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.


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. For our 4000 sq ft home, we paid $4800. He was PHENOMENAL to work with and the most kind worker I’ve dealt with. 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! 


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!


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.


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.



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



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

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

    • Janene
      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
      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
      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
      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!!!

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