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Can I tell you a secret? I’m totally over this renovation. Come on, we knew the day was coming. And that day came two weeks ago when our insane siding project dictated that I would be the one to pick up a hammer and involve myself in some serious manual labor.

design_for_mankind 2010-08-24 at 3.36.47 PM

Now, I’m a lot of things, but burly construction girl is not one of them. In fact, I’ve spent this entire renovation coming up with excuses to steer clear of the project house entirely. Another errand to the hardware store? Let me go! Need some dinner? Oh, I’ll get it for you, dear. Want some quiet time to yourself? I’ll get out of your hair, no problem.

Yet because siding is decidedly a two-person project (and should be more, really), Husband needed my help. And because I’m a great wife, I awoke on Day 1 (Husband’s birthday, to be exact) at 6am and test-drove the roads of Construction Hell.

design_for_mankind 2010-08-24 at 3.36.24 PM

Here was my plan: Husband would see that I was completely inept at providing any sort of physical support and dismiss me promptly at noon, deciding to hire a friend to take my place. In fact, this did NOT happen. It turns out, I’m quite good with a hammer (who knew?) and incredibly efficient with a measuring tape (my math teacher father would be so proud).

So, after Day 1, I had become the official right-hand man of what I like to call Siding 2010: My Bane.

I’m exaggerating a bit, because really, it’s not that bad. And I sort of like the challenge of working with my hands rather than hiding behind a computer all day. Plus, the heat means I get to indulge in a yummy ice cream cone daily at approximately 2pm. (That chilly treat gets me through the day!)

Anyway, the project is nearly finished, and I’m going to give you a quick play-by-play of the incredible work. Seriously, I’m so totally proud of the two of us. I don’t even know if childbirth can top the rush that I’m feeling: the crazy sense of pride that comes from shingling the entire front side of your home in two weeks. Let’s take a look:

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Day 1: The siding from Build Direct arrives We keep it wrapped while we tear down the existing siding. Because we’re going for a cabin-y feel, we chose fiber cement siding in a cool pewter color.

design_for_mankind 2010-08-24 at 3.37.27 PM

Day 2: Uh-oh. We forgot that we haven’t house-wrapped the whole home. Time out.

design_for_mankind 2010-08-24 at 4.39.00 PM

Day 3: Seriously. House-wrapping takes that long? When you’re married to a perfectionist, yes.

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Day 4: We start building our patterned rows. This is where I realize that siding is insane. And because we’re working with shingles, this isn’t your average vinyl/aluminum project. No, we have to measure. And think. And measure again. And read directions, because there’s a pattern. And if you mess the pattern up? The shingles won’t line up and your neighbors will mock you.

Day 5: I realize we’re not going to finish this project until 2012.

design_for_mankind 2010-08-24 at 4.42.20 PM

Day 6: The Husband/Math Whiz tells me that 48 + 12 = 64 and we notice his error a bit too late. We tear down three rows of siding and start over.

Day 7: We’re totally on our game at this point. Just call us Siding Robots. The Ex-Siding Duo! Champions of Fiber Cement!

design_for_mankind 2010-08-24 at 4.42.50 PM

Day 8: Deliriousness ensues. We begin a game to entertain ourselves where each time we encounter a piece of siding with a “1″ notch in it, we have to sing a song with “1″ in the title or chorus. And so on, until we reach “4″ when we promptly quit, because, well, no one sings about 4′s.*

Day 9: We’re getting there. I fake sick, but it doesn’t work.

design_for_mankind 2010-08-24 at 4.43.31 PM

Day 10: The heat index reaches 104 degrees today, so we get two ice cream treats. Things are looking up!

Day 11: Almost there. I can feel it in my bones.

Day 12: SUCCESS!


It looks great, yes? We still have a lot of work to do: Paint the brick and trim white, replace the garage doors (white, perhaps?), install the new front door (mustard yellow!) and construct two sweet little window boxes for yellow tulips in the front. And then? Then, we landscape.

We’ve come a long way, baby. Behold, the Before picture:


It may take us awhile to get an After picture we love, but the hardest part is over (I hope?). Special thanks to Build Direct for their endless help. Now I’m off to enjoy some more ice cream and bask in the glow of my bulging biceps. See you next Wednesday!

*Shoot! 409 by the Beach Boys! I could’ve taken the ultimate title!


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17 Responses

  1. creamylife says:

    well done, Erin (and Erin's husband)! I adore the before & after – a huge difference and it's all coming together so nicely! Very neat, guys! xoxo

  2. Erin, Your hard work is definitely paying off. It looks great – can't wait to see it finished! Oh, and tulips in window boxes are a lovely detail.

  3. erin / dfm says:

    Thank you SO much! It's a far cry from finished, but we're definitely getting there. Hopefully the exterior will be finished this time next year! o

    Or when I'm 80. One of the two.

  4. caroline says:

    It looks great! Fascia was the last straw for me when it came to our gut renovation – all those finicky angles and weird pieces, not to mention the wild animals determined to live in our soffits. I shudder at the memory.

  5. Making it Lovely says:

    It looks SO good. And mustard yellow for the door? With white and the gray of the shingles? Shut up! You're going to have the cutest house ever.

  6. cindy says:

    it looks fantastic and i love your plans for finishing it all up. such a hard job – glad it didn't finish either of you!

  7. erin / dfm says:

    YES! Fascia is killlllling me. And the word alone makes me cringe. :)

    Thank you guys! I'm so glad you approve of the upcoming plans. I just hope we can finish up speedily before winter hits!

  8. @tikolish says:

    wow, that is HARD core! i'm totally into DIY, but i wouldn't dream of residing my house. props!

  9. kayemgi says:

    Wow that is really impressive. I thought I was pretty DIY-y, but I never would have thought of replacing my own siding. My future husband is going to hate that I know it can be done now!! And I love your color plan.

  10. kirsey says:

    I'm a project manager in Minnesota, and I'm so impressed you've done this on your own. I have just one small critique, and maybe this is a northern, midwest thing, but shingles go on roofs, your siding is a shake look, so every time you wrote shingles, I was thinking of roofing material, not the beautiful shakes you were installing!!! Well done, I can't wait to see the project continue, you've seriously out-done yourselves…extra large ice creams from here on out!

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