards the stair-stepped look of the top right tile layout for the shower walls the most since it was more dynamic to us (it felt less like squares someone shuffled around in different directions, if that makes sense). But again, we loved them all! We just had to pick a favorite!

At this point, we felt really smug that we had mapped everything out and reached a decision… and then we realized that a lot of the 2 x 8″ tile was extremely expensive (or sold out, or harder to find in the quantity we needed) so it felt like we were back to square one (pun not intended). But then we took a trip to Home Depot, The Tile Shop, and Floor & Decor to break out of our tile-block and just look at what we could find in person (it’s easy to fall into a computer worm hole, so head to the store if you can to break that curse).

Anyway, at our third stop, Floor & Decor, we actually found (except for that crazy dark spot in that one tile below). Always buy more tile than you need so you can pull out those random weird tiles for a more well planned and congruent look. Especially with natural stone, there are just outliers, so it’s smart to use them under a vanity for example – or not at all if you have enough to pluck them out and not use them.

It was 2 x 12″ tile, which is different than 2 x 8, but we realized when we laid it out on the floor and played around with layouts that it would make that dynamic stair-stepped pattern, it would just take a 3 x 3 arrangement instead of a 2 x 2 one. And WE LOVED IT!

Laying tiles out right on the floor of wherever you find them can clarify so much! This is kind of an awful shot – there’s plastic covering the tiles, hence the glare, and they won’t be laid in this angle, they’ll be done in the stair stepped pattern above, but you get the idea (also they look nothing like they do in real life online, which is annoying, so I’m glad we looked in person!).

We decided that marble hex tiles in the same material by the same brand would coordinate and add some more tone on tone texture for the shower floor, so you also see those in the shot above. And that large tile is the floor tile that we picked to layer in there too.

When it came to finding the floor tile, we actually STRUCK GOLD (caps lock again, sorry not sorry) at Home Depot because we found this lovely marble looking tile that is giant and $1.99 a square foot and just so gorgeous (we brought it with us to Floor & Decor, hence having it to lay on the floor in the photo above). I’ve seen a lot of marble-look polished porcelain floor tiles that look stamped on and fake or just not the right tone (too warm or too cold or not different enough from each other so they looked cloned) and this tile is none of that!

For the price you can’t beat this anywhere (trust me, we looked – ha!) and even if this was $10 a square foot I’d probably pay it because we fell in love. So it sure is lucky that it’s crazy affordable, especially because it’ll balance out our shower choices which were pricier. We’re also extra excited about using this floor for the entire room (both the closet and the bathroom) because they have always been chopped up (part tile, and part formerly-carpet-turned-painted-subfloor). So having them all be the same flooring after all these years is going to feel so good and so much more seamless. Here I am playing around with it on the floor upstairs. It’s going to be STUNNING. I’m verklempt.

For anyone who wants to see some other tile we considered, we also liked this one (I think it’s this, also from Floor & Decor). It’s not as long of a proportion, but we truly loved it as well.

We also debated a chevron or herringbone floor laid with these tiles and then a brick-layer pattern of this in the shower. And a large marble hex floor with a chevron shower. We also loved the idea of a basketweave like this on the shower walls, and we even considered a color like this shiny deliciousness. Honestly we went round and round and probably could have done ten versions of this bathroom that we love, the final picks are just the ones we loved most of all and thought would look so dang good together, all layered into one room. Also this tile was GORGEOUS but the price was really high – but if someone else out there just needs like a dozen squares for a laundry room backsplash or something (remember how 13 tiles majorly upgraded our laundry room), it’s good. Send me a pic!

I also can’t wait to pick fun stuff like fixtures and faucets and even things like hardware and toilet paper holders and towel hooks. How good is this toilet paper holder? And this leather wrapped hardware on Etsy? And this lovely mirror (check out the name – ha!). I’m pretty much always in a hyper/euphoric state while planning this reno because we’ve waited so long to do this, and it feels like it’s going to be the room that dreams are made of! And also long hot baths.

As for what’s next, we’re fully demo-ing the room soon (the vanity is supposed to arrive next week and then we’ll have everything since the tub and the toilet already came – which thrills me to no end because we were originally told the vanity would take 4 weeks).

