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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Need help with kerb appeal please

eosnanOctober 25, 2012
How can we improve the look of our house? We hope to change the front door but cannot decide on a colour. Everything else is white UPVC which will have to remain for a while. The gutters and downspouts are black . The problem is that the stonework of the house is a strange contrast with the yellowish brick of the lower part of the walls and the perimeter wall. I favoured a red or green door. OH wants wood and the salesman says we should have shiny black. Very much appreciate any suggestions for this and any way to improve the look of the porch ;0). House in in UK. Thanks Houzzers!
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That's a toughie! The window placement is odd too. I think green or dark terra cotta or orangy yellow would help bridge to color gap better than red or black. The entry light seems small, and perhaps a different finish--perhaps dark to match the mailbox (which I would move BTW) would be nice, and I don't think the door style with the oval window goes at all. Something with bigger, rectangular windows would be better, and even painting it would help.

Color on the gable and garage door would help too--I think you can paint vinyl with proper prep.

Some foundation planting would disguise the difference in the brick and help ground the house. I would move the taller shrub and mix evergreens with flowering shrubs or bulbs or flowers in warm colors or orange and yellow and white, maybe purple, would really set it off, depending on how much you are into gardening.

A nice cottagey effect would be to build an ornamental narrow pergola all the way from the porch and across the front of the house, supported by brackets, in white. Then the white on the left garage and gable would be more balanced, and the offset of the upstairs windows would be lessened. I would set the brackets on the pillar and just inside the quions, possibly with an attached flat trellis. Training vines over this, especially on or around the porch pillar, would deminish the contrasting brick,.

This alone frames the door and makes the whole facade look more unified, without even changing the door. A rough impression is below with a warm terra cotta color door.

Adding maybe an edge of creeping flox (sp?) along the top of the wall in white would soften the retaining wall a bit, but not get in the way of the stairs.
1 Like    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 9:58AM
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Paint the foundation and retaining wall brick a darker color (gray) like your roof color. Add landscaping. A small tree could disguise the offset upper window. You could go with pretty much any color on your front door.
    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 10:06AM
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Essence Design Studios
Have you thought about painting the yellow brick wall & foundation, a white? Then maybe add some black shutters to your home to add contrast, while having a darker red door? The idea of a pergola is a great one, while instead you could have a white railing or porch accentuating the entry to the home.

You could also keep the yellow brick, and paint the stone on the house instead... while bringing in black shutters & red door... the white house would stand out better.
    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 10:09AM
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how bout painting the trim and windows with a darker taupe and then adding a muted burgandy to the door, garage and window section above the garage. Eventually bringing in burning bushes and red landscaping plants to accent.
1 Like    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 10:21AM
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Hi there. We are planning a door with a large rectangular window and Art Deco style window and can see that a striking colour would work. I also like the idea of building across the frontage in the future. We are in a newish development in a small village and all the newer housing has this stone with yellow brick to tie in with the original local houses ...but it's ugly I think. I like the idea of using planting and a tree to minimise the 'faults' and draw the eye. All my neighbours houses look just like ours!
    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 10:28AM
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Sorry I meant to say Art Deco style glass not window...it's all raised rectangles in an irregular pattern.
    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 10:31AM
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Just spotted the idea of a railing to accentuate the entry porch. Thank you. Love that idea.
    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 10:34AM
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You probably have some sort of deed restriction about the brick and the stone and whatnot. Check first. Once you paint exterior brick, it is a maintenance hassle, even with a nice mortar washing, and I think the retaining wall in particular will be problematic in the years ahead if you do, especially if you live in a damp climate with a lot of freeze=thaw. I do like the stone though.

I grew up in a place with lots of walls like this, and they do need periodic repointing and maintenance, even without the plants. Also don't plant anything with deep roots near the wall--it will cause problems in 10 years or so. Roots looking for water just accelerate the process.

A small crabapple or something might be OK if the yard is deep enough, but I would ask the advice of an experienced nursery or landscape architect first.

Just a couple of chunky brackets on the porch could give a Arts and Crafts feel--especially with a trellis wrapping the porch pillar and with the horizontals spaced tighter at the top. It is important to draw it out to get the detailing and scale right, or it will look stuck on. I don't have the right software to do it I almost put in a railing too, but I like the more open look. It could be phase one of your master plan.

