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Where to Start???? New home - design disaster...

mrswilcoxDecember 14, 2012
New home with plenty of potential but I have no idea where to start with the exterior. Clearly options would be landscaping, porch renovation, something with the shutters/door/steps. But what would make the biggest impact first? We're working with a smaller budget.... ~25,000 for the time being.
Total Porch Renovation
Front door updates (color)
Painting the whole house
Other ideas????
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Lisa Allred - Case Design/Remodeling Inc.
Fabulous home. The porch is classic with the home, so keep it if you are wanting to keep with the originality of the home don't change it

check out the following for colors:-
Traditional with picket fence
keep it white, black shutters, and a red door (porch ceiling should be hainte blue if you are in the south)
Go with a deep grey or sage with white trim and red door
or modernize it
Paint- Bryant Gold, Trim Olivetone (both BM paints) and then a burgandy or eggplant door

Congratulations on your new home.
8 Likes    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 9:18AM
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love these ideas! I love the idea of black shutters and a red door - i would have never thought of the blue ceiling! I'm thinking I might take the siding down from the porch and do more of this....
Bayou Oaks · More Info
8 Likes    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 9:25AM
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I wasn't sure which box fit my suggestion, so I put it under landscaping. First off, wonderful home! The thing I think would give the biggest impact would be a stairway, pathway redo. Something as simple as getting a concrete stain in a gray (home improvement stores carry and it is DIY) and new railing.

Then pour new pathway to street. Short picket fence by sidewalk with a gate to the path. Then, new fence to left of house, and a few shrubs to soften and add privacy to the right.
5 Likes    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 9:54AM
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Hi there! I would say painting your front door is going to INSTANTLY add to your house. Take off the storm door and paint the main door a fun color...red, yellow, green, navy blue, whatever you like! Then if you still would like a storm door, you could get one that is mostly glass in front so your door doesn't get covered up, and paint the trim of the storm door the same color as your front door :) Tis won't cost much...and if you don't like it, you can always try another color until you find the perfect color for you :) Also, a lantern porch light would add coziness too! :) No pressure, I just had a vision :)
7 Likes    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 10:01AM
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Here's my front door...I love the green so much!! :)
3 Likes    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 10:03AM
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Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design
Landscaping and porch - Love, love, love your home!
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 10:09AM
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What needs to be done? Does the porch need repairs? (Need new railings for the steps.) Does the house need to be painted? If yes, that they should be done. The style of the porch is fine and if you are going to paint, you could think about changing the color to something other than white. I think the shutters should come off. If the house doesn't need repairs, the you could tackle the landscaping.
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 10:18AM
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Jodie Cook Landscape Design
Love your house and wouldn't change the color scheme, except for the door as others have said. I would also add a more dramatic porch light, something with a New England feel. The porch is the first change I would consider to make it more welcoming, larger and more gracious. I would enlarge the entry stair and add an upper landing of around 4' deep at the top step before entering the actual 'porch'. Then some kind of dramatic monochromatic planting scheme. Like masses of red knockout roses or rhododendrons interspersed with upright conifers or clipped boxwood. I would definitely keep the landscaping formal, bright and bold, not fussy or busy.
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 10:31AM
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thanks for all the ideas! keep 'em coming! I like the idea of creating a bigger stairway too - i'd love to do stone....
    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 1:22PM
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Love the house! If you can do hydrangeas it goes with this house!
8 Likes    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 7:09PM
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Paint the door red, hanging baskets and the good old American flag on the porch. Spend your money on landscaping. It's a beautiful house
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 9:13PM
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Veronica Steele
This is just a small thing but could have a big impact. The front porch and steps are great but it's the handrail that seems all wrong. You've got these great posts on the porch but this little tiny rail. It's not balanced. Large wooden handrails on both sides attached at the bottom of the steps by a substantial post or even better: duplicate the design of the post base on the porch. Paint the front door a bright color and invest in landscaping.
7 Likes    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 9:32PM
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Veronica Steele
Like this:
    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 9:36PM
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Veronica Steele
Or if you like stone:
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 9:39PM
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Well the stairs are gross, maybe expand the deck too?
    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 9:49PM
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Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
It's hard to tell from the image whether the home and materials are in good shape. Obviously, you need to take care of any major or minor repairs before you do any cosmetic work. First, get the whole structure in tip-top shape (repairs to roof, siding, windows, doors, porch, etc.). I agree with whoever said that the steps and railing are not in proportion to the home--I'd go with a wooden railing and brick steps and walkway to the street. I'd also change the porch half-wall to the same railing. I love white homes with black shutters, but I'd definitely paint the door a bright red or yellow!
    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 4:50AM
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Charmean Neithart Interiors, LLC.
Great house, just needs landscaping and a new path up to the front door. A new fence over to the left would be great too. I think the black and white color scheme looks classic. Good luck with your project.
Charmean Neithart
    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 4:59AM
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I voted OTHER: Before you put a penny into cosmetic issues, spend what it takes to make sure the roof is sound with no leaks, the electric wiring is safe (nothing makes sparks, outlets are capable of holding a plug, circuits are not overloaded), the plumbing is not leaking anywhere, the gutters are in good condition, the basement is dry, and the rainwater drains away from the foundation.

