HOME TOUR: Exterior German Smear Before & After!

YOU GUYS!!! There’s nothing that I love more than the planning and creating process of transforming a space into something I adore. I’ve been so passionate this year about designing the interior of our home. It’s something that uses all my creative juices. I have a unique and eclectic taste. I love a little modern, fun, contemporary, mid-century, romantic boho (you should see the kid’s playroom that I’m working on! Can’t wait to share!), simple, clean, bold, etc.. I love it all. I carry around bits and pieces of each style that flows into the next room. I’ve realized that I haven’t asked for much advice from anyone about our home because I want it to reflect everything I love instead of someone else’s style or trend. And honestly, I’m so opinionated about my funky style in our house that I’m afraid to hear that someone else doesn’t like it, haha. By making sure that I’m undeniably obsessed with everything I put in our home, it’s become a sanctuary that sparks joy. And thank YOU for popping over to this corner of mine. It’s because of YOU that I’m able to use my passions to redesign spaces and support my family. I couldn’t do ANY of this without your support. All the messages, comments, and love.. I read every single note you send and it melts me. I feel too lucky to have such kind readers!!! I pray and hope to be a place of encouragement and information. Have a question? Drop it in the comments below!

I am so excited to finally share the exterior transformation of our house! This has been a long time coming. We started planning in the spring, began the 1st project beginning of July, and finally finished everything in late October. I’ll share all the details including the cost and colors on this German Smear project and Paint project!

If you knew how much the kids loved these spooky spiders. They had so much fun watching their daddy hang them. We simply hot glued them on. Works like a charm!

Pair of chairs found HERE.

Black Plaid Door Mat found HERE.

GERMAN SMEAR:

Quick note + PRICE.  A true german smear uses a sand mixture (mortar) to cover the brick while a whitewash uses a thinned-out paint mixture to cover the brick exterior. Since I love a thick, slathered brick I opted for the German Smear. Also, a whitewash application requires maintenance since exterior painted surfaces always weathers and fades. And since I wanted a “1 and done” job, a true German Smear was our best option. It was slightly the pricier option. I requested multiple bids to gauge how expensive this project would be. I entertained the idea for a hot second to do it ourselves. haha. The price range for JUST the german smear was $4500-$10,000. I went on our local FB city group and researched all the information I could find on “masons” and “mortar work”. I read reviews and eventually decided to hire Mario. He was PHENOMENAL to work with and the most kind worker I’ve dealt with. And his pricing is super reasonable! And after hiring A LOT of locals over the last year to help us in our home renovations, that’s saying a lot about him. He doesn’t know that I blog, but if you’re needing any type of brickwork, email me and I’ll send you his phone #!  UPDATE: Ton’s of emails from y’all, here’s Mario’s # 972-838-5592.

Moving on to the german smear project. We really weren’t thrilled with the brick color on the house. It was very brown. And what we didn’t like even more was that the mortar wasn’t a nice bright color, which would have made it look much better, rather a greyish- brown color, so it just looked blah. I think the brick/mortar made it look like a much much older home, even though it’s only a few years old. We did a lot of research into changing the mortar color, painting brick, lime washes, but fell in love with the look of a german smear. Basically mortar is spread into the existing mortar lines and then on to the brick. You can have it as light or heavy as you like. Since we didn’t like the brick color, we wanted a lot of coverage. We worked with the crew manager for a few minutes until everyone understood the look and style we were going for. When they came over the first morning, they also did some samples on the wall to let us choose how yellow or white to go with the mortar. Originally we had thought more color in the mortar would look good because the white looked so bright in the sun. We had them start, so they did a good section of the back of the house…. and we hated it! It looked super super yellow. I thought we had destroyed our house!

Hideous, right?

We talked to Mario and decided to pressure spray it off the house and instead add less “color” to the mortar, leaving it much more white. Y’all, his team spent half the day putting it on and the 2nd half of the day taking it off. I felt terrible, but so did he and he simply wanted us to love the job. He did’t even charge us for it (although we made it up to him 😉 ). Since we hadn’t yet received approval from our HOA, we only completed the backside of our home. 2 weeks later once HOA approved, we completed the rest of the home. The project took roughly 4 days total with a crew of 4-5 workers. It has made a huge difference to the look and feel of the house. We absolutely love it!

After the German Smear was finished! 

