Need Help with Curb Appeal
banff1976July 25, 2014
We can't figure out what to do to the front of our house or yard to make it look more inviting! We live outside of Phila. Pa, and the front of the house faces the northwest, as well as a busy street. The front walk and door does not get much activity, most people enter the house through our garage (located to the left of the pictures, out of view). Any ideas would be most appreciated!
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flair lighting
shutters, black would be good. and you need to extend/develop your landscaping, there is no color or real flow. also i would update the two light fixtures, black or bronze square carriage style.
7 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 25, 2014 at 11:58AM
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Kari McIntosh Design
I also think shutters would add a lot of interest and depth the your home. Perhaps a deep green The front door doesn't really sing - I would think of painting it as well - perhaps a rich, inky navy blue. Flower boxes would be charming. Colorful blooms layered in with your shrubs would add curb appeal. Good luck to you.
2 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 25, 2014 at 12:06PM
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banff1976
wow. great ideas! You know, we did briefly discussed shutters, but I don't know why, we stopped following that idea, but the image really shows how much it would improve the look. And the different light fixtures add more interest as well, so thanks for that! I also think shutters would help the look of the side of the garage that faces the street - (There are 2 garage windows, you can see one of the windows in the 3rd shot). I also like the idea of changing the color of the front door - and then we would also change the garage doors to match, even though they face out the side towards the driveway. I am so envious of your visions, what an eye! Thanks!
1 Like    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:27PM
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HayLee Gill
Add some flowers, a garden!! You can also put some little solar lights that stick in the ground out front to create an entryway into your home. I agree, shutters would be inviting and white porch lights out front -instead of brown- would bring out the white trim of the house. :)
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 25, 2014 at 12:28PM
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banff1976
Never thought of white porch lights - thanks!
1 Like    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:31PM
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CDR Design
Great ideas so far.

What you need to do first, though is to

-remove all of the bushes that are currently near the house. Sorry, I mean all of them. They are way too large.

-bring up the canopy of the tree that is in the front yard (trim bottom branches)

-all area btn sidewalk and house should be mulched.
2 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 25, 2014 at 12:47PM
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banff1976
we agree about the bushes. ever since we moved in, we've been trimming that back, but I guess your right, they need to go. any recommendations on what kind of bushes should go in and where?
    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:51PM
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Foley Development Group
You should get the white painted brick cleaned up. Probably only needs a good power washing. One thing that you could also do that would look really nice for a relative low cost would be to add some false dormers. Probably just two. I would figure about $2,000-$2,500 each installed. Fully field framed, trimmed, with windows. See the attached photo. The dormers on the right are real, the dormers on the left are false (built right on top of the roof plywood). They add a ton of curb appeal.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 25, 2014 at 1:04PM
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nramsey1
Just a side note to the suggestions above. When you paint the front door, also paint the storm door to match. And I vote for the black or rubbed bronze finish for your new porch lights. Adding the mulch between the house and sidewalk is a great idea too. That will really impact the look of the house. You can then plant smaller plants as you find things you like. On the right side of the door bring the flower bed out from the house into the yard. It will balance the left side and give your yard a finished updated look. Seems like you have some fairly simple things to do that will really make a difference immediately...
Shutters
Paint front door and storm door
New porch lights
Remove a couple of bushes
Reshape right side flower bed and add mulch to both right and left beds
Do the easy things first as they will make an immediate difference and encourage you on to the larger projects. When you are ready to plant you might want to take a couple of picture of the front of the house (with the new flower beds) to a nursery and get suggestions for plants. You have a great house and I think it will be really nice when you get it finished.
2 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 25, 2014 at 1:17PM
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CDR Design
To really do the landscaping right, you need a plan. I am not a landscaper and I know enough just to be dangerous.

Likely in the previous plan, the builder just stuck a few bushes in to make the place look presentable. You don't want that to happen again.

I do know this: a lot goes into a landscaping choices including zone, amount of shade/light, the right balance of size, texture, seasonal interest, future growth of the plant, etc.

