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Blank slate need help!
golfer_667
January 26, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Just getting in to a house. Wife didn't want to buy at first because of outside, but once inside was sold. Now we need to make outside as nice.
? suggestions on door color. Plan is to make railing black.
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tatjanamandaric16
door color hm hm hm brown
2 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 8:46AM
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PRO
Creations Nadia Interior Design
would be nice in black !
7 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 8:59AM
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collettec
I agree with Creations Nadia Interior Design that black would work well. I think landscaping would help a lot visually.
2 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 9:15AM
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collettec
Just wanted to add - something like a lantern above the door might add more visual interest.
4 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 9:23AM
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PRO
Solara Designs, Inc
The exterior is very bland. I think a nice rich Burgundy would add some pop. When you do tHe landscaping perhaps builds the ground "up" with a small 2' high retaining wall with stone facia amd large tall bushes.
2 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 9:37AM
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PRO
STUDIO MB
Too much stone..add some shutters for more depth..It appears that the stone under the two tall A frames are protruding beyond the rest. I would enhance this stone so it is darker. I would change out the door to a solid wood door and stain it a deep mahogany.
3 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 9:46AM
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mmilos
Hire a landscape designer to suggest new landscape plants suitable for your area. Definitely needs some tall foundation shrubs to ground the tall facade. A large tree or two would make the house look more in scale with the landscape.

I usually like brick, but I think this is too much and too busy on your very large home. With the busy brick pattern, you cant see the architectural details of the home, like your quoins. I would trim out the gables in a siding or moulding and paint them white. I would stain or paint the brick a lighter cream color with white around the window arch trim. Upgrade the windows to more traditional full mullioned types. Paint the railings and front door black. Add large lanterns on top of the pillars at the base of your stairs.
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 9:57AM
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wmpj
I agree with Solara Designs about the door. Burgundy or a deep red would look good.
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 9:59AM
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sshort
I like the idea of a large lantern above the door. I think a deep mahogany or black would work for the door. I'm not sure shutters would work, due to the brick detail around all the windows. The landscape is way too understated. Need a large scale tree on the right, with different heights of plants layered towards the walkway. It looks like a job for a good landscape designer, that also knows about appropriate lighting at night. Touchstone lighting is a great company. Lanterns on the pillars, as mentioned earlier would look great.
2 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 10:05AM
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rileyjo
I recommend replacing the entire door including the transome windows with a large pair of decorative iron gates. The house can hold the heavy look of iron because of the weight of all the stone. Have them painted a dark gunmetal gray (as well as the railing)rather than black for a more cohesive appearance. It doesn't appear like you have enough space for shutters due to the quioning so landscaping is what I would focus on next. I invision more plantings along the front of the home, boxwood framing the grass and pink crepe myrtle trees lining the front of the property. Good luck and enjoy your beautiful new home.
2 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 10:06AM
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flgrandma
I agree with Maria concerning the stone. This looks like a fortress and that little door will not keep out the barbarian hordes. You need something big and heavy. Think German castle. Also, the metal stair railing appears way too frail for this place. You might consider something in hefty in wood to go with the new door. Or, and I hate to say this, more stone.

I don't think shutters would go with this place, but maybe I'm thinking of Colonial New England. I'm sure a shutter company can offer many styles.

