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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

What to do about this exterior???

iceddopioDecember 31, 2012
My husband and I made an offer on this house and I am really unsure of how to bring it into this century. Any thoughts?
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I would immediately change the front doors to something more contemporary. The arched glass doors compete with the arch above.

I think it looks nice otherwise.
3 Likes    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 1:30PM
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I agree, the front doors are instantly aging your home. I would also recommend changing the exterior color palette. May I suggest a cool gray or soft beige with perhaps a cream or white trim?
    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 1:34PM
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devinbiz- with regard to the color palette, do you think I can paint the brick too?
    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 1:39PM
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You could paint the brick, but I like the texture the brick gives unpainted. If you paint it one color, it'll look too tall, flat and one-dimensional.
    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 1:57PM
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Love it! Sell it to someone who appreciates this charmingly swett colonial home!
1 Like    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 2:39PM
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This house is not in any way colonial except for maybe the front door, and that is why it looks off.

Just changing the front doors to a simple glass style with dark trim to match the window would help a lot. Getting rid of the arch, and or adding a simple flat canopy of some sort might be nice too, and really bring out the mid-century vibe..
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 2:43PM
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i think changing the front door might be the only thing you have to do. Think of a natural wood doors in a more modern style. Even one with side lights.

Paint the porch ceiling a light sky blue!
    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 2:48PM
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Ditto, it is a mid-century raised ranch and, believe it or not, are becoming very desirable. You roof alone is an interesting architectural style and your front chimney…
Consider closing in the porch end, even it is just to make a 3 season area. The space looks like a dark hole.
a kaleidoscope of light - the exterior · More Info

Exterior · More Info
    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 2:49PM
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It is a pretty house, IMHO. I would like to suggest that the house is dated most by what was once utterly gorgeous landscaping, and it would be gorgeous again with a good bit of pruning.

I would hold out hope that it is possible that all three arches and the strong straight lines could live in harmony with a better color scheme. I think I would try a lot less contrast between house, trim and brick. If the window frames are not easy to paint, I think I would go still go lighter than the present trim, but not too light. I also think the doors might look better stained a darker color.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 2:55PM
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Jayme H.
Grey is calling out to me when I look at this house, not sure why even. Prob. because it would modernize it, paint trim a complimenting shade and then do the front door a vibrant color?
1 Like    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 3:09PM
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Jessie Klein
I adore this home! Honestly, this is a great home! I'd have to save the updates for the interior, the exterior is soooo charming :) If I were to change anything, I might replace the tiny windows at the end with taller ones. All totally meant as a compliment :)
    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 3:28PM
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Pamela Bateman Garden Design
I can't tell if you enter the house from the left or right in the picture. However you may want to remove the hedge along the front of the house and put in a brick patio with a garden feature in the area of the shrubs and ground cover. Keep the plant in front of the fireplace and on the corner. This would make a wonderful and larger entrance. Urns with plants and maybe even a few chairs would also be a nice addition. The front doors are large. Have an entrance from the garden to match.
    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 3:40PM
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Thanks for all who offered constructive comments for the exterior of my new home. Jessie Klein and MAlps, your comments that I should sell my house to someone who "appreciates it" are both strange and unkind given that this is a forum for giving people ideas about improvement. Please do not comment on any other posts I may have in the future. Thx.
    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 2:33PM
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Dar Eckert
I don't mind the body color of the home it's just the trim that is the wrong color. Paint it white and match the downspouts and bracket under the window to the body color would put the accent on the front door.
    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 3:01PM
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I was thinking about these doors...
1 Like    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 3:26PM
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I really like the house, but can see why you would want to improve and update it just a bit. The photo only shows one view of the house, so it is difficult to appreciate what it might look like if viewed straight on toward the front door, or see the other end of the house. Without that totality, it is hard to evaluate the most important changes. Even so, I also think there is something not quite right with the front door area. I also agree with the comment about judicial pruning of the landscaping to allow a litte more of the house to show, especially the brick. I really like the natural brick on the bottom and the way the fireplace chimney ties together with it. I also like the open deck (porch) and would never close it off - why create another inside space when outdoor spaces can be so inviting? ( If bugs are a problem, you could get it screened.)