I would not add shutters--windows are totally wrong for them. Maybe a wall trellis on the far right for now would help bring some balance. Put spacers behind the trellis (or independent supports) so that there is room for the vine and moisture isn't trapped, and caulk the connection. It can be rather narrow on the pillar.

Do you have a picture of the door? Not sure if Art Deco fits your house--depends on what you mean. Geometrics could work--and I think the dark or lead style caning looks better than silver or gold. More timeless.
2 Likes    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 11:02AM
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Eecks stop!

Please, before you do anything: Go to your local bookseller or big box hardware store and PURCHASE a book on landscape design. YOU DO LIVE IN UK right? The land of any famous landscape designer in the WORLD! And, I DO know - that in the UK - folks can grow anything fabulously and with the envy of the rest of us!

I tend to believe your salesman here - about the door color - orange, red or ANY of this family of colors is only going to make the "yellow tones" more YELLOW - hmmmmmmm?

Forget taupe or beige also: too close in color.

I would like to suggest a deep GREY/Blue; a simple slate grey for your trim (windows) - more grey than blue - but NOT with a green undertone - which is yellow in foundation. The Grey/blue will tone down the yellow look.

With the contrasting colors here - I would keep it simple. Too many colors and it will end up looking like a kalediscope. yes?

For the door - you could use something like a deep - almost black brown? You could then do an deep rich dark brown on the windows and trim?

Also - try adding a LARGER carriage house style light fixture to the front the of the house, and when you can - another one for the garage light - something brighter (more glass) and bigger will balance out the heaviness of all this stone and brick.

PLEASE do not paint anything white - NOT even the brick. The stone is beautiful and this would only make this look cheap. THERE ARE STAINS - which you have put on the brick portion only - but they are like a wash - (very natural looking) it might tone down the yellow. IF you do decide to paint this brick - I would use a natural color like a brown.

When YOU think about adding things (like the little lanter on the porch) think about sizing. Something which is MUCH larger - will detract from what you do NOT want people to focus on.

Later on, when you can - I would definitely paint all the trim and since the stone has a lovely greyish tone to it, I would decide on this color family. The darkest of brown or black for your front door will keep you color scheme simple.

IF this IS your keeper home - you MIGHT consider adding manufactured stone OVER the brick in the future. They make manufactured stone in half-widths just for this purpose.

Find a good landscape book and use some of the many, many hundreds of beautiful things which grow in UK for your landscape design. And - maybe - down the road - some lovely window boxes - for the window above the garage?

PLEASE keep us posted? yes?
1 Like    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 11:03AM
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Sorry - but one last suggestion: You could consider adding a LOT of architectural interest - if when YOU can - replace the brick column on your front porch with a manufactured outdoor - porch column? Round and painted the color of your trim? This will definitely remove some of the blockiness you are feeling by all the mis-matched brick with the stone. Especially at your entrance area. These porch columns may be viewed on line - but definitely look at the rounded ones - to remove some of the blockness of front elevation of your home. I think you might be amazed at what this one change would do.

The foundation can be covered with a paint - which should be darker at anyr ate, to balance and ground the house and then covered with landscaping - what about covering in the base of the front porch with some lovely fig vine, or maidenhair fern (also a vine) - these are both small and do quite well in your climate?

You could then, just cover the front of the or the top of the brick on the porch with manufactured half-stone to match the color of your home - which really is a truly lovely warm color.

I would like to also suuggest that IF you can purchase the LARGER Carriage House style lighting fixtures - please do NOT get white! White just never looks good with stone or brick - always looks cheap. Wrought Iron, Iron or Oil rubbed bronze finish would be best.

OK - good luck and let us know?
    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 11:13AM
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I like the landscape suggestions about planting a tree to the right of the front window to hide window offset. I was also thinking of a trellis on the porch next to the brick column about the width of the door.
1 Like    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 11:22AM
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This was my original choice for the door. I'm afraid the colour looks strange in the picture. It is actually a darker, bluer red than this. I think I can get this with three quarters glass as in photoshopped version above. I like the idea of slate grey or a soft Autumn colour. We will also add some railings and a bigger lamp and beef up the planting. The door glass has zinc edgings to the panels. Thanks so much to everyone who has tried to help.
    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 1:31PM
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OK - what about a something like a real wooden door? With all the lovely stone - a really classy wooden door - would certainly make the frontage look richer?

