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Help us with this ugly duckling
beyondink
December 14, 2012 in Design Dilemma
My wife and I bought this house a couple months ago.. we love the neighborhood and love the inside, but we always knew we would have to do something with the outside. The problem is we are at a loss... we are planning on putting a portico on the front int the next few months.. not sure on design though.. We also are having trouble coming up with a nice color scheme.. that yellow/almond trim is throwing us off, but with another little one on the way changing it isn't in the budget right now.. any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Billie G
Lovely house! Light grey colour would look very nice with the shutters, especially if you could paint the windows the same colour.
December 14, 2012 at 7:38AM   
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Dytecture
The overall color of the house is fine, perhaps adding a portico to define the front entry would be the most valuable investment one could make.


December 14, 2012 at 8:08AM     
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beyondink
we really like grey.. but all the aluminum trim as well as the shutters you see there are an almond/yellowish color... I was sort of thinking dark brown shutters (same brown thats in the dark bricks you see) with a dark teal doors.. just cant find the right shade of teal.. what do you guys think about that? Dytecture: I really like that portico.. I love the classic Colonial look
December 14, 2012 at 8:20AM     
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PRO
2Michaels
dytecture gave some great advice.. follow his lead. paint the shutters a deep grey/almost black like the photo.. It's very stately.
December 14, 2012 at 9:23AM     
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nasmijati
I agree with Dytecture. His idea will give you the best investment for the money.
December 14, 2012 at 2:04PM     
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Here's another inspiration photo for you. I'm on the same page as you and others are in thinking that a portico will make a beautiful addition to your home.
I also like Dytecture's idea of gray , but since you're the guy/gal on the spot and say that brown and teal would be better, then I'll offer you some paint suggestions in those colors. For your shutters, I would use Sherwin-Williams SW7026 Griffin and for the dark teal door, I like SW2810 Rockwood Sash Green.
Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
December 14, 2012 at 2:30PM     
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decoenthusiaste
Yes, you just need to make more of your entry and paint the trim and shutters. #2 below is similar to your brick color and the shutters look to be a green that is almost black.
Front garden
House addition in Garden City, NY
December 14, 2012 at 2:31PM     
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judianna20
I am coming in with a" fix it a little now and do a lot later on" recommendation. You are young and have a lot of years ahead of you to do projects. This is what I see: a house you love; a baby is on the way; no timeā€¦.

Take off all the shutters; remove those mean little bushes; if you have or can get mullions for the bottom half of the windows, do that.

Enjoy the next few years, mow the lawn, and have friends in for pot-luck suppers and just keep everything clean.

Great house.

December 14, 2012 at 4:24PM     
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Darzy
For now, how about pressure washing the brick and shutters (it will look better cuz you don't realize it's dirty until a pressure washer gets involoved). Then, spruce up the front with flowers, flowering bushes and the curb appeal will improve immediately. If you want to paint the door teal, go ahead! The teal will look nice with the almond/yellow. The porticos Dytecture and Carolyn suggested look great!
December 14, 2012 at 4:39PM     
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tennisanyone
The first thing that came to mind when I saw this picture is all it needs are window boxes with pretty flowers on the top windows and new shrubs around the windows on the bottom with some plants. A simple fix right now.
December 14, 2012 at 5:38PM     
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victorianbungalowranch
One thing to keep in mind is that any kind of portico will look different than the examples because your house doesn't have classic Colonial proportions. The bottom of the top windows is almost the same height as the top of the doorframe, and the entrance is off center. It is really a raised ranch with some Colonial like detailling.

Be sure to draw it out to scale when you do add a portico--getting the proportions right will be critical. There are a variety of styles that could work, and I would avoid adding a broken pediment or a fanlight anything to make your doorway higher--being only a single door it is going to look odd. .

I would consider getting rid of all the shutters or and painting them all a darker color--maybe a brown/black or rusty brown color. I think teal doors can be lovely, and don't have to be nearly black to work, but the color balance can be tricky. I do like various shades of green with red brick, and even blue can look nice with the almond trim, or an orange red.

Maybe paint, perhaps a little round accent window or ornament above the door, would be enough to accent the facade, along with some ground cover under the big trees and some landscaping. The bushes aren't horrid, but could use a little pruning. With young children, you want something simple and easy to take care of

The shutters appear lighter than the trim around the windows, so changing that color alone will make a huge difference. The nice yard and trees are a definate plus. I imagine the front door isn't used a whole lot, so maybe just paint will be enough for now.

