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How can I add curb appeal to this house??
Amanda
February 1, 2013 in Design Dilemma
This is a picture of a picture, please ignore my pen marks . We are set on a hill that goes up in the back so the whole bottom stone is foundation and most of the actual living space is the shorter top half (ceiling/roof is pitched from front to back). From the street the house looks really bottom heavy. I'm open to anything - removing part of the deck, anything! Would love some input.
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centaurita
My first thought is to replace the retaining wall with a different material.
Get the concrete driveway cleaned up.
Paint the garage (including the door), Dark Gray. Paint the trim around the edges of the garage door in white (not the panel dividers).
Paint the top level walls white and trim with dark gary. Paint the top deck and rails leading to porch light gray. Add some nice landscaping plants and replace the lamp-post and lights on house with matching light fixtures.
February 1, 2013 at 10:05PM     
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Jon Schluenz
It looks like the top of your home is receding and the bottom is coming out. This should be reversed, which could be done by painting the lower part of your home a darker color so it recedes a little (grey) and painting the upper part so it stands out. You might also want to consider changing the siding to a warm natural wood board and batton. I agree that the railing is a problem. Instead of glass, I'd recommend a wood rail with steel wire balusters. I would paint the retaining walls a grey as well, and hide them a little using some planting a that flow over them.
February 2, 2013 at 5:07AM     
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Jon Schluenz
You might also want to highlight your homes entry with a trellis structure.
February 2, 2013 at 5:08AM     
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njmomma
Here is some inspiration:
February 2, 2013 at 5:34AM     
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Amanda
Thanks for your input! We definitely like the cable rail idea for the deck (it's falling apart and needs to be redone anyway).

Jon, exactly! I have been trying to figure out some way to highlight the entry but can't figure out how.

Other thoughts we had were skimming the ugly stone around the garage with stucco (can't tell from the pic but the stone is terrible) and I like the horizontal siding idea for the top and would probably carry the siding down on the right side of the door to go in the direction of the picture above. After all that, though, I still can't figure out a way to draw the eye away from the huge bottom. I'm thinking we need some type of element above the garage to take up some space and around the front door to draw the eye there, but I don't know what!

Oh we are probably also going to lose or replace that redwood fence in front of the door, too.

I love the ideas, keep em coming!
February 2, 2013 at 6:25AM   
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PRO
Pamela Bateman Garden Design
If it is within your budget I would make an entrance pathway from the street so that guests do not have to walk up the driveway. This would be rather expensive and you would have to hire a soil engineer or architect to design it but I think the money would be well spent and it would change the entire look of the house. Then the eye would be attracted to the beautiful new entry and house and not to the driveway. A new landscape could then be installed that would include spilling plants that would cover the retaining wall. Now is the time to hire a LOCAL expert!
February 2, 2013 at 8:01AM     
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Denice Shuty
I love the mid-century style, but an element over the garage or plants that spill over are just a drop in the bucket. Those little fix-ups aren't going to do much good - you need a major renovation The landscape is hideous as is the garage door, wooden railings, driveway, and retaining walls. My guess is that it wasn't cared for very well, maybe you need all new stucco/siding, windows, roof. I hope you got it for a steal, because you could spend 50k-100k to fix this up - unless of course you are a home builder/remodeler that can do all the work yourself and get the materials at wholesale. It's a fun challenge for sure!
February 2, 2013 at 8:59AM     
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Amanda
Denise, I totally agree. What would you change?
February 2, 2013 at 9:02AM   
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Denice Shuty
Amanda, A couple of questions regarding function, first. How do most people arrive at your house- do they park in the street or driveway? How about you - do you park in the driveway and enter through the front door, or do you go in through the garage? Is the front door used a lot? Are their other entry doors I can't see? Are you in a warm climate, or do you get snow?
February 2, 2013 at 9:59AM   
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PRO
Luciano Group
Since it's so prominent I would splurge on a really great garage door. Also address the railing. Cable design makes sense with nice cedar posts to match a new garage door.
February 2, 2013 at 10:11AM   
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Amanda
Most people park in the driveway or street (maybe slightly more in the street). We usually enter from the garage. The front door is used a lot, and there are entry ways in the back that almost never get used. Yep- California, warm climate!
February 2, 2013 at 10:13AM   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
havent read all the above, but I would not replace the wall next to the drive but would paint iti ....the lower floor should be darker than the top....
February 2, 2013 at 10:16AM   
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Denice Shuty
Amanda, Good. Go take a picture of your front entryway. Is there a large flat area there? Also, take a photo standing at your front entry looking down the hill. I want to see if we can do what Pamela suggested and provide ingress that doesn't involve the driveway. Knowing that will determine how to enhance the front entry and diminish the emphasis on the garage. After you post more photos I can give you better recommendations.
February 2, 2013 at 10:23AM   
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Amanda
Wow, thank you so much for taking the time!! I'll go take pictures right now.
February 2, 2013 at 10:28AM   
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Amanda
Yep there's a flat area in the front - about - 15'x6' I'd say? It's curvy and pretty ugly, too. Thanks again so much everyone for all the input!
February 2, 2013 at 10:40AM   
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Denice Shuty
Amanda, what's to the the other side of the front door? Snap a shot or two in that direction. How wide is your property, and is there a sidewalk by the street?
February 2, 2013 at 10:49AM   
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little01jk
replace the railing to glass to modernize it. get a new glass garage door to match the look. put pavers on top of the concrete driveway. paint the stair railing white or replace it with metal one. put stacked stone on the surface of the sidewalls. plant new shrubs and plants. thats it.
February 2, 2013 at 10:51AM     
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
all good ideas, 10's of thoughts of reasons to think it through first. I'm thinking that upper area will not take heave glass? I was just on a project that they found the glass to not be the wisest solution due to weight
February 2, 2013 at 10:57AM     
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Amanda
Do these help at all?? The property is fairly wide - not TOO much wider than the house, though. We don't have sidewalks, but each house has a spot or two, we have two, where the white car is now.
February 2, 2013 at 10:58AM   
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Denice Shuty
A couple of thoughts right now. You have to deal with the steep slope and create a welcoming entry. If the view out front is nice you could do a more functional front yard living space that serves more purposes than just a way to get to the front door. The key is to find a way to eliminate that wood railing which obscures the front door from the street, and avoid that narrowed neck where the stairs meet the landing. If it's in the budget consider doing a series of retaining walls to terrace the front yard in several low lifts, resolving erosion issues and giving you easy to maintain planting areas. Since your house is mid-century you could get away with plain poured concrete walls and stairs and still have it look great. For safety at the front door you could do a seat wall, the steel cable railing, or if your terraces are gentle, just a planting bed in between the entry way and the slope. I'll send you some images. Also consider building a cantilevered wood deck on that slope, again to make use of the air space and have a front yard outdoor living area. Will send photos.

