House Exterior Progress Update

This post is sponsored by James Hardie®.  All words and opinions are, as always, honest and my own.


It has been about 3 months since I told you that I was planning to start painting the exterior trim on my house to a more neutral color. I figured you may be wondering by now how far I got.

1970's brick home

Well… not very far.

In fact, I put the trim painting on hold since all the paint colors I tried made the brick on the house look pink-peach. 

Green vertical siding and brick lake home

If you remember, the front of my house looks like a ranch house and has a brick facade. On the sides and back of the house you can see it is actually a two-story house with vertical siding on the second story and brick on the first floor.

I tried six different colors of trim paint over the green and they all made the house look pink-peach or worse, orange.  I don’t want an orange house. You may not be able to see the tone in these photos, but the color of the brick is a peach beige.

House exterior with James Hardie Siding®.  HardiePlank Lap Siding on bottom and HardiePanel® Vertical Siding in the color Cobblestone on top.

I want a classic tan or taupe like the colors of the homes around mine. They are all neutral so that the trees and lake take center stage.  I explained in this post that I liked the homes on Hilton Head Island, SC that are all neutral for the same reason. They are pretty, but are understated, yet have character and curb appeal.

This is what I want for my home and I finally realized that to get the color I want, I am going to have to paint the brick or cover it with siding.

Before proceeding with updating the exterior, I want to come up with a complete plan on how we are going to update the exterior from adding a new roof, garage door, front steps and doors, to the color of the house, even what to plant out front once we remove the rest of the holly bushes. You have already given me great ideas on what to plant. 

After doing some research I learned that painting the brick will be less expensive, but eventually wear and fade. Adding James Hardie® siding will cost more up front, but their fiber cement products will provide low maintenance and a long lasting classic look.

Shed Roof options with Nu- Wood Shutters

Our builder friend who helped us remove the wall in our house between the kitchen and living room when we first moved to the house, just built two homes, both are sided with James Hardie® siding products. I love the look on each from a construction point of view, but love the design options their siding offers even more.

Silver bell on house with Hardie plank siding

On the design side, the color combos, textures, and many choices of siding options are beautiful. They offer pre-finished siding that is available in both vibrant and subtle hues that will achieve instant curb appeal to any home.

There is the classic HardiePlank® lap siding, which is horizontal.  HardieShingle® that looks like classic shingles and HardiePanel® is their vertical siding.  All come in smooth or a natural cedar look that has a soft texture that mimics wood.

I love that you can mix and match all three to customize the look for your house and build character whether you are going for a classic look or a home with a more modern appeal.

1970's brick and sided lake home

I like the lake side of my house, but if I am painting or adding siding to the street side and sides of the house, the lake side of the house has to get it also. I would like to add HardiePlank® lap siding over all the brick and then paint the trim and the existing second story vertical siding to match the new lap siding.  A new lighter color roof would bring it all together.

Grey home exterior with James Hardie plank siding in Grey and white

Some of the perks of using James Hardie® siding versus regular siding on a home beyond the gorgeous color choices is their ColorPlus® technology. The colors are actually baked onto the boards which helps resist chipping, peeling or fading for years of lasting beauty.

Fading is a major concern for me with the hot blazing southern sun and the fact that the lake side of the house is facing southwest.

James Hardie sided house near lake

It’s little known that James Hardie® siding products are actually Engineered for Climate® to stand up to a hot humid climate like mine.  This is also helpful when you live along the shore of a large lake like I do.

In the northern U.S. and Canada, HZ5® products resist shrinking, swelling and cracking even after years of wet or freezing conditions. HZ10® products resist damage from hot, humid conditions, blistering sun and more. They are water resistant to protect against swelling, warping and cracking. They also resist damage from mold.  I like that.

James Hardie white siding on house with blue shutters

So, now I am in the process of researching until I come up with a plan to blend the front and back of my house into one cohesive look while building character on the front of the house without doing any major reconstruction.

Once I have this plan in place and am confident in my choices we will then proceed a little at a time until we get the makeover completed. I wish I could snap my fingers and have it done quickly, or better yet have someone design and do it all for us, but we will have to take it one step at a time. It may take awhile since most of the items are big ticket items or where we will need to hire contractors.

Which reminds me of another reason why I am thinking of using James Hardie® siding.  Unlike other brands, James Hardie stands behind its siding 100% for 30 years and behind its trim 100% for 15 years. The ColorPlus® Technology has a 15-year limited finish warranty.