This is the perfect sort of project to use a paint visulizer--such as the one at Sherwin Williams. I would take another picture with the garage door down and at an angle where the door is more visable. Straight on and with the camera not tilted up is the easiest to work with because everything is close to square.

The pics are different styles than your house but show teal and cream and other colors with brick
..
December 14, 2012 at 5:39PM     
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Darzy
By the way..this is NOT an ugly duckling as you state in your description! You have a lovely home and congratulations on your new abode and coming new baby.
December 14, 2012 at 6:31PM     
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kmislick
You have a lovely home! I always advise people to live in their new house for a full year before making any significant changes. That way, you can really devote your resources to the right projects. In my opinion, all you need is some pretty flowers and bushes along the steps and front door and maybe reseed the grass. Although inexpensive, this improvement will likely make a major impact on how you perceive your home. Good luck with the baby.
December 15, 2012 at 5:45AM     
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awtnm
Keep the brick! That is one regret you never want to have. That said - think traditional. A red door and black shutters. The suggestion of a portico is very nice. Then some landscaping is needed to define the walkway and entry way. Enjoy!
December 15, 2012 at 11:39AM     
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cyn222
Darker shutters, possibly a deep grey brown tone.
Here is an idea for landscape. Sometimes just seeing plants makes a plain house look better.
December 15, 2012 at 5:57PM     
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
That's an amazing transformation! Bravo, cyn222, for showing us how it would look.
December 15, 2012 at 6:14PM     
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suzyscuderi
Great House! my suggestions are to keep the brick the original color. It would be hard to remove the pain later, and painted brick doesn't achieve the effect that you want. I know from experience. A good pressure washing can always help. Refer to colonial-era paint resources to determine the EXACT color of "teal' to use. These previous posts are fabulous~ and your portico idea is perfect. The hardest part is to be patient and enjoy life as it happens - the remodel can wait while you enjoy your new baby. Congratulations!
December 15, 2012 at 6:25PM     
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apennameandthata
I like contrasting colours, but I think that getting teal to work would be too challenging. You could use a blue-based black, but I would use a warm black in the shutters and doors. The person who pointed out that your house does not have colonial proportions and window heights was very astute - see what the other houses around use and if it works. I liked the idea of taking off the shutters to.

You could see how you went with an austere look. The problem might be that when they built the house they used faux colonial windows with little pains.

Check with someone who knows plants, but planting anything right beside a house is a bad idea. This applies especially to things that you have to water and to things that grow big roots. If I hand no more info, I'd pull those bushes out and, if anything, make sure the DRAINAGE at the high side of the house is good.

Before I launched a big planting binge, I would consider levelling out the ground at the front of the house. You are stuck with some colonial features (unless you remove them at great cost). Colonials were supposed to be a statement that dominated. If you want to be Frank Lloyd Wright and blend in with your surroundings, you would have to do something radical and emphasise the horisontal planes of the house. At the very least, consider the balance of masses when you walk up to the house when you chose what to plant.

Another thing I just noticed, people approach the house from the garage side, which is really like approaching from the back entrance of the house. The architectural front of the house itself is not where the front of the house is from the point of view of people approaching the house, apparently. If my suspicion is correct, you should have a contractor rotate the house 90 degrees clockwise. But that might be expensive. If my suspicions are correct, and I might have been mislead by the path, you might want to turn the door beside the garage into the visual front door.

Very nice house. The posh houses you see here are from professionals doing 0.1%ers' houses. If you are a 0.1%er, you don't need to come here. I know of one regular poster who seems to be able to link photos of her a mazing house frequently.
December 16, 2012 at 2:14AM   
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apennameandthata
I like contrasting colours, but I think that getting teal to work would be too challenging. You could use a blue-based black, but I would use a warm black in the shutters and doors. The person who pointed out that your house does not have colonial proportions and window heights was very astute - see what the other houses around use and if it works. I liked the idea of taking off the shutters to.

You could see how you went with an austere look. The problem might be that when they built the house they used faux colonial windows with little pains.

Check with someone who knows plants, but planting anything right beside a house is a bad idea. This applies especially to things that you have to water and to things that grow big roots. If I hand no more info, I'd pull those bushes out and, if anything, make sure the DRAINAGE at the high side of the house is good.

Before I launched a big planting binge, I would consider levelling out the ground at the front of the house. You are stuck with some colonial features (unless you remove them at great cost). Colonials were supposed to be a statement that dominated. If you want to be Frank Lloyd Wright and blend in with your surroundings, you would have to do something radical and emphasise the horisontal planes of the house. At the very least, consider the balance of masses when you walk up to the house when you chose what to plant.

