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My French Country Cottage Inspired Exterior Reveal!

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It’s reveal day for our (inspired) French Country Cottage exterior home!! Such sweet, sweet words. I won’t keep you waiting. I’m going to head straight into the before & afters. Then, I’m going to dig more into the process…and share more photos too, of course!

So, let’s get into it and welcome to my home!

brick ranch exterior makeover
french country cottage makeover

Where to begin…

Well, we’ll start with the color of the brick. Which is by far the most dramatic change. For those that didn’t catch this post, it’s not white paint, it’s limewash! But you can read more about that here.

If you saw my exterior vision post then you’d know that I really wanted shutters. I went back and forth on them for a while. At first, I was all in until I started reading more about them and realized there’s a wrong and right way to do them, and people that know the difference get very upset to see it wrong haha.

The wrong way happens to be what 90% of people do and don’t worry, I don’t judge, but it’s “wrong” if there’s no hardware and it’s just attached to the house and doesn’t look like it could close. It’s “wrong” if it doesn’t actually look like the shutters will cover the window if they’re closed.

Using those guidelines it was going to be too hard and too expensive to do it correctly, so I decided to hold off on it. Or so I thought…

But as we were finishing up the exterior the house just needed them! Plus, I really wanted them haha. So I compromised with myself. We made them appear as if they are workable and the right size.

Technically in authentic cottages, you wouldn’t have shutters on triple windows (I don’t even think they had big windows back then), but I did see some photos where people in New Orleans put bi-fold shutters on large windows and that’s what we copied on our big window (below). I do want to change out the silver hinges for black, but that’s all we had on hand at the time. Oh, and I may add holdbacks!

So long story short, our shutters are the right sizes for the windows and with hinges, they appear to work. We didn’t put any shutters on our really big window (below), because that would have looked wrong in an effort to make it look right! If that makes sense…

So instead, we filled in with trellises that will eventually have ivy growing on them!

french country cottage

The garden above is really bare, but there’s lots happening below the surface…literally! We’ve planted lots of bulbs and my hope is that there will not be a single inch of ground you can see. It will be my cottage garden!

The garage (above) was a simple fix until I decide what type of garage door to do and then once decide, save up for it. I painted it a fresh white and added some hardware and a new garage light. Sources will be at the bottom of the post!

You can see that we removed the faux white column below. Under it was a wood beam so we just wrapped it to make it beefier and then stained it. Pretty easy!

We actually did not get a new front door! We just removed the storm door and did a makeover on what we already had. Titus did a reverse swing of the door because I wanted it to open the other way-then we added trim to get the molding look and paint! It was so easy and now it looks like a million bucks.

I really love the bench that was already here for us (below). It looks like something in a European courtyard and I couldn’t be happier. We did some rearranging & adding in the rock garden, but I’m pretty thankful that there was already stuff going for us.

The flower boxes almost make the house. They’re filled with herbs and flowers and it’s so magical when I’m in the kitchen washing dishes to get a whiff of basil coming through the open window. Mmmm. They make the exterior look good, but they’re also practical and I just love having them. Can’t wait to see them get super full though!

Of course, new hardware always helps, and little things like new lights, handles, and doorbells can make a huge difference.

So now that I’ve shared about a million photos haha, what do you think??

I have some ideas of things to do in the future (like brick the sidewalk), but nothing I’m in a rush to do. We’re just taking a break and enjoying a beautiful exterior that we get to call home!


Front door light (Menards, similar)
Front door pots (garage sale, similar)
Mail Slot
Front door rug
Side door rug
Garage door window magnets
Garage door hardware (online version of what we got at Menards)
Garage door light (online version of what we got at Lowes)
Exterior Color: It’s limewash!
Front Door, Shutter, & Green Accent Color: Dutch Boy Willowed Tree 324-2DB High Gloss (I mixed with black at home to get the shade I wanted)
Stain Color: Minwax Provincial

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If you have any questions about this makeover drop me a comment and I’ll answer them!

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Founder and editor of My Chic Obsession, Carolyn is your trusted fashion maven. Carolyn's drive to help others achieve a classic and timeless wardrobe fuels her posts, making mychicobsession.com a go-to resource for style seekers worldwide. Beyond the wardrobe, she resides in the heartland of the Midwest, dreaming up new ideas and raising her two lively boys - her biggest fashion critics.