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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Need help with curb appeal.

tamellaJanuary 13, 2013
I need help with curb appeal. The irregular shaped house needs either an addition, hardscaping or landscaping to make it look nicer. The garage comes out in depth the most and then the front door and then right side of house. The two windows set back the farthest. We are exploring ideas.
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Hmmmm. I think your house has quite a bit of curb appeal already!!

I think landscaping with the proper trees/flower etc for your area will make a big difference.Since I am no expert on that, I won't give any advice.

I like the decorative brick patterns above the garage and on the right side of the house. For me, all the white from the garage needs to somehow be balanced on the right side of your home. Perhaps w/ a planting of some light barked trees (?)

Also in your first photo I swear I see hinges and handles on the garage doors but they are gone in the photo of the garage doors. I like that detail. What happened there anyway??!
1 Like    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 5:46PM
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Studio S Squared Architecture, Inc.
Any way to punch a window in the big gable on the right?

Also, a 36-48" tall garden wall to help define the courtyard would be quite nice.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 5:53PM
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You definitely need, soft, voluptuous landscaping -- especially in front of the gable bumpout on the right. Maybe find a place for an ornamental tree in the area that would make a nice courtyard.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 6:01PM
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Level Design Studios
Landscaping for starters. I feel the brick is overpowering the visual weight of the house. Unfortunately, I feel you need to plan on investing some money into the project to counter ballance that heavy feel of the brick. Maybe by creating a break "datum line: half way up the wall and the using a nother material such as horizontal siding or such. The diferent materials would give the home a more balanced feel I think.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 6:18PM
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Rusty Pyrda
In looking at the photos close up, the house has got very nice brick details. It would be a shame to cover that up with unnecessary heavy plantings. However, the detail on the right gable end needs to be accentuated, possibly by flanking with espaliers and then framing in the right end of the house with a nice ornamental tree, maybe a Japanases Maple. I love the idea of a low courtyard wall to help define a front entry garden. The front walk should also be widened where it meets the drive to about 7-8 ft. Consider changing the trim to a neutral other than white. Don't try to over do on the plantings, keep it lush, but simple. This house does not need a lot of "fluff".
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 6:19PM
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What about three arched trellises on the right side? Put them against the wall with a semi circular bed around and in front of them. Lirope and perineals in the bed with clematis on the trellises. Shutters on the window right of the front door. Make a little courtyard in front of this window with hard scape. Angle a white bench in the corner facing the mailbox. Put a pot with plants or evergreen by bench and another pot on right side of entry. New mailbox surrounded by more lirope, light by entry and on garage wall.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 6:28PM
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Pamela Bateman Garden Design
The best way to improve the landscape would be to enlarge the entrance path or create a courtyard in the front of the house. The courtyard could be as large as the area between the two wings of the house. The entrance path could start halfway down the driveway or originate at the street and lead to the front door or courtyard. There are hundreds of Houzz photos under landscape 'entrance gardens' It would be expensive to tear out the existing path and redesign the area but it would improve the curb appeal. In order to suggest plants we need to know your climate zone or where you live. The house is very nice and could look better with only a few improvements to the landscape. If your budget is tight and a courtyard is out of the question then I would remove the lawn between the two wings of the house and put in a flower bed with plants that stay low so that they do not block the front of the house. On the right side of the house I would plant two small ornamental shrubs that would help frame the center brick design on the house. An arbor over the garage doors would be nice.
9 Likes    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 6:29PM
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Rusty Pyrda
Pamela's got it! Perfect!
1 Like    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 6:32PM
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Wow, thanks for all the great comments! I really like the idea of the courtyard. Would you keep the wall even with the left and right side of the house. Make it a matching brick? Can't wait to start implementing some of the ideas!!!
    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 6:55PM
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Add some berms in front to add height and interest. I would also put a planter between the garage doors to soften that area with an potted evergreen and ivy or flowering vine. Love the idea of the arbor over the garage doors.
    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 11:06PM
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Dani Pollard
Overall you need ti highlight the front door and push everything into the background.
To do this I would paint the garage doors a reddish brown to blend into the bricks more, and paint the bricks around the entrance white and front door black gloss. And then I would install 2 lights on either side of the front door (on sensors) and maybe plant a row of hedges along the path to lead visitors up to the front door.
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 1:05AM
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jansgirl, now you have me wondering where those hinges went.
I love everyone's ideas. This will be lovely when you soften it up...lots to work with here.
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 3:23AM
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Legends Direct
There are a ton of little things you can do to update your curb appeal! A new mailbox, maybe some gas lanterns to accent your drive way or even outdoor wall decor to add detail to all that brick. We strongly suggestion thinking about decorative shutters. Shutters will had character and detail to your home without breaking the bank. You can also accent your windows with window boxes! Legends Lifestyle can help you with all our outdoor living needs, check out our website! Hope that helps, good luck! www.legendslifestyle.com
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 11:04AM
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Think about adding pavers at lease 3 feet deep across the front of your lot from the edge of the road blacktop into your lot. Since you don't have curb and gutter, it would look better and serve to help people parking in front of your house - those getting out on the passenger side would not be stepping directly into damp grass, etc. Hire a landscaper to draw up a plan incorporating bushes, flowers and trees that you like. They will know what will live in your planting zone and can make many great suggestions incorporating color - some people just like green and white - and also adding privacy for your property. They can arrange to have everything properly planted and educate you on care instructions. It is more expensive, but in the long run I have found it is worth having professionals take care of the planting everything. If you don't like your brick color, think about having it whitewashed which will make it softer in appearance. Good luck - many great ideas for you to choose from!!
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 11:22AM
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Would you consider sandblasting and white-washing the brick to soften it up? I love painted brick houses--so elegant!
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 11:39AM
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Rusty Pyrda
Painted brick would be gorgeous. It also makes blending new materials with the old easier....If an entry court enclosure is to be added, it does not have to be an exact match to the old brick...or you could use stone as the new material...either way, painted brick works.
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 1:29PM
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My neighbors whitewashed their red brick and it looks so beautiful. It just opened it up and now the blue door and shutters really stand out.
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 1:32PM
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Carolyn Choi
Here's a rough sketch of my idea and it's rather economical. I would hire a local landscape contractor/architect to build a custom made trellis/arbor to join the two gables. Planting a decorative, showy blooming vine on the arbor would add to its appeal and underneath, a tiled area and colorful plants and outdoor furniture. Driveway needs major renovation . If you're DIYers you can rent a sod removing machine and prep the area by bringing in a truckload of 12 " layer of good garden soil. Planting ornamental grasses, drought-tolerant perennials and annuals, mixed with low growing evergreens would give you a low-maintenance landscape with lots of curb appeal. A beautiful specimen tree - showy ornamental blooming one - will cover the blank gable. Get help from your local garden center or ask for a free consultation from local garden designers/landscapers.
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 4:16PM
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Home & Garden Design, Atlanta - Danna Cain, ASLA
Totally agree with Choi's ideas of the arbor, focal bed at curb and tree to soften gable. The tree could be a large cultivar of crape myrtle or anything that's leggy. I think it's important to look "thru" the limbs to the pretty brick work and utilize the foliage to soften the gable. The arbor will make the front door area darker so consider a very bright color for the door and echo that color in your choice of outdoor furniture or flowers to the right of the entrance. A patio under the arbor would be a lovely way to extend your living area to the outdoors but if you can't afford that, use a few stepping stones to a bench or two. From the street view, the balance will be the same.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 5:47PM
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Dani Pollard
Entrance · More Info