Denice
February 2, 2013 at 11:15AM     
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Denice Shuty
Of course you'll have to work with a local remodeler and landscape architect but try to relocate the access to the stairs either further down the driveway, or coming straight down the hill, not smack against the house like they are now. That will change everything. Then with the wood railing in front of the front door eliminated you could do a contemporary pergola/trelliage over the front door to bring emphasis to the door and create a sense of entry. Maybe even a 8'x12' structure where you could place a bench and container gardens. I will take some photos of images in my gardening books to send you.
February 2, 2013 at 11:22AM   
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Interiors International, Inc.
Change the railing to stainless and frosted glass. Do the same with glass garage door. Add The wood as in the picture that njmomma posted.
February 2, 2013 at 11:27AM     
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Denice Shuty
Amanda, I will have to attach images in several batches since Houzz only lets me do 4 at a time. As I said above, terracing the yard and changing the position and orientation of the stairs will change everything. I do like Interiors International's idea for frosted glass - won't show water spots like clear glass. You'd go through a gallon of Windex a day with clear glass. So photos of walls and terraces, photos of railings, photos of pergolas.
February 2, 2013 at 12:13PM   
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Denice Shuty
more photos of front pergolas. Of course you'd need a new front "patio" or deck to coincide with a pergola. Walls and terracing can eliminate the need for that railing. Make your staircase really broad to create a stronger connection with the parking areas to welcome guests.
February 2, 2013 at 12:17PM   
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Denice Shuty
more photos
February 2, 2013 at 12:20PM   
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Denice Shuty
more photos, Amanda
February 2, 2013 at 12:46PM   
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Denice Shuty
even more!!!
February 2, 2013 at 12:49PM   
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Denice Shuty
Last of the images! See how the walls and terraces change the whole approach? Everything else, colors, materials, etc., is easy after correcting access and orientation. Budget will drive your materials choices but with a modern house it's easy to value-engineer the project.
February 2, 2013 at 12:55PM   
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Amanda
Wow wow these are all great! I got sucked into a play date but am going to start studying these. Thank you!
February 2, 2013 at 2:12PM   
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Denice Shuty
I hope you find some solutions in these images. I was just looking at the San Francisco one again and it looks like they bumped-out the surround over and around the garage doors in order to create an overhang, and a shadow line - with downlights illuminating the beautiful wood garage doors. I like that detail. The vivid red door sure lets you know where to focus your attention.
Let me know what you end up doing. Cheers!
Denice
February 2, 2013 at 2:22PM     
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hardyjim3
Garden. Move garbage cans off street, park cars in garage, what are all the wires or cables Round house front? Lose em. Paint it.
February 2, 2013 at 2:36PM     
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PRO
Urban Oasis
Terrace your garden so that you can get some really nice landscaping done. And while you are at it, make a new set of steps up to the front door ending with a small porch or landing in the flat area. And I agree with those that said the bottom should be darker that the top. It's a basic design principle.
February 2, 2013 at 5:41PM     
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Urban Oasis
Terrace your garden so that you can get some really nice landscaping done. And while you are at it, make a new set of steps up to the front door ending with a small porch or landing in the flat area. And I agree with those that said the bottom should be darker that the top. It's a basic design principle.
February 2, 2013 at 5:41PM   
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Amanda
Denise, so it seems like terracing and moving the entry way is a must. I love those modern pergolas. OK I'm off to do some more research about how this could actually happen.
February 2, 2013 at 7:00PM     
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PRO
Ultra-tec Cable Railing by The Cable Connection
Stainless steel cable railing for your upper deck as guard rail would look nice. It will also give you unobstructed view.
February 8, 2013 at 8:49AM   
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