disclosure:  This post is sponsored by National Hardware.

Don’t you love a pitiful before?

Especially one that has its picture taken on a dreary day when the sky is cloudy and the walls need power washing and the steps are sad and the door needs a little freshening up.

This is my office.

The gatehouse.

It’s seen one too many winter days.

Look at this sadness.

The columns need to be painted.

They actually need to be sanded and primed and then painted.

The white rail needs help too.

It needs to be sanded and primed and fixed.

Time to let a little sunshine in.

Time to freshen up.

Time for a little before and after curb appeal that looks like this.


So much better.

We started with a spring power wash to kick the spider webs to the curb.

It’s amazing how much dirt shows up over winter.

Then we painted the door and added brass accents.

I love how the brass makes everything pop.

We added a new brass door knocker and a new brass kick plate.  I bought mine locally, but here’s a link to a similar kick plate.

Here’s a close-up of the handle.

I love the brass against the black.

It’s so Downton Abbey.

If Downton Abbey were a gatehouse in Kentucky.

My husband built the planters for the front porch out of plywood.

We added these tiny brass accents to tie them into the new look.

I’m posting a tutorial on them next week and I’m thinking about adding brass door handles to the front, too.

We originally had black house numbers on the gatehouse.

To match the new look, I added these brass numbers instead.  These were purchased locally, but here’s a link to similar numbers from National Hardware.

They are mounted on a piece of plywood painted white and then hung on the siding.

We added a little more gravel to the front to even out the walkway.

I added flowers in these oversized metal urns.

The draping blooms are so pretty.

We also added plant hangers to the outside of the newly painted columns.

It adds a little color to the front.

And balances the urns below.

I’m so happy with how it turned out.

It took a little elbow grease to wash away winter, but it makes me smile every time I walk up these steps to work.

Especially when I have a friend to show me the way. 🙂

This post was sponsored by National Hardware.

All opinions are my own.

Please see my disclosure page for more information.

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  1. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    How pretty! The brass does shine against the black! Love those urns too. So cool. Nothing like a Spring refresh to brighten things up. The kitty is a nice finishing touch. :D Have a happy day! Cecilia

  2. Image for Deb Wostmann Deb Wostmann

    Looks like heaven to me! I'd love to have my own little hideaway to work in and the kitty sure helps too!

  3. Image for Maggie Maggie

    Excellent! Our front door (which is usually out of sight/out of mind) desperately needs freshening up. I never would have thought of a brass kickplate - thanks for this inspiration. Will order!

  4. Image for Shirley Shirley

    You both did a great job. It must make your heart sing every time you walk in. Good posing by your beautiful cat too. Love it all. ?

  5. Image for Marian@CMShawStudios Marian@CMShawStudios

    It's so cute! But now everyone will recognize it's your place. Before, you might have fooled them. My house could use a little power washing. Sadly, I don't see that happening too soon. But I will probably wash my windows today or tomorrow, inside and out. (Don't you love the person that invented tilt in windows?). Does that count? Smooches! The Other Marian

  6. Image for Janet Cole Janet Cole

    Stunning! How is it that you can design and decorate indoor AND outdoor spaces so beautifully?! I am hopeless with outdoor stuff! (The kitty is my favorite "accessory.") <3

  7. Image for Kris Kris

    I'm with Janet ... I'm not too bad at indoor decorating but outdoors? Uh-uh. I love your Downton Abbey decorating (I've been working my way through the series this winter since my hubby purchased the set for me). Such a classic look. Especially with kitty cat. Happy day, KariAnne!

  8. Image for Bonnie Bonnie

    Your office looks so cute on the outside. If you have time, could you please tell me how you power washed the house? I can't tell for sure but your house looks like it may be made of wood. My house has aluminum siding on it and it really needs to be thoroughly scrubbed. I want to treat it as gently as possible because it's 64 years old and I don't want the aluminum siding to come off. I have tried washing it with soap and water and it made no change at all.

  9. Image for Denise Cox Denise Cox

    Hey Karianne! I think as much as anything else I love the look of brass hardware you chose! That, I believe, is my favorite look of all. That REALLY brings character and elegance to your studio! I have always loved brass and have many Baldwin brass candlesticks. Unfortunately, I think they are now out of business as I can't find any any longer. Enjoy creating and hope to see some new inspirations as a result of this "Spring Cleaning"... Love Ya, Friend


    Your Gate House looks lovely! Love all the changes you have made! The flowers are so pretty and your little kitty is so happy to be a part of it all! Enjoy! Blessings!

  11. Image for Rosanna Rosanna

    The before photo had a lot of character and promise, but when I came to the after photo..? Ooohhh my!!I drew in a sharp breath! So beautiful. ..I love it!!!Well done..

  12. Image for Lisa Lisa

    A very nice "refresher". The brass on the door looks so good! And aren't you lucky to have a kitty friend to accompany you to work!

  13. Image for Leslie Leslie

    That gatehouse never disappoints!! It's like a life sized playhouse...oh! I mean office! Hahaha love the before and after photos!

  14. Image for Bonnie W. Bonnie W.

    I am curious why there is no black tread on the bottom step?? Or is that a painted piece of wood that goes in the seam where the stairs meet??? Another stellar performance. You sure can wake up the snoozing spaces! The kitty is the perfect accessory, too!

  15. Image for mary mary

    Why is it that chippy paint is fabulous inside, but requires sanding, priming, and 3 coats of fresh paint outside? Sigh! Do you use oil based paint outside? It all looks wonderful.

  16. Image for Lanita Anderson Lanita Anderson

    It looks amazing....what a wonderful transformation! I can only imagine how wonderful it must be to go to work each day! :) Thanks for sharing....

  17. Image for Kathleen Hall Kathleen Hall

    Beautiful, beautiful!! Looking all Downton Abby...is well perfect! Love the hanging plants and new pots etc. And the cat...well that just sets it all off with the perfect touch!!

  18. Image for Cyndee Jones Cyndee Jones

    So very pretty Karianne! Love the black door, the contrast between the black and your beautiful plants bring everything together! And...I'm glad you have a companion to "walk" to work with!!

  19. Image for Barb Barb

    "It's so Downton Abbey. If Downton Abbey were a gatehouse in Kentucky." KariAnne, your posts always put a smile on my face! And your gatehouse makeover is beautiful!

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