How an ice storm inspired me to rainbow-ify the exterior of my home

Updated Oct 12 2015
Guest post by Sarakenobi

phone 911

I have been spending a lot of my time working on the inside of my house. [Editor's note: Remember Sara's living room, rainbow ceiling, and geeky kitchen light makeover?] But recently we had a horrible surprise ice storm that knocked our power out for several days, and cost us thousands of dollars in damages to my house (mostly windows, electric box, and siding).

It also forced me to start thinking about what I wanted the OUTSIDE of my home to look like.

phone 302

I have always hated the maroon everything but I wasn't sure what look I wanted to go for. We've been cleaning up the yard and we had new windows installed throughout the entire house (thanks, ice storm!) but I still needed shutters.

phone 750
This is the house before we had the new windows installed.
phone 754
This is the house after all the repairs were made.

It's been a long year and we needed happiness. What do you think I would do if I couldn't decide on a color? Use them all…

phone 777

I made window boxes out of fence pickets — primed them with outdoor primer, and spray-painted them white.
I also made shutters out of fence pickets and furring strips, primed with outdoor primer, and then bought six delicious shades of exterior satin color.

phone 775
My youngest primed the shutters in appropriate painting gear.

I admit, normally I'm excited about a project and work on it with reckless abandon. I worried that this project was a little too… much for the neighbors? We don't live in a housing development and nothing I was doing was illegal or against codes but still I worried, until we put up the first set:

rainbow windows

phone 872
And then I added flowers, and I'm so happy with how it turned out! People are talking about it, and no one has said anything negative. Rainbows might not be your thing, but it is certainly an improvement what it was before.

phone 895

I have plans for that porch, but it won't happen until this summer at the earliest. It will be MAGNIFICENT. I don't have my doubts about this one.

  1. Adopt me?
    Seriously your house is beautiful and so very happy! You have inspired me to make m home equally happy inside and out!

  2. Love this!

    Do you have a tutorial on how you made the flowerbox and shutters from the fence picket? I recently moved into a house that has like 3 sections of an old fence in the backyard. The only reason we haven't ripped it out yet is that I want to use the pickets for something. I'm totally DIY challenged but frontyard flowerboxes or shutters seems like the perfect use for the old fence.

  3. Oh my God! I love this! Just enough rainbow to be socially acceptable for neighbors and just enough rainbow to make me die with joy. Promise you won't be mad when I do it to my house too (once I buy one)?

    • Totally Agree! Enough rainbow to be adorable but only enough that the neighbours think "Hmm I wouldn't do it but it is cute" and the house suits it completely!~

  4. This is so beautiful! I love how it's just enough rainbow to be cheerful without overwhelming the house. Brilliant!

  5. Ah yes, that ice storm . . . writing here from North Carolina also. πŸ™‚ Glad you figured out how to turn it into something productive and sorry your house suffered so much damage!

    • IT WAS CRAZY. I'm originally from MI, so I've never been in such an extreme ice storm. we woke up to hear branches crashing and no power. (we pitched a tent in our living room and slept in it for four nights!) it was only fun because insurance paid out :p it also helped that it was so so so warm right after!

  6. ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS!!!! I wish I didn't live in an HOA… I would do this in a heartbeat!!!! I think I might have to steal the door idea for some of the interior doors in my house! (Like, inside the front door where the HOA can't see, and inside the bedroom doors…)
    I'm sorry your house got so much damage from the ice storm, but at least it turned out to be a blessing in disguise!!!!

    • everytime I have a friend who moves into a cute little neighborhood they have a HOA of DOOM. rules like "can only have a wooden playset and picket fence" or "no sheds and one car in the driveway at a time" make me want to die.

      • One of the horror stories from my parents HOA, a woman once complained about her neighbors playset (Little Tikes kind) because it wasn't natural colors. Or the homeowners who were turned down for their color choice for a front door because it was the same color as their neighbors.

        Or that your neighbor can be fined if you don't mow your lawn.

        Or the rule that you're only allowed 2 lawn ornaments in a front yard (no flamingoing the sick, I guess).

        oh! and no edible plants in the front yard (my parents accidentally broke this rule by planting thyme, only -time- will tell if they get found out πŸ˜› )

  7. Love, love, love your rainbow house. If only I could talk my partner (who has a BFA in visual art!) to do something this fun to our home!

    • it would be cool to have some kind of mural over shutters too! it's just paint. It's all I keep telling myself just in case – it's just paint! we can fix it if we don't like it!

    • WHOA! that is just crazy! I do wonder how many Offbeat ppl live here! that would be amazing πŸ™‚ you can find me under Sara Fires Rodgers on FB!

  8. Oh my gosh, I drove by your house once! (I live a couple towns over, in Graham, but I was lost). I wonder if there are enough Homies in the neighborhood for a Central NC meetup? Even if not, we should totally be friends!

  9. I love this! It makes your house look so inviting and happy! My house looks very similar to yours… I'm thinking of stealing your ideas. After all, imitation is the purest form of flattery, right? Or something like that? πŸ™‚ Thanks for an awesome idea!

  10. Did anyone else grow up with the book 'The Big Orange Splot' by Daniel Manus Pinkwater? It is basically an offbeat home deco manifesto intended for children but great for all ages.

    On "a very neat street" where all the houses looked exactly the same, a bird dropped orange paint on one of the houses. Instead of painting over the spot, the owner of the house embraces it and paints wondrous things on the outside. When confronted by angry neighbors, he repeats "The house is me and I am it. My house is where I like to be. It looks like all my dreams." until the neighbors paint their own houses to look like their dreams too. It is fantastic. It made such an impression on me that I haven't seen the book in about 20 years and I remembered it immediately.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.