Another thing I just noticed, people approach the house from the garage side, which is really like approaching from the back entrance of the house. The architectural front of the house itself is not where the front of the house is from the point of view of people approaching the house, apparently. If my suspicion is correct, you should have a contractor rotate the house 90 degrees clockwise. But that might be expensive. If my suspicions are correct, and I might have been mislead by the path, you might want to turn the door beside the garage into the visual front door.

Very nice house. The posh houses you see here are from professionals doing 0.1%ers' houses. If you are a 0.1%er, you don't need to come here. I know of one regular poster who seems to be able to link photos of her a mazin house frequently.
December 16, 2012 at 2:16AM     
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sheeno
plz its such nice bricks dont colour keep them like it iz with mat finish brown fr widows and doors
December 16, 2012 at 5:26AM   
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lisafranklin
Paint the brick (off white taupey), it needs to be more classic (wool skien . BM). Shutters dark gray.Then landscape A portico can always be added later
December 16, 2012 at 5:54AM   
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richardparker
It looks like you might be on an all brick street? If so, paint the brick off white and paint the shutters taupe or black.
December 16, 2012 at 6:24AM   
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lisafranklin
agree!
December 16, 2012 at 6:52AM   
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Liese Sadler
Here are a few ideas that could be done with small costs:
1. like many here I would suggest changing the shutters to a darker color but you might be sorry later if you paint the windows because then you'll be tied into upkeep. Painting the garage door & side door the same color of the shutters, that'll also lessen the appearance of the big space the garage door creates.

2. It looks to me like the grass doesn't grow well because you have a nice shady front. If you drew a curvy line from the far side of the front porch down to about where you took the picture and then took the grass out, planting spreading shrubs, shady loving shrubs, ground covers etc. This will create interest out from the house, balancing it's mass.

3. Since you probably enter through the garage or that side door, how about some interesting potted plants in that area? Have a variety of heights, including tall, then you'll like coming and going in that area.

4. It seems that it is the same bush planted across the front, by adding more plants of various heights you'll make that more interesting. I think some plants growing up on the brick between the windows would help break up all that facade.

