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Need ideas for front of house....desperate need of something big
Nancy
November 6, 2012 in Design Dilemma
I'm buying this acreage, the house is a 1999 build, this is the front of the house,,,it is lacking something. The deck is the back side of house...what would you do to it...just looks unfinished....ideas please?..
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victorianbungalowranch
Well, it sure looks like they never put in any kind of landscaping or cared too much how the windows and such would look from the outside. The color isn't helping any either. From this view the basement doors almost look like the entrance.

So I would:

1) Paint the doors/storms a bright color, maybe beef then up to a double door or with sidelights if you have space. Are there two doors there? If so, make clear which one is the front door by making it bigger, brighter and more important. Add some nice large light fixtures.

2) Stucco the basement walls so they look finished.

3) Enlarge the patio and plant some nice shrubs and ornamental trees, including something tall where there are blank walls. The soil appears to be fill and probably needs to be enriched. Replanting that worn out grass would be nice too. Perhaps consider some native planting, decorative grasses and field type flowers for easy maintenance and to enhance the nice site.

4)Put a nice tall decorative trellis over the utility box--maybe far enough out so it can be read=and train a vine over it. Maybe it can go alltheway up to the roofline.

5) Consider building a canopy over the front entry and deck so it looks like the front door. It will also add interest to the roof. I would also consider extending the deck so it shelters the bottom patio and makes the top look more finished. I can't really see the whole facade to say for sure what it needs to balance it. A picture straight on further back would help.
4 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 11:36PM
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pruner
I'm confused! Is the front just garages or the deck section?
1 Like   November 6, 2012 at 11:41PM
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Nancy
The garage is on the side attached to end of house. There a little white deck in this top pic that's the front door....the sliding door is basement... The pic with big deck is the back of house....
0 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 11:51PM
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Nancy
Anyone else with some ideas?
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 9:24PM
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victorianbungalowranch
More pics that show the front clearly will get you more help! :)
2 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 10:06PM
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houssaon
I agree that another photo with a better view of the front would help. But from what I can see you need to clearly define the front entry. The lower grade might look beter with a stone facade. Landscaping will help, too.
1 Like   November 7, 2012 at 10:16PM
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PRO
CASTLE Design Studio LLC
Hi N, here's a quick sketch where I envision a ”Classic Country Drama” style with black, white, gray and the plantings straight evergreen shrubs and evergreen patio trees in containers. Plus an entry identifying structure. There are so many different styles so don't worry if you don't like this. :-)
3 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 10:24PM
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Nancy
I'm going there tomorrow..I'll take more pics..Thank you sooo much for your time and great ideas. I need all the help I can get, LOL. Thanks
0 Likes   November 8, 2012 at 12:28AM
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Lee Poehler
totally agree with victorianbungalowranch

1. either enlarge wooden porch large enough to cover sliding glass doors or add a wooden beam awnin.

2. add bold colors on trim

3. add window boxes to those as many as windows as you are comfortable with.

4. Mark main door with bold colors, great light fixtures and/or path way to.

5 add large bush or plant to cover gas meter and fill in around with simple flowers and/or veggie garden.

6. line drive way with tall slender evergreens, cypress.
4 Likes   November 8, 2012 at 1:13AM
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designsbykathy
We added a pergola to a house that had the similar bare look...it is not attached to the house but added a lot...landscaping with shrubs and flowers adds a lot also.
6 Likes   November 8, 2012 at 6:52AM
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nancy612
INSIDEOUT has a beautiful idea. If that's out of the budget, consider Lee Poehler's ideas. Pergolas and window boxes add a lot of character and help break up large areas. You could perhaps consider decorative concrete work to the block bottom of the house since the options are endless.
0 Likes   November 8, 2012 at 7:21AM
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nancy612
Also, you can update your garage doors, there are so many choices that look better than dated ones. Have them complement your main color, but don't forget your trim color when looking at options. Examples are all over the internet with a simple google search
2 Likes   November 8, 2012 at 7:24AM
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Nancy
Took these new pics today......shows attached garage on the left end and the REAL front door...
0 Likes   November 8, 2012 at 11:50PM
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Nancy
Lee Poehler. Thank you so much for taking the time to draw that. Awesome idea , I'm just excited to see what we can do now....and Thank you all. I just love all the ideas...keep them comin..lol
0 Likes   November 8, 2012 at 11:53PM
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victorianbungalowranch
OK here is a rough rendering.

