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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Can you solve my mystery?

destiny336February 22, 2013
I have been using this site for all my house renovations for inspiration and we have completely renovated the interior of our house. We have a very modern open concept with a very Australian feel. But now its time to finish off the outside of our 30yr old Canadian home. We have so far finished the landscaping, windows and shingles on our house and now its time to do the siding. We would love to have our house look very modern on the outside without doing to many structural changes. We love dark gray siding and rock and would love to add a little roof or veranda to the front steps, maybe with cedar pillars as an accent. Saying all that we can see any of that on our house and we do know how to get started on this project. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated ....
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This is one of the most popular split-level remodels on Houzz. Sounds like what you're looking to do.
exterior'>Exterior · More Info
46 Likes    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 10:43AM
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Kashif Raza Chaudhary
u like i cn do
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 11:39AM
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rod handler
Easiest: paint it an interesting color combo. don't be afraid of darker or more saturated colors. Definitely get rid of the chimney stripes.
More: Change the windows, make them larger, single-paned casement, wood or wood-like frames. I would have put it a wood-framed sliding glass door instead of the bay window, a deck, and built a small, semi-enclosed private entry patio.
I think it would look good with unpainted shingles, but before undertaking something that dramatic, hire an architect or decorator to help with massing and details.
    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Tracy Taylor
I think you should run the siding horizontally across the bottom in a grey siding or cement board. Do the bump out a vertical cedar and create a porch running from just to the left of the door to the far right side of the house. Add a cedar wrapped column or a wall to the end of the porch. Did a quick drawing of where the porch would be.
6 Likes    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 3:41PM
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Jocelyn wishlist
I would raise the right side of the roof from the second story window over, re-side in a traditional vinyl siding, stone by lower windows on left and add a front covered porch on the right going from the left side of the front door across your large window. maybe even Awnings over the two front windows on the left side second floor. This would be a traditional/classic look.
    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 3:50PM
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I think this house and color is outstanding. It is indeed a statement, but very cohesive as all the trims have been camouflaged using one color. If this charcoal is too dark for you, maybe a shade or two lighter would appeal. Whatever you choose I think monochromatic is the way to go.
Exterior · More Info
6 Likes    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 12:30PM
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Robin W
Do you get a lot of snow where you live? What direction does the house face? How much sunlight does this side get daily (how much fading or heat transfer would you get?)

Just questions I would ask prior to making any major decisions.
    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 12:42PM
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I would go with the example posted by decoenthusiast. That is a great looking house!
5 Likes    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 12:56PM
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Tell me, what do you mean 'a very Australian feel'? What is a 'very Australian feel?'
1 Like    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 12:22AM
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Laid back and sporty?
    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 12:59AM
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I think decoenthusiast nailed it!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 3:27AM
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A Crew of Two
I like decoenthusiast's idea, but I would go darker with the paint color- more taupe than beige. Benjamin Moore Sterling Forest. I love this stone.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 5:15AM
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what about vertical metal siding and rock on the bottom sections with dark grey amost back trims and and some hardi plank....
    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 2:02PM
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Deco above has hit the mark exactly. Put your time and effort on the "money spot" ...the front door !

Eliminate contrasting vertical and horizontal "accents and Include a walk similar to that shown. Watch the color and texture of the porch so that it blends similar to shown. I'd consider going one step further and adding a small patio area with a bench and pots.

Good luck and let us know what you do!
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 2:17PM
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There isn't 'an Australian feel' even in Australia ! I think you may be confusing the idea that Australians are all sport mad and 'laid back' (what ever that means!). Nothing could be further from the truth. Some parts of Australia are cold even in summer, especially if you're in the high country or Tasmania. Some parts are very dry and desert; some tropical. My home city of Melbourne temperature wise rarely gets below freezing in winter but can have 45*C in summer and then a cool change comes in and the temp can drop almost 25 degrees celcius in half an hour.

The outside style of your house is not Australian. Australian homes rarely have basements; if they do, they're called cellars and are often found in homes that are at least 100 years old. Australian feel or style mainly depends from where people come. There is a trend towards open plan for kitchen, dining and family room. Many people still have a formal sitting and dining room as well as a family room.