If all goes well in two weeks we should have it fully gutted and then the plumber has to shift some things around in the floor and we have to prep for tile, tile, and then probably do some work on the walls and some electrical updates and then it’ll be time to actually install the new things (MY TUBBBBBBB) which is very exciting indeed. My goal = to have my entire body submerged in my new tub (with the aid of some snorkel gear) by November 15th, which is John’s 38th birthday. Because there’s not a better birthday present than a snorkeling wife in your new but probably not fully done (but hopefully close) bathroom.

P.S. Don’t forget to read the first post about this bathroom reno to see a video tour and check out the exciting half-demo-ed pics. This room is going to be unrecognizable when it’s done.

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#140: The Most Fight-Inducing DIYs Out There

Home improvement can be stressful, and we’re no strangers to that tension leading to some pretty memorable arguments. So today we’re looking at some data about what do-it-yourself projects cause the most issues between couples to see if we agree (and we share a recent fight we had in the name of data). We also reveal some takeaways from a recent house staging project that we took on together, including the big secret to getting your home ready to sell and how you may have to unlearn everything you know about decorating. Plus, John falls for another lighting product, Sherry ups her face game, and we see if people really do hate textured walls after all.

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherTuneIn Radio, and  – or listen to it below! Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you may have to click through to the post to see the player.

What’s New

  • That room above is the basement living space from the recent staging project that we worked on together. As you can see in the before photo below, it was acting as sort of a “gaming room” for the family. Note that they were in the midst of packing and moving, so things were a bit more scattered than their usual day-to-day (reminder: moving is messy).
  • Sherry will go into more detail when we write up a full post about this project, but you can see how we minimized the amount of stuff in the room and on the walls – because the goal isn’t to sell the decor, it’s to sell the house. They also repainted the walls throughout the house with Sherry’s paint recommendation (White Dove by Benjamin Moore with Extra White trim by Sherwin Williams) before we swept through on the final staging day.
  • On our final day we moved some furniture around (for example, flanking the TV with two chairs to disguise some of the TV components) and then lightly styled the space – without putting anything on the walls at all except for the star over the mantel.

    Game: DIY Fights

    Update: Textured Walls

    • And here’s some data (you know I LOVE DATA) that we gathered about textured WALLS, which appear to be more common in the western/midwestern portions of the United States (shown in the purple shades below):
    • Whereas textured CEILINGS are a bit more evenly spread out:
    • We often get asked for a tutorial for removing textured walls or ceilings, but since we haven’t had any of them in any of our hoes, we haven’t done one – at least not yet. Sorry about that, but I’d check youtube and I bet a million will come up.

    We’re Digging

    If you’re looking for something we’ve dug in a past episode, but don’t remember which show notes to click into, here’s a master list of everything we’ve been digging from all of our past episodes. You can also see all the books we’ve recommended on our  page.

    And lastly, a big thank you to Grove Collaborative for sponsoring this episode. Sign up at  and spend your first $20 to receive a FREE gift: a trio of Mrs. Meyers cleaners, a 60-day VIP Membership AND a surprise bonus gift on top of all that.

    Thanks for listening, guys!

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    Because You Know We Love A Painted Brick House…

    By now you know that we’re nothing short of OBSESSED with the results of painting our brick house white last fall. It has probably been one of our favorite makeovers in our 13 years of homeownership. So for anyone else who might be considering doing something similar, we wanted to share some advice and some exciting news! And also some spring pics of the house, because it’s the first time we’ve gotten to see her with the white flowering dogwoods out front and it makes my heart wanna burst.

    Wait but first I should passionately proclaim that we don’t think that all brick should be painted. We still very much love an unpainted brick home or a natural brick accent, especially when it’s beautiful historic brick – like the 100-year-old brick chimneys that we exposed at our beach houses – or the wide reclaimed brick steps that we added to both of them.

