The Home on Potter's Lane

A fresh exterior for a contemporary classic.

Nestled into fifty odd acres of beautiful Southern Illinois landscape, this home feels more like a retreat or sanctuary. Its owners and designers, a renowned Physician and his talented artist wife have created a haven in which they could recharge their batteries and entertain friends and family. From the oversized windows to the use of natural materials, through the harmony with the surrounding countryside this was a well thought out design. Finely constructed and beautifully maintained, this home is certainly a contemporary classic.

The owners obviously take great care of this dwelling and it is hard to believe this home is over forty years old.  Routine maintenance of your home’s exterior is important, not only for the curb appeal but for protecting your valuable investment. Repairing and painting areas before they become major problems reduces overall maintenance costs.

Previously CreativEye did small proactive repairs and painting on this home, solving issues that needed immediate attention, allowing the homeowners the space and time to assess their overall needs and budget for a full house paint. When it was time for a full paint, we were familiar with the home and able to offer a cost effective bid based on our knowledge and prior involvement.

We approach every project with proper inspection; customized to address your individual home’s needs. Our goal with this project was to give a fresh, clean, long lasting professional finish. The only way to accomplish a quality finish is with a quality preparation.

The exterior is wood, and had been painted with an opaque stain. For previously stained or painted surfaces in need of a solid color stain, a light house wash is necessary and will remove all dust, dirt, loose peeling paint and chalk deposits. This wash assures adhesion, prevents peeling, and improves the topcoat, helping achieve a smooth, blemish free, professional finish. Many do not know that paint bonds much better to a clean substrate.

Moving around the home with the house wash, checking for surface irregularities (cracks, holes, rotten boards, window and door seal, caulk issues) we literally touch every inch of the surface as we prepare it and repair it. Most areas that required any scraping and priming were dealt with previously so this home was now ready for painting.

Our choice of coatings was Sherwin-Williams Woodscapes, a premium exterior solid color stain that has excellent penetration on wood. It contains agents which inhibit the growth of mildew and is a great product especially for areas where landscaping and foliage is near the home.

This residence has several levels, some large verticals walls, and many oversized windows to contend with. Positioning long ladders and scaffolding to reach everything in the soft-scape was a challenge, but with proper planning and safety awareness these were handled easily.

I think there are some great lessons here for home owners. The most valuable asset most people own is their home. The best way to protect that investment is routine maintenance, a professional paint job, and taking care of things before they become big issues, all which save you money in the long run. The understanding that good preparation is the foundation of a quality paint job, one that looks great for many years and over time provides the most value. Simple maintenance, like a house wash, protects your investment and can add years to a home’s exterior life.

Lets us help protect your investment.
If you’re interested in our services and having us evaluate your needs, contact us through this site or call CreativEye at 618 684-3424.
We would be happy to help with any of your maintenance needs.

Some of our Home Preservation Services are:

Paint Maintenance
Touch up, sealing and repairs
Pressure Washing
House, decks, fences, roofs, concretes, walks and drives
Gutter Cleaning
Remove debris and flush
Window Cleaning
Yes !  We do windows, Exterior and /or Interior
Decks and fencing
Carpentry Service
    No job too big or too small.

The Lake House

This project was a large multi-level contemporary home nested naturally on a slopping hillside, overlooking a lake, with ornamental gardens on a beautiful wooded lot.
The harmony with its surroundings is near perfection, with the home owners taking advantage of the large over-sized windows and multiple decks to appreciate the landscape.

The house design is unique in many aspects, with many levels and angles that one would expect to see in a postmodern contemporary, but also has the added character of its owners, a prominent physician and professional artist. Their personal touches truly make it one of the most unique homes in Southern Illinois, reflecting the artistic vision you would find in a truly original, architect-designed postmodern home.

Our project was to give this beauty a face lift, a new coat of paint and put it back into good order for many more years of enjoyment. Most of this home was still wearing its original paint of nearly twenty years! And although we did have several of the common house paint problems, it was generally in good shape, a testament to the quality of this home builder.

For our make ready, we had years of grime, dirt, and a small amount of chalking and mildew to remove before we could apply the primer coat. We went through our normal process, a light house wash, a scrubbing of cleaning solution, and a final rinse with clean water. We paid special attention to areas around the landscape water features making certain that we killed and removed any mold or mildew. Overall a basic prep job, just a whole lot of it. Good preparation is the only way to insure the quality and longevity of any paint work. Not a step to be skipped or skimped over.

Click on the image for an enlargement of the house wash.
 As you can see a pretty dramatic change.

Our next step was to address any major problem areas that needed scraping or repair.
There were a few areas of water damage requiring some light carpentry work.

