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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Creating two off-street parking spaces along the front of the raised ranch house

iriscogNovember 3, 2012
We are building two parallel 5' high retaining walls along the front of the house to create a front yard and two off-street parking spaces as well as a set of stairways to access the house at the lower level. The garage will become a bedroom. The main entrance will be at the lower level between the posts that support the deck. We just demolished the staircase the previous owner had improvised. Could you please suggest a color scheme and siding for the lower floor, the stairways and retaining walls? Do you think I need to paint the brick?
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Are you wanting to side the entire lower floor.
Will there be a window where the garage door is now.
If you could choose any style what's yours.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 5:27PM
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Custom Home Planning Center
I'd approach the elevation in the following manor.
1. build a patio in front of the former garage door accessed with french doors from the new bedroom.
2.Add the retaining walls along the edge of the patio to enclosed the remainder of the front yard the with of the patio depth with stairs at the high side up to the parking area.Not you can leave a side walk entrance at the far left for 1st floor egress and patio drainage I would then bring a drive from the curb opening across the yard left to right with a gradual grade, turning on to a flat parking area on the high side of the lot leaving an equal flight of stairs to the up or down side entrances. The advantages is the creation of a enclosed court yard and a short direct walk either up or down.
2 Likes    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:04PM
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Wow, that is the FRONT of the house? That has to be the worst staircase ever. It would help if you could draw in where the retaining walls and staircase are going to be.

I would put in a long ribbon window where the garage is with window mullions similar in spacing to the picture window upstairs, and maybe a nice screened in private patio with a modern blind between the glass door. I would size the new entry to line up with the picture window upstiars with double doors in the center and a simple transom and sidelights with some nice big pots on each side. I would think about adding a couple of windows upatairs to balance it out.

If budget permits, a double deck with a roof could be very nice..
    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:25PM
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Please, do not paint your brick. It is classy.
Even though you've made some decisions already; my best advice is to go online to research homes on slopes, or walk around your area and look at what others have done with elevations. They are tricky; slope, drainage, style limitations. This is all very important because it's your money and lifestyle.
If you have a view but the road is loud, consider something that buffers noise when you budget for the walls. Sound naturally travels up. Plantings with non-invasive roots but full foliage will help. Take full on advantage of your lower level area. Expanding it if needed. Ironically, people (as a rule) tend to like ground level living more than balcony living. Preserve your deck as much as possible. Stairs should have landings and at least one 90 degree angle for this elevation, in my opinion for ease of use. Long stair treads (over 8" for large footed folks). If you are using concrete block or poured they are making some excellent products now. Unilock and Basalite. As for color: think about only painting the white strips in a color first before shelling siding. If you are set on siding, use something to compliment brick that you like. Wood is pricey and if you are near the coast, effort to maintain. However, does bring a certain feel to a home. I like custom home planning centers ideas. Find a contractor you can count on for patience and directness. You need the truth, but you need time to process. :=)
1 Like    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 12:35AM
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Love the car court idea. Saw that all over UK on a trip, no space wasted on garages. Most were paved in either asphalt or hard stone pavers. Consider sage or olive green to complement the brick (saving its low maintenance value) and helping the home blend into the surrounding landscape. Build out that entry terrace effect below to draw attention to the new ground floor level. Screening the bedroom side from the entry side with bamboo or light filtering small trees like Japanese maples.

East Jefferson Residence · More Info
    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 10:38AM
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Hi Candace66, yes windows where the garage is and new siding for the lower floor. My style is contemporary and I am willing to paint or change the white windows.
    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 12:10PM
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Thanks to all!
    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 12:33PM
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I'd love to have this problem. I wouldn't side over top of the brick, I'd be tempted to do a little painting but would also hold off until the windows and doors are addressed. See how the windows and doors in the photos are much larger than yours. Once the size of the windows are doors are addressed there will be less brick. Your home from the road is quite flat and some dimension is needed and easy to accomplish off of the deck. I've picked photos that combine black, grey and brown. Hope this helps, keep us posted.

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1 Like    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 9:58AM
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Forgot to mention that not a single window or door is trimmed in white
1 Like    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:01AM
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Olidcan, I could do big windows at the lower level but not upstairs because of the inner layout.
Do you think I could paint the trimming of the white windows? some are wood while others are vinyl.
thnks for your feedback
    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 12:02PM
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Cascio Associates - Site Planning - Landscape Arch

Is there a house back there? How do I get too it? I just came over the crosswalk (built wide enough for city shoppers or a wheelchair race) to a dead end. [that abrupt stop is problem #4 or 5]

I want to visit my pals in their new house beyond - yes that is them waving a welcome from the second floor deck - but how do I get up there from here? [that is problemo uno]

I do not want to walk up the handsome turf drive, that is a service zone and I may get run over by a service van or the fuel oil delivery. What is the alternative offered by the good folks on the deck?

Here are a few avenues to follow toward a solution. You take multiple ideas, run them by an audience of a gathering of the entire family, even regular visitors, yes, even your mother-in-law (it might be a wise decision to include your uphill neighbor to the group - and your insurance agent) - and present your case so the jury can decide what direction or directions to follow.

This may take a while - go get a drink and turn down the TV.

a. There may not be any topsoil to save across your front yard to save, but, if there is you want to save it, as it has value to the future vigor of the growies. You might stockpile it on the left lane of your drivelawn.

b. You have previously put an ad in the local shoppers handout offering free fill to your neighbors. Your contractor will load the neighbors trucks on a given day, prearranged.

c. Why am I doing this, you may ask, I'm just the visitor. Sorry, I guess I should just return to offering advise, not writing a tale of the future.

Essentially, I suggest you (the homeowner) do 3, 4, or 6 projects.

First: Basically remove the entire mountainside between where the former dune crossing was removed, over to where the driveway will be.

Second: Work the hillside into a stable attractive natural environment, attractive to the visitor, the passerby, the neighborhood, and the homeowner and his dog.

Third: Install a driveway with turnaround/parking under the trees.

Four: Install a charming pedestrian entry sequence from curb to hugs at the front door.

Are we in agreement so far?

My initial thought, which is all you will get today, fortunately, is to enter straight in, then carve a circular bay toward your uphill neighbor, then straight on toward the house again, then another circular bay to include the homestead area.

The easiest and most expensive, and least desirable is a series of retaining walls. You don't want them to exceed 5 or 6 feet as they tend to show their burden after years, in spite of footings and tiebacks. And, you lose your natural setting that you came here for. (and the deer don't like them either)

A series of steep plant covered slopes, then swales, then level areas, then more steep slopes, swales and level areas, until you reach the bottom swale, level area and entrance corridor, then planting, then driveway. Simple huh!

You want more detail, send me an email. If I can keep my advise to the written word and avoid liability, my advise is free (and worth every penny).

Oh, I forgot problem 4 or 5. Let's put a welcoming area at the end of the crosswalk. It is so bold, it cries out for an ending, perhaps a little grass terrace until you get back onto your property, and then some planting, a postlight, your house number, and a cellphone charger before starting the journey onward.

Quite a challenge for a young couple - make it fun if you can, and take your time. Bring your guests pleasantly from the parking bay to your door up the new driveway, while you develop your new hobby: today's nightmare becomes the wonderland of tomorrow covered with birds and squirrels and deer and that black bear and her cub, for an exciting future, as viewed from the second floor porch and within.

Might set some trees out by the street, so the end of your view is not the other end of the crosswalk.

Enjoy the challenge and its rewards. And maintain enough insurance!


    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 8:26AM
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Maltby Design

2+ year old thread.

    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 8:36AM
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