5. After you do the landscaping away from the house & across the front, you might not really need to add much portico.
December 16, 2012 at 7:07AM     
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alexandrina
Don't paint the bricks, PLEASE!!! Then you will have to do with a peeling paint FOREVER! No matter what colour you paint - you will have to repaint the entire house, as the patch will not match due to the wear and tear of the surrounding paint. A neighbour across the street has done it and I have this example in front of me every single day.
The house is a beauty as is, I would only add shatters to the side windows. If you live for a while without touching it (and you have a wonderful reason to save your energy!) and plant some climbing vines, may be you will warm up to it.
Good luck!
December 16, 2012 at 7:09AM     
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Lynne Knowlton
I painted the brick on our house, and it looks ahhhhmazing. If you use the proper primer and good quality paint, it won't peel. You can see pix of our place on my blog : www.lynneknowlton.com . Good luck !! I think you have a great home to work from.
December 16, 2012 at 7:18AM   
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PRO
Should You Sell Or Should You Stay
cyn222 is in the right direction - I would add shutters to the windows on the side and a long canopy over the garage and entry door; it will break the large wall surface. You can put pot lights in this overhang.
Then put a trelis with an evergreen vine on the wall between the left front window and garage side wall.
You can add flower boxes under the upper windows if there is access to them from inside.
This will help in the Summer and Fall.
Shutter colour is fine; I would not go dark. Front door will look good in almost black green(my favorite) or almost black brown.
To add interest to the lower and side windows you can have a professional glue(and mortar) slices of the same brick or a complimentary brick vertically (like soldiers) above the windows. Some brick homes have this done in the first place.
An awning similar to the one over the garage door in proper proportion to the house will be a nice addition.
Would not consider painting the brick unless you are looking for maintenance jobs in the future. It is a good solution when a house is old and too junky looking. A home like yours in what looks to be a nice neighbourhood will depreciate in value and make for unhappy neighbours.
From a Realtor/Designer
December 16, 2012 at 8:18AM   
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brendaturner
Black shutters and landscaping would soften and add color......and maybe some potted plants at the front door these are inexpensive till you can do more
December 16, 2012 at 8:49AM   
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Ninja Works
Looks like there's too much red bricks...
Idea: Cover the lower half of the house with some darker natural stone.
Plant some kind of ivy to cover some of the breaks and create nice contract of red/green
I gave it a quick try in photoshop:
December 16, 2012 at 10:10AM   
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suzyscuderi
PLease do NOT paint the bricks. I concur with the above post that you will forever be trying to maintain the paint job, and it really does like bad up close. Keep the brick. Don't try to change this house into anything other than what it's bones say, which is Colonial. You may have good intentions but in this economy and with the value, you will end up spending a lot of money to change it into anything else.I am assuming you like the Colonial feel, as you chose it. Garage Doors, upgraded and with 'carriage house, Colonial hardware, would do wonders. They can be pricey but we upgraded ours through Costco and it REALY makes a difference.Traditionally, shurtters were dark, but you can easily use the teal that you want, just google colonial paint colors to start the inspiration. Spending a few extra bucks on a paint consultant is worth it, I finally did that after much frustration; $100 and I had all the paint colors inside and out, figured out. Plantings are expensive and more permanent, my advice is to change the exterior of the house and add the plantings last. Also, I'm assuming that the house past inspection? Make sure you check the roof and gutters and window trim. If it is time to replace, do that first before you paint old items. There are a lot of differing opinions here, a good idea would be to gather them all and weigh the expense, pros and cons. Good Luck~
December 16, 2012 at 10:29AM   
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Ruth Tekell
Good job!
December 16, 2012 at 10:38AM   
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sjmom
Not ugly at all, just needs some curb appeal. Like the idea of a portico and I would use a darker shutter color to add some zip. Some pretty plants,flowers around the base of the tree and maybe a railing to define the steps leading to the entrance. Also a well lit, well defined house number and a lantern or two and it will be beautiful.
December 16, 2012 at 11:12AM   
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drf0001
I would add a small roof over the front porch Paint the shutters black,to pull the black from the brick,I noticed you have some black brick in spots.The trim is fine.The pine tree would have to go,they just make a mess.Add some nice shrubs around the house replant the yard after the tree is gone.and run some monkey grass/hostice along the side of the walk.That should make a huge difference.Just my opinion.
December 16, 2012 at 12:13PM   
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noankwaters
You have a wonderful home! I'm a lover of classic - or my idea of classic - red brick, black shutters (Sherwiin Williams Tricorn Black is wonderful), white trim on doors & windows (use what's there until you can change it - it'll pass as a white for now) and then choose a knock out color for the front door that works well with the brick and a vibrant teal would be stunning as would black (elegant).

If the shutters are wood there's no problem priming/painting them...if vinyl you shouldn't paint light to dark due to expansion/shrinkage due to temperature so you'd need to replace. If made of aluminum/metal, give a good sanding, prime with automotive spray primer in gray (found in auto section at Walmart) and then paint black. Same for any metal surface. I used on my storm door to change the color. I love the idea of a portico and have found several on Pinterest that I'd love to have.