1) Like I mentioned above, I would add a pergola or extend the deck. An awning is an alterntive, but the pergola will be more architectural and will cast nice shadows. I show it in classic white--I think the pressure-treated wood would blend in too much. This is shown attached to the house. but it could be freestanding. I would make it a good size to help balance the house and creat a pleasant seating and play area.

2) I covered the exposed basement with a charcoal colored stucco. Paint, concrete stain (?) or stone veneer is possible too, but I would make it fairly dark to ground the home and make it stand out from a distance, and do it all around the house.

3) Flattened that lump of dirt by the front of the house and created a patio leading to the front door.

4) Transplanted bushes lower down on the slope and added a series of retaining walls and plants to blend it into the undulating landscape. This is just old fill so it will need to be dug out and new topsoil added. It should have a natural look. An ornamental tree(s) away from the door and near the parking area might be nice.

5) Added steps from the upper deck to the patio--looks like you only need three or so--even with the front of the deck. I would recommend having thicker corner posts and adding thick trim boards to the lattice to finish it off. A spacer between the trim and the lattice is good so you don't trap moisture. Then I would add landscape timbers with limestone screening or concrete slab steps to the lower level.

6) Installed a bigger and more impressive front door. I recommend a solid door for maximum color impact from a distance with a sidelight and transom, and some nice chunky lighting on the side. Two wall mounted sconces that throw light up and down could look really nice at night. I show it in a Tangerine color, which would look nice with the blue/gray siding.

7) I would consider adding simple window inserts to the garages, or maybe painting the second from top row of squares charcoal grey, just to break it up. And I would cut out the concrete between each door and plant a tall skinny conifer to make less monolithic and more inviting.

8) You have a lot of grass to cut! I would consider looking into making part of it a native meadow that is shaped to fit the contours of the land, maybe with some mowed walking paths, and using ornamental grasses and easy flowers, such as coreopsis, near the house, plus some conifers and shubbery to finish it off. This sort of thing is really popular in places like Nebraska and is easy to take care of once established.
3 Likes   November 9, 2012 at 8:37AM
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PRO
CASTLE Design Studio LLC
Remember that plants can add so much depth and interest, I would go for a majority of evergreen trees and shrubs with a few deciduous accent trees. Plant trees away from the house.
5 Likes   November 9, 2012 at 11:21AM
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pruner
There are some great suggestions above, including the portico construction over the front door and extending the pergola along the house and taming the slope with 'cut and fill' and steps. I think that you also need some bold colour (house and garden). Add some spectacular lighting and colourful flowers in front of the steps plus impressive side lights to the front door. The white is a little stark here, but that may soften with the additional construction and plants. Consider a gentler cream or navy on the fascia board and door/window frames with a red front door with a darker colour on the lower level to 'ground' it. Garage doors aren't a priority but add some trim colour and flank them with plants in oversized pots. Good luck.
0 Likes   November 9, 2012 at 1:00PM
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Nancy
Omg I just am amazed at the responses and help......thank you all so much.... You have helped so much...it's winter time here in Iowa so I will be doing changes in the spring....I will repost this with new pics. Thank you again...
0 Likes   November 9, 2012 at 1:09PM
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victorianbungalowranch
It is always good to take your time to plan things out, look at options and get estimates.

I forgot to mention to make the pergola or deck supports chunky, maybe even using square built up pillars. The biggest mistake people make when building porches and such is to make these elements too thin. A 4x4 or even a 6x6 might be structurally adaquate but often looks skimpy.

I don't know what your budget is, but cover over an entrance is always nice, although I bet yuu usually come in through the garage. I like the low sleek lines fitting into the landscape of your house, and added a low hip roof with the same pitch as the main roof extending over the deck and the entrance. If bugs are a problem in your area, or you want a 3-season area, you could even enclose the deck and leave the entrance area open. I would consider having exposed rafter tails to echo the pergola.

I also thought about putting a small canopy over your roof by creating a sort of dormer cut into the roof supported by brackets over the door. I agree that a thickert facia for the roof would help to set it off. A dark teal/marine blue would be nice.

Sorry, I originally saved the wrong version of your photo so it is very low resolution and I did not realize that there was a better version available. If you click on it and save it and open and zoom in, you can see it a bit better.
0 Likes   November 9, 2012 at 2:35PM
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Nancy
victorianbungalowranch, thank you so much..I love this.... Only problem is where you have my front door as orange it's the garage door, it's hard to tell from pics and there's so many diff windows. The next glass looking window is a door..the front door but I see what you mean it totally changes everything with the highlight window....again thank you....love, love love..
0 Likes   November 9, 2012 at 2:50PM
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victorianbungalowranch
So you have to pass the garage door to get to the front door. Bet that confuses a few people! I would paint it to match the siding to make it almost invisable.