I recommend you bring a blueprint or design of your house an sidewalk to a landscape place. They will gladly recommend a landscape plan for you.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 25, 2014 at 1:17PM
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TRU Landscape Services
Depending on your budget, there are a lot of other options if you consider hardscape. You could certainly make your home pop with an adjustment to the pathway and porch. Planter walls and a walkway (let's say with interlocking pavers) would add some functionality and character. Of course, if cost is an issue, many of these other suggestions are great, such as the addition of new flowers and plants.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 25, 2014 at 1:21PM
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flair lighting
i dislike white fixtures, and they are not the focal point, i think the door should pop.
2 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 25, 2014 at 1:24PM
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banff1976
Great ideas - thanks so much! I didn't know that you could get false dormers. It would help break up the massive look of the roof.
nramsey1 - thanks for the complement on the house - the inside is great - but the outside has always left us wanting something, so these ideas are fantastic!
    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 1:26PM
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jck910
I wouldn't paint the garage doors to match the front door. The front door is the focal point and even though the garage doors do not face front it would be distracting. garage doors are utilitarian they should match the trim IMO
3 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 25, 2014 at 1:38PM
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Landforms
I would agree with removing the existing plant material. With such a long walk leading up the the front door. I would recommend using a low plant for a boarder like a boxwood or for a more modern look some Dwarf Hamlen grass. This will help to visually guide visitors along the pathway to the front door. Then I would fill in from the walk to the house with a variety of plants. Keep in mind that since the house is so tall you want to scale your plant material up to the house. Lowest in front. Tallest in back. You have plenty of space so incorporate pockets of color using 3-12 perennials in each group. The corner by the chimney and the far right corner would be a good place for a small ornamental tree. Like a Dogwood or Serviceberry. It would bring the house into scale and not loo so tall. I also think some Gold Mound Spirea would look great along the house and be a good back drop for the perennials. The biggest thing to keep in mind for a good design is color for every season and stepping the plant material up to the house. If the plants are full of color in the summer but barren in the winter months half of the year your landscape is going to look non existent. If the plants are too small the house will look huge. I hope this helps. I have attached a few planting palettes with plants that I think would look good. Good luck. Landformsinc.com
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 25, 2014 at 1:50PM
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suzyad
I'm not any help, just wanted to say it's a lovely house with interest!
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 25, 2014 at 2:11PM
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nwduck
What a lovely house and setting! In concert with others here, it does seem like shutters would add to the appearance. One of the pros here, Timberlane, has a very good website with information on how to size shutters, and the different styles of shutters. As you can see from the illustration above, it really does make a difference!

For certain I would powerwash the white (?) parts of the house. If it were me, I think I would consider doing the white trim along the roof edge, and paint the large surfaces a grey. I like your blue doors, so maybe just a freshen up there? The Benjamin Moore site has a Williamsburg collection of colors that seem right....there's a blue called Azurite and a grey that is called Bruton White. Doing a little darker might help disguise the "stuff" that always seems to stick to exteriors! Agree with only doing people-doors in the blue. Best if the garage doors blend into the rest of the structure.

If you like the shape of your existing fixtures, it's easy enough to spray paint them black if you do black shutters, or any color for that matter.

New landscaped beds on the house side of the walk would make a big difference. Consulting a professional will pay off in the long run (says the person who now knows better). Perhaps you could incorporate a black (or blue?) bench there in the spot where the walk comes off the drive...a little vignette for those using either the front or other door. From the location of your bird feeder, you must watch out that one window...maybe you could move that to the other side of the walk, and find a very pretty, more elaborate station. Lastly, I would make certain that any new plantings provided screening for the utility service as the existing tall plants do.

Phew. One final thought....what about a decorative metal chimney cap? Attractive from whatever vantage point, particularly since the chimney is such a distinguishing feature.
2 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 25, 2014 at 5:00PM
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banff1976
thanks for the suggestions on paint and landscape ideas. it never dawned on us to paint the garage doors a neutral color. we have always painted them the same blue as the front door. and the idea for the chimney cap is so smart. thanks!
1 Like    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 5:46PM
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hturnbow
Some type of covered porch with some color in landscaping. Maybe gable style roof on the porch. Definitely needs some height at your front entrance. Shutters good too. I would also consider some evergreen trees to help block those cold north winds. Pine trees will grow quick and do the job.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 25, 2014 at 7:20PM
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Foley Development Group
That's why we do the false dormers. They are a fraction of the cost of real dormers and they break up that sea of asphalt shingles.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 25, 2014 at 8:02PM
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86redvette
add an arbor across the entire front of your home and at the front door, extend it out, then add floral climbers that grow in your area and paint your front door in your favorite color.....
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 25, 2014 at 8:18PM
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CDR Design
Foley had a great idea with the false dormers. I love that idea. In addition, he mentioned cleaning up the brick. Could we see a photo of the entire front?

It appears that you have a "house chopped in 2", with the right side side red brick. left side cream. Is that the case? That needs to be corrected, but would need picture of the entire house prior.

