We almost didn’t look at the duplex we ended up buying last year because of how creepy it seemed from the outside. Part of that was the overgrown forest in the front yard, part of it was the entry area. Sadly, I didn’t think to photograph it before we replaced the cracked yellow side lights and pulled up the green indoor/outdoor carpeting that was on the porch (it was filthy). The porch light, original 1967 style, was rusting and there were cracks in the doors that light came through. The house in general still needs a paint job, but giving the doors and porch a paint make-over totally changed the feel of the house.

What I did: First, I used wood putty to patch the cracks. I used sandpaper to smooth that out and painted the inside. Next, over a weekend, I sanded the outside of the doors with a belt sander and finished them off by hand-sanding the trim parts. I used tack cloth to make sure all the dust was gone. Then I used a good primer. After that, it took three coats of yellow paint. I painted the detail parts first with a brush and flat parts with a roller. (I was super careful not to let the paint drip. That’s a hazard when painting doors.) I used black stair paint on the porch, several coats, applied with an extra furry roller. The porch is a little imperfect, because I couldn’t get all the adhesive off, but looks a lot better than it once did. I replaced the light fixture with a $40 modern-looking one from Lowes. Price tag for the whole makeover: About $100.

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Here it is decorated for Christmas:

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