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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Need help with exterior renovation

shanley12December 28, 2012
My husband and I are currently looking at the house in the picture below as our first house. We have a one year old right now in a one bedroom apartment. We really need a house. The house needs some minor interior fixing but the exterior turns me off so much from the house. Any suggestions on how to possibly paint the house (colors) with the stone or how I can go about renovating it to make it have more of a curbside appeal. I have no idea what colors I could possibly do or what I could do to it. Help

Thank you D
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Sherwin Williams or Ben Moore have site where you can upload a picture and then change the paint. I'd think almost anything other than that muddy brown would look better. I'd experiment with greens from forest to moss. The other thing is that you have a plenty of room for shrubs to hide the large blank wall under your windows and you can run a vine up the stone. I lived in a house with a camellia as a foundation planting, it was ever green and the blooms were lovely.

Your house will look a lot nicer when the shrubs are green. The ones between the evergreens look like they've been pruned, which means they could probably grow taller.
    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 6:17AM
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thank you :)
    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 6:37AM
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Hello. I am kind of in the same boat. Just bought our first house that desperately needed some curb appeal. Few things.... I would look in the grey colors to go with that color stone for sure. I would remove the railings from the walkway. Invest some money on a front door....deep red or black will go well with grey color. I think I see a window unit in one of the front windows. If it all possible move it to a window that is not facing the front of the house. There is no doubt landscaping will also go a long way on this house. And if you really wanted to go a step further with a larger project. Maybe consider adding a front porch on the side where the 2 windows are placed. Just my 2 cents. No doubt, the house has a lot of potential. I hope this helps. Congrats on your new family and home.
    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 7:24AM
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Dar Eckert
Your house is cute. I wonder if the front windows could be replaced with taller ones, they look a little short. If not it would be fun to put a half-circle above each pair of windows on the porch. Paint the half circle same color as the trim and paint the mullion going down the center between the windows the same color as the trim to make the windows appear taller and one unit.
    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 8:00AM
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Some flower boxes under the short windows would give the illusion of length as well as add color pops with flower colors. I would go neutral with colors and paint the door a more dramatic color (like red). For the easiest fix in my eyes when I look would be go with white trim. Your door is noticeable against the color it is currently painted. Paint those columns and window panes and trim a whitish color. Then add flower boxes and paint door a popping color and I think the house will appeal to you.
    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 8:29AM
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The right colors really could bring out this house--A nice little Arts and Crafts bungalow. Arts and Crafts Homes.com and Antique Home Style. com have som good links on period style, original renderings and house colors. Earthy tones like various shades of green, browns, rust, ocher, can really look great on a house like this, and coppery red, pumpkin, ocher yellow, etc... can look terrific on the door. Two-toning the siding was common. The main thing that looks off to me is the enclosed porch and the too-small windows there, but I think paint can help minimize that issue. Curtains would help as well.

1920's type colors, which were lighter and more cottagey, such as yellow and white, peach and white, tan and jadeite green, and so forth. Generally speaking, color harmonies of both periods were lower contrast than what is popular today, with darks limited to restrained highlights or sashes, and whites closer to antique white than today's bright white.

The blog 1912 bungalow is excellent, particularly for period bathroom and kitchens. She chose a deep blue-green for her house. The book Bungalow Colors is also excellent, and its author, has a great list of bungalow articles at and many examples of various styles of homes painted in historic colors at http://www.historichousecolors.com/early20.html and http://www.historichousecolors.com/Publications.html.

Old House Guy and John Leeke have some good information of period window restoration and details, although Old House Guy focuses more on earlier styles. Pasedena's Bungalow Heaven has many restored houses that could give you some color inspiration.

Too bad the rusticated concrete block wasn't left unpainted--it would be easier to maintain. The battered (tapered) piers and collumns are classic and should be highlighted. I would keep the railings in the steep stairs by the front entry, but eliminate them for the walkway. A handrail on the bottom portion might be nice because it is bit of a climb.

Terracing and or coving the steep slope with groundcover would look nice and be easier to maintain--mowing steep slopes can be dangerous. The shubbery in the front could be softened a bit and include some larger and less formal planting, such as perrenials and hydrangeas, and plants that add texture in the wintertime as well.

Here are some examples of period color combinations.

Ideabook: Bungalows: Domestic Design at the Dawn of the Auto Age · See Ideabook

Ideabook: Renovation Detail: Arts and Crafts Interior Trim · See Ideabook

Ideabook: American Architecture: The Elements of Craftsman Style · See Ideabook
(includes modern versions, rather freely done)
Ideabook: Gabled Dormers Put Homes at Their Peak · See Ideabook
    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 8:40AM
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Interiors International, Inc.
I agree with victorianbungalowranch and really like the options in the pics above.
    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 9:20AM
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That was my first impression of the house-a Craftsman/Arts and Crafts/Bungalow with a enclosed porch. If possible, I would definitely remove the windows and what looks like cracked plaster and return to the traditional porch style. The colors are very versatile so Shanley12, you should be able to find something that clicks with you.
You have almost a textbook example of a Craftsman style door. I would also paint the door a color that would make it stand out, like the red one in the photos above.
    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 9:52AM
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Karen Emmons
I think everything depends on budget. I recently bought a new home also. To go low cost for a quick fix me up I would change the color of the planked wood near the roof line to a deep brown. Above the windows I noticed small squares that are blending in. I would make them pop by bringing in the color from the pillars. Entry way. . you may like a new wood look door, great mailbox, house numbers, and a hanging light in the center of the area. I would remove all of the bushes. I do however like the evergreen near the railing, maybe you can transplant one of the others to the opposite side? I think the sidewalk/steps will clean up nicely with a good powerwashing. Good luck.
    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 11:11AM
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