Adding a Front Porch to a Brick Ranch


Hey friends!

Thanks for all of your sweet comments about my post yesterday.  I loved creating that gif to share with you.  However, I had some of you ask me to create a post with static pictures, so here ya go!  :)

I added some hyperlinks to some older posts that share more about the whole process of transforming our brick ranch into the cottage of our dreams. :)

I was looking through old pictures of our home when we first bought it, and I have to be truthful that I didn’t really have any good shots. I have this one picture below….

front porch makeover

As you can see, we tore down some trees on the left and right of our house.   This gives the front of our house a much more open look and allows you to see our house from the road. 

We also tore down the very ugly screened in front porch.  (I think we did that within 24 hours of moving in!  We were dying to get rid of it!!)

front porch makeover

For the time being, Cy built to new columns on the front porch because we knew it would be a few years before we could build the front porch we were dreaming of. 

front porch makeover


I found this picture of when we began the addition to our home about 6 months after we moved in.  The original ranch was only 1400 sq foot, and we desperately needed more space.

front porch makeover

The boys’ rooms and bathroom are upstairs in the addition, and the master bedroom and bath are in the downstairs of the addition.  In the future, we plan on adding a wrap around porch on the 1st floor of the addition.  We have french doors in our master bedroom that will lead out to that porch.  You can see them a little in the picture below…


Last year, we finally painted the whole house white!  It still looked like “a ranch with an addition stuck to the side,” but at least it was all the same color.  I knew that we would eventually get it looking like we wanted it to. :)

Painted brick exterior

So the house started looking more cohesive once the whole thing was painted, but I was still dying to get started on our front porch.  (Notice we didn’t paint the chimney because we knew we would be eventually tearing it down.)  We also added new shingles to the roof to match the ones on our new addition.

front porch makeover


For our new front porch, we enclosed the old front porch and then built a gabled roof out from there.   Luke helped Cy build most of the front porch out.

front porch makeover


We laid insulation on the part of the front porch that we were going to enclose, and then built the new front porch out from there.

front porch makeover

I LOVE the new entry way and mudroom that was created when we added on our new front porch! You can read more about that space HERE.

front porch makeover

We wrapped the new front porch with the same hardyboard siding from Lowe’s that we used on our addition. 

front porch makeover

We painted the whole front porch with White Dove (or dove white) by Benjamin Moore.  We had it color matched at Lowe’s and used Valspar exterior paint.

We also installed new doors (more details about that tomorrow,) lights, and gravel walkway.

front porch makeover

We added new mulch to the front of our house, but we haven’t planted anything yet.  We may plant a few things this fall, but most of it in the Spring. 

I am so, so happy to finally have a front porch to decorate for all of the seasons!

front porch makeover


*This front porch transformation was sponsored by Lowe’s.  We came up with the idea for our front porch and collaborated with Lowe’s to complete it.  Lowe’s is always our first choice when looking for quality products and supplies to use in our projects.  We have a genuine, authentic love affair with Lowe’s.  {I work exclusively with Lowe’s for that very reason!}  #lowesgirlforlife

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Our Front Porch from Beginning to End


Hey sweet friends! 

It’s Funday Monday!  {not really.  i’m just trying to convince myself!}


I was wanting to show you the pictures of how we built our front porch, but there were a LOT, and it was going to be a long {and maybe confusing} post.

So I got the idea to put all of the pictures into an animated gif so you could see the progression over time. 

I really like seeing pictures like this, so I hope you do too.  It shows our house from the first day we bought it, to what it looks like today.

Here ya go!….





Please tell me what you think!  

Can you believe it is even the same house?!  We have more plans to put a wrap around porch on the addition, and a two car garage on the left of the house, but that is later down the road.  I wish we had the money to do it all at once, but we don’t.  And good things come to those who wait, right?  ;)  It definitely teaches us patience, and I hope it shows our boys the value of hard work and perseverance. 


*This post was sponsored by my favorite home improvement store, Lowe’s.  All opinions and ideas are my own.  We have loved working with our local Lowe’s on this project!  #lowesgirlforlife

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How to Lay a Gravel Walkway


I am in LOVE with older homes…like 100 year old homes. Unfortunately, our brick ranch was built in the 1970’s, so it didn’t come with the “older home” character that I was dreaming of. Over the past four years, we have been renovating our home and trying to add some farmhouse character to the interior and exterior.