Once you get some major, large landscaping the whole place will look softer and beautiful.
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 10:08AM
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mmilos
I was thinking of a hanging lantern too, but it looks like it would compete with what looks to be a large indoor chandelier in the arched window. Better if large sconces could be placed flanking the door...perhaps on side walls if not enough space.
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 10:12AM
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flgrandma
[houzz=
] Here's an idea of a substantial door and railings.
3 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 10:16AM
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flgrandma
In HOUZZ go to BROWSE ROOMS and click EXTERIORS, under search type CASTLES and hit search. You'll find lots of ideas for the exterior of your place. Have fun!
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 10:23AM
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PRO
Welcome Home designs
Figrandma's inspiration picture has some good ideas for your home.
What makes this brick home work is the outline in the windows and other trim areas - there's interesting colour complements and your eye travels to all the contrasts.
Beautiful landscaping as well.
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 10:27AM
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PRO
Pamela Tripas
Do you have window coverings inside? The windows appear to be dark holes on your new gorgeous home. It would be nice to see uniform slatted white shutter/blinds half or fully drawn. Landscaping will add a lot to warm it up for sure!
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 10:35AM
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flgrandma
[houzz=
] I know this is way more than you asked for, but take a look at the doorway of this place. If you have the budget to build something like this over your entry (first and second floor) it would add some greatly needed interest and balance to the entry.
1 Like   January 26, 2013 at 10:46AM
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golfer_667
Thanks to all. First time listing on Houzz and am greatful for all the feedback. Must admit, we've thought of black, but were a little scared it would be too "contrasty". Earlier today I found a door with a good bit of the gunmetal gray as suggested by rileyjo/flgrandma, had not thought of making the railings that as well but I like the thought. Have measured and can do board and batten shutters but the anchors will be on the window trim and just miss the quioning.
Like the heavy wood entry as suggested by flgrandma but the house 3 up from us has this type of beam as well. Guess we could change the design out some though.
Thanks for input on landscape, and any other specifics would be welcome. I am attaching the current picture, I had put one up without the big Hollys b/c I don't like their location and am taking them down and at minimum moving to the edge of the house to help frame/make to scale better. Have power washed steps which brightened them and have two large laterns at the door entry, unfortunately hard to see until you get to the steps b/c of the arch opening.
Along base of foundation had also thought of knockout roses for lower maintenance and to give some color and soften the bland appearance as well.
1 Like   January 27, 2013 at 2:20PM
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sjkingston
That roof color looks wonderful. I'd find a color match to get the right color family and then test shades in its deepest variation perhaps with a black undertone. It would give a punch of color that works with the roof and tie into the black rails once painted. You can test lighter and darker versions with the hue of the roof color to see how much color you like without resorting to black. Include some plants that either have colored bark, leaves or flowers with similar tones and it'll look fabulous when they are in season.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 2:50PM
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flgrandma
Your latest photo looks so much better than the original. Just the beginnings of landscaping has made a huge difference.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 5:45PM
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collettec
Think it would be helpful to get some professional landscaping advice. Your existing plantings look a bit random and a few of them oversize for the space. You could definitely use an overall landscaping plan to work with the entire space to really set off this beautiful house.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 6:11PM
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PRO
Creations Nadia Interior Design
Make sure they will create a green area to practice your putting, i really have a feeling your back yard is facing a golf course :))))
1 Like   January 27, 2013 at 6:21PM
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PRO
Earth Matters Landscape Construction Ltd.
I think replacing the single door with a double opening door would offer better scale and balance. As for colour, my vote is for a mid-tone plum to draw your eye and compliment the roof shingles.
Be careful of falling into the trap of installing too many large scale trees up against the house.(especially in front of the windows) In a short while you could be losing valuable natural light.
Royal burgundy barberry might be a good choice to give some ground cover colour punch up front.
2 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 6:28PM
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Tamie_LaVallee White
Dark muted plum would be a great door color.
3 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 6:42PM
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mdasay
Paint the whole house in a color similar to the lightest brick (taupe maybe?). Then add the shutters in a darker tone. I would then add some copper (downspouts gutters etc) and maybe those wood beams. Of course the landscape could be spectacular with large trees (planted the appropriate distance from the house so as to let the house "breathe".
1 Like   January 27, 2013 at 6:48PM
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tatjanamandaric16
I like the way it is but you know if I did it to yourself your roof is dark violet color and now Im 4-5 shades lighter house and the door also for 3 shades lighter than the facade and arches decorate or you can say the entry step with the darker color means here more nuance in guestion and the same color
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 6:50PM
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tatjanamandaric16
I love a lot of nice especially from the whole green and palm trees such as Japanese maples but does not need densley planed than in the distance as if densely planted trees you know he takes a lot of oxygen when you sit outside on the terrace,you will notice that you lack oxygen moderate
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 6:57PM
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golfer_667
Creations Nadia, unfortunately miles from the golf course, but I like your thinking about the putting green.
Earth Matters Landscape Construction Ltd. - love the barberry idea. Do you know how tall they grow?
Agree with emzc that there did not seem to be a cohesive plan when the trees had been put in and yes it has blocked the light into the dining room (just left of the steps).
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 7:13PM
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PRO
Creations Nadia Interior Design
replant them! i keept my mouth shut but yes - too crowded near the entrance and it will get worse!!!
1 Like   January 27, 2013 at 7:18PM
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apennameandthata
I agree with the burgandy-coloured front door. But, I suggest you do not do anything at all else to the house until you have done the landscaping. Until you have done the landscaping, anything you do to the house will not be enough/succeed, and after the landscaping, you might not need/want to do anything to the front of the house!
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 7:21PM
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PRO
Earth Matters Landscape Construction Ltd.
The Royal Burgundy Barberries get about 2-3 ft high x 3- wide. We often use them as a border planting for entrance ways and drive ways. They make a great substitute for boxwoods for hedging if planted close together.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 7:24PM
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PRO
Autumnwood Construction Inc.
I would hire a landscape architect and completely redo the front landscaping ... the house is so tall it looks like your 5' - 6' of the ground level to the first floor with all those steps. You need tall hedges and columnar style trees off the corners. As others have said some tall retaining walls in the front. Something to give more depth with all that height ! The brick columns at the bottom of the stairs are to short and need to be taller... I like the idea of painting the railing black.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 8:43PM
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mainstreetschool
Why would someone want to paint all that stone? Landscaper, bold door, and darker railings are all you need for now. Trees should be away from structure. The roses sound lovely, and would enhance castle style.
1 Like   January 27, 2013 at 8:45PM
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sjkingston
I think all the suggestions on paint are for the front door and no one is suggesting painting the stone.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 9:03PM
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Jean Tuck
Painting the door brown to match roof, as for the brick I bet itsbecause they think the bricks are grey and some other colors is the real brick color, , maybe if it was acloser view of brick they might see what you see that requires paint.Just sayin'.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 9:34PM
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mainstreetschool
Sjkingston - painting the whole house taupe was suggested by Mdasay. You would constantly be repainting it. Bold trim and door along with appropriate landscaping will enhance the beautiful stone colored brick.
1 Like   January 28, 2013 at 5:34AM
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flgrandma
Traditional Exterior design by Dallas Landscape Architect Harold Leidner Landscape Architects
0 Likes   January 28, 2013 at 6:47AM
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benniebonita
Plants climbers
1 Like   January 28, 2013 at 7:14AM
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PRO
catieb
I would hesitate to do shutters, there is nothing that a front elevation more than out of scale or incorrectly sized/designed shutters. And with the window arrangement you do not have the room to do the right shutters.