Fix any damage from long-neglected leaks.

Then come back and tell us what's in the budget.

A special area of concern is where the bump-outs on the first floor meets the siding. Those are prone to leaks, and can rot away the structure under the siding.
6 Likes    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 6:13AM
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I want that house, and whatever back buildings you have there look pretty interesting for future projects (if they are yours and not a neighbor's). Victorians did not have shutters. They took them off to brag about their central heating systems. I love shutters and have no problem with them on victorians, but I would replace them with real wooden shutters and mount them correctly (inside the window frame) and a bit shorter than the frame so they could actually close, and paint them with high gloss paint. Have fun!
1 Like    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 6:16AM
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I think you can get alot of bang for your buck just by painting the door a nice bright accent color. It may not be the right season to do landscaping right now.
    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 6:39AM
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I really like your house. I would redo the steps and definetely the handrail. Paint the door red and do some landscaping.
    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 6:48AM
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Beautiful house! First, start with the deferred maintenance and the repairs, then move into improvements. The shutters are too tall and obviously decorative only since they are only on one side. I would take them off and try to move attention to the house itself. There isn't enough contrast in the colors between the gray and the white. The green of your front door is a more authentic color than the white trim around it. The door style is from a few decades later than the original build, but if you like it, keep it and use that color as the starting point for your color scheme. I could see a really rich cranberry or maybe darker burgandy for a trim color.

White was not a widely used color in the time that house was built as the technology wasn't available to make durable white paint. The house would have been a light colored body with dark trim; the fashion trim work lighter than the body color didn't come until after 1900. See the following article for more info and check that site for some great color info for historic homes

I wouldn't enlarge the porch or change out the steps to either brick or stone. The porch is authentic to the style of the home and will seem much more significant when the paint scheme shows off the fancy trim work and ties it to the trim around the bay window. I definitely agree that you need a wooden hand rail with large newel posts on both sides of the stairs. Paint the porch steps and the deck with a dark color to tie in with your paint scheme. I'm not sure whether the crosswise boards just above the deck are original but they look more 1905-1920 era to me. The original might have been a fancy spindles below a low railing which might have just been too much work to repair and maintain for some early 20th century owner.
4 Likes    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 7:20AM
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Thistle Hill at home
I, too, and in the process of renovating and 1890's home. The very first thing I did was replace the front door (which was rotted) and painted it eggplant. It was a quick fix that excited everyone in the neighborhood and continues to give me energy to keep at it.
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 7:34AM
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By the way, that house is very definitely NOT a design disaster! I see nothing expensive that clashes horribly against other elements and nothing that absolutely begs to be removed. Play up the desirable trim features and add some appropriate landscaping and you'll have a "that house" property.

I always refer to my home as THAT HOUSE. When people ask why, I say when you drive down my street and figure out which house is mine, you are bound to say "Oh, that house...I love that house"
    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 11:05AM
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Nattapon Landscape Design
beside landscape for the front, I think your house may need contrast in color it's just too white
    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 12:13PM
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Good Works
I agree with removing the shutters, and a new porch rail that ties into a nice stair rail. Consider re-aligning the front walk to not make such a straight shot. A colorful door will add alot of character, I think you'd be happy to have the entire house a darker color, with fun accent trim colors. Good score!
    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 12:13PM
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Jodie Cook Landscape Design
Remember to keep landscaping beds generous and proportionate to the size of your home. Too many I see are narrow bands pushed up against walkways and house foundations without thought being given to their proportions as a full fledged design feature, not just as side dressing to the walkway. Also, remember if you use them as borders to walkways and foundations, their outside edges to not need to echo the rectilinear lines of the house. The will be more interesting if they are organically curved, geometrically stepped, etc.
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 3:33PM
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Molly Mason
First of all the house is great. Just beautiful. I like the idea of opening up the porch with spindles instead of the solid porch rail that's there now. I think a nice contrasting front door would be nice. Don't forget the solid wood option. Could be a color but wood can be nice too. This is something I saw recently that really caught my fancy: a skylight in the porch of an older house above the door. So it looked like the door was illuminated. Very pretty. Nice sconces make a nice welcoming statement. I like what somebody said about proportionate planting bed size. Very important. Softening the square edges with sweeping and flowing (rather than starkly angular) planting beds is visually interesting, too. Not so stuffy either. But over all, it's a really nice place. Anything that you do with love will just make it nicer. Good luck.
    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 12:32AM
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Great house! A few tweaks will put it over the top. I love the white on white. It feels fresh.
It seems like your house has some Italianate influences (mostly seen on the details on the porch and the roofline).