We don't have as many bathrooms as in many houses in the USA. I have been looking at homes in the USA as my partner & I may be moving there and I find that very many houses have the same number of bathrooms which includes a toilet as bedrooms. That's is rare in Australian homes. Here in Australia, the toilet is often separate from the bathroom which I think is a good idea.

Australian homes generally have eaves and verandahs, some with verandahs all round to keep the sun off, depending where they are located. Anyway, I'm looking forward to see what you do with your house !

Oh yes, I forgot to say please take down those decorative lights !
1 Like    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 4:46PM
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I'd have to agree with the above. I live in Australia and have no idea what Australian design is like! I suspect that the latest trend here for minimal look and very open spaced living is what I have been seeing is now an Australian look. But then again, when I go to USA I see the houses and design and call it uniquely American but my American friends have no idea what I mean by that!
Yes, the lights are distracting, but then you may have taken the photo at that time of year of the celebrations.
Now as to the exterior; dark siding and white trim always looks nice. A porch with an extended verandah over the front to the right of picture with a little decking flooring would look lovely and give more of a modern feel. Not any heavy pillars but squared off uprights. Don't enclose it, keep it open. Get rid of the steps and have it as one level with the verandah which will give a more welcoming look. Have a light right next to the newer steps to the porch/verandah.
Go look around the area you live and see what colours others have done.
Good luck!
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 8:19PM
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how about colours like on this house, your grey tones are dull grey, neither here nor there:
The Weekend House · More Info

OR put emphasis on the horizontal lines like this house, the verticals in yours overwhelm..
Silver Hill Residence · More Info

OR do like this: creates blocks of colour, and add non-structural wooden columns on each end of front steps, touching the roof, also framing the door approach.. (i-e should look like plain bracing) as done here:

ALSO another problem is your window & door frames - some are white, some are brown coloured. should be same: all white or all brown.

