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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Street Appeal FAIL. Help!

nwgbJanuary 3, 2013
Hi Houzzers, Long time stalker, first time poster.

Need HELP with the fa├žade of my new home. Primarily how to tie the carport and house together to appear as one and not so disjointed! Need to modernise to a more contemporary style on a budget.

Any cosmetic ideas would be appreciated!! Definitely needs some street appeal, have started to renovate inside but I am stumped on the exterior. I have attached some pictures, please look past the unkempt lawn and the big tree stump (in the process of being removed). All the plants do not have to stay. Currently the front path leads into the carport area to access the stairs, so that will need to be changed also.

Any additional info needed just ask! Thank you in advance wonderful Houzzers!
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I like house + carport + garage & would do very little. Paint garage door & all trim gray, call a talented landscaper, buy new mailbox, leave windows uncovered. See inspiration photo.

LEED Platinum Ellis Residence · More Info
4 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by nwgb    January 5, 2013 at 9:44AM
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I think I would put stones an rock in the driveway middle. It might be nice to move your mailbox to this area. Then as you came home you could access it easier from the car. I would not use wood edging. I would add some globe shaped boxwood shrubs in beds that used curves out from the foundation to offset all of the straight lines of your home. I would put a small ornamental tree in front of the double windows in the front lawn. A red Japanese maple would be pretty. I would also paint the garage door gray unless you could change the porch rails and porch pole to stained wood. Then you could get a pretty stained wooden door to match. I can't tell if your window trim can be painted or not. If so I would consider painting them and the front door to give a third pop of color to the house.
    Bookmark   Thanked by nwgb    January 5, 2013 at 11:38AM
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Fab ideas! Thanks guys, keep em coming :) I really was stuck! I may actually get somewhere now, other than just thinking, thinking, thinking!! olldj22 love the inspiration photo, all grey sounds like a plan, do you think I could get away with the current grey on trims? Or should I go darker?. Claudiann, didn't think to move the letterbox, yes, it needs to be a new one :) Agree with the wood edging and plantings. The window trim can be painted, it's currently the same colour as above the garage door, sort of a greig colour (light browny grey). Hubby says he could change the rails and pole to merbau, but then what to do with the stairs? Leave as is or merbau steps also?
    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 5:06PM
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The current gray looks like several different grays. Must be the light. The gray on house up near roof appears black, the gray above garage door appears light gray, the gray of carport look the perfect gray.
    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 6:23PM
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Paint the brick the same dark grey. Yes - the brick on the house and the garage area. Buy a new garage door that is flat not paneled. Order dark grey or paint it. Then the two sections are joined. Duplicate the railing design at your entry in a 3' fence on front.
    Bookmark   Thanked by nwgb    January 9, 2013 at 12:04AM
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The current garage door - and the entire house - has an industrial aesthetic that I like. I would be wary of replacing metal with wood, or replacing any clearly metal style railings and doors with anything that resembles wood. I would highlight the metallic elements, probably by painting them black. (Very important to choose the right kind of black, and not sure myself what to suggest, but leaning toward a flat charcoal for the window trim, eaves, railing, carport roof, and MAYBE the garage door. But I could also see introducing a contrasting color for that door - like copper, or red. This is assuming you keep the brick natural. I wouldn't be averse to painting the brick - even near-white - if you think it would look modern in the context of your neighborhood. Add a beautiful, artistic and edgy light. Same for mailbox. I'm having a problem with the look of the white curtains in the windows. Could the lining be darker, or could it be a more modern shade that will be less visible? Landscaping could eliminate all lawn in favor of shrubbery and groundcover and yes, a small tree in their midst on the left. You could have climbing plants in planters (choose the containers carefully for shape and material!) in front of the brick vertical separating the garage and carport, and the other verticals. I imagine something trained to frame and soften but still highlight those great rooflines. Investigate a green roof for the garage and carport Don't jump at the most obvious planting scheme (i.e., Japanese maple) but consider a bolder, less cliched design and plant pallet. For ideas look at modern designed landscapes of high-end buildings and museums. I'm encouraging you not to lapse into obvious choices because that is what dates a house like this. The driveway and sidewalks should maintain the same simple geometry and materials (like the drainage seams in the driveway). Make the structure the best and most authentic of its style. Make every additional element unique and artistic. Let this exquisite little house and setting make a strong aesthetic and environmental statement.
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 12:59AM
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I like the idea of carrying the charcoal color across to your carport & garage and your window trims. Play around with it, you might like to use full strength colour in some places and then 1/2 strength of the same colour in other areas, like the two tones of charcoal could work well on your stairs n railing if you don't want to go with Merbau. I think you could mirror the railing with a front fence, a basic 3 slat design, with a small hedge behind it. Make your letterbox a feature of the fence. I'd also consider replicating any hedge along front fence line with a hedge along the front edge of your home. Then high pressure water clean for the concrete drive way and see how it looks before you do anything more. Im a fan of living with a few changes first then seeing what else needs doing. Good luck!
    Bookmark   Thanked by nwgb    January 9, 2013 at 1:40AM
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Definitely paint the garage door to match the trim or at least a shade of grey.. Brick and grey is a great combination.

Consider adding a decorative strip of wood across the top of the carport, just under the eaves, to echo the lines of the railings (same size, spaced down same as separation between the railing strips. Only if you won't whack your head on it, of course.

I am a decent landscaper - function first. You don't specify WHERE you are, so the advice can't be specific. The suggestion of round boxwoods is OK, but they take forever to grow and need frequent pruning.

The bushes in the island need to go - they were too large for the spot and have been trimmed into awkward shapes to make them stay small. And evergreens never recover well from a bad haircut.

