What Are Your Options for a Driveway Makeover?

I live in an old house.  Built in 1939, our home has a lot of history and character.  It also requires a respect when “updating” or even maintaining it’s interior and exterior features.   This has been the view out my window for far too long:

Like my bulldozer?


Our asphalt driveway was about 15 years past its lifespan.   It was no less than precarious, possibly dangerous.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to help push friends’ cars out of the mud who had difficulty backing up the very darkened and narrow hill to the street.


So the time has finally come to rip up the whole shebang and start over.  And of course, it’s always complicated.  This is where our yard was over a month ago.


We hit a gasline, adding several weeks and several thousand dollars to the project.  That, plus my husband out of town on business for a week, then our fall vacation, has made this driveway project drag out muuuucccchhhh longer than it should have.



I’m a Color Consultant and Designer – who better to make the difficult decisions on a project like this?  Well, I found out pretty quickly how limited the man-world of driveways is in terms of options and even samples of the options.  I went to great lengths to visit every concrete and driveway manufacturer in Nashville and was dismayed by the lack of samples, photos, or any kind of decent-sized examples of driveway options.  



Look at the size of the samples – so tiny!!!  When I asked for larger examples, they said “just drive around and find a driveway you like, then give us the address.”  Whaaaaa?  Seriously?  There’s gotta be a better way.  Apparently in the land of driveway design, there’s not.  Pinterest was actually my best source for ideas.  After much angst and deliberating, we decided on a brushed concrete integrally stained with “Earthen” from Solomon Color  for most of the driveway.  There will be a split carriage drive at the road stamped with a traditional cobblestone with a “Walnut” relief.  This cobblestone will also be integrated in front of the front porch area.

 Cobblestone street via Pinterest


They finally started pouring some concrete this week, so I am hopeful this messy project will be finished up in a couple of weeks.  I hope.  On a less stressful note, these are my beautiful and creative kids this week in their “ironic” Halloween costumes:

Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny 


Of course, no one could get down our driveway to Trick-or-Treat.  So we stuck the candy in our open mailbox . . . 


If you need help choosing paint color for your interior or exterior home project, contact me to schedule a Color Consultation.

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12 thoughts on “What Are Your Options for a Driveway Makeover?

  1. Paula Van Hoogen says:

    That’s so “ironic”, Kristie,that you would write this today! While out on our kubota work truck yesterday blowing leaves off of about 3miles of roads in our development and looking totally un-glamorous, the thought occurred to me, I wonder if Kristie or Maria ever have to do stuff like this? No one driving by me would even know I’m a female with my ear protection, etc, and all bundled up for the cold!
    They don’t now that I’m really a homemaker/decorator!! Haha. Good to see you have to get involved n the not-so-glam parts of making things beautiful too! Recently we had to hitch up a 25′ trailer to our truck, head off this mountain to a home depot we THOUGHT had some paver stones for our drive.
    By the end of the day, we had gone 300 miles,(not @ HD) to So. Carolina to find them, and pulled 10,000lbs back up here. We’re @ 3900 feet! Phew….. so much for beautification projects.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      You wouldn’t believe the unglamorous crap I’ve done over the years!!! And you should see me when I’m staging a house to sell, moving ridiculously large pieces of furniture and sweating like a construction worker. . .

  2. Rebecca says:

    Hello Kristie,
    I really enjoy your decorating style and your site “Decorologist” as well as your Pinterest posts. I also live in an old English Tudor home and notice some of your decor in your own home is similar. This home has the pebble concrete driveway, but our last home (which we built,) had a stamped concrete driveway and sidewalk. I loved the look. They need to be re-sealed every couple of years though to maintain their shine and for the hue not to fade and have a whiteish look. Can’t wait to see your completed driveway pictures.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Thanks for the response, Rebecca! We were going to do a mixed pea gravel and limestone aggregate, but we’re really liking the darker-stained concrete with the brushed finish, with the cobblestone stamping in strategic areas. As to the sheen you mentioned: for an older, rustic look – do you think we should do a matte finish vs. a shinier one? I’m not sure about that decision yet!

  3. Marti says:

    The road in the Pinterest photo is not cobblestones. Cobblestones are rounded stones, hard to walk on (almost impossible) and awful to drive on. The photo shows what are probably Belgian blocks or setts, a flat rectangular paving stone, much kinder to the pedestrian and cars. I am looking forward to seeing photos of your completed driveway.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Marti, I was just looking for a photo to give a general idea of the look. We’re not using real cobblestones, just a “cobblestone” stamp for the concrete. You obviously know your paving material – I should have consulted with you before starting this project! 🙂

  4. Susanne says:

    Sometimes, I know this will be hard for you to read and absorb Kristie, but fewer choices are not always a bad thing. For me, it’s a blessing…lol. Living outside of Boston and having worked in Boston, I have to say that I have attempted to walk and drive on the above mentioned Pinterest cobblestone. Driving in the ice and snow is manageable, however walking..hmmm a more daunting task. I have a left a 3″ heeled pump 2 steps behind me, pretending that I was still wearing 2 shoes. I have fallen down in front of 20-30 fellow commuters in 1/2″ heels..flats in other words. Thank goodness I was wearing tights with my above the knee lenght skirt that day. So what if I had 2 gaping holes in the knees of my ivory colored tights and blood dripping down the front of them, my oh so cosmopolitan dignity was already “shot” for that day….lol. Bottom line, tread carefully! P.S. I’m sure you’re driveway will be beautiful.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Whoa, Susanne, that’s sounds like a very bad day!!! Since it’s not gonna be real cobblestone, hopefully it won’t be as treacherous, and it will just be an accent in 2 places. But if I find myself flat on my face, I will know who to commiserate with!!!

  5. Jan says:

    Kristie…your children’s costumes are fantastic! It suggests to me that creativity is something that is embraced and cherished in your home. You’re doing your children a great service that will benefit them forever as likely they’ll continue to think “outside the box” as they journey through life. Hence, add to your accomplishments…awesome mom! ~Ciao~

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