Is the street (or driveway if rural) on the same side as the deck? Is there a long walk for a visitor to get to the front door?
    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 3:33PM
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I think the house may have originally had dark front doors without glass. I've attempted to show this in this slightly altered photo.
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 4:16PM
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The house is in the outskirts of the Chicago area in a suburban area. The walk to the front door is from the left off a driveway that weaves it's way under the porch to a garage. Guests would come in the front door and I would come in through the garage. It is a step ranch so as you come in through the front door, you can walk up 5 steps to the main floor or down stairs to the basement/family room area. I am imagining a modern look. The house was built in 1975 but seems to me to have a mid century vibe. I plan to have a white modern/eclectic interior. I'm very excited about this home.
As for the porch, I think that it would be nice to keep it open but I have a lively 2 year old and the home is not to code regarding the railing.. there is enough space for a little person to fall between the rails. I'll have to update.
    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 4:45PM
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Looks much much better with dark doors.
    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 5:03PM
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Pamela Bateman Garden Design
You are correct, I think, about Houzz being a forum for sharing improvement ideas but I also think that a little information about your project goes a long way. This is where Houzz really shines. Houzz provides you with the opportunity for better communication with a designer. With so many photos available you can find a style you like and then ask your designer or the community what the pitfalls or advantages would be to changing the look of your house. Only you know your budget and how simple or complicated a remodel you would like to undertake. Your updated comment and photo give a better idea of the the direction you are headed and the help and advice you need from the community.
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 9:05AM
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Laara Copley-Smith Garden & Landscape Design
Definately dont paint the brick, you would totally loose its individuality. Lots of modern architecture insert panels of brick or stone. It looks fabulous as the original brick.
You could bring it up to date simply by a colour treatment on the window frames & the vertical cladding. This could be a soft heritage tone lighter than the existing tone just to lift the property. Yet not too light to make it stark or hard.
Again as others say I would retain the curved front entrance detail it is a lovely detail.
Yet the front entrance doors could simply be colour treated with a solid shade if you didnt want natural timber as the finish. This could be a differing shade to the cladding yet on the same colour zone or not depending how mono -tone you want it.
Modern yet subtle exterior lighting such as up/down lighters on either side of the entrance doors & subtle uplighters to flush the brick chimney structure would work well.

And what a fabulous garden you have to develop.
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 10:45AM
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The porch really catches my eye. I don't care for the half wall. I thought of suggesting rails to connect the wall to the ceiling but then you mentioned them. Is this porch off a bedroom or living area? What is the flooring in it? I would remove the line og
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 12:23PM
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Oops...of shrubs covering the brick along the foundation to show it more and to tie the chimney and more of the house together. It is a very attractive home.
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 12:25PM
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Ellsworth-Hallett Home Professionals
My two cents- lose the bow window and replace with a flat row of casements (Bow windows are a personal pet peeve) I like the open porch, and a second railing above the knee wall if it is too low. New glass front doors or solid wood, replace the arched transom with a large square transom. Paint the house a monochromatic grey brown, light the chimney with an up light for drama. Mid century is hot right now, so giving it more of that vibe would be natural.
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 12:38PM
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Ellsworth-Hallett... I love your ideas. I kind of HATE the bow window too (what is the dif between that an a bay?) And, I think that the windows in the house need to be replaced anyway. Is that kind of thing expensive? Do you work in the Chicago area?
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 5:45PM
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The difference between bay and bow windows is that bow windows are curved whereas bay windows are made up of several (usually three) angled panels that jut out from the house. Both bay and bow windows can have seats in them depending on the height of the sill inside, and the depth of the window.
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 8:10PM
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I would get rid of the wood paneling and put stone instead of brick
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 8:17PM
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The arch over the door is dating. Otherwise love the house!
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 10:09PM
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Paint first - choose a more modern colour palette. Then stand back and assess what you might do next, as sometimes drab colours can be hard to see past.

If you have the budget to do it down the track, definitely replace the front door and eliminate the arch, and change out the dated windows.

The house looks like it has great bones and a GORGEOUS garden!! Lucky!

:) Elise
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 10:40PM
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Any thoughts about siding that looks like this? I think it is pretty cool. Can it work?
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 10:50PM
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Keep with the gorgeous mid-century styling. Would not paint the brick and would expose more of the lower. Love the idea of uplighting the fireplace brick. Also light the open porch. Be careful with grey tones- make sure include brown tones in it to compliment brick and also not clash w the roof.. Everything ellsworth says. These homes are flying off the market and selling fast in Portland Oregon. Idea- reeded glass front doors and windows?
1 Like    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 11:39PM
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I really like the overall style of the house, if taking out the window is not possible, I'd paint the trim light so take the contrast away. The door would be great with a large entrance. Maybe extend the porch. if possible, I would take the arch out and seal it back up to match the house. it would look great with a modern stain glass design on the top as well. i would also Remove the scrubs, add in a walkway to the driveway. I live in Illinois too, (bloomington area)and I love the look of tall grasses mixed with plants that will bloom in the spring and summer! I love that porch off the left too!
    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 4:52AM
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Dar Eckert
I bet that arched window gives great light into the entryway. It also is a nice focal point for the entrance. Looks like you just need to paint and update the light by the door do some landscaping. Your new home is lovely. Paint the trim and siding one color.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 7:05AM
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The arched window, though dated, does bring in amazing light. Since you have to walk up a few steps from the entry, the window illuminates the very high ceiling. I could replace it with something though.. I agree also that it would be nice to get rid of the shrubs.
    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 7:33AM
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