The grass is not thriving. I'd replace it with low-maintenance perennial and evergreen plants unless you have an HOA requirement for grass.

Modern architecture lends itself to strongly sculptural plants like agaves and some aloes. It also looks good with the spiky and fluffy ornamental grasses.

Here's some inspiration pics of interesting plants and modern houses.


Whatever you plant in the island, use that plant material or one of similar shape and texture across the front of the yard or up the left side of the sidewalk. The two evergreens would not look so awkward if they weren't stranded there with no friends elsewhere in the yard.

Make sure of your species and varieties to the plants don't overgrow their areas and start requiring pruning.

Keep the path - or at least a path - from the sidewalk to the stairs. Make a larger entry "pad" at the base of the stairs, with a modern looking bench.

Part of the "fail" is that the brick is not repeated in the rest of the landscape. The house is marooned up there.

If your budget extends to it, replace the old wooden retaining thingy near the sidewalk with a more emphatic brick retaining wall for it and make the island into a triangular low raised bed that slopes to nothing nearest the house.
8 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by nwgb    January 9, 2013 at 3:06AM
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Crystal Chavez
Hi nwgb- it sounds like you're going in the right direction! I found this ideabook to be super helpful! Check it out for inspiration:
Ideabook: Pick the Perfect Front Walkway Material · See Ideabook
    Bookmark   Thanked by nwgb    January 9, 2013 at 3:51PM
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The car port does pose a challenge. If you play up the industrial look on the house, it will help tie in the car port but if you are not a fan of that look, then i think there are other options.
First off all I would tear down the existing hand rail thats near the entrance to the house and install a new railing. If youre going industrial, I would suggest a wire railing which can be done with either a wood or metal frame.


For a more subtle look I would try to a clean metal railing with painted wood/ simulated wood column both on the porch and on the car port. Have details that are similar between the car port and the house will help to tie to two together.


I would paint the trim a light creamy color to brighten up the house and invest in a new garage door

Id suggest tearing out the walkway leading to the sidewalk and put in a new paver walk that goes from the house to the driveway near the car port.


Tear out the landscaping put a variety of plantings in front of the front windows and porch, leading to and down the driveway.

Good luck!
    Bookmark   Thanked by nwgb    January 9, 2013 at 4:17PM
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Kathryn Peltier Design
I agree with kitasei: the white blinds bother me, too. My eye goes right to them. I like all the advice you've gotten, including repeating the railing design in a fence near the sidewalk. I would take it a step further, however, and incorporate a "tower" out of the same slats which would have a light fixture, address and mailbox incorporated into it. This kind of has the feel I'm thinking of:
Blasen Gardens · More Info

Nice street numbers and mailbox
Friendswood House · More Info

This house has very strong horizontal lines to it, like yours does. Just for inspiration!
Lopez Island Residence · More Info

Something like this might be interesting flanking the front walk
Water Towers · More Info

I'm also wondering if something like this contemporary pergola couldnt be built from the porch to the roof of the carport - offset (it would be above the carport roof, obviously, but look like the pole is coming all the way up?)
Tarrytown Residence · More Info

Just some more ideas!
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by nwgb    January 9, 2013 at 4:25PM
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Kathryn Peltier Design
Kind of the concept I had for the light - address - mailbox pole, but obviously taller and maybe with a simple cylindrical st. st. light
Wolf Creek · More Info
    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 4:30PM
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I agree with tsudonimh, the brick should be repeated in the landscape. If you can find the same brick, have a brick mailbox built and brick edging around triangle area & driveway to tie in.
    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 4:41PM
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HI -- Real nice house , I like it ! You need to raise the carport/garage roof line to match to the roof edge of the house. Although that sounds not probable , I think it could be made to look like it is by adding a fence type railing around the top of the carport/garage to fill the differance. Also match to the house by making the front stair rail the same.Consult with an architect to draw it up to see if that is going to work for you. Then paint all the areas that are a light grey now and the new topper fence a very dark almost black and also on the window trims and garage doors and so on. Then have a rich jewel tone color on the house front door. I think the triangle flower bed should be removed and fill in with patio stones. then trim the edges of the walkway in the patio stone . The plants from that area can be reused in some foundation flower beds , adding more plants to fill in and out . Maybe add some more trees to frame the house. Add one feature tree , what is good for your grow zone . You can hire a landscaper or get advice from one from your local garden centre. One thing that needs to be changed is the stair entrance to your house . It would look better to have a small deck area added to the bottom of the stairs to face out from the front of the house and then have a patio landing around that area . Room enough for some chairs and a small table ,just to sit and visit with a neighbor or two , if you like that .
    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 5:43PM
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N.Fl.Concrete Flooring & Staining Inc
Concrete overlay would tie all the concrete together ..check out this site for more idea www.concretenetwork.com
    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 2:11PM
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N.Fl Concrete - Is an overly an opportunity to add color or other treatments? If so, it might be helpful to see some examples.
    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 3:11PM
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N.Fl.Concrete Flooring & Staining Inc
Yes ..View this site for all the info youll need www.concretenetwork.com
    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 3:14PM
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The AFTER! Well, the 3 quarters of the way there, after. So far, I'd say it cost somewhere in the vicinity of $1000 & lots of back braking work! Still some work to do, but very happy with the look so far. Thank you to all the wonderful, much appreciated Houzzers with their wonderful thought provoking ideas & help.
5 Likes    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 10:32PM
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Kathryn Peltier Design
3 Likes    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 10:50PM
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Wow!!!! So great!
    Bookmark   February 24, 2015 at 4:43PM
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