Front exterior steps of 1970's lake house

So it may take me a few weeks or months to come up with my complete plan. I am not going to rush it, just to get it done. Right now I am enjoying visualizing how the front and back of my house will look with Hardie lap siding to give it an update and character…

James Hardie lap siding on house

… like this home’s entrance has.

More research is needed… on colors, where to paint or add lap siding and where to add vertical siding to bring out the best features of my house.

I will keep you posted.

YouTube video
If you are in the building process, planning a facade makeover like I am or simply dreaming, be sure to check out James Hardie® Siding, click HERE to download an Inspiration Guide and/or click HERE to request FREE samples in the finish and colors of your choosing.

Houses with James Hardie Siding on them.

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  1. Rachel Perry says:

    That looks amazing! I’m trying to get my husband on board to do our new home. I love everything about the interior, but nothing about the exterior… I’m showing him this post!

  2. Aquaguard ro water says:

    hey, its wonderful , very helpful for me thanks for sharing

  3. Wendy Hyde says:

    WOww!!!!!!!!!! Amazing House-exterior Ideas. I have read your blog and loved it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Rupa Chatterjee says:

    Really a good idea of exterior design. I love this type of design. Thanks for sharing this

  5. Kris Lindquist says:

    Please don’t paint brick – that’s taking a maintenance free (okay, very low maintenance) part of your house and making it a recurring project. Think about glossy black for the trim :-).

  6. Becky in 'Bama says:

    Oh dear for sure. BUT my best friend had the same issue… same color brick, but her trim and siding were a light bluish green. She finally went with painting the brick a gray taupe and painted her wooden siding and shutters, eaves and trim a dark chocolate brown. The transformation is still striking after three years. The painted brick has not flaked or faded, and the west side of the house has the board siding – which is holding up well. She figures they will have to apply another coat to the West-facing siding in a couple of years, but overall it was very successful. I will say that they had JUST replaced their roof prior to the outside painting – and they went with dark brown shingles – cannot tell what color your roof is. I applaud your careful, cautious research – you’re looking at possibly a high ticket project – may as well do it right!

  7. Aquaguard RO Customer Care says:

    Wonderful Ideas. I can’t wait to try these wonderful ideas. Thanks………

  8. I would change that teal color everywhere, then I would change the front door and the sidelights also.

    I think the choices and ideas are best left to a pro–hire someone whose design you like.

    You cant make a 1970’s house look like a heritage house by adding siding….the houses in the pictures are all heritage/cape cod style therefore they probably had siding originally.

    Just my opinion,

  9. Margaret Langenberg says:

    I have been told that you cannot paint brick as it will make the brick not be able to breathe, causing both the brick and mortar to crumble. But there is something called a brick stain that works. I have no idea if it is expensive or not, but my local Menards, Lowe’s and Home Depot advertise it, so I think it may be relative easy to find the stain or at least get information on the brick stain. Otherwise the siding you are mentioning is lovely as I have relatives who live on Like Michigan and also some on Lake Superior and they have both used it, and the one on Lake Superior is going on 3 or 4 years now and still looks lovely. They said they have never made such a great investment as that siding. Good luck as it looks time consuming.

  10. Keep the brick- paint the trim,new door. That’s my vote

  11. I live in Georgia and have a plantation style home with Hardie plank in a light yellow. We have lived here 20 years and have had the house just repainted in 2015. It holds up great. Cleans up great. Takes a beating and keeps looking good. You will love it. Go for it.

  12. Regina Leitz says:

    I hate to say but the reason your brick exhibits a peach undertone is due to the teal color choice. You would need to consider the color wheel when choosing the color that would tone down the orange/peachy color of the brick. I am thinking that if you actually choose a taupe paint with a grey undertone it would take that effect of peach/ pink you see. Make sure none of the colors used to mix it are red or burnt sienna, that rust color which would bring out the peach in the brick.

  13. Hardy siding is a great option but have you considered lime washing the brick? Lauren at Bless ‘er House had it down to her brick home and the results are fabulous. I love painted brick, but not sure how it would hold up at a lake house…. Excited to see what you decide.

  14. I love the sample homes you showed us and especially the last one. It looks like beautiful siding! It’s smart to research and plan everything before you start. I’m sure it will turn out beautiful and I can’t wait to see it finished.

  15. Diane, trust your gut because everything you do comes out just right. Many companies will gladly send someone out to show you what they have to offer and to give you choices and guidance to get your business. They might charge a fee but then put it toward the cost of the product when you purchase, especially if they know you have a blog and how many followers you have.
    I can’t wait to see what you guys decide and to watch the progress.

