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Unique Up a lake house with vinyl siding
Lynn Puckett
January 17, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We live on a lake our house has yellow vinyl siding, green roof and natural wood porch/deck across front. It is so plain and from the back road side reminds me of a mobile home. I really want to dress it up maybe some stone just don't know what to do. We can't afford a complete redo!
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PRO
Interiors International, Inc.
Add shutters possibly green. Paint doors a attention getting color maybe red or blue. Beef up the landscaping. Create walkways that are inviting. Make the one going to the main door larger so people know where to go. Now there isn't a direction to give anyone an idea which door to use. Add trees to break up all that vinyl siding. Do these, post new pics and we can go from there.
January 17, 2013 at 9:21am   
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houssaon
The windows are really tiny and the back door and steps don't add to the facade. How about enlarging the windows to match the ones in the front and putting in a stone patio in the back with French doors? Some landscaping would help. I wouldn't put stone on facade.

I think the front porch would look better painted white.
January 17, 2013 at 9:27am   
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Lynn Puckett
The door on the back is a storage closet and does not go into the main house. The sidewalk widens at the front door, just cant see in picture.
January 17, 2013 at 10:11am   
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Lynn Puckett
Please i would really like more ideas!
January 17, 2013 at 7:17pm   
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claudiann
Replace the rope fence with a scalloped white picket fence. Put a white vinyl fence around the back yard. Paint all of the wood in the front of the home white. Beef up the porch poles with columns. Paint white. Put white lattice under the house. Hang some ferns on the porch. Get rid of the mixed matched planters.
January 18, 2013 at 5:58pm   
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Lynn Puckett
Restrictions wont allow a fence. Any suggestions of white paint. Being on the lake the houses I've seen with white porches always look dirty or mildewy. Really dont want to block view from porch.
January 18, 2013 at 8:39pm   
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mveasey
I don't think your place looks like a mobile from the side at all.
I guess the weather and light at that time of the day make things look a little bland. I like the idea of painting everything white and having thicker trim around the smaller windows. Green shutters to go with the roof Ill attach a photo of some more attention grabbing railings.
The question is, what direction would you like this house to go. You mentioned stone. Would you want it to look more rustic? Lodgelike? If you like your railings, I would give them a good pressure washing and restain them more a cedar, or wood colour. It will freshen things up. A big YES on substantial bushes around the place, also to cover the transformer a little better,etc. If you beef up your posts on the porch/patio, it will give the front a more balanced and prominent look.
A pressure washer is invaluable when you live on the water and have vinyl siding.One hour and your porch, railings or house and it looks sparkling new.
January 18, 2013 at 9:17pm     
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Lynn Puckett
Yes, we do want to go rustic. We have stacked stone fireplaces on the inside. A lot of wood and tile and lake fishing decor. All natural med/dark colors. I guess I'm afraid of the upkeep on all the white paint outside. We downsized to lake and really want low maintenance and not a lot of landscape upkeep.
January 19, 2013 at 9:13am   
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Jayme H.
At the lake, no way would I paint that porch. I would restain it.
January 19, 2013 at 9:42am   
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PRO
Interiors International, Inc.
I agree with low maintenance at the lake. I heavily landscaped my cabin. Everything I did was natural so I didn't have to do anything once it was done. I still like the ideas I posted earlier. They really do fit the style of the house. Short of that tear off the vinyl siding and do the exterior in a more rustic look.
January 19, 2013 at 9:51am   
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Jayme H.
In the back I would plant something like tall grasses around the propane tank. I would add in groupings off trees/plants/shrubs and rocks/boulders in the back for visual interest. They can be low maintenance if low maintenance plants are used-and I like mulch. Sorry...two pics of same thing. In front I would restain the porch/rails. I would hang vibrant colored plants in season from porch. Maybe plant tall perennials/grasses in front of porch.
January 19, 2013 at 10:13am     
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PRO
Stone & Land, LLC
Something that I think is a little "nautical" since you're near the lake might be a cable rail system. It would REALLY open up the views on the front porch which is what you probably like the most. The back isn't that bad, it appears you have wonderful trees and rolling landscape to look out at. This is a case where a simple foundation planting plan would work well. Informal bedline that is 2-4' nice and smooth curves that'll make it easy to mow and trim around the obstacles like the steps from the side and back door, AC units, Propane tank. Includes space to add some shrubs like Boxwoods to buffer the AC units and ornamental grass like Jayme suggested to soften the propane tank. If you're near Chicago I'd feel more comfortable about suggesting specific plants. I have good ideas and would love to sketch it out but I've done quite a few others on the site this week and got to get back to billable work. Good Luck

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January 19, 2013 at 11:00am     
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Lynn Puckett
Summer Green. Next step I guess will be to find a landscape contractor, shutters and a painter.
January 20, 2013 at 9:14am     
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Jayme H.
I few strategically placed arrangements and it will give a big impact...You have such a nice place already that it won't take much!!! Please share your changes with us!
January 20, 2013 at 9:24am   
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mveasey
Wow what a difference the summer makes! Thanks for sharing the extra photos. When you talk to landscapers make sure you tell them LOW maintenance, native varieties that will last on your climate. How about some tall grasses mixed with bushes? Lots of options. I kept thinking about your stone idea. I don't like the look of walls that are done half way up, looks as though you have run out of money or stones. How about putting up some "artificial support" pillars covered in rock on the corners of the non lake facing side. But might not go with the yellow. We used Eldorado veneer rock on our place and love the result and product. Best of luck from Canada!
January 20, 2013 at 10:46am     
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victorianbungalowranch
Whatever you do, I would beef up the collumns--they look very spindly and visually not heavy enough. It would be possible to do Craftsman-like stone veneer piers and tapered columns on top--you can even get PVC types that wrap around the exising posts, and veneer the foundation to match so it looks intensional. I can't tell too clearly, but I would screen off the bottom area too, and foundation landscaping would help a lot. Brighter color on the doors could help.

