Chez Newb: Adding Curb Appeal with Stain

When we bought our house five years ago, we bought it for the potential and location, not for the exact state it was in at the time. It definitely had appeal to me, but not necessarily the curb appeal I really wanted.

Chez Newb When We bought it

Chez Newb circa 2009….

Very slowly throughout the years we’ve changed, renovated, added and upgraded so much of the house that it feels more like us, but still maintains some of the original charm for which we bought it. We’ve tried to put our money and effort into permanent changes and not those that will eventually change when the money tree flowers and we can go ahead with the second phase of our addition to the front.

However, there are a few things that needed immediate attention when we moved in. One of our top items included replacing the chain link fence. It was not part of the original house’s appeal and adding a higher, more private type of fence is a change that will definitely see returns if it stays just five years, or twenty-five more years.

Our house when we moved in

When we moved in, our house had a chain link fence and our dog learned that barking at neighbours was his favourite past-time.

My dog thought it was the #1 piece of curb appeal because he could see and bark at everything.


So replacing that fence was one of the first things we did to the exterior of the house.

before house timbercare ottawa decor newbery sykes

Unfortunately staining and finishing the cedar fence was one of the things we never did to the exterior. Ooops. (I think the key to a good before picture is a hose, some wayward mats and a compost bin, no?) 

So when you get a year of awesome free paint & stain, what do you do? Well, first you wish for at least 48 hours of sun in an Ottawa summer and then you get your stain ready.before gate timbercare ottawa decor newbery sykesFor the first time ever, I think I remembered to take a picture of the paint can before I opened it and dripped stain down the side of the label. I chose PARA’s TimberCare hybrid stain for exterior wood in a solid colour. Here’s my big tip for the post: for a fence or a gate like ours, you can use a solid colour stain. It doesn’t take any heavy foot traffic so it will hold the colour well. If you were staining a deck you should consider a semi-transparent or transparent stain, it will make for a longer lasting finish underfoot. Check with your paint specialist for the best advice on a specific deck or fence though.

So it was off to the races for us. I chose the colour Ebony for the stain on my gate. It pulled in the colour of my door and the colour of the mulch we use on our front yard. (I am no green thumb, so we had to ditch the lawn in the front yard.)

For preparation I sanded the fence and gate with a palm sander. It was worth it for this gate because it was a small surface and helped to get the old wood ready to absorb the stain. I used a thin, medium-sized brush so I could get both the boards and the nooks and crannies between the boards. And here’s an action shot selfie since Sue and I always seem to shy away from our own pictures on the blog…

mere gate ottawa decor newbery sykes

And here’s how it all turned out. new berry black gate ottawa decor newbery sykes black gate view ottawa decor newbery sykes

I finally got around to adding the post caps to the fence, and since it was looking so finished over in the corner, I put out my planters, some beach pebble for the edging and solar gate ottawa decor newbery sykes

Don’t judge me for putting mums in my planters so early! I love them, they fit my budget and I promise you that it was not the reason for this early fall weather we seem to have been unfortunate enough to experience this past week. I’m positive we will go back to our regularly scheduled summer and my mums will be just fine….mums ottawa decor newbery sykes

My hydrangea tree was in such great form this year, even after the great dig in the winter, so I couldn’t resist a shot of them in bloom. I pretty much stick to hydrangeas, geraniums and hostas in my front garden. They love the soil, the early morning sun and the shade that covers them throughout the rest of the day.hydrangeas ottawa decor newbery sykes

I’d love to be tall enough, have a ladder long enough, or perhaps borrow the stilts from the performers I saw at Lansdowne Park this weekend so I could finally paint the last remaining bits of brown on the eaves of the front of the house. But for now, I’m just focusing on the stuff I love, which now happily includes the fence. It’s a small, subtle change, but it sure does make me happy. The feather in my cap was when I was crouched down putting the edging in beside the fence one of my new neighbours was exclaiming to her walking partners how great this little house looked and how much progress was made in just one day. I surprised her by practically jumping up from behind our vehicle and saying thank you! thank you! It was such a great compliment to overhear that I couldn’t just be demure and accept it sitting down.

Is anyone else working backward and painting and staining at the end of the season, rather than the beginning? We are just about done staining the back decks — just waiting for some dry weather and a little bit more stain to finish the job.



Disclaimer: As part of the PARA Blog Crew, Sue and I were handed over the keys to our own virtual paint shop. We received the paint for our Para projects and want to make sure you know that when you read our posts.