The high peaked roof line above the garage also needs to be addressed with perhaps a window.
    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 26, 2014 at 2:55AM
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banff1976
Here are 2 other shots of the front of the house. We really appreciate your continued interest! The front of the house is red brick and the rest of the house and garage is white stucco. We can't power wash the chimney anymore - we're down to our last thin coating of stucco. From smoke off of the fireplace, and the lack of sun in that area creating mold, we've power washed that spot so often, that it now needs to be replaced. That's sort of how this got started. We're getting that area around the chimney repaired and started thinking about what else we could do.
Here are 2 shots of the entire length of the front. We thought that the idea of shutters would be a great way to kick off this project (thanks to flair lighting for the visual, that really sold us on the suggestion!), and that we should also then add shutters to the 2 garage windows to warm up that expansive space. (Please ignore the state of the driveway - we're getting that repaved later this year).
    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 11:01AM
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CDR Design
I would add some brick trim work to the left side of the house so it looks as if it belongs to the right side.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 26, 2014 at 11:54AM
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CDR Design
A would do the chimney in brick and perhaps all or part of the front face of the garage.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    July 26, 2014 at 12:20PM
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banff1976
Here's an update to all of the wonderful people who helped with our curb appeal request! As a result of your input, we just had black shutters installed this week. I've attached 2 photos for you to see. We're working on the other ideas, but this one was the quickest fix that added immediate impact. Thanks so much!
    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 12:21PM
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CDR Design
Looks much better!
    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    August 28, 2014 at 12:26PM
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Timberlane Shutters
Hi there. Sorry we are a little late to this thread. Your home is great, and the setting is wonderful. Of course we agree that exterior shutters have a way of just "completing" a home, but we might be just a wee bit biased ;-). But if you're unsure of what shutters you'd like, you can submit a photo to us through our Shutter Snapshot feature, and our artist will do a full rendering for you of the same photo with the shutters. That way you'll be able to see just what your home will look like with the shutters you're considering. You can even match the door color!

We also would recommend having the shutters sized properly. You have great large windows and from the looks of it in the angle, the right amount of room to accommodate them, which really enhances the framing of the window. The sizing of the shutters should be exactly (or at least visually appear to be exact) so that they would cover the window entirely when closed. Our shutters are fully functional shutters, and they can be installed to open and close (even if you don't, the look is much more authentic and adds depth and interest to the curb appear) or have them fix-mounted to the home, while still adding decorative hardware.

(My apologies, I'm having browser issues when adding photos to anything, it crashes, so I have to switch browsers to be able to be part of the digital age again!!)

Here's the link to our Shutter Snapshot feature. http://www.timberlane.com/resource-center/shutter-snapshot
    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    August 28, 2014 at 12:37PM
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flair lighting
carriage lights next, second quick fix. be sure to measure yours before you shop, and the wall space between garage doors. love this home. cant wait see all the changes. Shutters where key!
    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    August 28, 2014 at 12:40PM
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banff1976
flair lighting - thanks! as to the carriage lights..we have a question. We do like the brass look, but in your original thread you suggested black or bronze. Can you explain why? (We're leaning that way now, because we can't seem to find a brass that doesn't dull due to the environment, but had thought that the brass would really set off the entrance).
    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 12:48PM
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Mouldex Exterior & Interior Mouldings
I love your home, the only thing I would do if it were mine is re-paint the white (looks to be stucco) areas.

But before you do that, I think the water flow direction needs to be looked at to determine why there is major staining in certain areas which I circled in the photo.

The chimney looks like it needs to be re-capped with a drip edge as well as install some kickout flashing to keep water flowing into your gutter and not the walls.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    August 29, 2014 at 5:15AM
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Doug Bailey Photography & Video - SE Florida
Beautiful home and great comments above. If you were selling, from a photography point of view I'd shoot from at least 20ft high, and from different perspectives. I'd also shoot at dusk with the lights on.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    August 29, 2014 at 5:33AM
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banff1976
To both Mouldex Ext. and Bailey Video - great comments, thanks so much - both insights are extremely informative and appreciated!
1 Like    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 7:58AM
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Grown Solutions
Hanging Garden Trellises from grownsolutions.com can be hung in front of windows, for a natural air conditioning privacy screen effect, or in front of bare walls as a lovely focal point for otherwise difficult areas. They are also portable so you can move them out of harms way during inclement weather.
    Bookmark   Thanked by banff1976    August 30, 2014 at 12:37AM
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