You could just move the door over I drew, but that will change the balance of the composition. Is the deck level with the garage, or do you have to go up a couple of steps?

I do like the open look of the first rendering, but the second may be more practical. If you did enclose it, you could put the "main" front door on the enclosed porch--would be more visable from the parking area, but less visable from a distance. Of course, you might be in danger of making that nice space a dumping ground for muddy boots and such:)

I do think it is important to make it look welcoming as you drive up to the house, and clear where the door is!

Let me know about the deck and your preferences. Thanks!
0 Likes   November 9, 2012 at 4:55PM
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PRO
CASTLE Design Studio LLC
Hi, another thought to marry your front entrance and side parking with new guest parking on the side at a lower elevation then grand stairs up to your front door plus landscaping to screen your entertainment areas on the lower floor. I'm picturing great family reunion photos on these stairs...
2 Likes   November 10, 2012 at 8:53AM
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Nancy
Oh Diane. That's a great idea...do you do this for a living? Thank you so much...my husband and I are so amazed by these drawings and ideas... It's wonderful....God Bless
1 Like   November 10, 2012 at 6:44PM
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PRO
CASTLE Design Studio LLC
You literally just brought tears to my eyes, you're so sweet! Yes, I'm an interior and landscape designer (plus I do crazy art). Houzz is truly addictive and hopefully you'll post your work as you go...so many lovely people here with great ideas. May God bless you too, Diane
2 Likes   November 10, 2012 at 7:52PM
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victorianbungalowranch
I thought about that too, but the grade drops away and that would be a lot of steps and you will probably need a landing in the middle and fill in the area underneath the staircase somehow.

Or it would take quite a lot of fill and a bigger retaining wall and might be a little awkward with the extended deck and the cut out area underneath. The grading and landscaping wasn't well done in the first place, so that might be a possibility with some work. Certainly would say, Here is the front door! And I wouldn't use many tall conifers--they take over with time and may end up hiding the house. That's why it is worth engaging an landscape architect to avoid mistakes like that. Too bad Inside out doesn't live near you.

Well, you need a landscape architect to work out the grading and whatnot if you go this route. It is a more involved solution, but more impressive too. Always good to have options!:)

I would have the gable inset into the roof matching the slope and projecting outward with an open gable and possibly a gable truss.

Well, have fun figuring it out this winter and I hope it all works out for you.
0 Likes   November 11, 2012 at 3:34AM
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Nancy
Thank you also victorianbungalowranch. You're right, it wasn't done right in the first place...lol. I found out yesterday. The house was moved there. On the foundation. Its up about 2 blocks ..on the side of the LOESS HILLS here in Sioux City Iowa. About 3 foot down is Shale Rock... It's on Conservation land. On all sides of us ...They're trying to protect this land....everyone wants to live on these hills very beautiful area. As far as Iowa goes Ha! So I want it to be a beautiful home...the former owners never I'd much after they to the house finished....I have many many ideas...and you all are awesome...helping me......I appreciate your input and time.Thank you ......God Bless....
0 Likes   November 11, 2012 at 6:52AM
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Lee Poehler
Love Love Insideout's ideas/drawings!
1 Like   November 12, 2012 at 7:44AM
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Ute Faber
There are so many DIY pergola kits out there. Just make sure you look for Cedar since it is insect and decay resistant. They can be custom made - attached or freestanding and different heights - check out
http://www.outdoorlivingtoday.com/oltss/storefront/products.php?category=pergolas
1 Like   November 23, 2012 at 2:55PM
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victorianbungalowranch
Landscape Architects do hardscape as well as landscaping and may be your best bet if the area and the soil is unstable or protected. The views must be lovely, and with some native grasses and landscaping, it will be even more impressive.
1 Like   November 24, 2012 at 7:10AM
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Nancy
I just wanted to Thank everyone for there input, I took the advice of that a few of you had and did a quick paint job. Before it had gotten too cold here, what a difference this made....take a look...!!!
1 Like   January 2, 2013 at 10:04AM
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victorianbungalowranch
What an improvement. Hope you post if you do anything else! Happy New Year!!
1 Like   January 2, 2013 at 1:43PM
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14thstreet
Looking much better already! You have received a lot of great advice already...can't wait to see more pics in the spring. Hello from a fellow Iowan.
1 Like   January 2, 2013 at 2:07PM
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misecretary
any new updates ?
1 Like   August 25, 2013 at 3:37AM
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