Exterior Limestone

Okaaay….that was awkward. Totally did not mean to take nearly a month-long blogging break. I assure you I got lots of important things done and didn’t just sit around binging on New Girl and Fuller House and going to bed at a completely reasonable time each night. (That’s sarcasm, I did and it was awesome.)

So, where were we? I believe I owe y’all a long overdue post about the exterior rock on our house.

cream limestone for the exterior

Before we talk about the rock though, lets talk about these babies…

antique beam header

Adam and I knew we wanted antique beam headers to add to the old feel of our house, so we found a local-ish supplier, borrowed a truck and trailer, and headed out one afternoon. We came back with a few beautiful beams and bank account that was over $1,000 lighter.

antique beams for headers

Yeah…antique beams aren’t cheap (you can see now why we chose to do fake ones in our living room).

Adam cut them down to size – meticulously with extreme caution, obviously – knowing what a big investment they were.


To put them on the wall, he first attach them to 2 x 4’s to made them thicker (so that they would be the same thickness as the rock), and then bolted them on from the inside of the house, before the sheet rock was installed.

antique beam headers

(I love those old mortice and tennon joints, so cool.)

That part was easy, that part we were sure about. Then came the rock. Oh boy did we make our rounds with choosing this rock. (I posted about the saga of choosing the stone back in this post, if you want to catch up).

cream limestone pile

After our choice was delivered we kept going back and looking at the sample that was put up of our two final stone choices.

rock samples - building a custom home

It turns out, that even after a few weeks of letting the sample dry (after the rock guy said to give it overnight) it still wasn’t dry when we made our decision. One day (after our rock had been delivered) we went back to look at the sample to discover it had finaly fully dried. And you know what? It looked completely different. The cream limestone (top sample that we choose) looked white, boring, and blah, and the more varied one on the bottom looked like absolute perfection. And for pretty much the first time in blog history I didn’t take a picture of something, so I can’t  share it with you. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one.

So Adam and I, realizing we made the wrong choice, called our builder to ask if we could switch out our stone. He said we could, but it would be more cost-efficient just to get the second one delivered and eat the price the first, because paying someone to come pick it up would be insanely expensive. So we decided to just go with what we had. Ugh….I felt a little sick about the whole thing to be honest.

And so up it went.

exterior stone beginnings

installing exterior limestone with a thick smear

german smear mortar on limestone exterior

The whole goal with this stone it was to make it look as old as possible, kind a like we put additions on a 200-year-old stone farmhouse. The type of mortar we wanted (a thick messy German smear) was a big part of that. A couple of hours into installation it looked like the above picture and most definitely looked old. Mission accomplished. We didn’t screw up our house.

watching stone go up

German smear mortar

Then, a few days into drying, it looked like the picture below…and we were like “Oh crap…we definitely screwed up our house.”eek

And so we just kept watching it, crossing our fingers that it didn’t dry ugly.

drying exterior stone

After nearly two months of drying, here it is (top section is dry, bottom is still working on it).

Hill Country Farmhouse

We do really like it. The cream limestone isn’t washed out against the white paint like we were worried about…the second they started putting up we knew that wouldn’t be an issue. I mean, it’s not a drastic drastic color difference from the paint to the stone, but it’s just the right amount of definition.

a new, old farmhouse

The mortar is a little skimpier than we would have preferred, but that’s okay. And the headers…well the headers are amazing. Right now the difference between old headers and the new cedar porch stretchers is a little shocking, but the cedar will age and gray over time.

headers and stone

Look at these top five little windows with the stone and wood and metal…it’s exactly what we wanted. It doesn’t look like a brand new house at all.

farmhouse windows with headers

Here’s a few more shots…

front porch

future front door

Texas Farmhouse 2

back of house

from a distance

We’re getting there…only a few more elements until the exterior is complete!

Now I can’t very well end this post without a few pictures of my kids, because when I re-read this entry five years from now those are the details I’m going to want to remember.

Elijah has been really interested in each and every part of this build, but he particularly liked the rock. Each day when I would pick him of from school the first thing he would say is “Can we go see how the rock workers are doing?” He was pretty much a little construction zone creeper the entire week they were there.



Eventually he couldn’t handle it anymore and just had to start helping. It’s all I could do to keep him from grabbing a trowel and start slinging mortar.


And Levi? Levi didn’t give a rip about any of it, because there was a huge pile of sand calling his name. It was like “Levi, come…fill your boots and pockets with me, take me with you into your van, your car seat, and your home.” He was powerless against it.

Levi and the sand

So there you have it. We’re at the point now that the interior finish selections are in full swing, and it’s fun and crazy and completely overwhelming. We’re hoping to be able to move in sometime this summer, hopefully before the school year starts. It won’t be done, but it will be close enough by that point that it should be livable.

a new, old farmhouse


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  1. Brandi in NB says:

    Just remind mom when she gets mad about all the sand that sand is “texture” and all the great DIY home bloggers are using it in their rooms! Color, lighting and “texture” makes for great decor. Just ask Target and Homegoods. ;-)
    Ms. B
    P.S. If mom says no, go ask grandma!

