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Need help with the curb appeal.
tzipsie10
November 8, 2012 in Design Dilemma
I just bought this house and need some advice on house to modernize
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crchappell
Remove that large bush/tree that is blocking your front door and porch area first. After that, I think you'll see that your house is really quite lovely and more welcoming. In my opinion, the only area that I would change would be the lower level windows on the left surrounded by brick. They are small. Perhaps cottage style shutters in the same taupe/cream color trim color to give them more weight?
November 8, 2012 at 5:47pm     
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PRO
Urban Oasis Design & Construction LLC
The house is very attractive but it doesn't sit we'll in the landscape. R
First , remove the outdated bushes - especially the large one. Add a pathway leadingntonthe front door from the street to make your entry more inviting. Then add some trees to frame the house and settle it in the landscape. I would also recommend some organic, curvy bed lines to contrast with the square lines of the house.
November 8, 2012 at 6:07pm     
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judianna20

I get a Swiss/French chateau feel.
crchappell has some great ideas. What if you painted that lower level, to the left, the same color as the above shingles? It would make that part of the house look taller.
November 8, 2012 at 6:09pm   
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tzipsie10
Great idea. Would you paint the brick?
November 8, 2012 at 6:15pm   
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PRO
Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
You've received sage words from crchappell and Urban Oasis. The best advice I can add is to call in a landscape designer who can help you create the look that your lovely home deserves.
November 8, 2012 at 6:16pm     
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Anna
I would remove the large tree, on the left facing the door, I would use a semi circle planting bed down near the curb with dogwoods, azaleas, I would put crepe myrtles on the opposite side, frame it out
November 8, 2012 at 6:28pm   
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houssaon
Landscaping is going to do wonders for this house. I would also paint the posts and window trim a creamy white.
November 8, 2012 at 6:51pm   
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inkwitch
I hope you aren't attached to those porch supports; they're rather dated. Replace with square 6x6 boxed posts. Others have commented on the bushes. Once you can see your porch, there may be other changes there.

Otherwise, down the road, the window(s) on the far right should be the same as the ones on the upper portion to connect visually the two sections.

All those square-trimmed hedges sort of perpetuate the "square-ness." Trimming them in rounder configurations would help, with some colorful plants in between -- decorative grasses, perhaps.
November 8, 2012 at 7:00pm     
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janishill
Rip out all shrubs. They have served their purpose and it is time for a new, updated look. You will be amazed at the difference this alone will make.

If you have the funds the sidewalk could be reconfigured to make it a more comfortable walk to the door.

The lamp post could be changed to something more modern and I can image the front porch light fixture(s) as well.

There seems to be a random post just stuck in the middle of the grass. What is it?
November 8, 2012 at 7:49pm   
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tzipsie10
Great advice. I had decided early on the lamp in the front yard had to go.
November 8, 2012 at 8:26pm   
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victorianbungalowranch
I think it is cute the way it is and just needs a little refreshing, not modernization. Changing the landscaping is a step in the right direction. That large shrub is totally dominating things. Wonder if it would be possible to move it?

Getting rid of the posts will just make it look like what everyone else has. Don't rush into decisions like that--it is a lot cheaper to keep what is perfectly servicable and let the house grow on you.

Rather than emphasizing the little windows, I would deemphasize them with a different color of window trim to match the brick. Then they read appropiately as basement windows. But I think they are OK as they are and are appropiately, and could be partially hidden by bushes if they bother you. Whether you can paint depends on what the frames are--vinyl and aluminum windows are not a good candidate for paint.

I would consider some changes in color. That looks like vinyl shingles, so you may be stuck there--the real thing is so much nicer.Vinyl siding can be painted if cleaned and primed first, so maybe some of the casing or the shingles (since it is a rather small part of the house) could be painted and that will really make the distinctive dormers stand out.

A brick color or mushroom brown casing would not only bring out the dormers, it will deemphasize the little windows and make it look more in proportion. A moss green is a possibility too. Painting the pillars the same color may give the facade a bit more dimension. A teal/verdigris color on the door could be nice to brighten things up. or maybe a French Blue.