As you plan your budget for redoing the house exterior consider getting someone in to stucco over the quoins. Historially these were each a large stone, so if you can make them feel like that by creating a solid, textured finish, then it will break down the massiveness of the walls of brick and bring out the details of the brickwork.

When landscaping - get a professional opinion.....everyone shoves landscaping up against the house and that adds no depth. You need a plan that brings the landscaping forward, in varying heights to compliment how the house steps back. And perhaps with some edged, raised garden beds. Think of having a view from the house, not just from the drive. Even if you don't want to pay to have the landscaping installed - pay to have them come up with the plan!

There are coatings that can go on the front steps that can also add color or texture to contrast with the rest of the elevation. Right now, the entry doesn't say "welcome" or "here I am"....stone pillar railings would have been more in keeping with the style of the house (see pic).

rileyjo's idea for the front door is great - something oversized, heavier, more wood and wrought iron would be perfect on here.
1 Like   January 28, 2013 at 7:32AM
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PRO
catieb
railing
0 Likes   January 28, 2013 at 7:35AM
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benniebonita
Virginia creeper ? Perhaps
1 Like   January 28, 2013 at 7:39AM
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PRO
STUDIO MB
I feel like re-posting my original ideas..shutters,stained all wood door, and enhance the bottom portion and the side protruding stone.
1 Like   January 28, 2013 at 7:51AM
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casacomoda
I think you have a beautiful home, but I agree, it is somewhat austere. You've received some good suggestions on ways to soften this up. It's difficult to know which direction to steer suggestions in when there are still a number of unknowns that might make some of these work well and others not so much.

