Reader home exterior after the remodel
Photo: Ryan Kurtz
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Best Exterior Redo: After

Who: Brian and Julie Wells
Where: Oxford, Md.

Their Story: "Brian and I always dreamed of fixing up an old house, but we waited until our three sons, Branden, Sean, and Evan, were old enough to help out. When we bought this house, in 2008, many of the clapboards were rotted or had been ruined by a fire, and overgrown holly trees obscured the facade. We worked on it for two years; our aim was to make the exterior historically accurate and to reuse original materials wherever possible.

"Brian is handy and has taught us all DIY skills, but this house involved many projects none of us had ever tackled. We replaced clapboards where needed and freshened up the original yellow color. We found a secondhand double-tombstone front door for only $75, which Brian cut to size. He also fixed the original window boxes, filling in damaged wood with new profiles he routed. Together we built soffits and fascia, replaced corrugated metal gutters with half-round ones, and erected a brick chimney. Sean dug the foundation for the new front steps; Evan chopped down the holly trees, enduring scratches from the sharp foliage; and Branden tackled overgrown arborvitaes in back.

"Making this house livable again has been so gratifying. The project always brings back many memories, like when Evan says, 'I never want to cut down a holly tree again!'"

Take a video tour of the Wells family's exterior makeover.

Shown: The Wells family spent weekend after weekend restoring the facade and improving the landscaping. "We even used a car jack to lift the house so we could shore up the foundation in the back," says Julie.
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