23 Comments on Chez Newb: Adding Curb Appeal with Stain

  1. Anne
    August 18, 2014 at 7:41 am (3 years ago)

    What a transformation, Mere! I love the Ebony stain and it works perfectly with your front door. The simplicity of hydrangea and hosta with a punch of colour using the mums… Gorgeous!

    • Meredith Newberry
      August 18, 2014 at 9:11 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Anne! Simple is my middle name….err wait…. ;) I am such a sucker for classic black. See you soon !

  2. Lara
    August 18, 2014 at 8:41 am (3 years ago)

    The fence looks beautiful, Mere! We are still thinking of staining our deck (working backwards, as well ;)). What type of stain are you using? What do you think about paint vs. stain?

    • Meredith Newberry
      August 18, 2014 at 9:17 am (3 years ago)

      Yay for the backwards effort with me! For our decks we used Para’s TimberCare as well, but in a semitransparent stain. The colour is natural red…so like a cedar tree. I’d definitely go with stain rather than paint. The stain provides a protective coating which makes the wood look great and keeps it that way longer. A paint would be more likely to wear away and not soak as easily into the wood. That’s my two cents….a paint dealer can give you specific advice for your deck’s wood type too. Good luck Lara!! xo M

  3. Sara
    August 18, 2014 at 9:03 am (3 years ago)

    Bravissima! Your ebony fence looks gorgeous: tall, dark and handsome, I say. xo

  4. heather meads
    August 18, 2014 at 11:20 am (3 years ago)

    Whoa, what a difference! Nicely done and yes, the fence goes with your front door so well!

    • Meredith Newberry
      August 18, 2014 at 11:41 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Heather! I bet you’ve got some super colourful front yards in Sidney-by-the-sea. I’m missing a hanging basket that are so plentiful in your town! ;)

  5. Jo-Anna
    August 18, 2014 at 11:22 am (3 years ago)

    Gorgeous! I’m always amazed at how paint can completely transform the look of a space! I love the colour of the stain you chose – it matches perfectly with your home!

    • Meredith Newberry
      August 18, 2014 at 11:33 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Jo-Anna! See what I mean about my comfort zone colours ;) At least my mums are pink! :)

  6. Dominique
    August 18, 2014 at 1:13 pm (3 years ago)

    Looks amazing Mere! You’re inspiring me to finish staining our back deck…

    • Meredith Newberry
      August 18, 2014 at 1:57 pm (3 years ago)

      Awesome Do! Do it….you’ve got today and tomorrow before it rains again :( (Does the house look a bit different than when you listed it a few years ago? ;))

      • Dominique
        August 19, 2014 at 11:36 am (3 years ago)

        Just a little ;-)

  7. Maheen
    August 18, 2014 at 1:29 pm (3 years ago)

    Gorgeous! And I can’t believe you’re still crouching :-).

    • Meredith Newberry
      August 18, 2014 at 1:58 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Maheen! I know! Not my best move these days ;)

  8. Lisa Goulet
    August 19, 2014 at 10:50 am (3 years ago)

    Love it! And it’s not a little transformation, it make the house look completely different. I love the ebony colour you chose, so elegant and refined. I really want to paint our backyard fences black too, just need to find some time and of course some rain free days.

    • Meredith Newberry
      August 19, 2014 at 11:06 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Lisa! I thought it might be a bit dramatic to say it was a big change, but I totally agree it feels like a big refresh to me :-) Elegant and refined — love that description. Yah, time on a rain-free day seems impossible this summer!!! I’d love to see your fences black too :-)

  9. Sabrina @ Pink Little Notebook
    August 19, 2014 at 12:01 pm (3 years ago)

    Love Love Love! Great colour choice Mere! I can see why you love this house so much. It’s beautiful! That newly painted fence is the perfect touch :)

    • Meredith Newberry
      August 23, 2014 at 9:06 pm (3 years ago)

      Awww thanks Sabrina!!! I appreciate you saying that :-)

    • Meredith Newberry
      August 23, 2014 at 9:07 pm (3 years ago)

      I know, right?!?! It hardly looks five years old anymore! Thanks Tash :-)

  10. Tiffany
    August 23, 2014 at 7:33 pm (3 years ago)

    You pup looks so tough in that picture! lol. I love the colour you chose for the stain! Big impact.

    • Meredith Newberry
      August 23, 2014 at 9:07 pm (3 years ago)

      Ha! He’s such a softie, BUT if you come to the fence he sounds like a toughie, that’s for sure! Thanks for popping in Tiffany. :-)


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