With all these different tones of stone and brick - it just might be too busy and will draw attention to the confusing off setting mix of textures here?

Really - it is too much. Sorry - but not getting a very classy feel with this type of door or the color.
    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 1:40PM
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I like wood and so does OH. Salesman didn't agree and we were put off. Gosh ..I'm getting confused. Is it the colour you hate or the glass? The colour is wrongly represented so please ignore that element. I tried to add some richness by using a busier glass and also to follow all the rectangles on the exterior. We need to have an expanse of glass in the door as the house faces north west and the porch overshadows the door.
    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 1:53PM
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So...simpler and contemporary?
    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 1:56PM
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These were my other thoughts on door and colour. This red is a more accurate representation.
    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 2:23PM
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If you like the more burgandy looking door with the larger glass - that is GREAT! Is that the one YOU like? The other one you had previously shown came out looking like a candied apple :-).

I would like to suggest that you get the hardware & window lights on the door - (these are always options) that you truly like. IF you are going for more contemporary look I do like this. Then you should choose LARGER - more contemporary lighting fixtures as well. Since you mentioned you cannot paint the tirm right now - this will certainly give you a LOT of bang for your buck.
Of course, I cannot tell if this is brushed nickle or pewter - But it would be nice to have all of these materials coordinated - IF you want a more traditional feel - then would go with an oil rubbed bronze for the window lights in the door and other hardware - mail slot, etc. ?

I LIKE the 3/4 window light option much better - it is quite lovely. good choice.

Please keep us posted - on which direction - :-)
1 Like    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 2:40PM
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Thank you :0). Almost there on the door and shopping this weekend for small railings and a side gate to match. Bit of surfing today to find larger lamps and mail box and research for The right size tree in Autumn shades. The rest of the planting will have to wait until Spring but hope to progress the other elements quickly so the house looks nice for Christmas! Will post photos. I very much appreciate the input.
    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 9:02AM
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One last suggestion - trees, etc. cost money - and if your house faces NW - be sure to ask if the tree will grow in part shade? Or does it require full sun? Also - HOW TALL will it really get? You don't want it to grow too tall - and what about root systems next to your home? I do know that in UK the cold winds blow from the North Sea so you need to ensure that your tree can withstand this type of weather? Perhaps something along the lines of an evergreen might suit this spot best? Don't know what you are looking for - Holly's cause dry ground where the water is not absorbed because the leaves do not disinegrate well and must be raked. Lots of things to consider here. I would certainly share all of these things with nursery folks and let them help you. And, you also do not want a tree that is going to grow and cover your windows.

And I have one last thought about your front porch with the unmatched brick column. Next spring or so, when you can - ask a brick mason to come and see if he can reomove one of those bricks and see what is underneath that column stack? If there is a metal support pole they have bricked around - you could just have the bricks removed and a wooden column (square and shaped - you can look these up on line) built around the pole. You can order all the parts to have this finished with some details added. I am SURE there is one to hold up the front of your house. I would also like to suggest that you have this column if you choose to do this project, made out of manufactured wood - this way it will not rot, could be modern or traditional - and will totally change the front of the house. I would paint it the same color you end up choosing for the trim when the time comes - perhaps one shade darker?

IF you can remove this column of unmatched brick - it will make the lovely stone of your home look less conflicted with that yellow brick. As I mentioned earlier - there IS manufactured stone - made espressly for covering things like the brick on your front porch - the rest of the facing brick around the base of the house can be painted a darker color and then you can plant landscaping in front of it.

This way - your door, lights, etc., will be what the eye is drawn towards and the rest will become inconsequential. I know this will be a project for the future - but this could be a really quick fix - to ease the confusion of these two different materials. Your stone house is just lovely - and the points around the sides and details is great.