To push this aesthetic, you could add decorative brackets under the soffits and a little double-arched window in the gable. Classic two over two windows painted black could remove the need for shutters as decoration. This could be done by either replacing the windows or adding a good quality storm window appropriate to the house. Removing the shutters updates the facade in a classic way. It would be nice if the stairs were contained with a more classic structure and painted a medium gray. The door could be painted red or another bold color that contrasts with the house. A window could be added to the left side bumpout to mimic the right side bumpout. Right now the left hand side looks maybe like a later addition, from what I can see.

Enough with the house...you're already pretty close.

In the front, a low stone wall with a knee-high picket fence could really set off your house. A new cobble sidewalk could replace the old, tired, cement sidewalk. Then it's landscape, landscape, landscape. Low-maintainence bushes, hostas, hydrangeas, flowering crabs, and the like would seem correct for this house. You see many of these plants at vintage homes, but the layering and texturing helps it seem up-to-date. The landscaping also acts as a screen for your fence and the neighbor's house in back...and it frames your house beautifully.

12 Likes    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 1:34AM
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Pretty pretty house. Just needs landscaping of pretty trees and large shrubs and maybe some work to the front steps/handrail as others have suggested ans a new path.
    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 1:51AM
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Reico Kitchen & Bath
Agree with many of the comments above - great looking house, start with the landscaping!
    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 3:42AM
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If the house doesn't need paint or repairs, I would definitely go with landscaping.
    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 6:28AM
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Debra Fleming
the yard is so baron. It looks cold and uninviting. The house should look grounded in the landscaping. with nothing there it looks like it could blow away in the wind. Look at lots of yards in your area, and books. Your investment money for landscaping will go a long way if you think it through first.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 6:51AM
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I would remove the enclosure around the porch and open it up. Great porch posts! Definitely paint the door a bright color, get rid of the concrete steps and metal railing and replace with wooden steps and rails. Landscaping is a must. I love the look of ourfarmhouse suggestions. Good luck!
    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 7:28AM
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I love this home so much! It will be fabulous when finished. I would put railing and spindles around the porch instead of the enclosure and yes, landscaping will be what it needs.
    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 8:04AM
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I would be very curious to peel the vinyl siding off of the porch railings. It could contain a nice original shingled railing or a spindle railing. I would fix/restore the original railing and paint it rather then re-side it. Also, I would paint the front door as well. My favorite home improvement project was when I removed my vinyl siding and repainted all the original wood shingles and trim that was hiding underneath. Of course I would try to match the stair railings to the original ones underneath.
    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 10:40AM
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How old is your house?

Judging from the picture, (square posts, chamfered edges) it looks like you have an Folk Victorian style house with Italianate porch posts and dentil molding, and all that white paint is just obscuring everything. Do you have a wing in a different siding and a large porch or is that a different house? It is a little hard to tell in this picture. Italianates and folk Victorians really benefit from subtle paint schemes in natural stone-like colors, or can go more colorful. What just make it look very blah and covers up anything fancy or nice--came in favor apparently in the 1930s and stays popular because it is cheap and easy and has a clean look.

http://www.oldhouseguy.com/services.php (lots of good tips on a variety of issues
http://artsandcraftshomes.com/exterior-paint-schemes-for-foursquares/ (summary of color trends--1890-1930 or so)
(lots of examples. check variety of homes for ideas)

Your door is Arts and Crafts and looks like it is wood--might date to the 1920s or so, or could be a new reproduction. As Linda mentioned, if you like that color, it is very Italianate/Victorian to paint the body a medium tone, such as taupe or ocher or tawny geen, and the trim a darker color like your door, or more of a charcoal grey color, or bown. or some combination. It was common with this style porch to have some of the decoration picked out in a subtlely contrasting color, esp. the horizontal banding and the vertical brackets. Be careful to keep the contrast low or it won't look right.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 2:36PM
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without investing in the expense of painting the entire house, I think you just need visual weight around the windows, so painting the entire window framework a darker color will help define and make more of an immediate impact. You can see in some of these photos how the window trim is wide and a contrast color. The house looks great; good luck.
Sandywoods Farm · More Info
View from Walnut Street · More Info
Menlo Oaks Residence · More Info

Lake House · More Info
Valley · More Info
Cape Cod Shingle Style · More Info
    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 11:09PM
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Love everything just add landscape
    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 5:59PM
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
Nothing wrong with the house as is except the white color is not doing anything for its fine features. I'd definitely go with a three color theme-sage green, tan and mustard. Then an old-fashioned garden with blue mop-head hydrangea ( Endless Summer ), some small ornamental trees on either side and colorful perennials and annuals in a flower bed. A white picket fence would really look nice as well. Here's a quick sketch of my idea.
    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 1:43PM
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
P.S. : I'd remove the shutters from the top story.
    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 3:19PM
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Michael Kilpatrick Design
Nice re-work @ ourfarmhouse. You're hired !
    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 7:00PM
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