We recently built a new porch on the front of our ranch home. When trying to decide what type of walkway we wanted leading up to our front porch, I was drawn to the look and feel of a gravel walkway. They are definitely characteristic of old farmhouses, and they take me back to my childhood. :

Here are the reasons we love gravel walkways:

  1. They are easy to install.
  2. They are inexpensive.
  3. They are a fluid walkway material that won’t crack or break in colder temperatures.
  4. They can take on any shape you desire.
  5. And they are beautiful and charming!!

See why we chose gravel?!   It was the perfect solution for us!

how to lay a gravel walkway

We followed 5 easy steps to

complete our walkway in one day.


STEP ONE: Dig the shape of the walkway.

how to lay a gravel walkway

First off, you need to mark out the desired shape of your walkway before digging. We used line-marking paint to mark our walkway. It’s basically like spray paint, usually orange, that you hold upside down as you spray and mark your line.
You could also mark your pathway with a rope or even a water hose. Make your walkway as wide as you want it. We made ours a little wider since we were lining it with pavers.
Use a square-edged spade to dig your walkway a depth of four inches. You will want to check the depth of your trench with a tape measure as you go. Be sure to smooth walkway with a steel rake and then compact the soil with a dirt tamper.



STEP TWO: Add crushed stone to your walkway trench.

Once the dirt in the trench is raked smooth and compacted, line the trench with about 2 ½ inches of crushed stone.  We used Class 1 Sand from Lowe’s.  
Crushed stone is a mix of ¾-inch stones and stone dust and will give your walkway a compact base.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 1.04.35 PM

STEP THREE: Lay Landscape Fabric
Next, roll out a layer of landscape fabric over your walkway.
You will be able to cut the fabric to match the shape of your walkway. To hold the fabric in place, you can use landscape anchor pins or spikes.














STEP FOUR: Install edging.

For our edging, we used pavers. We installed the pavers along the edges and used a rubber hammer to compact them.

The pavers we used are called “Allegheny” from Lowe’s.

sidewalk beauty



If you do not want to use pavers, you can install edging. I suggest a galvanized steel edging, but you can use what will fit in your budget. If your edging does not come with spikes like the edging below, you can use a soft hammer or a wood block/hammer to install the edging.



STEP FIVE: Fill walkway with gravel.
This is the fun part! There are many different types and colors of gravel that you can use for your walkway. Pick one that matches the style of your home (or your personality if you choose.) :)
You want to lay enough gravel to come about ½ inch shy of the top of the edging.
Be sure to rake the gravel out evenly so all of the landscape fabric is completely to lay a gravel walkway

If desired, you can landscape around the path with flowerbeds, sod, or lighting.  I’m loving these lights from Lowe’s!


Your new walkway will require very little maintenance. You may need to rake it smooth occasionally and add more gravel if needed over time.
how to lay a gravel walkway

(Confession:  We have NOT covered our crushed run with gravel yet.  We did our steps a little differently.  We put our crushed run over our landscaping fabric because we knew we wouldn’t be able to add the gravel just yet.  I am hoping to add the gravel in November.)

I am super happy with my new gravel walkway!  I know it will look even better once we lay the top gravel and add some new landscaping in our mulch!

how to lay a gravel walkway


*This post was sponsored by Lowe’s!  All design ideas and product opinions are 100% mine.  #lowesgirlforlife

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Front Porch Lights {Third Times a Charm!}


Hey sweet friends!  I’ve missed you!!  

I sure hope you have missed me.  I have been MIA  for the past week because I have been getting ready for a big trip with one of my kiddos!  Today, we jumped on a plane to the west coast for the next FOUR WEEKS! 

Yep.  Not kidding.  {Wish I could tell you more, but I can’t.}  :(

Hopefully, I will be able to soon!  {wink}

But for now, I am on the airplane and halfway to our destination.  I wanted to take a minute to show you the lights we got for our front porch.  You may think you have already seen them, because you sort of have, but not really.  

Here’s the deal…

When I went to the west coast in August, my sweet, precious husband installed some porch lights.  Any normal wife would have been grateful and excited.  I mean….I was.   kind of.   I love my man, but really?  I’m a home blogger!  We’ve had this discussion a million times over the past six years.  He knows that he does most of the hard work, and I get to decorate!  It’s just the way we work.   I always “encourage” him not to pick out anything that is decor related because there is a one hundred percent pretty good chance I will not like it.