The siding on this home is made of 4x8 and 4x10 panels with the seams covered with 1x2 battens, forming different geometric patterns becoming a subtle architectural feature.
With this type of design feature, loose joinery can be problematic. Any places water can get behind need to be resolved. So we removed the rotted wood, replaced it and made certain it was sealed and tight. All buttoned up and ready for paint as we like to say.

At this point our major prep work is complete, or the “make ready” done. To explain some of the painter’s lingo as you go thru the process of painting a house there will always be areas that will need preparation at different stages, the primer stage, the finish coat stage and the trim stage. The make ready is about the reconditioning of the exterior, clean surfaces, treatment of mildew, carpentry, caulk and seal.
I have to bring up one issue we see time and time again, that being the abuse and use of caulk. Way too often people try to affect a repair in a carpentry problem such as a water leak with large beads of caulk. And end up with nothing but a cosmetic cover up, usually aggravating the problem further and just trapping more water behind the material causing dry rot. A painter uses caulk to seal a joint, and levels the bead of caulk to the surrounding material producing a clean water tight seal that blends into the area leaving a smooth transition. There are certainly calking materials that are used around window and door sills, or construction adhesives used to seal framing areas applied in a high build up. But this should not be confused with painters prep and caulk and is not a fix for poor carpentry skills. Lucky for us this home was extremely well built and even with several elevations and walls facing every compass point known, the majority of repairs were fairly routine and common considering its age.

Our next stage, give the home a good primer coat of paint. The primer is mixed to match the final color coat, which will help give us a very nice uniformed finish with enough mills of coverage to ensure a long lasting, durable paint surface.
The color choice for this home was to keep close to the original paint scheme, but punch it up just a little increasing the color intensity a small amount.  We used an earthy palette (Monterey Taupe) and a custom mixed umber white on the trim. Certainly natural colors you would find in the surroundings.


The trim on this home has a unique feature of 1x2 battens that form a Mondrian pattern of squares and rectangles. The composition changes throughout the exterior, forming different designs and accents. The color choice for the trim must be restrained and balanced with the body color. We wanted a quiet value and color contrast that would be fairly low key. We mixed several combination's on site and applied test strips to an area that would be in sun and shade so that we could visually see the changes in lighting effects. Once we had a tint that worked well in all light we had our paint store match the color.





Thru the stages of this job, the wash, prime coat, finish coat and trim work, we circled this home four times with long ladders. With several stories, complex angles and multiple landscaped hillsides to contend with, this was certainly not a project for the novice or do-it-yourself-er.




Custom homes like this present special challenges. However, the satisfaction of working on a fine quality home does have its own rewards. Working with owners who take great pride in the exterior landscape of their home and recognized that the paint work is part of that overall aesthetics make big challenges like this a fun project. In the end, all parties are happy with the professional results and our efforts.
Another win-win for CreativEye and our clients.

The end results we feel speak for themselves. 





Thanks for visiting and be sure to contact us for your next project.

Project : The Williams Home

The Exterior Facelift:

The William’s project was a beautiful country home, sitting on a large wooded lot with a lake behind, owned by a professional couple, who truly enjoy the serenity of this location and the easy access to town. The home was purchased a few years back and underwent extensive interior updates and renovation. We were asked to help with the outdoor living spaces and give the home a facelift with a new coat of paint and exterior trim.

The CreativEye Design Solutions:

The wood siding and trim was in reasonably good shape for the age of the house. With some minor wood repairs and priming, the make ready went fairly quick. The color choices were crucial so this home would harmonize with the picturesque woodland setting. We kept the colors neutral and earthy, painting the body color with an earth tan, “Palomino” and accent woodwork with a dark but natural green that would complement the many pine trees around.

The Outdoor Living Spaces:

This home has a wonderful long covered front porch and a nice sized side deck for entertaining or just sitting and watching the wildlife. Both being great spaces but unfortunately neither very inviting. The font porch had a battleship grey painted concrete floor, the railing also had the same machine shop grey finish.

The ceiling was pretty uneven and just did not look finished and the side deck, well, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Not sure what all was going on here, but it had the warmth of a cattle ramp at the slaughter house. The previous owner had made some unsightly and questionable construction changes to this deck.

The CreativEye Design Solutions:

On the front porch we wanted to address the ceiling boards first and work from the top down. We wanted it to be less dominate but also feel a bit more finished than the painted plywood that showed seams. Several ideas were kicked around, from overlaying it with finished boards, to covering the joints with trim.
Overlaying it would have been nice but really push up the budget, and trimming over all the butt joints would have made the whole space way too busy.

We decided to create three large panels on the ceiling to draw your eye down the long corridor, and away from the panels them self. We caulked and eased the edges of the butt joints, mimicked the molding on the front door and carried that architectural detail out onto the ceiling. We gave everything a good coat of paint using the house color, which gave the ceiling a subtle but interesting feature at a fraction of the cost of the other approaches.