    But then there was the brick on this house, which wasn’t particularly old or charming (it was from the early eighties and sported a blotchy maroon and dark brown color, with yellow-beige mortar that was applied with little messy triangles in some of the corners). You can see what I mean below:

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Paint-Brick-White-Large-Sample-On-Brick-929x1024.jpg

    See how the white swatch of paint immediately neutralized all of our issues with it, and basically brought this brick back into that “ahhh, it looks so historic and stately and classic” arena? The point is that there are a ton of different types of brick, and some of it is gorgeous and amazing just as it is, and some of it isn’t even close to what you would have chosen – and you don’t have to live with it that way! If you’ve disliked yours for a while, our first suggestion is just to trust your instincts and think deeply about it. If you’re not quite sure you want the painted look, don’t do it! But if you’re 110% sure like we were when we finally went for it, well, it’s a good indication that you’ll love the result. Whenever we see old pictures we’re like… “yeah, zero regrets… except that we didn’t do it sooner!”

    before photo of brick house upon purchase of home

    Even if you’re sure you want to go for it, we know it’s not a decision to make lightly. Believe me, we went through a whole smorgasbord of concerns and reasons NOT to do it over the years, like:

    • What if we regret painting the brick?
    • What if we don’t like the color?
    • What will the neighbors think?
    • What if it’s much harder to maintain?
    • What if it’s wildly expensive to do?

    But again, now that we’re on the other side of the project, we can assure you that NONE of those concerns were founded. In fact, we’re faaaar more in love with the “after” than we ever expected to be (you can see how much it cost & learn more about the process here).

    And if you followed along with our decision-making process last summer on the podcast, you know a big reason we finally worked up the confidence to take the plunge was finding the right paint product. It was actually one a bunch of you guys recommended to us, called Romabio Masonry Flat (at the time it was called Boidomus I).

    We hadn’t heard of it before, but learning that it’s a breathable mineral paint specially made for brick and other masonry, so it won’t crack or peel like latex paints tend to do overtime (because it doesn’t seal brick at all – it lets it breathe) – well, that really piqued our interest. And the more we learned about it, the better we felt moving forward with the project, like:

    • it has a 20-year warranty
    • it’s eco-friendly
    • it’s naturally mold resistant
    • it’s what they use to paint historic brick buildings in Europe
    • it has this BEAUTIFUL matte finish that looks so classic and never too garish or shiny)
    • As our pro painter later told us: “it’s like painting brick with brick.”

    You can read more about why we chose it here.

    Romabio didn’t sponsor our makeover (we paid for everything ourselves!) but we did get to know the husband-and-wife duo behind Romabio throughout the process, because I’m a gal who asks 10,000 questions. Ha! And then after we finished our house painting project last fall, and we loved the result so much, they came to us a few months later and asked if we’d ever want to curate a paint color collection to help simplify the decision-making process for other homeowners. Took us about two seconds to say: “Um… YES!”

    Choosing a paint color can feel agonizing for any space, but we had just experienced firsthand how nerve-wracking it was to pick one for our exterior. So the idea of getting to help other people choose the right one without worrying and second guessing themselves quite so much sounded great. Plus I’m a lady who likes to play with paint swatches and imagine what I’d do to every single house I walk or drive by on the street – so basically it was a dream project to pull together a collection of our fifteen favorite exterior paint colors for brick or stone. Literally the ones we would use if it was our house that we were painting (oh to have 15 houses to try these all out on…).

    Note: Mineral paint can only go so dark because it’s made from natural materials – aka: minerals. So that’s why you don’t see anything suuuper dark in the collection. Also, dark colors have a tendency to fade outside and Romabio wants everything they make to be super durable and easy maintenance – remember they have a 20 year warranty 😉

    We took a lot of our inspiration for the collection from many of the historic painted brick houses in our hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Specifically a gorgeous neighborhood here called The Fan. There are literally blocks and blocks of painted brick eye-candy to soak in, covering just about every color in the rainbow. We love strolling through that neighborhood just for kicks, so it was pretty fun to take a bunch of trips there with our paint swatches in hand and call it “research.”

    Speaking of paint swatches, we used Romabio’s stock color deck as a starting point while we walked around downtown, and we began zeroing in on some classic no-fail neutrals (think greiges, khakis, sand tones, and chocolates) as well as some options for those who want a bit more color (misty blues, mossy greens, even a subtle blush pink). The paint blobs in our collection might look somewhat muted or subdued on your screen, but anything with too much color saturation can quickly read as “too crazy” or “too bright” on an entire house’s exterior, especially when the sun hits it. So things needed enough gray or tan (aka “muddiness”) in the color to keep it classic and stately.