  16. Jeane Gallo says:

    I would check into the lighter roofs before committing. Down south we had an issue with mildew staining white and light shingles. That’s why no one does it anymore here.

  17. Joanne B. says:

    Oh dear. You sure have your work cut out for you. Decisions, decisions. I like the various different textures of your home. I think the vertical wood paneling on the second floor in the back, and the brick in the front adds visual interest and texture. A neutral paint color on your home would make it more classic and timeless. I would not remove the brick or cover it for that matter if it is in good condition and has sound integrity. I would not cover it with the Hardy board as lovely as it might be. I don’t see the sense of covering the brick with Hardy and then painting the top wood to match. Yes, it would be wonderful if you had a house that was entirely maintenance free as it could be with the Hardy board everywhere, but that is a BIG budget item for sure. But if you just covered the brick with Hardy and painted the top to match, you’re still going to have to paint the top eventually. And it’s not like YOU are going to be painting the house yourself. Ok- maybe THIS go around (and even that is a big undertaking) but let’s be real- in 15 years you and the Mr. are not going to be painting it yourself. So, you can either cover it ALL now with Hardy and be done (ouch$$$) but interesting comment from another reader who said her Hardy needs to be painted after 8 years is concerning to me. OR go with paint everywhere now and worry about repainting it all in 15 years, God willing. It’s amazing what a good coat of paint in the right color can do to change the look. I would also definitely consider a color consult with color experts for color/trim ideas. You have a big list of things to do- paint, roof, landscaping and that doesn’t even take into consideration other things that pop up with home ownership that you didn’t expect. The things already on your TO DO list are enough to figure out how to budget for, without those other unexpected ‘joys’ of homeownership.I would definitely paint it all- this way you can have the house color you have always wanted. I love the idea of the neutral siding and brick but I would opt for a darker roof myself. One of the things I admire about you is your sense of practicality and how economical you are. You know what look you want and you are careful and able to do it within a budget to get the same look for less. Your blog should be renamed, “In My Own Style and Within My Pocketbook!” I’m sure you will come up with the best choice for this situation and your wallet! But I don’t envy you-not one bit- and I will keep this under my hat when my husband I decide to downsize. The thought of this never ending homeownership merry-go-round is enough to make me think small condo. Pay me now or pay me later… Ugh.

  18. I love your brick and your beautiful doors. Maybe lighten up with a new paint color for your trim, but I wouldn’t touch that brick. You have such wonderful taste. Take your time and you will choose just right.

  19. Does the Hardie plank come in colors? If so, I would pick out a color to replace all the wood and paint the brick to match. I would not remove the brick. Painted brick is so pretty. Also that door with the glass is awesome!

  20. Nina Flecker says:

    I am seeing exteriors like yours popping up in new homes in my Midwest location. And your front doors are amazing! Seeing very similiar doors showing up HGTV shows also. I would never venture to tell you your business since I think your personal style is awesome but maybe it’s time to consult a professional? My daughter has found some consultants working out of Sherwin-Williams who do nothing but color consultations. I know that I often just need a change and perhaps some additions to your landscaping plan would minimize what you don’t like right now. I also believe strongly in decor cycles and I think that we’ll continue to keep seeing mid century modern with tweaks in our future! I’m in a ranch home and while I love whitewashed brick I found that embracing a more modern look was the answer to my home exterior.

  21. I’m certain Hardy siding will be wonderful. Lots of it in use in our area. But……

    Is your brick and trim color so bad that it must be changed? Just wondering……I thought the color of the brick might look nice with a deep charcoal trim or possibly a dark brown similar in tone to the existing color of the wooden front door…..and that could be possibly used on the back side of the house too (?)

    Why be like everyone else? Be you. Be unique….your house indoors probably doesn’t look like everyone else’s in the neighborhood either. ;-)

  22. Catpainter says:

    I owned a large ranch style home at one time, red brick on the bottom, siding on the top. I had the yard landscaped which was a HUGE improvement. I painted the siding a neutral color (it had been white) and added shutters in a darker neutral. I always thought I wanted to paint the brick but my life changed and I sold the home and moved away. Went back to visit the town and friends and drove past the home. It had been painted all the same neutral color – lost all of it’s character. Even the shutters didn’t help. It looked smaller, plainer, no curb appeal.
    Take your time, let your heart speak to you about what you want, especially if it’s where you will spend the rest of your life. You look at it every day, drive up to it many times a week, make it just what you want, even if you have to do it in increments because of expense. You have made such a lovely home inside, follow your wonderful instincts!

