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House Happiness

Front door from far

Look at this door! Isn’t it flippin’ fantastic???!!! Well, the door itself is nothing special but that color, man, that color! You know what that color does? I’ll tell you what it does. It sparks joy. I don’t mean to get all Marie Kondo on you, but when I look at that door now, I feel joyful.

It didn’t start out that way. When we bought the house, the front door was a perfectly nice, calming blue. It was the basic bitch of blues. Perhaps I’m being a bit rude to that blue, and I don’t mean to, but what a snoozefest that color was.


front of the house

When you live in the smallest house in the neighborhood and you are calling it the “Cozy Cottage,” you can’t have a house that looks basic. You have to make changes that pump up the volume. In our case, that has meant cute-ifying, happy-ifying and beautifying the front of the house to enhance our curb appeal in various inexpensive ways since we moved in.

I first spray painted the house numbers and mailbox exterior a metallic bronze and the interior of the mailbox a neon green. Now that is a happy mailbox! I like to imagine our postal workers smiling whenever they see that pop of color.

Then, all through last winter, I felt that our house – which has limited exterior lighting and no evergreens – looked drab compared to everyone else’s. It basically felt like this boring, bland place that was half hidden in snow and wasn’t very fun to walk home to. So we got string lights for our front porch that turn on automatically at dusk and we planted an evergreen shrub so that there would be something living out front even when the plentiful flowers were not in bloom.

In March of this year, we got a fence. While the first renovation of the house enabled us to really move into the upstairs and start making it our own, getting a fence has changed our lives. When you have a dog, particularly an energetic and enthusiastic one like our pup, a fenced-in yard is like a daily little heaven.

Gratuitous shot of the most beautiful thing that has ever existed and ever will exist.

So the cedar fence helped change our curb appeal but we were still missing the wow factor. I had long admired a brightly painted front door and thought coral or turquoise would work well with the light gray exterior of our house. Also, that’s the color scheme of the furniture in our backyard so one of those colors would be a nice tie to the other side of our house.

front - paint samples on door
The first two colors we tested, both Benjamin Moore. We decided to go the coral route, but something a little darker than the one seen here. We tested out two more colors and decided on one, only to find out it didn’t come in exterior paint.

After testing out a few colors and finding out that the most perfect coral that we really liked didn’t come in exterior paint (ugh, sigh, ugh), I went rogue and just bought a can of exterior paint in a slightly darker coral and hoped for the best. The color is Starburst Orange by Benjamin Moore.

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I taped off the door, the knocker and the knob (I should have actually removed them but I knew I wasn’t doing this job in one day so I went the lazy way), sanded the entire door to remove some paint and create a gritty texture for the new paint to grab onto, primed it with two coats so there would be no traces left of blue and then waited 48 hours before painting it the new color. Et voila! This door sparks so much joy!

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I added to the joyfulness by adding more colorful plants, planters and plant stands and will continue to play around with that over the course of the season.

If you have been reading this blog then you’ll know that this is not where it ends. We have more ideas on how to update the front of our house over the long term but that is really over the loooong term.

So what do you think of the color? Do you too feel joy? Does this house feel like happy people live here?


  1. Peggy says:

    I just came over from Apartment Therapy. Your door is perfect and so is the rest of it. So happy looking! 🙂

  2. Tara says:

    I think the red door and lights are awesome! Looking at the “before” picture, I imagine an older couple living there but the red brings a sense of youth and fun to the house. Great job !!

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