    Once we zeroed in on a few dozen favorites, Romabio sent us painted swatches so we could tinker and fine-tune (lightening some, graying others, and eliminating too-similar options). Our goal was to simplify the decision-making process, after all, so offering 10 slightly different blues felt like it would defeat the purpose REAL FAST. So if you want a light warm gray, we gave you one (Instant Chateau). Looking for a deep gray blue? Navy Steel is your guy. We did a couple rounds of narrowing and adjusting (always taking things back to The Fan for a real world gut check) so we could be certain we LOVED EVERY. LAST. COLOR

    During some of our paint color reconnaissance missions, we also witnessed some examples of what can happen when you don’t use masonry paint on your brick. Not only can latex paints sometimes give you that extra shiny finish, they can also peel and crack over time since the brick can’t breathe and it traps in moisture which is actually damaging to the brick as well as the paint job.

    Before locking in our final color selections, we painted sample brick boards with every option to help us better picture what they’d look like on a brick house (you may have caught a sneak peek of these on Instagram). And, well, WE LOVE THEM ALL SO MUCH I KINDA WANT 14 MORE BRICK HOUSES TO PAINT (#JohnSaidNo).

    The final step was naming them all, which was THE MOST FUN (you guys know I’ve always wanted to name nail polish and paint swatches). And since we love an outtake, here are some names that we left on the cutting room floor (but laughed at for a while before we cut them):

    • Green Day
    • Villa Rosa (RHOBH anyone?)
    • Theon Greyjoy (GOT anyone?)
    • Red Wedding
    • Rachel Green (Friends anyone?)
    • Moss Gellar
    • And probably our favorite: Mossy “Mossdemeaner” Elliott

    In the end, we were aiming for names you’d be proud to put on your house (I think “So Succulent” is my favorite) and we also worked in a few nods to the town that inspired us (like River City and Richmond White). Actually, Richmond White is the exact white color that we used on our house. It’s not too stark and blinding or too yellow – it’s just about the perfect tone, even if you mix it with bright white trim (which is what we have on our house thanks to white vinyl wrapped windows that can’t be painted).

    painter in crane painting siding of a brick house white

    You may remember that to land on our final white paint color for the project, we agonized. We took home dozens of swatches, narrowed it down to four colors, and then had Romabio color match the Masonry Flat Paint to a few Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore colors, which we then painted onto the house to make our final pick. And then we had Romabio color match that swatch again to make us big buckets to cover the whole house. Whew.

    sample sections of white paint on brick house

    But since color matching isn’t an exact science across different paint brands (the different pigments and bases in each company’s formula make it difficult to get the exact original color – more on that here), we wanted to give you guys a foolproof way to replicate the exact white that’s on our house without worrying about any margin for error due to the color matching process. So now you can just ask for “Richmond White” which is the true color we used (it’s the original formula they created for our house using their own pigments & bases).

    You can visit the Romabio website to learn more about our color collection with them and soak up all the info on their masonry paint (why it’s so much more durable than latex paint, and what you can & can’t paint with it). And you can order all 15 colors on Amazon. WOOT! Just be sure to check Romabio’s info about what materials it works on and to see if you need a primer or not (for example, already painted brick needs this primer – and you can always call Romabio with questions at 678-905-3700).

    Oh and it works on interior brick too (like your fireplace – and you’d probably only need a 1 or a 2.5 liter bucket!). They can also make any of these colors in their standard interior wall paint if you see one that you’d love indoors (just call them for that and they can ship you interior paint in the exact color).

    Over on their website we also shared some tips about how to choose an exterior color that works with your existing trim & roof colors, and even pulled together some fun door color ideas to go with some of the colors in our collection.

    And if you have any technical questions about the paint, its application, or how to get a small bucket to test any color before diving in, just ask the folks over at Romabio. We picked the colors, but they’re the actual paint pros 😉

    Also, if you guys use any of our colors, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE SEND US PICS (you can also tag them with #YHLforRomabio so we’ll see them on Instagram). I can promise I won’t cry over them.

    Just kidding I totally will.

    The post Because You Know We Love A Painted Brick House… appeared first on Young House Love.

    This content was originally published here.