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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

House exterior update

janpellFebruary 26, 2013
we are planning to replace windows and siding. I am unhappy with the split-entry (too small). i don't like the window configuration on the right side of the house (they wrap around the corners both upstairs and downstairs. the back of the house is truly boring! the house is settled into a sand ridge, so landscaping is a challenge. with 3 kids (priority) in sports year round, there is little time for maintenance.
i would be interested in others' thoughts on how they would change the exterior--color ideas, window configuration, and especially--curb appeal.
thank you!
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Lady Von
Hi Janpell! You have a cute little house. I really like your yard. Here are my thoughts about updating your home's exterior:

1) ENTRANCE - The first issue I see is that the entrance to your house is not defined (especially with two doors within close proximity). I would beef up the main entrance by adding a portico. This will drawn your eye to entrance and provide shelter from the elements. I would also reconfigure your stairs so they open to the front and not to the side (again, this will help to define your entrance). If feesible, add a new walkway from the sidewalk to the front door so visitors won't have to walk down your drive way (That's just a pet peeve of mine). Beef up the lighting at the entrance and maybe add some solar lights to light the path to the front door.

2) WINDOWS and DOORS - Without knowing your floor plan I cannot comment regarding your window configuration. However, your windows and doors can stand to be upgraded. I would replace the front door and storm door to something more stylish. Does the door to the "basement" area have to stay? Would you consider french doors, maybe something with grilles? You would still get access and natural light to that area (it just would not be in visual competition with the front door).

3) HOUSE COLOR - I was thinking an olive green or rich stone color. If you stay in the green color family I would use white trim to accent the house. If you went with a stone color I would consider using a "cedar" color or warm brown as an accent. I like these color families because they are rich (as in not washed out) and they are neutrals (like a blank canvas). You would be able to add in a lot of architectural details without overwhelming your house.

4) LANDSCAPING / YARD - Not knowing the specific area of the country you are in I recommend going to your local nursery and seeking advice regarding native plants that can grown in your type of soil. A way to get around your soil issues is to use raised planter beds. Raised planters give you more flexibility regarding your landscaping and they can also help to visually define spaces. For your back yard (which I love), maybe extend the patio to the right side and add a pergola. I would also add some simple rock or mulch beds around your trees (if you choose to keep them). I am not sure if you are allowed to landscape around that electrical box. If so, I would consider using an ornamental grass to define the space(provided the grass can grow in your soil). This would give a visual barrier to the box without hindering access.

Pictures: (1) Defined entry; (2) Pergola; and (3) Raised planter beds.

I hope this helps to get your design juices flowing. Good luck!

P.S. - I miss the snow! :-)
2 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by janpell    February 26, 2013 at 1:54PM
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Lady Von
Here are some more exterior color palettes to consider. I am thinking of neutral palettes that won't look washed out in the winter time.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by janpell    February 26, 2013 at 2:25PM
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Wow! Thank you, W Smith! You have some really great suggestions! The photos are great for me, too, as I can't always visualize what others have in mind. We plan to replace the upper door, and we need to keep the lower door for outer wear (mudroom entry) since there is only a small landing for the other entry door. thanks, again, for your thoughts on the exterior of my house. i appreciate your time!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 2:38PM
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well, the project was on hold due to family medical issues, but we are starting again :) I loved your suggestions! I am strongly considering adding on a main entrance, considering the small landing is not adequate. I also have always longed for an open porch, so I am trying to determine if it's feasible to add a roof over the left side with posts. it would provide some shelter for a rug to keep some of the elements (snow & sand) from being carried into the house, as well as to create a welcoming feel to our home. any thoughts?
    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 8:34PM
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Lady Von
Hey Janpell! Hope all is well. I am attaching some pictures. BY NO MEANS am I an expert in exterior design but I hope these ideas help. I am not sure of your budget. So, the design ideas I am showing should work for a modest budget. I also have no clue as to your personal style. So, these ideas might be TOO contemporary for you (I hope not). Anyways, enjoy and good luck!

...and I STILL miss the snow! (Don't tell my husband!)

DESIGN ONE (Red House)

1) Update the upper siding and warm up the color.
2) Add a "ledger" (not sure if that's the right word) to beef up the architectural interest and provide cover over the main entrance.
3) Add window boxes (The plants will help add color to your house).
4) Expand the front landing (concrete).
5) Build cedar half walls to define entrance and hide relocated trash area.
6) Build bench seating area out of matching cedar (bench is in lieu of porch).
7) Update lighting.
8) Add native plants along front of house to visually soften the exterior.
9) Use bolder house numbers.

DESIGN TWO (Khaki House)

1) Freshen up the upper siding with a warmer color.
2) Replace lower siding with cast stone (this adds texture and updates the exterior).
3) Add covered trellis to provide cover over the main entrance and lower entrance. (I would use a standing seam roof --in either a copper finish or a gray to match your current roof-- over the entrances).
4) Expand the front landing (concrete).
5) Build cedar half walls to define entrance and hide relocated trash area.
6) Build bench seating area out of matching cedar (bench is in lieu of porch).
7) Update lighting.
8) Add native plants along front of house to visually soften the exterior.
9) Use bolder house numbers.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by janpell    June 26, 2014 at 11:42AM
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flair lighting
the budget for everything you need........ which door do you use more on the front of the house. do you pull your car up right to the top of driveway? taking away or adding windows could be costly depending...
    Bookmark   Thanked by janpell    June 26, 2014 at 11:50AM
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Lady Von
Hey, hey! I found some images that probably do a better job at showing you the ideas I am trying to communicate.
    Bookmark   Thanked by janpell    June 26, 2014 at 12:14PM
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we have visited with a couple of contractors for the siding and window replacement (my husband works for a window manufacturer), and we are looking into a different contractor for an estimate on attaching an entrance for the main entrance (upper door), to allow more than one guest to enter and have a place for peeps to put their shoes & coats. in regards to the stone on the khaki house, would you consider a product like Versastone? I love the look of stone, but I'm concerned that stone tends to look outdated. Also, I LOVE the cedar benches & pergola, but I lean toward a traditional style. what isn't shown in the photo is the unattached 3 stall garage. we replaced the doors with insulated doors last year, and we would like to stick to white trim. we replaced the roof, soffits & fascia not that long ago.
    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 9:55PM
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Lady Von
Hi, question: Are you reconfiguring the interior of the house (the foyer area) or are you guys expanding the front of the house (adding square footage)?
    Bookmark   Thanked by janpell    July 3, 2014 at 4:44PM
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Hello--thanks for sticking with me :) we are considering an addition, 10-12' wide, 4-6' deep.
    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 8:14PM
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Lady Von
Good morning! I found some pictures. Not sure if they represent the ideas you and your husband were leaning towards for the addition but I thought they were lovely. Maybe do a closet on one side and built-in bench seating with under storage on the other side? I would definitely add a small window in the area for more natural light. What do you think?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 3:53AM
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