PAINT:

Before this project, all of the trim, siding, gutters, garage doors were the same yellow-beige color. Now that we had the brick covered with the German Smear, we loved the idea of doing a complementing bright color for the siding, and a very dark paint for the trim/garage doors/shutters to create fun outlines by highlighting the details. I have loved our experience with Behr paint (we painted the entire interior of the house with Behr: see the painting project with before/after photos HERE), and have heard Behr Marquee exterior paint is awesome, lasts for ages, and has tons of colors that are guaranteed to cover in one coat. So, we decided to use the Marquee paint for all exterior paint. Picking exterior paint can be a very tricky. The paint will look different when its cloudy vs full sun. When it’s sunny outside, the undertones in the color you choose will come out like crazy. So when you’re putting paint samples against the house, make sure to see what it looks like in the shade AND the sun. So, if you pick a color you love in the shade then you might consider dropping 2 shades darker since it will certainly appear 2 shades lighter in the full sun. We picked a satin “Dove” for the white color for the siding. It looks creamy on the paint chip, but on the house it’s a pretty bright white in the full sun. As for the trim/gutters we chose satin “Espresso Beans”. With the garage doors + trim around the front door + and the gutter downspouts, we went with a FLAT black: “Night Club”. Initially, we painted the garage door with the Expresso Beans, but I could not stand how shiny and brown it looked on such a big surface, so we bit the bullet and had them repaint that with the flat black and now absolutely LOVE it! I would not recommend a satin sheen for such a large dark surface. A local paint company with great reviews gave us a good bid (we had multiples ranging from $3200-5200), so we had the most affordable and best reviewed company do the project. I would highly recommend them (email me for their direct #). (UPDATE: Texas Star Painting, Casey helped us with our project 817-891-7255) We also had them refinish the front door with an Ebony stain to make it darker and take away the yellow/brown stain that was there before. I could have painted the door a black but I LOVE the woodgrain beneath the stain. I try to avoid painting a dark paint over wood pieces at all cost. It took about 3 days for them to finish, but we didn’t mind since it was all outside work! Hallelujah!

Here’s our finished home!

SHUTTERS:

To finish off this huge project, I wanted to add black shutter on top of the white german smear. My husband built these for us. We weren’t sure the exact style we liked, but after visiting Waco with my sister-in-law and going to Magnolia Table, I saw shutters there that I loved! They had 4 wide vertical boards and 3 horizontal. We decided to do a similar design. Aaron did all the measurements to match the windows (same vertical height as the window and approx half of the width for each shutter). He bought cedar fence boards and cut all the wood in our garage using a miter saw.

The smaller window on the first floor was quite a bit shorter than the others, so we liked the look of 2 horizontal boards better for that window. We had the painters spray them with the same flat black paint we used for the garage. Aaron and his brother-in-law hung them with concrete anchor screws drilled into the mortar lines. It took about 4-6 screws per shutter.

PAINTED PLAYHOUSE

I had been searching high and low over the last year for a swing set. I can be such a sucker for finding deals on used items. I eventually found this gem of a swing set for $50 on a FB garage sale site! We pressure sprayed it and disassembled a few pieces. Aaron spent a day painting all the wood (he took off most of the plastic pieces to paint) and it looks as good as new. Such a darling play house that nearly matches our own home, haha. I’ve had TONS of y’all message me on Instagram asking where this set can be found and it’s been discontinued. How sad, right?! If I find another affordable option, I’ll update it here.

Before

After

Have a comment or question about the German Smear process or exterior painting project? Leave it below and I’ll respond asap!

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29 Comments

  1. Ilona
    October 31, 2018 / 8:27 pm

    Hey:)
    Do they paint kitchens? And will they go out to Fort Worth?

    • Janene
      Author
      October 31, 2018 / 10:03 pm

      I used Texas Star Painting for the exterior paint job. Super pleased. I know they paint everything, so yes to painting kitchens, but not sure about Fort Worth. Call Casey, he’s the one we worked with: 817-891-7255. Best of luck!

  2. November 4, 2018 / 8:56 pm

    Your home came out so nice! I’m in love with the white brick look! Awesome Job!!!!

    • Janene
      Author
      November 5, 2018 / 2:08 pm

      Hi Kara,

      Thanks so much! We absolute love it too! Totally worth all of the effort.

  3. Kristee
    November 4, 2018 / 10:07 pm

    Hot glued the spiders on the house?! Tell me more!!!

    • Janene
      Author
      November 5, 2018 / 2:07 pm

      It’s true! My hubby and I looked at different options, but we’ve heard of people using hot glue for christmas lights on flat surfaces, so my hubby wanted to give it a try. It worked out perfectly! Even with a few good wind/ rain storms. He hot-glued one spot on each leg of the spiders. Most of them popped right off when he took them down this week (some required a little bit of scraping with a flat-head screwdriver). We’ll hang them the same way in the future for sure!

  4. November 5, 2018 / 1:51 pm

    Hello! New reader! Currently purchasing a house and I found you.
    I’m curious to why you didn’t paint the exterior bricks where your front door/chairs are at? If I made sense- lol.

    @happilyeveralanis | Happily Ever Alanis

    • Janene
      Author
      November 5, 2018 / 2:04 pm

      Welcome to the blog! I didn’t add the German smear to the area near the front chairs because it was a pretty stone that I wanted to keep!

  5. Erin
    November 13, 2018 / 3:44 pm

    Omgosh, absolutely gorgeous! I am brand new to your account and a Dallas area resident… was it hard to get the HOA approval? Just curious! Your home looks amazing!!!

