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I need help with updating the front exterior my house!
terribruno1
December 19, 2012 in Design Dilemma
We totally renovated the inside - down to the studs. However; we can not come up with a good idea for the exterior of the house.
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mmilos
I imagine that gable and pediment trim above the front door aren't original to the house. They look out of scale and the wrong style. It seems like a front porch remodel gone wrong. I would remove the roof gable and trim over the door and just convert it back to a plain ranch. I would then get a new classic front door, something more in keeping with the simplicity of a ranch house - perhaps painted a brick red color. Paint the shutters dark green.
December 19, 2012 at 1:28PM     
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houssaon
For me, the obvious first step is reducing the foundation plantings. I would remove all of the shrubs in front of the railings and plant flowers, perennials and annuals there. The other shrubs should be severely pruned and thinned out or removed.

I would reduce the high peak look of the center gable with cross beams: Lake Barrington Lake House. The cross beams of this design is attractive: Great Divide Builders. I think either carrage garage doors or doors with windows would look good. I'd paint the fron door red: Re-imagined Northern Virginia Colonial. Love current palette.
December 19, 2012 at 1:42PM     
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By Design EK
I would change the door to a simpler style, get rid of the shutters, and add a dark contrasting color to the trim or door. If you simplify and keep the lines nice and clean I think it will have a nice tailored look. The porch railing and posts seem too fancy to me also, go with a square if you can change it and I would really tone down the white, either get rid of it all or just keep a bit of it too coordinate with the garage door if you are not going to replace it or it can't be painted.
December 19, 2012 at 1:46PM   
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judianna20
Looks as if the front door is a one piece and I agree with mmilos that it does not go with your house. Houssaon's suggestion of changing the overhang as that isn't correct either. Next is the porch railing, trying to be Cape Cod, but it's not doing anything for the front as it cuts off half of your windows looking at it from the street.

I'm not someone who recommends painting brick, but I think your house would look great if the front were all one color, including the garage door.
December 19, 2012 at 2:20PM   
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maggicoast
You have a beautful home. The porch and gable are lovely and useful. Usually there are some windowed gable windows at the attic (or 2nd floor), to give height, light and repetition, one either side of the entry. Peaks and windows tend to be in groupings of three. You only have one. Removing the gable would make it more vanilla and lose some of its current personality. (Thats ok if you add back a new theme. Mid century modern for ranch homes, with a strong horizontal line, is "pop" at this moment.)
The pediment can be cool when used in a Neo-ecectic or Post Modern way, or classical formal in a elegant Williamsburg kind of way. (See works by Julia Morgan, Micheal Graves, Philip Johnson.)
I wouldn't paint the bricks unless they are bad looking. Paint has to be refreshed every 6 years, an expense and nusance.
Green shutters are beautiful. You'd have nature tones of the garden. The door could be a deep berry.
The porch posts could be beefier. The landscaping needs a little punch.
December 19, 2012 at 4:21PM   
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claudiann
I would get rid of the railings. They really are not needed since the porch is not elevated. That would open up your entry. I think the shrubbery needs to go. It looks contrived and too neat. Could you take the pediment off the top of the door? How about painting the garage to match the color of the brick? Then both sides would have symmetry in the color. Then maybe you could paint the porch area that goes with the roof color. Then the front door and shutters in a color that complements the brick, garage door, and roof. I'm thinking tan for the garage doors, a darker tan for the porch area, and a deep burgundy for the door and shutters. Personally I think your home is lovely. I like the points on the roofline. I am just not feeling the blue and white. Of course I really don't know much --but I think your house looks like a happy homey home.
December 19, 2012 at 6:00PM     
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Aja Mazin
Love your house!
December 19, 2012 at 6:10PM   
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valerieymarsh
Good comments here. Porch gable gone. Railing gone. Posts beefier, at least 1x8 wrapped. Shutters ugh. Tall bushes moved to back yard or maybe by street? Hedges at property line are excellent. Keep the short ones by the house. New front door and garage door, or minimum new front door and surround. Think simple. I'd like to see both gables hipped if you're going big. Alternatively, you can plant a medium tree to block the left gable in the summer (not too close though). Path leading directly from road to front door (with a bit of a bend to it, slight wavy organic shape). Maybe some clematis or other vine about the porch? Good luck.
December 19, 2012 at 6:11PM   
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fnstf
First thing I see is, as others mentioned, front door and framing is just wrong. Conflicting, Out of step. Beefier posts-great idea too. Dislike bushes-especially those little squares flanking the garage door, but none of the little squares add anything to the whole. I, personally, like the railings (if the posts are stonger). I think the shutters work. I also like some detail on the front door gable. It's stark as it sits. Overall, a fair amount of labor, but the big deal is that door. First thing.