A few years ago, he installed a light over our kitchen sink while I was away at a blog conference!  We had had no light over that sink for a YEAR because I couldn’t decide what kind I wanted.  Sweet man of man, what was he thinking?!  We laugh about it now, and you would think he would learn his lesson, but alas…

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 1.56.55 PM

He picked up these lights at Lowe’s, and installed them while I was gone.  Now granted, they are beautiful lights, and I actually loved them, but they were not what I was wanting for our front porch.  They were a little too traditional and I wanted something more simple without any curlycues.  

I showed the lights on instagram and periscope, and many of you loved them.  But my fellow blog friend, Layla, agreed that her hubby, Kevin, would be in BIG trouble if he installed lights without checking with her first.  #crazybloggers

So we left those up for several weeks until I found some that I really liked, and he installed porch lights for a second time. 

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 1.56.00 PM


These lights had the simple look that I was after.  Cy was so sweet to take the other ones down and install these.  

But there was one problem….they were too high.  I didn’t say anything at the time, because you know…I wanted to stay married.

So I let them sit for a few days before I gently mentioned it to Cy.  I hated to say anything because I knew that he would have to remove some siding, cut different holes, and add longer wire, but I knew that it would drive me crazy every time I drove up the driveway.  We have wanted this porch for four years, and we needed to do it right.  Luckily, Cy agreed that the lights were too high, he just wasn’t looking forward to moving them for a third time. 

Since I needed to take pictures before I left for my trip, he spent about an hour moving the lights down, and we both are glad he did.  It looks much better now!  {At least to us!}



So what do you think?  Do you like these lights better, or the other ones?  You can be honest, ladies.  :)

Again, the other lights were beautiful, and would look great on another house, but they were not what I was wanting for ours.  

We are 95% done with our front porch, and I can’t wait to share the transformation with you over the next week or so!

Well, it’s almost time to land, so I gotta go!

Have a blessed week, friends!!!


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How to Build a Window Box


I wanted to share another project we completed during the Lowe’s Home Makeover in Nashville last month!

How to Build a Window Box 1

I have always loved the look of window boxes!

So I was thrilled to hear that our homeowners in Nashville wanted window boxes on their windows too!  It gave Cy and I a chance to make some, and it gave us practice for the window boxes we will be making for our own home soon.  :)

They are so much easier to make than you would think.

Here are the supplies we used:

 1×8 poplar boards

1/4 x 2 inch poplar trim piece

18 gauge nailer with 1 1/4 inch nails

wood glue

compound miter saw (to cut wood pieces)

Black support brackets (we got ours at Lowe’s)


Important tips that are not included in the video:

1.  Be sure to drill holes in the bottom of the window box to allow for water drainage.

2.  Be sure to let the glue completely dry and set before adding the dirt and flowers.   

3.  You can use “liquid nails” and screws instead of nails to increase the durability of the window box.



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Lowe’s Home Exterior Makeover Reveal


Y’all, I am BEYOND excited to show you the exterior home makeover that Cy and I did with Lowe’s last week near Nashville, Tennessee.   

Cy and I LOVE a good makeover, and this one made a HUGE difference in the exterior of a home.

Now let me back it up a little bit….

Remember last month when I told you how Lowe’s was sending bloggers out to the 10 Bleakest Cities of 2015 because of the harsh winter weather?

Well, Cy and I were assigned to Nashville, and we looked over a bunch of projects that readers submitted in that area.  It was hard to decide which project to tackle, but we ultimately decided on Grant and Beth’s brick ranch home.  


It might have been because it reminded us so much of our own brick ranch?

Or it might have been because of the way Grant wanted to surprise his wife with the makeover and how he gushed about his love for his family?

Or it could have been because we wanted to show our readers how easy it is to change the look of your home with just some paint (and a little sweat equity)?

Or it could have been ALL OF THE ABOVE!

Cy and I both agreed that Grant and Beth’s home project was the one for us, and we eagerly got to planning.   We had a chat with Grant and Beth via the computer and talked about plans for the house. 

The main things we wanted to accomplish were:

1.  Paint brick exterior.

2.  Add new landscaping.

3.  Build and install new shutters and window boxes.

4.  Build and install new porch columns.

We knew we would have to do some more minor changes as we went along, but those were the main goals of this makeover. 