Brick is considered out dated by some, but this is a nice brick and I would not paint. Dark colors on brick can trap heat and buckle, and being near the ground, water will damage the paint.. It can be a hassle, depending on your climate and drainage. Once you do it, you can't go back easily. Another thing not to rush into.

Stucco is a possibility, but you need a good mason or it can look bad. Stone facing will ruin the jetty--the projecting second floor, and it too can look dated pretty quickly.

Of course, nice light fixtures, door hardware (not shiney) and some seating can make this inviting. And a bit of modern seating and some color on the porch can be enough to shake things up a bit if you wish.
November 8, 2012 at 8:48pm     
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PRO
Joseph I. Mycyk Architects, Inc.
I recommend that you concentrate on the landscaping. Remove the large overgrown shrub at the front and you'll see the house in a totally different frame. The remaining squared off shrubs along the stepped sidewalk are too rigid. The photo doesn't look like fall so I think the squared shrubs are drying out anyway. Landscaping with variety in shape, texture, color will make the approach to the house more appealing.

There is nothing wrong with the wood posts. They work well witht the cedar shake siding. I wouldn't recommend painting the brick,

The house doesn't need much. It a beauty.
November 9, 2012 at 4:26am   
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PRO
Joseph I. Mycyk Architects, Inc.
I recommend that you concentrate on the landscaping. Remove the large overgrown shrub at the front and you'll see the house in a totally different frame. The remaining squared off shrubs along the stepped sidewalk are too rigid. The photo doesn't look like fall so I think the squared shrubs are drying out anyway. Landscaping with variety in shape, texture, color will make the approach to the house more appealing.

There is nothing wrong with the wood posts. They work well witht the cedar shake siding. I wouldn't recommend painting the brick,

The house doesn't need much. It's a beauty.
November 9, 2012 at 4:27am   
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PRO
Joseph I. Mycyk Architects, Inc.
I recommend that you concentrate on the landscaping. Remove the large overgrown shrub at the front and you'll see the house in a totally different frame. The remaining squared off shrubs along the stepped sidewalk are too rigid. The photo doesn't look like fall so I think the squared shrubs are drying out anyway. Landscaping with variety in shape, texture, color will make the approach to the house more appealing.

There is nothing wrong with the wood posts. They work well witht the cedar shake siding. I wouldn't recommend painting the brick,

The house doesn't need much. It's a beauty.
November 9, 2012 at 4:27am   
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decoenthusiaste
As you can see on the attached, your porch posts are putting you in very good company. These colors (or something similar) would also bring your house into the French style it was originally designed to be. Pull out all the old clumpy shrubs and bushes, start with an empty palette and have a talented landscaper terrace your lawn to level it out in front of the house with steps and plantings more in line with the picture judyg posted.