    • Janene
      Author
      November 19, 2018 / 9:09 am

      Hi Erin,

      Thank you!! I did two separate HOA requests, first for the German Smear, and then the paint/shutters. I just included photos of what we were going for and thankfully didn’t have any issues!

  6. Linda Barrett
    January 25, 2019 / 3:21 pm

    I am building a house and planning to do the german smear. When they lay my bricks they will do it with white mortar and then they will go over my house with the white mortar wash. When I read your article about how it turned yellow- was that from the mortar color you chose?
    I am a little nervous about doing the whole process. I am using Mosswood brick by Boral. From what I have been told, that it is a good ideas to use a tumbled brick- meaning it is not totally smooth.

    • Janene
      Author
      January 27, 2019 / 5:14 pm

      Exciting time! And I definitely get the nerves. I was so nervous about our project! The yellow came from the color that they add to the mortar. I’m not sure if this is every kind, but with the one used on our home, the mortar was white and there was a yellow sand mixture that could be added to give more color. The first section that was too yellow had too much of that added. When they re-did it and finished the rest of the house, they barely used any of that color mixture. I would have them do a small sample for you and make sure to see it completely dry because it looks so different when it’s wet. Best of luck!!

  7. Nicole
    March 17, 2019 / 5:06 pm

    New here from Idaho!! Did you paint your siding?! Was it something other than the plastic kind? And what material was the black trim on the front of your house?

    • Janene
      Author
      March 18, 2019 / 8:46 am

      Hi Nicole! Yes! We painted the siding and I shared the color information earlier in this post 🙂 It is wood siding and trim (i think!!) Let me know if you have any more questions! xo

  8. DUO
    March 23, 2019 / 3:52 am

    Hi there! I love your page! Your kids are so adorable and you and your husband are the cutest!!! We just bought a home that we love (minus the brick) in DFW north suburbs and are currently painting and updating a few things before we move in next week. I looooooove the German smear that you did on the outside of your home. After I saw your IG post, I wondered about ballpark cost, maintenance and HOA approval. This post was the answer to ALL of my questions! I’m hoping we can get this done to our home! Thanks for posting!!!

    • Janene
      Author
      March 28, 2019 / 2:43 pm

      That is too sweet of you to say!! You should definitely do the German Smear. We absolutely love the way ours turned out and would do it all again…maybe just sooner! Best of luck!

  9. Melissa Skinner
    April 3, 2019 / 8:18 am

    I just had someone German Smeared my house but I’m not in love – not sure why but it didn’t turn out like yours- I don’t think they put enough plus the trim is a poop brown lol that my husband said to leave – I think that’s the issue. I would also like to put some barn door shutters maybe if this is stained dark the trim would look so bad – I painted my front door red for the pop! Any suggestion or could I send a picture?

  10. Melissa Skinner
    April 3, 2019 / 8:19 am

    I just had someone German Smeared my house but I’m not in love – not sure why but it didn’t turn out like yours- I don’t think they put enough plus the trim is a poop brown lol that my husband said to leave – I think that’s the issue. I would also like to put some barn door shutters maybe if this is stained dark the trim would look so bad – I painted my front door red for the pop! Any suggestion or could I send a picture? I live in Houston

    • Janene
      Author
      April 8, 2019 / 9:30 pm

      Oh I’m so sorry you don’t love it! After ours was done it looked better, but I didn’t love it until the trim, garages, were painted black and the black shutters were added. I would definitely add shutters, it would make a big difference! I’m sure it will turn out great! Best of luck

  11. Kelly
    April 3, 2019 / 9:05 am

    Looking for the paint colors. Behr has a Dove gray. Is this the color you used?

  12. May 30, 2019 / 9:16 pm

    When it rains does it look wet or did you guys seal the German smear?

    • Janene
      Author
      May 31, 2019 / 11:35 pm

      Yes, it’s just a mortar and so there’s nothing to seal. It just looks wet 🙂

  13. Anthony
    August 27, 2019 / 4:30 pm

    Did you have to get a brick masion to do the German smear? What was the cost if you dont mind? We have a 2600sqft home we would like to do single story i think our home is way smaller than yours. Thanks for your response Tj

  14. September 13, 2019 / 2:07 pm

    Where did the curtains on the back patio come from? They’re so beautiful!

    • Janene
      Author
      September 13, 2019 / 5:57 pm

      Hey! I got them from Ikea 🙂

  15. Kelsey
    September 28, 2019 / 2:00 pm

    Your home is beautiful!

  16. Nic
    October 2, 2019 / 10:08 pm

    I didn’t even know German Smear was a thing and now I need it in my life. I love the brick work used in homes in the US. In Canada we don’t have a ton of brick homes. Sigh – this is lovely

  17. Dave
    November 9, 2019 / 11:02 am

    What’s Mario’s number? Where you located.

    • Janene
      Author
      November 27, 2019 / 9:53 pm

      He works in north DFW. 972-838-5592

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