I have a ton of posts planned that will show you all the steps we took to complete this makeover, but today we are focusing on the amazing BEFORE and AFTERS.  :)

Here is what it looked like when we arrived…

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 7.46.59 PM

And here is what it looked like when we left…



HUGE difference, right?

The homeowners were wanting to paint their brick because you could see where an addition had been added on to the back of the original house.  We contracted the paint job out to a professional painter.  We knew he would be able to paint the house more quickly, and we needed all the time we could get since we had to complete this makeover in two days!

“Paul the Painter” was amazing!!  We changed the colors on him a couple of times during the first day and he didn’t even flinch!  He handle it all like the PRO that he is, and we were THRILLED with the results!  I told him I was going to share his information with my readers because he was THAT GOOD!  So if you live near Nashville and need something painted, you will be very happy you contacted Paul!

Paul Chisenhall
Genesis Coatings Inc


We started out with the color Accessible Beige (which is gorgeous, but too light) and ended up with Balanced beige SW7037.  We had the employees at Lowe’s tint the original paint color to the darker beige color, and they did it awesomely.  :)


The Lowe’s Heroes ROCKED the landscaping!  They spent the first day ripping out all of the old landscaping and getting the ground ready for the new plants. 



Didn’t they do a great job?  These plants will look gorgeous as they grow over the years.


They also added beautiful flowers to our DIY flower boxes!  (Tutorial on the window boxes coming next week!)

Steve, the Lowe’s assistant manager, helped us make our DIY board and batten shutters.

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 8.19.28 AM

He created a video just for my readers on how to make these shutters!  I will be sharing it next week, and you will not believe how easy it is!

Steve’s wife was a ROCKSTAR too!  She doesn’t work for Lowe’s but volunteered BOTH days to help, and she was a workhorse!

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 8.18.31 AM

We could not have done it all without the AMAZING Lowe’s Heroes!  They worked so hard, never complained, jumped it to help whenever it was needed, had great attitudes, were funny and sweet, and were such a JOY to work with!

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 8.18.12 AM Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 8.18.41 AM









Here is what the left corner of the house looked like before…

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 7.47.08 PM


And here is the AFTER…



One of my favorite “touches” was the turquoise blue door.  We painted it SW6486 “Reflecting Pool” in Semi-gloss by getting the color matched at Lowe’s.   It really makes the front porch a focal point!



We hadn’t planned on removing the vinyl ceiling on the front porch, but ended up having to when we installed the new wood columns.  We were able to put the wood bead board ceiling up the second day, but the homeowners were not sure if they wanted to paint it white or stain it.  So we decided that they could make that decision later. :)



 We also prettied up the right side of the house with more shutters and window boxes.frontMy talented husband built the beautiful wood columns.  I will share more of that next week too! ;)  Lots of great posts coming up, y’all!

We LOVED working with Grant and Beth!  They were so much like Cy and I, and our boys had a great time hanging out with their boys.  Again, more on that later. ;)


A HUGE thanks to Lowe’s and their amazing Heroes that helped with this makeover!  We couldn’t have done it without them!

Lebanon, TN Store #1692
Stephen H (Store Manager)
Steve P (Assist Store Manager)
Karen P (Steve’s wife – not Lowe’s employee, but after seeing her work she should be! LOL)
Jason P
Laura W
Ronnie K
Jamie G
L.J. W
Alex D
Robert K
Steve D
Chris T (last initial t, not j)

Mt. Juliet TN Store #2654
Brad W (Store Manager)
Bernie A (Assistant Store Manager)
Brett S

*This project and post was sponsored by Lowe’s, my absolute FAVORITE home improvement store!  All ideas and opinions are 100% mine.





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We’ve Started Building our New Front Porch!


Happy May!  Can you believe it is already MAY?!!!  Oh my goodness, where does the time go?  

This weekend in Kentucky, the weather was spectacular!!  We got a lot of work done on our new front porch!  I cannot WAIT to get this project finished because we have been wanting to do it since we first moved in this house four years ago. 

 Here is our house the day we bought it


We built an addition three years ago, and this is what our house has looked like for the past year since we painted the brick (Notice we never painted the chimney because we knew it would eventually be torn down.)


To this point, our house has always looked like a ranch with an addition stuck on the side.  Because….well….that is what it is. :)

Our plan is to build a front porch with a gabled roof, sort of like the two pictures below… 




 The only difference is that we are building our porch out a little, with some actual living space, so it will be wrapped in the same hardy board siding as our addition to match.  Building the porch out will also provide us with an entry way and mudroom.  We will also be adding two gorgeous front doors to the porch.  