November 9, 2012 at 5:57am   
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angryredhead
I agree that the shrubs need removing, and if it were my house and I just wanted to modernize what's already there, I'd turn the sidewalk leading to the front door into a garden path with wide beds and diverse plants so that traveling to the front door is an experience on its own. Obviously use the space between the sidewalk and the house but also extend 8-10' on the other side of the sidewalk so that the interior planting is lovely from the sidewalk and exterior planting is also lovely from the street. I'd keep the planting directly in front of the door low so that the front door remains visible from the street, and I'd plant a tree with a mature height of 20-30' on the side opposite the sidewalk/driveway to anchor that side of the property. You may need gutters for the roof directly above the space between the sidewalk and house so that an avalanche of rain doesn't wreck the plants below. If the lamp is electric and attached to a switch inside the house, I'd reuse the electrical for path lighting so that the steps were clearly visible.
November 9, 2012 at 6:56am   
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tzipsie10
Wow! You guys have some great idea's. My colors for the interior is Gray blues, Creamy yellows, and black accents. With some moss green thrown in.... What colors do you think I should use on the outside of the house to compliment the inside??? Your suggestions are very much appreciated.
November 9, 2012 at 7:12am   
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tzipsie10
The front of the house faces SE.
November 9, 2012 at 7:16am   
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laurencrobbins
I agree with the landscaping advice. A walkway directly from the curb to the door would be wonderful, and more flowers. I think that the small windows in the lower left should have shutters. KEEP THE BRICK! Brick is timeless and beautiful! Doesn't make for a modern look, but you would really have to do a lot to make your home "modern." Your home is beautiful and you should be proud! I think once the shrubs and tree are removed, and your home is painted it will be even more beautiful. I think Greys would look good. Here is an image I think you could draw some inspiration from.
November 9, 2012 at 2:38pm   
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laurencrobbins
I think that the columns that are on the house posted above would look great for your home as well.
November 9, 2012 at 2:40pm   
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PRO
GARY FINLEY, ASID
good house....hope you are trying to fix it up, and not modernize it, as it is not a modern house. just bring it up to date with tearing out the large shurb as suggested, and the rest of the planting around the house. replace the yard light with one on a cedar post much like the support column...maybe a vertical with one curving detail
dont throw to much money into making it a different house unless you are adding space as you need to put the money into the landscaping
November 9, 2012 at 3:05pm   
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drememon
Congratulations on purchasing such a pretty home. I would look around the neighborhood for the homes colors that resonate, and make a decision from there. You'll probably find that organic, earth tones are probably the best here. Unfortunately, most of the landscape material has seen its best days ten years ago. Your front entry is completely hidden. I'd interview a few good landscape contractors,and go from there. The porch columns are odd... invest there first. Then, a nice walkway to the street with informal plantings would be nice. So many suburban houses ignore the street scape.The garage is often king, sadly, and unnecessarily. Though your garage doesn't present to the street, the entrance to the front door is defined by the walkway from the garage, not from the street.
November 9, 2012 at 3:08pm   
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victorianbungalowranch
The style of your house is called by architectural historians "Neo-French" or "Neo-French Eclectic." I went looking around pictures of French holiday flats, villas and gites--lot of fun to dream of visiting one someday. If you look at a lot of them, you find that they are quite often very modern on the inside, with a dash of modern on the outside as well.

Anyway, the shingle color is close to the traditional stucco or stone color in French country houses, and the color of door I recommended is found all over France for doors and shutters, going from moss and sage green, to tourquoise to French blue to ultramarine and periwinkle. The verdigris/tourquoise type colors are the most common.

Thought I would share a few pics to get the creative juices going!
November 9, 2012 at 4:15pm   
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victorianbungalowranch
Here are some more...
November 9, 2012 at 4:19pm   
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tzipsie10
Thank you so much! You have me thinking that maybe I should enbrace the French Style instead of fighting it. Maybe I should add shutters, what do you think?
November 9, 2012 at 4:55pm   
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tzipsie10
Thank you so much! You have me thinking that maybe I should enbrace the French Style instead of fighting it. Maybe I should add shutters, what do you think?
November 9, 2012 at 4:55pm   
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victorianbungalowranch
It is my philosophy that it is usually easier, cheaper and you get a better result to learn about and embrace the style of the house you have, rather than, as you say, "fight it." Then you can tweek to your taste, but it still will look in proportion, or you can fix past mistakes.

I would say a maybe for the shutters. I tried some out and didn't like them--too busy. As I tried to work with your house, I think less is more. I could be the time of day the picture was taken--I did adjust the color balance a bit, but the roof and bricks have a lavender tinge. So when I tried different colors for the door and garden and shutters, yellow ocher, lavender, violet and moss green and charcoal grey were the colors that worked best. The reddish browns and tourqoise didn't work at all.

