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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Need help with home's exterior

tvjustdessertsFebruary 27, 2013
We have been in this house for about a year and need to finish work the old owner started. This includes the front of the home. We would LOVE suggestions on what pillars/style to use, materials for the flooring, fencing & really anything and everything to make it wow without spending too much. Appreciate your comments :)
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First define the style of the house, ie bungalow, craftsman, etc. Base the house decor on the style. I see it as a cross between those two but more of a craftsman. I would box in the two metal posts with boards. Most craftsman houses have half-wall front porches. Look up craftsman homes online and notice how they look. I would dig up the pine tree because it's too close to your house and the roots are going to lift up the foundation of your house when it gets bigger. The bigger it is the more expensive it is going to be to cut down and the more damage it is going to do to your house and steps. Also pine trees break in storms and it looks like you're in a stormy kind of place. It's also in the wrong place in your yard because it is in front of your porch. After the tree is gone, you can landscape according to your budget and time. At the least, put hand rails on your steps. At the most, look at the craftsman home and build concrete or stone railings to match your house. Paint your door a color, deep red maybe. Take the urn & tree off of the porch and sit it where your steps form the L-shape. Put nice chairs on your porch with cushions that match your new door color. Good luck!
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 8:13PM
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I think shutters would look nice in deep green, burgundy door, box in the poles, lose the urn, lose the bush, put a little bench painted dark green under the little window, and landscape. Put a pretty flowering small shrub by the porch and steps, put a small ornamental tree in the yard. Are your shingles stained? I would not want them to weather into a gray color. Maybe stain them to match the wood you use on the poles and hand rails.
    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 9:01PM
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Ironwood Builders
Skip putting shutters on, They will just cover up the really nice stone work around the window in front...and they are meaningless. Tapered columns in an arts and crafts style would work for your porch. Use all the space on the bottom stone pillar and take the outside tight to the 4X4 at the top. A wrought iron or steel handrail will be the least expensive and sturdiest handrail for the stairs. Look through the local salvage yard for a good pair. Matching the existing stone work will be pretty expensive, though doable... While at the salvage yard, look for a new front door. One in the arts and crafts style would be appropriate. Please,at least oil the shingles, Cabot's makes some decent exteroir oil stain in clear or colors. I'd like to see the shingles go a sage green, also available from Cabot's. Posts and trim can go white.[houzz=
5 Likes    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 10:43PM
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I didnt realize how ugly the shingles are until you suggested oiling/staining! Is this something that needs to be done professionally or can the average homeowner do it? We have extremes of weather in Toronto so I need to make sure its durable. I love the idea of removing the tree, iron railings, etc. I may not be able to get a new front door but would I be able to paint it a different colour? How about for the porch and stairs, what would you recommend? Flagstone?
Thank you so much for your comments. We are overwhelmed at the amount of work this house needs!
    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 6:10AM
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If you are overwhelmed with the amount of work, try making a room-by-room list of what you'd like to do and what you need to do (those are different things). Rank each item A, B, or C depending on your priorities. Put a cost and time estimate next to each one (e.g., paint bathroom, $100-$200, 1-2 days; remodel kitchen, $30,000-$60,000, 6-18 weeks). You can either do the things that are ranked A first or do one room at a time. I recommend some combination of the two. Fixing up a room is good, but so is getting a handrail for your front steps (an A priority because it is a safety issue). Both give a sense of accomplishment.

If you have a one-year home warranty that is about to run out, review what it covers and make sure you get anything fixed that you just haven't had time to call the warranty company for, before the warranty runs out.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 6:31AM
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I love your house! I don't think the outside needs all that much actually, but I guess that's all relative isn't it? Lol. I think that as usual, Ironwood has hit the nail on the head. He is very experienced and good at what he does! I don't think the shingles are all that ugly, though a stain or color stain will protect them.

Please go to the bookstore or the library and read up on Craftsman homes for inspiration while it is still wintery. Then you can choose colors and such and be all ready to start in the spring. If you want to be authentic, there will be colors you will see in the books, but if not, choose a color that you like and paint the front door the color you would like to come home to.

Good luck, and post some pics when you are done!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 6:32AM
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Ironwood Builders
I really do recommend stain or oil to preserve the shingles. We usually get them pre stained or dip them in oil prior to install. I've bought a lot of clothes pins to dry shingles! Regarding the front door...I recommended the salvage yard for economy and authenticity. handymam is right, take the rest of the winter and do some research...and lists of priorities are crucial, as is even a WAG budget. I don't think another stone on the stairs and porch will do you any favors. The existing concrete looks fine with your split face limestone.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 6:49AM
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Craftsman style period columns, more square in shape, boxwood shrubs under picture windows and a triangular corner shape flowered would look great, would extend adding fullness to receding expanse beside the porch. Ornamental grasses and perennials could help soften the landscape too but don't know what planting zone you are in. Cute house,! Why not add a new front door painted a bright color?
    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 6:51AM
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Ironwood Builders
Sorry. Missed one. Staining the shingles can be done when the exterior painting is done...after the posts go in and are trimmed out. Painting is a classic DIY. Pro painters are fast and good. To get a quality job, you'll be slower. Ladder safety is really important. I know of guy that died of head injuries trying to put up his new girlfriend's Christmas lights. Read the warnings on the side of the new ladders. Use only type I or higher rated ladders. Renting good ladders is an option.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 6:58AM
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I agree, even just a single tapered column would be nice.

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    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 8:25AM
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Awesome suggestions! So you think just concrete in front is fine? Right now it is uneven and shoddy but I can always have a fresh coat of cement. I will definitely post pix :) thank you
    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 9:32AM
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Ironwood Builders
From the pictures, the concrete looks OK. Skimming over the top in your Canadian climate probably won't be a good idea, though it depends on your use of salt to keep the ice clear. So a tough masonry paver is necessary, one that can take the abuse in winter and still look good....and look good with the limestone veneer. American Olean makes some porcelain tiles in a concrete look, large format, or Porcelanosa tiles...take a look at the tiles in this shower. Green/grey they would look OK with a sage exterior. A natural bluestone might work, or a green Vermont slate. Just don't want the porch to fight with the limestone veneer.
    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 10:07AM
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Ironwood Builders
Paint the door for now. The "leaded" glass in the door is not so great for the look of the house. save up for the real deal. Here is an oak door with vintage art glass. $935 US from Doc's Architectural Salvage in Indianapolis. 2 day field trip from Toronto. Browse their stuff for more and call them with the size of your door...they can help. Although in Cleveland, there is probably a salvage place too...and much closer. Or heck, Detroit. I never even looked in Toronto!
    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 10:18AM
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Ironwood Builders
    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 10:24AM
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