Sort of like these….



I am super, super excited!!!  I can’t wait to have a pretty porch to decorate around the holidays!  

Speaking of front porches, here is a post I wrote for ebay about 5 Simple Ways to Freshen Up Your Front Porch!

front porch decor


Have a blessed day!!

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How to Stain your Patio to look like Tile {#tbt}


 Hey Friends!

It’s throw back Thursday here at Beneath My Heart, and I wanted to share with you one of my FAVORITE Spring projects that Cy and I complete at our previous home!



How to stain your patio to look like tile


This project was pretty easy and very inexpensive, but produce HUGE results!

As you can see in the “before” picture, we had a dull, ugly, concrete back patio like many homes do.  We brainstormed ways that we could change the look of our patio inexpensively, and staining the concrete to look like tile did the trick!

To see the complete tutorial of how you can do this yourself,



You can also see how we decorated our back patio by clicking on the picture below!



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DIY-ing our Basic Brick Ranch into the Cottage of our Dreams – Part 4


Welcome to Part 4 of my series!

house transformation series

Last week, I shared our exterior, our addition, and our crazy kitchen makeover.

Today, I am sharing the next space we renovated right beside our kitchen. 

First off, the guest bathroom.reveal_thumb1

This renovation occurred sooner than we had planned because one of our boys (ahem. Luke.) stood on the soap dish and caused the tiled shower wall to come tumbling down.  Ya can’t make this stuff up!


I will have to say that I was kind of glad it happened because it forced us to give this bathroom an update it REALLY needed!  


This bathroom is close to our kitchen and the main one that our guests use, and it was really dated.

Note the cushioned, leaf print toilet seat…yes, that is a fish, moose, and bear at the top of the seat.


To see more pictures of us gutting the this bathroom, click HERE.

So we painted the walls white, added a beadboard ceiling, installed a new window, tiled the shower walls, and add a new shower head…


We also added new hexagon tile from Lowe’s on the floor.


And added wood planks to the walls.  Eli helped me fill in the nail holes with wood filler.


You can read about how we installed our wood plank walls HERE.


Cy built us a vanity with some newel post and leftover butcher block from our kitchen renovation.  Click HERE for the full tutorial.



We added a mirror and light from Lowe’s above the vanity.



We were thrilled with how our bathroom turned out.  It definitely fits into the cottage/farmhouse feel we are trying to create in our home.

See you tomorrow for more of our home renovation!


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Cy’s Top Projects of 2013 {A Job Update}



This was a HUGE year for our family.  A “change of life” kind of year for our family.

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that my husband left his 15 year banking career to go into business for himself.

He started this new venture in February of this year.  It was scary and a huge leap of faith.

cy button

But I wanted him to follow his dreams, and we both felt the Lord leading us to make this big change.

Cy’s love is building things.  It is a passion that we share together.  So he traded in his suit and tie for boots and jeans.  He traded a 8 to 5 job during the week for 10-12 hour days and weekends.

It has been a big adjustment for us.  It hasn’t always been easy.

The first part of the year started off well, but we hit a rough patch toward the end of the summer.  It was a very low point for Cy, and he started to question his ability to continue in business for himself.  {Which is part of the reason for my short employment in August.}

But those low points have taught us one thing:  EVERYTHING comes from God.  We had to learn to daily depend on him like we haven’t in a long time.  We prayed, we cried, we trusted.

And God was faithful.

Things began to really pick up for Cy’s business in August, and it hasn’t slowed down.  He is learning so much and working his tail off.

I have never been more proud of him.  There are days that he is literally working his fingers to the bone.  Let’s just say I need to take stock in Neosporin and BandAids. SmileI love that I have four sweet boys that get to see everyday how hard their daddy works to provide for them, and I pray that that same work ethic will be instilled in them.

I’ve been able to share some of his hard work with you here on my blog, and they have been some of your favorite posts this past year.

So I thought I would give my hard working hubby some props and highlight a few of them today.

Just click on the pictures below to view each post!

kitchen makeover


bathroom makeover




bathroom makeover reveal



Thanks for letting me share Cy’s projects with you here on my blog!  I look forward to sharing even more of his handiwork in 2014!

Happy New Year, friends!!!

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