TRY this:
View Residence · More Info
Capitol Hill · More Info

OR do stonework on long vertical portions, above & below windows (i-e in between the existing white verticals you have, to fill it up), remaining surface exterior to be painted charcoal & be lit up with building uplights. also do window frames a dark shade.
    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 1:51AM
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Yes can you please enlighten us Aussies what you mean by decorating in an "Australian" style - I wasn't aware we had one. If anything we borrow from everywhere. Would love to see examples of what you mean. Back to your exterior - totally agree with Tracy Taylor about extending your porch further to the right. Atm your house looks a bit out of balance (top heavy on the left) so extending the porch tends to bring it into balance and gives your front door more importance. Good luck with your project.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 2:38AM
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Front porch is definitely required here with a larger front door and good outdoor lighting. Wide steps leading up done in stone gives a good grounding and will tie together with cladding and garden.
    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 3:12AM
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I think the discussion of "Australian Feel" is kind of funny. Only because I grew up in Louisiana then moved to the Midwest. I would here all of this talk about "southern style" and just roll my eyes. -Until I returned to Louisiana after being away for years and having studied design! It hit me like a ton of bricks. (No really, there are bricks everywhere. Definitely one of the trademarks!)
I have no idea what Australian style means but I'm curious now! Maybe it's something the Aussies don't see because it has just grown into their native context?
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 4:39AM
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Omigosh. "Hear" not "here". Duh. Sorry.
    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 4:40AM
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Consider a portico over the front door with columns to draw in your guests with a fabulous pendant light over the door. Dark colours in either earthy browns or greys would look fabulous. Check out your local Habitat for Humanity ReStores they have terrific items that would help you stay on budget while giving you that stylish finish.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 5:45AM
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What about a beautiful light by the front door? Check out this one from Lantern & Scroll (www.lanternandscroll.com or find them on Facebook). Cheers!
    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 7:36AM
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KM&M Designs
I think you will have to make a major structural change to the roof line. Right now the valley comes down to a point at a very disadvantageous spot mid window. You have replaced the original flat window with a bow front window which calls even more attention to it. The unusual roof line makes me think that an addition was made to the drive side of the house. At that time the front roof line should have been changed so that the front facing gable would end to the left of the door and the new roof line follow across the front of the house in a straight line. If you changed this problem, you could bring the right hand roof line down then add the "veranda" over the porch straight out from where there is now a batten. I took your photo and shopped a change of roof line and added veranda. The details are for you to add, but I think you can understand what the change could do.
Color: I think that you could add a more dynamic color scheme of gray and charcoal with a beautiful door color that should be lightly repeated in your plantings. Do not outline the roof with white, looking at the modern photos of the houses above, blend the fascia boards with the roof color.
Siding: if you can afford to change out some of the vertical siding for horizontal siding do that, I suggest that you do the front upper gable area that hangs out over the basement windows, removing the extra lengths from the window trim and leaving the window trim only. This will repeat the long line of the stone walls at the base.
    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 7:42AM
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I agree with Katherine Marle_Moberg and decoenthusiaste in that you need an entry way and that the roof slope is very dramatic.
You could find a stone siding for the chimney and basement exterior..
You could change out the upstairs windows for a more prominate design. (see pictures)
You could boldly relandscape the front walk so it ities in stone, wood, color and scale.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 2:56PM
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More bold window ideas.
    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 2:57PM
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I got a little carried away, but what do you think?
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 5:15PM
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Wow, I am truly amazed by everyone's comments and suggestions. We definetly will be taking a lot of these ideas into consideration. We can not do major changes to our roof line or replace the windows again but definetly we can add a veranda, new siding, stone etc. We now just have to find someone who can draft up our new renovation project for us so we can get it approved by our city.
We also had a good laugh about some of the comments, like our Christmas lights that came with the house when we bought it, they are definetly going ;))
A little explanation about the Australian feel: We have family in Australia that has shown us pictures of their homes and they have also brought us lots of kitchen and bath design books & magazines from Australia. They were full of ideas we loved and they were totally different from what you will see in our kitchen & bath magazines or in our homes in Edmonton. I marked tons of ideas and started going from one kitchen cabinet company to another, having a hard time finding a designer and supplier that would help me design the kitchen I was looking for a reasonable price. Most were trying to convince me to settle for the norm so I would have an easier time selling the house in the future. Just to give you an idea, our kitchen is a mixture of gloss white and dark wood grain thermofoil cabinets, with white quartz countertop and a very bright glass backsplash that actually came from Australia;)) It is very minimal and simple yet very modern, we opened the whole level and tiled the whole floor which you never usually see in homes here. Our kitchen project is almost done so hopefully I will be able to post pictures soon.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:04PM
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Here is an example of some kitchens from a builder in Edmonton http://www.avantihomes.ca/dream-home-2011-gallery
    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:18PM
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You will notice, destiny336, that we Aussies don't use much wood in the kitchen. It is rare to find a wooden kitchen in Australia these days. We have either white or stainless steel appliances and stoves/ranges/cooktops against the wall with a range hood either retractable or visible above the cooktop. I used to design kitchens and I don't know of anyone who had a downdraft stove nor was I asked for a downdraft stove, because there are building regulations (I know about my state of Victoria) which stipulates that all venting must be to the outside of the building - not in the ceiling or subfloor. Yes, open kitchens are very popular here in Aus, because we Aussies know the best parties end up in the kitchen !! (yes I've said that before).
1 Like    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 9:47PM
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The only thing I know about Australia was given to the world by Paul Hoagan, Olivia Newton John, Keith Urban, and Bill Bryson (great book!) AND International House Hunters! Most of the homes HGTV features are suburbanian cottage / Victorian, and sprawling mixtures of it all. Lavish gardens and pools and views are soooooooooo pretty! Fireplace in dining room and dining is in the kitchen most often. They seem to have it right on target with mother-in-law suites and cabanas and multiple kitchens.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 5:17AM
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It's funny. I am from Melbourne and lived in MN, USA for a year. A new house went up around the corner from me here and i was quite excited to tell everyone it was an American home...Blueboard, red barn. Very unAustralian! I guess it's the differences that stand out. Mostly what's been said above is true...single story, open plan, bright, airy homes with lots of outdoor living. Rare to have the huge homes i saw in MN, but then, we have such a mild, short winter in comparison so don't need to live indoors. Good in you for going for something different. Can't wait to see more pictures.
    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 11:38AM
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MyCraftWork, LLC
If you're thinking about going the extra mile for your lighting, let us know!
    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 6:36AM
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