The hand railing solution was easy, simply match the color to the rest of the architectural features. The railing prep was a different story, being constructed of vinyl. With a thorough cleaning and a bonding primer applied, we then gave the entire rail system two coats of finish. Going over the rails three times is pretty time consuming and tedious but necessary to get a good bonded finish.

We wanted a finish on the floor that would be warm and inviting, and really set this space apart. We picked up colors from the surrounding landscape stone work, and gave the entire slab a faux stone finish. We modeled several glazes of rock color with some faint traces of tones from the house. We ended up with a very natural and harmonious illusion of a giant stone slab.

And around to the side deck, the first issue here was the structural integrity. Originally when this home was constructed the deck was probably just a walk around to the lower patio, but a previous owner had extended it. The biggest problem was that the deck joists were on 32” centers and carrying 2”x6” decking boards across this 26’ by 9’ deck at the second floor level. All this excessive weight and missing joists had caused a visible sag in the major support beam, and a some what unnerving bounce to the whole structure when walking across it.

Basically this deck was insanely under engineered and in other areas inanely over built. The deck bench looked more like a cattle ramp then seating and certainly added more than a few hundred pounds to this already overstressed structure. Besides, it took up so much room that the actual usable space was cut by a third and totally block the wonderful woodland view.

The goal here was to reclaim this space for the homeowner. To turn it into a usable, secure and visually pleasing space to entertain, have a cook out and just enjoy the view.

The first thing was to reverse engineer this hodgepodge and get down to the original supporting frame work. In a controlled demolition, we removed the 2”x6” decking and the “strange bench thingy” and strip down the rails. Once the weight was off the deck we jacked the main support beam level and reinforce that beam by sandwiching with a new beam, lag bolting them together. The original deck joists (from the walk around) tied into the second story floor joist nicely, certainly done by a professional framer in the correct manner. So to get our deck to standards, (16” on center) we inserted new joist between every existing joist lagging them into the house ledger and setting them into our new leveled header.

We wanted to salvage as much of the stair case framing as we could, but the step riser height (spacing) was uneven and too high. New custom cut stringers were made, adding an additional step to each run. Making for a more natural and comfortable transition from deck to landing to patio.

With the new beam in place, deck leveled and squared up, new joists on 16” center and secured to the ledger, staircase spacing addressed, the framing is complete. We then moved on to the easy work, laying the decking and finishing this outdoor living space.

We used standard 5/4” boards for the decking, on 16” centers to feel very stiff under foot and really reduce the weight on this structure. We staggered our seams and used the longest runs we could for a nice clean uniform look. We installed two 2”x6” boards to make up each tread on the upper and lower staircase and covered the landing with the same 5/4” decking boards as the main deck.

We ran our deck rail posts, lagged them to the joists, installed handrails and middle rail. There are no balusters on this deck, so that they can truly take in the view, but with this design they can easily added later if wished.

At this point we have a stable, usable deck, solving all our design problems.

We let the wood season in, and came back with two coats of semi transparent stain, in a nice natural wood tone for all the decking. Giving it just a bit of warmth and still letting the wood grain show. We primed all the bare wood and top coated it with the same green trim color we used through out, visually tying the front and back decks together.

This was a great project for CreativEye, the Williams were wonderful people to work with, good communicators of what they were looking for and liked, while being open to our recommendations and solutions. This combination equaled success and turned these spaces into inviting and comfortable outdoor living environments. With renovations projects like this you have to decide when to spend for new and were to salvage old, still getting the end vision desired and the most bang for your buck.

It’s a win win, when we exceed the client expectations and produce a product we’re proud of, the core of the CreativEye mission.

Basement Remodel - Before and After

  The basement is one of the last hold outs in this 1960’s home that has not been renovated or updated.  The goal was to transform this dark, dated and dingy space into a beautiful functional laundry with a muti-purpose work and project space that everyone will want to spend time in.

We removed the basement “Blah’s” with a fresh coat of paint and some new recessed lighting to brightened up the space. The home owner wanted lots of work space for domestic chores or those craft projects; the long counter top was the perfect solution.

 Linda spent a lot time looking at how we could best utilize this space and what organizational units would serve that purpose best. With updated upper and lower cabinets adding storage space and rolling storage that fits under the counter helps to make this space very flexible and organized.

We updated the utility sink and vanity with a custom enclosure for plumbing.
Giving it a little more of an architectural feature so that it blended with the new environment. The final touch was a wall mounted ironing board, making this a truly functional yet aesthetically pleasing work space.
Almost makes laundry a pleasure.

No matter what your vision for your basement, CreativEye can help you bring those ideas to reality