I think something like this up to the front door would be perfect :)
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 10:11PM
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You need a large if not huge ornamental tree close to centered in front of the Right wing of the house to start. Fill in the space between the garage and the right wing with pavers to create a patio are with nice bench seating or an iron table and two chairs and large urns of potted plants to start. Add an outdoor fountain in the patio are too
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 10:43PM
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I agree. Painting the garage doors a darker color and the main door lighter will help a lot! Also, dark green shutters on the window would help it look larger. Then a pretty window box below the window with deep purple and white flowers like trailing petunias in the summer.
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 10:52PM
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I think this house would look great with a circular driveway. It looks like parking for guests would need to be on the grass, so it would be functional as well as give a court yard feel to it.
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 11:05PM
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Becky Ford
I think the lack of curb appeal comes from having too much of the same color brick on the front of the house. If it were me, budget would be limited but there are some inexpensive things you could do to increase the appeal. First, you could accentuate the brick detailing on the front by painting the frame white like the garage door and window trim. I would also paint the front door white to match the garage door and make it standout, it is in a dark alcove. Then add a couple trees and some low growing flowering plants. Keep the plants between the driveway and sidewalk small. Add color with your plants. River rock would look nice as the mulch around the plantings, I would stay with a mulch that is light in color since the house is red brick all across the front. I do not have professional software to show you what I mean, but printed off a picture of your house and colored with crayons to give you the idea, hope it helps.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 11:19AM
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What you really need is a faux window to the right. Try this company...

3 Likes    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 11:39AM
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Thank you for all the wonderful ideas. What do you think about adding an addition in between the garage and the right side of the house - the two roof peaks. Maybe 2 story with a loft? Any architects on this site?
    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 8:39PM
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I'm not an architect, but make sure and determine if that expense and investment is even necessary. What you are talking about will change the entire look, feel and function of your home. Plus, added costs to build, maintain, furnish and property tax increase. Most homes have plenty of space, it has more to do with the floor plan, layout and use of space (maximize use of space).

One person suggested a courtyard out front, which is exactly what I felt as well. It can function as an outdoor garden room and living space, that will provide a greater experience and look for you and your home, I'll see if I have some examples from work we have done for other clients.

Your home has good bones to work with. Painting the garage doors and trim to compliment the tones of the brick would be helpful and play down the prominence of the two white garage doors (since they standout architecturally). It needs to be softened and more cohesive. Changing the windows would help, but not a necessity.

Beyond the front courtyard suggestions (an evergreen hedge 30-36" in height would work better than a fence, softer in appearance, to create that space) and new walkway pulled further up the current drive would help you through the new experience.

Making the front yard feel more like a back yard will create some depth within the experience of your home (a layering affect), from both perspectives (looking from the road and from the house looking out).

I literally have it designed in my head already, it would be fun to transform the space.

I'll send you some before and afters of what the changes can do, even though the applications I'm sending call for a different need!! I'll need to post several times in order to send you a handful of images.

I hope this helps!
    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 9:21PM
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The after images of these two projects.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 9:26PM
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Some other before and after examples for you!!
    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 9:30PM
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Last ones! I wanted to display some court spaces, some more formal and some relaxed, but the main thing is a feeling of space. Second, show you what a change in paint color can do to a home. Last, the layering affect plantings can have on a property to create screening, privacy, intimacy, color, interest, scale, warmth, beauty, etc.
    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 9:48PM
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