  2. Brandi in NB says:

    Holy cow! Two months of drying??? How long do they think before it will be totally dry? I had no idea mortar took that long. Obviously, this has been quite a learning process, but oh, so much fun. Enjoy!

    • I don’t think it normally takes that long, but it rained on everything after they delivered, rained right after they installed it, and was generally pretty soggy and cloudy most of the two months. The rock they just finished installing on the inside (fireplace and master bedroom) was dry in about a week.
      Ashley recently posted..2015 Year in ReviewMy Profile

  3. Jan Elizabeth says:

    It’s looking wonderful! I’m glad the mortar dried the way you like it. I think it looks awesome. Do you bring the boys every day to see the progress? How far is this home from your current one?

  4. It is looking so fabulous! And I love the update about the boys. So fun. Update us on your interior ideas/decisions before too long!

  5. I love it, I love it, I love it! Stone houses have always awed me and yours indeed looks old and beautiful.
    Alba recently posted..Roasted Pork Encrusted with Green & Long Black PeppercornMy Profile

  6. Greetings fellow house builder and Netflix watcher. We’re building a house on Lake Conroe, TX and I have really enjoyed your posts! Always look forward to your family pics in each post as well. Way fun. You are several steps ahead of us in the process and you probably will be redecorating by the time we get in ours! Ha ha.
    Question: who is your “local-ish” supplier for the beams? Our builder is planning a trip to Louisiana to get some for our house and was wondering if your supplier is closer to us.

    • We got our beams from a place in Fredricksburg, which we originally found because they are one of the only places that sells Ranchwood (the barn wood product we wanted to use for our bump out area). Here is a link – http://www.antiquetimberworks.com. If you decide to go call first and make sure the owner is going to be there, he kinda comes and goes and that is who you want to talk to.
      Ashley recently posted..Spray Foam InsulationMy Profile

  7. Anonymous says:

    That is absolutely gorgeous! You made the right choice.

  8. Maria from Oz says:

    With the humidity at the moment here where I live that baby’d take YEARS to dry! It’s looking great! Funny how our idea of what we think it will look like often doesn’t quite match reality. Given time you’ll totally forget about the minor details in the overall bigger picture.
    Levi, keep on enjoying that sand, just don’t eat it!

    • I agree, a year from now I we won’t even remember there were two rock samples. I keep reminding myself of that now that we are deep into finish selections. It feels a bit like a house of cards at times, like if I make one wrong choice the whole thing is going to fall apart. I know that’s not the case though!
      Ashley recently posted..Beams, beams, and more beamsMy Profile

  9. Pamela Bolton says:

    I am madly in love with the exterior of your home. If I ever get to build again, I want stone and old headers just like yours. You and Adam have chosen really well.

  10. It looks A-Maaaazing!

  11. It looks amazing! All the right choices and I love the photos of the kids! Priceless :)

  12. I love it. I love it all! Trying to talk my husband into a building a barn style home now. The porch. The metal roof. I love it so.
    [email protected] recently posted..“Valentine, You Have Left Your Mark on My Heart” Printable BookmarkMy Profile

  13. Absolute perfection! You must be pinching yourself! The beam headers are especially swoon-worthy. Looking forward to more progress posts

  14. Hey Ashley,

    I totally love how you chose German stuff for building your new house since – you know – I’m German, too! ;-) Not smeary though. Just wanted to leave a short message and let you know, that I’ve been following your blog from Germany for almost a year now. Even though I have a totally different style than you, I just love what you made of your current home.
    By the way: once you move into your new house you might have to consider renaming this blog into Domestic Perfection.
    We started building in 2013 and moved in March 2014. It is quite interesting to see the differences in construction, even the foundation.

    Greetings from Germany,

  15. I love the choices you have made with the design, it looks great. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Perfect color limestone. Love how it complements well the paint you have. Great idea/choice!
    [email protected] recently posted..12 Amazing Designs of Portable and Mobile Homes, Look How Clever Is #4!My Profile

  17. Oh my word I love the stone. It’s reallyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy nice.

  18. I’m all caught up reading the building updates, and I still love it, all of it! All your choices, the layout, I love it all.

  19. The one thing that I like about you is how you make each and every improvement in your house with such a great passion and love. From the biggest projects to the smallest detail – everything is carefully contemplated, planned and carried out.
    Now I’m passionate to see what do you have in mind for the front yard. A beautiful house like yours deserves a garden which is equally adorable.

  20. Anonymous says:

    The stone looks fantastic! Would you mind sharing the what color the mortar is? I’m about to do some stonework and love the color combination.

  21. Absolutely beautiful!!! As we were looking for plans we came across your site and really like all of the choices you guys have made. We have decided to do something very similar. What color is your roof? And do you know the style? Again, great job, it’s going to be amazing.

Thank you for your comments!

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