Just painting the shutters & door would be a tremendous change. Feel welcome to visit my blog (http://www.guerrinawaters.blogspot.com/2012/11/without-black-no-color-has-any-depth.html) to see what just doing that and the outdoor lights did for the front of my home. Until I build a portico, my front door will be black...a portico will allow me to have a vibrant color down the line...maybe :) For now loving the change.
December 16, 2012 at 12:48PM   
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noankwaters
Missed the detail...you already have a black door. Painting the shutters black will pull it all together until you can do the portico, landscaping, etc. in time. This is no ugly duckling of a house!
December 16, 2012 at 12:51PM   
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booker05
your home is lovely, focus on the yard....landscaping is needed!
December 16, 2012 at 1:51PM     
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James Brooks
I agree with booker05 and others. Landscape cures many ills. I think a Dogwood (Cornus Kousa) offsetting the oak (?) tree and some Indica Azaleas would be beautiful and would screen the garage area. Good luck with your makeover.
December 16, 2012 at 2:54PM     
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suzyscuderi
something to consider with the whole brick painting dilemma: The building materials industry is wholeheartedly turning toward more environmentally friendly alternatives. While that is a good thing, you may find that the 'super-sealer' and paint that was suggested above, might not be available in the future. Painting brick is a permanent solution, but you will forever be dealing with the upkeep. Work with what you have; if you need to change the house too much (ie, turning it 90 degrees) you will incur too much cost to make it worth it. The better alternative would be do move. This is a lovely house with good character. Capitalize on the existing features of the house~
December 16, 2012 at 3:39PM   
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PRO
OasisDesign&Remodeling
Is the front of the house North-facing??? If so, remember that any color on the house will always look darker. I see your biggest problem in the chain link fence adjoining the property. If it's your neighbor's, do whatever you can to disguise it. If it's yours, replace it. You really need the help of a professional landscaper the most. The investment will pay off on many levels. They can devise an overall destination plan that you can do in phases. They can help withe color & distinguising the house from the neighbor's also brick house. I would add an architectural pediment or portico over the door whenever you can. I can't see your roof color, but I'm assuming it's the same gray of the neighbor's. The shutters should be considered in SW Cascades or Rainstorm & the shutters in Peppercorn.Please keep the brick as is & do not add stone veneer to "accent". It's a nice home ~ NOT an ugly duckling.
December 16, 2012 at 4:25PM   
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kgoetz
I think that before you try anything else i would do some landscaping. I think if you find a style of landscaping that you like and that will give the yard a more finished look it will do wonders for the exterior appeal of the house. If you can afford hiring a good landscaper to do the design that will save you some leg-work in figuring out what will grow well in your yard, and give you the appealing look you want. Go for low maintenance items that will grow well, fill in nicely, and give you good bang for your buck. Right now the yard looks very spartan and unappealing and detracts from what is not an unappealing house. I think you probably should landscape whether you make any changes to the house or not, and once you have landscaped you may find that there are fewer features of the house that you actually need to change.
December 16, 2012 at 6:47PM   
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nancy612
With a baby on the way, AND a move, my guess is that everything feels "immediate." It's not. This is your home. On average you will be there 10 years. Relax, enjoy your baby. You're not going to get much sleep at first, so understanding that all can wait is important. Drive up your driveway for awhile. If you want some kind of change right now. I have to agree with removing the bushes in the front. Put down pine straw or mulch. Stay away from black mulch because the color will run after a rain due to the slant of the lawn. Do the same straw/mulch in a circle around your big tree to add a different shape than a strictly boxy one. Paint the shutters the same color as your door. Big change, minimal budget. Oh, and paint the garage door and the little side door the same color as the front door. Forget the portico for right now. You may regret a quick decision about the design later. Drive around and look at similar houses, particularly when you want the baby to sleep. Get ideas for a portico that way until you can afford an architect to design one.
December 17, 2012 at 6:54AM     
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woofwoof
Victorianbungalowranch has some very good observations about scale and proportion. Plus a good plant scheme. Looks like an awesome property!
December 17, 2012 at 7:44AM   
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sandrapratt
I would add shutters to the side window also. It wil give it a more uniform look. I love the brown & teal idea.
December 17, 2012 at 8:49AM     
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emilyschoeny
It's not the brick you need to cover but the stone, that is the part you're probably finding unattractive. Landscape before you do anything, and some big knockout coach lights. Boxwood is your best bet, and not little tiny ones, in a curved garden, pretty geraniums in season with blacky -green shutters and front door. Have a ball with your baby. Emily
December 20, 2012 at 11:14AM   
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beyondink
Thanks everyone for your comments and Ideas.. I think my main problem is our other house I had completely redone.. and gotten it to a point we loved.. unfortunately it was a 2 bedroom and with a 2nd child on the way we had to move. I completely agree with the landscaping.. which I am pretty good at and am not really concerned about it as I have many plans when weather warms up. Grass does not grow well where I am and I have already planted about 200 Periwinkle and lariope grass in new beds and areas so they can take hold over the winter.. I plan on pulling out the ugly hollies and adding a evergreen/cottage type planting to the entire front yard with am extension to the sidewalk by the front porch to add a bench and flowers. I am glad someone mentioned scale as I had not thought of that in terms of building the portico.. definitely something I need to focus on. having said that would a portico without posts be more suited to the house as to not add any illusion of height? I could add a matching one over the basement door. I cant wait to pressure wash the house as that's coming as soon as it warms up just a bit and we will be adding a nice wooden fence to all the chain link you see. Flower boxes will now be done as well.. great idea!. Seems like everyone is on board with the dark shutters... so I am going to go with a dark brown/grey almost black color that matches the dark brick perfectly. Should this color also go on the basement and garage doors? Should I paint the area around the front door the dark color or leave it the cream color? I will now search for a nice dark teal color for the front door or maybe strip the door and stain it:) also planning on adding a dry creek bed next to the driveway there as all my drainage for around the house empties out there and the driveway is down hill and eroding pretty bad..
December 20, 2012 at 11:27AM   
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