Course Correction

As we’ve worked our way around the house, replacing windows, adding insulation, new siding, and painting, we’ve been thrilled with the results.


The dark gray lap siding is exactly as we had imagined.  More of the back and garage end are lap siding than corrugated rust steel.  Or what will be steel, because we still haven’t gotten to that point.


Actually, we have a tiny strip of rust.  The channel the steel will fit in has started to change.


Now, we’ve come to the point we need to figure out the front.  Honestly, Ben and I have gone back and forth over this many times.  Waffling, as it were.  Rust steel isn’t a super common siding, but it feels very western.  Because it’s not typical, it has been hard to decide exactly how much we want.

For us, the steel has three big advantages.  One, it’s very durable.  Rated for 50 years as a roof, 70 on siding and can take a beating.  After this past year of crazy weather, that is important to us.  Two, almost no maintenance.  Once installed, let it rust (you can quicken the process by watering) and that’s it.  Three, we can install it straight down to the rock.  With lap siding, we’d have to follow the grade, leaving several inches of foundation exposed.


Throughout this process, we’ve asked each other, “Will that be too much rust on the front?”  After making the above Photoshopped version (and sharing it Monday), we’re back to thinking it is too much.  A few readers said so, too, only adding to our feelings – thank you so much for your honest opinions!  More than anything, we’ve realized this: if we’re so unsure, that’s a risk we’re not willing to take.  Unlike a paint color, this wouldn’t be quick, easy, or cheap to redo.

So I did what any normal crazy person would do.  Turned to Photoshop again, to side our house, quickly and commitment free.  Here’s the same siding with privacy rails, remaining white trim, and plants.


Sure, the plants help break up the lower portions, but it still feels busy and top-heavy.  We are 100% committed to keeping the lower rust to wrap around from the garage section, so that stays.

Now we’re going with all gray lap siding for the top.


Wood deck railings add a lot of character.


Plants give life and interest to the lower sections.


White trim and in my dreams, a dark door.  Doesn’t it make a huge difference?!  Convincing Ben to paint the door is a different battle, one I’m not expecting to win.


I tested out several other options, just to be sure something else didn’t win us over.  A few shades lighter on the bump outs, to add a little interest, without being completely different.


Or carrying the rust up around the front door.


Nope, still like the simple, uncluttered look of the all gray upper.  I threw the dark door in there for good measure.  Ben admits it looks good, but doesn’t think it’ll hold up to use and harsh sun.  Looks like I need to talk to a paint specialist.

Update:  Here are a few other options involving more rust steel.  Making just the peak of the bump out rust:


Or the entire bathroom bump out steel:


Lots of fun options!

49 thoughts on “Course Correction

  1. One thing that keeps drawing my eye (and not in a good way) is the bench in front of the front door. That is a bench right? I remember you guys made a few. It bugs me that it blocks the view of the front door. 🙂

    I’m firmly on board with Operation paint the front door!

    Also, what would it look like if you had just the part of the top that has the peak (to the right of the door) in the steel? I would think that would make the house look taller, which might be nice since it is so horizontal at this point.

    Definitely think that the landscaping will look amazing! Can’t wait to see what you guys decide.

    1. Is that a bench? I assumed they were stairs. I agree, whatever it is, it’s distracting. But other than that, I love the new look. The solid gray siding, railings, and painted door tie everything together and it looks cohesive. The back of the house looks fantastic.

    2. Hi Selena!

      That is a bench that acts as a railing, too. We need something to prevent falls down to the driveway. Maybe once we get the balcony railings we’ll decide to do something similar there, too. Or perhaps a post and cable system to keep it as open as possible, but still safe.

      We’ve talked about making that peaked bumpout all rust or the top rust. To us, it still looks lopsided. I’ll update it soon with the Photoshopped versions. 🙂 Can’t wait to add more plants once the siding is done. Next spring, I’ve got my plans.


      1. A post a cable system would be gorgeous and very “you.” You being a family/house you. Plus I think it’d look great with the other changes you’re making. I just love those doors and hate that they look bisected. Kind of reminds me of the advice to not wear heels with a strap around the ankle since that creates a visual cutoff.

    1. Hello Blythe!

      I just updated the post with a few more pictures and options. The problem with around the door (that currently isn’t an issue) is when we add more insulation to the exterior of the bump out, the gap by the door will only be about 6 inches. So there’d be about two feet above the window and six inches along the right side. 😦 But, it’s an option we haven’t 100% eliminated, so we’ll see what happens.


      1. I really like it around the door too, but I see what you are saying about the gap getting smaller…. I really like the way the depth of it looks (and it looks better w/the bench/railing)…. Hmm, what about doing the entire interior nook around the door and between the bump outs in steel?

        Whatever you end up choosing, I can’t wait to see it and I’m sure it will look amazing!

  2. I like the steel around the door or the idea of the peak-area being steel (would like to see you try that in photoshop)…but definitely love the black door. I seriously would talk to a paint person and find out how to make it work!

      1. jUST SAW what I thought might look good and actually don’t like that option at all. The very bottom picture would have to be my favorite now. That is very attractive. 🙂

  3. Oh, i do like it with the grey on top. But, I even like the rust around the door to kind of bring it to the top part of the house. I hope Ben lets you paint the door black with white trim – that looks great!