  23. I will be curious to see your design plan. I happen to love the brick, and your doors…but, I think glass double doors would look fantastic! We redid the exterior of our house almost 20 years ago. I still love what we did…our goal was to keep true to the age of the house 70’s, but make it more efficient, and more maintenance free. I personally think if you lose the brick….you might lose some of the style of your home. Was your house built in the 70’s? I do know one thing for sure… have great taste! Your home no matter what you decide, will be in your style! ;)

  24. This planking looks & sounds amazing! A great neutral paint color is Shirwin Williams Tony Taupe. I used it in my living room, but was really surprised when I discovered that it’s one of their most popular exterior colors.

  25. I love your idea for using siding. Sounds like a win-win for insulation and ease of care/maintenance.
    Looking at your home, I feel like losIng the brick would be losing a very stylish attribute. Painting the brick would be lovely and add siding above.
    Just an opinion….I know that whatever you end up choosing will be lovely. You have a gorgeous home on an amazing lake!!

  26. I also love the brick. Keeping the brick would save you so much money. Just redoing the wood, getting rid of the shutters, replanting around the house, a new door (for sure), and a new front entrance would still be cheaper and still give you the big impact you want for your house. Decisions, decisions!!!!! Not easy. I wish I had a blog when I am making these important, expensive decisions. All the comments are so helpful.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Linda – Thanks for your ideas. Ed doesn’t want to paint the brick, so we may just keep things simple and redo the items you mentioned. If we keep it we will still redo the front. It is the side of the house I least like. New steps will be the first thing we add. So funny about the door, readers either hate it or love it. 50/50. I had one reader want to purchase the doors, but she lived too far away. I would love to get 6 panel glass doors that will allow more light into my foyer. I am still researching brands of doors and the costs of installation. It will happen eventually.

  27. We painted our brick recently, and I don’t think we could have achieved the texture of brick with siding, regardless of cost. After reading the blog, I assume they’re giving you a great deal.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Deb – Painting is the least expensive way to go and is probably what we are going to end up doing, even if it is just all the trim and green vertical panels on the back and sides of the house.

      What type of paint did you use? Did you brush or spray it on?

      As far as getting a deal on the siding, no deal. Just writing the post, sharing options of the products that I am considering. :-)

  28. Laurie Pysczynski says:

    Love your color choices and your style in general!

    If I had your beautiful lake house, I would consider whitewash painting the brick. Nothing is better than brick in the south! I have Hardi Plank and 8 years in it is very faded and will need to be painted soon. The Hardi plank is beautiful and it also is very insulating to houses in the south but I think brick is better – and way less maintenance. Plus, I love the way houses look with different facades around the house. In our neighborhood, the new builders are including combinations of brick, stone, hardi plank, cedar, vertical siding and shingles on many of the homes and it is beautiful.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Laurie – Thanks for your insights. A white wash would look nice and it is an option. As you mentioned, I also like how the new houses being built around me have different facades. It really creates a lot of character and curb appeal. They are the main reason I am considering adding the James Hardie siding products.

  29. I want to update our home’s exterior too. I’m planning to have a consultation with Maria Killam for assistance to make sure I get the best bang for my buck and not have any costly mistakes. Can’t wait to see your home’s transformation in the future.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kim – Great idea to get a color consult with Maria. She has a great eye for color. I wish I could make the makeover happen quickly, but it will take time, but I will keep posting updates and progress as we go.

  30. Aquaguard RO Service says:

    WOwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing House-exterior Ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  31. If you haven’t, you should look at Young House Love’s recent posts about painting their brick home.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Kay – Great advise!!! I had read posts about other bloggers painting their brick homes, but didn’t read/listen to Young House Loves post and Podcast. It was helpful and informative. Thanks for taking the time to tell me.

      1. Most of the homes in our immediate neighborhood are brick either yellowy in tone or reddish. Just this past week one homeowner painted their brick home in an almost black color. Oh my does that look incredible! The trim is lighter (I think maybe a cream color?). The home looks amazing and it makes a statement compared to all the other brick homes. No idea what they did for application (roller, brush, spray) but I must say it certainly updated the home very nicely. And they kept the uniqueness of the brick. Win-win and not so pricey as completely new siding.