Please let us know - exciting isn't it - :-)
1 Like    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 10:30AM
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I can see exactly what you mean. I have been conflicted about this porch since we moved in. We grow all manner of shrubs and plants in our back garden and a couple of trees but the front of the house takes the worst of the weather and it can be very windy and damp. The yellow brick is far less yellow. When it is dry but it is frequently very wet here, although the front lawn is well drained. We have a very good local nursery ( its a small village) and I'll be sure to take advice. It appears that the neighbours have very few plants growing, mostly conifers and heathers at the front. I'm hoping to be a bit more adventurous and I already feel much more positive !
    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 10:42AM
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Sorry about typos...new Ipad :0).
    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 10:44AM
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I prefer the burgundish color and the larger 3/4 glazing for any one you pick--I do like all your glass choices, but think the glazing on the burgundy one is my favorite. That one does have a bit of Art Deco to it and the scale is good for the windows and garage door. The contrast between the frosted and other glass can look nice at night and offers some privacy.

But the little squares of beveled glass can be stunning in the light and throw rainbows all over the entry (but not as much with a NW exposure and under cover), and look very sparkly at night. We have the same type of doors in the US (called Prairie here) and they can be pretty. If you go the sparkle route, I would though go with the darker caning, door knob, mail slot (?) and bigger light fixture to contrast though. The mail slot cuts way down on the door's energy efficiency.

I do think something more in the burnt orange/red family but not too saturated would help tie in the brick. If you want to customize the color, I believe most of these kind of doors can be ordered primed and then you can paint any color you want. Factory finish colors are so limited and if you want to stand out a bit, pick your own.
1 Like    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 11:13AM
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3 Likes    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 10:55PM
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Wow...that looks wonderful ! Just as an update.. Railings will take 8 weeks to produce :0( , third quote for door should be done today. So no update until Christmas !
Now I'm trying to identify plants.. I love the way this looks. Thank you ;0)
    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 6:16AM
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Looks fabulous! When you can . . . still suggest painting trim a darker color to go with beautiful stone of house and reframing that brick front porch post with wood to match possible new trim? Yes? How did you search for larger lighting fixtures turn out? Any luck?

I think you are well on your way. Lovely.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 8:53AM
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Hello :0). No joy so far with light fittings but I will continue to look. Anything I have seen in a larger size has been industrial in style. I did see some wall hung mailboxes at the forge that produces the railings and might do that until I find something. I will continue to look though !
    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:20AM
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plug in "Carriage Lamps" - ??????

Modern outdoor lighting?

Go to RejuvenationHardware.com to get some ideas for outdoor lighthing by style, period and material ????

This might help.

OR look on house - put in Restort llighting - OUT doors - there are TONS of options to look at.

Historic lighting?
    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:31AM
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Lights have to fit flush to the wall otherwise they are a hazard when walking up the steps to the house. We did originally consider overhead lighting but had some problem with the cabling so had it wired to the wall by the door. Ideas are not really the problem but sourcing items in the UK can be. Thanks for the link.
    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 3:18PM
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Robert A. McGraw Architect
We are an architectural firm in Southern California (www.mcgraw-architect.com) that has been working with home owners who are trying to envision some simple changes to their front exteriors to enhance the beauty of their homes. We decided to provide an inexpensive beginning design service for anyone in any location. We call the company Home Curb-Appeal (www.home-curbappeal.com). Send us three photos of you home's facade, fill out a questionnaire, and we will give you three 3D renderings of your house transformed. This way your efforts over time to make your home more beautiful from the kerb will be unified and consistent; you'd have a road map of a sort. We would love to work with you across the ocean!! Check out our websites.
    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 4:42PM
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Very smart new BLACK door installed before Christmas ..photo to follow.
    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 10:10AM
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i know it's 2 yrs later. is it too late to comment? haha. glad you went with a black door!!!! it will stand out, but tastefully. i did like a few ideas on here. but i'll just make one, unless already something has been done??? the brick wall.... if there are restrictions to estate area or the hassle of paint chipping or cost of changing the stones etc. i would put some nice overhanging plants. preferably year round types. ie.....
The Farm Garage · More Info

or a type of year round climber?
    Bookmark   November 29, 2014 at 11:23AM
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Hello and thanks for your interest. We now have a black door and a low railing along the porch. We have planted across the garden, under the window. Plants havent covered the front wall as yet but we will get there. We don't get a lot of sunshine here. We haven't been able to source a window box or similar to put under the window above the garage door so plan to get one made in Spring. I'm grateful to everyone for the ideas and giving us confidence to smarten up the front of the house.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 29, 2014 at 1:29PM
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Can you post a photo update? So often I wonder what happens to these design dilemmas.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 29, 2014 at 2:07PM
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