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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

70's Bi-level needs an exterior update

gardenergirlFebruary 1, 2013
Please help us update the exterior of our bi-level. We would like to choose siding, front door, and possibly modify the front entrance area to update this 70's bi-level. We would prefer to leave the brick, as it is. There is also a detached 2-car garage that will need a matching update. We have recently replaced the windows, garage doors and added the rear deck. Thank you for your comments.
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With the garage door and brick color you don't have many siding color options. Beige or moss. Check out special order colors for more shade options. Make sure you order thick trim in white for your windows to break up the brown. Tackle new landscaping in the spring and add a tree. Paint the door to pop too. Go Blue!!!
    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 7:00PM
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Ok granted. My graphics are really crummy. But hopefully they will be enough to give you some idea that the windows will really make a difference. I think the house would look good gray with whitewashed brick. Put an eyebrow transom over the front door. Remove the part of the roof that dips over the door. That's really outdated. Re-do the shingles on the roof with architectural shingles that match the new color of the house. And definitely beef up the shrubbery with perennials that display different shades of green--not just softwood.
    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 7:43PM
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Denice Shuty
Sorry, eagledzines, but I think putting arches on a 70's bi-level is a big mistake. Stay true to the architectural style which is modern, American, and rectilinear. The design is about being straightforward, eschew fussy details or anything "old world".

I would like to see the brick veneered over or painted, not sure why you want to keep it as it will severely limit your options, and the degree of change you can achieve. If you are doing new siding do horizontal siding instead of the vertical for an updated look. Do wide, flush planks, not the colonial over-lapping style. Do get rid of the campground brown color. Try a color in shades of taupe, cinnamon, or charcoal that will work with the brick. Make the garage doors an inconspicuous color, but paint the front doors in an accent shade - depending on the new siding color - maybe a high gloss persimmon or black. Get great light fixtures.

Although concrete stairs and walks are not particularly attractive, they are appropriate to a 70's bi-level. Replace the wrought iron railing with something that has clean lines and greater heft.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 9:46PM
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Denice Shuty
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 9:51PM
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Add a decorative pergola that spans across the front of the garage and mix two styles of siding. I agree that adopting a craftsman style would ply well with the current structure. I would recommend a cypress green siding with an accent of sable brown shaker siding for a few areas, like the windows above the garage. Also, think white vinyl around the windows will help bring a lot of brightness while playing well with the browns and greens.
    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 10:01PM
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Writely Yours Marketing - I like the craftsman style and the colors you suggested. Thank you, everyone, for your comments. Where can I go on-line to see the siding colors and trim on my house pictures?
1 Like    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 4:08PM
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Denice Shuty
Gardenergirl, I'm sure there are software dowloads to do that, but I don't know of them. I bet somebody out there knows and can tell you. Best of luck with your rehab!
    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 4:14PM
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is there a budget.....I fate to get all involved to find things aren't possible
    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 4:18PM
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I would suggest, landscaping and correcting the problem with the drive, before expending $$$$$ on reshaping the structure. BUT if you can I would replace the double doors with a single entry door.
    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 4:20PM
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I would be very carfeful to not start adding "ENGLISH STYLE" elements to this house. The house has 70's style and rather simple lines and basiclly no ''detailing" so I would 'go with what you've got' and keep any changes simple and enjoy a great looking 70's house
1 Like    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 4:22PM
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James Buckley
Raised ranches and split level style homes are tough to "alter". I believe you are on the right track by changing siding and paint. I would definitely paint the brick; it is too busy. Painting it the same color or a shade deeper than the siding would tie it in. A horizontal siding with a wider exposure (6") to the weather would fit this house better than a typical 4" exposure which is reserved more to a colonial. Without too much expense, I believe you can tie together the 2 box bay windows (most likely bedrooms, if I am right) into a single larger dormer. It will give you more balance to the left side of the ranch and take away the "two eyes" on the right. If you decide to keep the garage doors below, I would invest in upgrades to nice wooden craftsman style doors with vertical panel insets and long arching windows. This arch detail can be echoed in the front porch entry which I would add a mirrored section of roof to create a balanced gable entry porch. Lose the double doors and switch to a new entry door unit with a nice paneled solid door with side lights. A single, beautiful hanging light fixture centered in this arched portico with tapered craftsman style, tapered columns at each side. Maybe add a post lamp at the bottom of the curved steps that matches the columns. Add muntins (grills) to your new windows; I would maybe put them only in the top sash and create the cottage look. Continue planting beds along driveway. See quick sketch (Writely Yours Marketing is right on the money too)
8 Likes    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:12AM
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James Buckley
Benjamin Moore has a color viewer:
Certain color viewer:
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:20AM
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