    1. Hi Wendy!

      We do like that the rust around the door would bring the rust up without being too much. But, there’s so little space there (about 2 feet above the door and 6 inches on the right side) that we’re not sure it’ll work well. It’s not certain, but we’ll see how it goes.


  4. I love the look with the steel around the front door. To me, with the steel just around the bottom, it reminds me of a mobile home skirt. Bringing the steel up around the door ties it all together.

    Keep fighting for the dark door! I also love the look of the railing and the white trim. 🙂

    1. Hey Doreen!

      We also like that look, but there’s not much around the door so it might look off. We’ll see how it goes. I’m going to keep pushing for the dark door. It just works so much better!


  5. i’m not too familiar with Rust siding, so I Googled a few images and it can go very modern or very farm house. I love the idea of it only on the lower half or oyur home only, I think it will weather the same, vs it looking brand new under your eaves (just a thought) I also love the look
    non-weathered!! swoon 🙂

    1. Hi Katrina!

      It can easily go either way, so it’s an interesting material. You’re right about weathering, too. I plan to water the parts that don’t get rained on to make it look uniform. Assuming I don’t like the variation.


  6. Oh, I thought the “bench” was just something construction related. If it’s not, I totally agree with the others. It really blocks the space. The landscaping and railings did SOOOOO much to dispel the “trailer skirting” look of the steel, IMO. It looks really good in that last photoshop pic. I really like the rust up around the door. Helps it pop without being to much. Good luck on your decisions!

    1. Hey Jenw!

      You’re right about it blocking the door. It’s serving as a bench and railing to keep the drop off to the driveway off limits.

      I agree about the railings and plants, too. It’s helpful to see what the end result can be, not just our current stage. Thanks for your opinions!


  7. I think the last one with just the bathroom bump-out in steel looks awesome. I like the peak one, too, but I have a feeling it wouldn’t look as good in real life for some reason… I feel like having peaks in a different type of covering isn’t an architectural feature that meshes with the style of the rest of the house. You see that kind of thing on cottages and bungalows with more decorative architectural elements rather than the simple, clean blocks of this house. In my opinion, just the bathroom bump-out adds that vertical element, breaks up the horizontalness, and adds interest to the front without overwhelming.

    I think the privacy railings and black door will look awesome! What color does your husband want instead?

    I didn’t realize that was a bench in front of the front door, either. The cable railing idea is great! I can’t wait to see the finished front. Whatever you decide, I think it’s going to look amazing!

    1. Hey MEL!

      Ben half jokingly said we should cover the bathroom bump out in rust this weekend. Now that I’m seeing the photoshopped design, I’m really liking it.

      He doesn’t want to paint the door, at all. Right now, it has the factory finish. He’s not oppsed to a black door, just that it might not hold up well.


  8. I like where you are headed!! I like the look of the touch of metal up top – but, couldn’t that rust run down over time and stain what’s under it? Something to consider if so. And totally on team black door. Love it.

    1. Hi Andrea!

      Great point! Yes, the rust could drip down and stain what is below. For this reason, we’d cover an entire surface. Be it the lower portion, door inset, or bathroom bump out. That way it’s all the same.


  9. I hate to say it but even with the railings I still think it looks too “manufactured home dropped down onto a rusted apron.” I would strongly consider taking the gray down all the way to the ground in the front center section to break it up visually. Painting the front door is a must.

    1. Hi Amanda!

      I’m sorry you feel that way. I’m not sure I understand which center section you’re referring to-the door? And I agree, I’m convinced painting the door will look best.


  10. I think the bathroom bump out in steel would be great…but I actually really like the initial plan, too! I’m glad it’s you making the decision and not me! Stress!!!

  11. I agree with the others to do the steel around the entry door. Or even that whole inside entry area steel. And the bench needs to go. I understand the safety aspect of it but there are other things that can go there like a couple potted plants “framing” the door based on the view from the street. Right now its making your house look barricaded off and unwelcoming. No offense, but thats what my impression is.
    I like the idea of the steel around the door since it carries your eyes up, bringing height to a really wide house. You may want to think about doing some decorative architecture to the peak also to help carry your eyes up rather than width wise if that makes any sense. Its like making something fat look skinny 🙂

    1. Hi Anne!

      That’s the tricky part about this house. It’s longer than it is tall, so it’s a balance to make the proportions look right. Thanks for your input! Lots to consider.


  12. My favorite is the siding all on the top, with the rust on the bottom AND around the door. Adds interest and depth. Excited to see what you choose!

  13. My vote is for the last pic too (although I might add the small area around the door to it as well, just for balance?)! I think that bringing up to the center of your house gives it a bit more height while adding interest and character at the same time. Can’t wait to see the end result!
    PS–I’m all for the black door too and changing out the bench/rail for something more unobtrusive.

    1. Hi Tara!

      After discussing options, we’ve decided to go with the steel on that bump out. 🙂 Totally agree with your reasoning. I’m still making a case for the black door and new railing, but Ben isn’t fully on board. We’ll see how that goes…


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