December 20, 2012 at 12:44AM   
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victorianbungalowranch
You are getting pretty much the same recommendations you got earlier. Didn't you like any of them? Time to sit down with the contractor, maybe an architect or designer and figure out your options and a plan. Removing the pedimet and either lowering or modifying the gable over the door (the slope should match the other two) or eliminating it would be the place to start, along with changing colors, shutters, beefing up porch posts and railings, etc...
December 20, 2012 at 12:58AM     
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terribruno1
Thank you to everyone that responded. It is nice to know that everyone agrees what should be done. If you could help more with colors that would be great. The brick is your basic orange looking brick with a little bit of light brown.
December 20, 2012 at 7:06AM   
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mmilos
Love the brick. I wouldn't paint that. Only thing I'd paint is your shutters and new front door. That periwinkle blue isn't working. Dark green or black on the shutters would look better IMO.
December 20, 2012 at 7:27AM   
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mairie
If you wanted to do something less intrusive as a start , perhaps consider a simple peak frieze to the front entry roof (such as Great Divide Builders photo above) which mirrors the pitch of the flanking peaks. (To read as uniform). Lovely home btw...
December 20, 2012 at 7:44AM     
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PRO
Everything Outdoor Furniture
I like the ideas above. Really good comments. The brick idea would be great. It will give a rustic feel to the house. It will look better with green windows. You can add concrete paving stones on the pathways to give a finesse to the entrance.
December 20, 2012 at 7:55AM     
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terribruno1
Thank you again for all your great suggestions. Any other landscaping ideas? We have removed everthing from the front yard. So, I am starting with a blank slate. We need low maintenance. We would really like to totally redo the foof line but do to all the renovations and unexpected expenses we are going to be limited.
December 20, 2012 at 8:01AM   
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nomadkath
i'd definitely paint the garage door a tone closer to the brick/roof -it attracts too much attention. how about taking out the porch railings, and extending the porch forward. put a low rock or brick wall in front of that with tall grasses and flowers in front of the wall. it would cozy up the entrance, and draw attention to the center section of the house.....welcome you toward the door.
December 20, 2012 at 8:25AM     
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terribruno1
Great idea!! Thank you.
December 20, 2012 at 8:28AM   
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Noah Modie - Siegfried Porth Assoc.
Gable over the front door is really weird. 12/12 is not typical of ranches and that's intensified by the fact that it is contrasted with all of the other rooflines of the house. Gables over front doors are shallower than the main roofline if not the same. That being said, there needs to be something there, perhaps a different style of gable, to avoid a duality in the design (that's the sort of ambiguous, wall-eyed effect that you can imagine if the gable were removed). Shutters on double windows look sort of silly to me, as they lose reference to their original use. The broken pediment with the pineapple and elliptical opening is a Georgian detail typically, and not so appropriate for the simple clean lines of the mid-century ranch. The shrubbery is a bit overdone. Some color in the planting other than green is necessary to tie the color palette of the house together, whatever you chose to use for that, and there is some flexibility there. I'm almost always against painting brick, it's a deal with the devil, being an almost irreversible, yet high-maintenance route. If you feel the brick is a problem, you could probably just take it off.
December 20, 2012 at 9:04AM     
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Sara Parker
I'd like to see photos of your bare yard. I actually think the house looks charming as it is, just a little quirky!
December 20, 2012 at 9:43AM   
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Sara Parker
Please don't paint the brick! Especially as you are interested in low maintenance.
December 20, 2012 at 9:44AM     
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terribruno1
I don't have any of the front yard. However; this afternoon I will take a picture and upload it.
December 20, 2012 at 9:50AM   
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decoenthusiaste
Don't know what style you've updated to inside, but here is an interesting ranch conversion. The cottage attempt is definitely not working and all the clumpy shrubs across the front have to go.
Chimney Corners
Chimney Corners Remodel
December 20, 2012 at 9:58AM   
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houssaon
If you replace the door and the sidelights, then how about filling in the steep pitch of the center gable with a lattice detail like this:
December 20, 2012 at 10:52AM     
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terribruno1
I thik that is a terrific idea.
December 20, 2012 at 11:25AM   
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PRO
Itrimit
I agree with Noah Modie. The angles on the center gable are most of the problem and the pediment is wrong. I also agree the non functional shutters just look cheap and silly. Other than than I think its a fine looking house.
March 20, 2014 at 5:44PM   
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pegjustpeg
This thread is from Dec. 2012! Hope they have done something by now!
March 20, 2014 at 6:00PM   
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PRO
Ederra Design Studio
How about painting the shutters a rich gray color, a bit darker than your house? That would definitely give it a more up-to-date look.
March 20, 2014 at 6:15PM     
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