The first thing that I wonder is what style, esthetically speaking, are you ultimately going for? At this point I think your "blank slate" pretty much sums it up. But the architectural style of this home could lend itself towards several different looks. As it is, it appears more on the traditional or transitional side. But, depending upon the type of changes that you make, it could be influenced toward a more contemporary look, an old world, country look or even a more formal, traditional look. Knowing which direction you are going in makes a difference.

The second big question is budget. This is a grand home. Sometimes just getting in and doing the absolutely necessary things to make the interior livable for your lifestyle may not leave a tremendous amount for the non immediately essential changes. In this case, selecting the things that give the most "bang for the buck" makes sense. Have a master plan to do the rest as budget allows. If budget isn't an issue, you could practically change everything you don't like, up to and including the roof line. I expect you'll be thinking of something somewhere in between, but my suggestions will tend toward the conservative.

That being said, I will address landscaping issues first. I personally would keep any stone accents (i.e: retaining walls, etc.) to a minimum. There is already a lot of stone. A good landscape architect will be able to give you advice as to the types of trees, etc. that will give you the most value down the road. For example, if you live in a very warm climate, year round, you might like having some shade at various sun catching windows. If you live in a 4 season climate, deciduous trees that shade in the summer and let the heat in during the winter make more sense. Which ever style you want for your home, I feel that year round color would be good as well as having a good balance of low and high plantings. Living in Colorado, I am a tree hugger and think the big holly is beautiful, but also badly placed. It should be moved and, in my opinion only, it would look better to not have any trees totally obscuring your windows at any time. I think some sort of mild berm in the area to the left of the entrance between the pathway and driveway would be nice and I like the idea of a graceful tree/s with color (like the crepe myrtle mentioned before, if it is hardy in your area) and a mixture of lower evergreen shrubs (the royal burgundy barberry that someone pictured is beautiful if you use some of those tones on your home's exterior) and perennial and annual flowers. There are many beautiful, low maintenance choices. If you are not going for a contemporary look, possibly even doing some entwined ivy in the contrasting stone under the windows on each side of the entry. You wouldn't want to cover it completely so if you like this idea be sure and discuss the maintenance aspects with your landscaper. Although beautiful, spreading ivy can create issues that you should be aware of.

I do think a more contrasting railing would improve the look greatly. I would only consider black or gunmetal grey if you were going with a more contemporary look or black for a very traditional look. This is probably just me, but I'm not much of a fan of brown paint for exteriors. It just never seems to have the right "punch". For other than a contemporary look, I would also consider a warmer, dark bronze. There are many shades of bronze and I would select one that pulls a color from the stone. It is very easy and relatively inexpensive to have this metal work powder coated. There is practically no maintenance (i.e.: painting) or upkeep necessary with this. I can't see the detail of the railings well enough to tell if they are too ornate for a more contemporary look. If that is what you're going for, hopefully you won't have to replace them.

Next, the door. I understand that the glass panels on each side let in valuable light, but I don't care for them much. Partly because I think they are a little dated looking and mostly because I think they can be a security issue. I would consider leaving them for budget purposes if you are going for a really traditional look and then paint the door (I liked the suggestion of a deep wine color that might bring in some of the roofing tones; black would also be ok). I would replace the door for a more contemporary look (possibly double doors), but also going with paint, probably black with gunmetal grey railings or the reverse. If you are looking for more of a European feel, then I would definitely replace the door with something more massive, probably in a very rich stain, with hardware that would coordinate with the bronze railings.