Before doing shutters, i would get rid of that bush, paint the window casings on the second floor, and concentrate on the front (double?) doors and porch area. Some lights (chunky latern type would be good), nice rustic door hardware and maybe ornamental strap hinges (check the garage and entry door department). Then create a nice seating area on the expansive porch, maybe with some bistro chairs and a little table and some large terracotta type pots (the plastic ones look great these days, esp. with a little antiquing) with bushy flowers and adding lavender, rosemary, thyme and some softer shrubs and flowers to your garden, as suggested above. That alone would make a huge difference.

To really top it off, consider training a rose bush by the side of the porch, and adding some good quality window boxes under the upstairs windows. Of course only do this if you are willing to water them (trailing gerianums are particularly nice) and you could put pansies, ornamental cabbage and dusty miller in the winter, depending on where you live..

Of course it is up to you how far you want to take it. Take it one step at a time--it is nice as it is and this would just make it even nicer and a bit more colorful.

Here is a rendering . i just did the window sills in charcoal gray, and painted out the small windows in the same color. To add a bit of dimension to the facade, I would consider painting the large window casing a shade or two lighter color than it is now, and the same for the porch pillars, or maybe an oyster type color.. The doors are a moss green, almost chartreuse color to shake things up a bit. Yellow ocher/mustard yellow and even lavender might work too. Not as common, but I did see these colors in France. I would make the casing fairly light. for the door because it is so deeply recessed, but perhaps the charcoal would work there as well.

The color balance is tricky, so I would get swatches and posterboard to try it out. I think the charcoal (maybe with overtones of lavender) is a safe color, but the rest, I'm not sure. The time of day and the time of year really changes color balance. Take the bush out, take more photos and compare.

Shutter considerations: I would not put them on the little basement windows--then they will be wider and more important than the ones on top. (This sort of little window is common in medieval French homes--it was the work area and stable.) However, the second floor windows project outward, so any shutters there wouldn't actually touch the window. The ones on the right are a maybe.

I'm a bit of a shutter purist--they look best if they look like they could actually cover your window, and operational ones (or fake operational ones) with hinges and shutter dogs, look much better than inoperable ones. Measure the size of each half of the window, and that is the size of your shutter. Your windows are so big that maybe painted bifolding door panels and mounting with old fashioned door hinges with the acorn finale on the top and bottom onto the casing and with shutter dogs(to hold the shutter open) could do, instead of the usual louvered ones.
November 11, 2012 at 3:19am     
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tzipsie10
Thanks Victorianbungaloranch. Lots to think about.
November 11, 2012 at 4:34pm   
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victorianbungalowranch
Yes, but I think everyone agrees that the first thing is to take out or transplant that huge bush is the first step. You might like it better than you think with only that done.

Then the next step is to put some furniture and plants on the porch in the spring to make it inviting. (IKEA has cheap bistro chairs if you like that--probably need something heavier too). Get two for a DIY bench.

Step Three: landscape--consulting a designer is always a good idea, esp. if you don't have a green thumb--and

Step Four: Then tweak the color. (Take new photos in sunlight and post here)
November 11, 2012 at 5:39pm   
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cathyjoco
Hi, you have a beautiful home! My suggestion would be to thin out the large plant or tree. Personally, I would try to keep it by pruning it into a tree; this may or may not be possible. I would keep the height (if possible) to break up the roof line - your roof is very large. The plant that is to the left of the stairs should be pruned back to expose the stairs, I would cut following the line from the 2nd story. Once the porch is exposed, I would recommend extending the step (or steps) out beyond the roof line. Maybe making the bottom step, larger and fuller than the one above it. Eventually, the pattern can be followed out to the curb. Also, in order to show off the length of the house, I would recommend painting the upper portion of the house similar to the color to the bricks, perhaps 2-3 shades lighter, in order that you don't get too close to the color of the roof.. Once that is done, I would paint all the wood trim on the windows and porch the same color. You may also want to update the color and hardware on your front door. You may need to add lights to the porch, because I noticed the column lights were on - but none were on the porch. If you need the column light, I would update it. I would also add a little height to the plants and opt for a more natural, freehanded, rounded shape, rather than the hedged, flat shape. Good luck!
November 11, 2012 at 6:03pm   
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