Understand your maintenance concerns. If you don't want to paint for a traditional look, then I would go much darker with the stain to make it stand out from the siding. Of course new siding would be great too, but rather expensive.
January 20, 2013 at 10:56am   
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PRO
Stone & Land, LLC
Lynn, here is a landscape picture just posted by one of my clients. I did a site visit and a concept and he installed this great solution for a sloping site. You might want to scroll through the project or ask him a few questions. I think it would if really add some extra character if you were to add outcrop stone and set them in the slope near your parking area or elswhere on your beautiful property. Thanks for the extra pictures.

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January 22, 2013 at 5:16pm   
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ourfarmhouse
I think a couple of cosmetic changes to the house and some pretty hearty landscaping work would do your little cottage some good.

HOUSE
I'd keep the stone off of the house, as the scale and visual weight of it might overpower your charming cottage look. A new structure over the door in the back gives it some architectural interest (no matter if it's a main door or not). You could paint the door a contrasting color, like gray to break up the monotony of all the light color.

In the front (strictly for curb appeal) I'd beef up the columns and paint them and the porch railings your trim color. It looks somewhat unfinished without it being painted. That's it for the house...pretty low cost.

LANDSCAPING
I'd put the rest of your time and effort (and money) into the landscaping, using stone, low-maintenance bushes, prairie grasses, hostas and maybe a couple of small ornamental trees to connect the different levels in your yard and to hide some of the undesirables (like utilities and even the raised base of the porch). Rustic stone grounds your structure and the layering of the foliage helps to soften it and make it feel more lush.

This could take a bit of time, effort and money, but it doesn't have to be all done at once, and the end result could be pretty amazing. You'd create more outdoor living spaces to enjoy and help to give your house a sense of place, instead of just floating on a sea of grass.

Here's what it might look like....
January 23, 2013 at 11:38pm     
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Lynn Puckett
Love being able to see what the house would look like. A lot going on on the back just for dead end street appeal. We never go back there (the door is to a 3x3 closet for a water heater and electrical panel-there is no access to the house through that door). Our septic tank is in the very spot where you have the patio. Lots of rain water comes towards the rear of house. We have to keep water into basement in mind. Everything happens on the lake side. The middle deck is octagon, open below for swings, and water toys in summer and the area below the top end is a patio with two picnic tables and TV area. Thats where we spend all our time and the majority of our guest come by boat. Can the post be enlarged without replacing? The porch ones are 6x6 and the ones under the deck area are 4x4 and they are not in a straight line. Love the look ourfarmhouse sure wish we could work with you!
January 24, 2013 at 8:47am     
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PRO
Stone & Land, LLC
Wholly cow ourfarmhouse, that was quite an effort, very nice work! Too bad you didn't see the septic. I'm not an expert but I think you can still do some improvements around the septic stuff as long as it's permeable, like with decorative gravel and some stepper stones. I would assume no heavy equipment either.
January 24, 2013 at 9:07am     
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Jayme H.
Agree with ourfarmhouse...that type of landscaping would be awesome there!!!
January 24, 2013 at 9:25am     
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ourfarmhouse
The back door structure is purely cosmetic. It helps to break up the long expanse of siding and your perception of mobile home. No one needs to know what's behind door number one.

I understand about spending all your time lakeside. The whole idea is to make the back yard looked planned...so it could go to more of a terrace with plantings or something. But going back to the original idea is kind of, "If you build it, they will come." You could find that if you had a more private area in the back that's planned for it, you would probably use it much more. It just feels a bit more intimate. It's really all about your lifestyle.

Posts can definitely be enlarged without replacing. You can buy them split so they can be wrapped around the existing posts and then rejoined. The other good thing is that you can get them (and railings) in a synthetic product, like PVC, and they're pretty much no maintenance...so you get the white railings and columns without the painting headache.
January 24, 2013 at 9:26am     
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Lynn Puckett
Ok ourfarmhouse when can you be here? I think with you here, we can knock this project out before the summer fun begins!
January 24, 2013 at 9:33am   
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ourfarmhouse
Ha! Sounds like fun. Unfortunately, I'm not a professional. I just make pretty pictures, and have done enough of my own projects to know about what it takes. Really, though, more than half the battle is having a plan (or at least a pretty solid idea of where you're going with the project). Having a plan and sticking to it reduces change orders and saves money in the longrun. Good luck with your project and be sure to post updates no matter what you decide to scale it to.
January 24, 2013 at 9:46am     
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mveasey
Found this photo and reminded me of your post...
January 26, 2013 at 10:11pm   
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