Windows - wow, there are a lot of them. Although I love the architectural interest they can give, I think shutters might be a little overpowering on this home. I would definitely want to see a mock up before making that decision. Personally, I don't think they lend themselves to a contemporary look at all, but a clever designer can do almost anything, right? If you are going traditional, black with a stained door or stained with a black door. If you are going old world, there are more possibilities, but I'm still just thinking that it would be a little overwhelming with this many windows. With a mock up, you could try them on just some of the windows. Depending on all of your other choices, with an old world look, I could actually see them just on the two windows to the right of the garage. Arch shaped so that if they were closed they would cover the entire window, including arch and maybe in the deep wine color if you have a dark stained door. The windows are the one feature of your home that makes the contemporary style the hardest to achieve, with the arches on top - and that's the other problem that I have with shutters - the arch already makes the windows stand apart; shutters on all of them could actually be a detraction. But I agree that softening them in some way would make a big difference in the overall austerity of the home. Painting the exterior trim around the windows a darker color that would contrast more with the stone and/or adding squared mullions inside is something small that could add quite a bit of impact. Of course, you wouldn't want to do the mullions for a contemporary style, but I still think they would benefit from painting for that style. The rectangular wood trim at the top of each window seems a little wide to me. Don't know if it would be possible to change that. If the budget would permit and you were thinking of the old world or maybe even the traditional style, you might consider adding a slate canopy (even bronze or copper would look nice for the old world style) over a couple of them. Perhaps the two on each side of the door if you want to maintain the look of the existing symmetry or on the upper, far right window and the lower window just to the left of the door, to sort of break up that complete symmetry. If you should be going the old world look, adding some copper or bronze downspouts (as previously suggested) would also alleviate some of the austerity. Whatever you do, just don't go overboard; keep a classy, uncluttered look. Lastly, and this probably goes without saying, don't forget to address the interior of the garage window along with all of the rest. It is hard to imagine, but in my neighborhood there lives a very prominent doctor who has a gorgeous home, but with nothing on the interior of the garage window, all you see when passing by is a bicycle hung from the ceiling and miscellaneous stuff stacked in front of the rest of the window. Go figure. I doubt that you would make that mistake, but it's just something that I always think about when I see a garage window on the front of a house.

Lighting: My first impulse was a massive chained coach lamp or lantern (for old world or traditional, but something more modern, maybe in satin nickel, for a contemporary look) hanging over the door. Looking further, it appears that there may be a very grand chandelier in the foyer that would be lit in the evening and would compete. If you wanted to go the "hanging" route, you would have to be sure and have the light hanging far enough below the light in the foyer arch and scaled properly in size. In any case, because the current sconces hardly show at all, I think they should be changed to either something darker and more imposing and/or have some added on the exterior of each side of the entry arch. Again, depending upon budget, it would be more expensive to have the post construction electrical done for this option. Or, perhaps something linear above the glass over the door. At night, I'm sure that when the foyer chandelier is lit, there is all the drama necessary, but consider something else that will be an impact during the day and not compete with the chandelier when lit.

Sometimes, very simple things like a bench or plant, piece of pottery, etc. on the porch can make a big difference, just as long as it doesn't get too cluttered.

It sounds like your wife is really happy with the interior of your home, where you spend the most time, so just remember that even with a bucket full of suggestions for the outside, there's nothing to be ashamed of with the exterior just the way it is. Sometimes it makes sense to not rush into changes until you've had a little time to mull over all the possibilities and live with the situation long enough to really know what will make you happy for the long term. Very best of luck, whatever you decide!
1 Like   January 28, 2013 at 11:04AM
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PRO
Jefferson Park Collection
This home is really close to being perfect. If the stone is real I would just stain the cornerstones a different color to add contrast. If the roof is composit tile, I would change that out. And change the windows and doors to casement windows and French doors. The front door has to be changed out to a Bronze or Steel Door. Replace the railing with one that has more design. We have faricated & retrofitted a home before with our soild bronze doors and windows that had a dark bronze patina. We installed our cremones on all the doors and windows. We also made solid bronze railings. The great thing about our solid bronze units is you never need to paint or replace your door again. Super rich look and feel!
0 Likes   January 28, 2013 at 3:14PM
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rileyjo
Just revisiting this thread again. I had another thought after reading the other posts regarding a burgundy painted wood door for your home. You can have the roof sprayed charcoal gray or black if you aren't pleased with its current color. We had ours spayed because the California sun had lightened up the original tiles after only about 5 years. It was sprayed dark charcoal gray (almost black) 3 years ago and it still looks great (came with a 10 year warranty). That said, I still see your home with a large pair of gunmetal gray steel/iron doors (no transomes) which would look wonderful with a newly sprayed charcoal gray roof.
0 Likes   January 28, 2013 at 7:35PM
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golfer_667
Just an update on the work for those who were interested
4 Likes   May 22, 2014 at 2:11PM
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