Curb appeal - too bland or just right?
ysisson
April 9, 2012 in Design Dilemma
I can't get the original design rendering out of my head so I need your help! Is the front of the house too bland? Yellow stucco, white trim, green door, midwestern town. Do I need more window trim? Different trim color? Shutters? Stonework? Giant metal butterflies (joking!) Landscaping? Fountain? (grass is being replaced with zoysia shortly) Thanks in advance!
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Robin Darlow
I think it looks stately. Color is passion. If you love this color, then go with it.
April 9, 2012 at 1:30PM   
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77giggles
I would leave the house alone~it looks great! I would, however add flowering bushes (azaleas, rhododendums, etc.) and even flower beds (marigolds, pansies, etc along the sides of the walkways.
April 9, 2012 at 1:32PM     
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Robin Darlow
Trim should remain white and shutters in black or white would look equally good. But lose the green door.
April 9, 2012 at 1:33PM     
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Kathryn Peltier Design
I think you need more contrast! You have some pretty features, but everything just kind of blurs together. The thing that most draws my eye is the black frame of the storm door...not good. This is a very symmetrical, classic looking house. I would go with a darker color (make sure to consider your roof color - it is very visible) and then leave the trim in white or a lighter shade of the house body color. Pick out the corbels and the baluster/posts with a 3rd color (if you go with a color other than white on the trim) and then do the front door in a brighter accent color. Choose a color that obviously works with the house color, but also introduces the visitor to the interior (and works with the interior). I'm not sure you have room for shutters next to your front porch - they would look kind of scrunched in - so I think I would work with just paint color to bring out the detail. How about a very gray-green? Leave the trim in a crisp white, but bring in a lighter version of the house color on the trim and add a geranium pink or orange on the door. Too much? Use a gloss black on the door.

The landscaping is kind of haphazard looking. Is that a juniper or a yew to the left of the door? Whatever it is, it is too informal and kind of overgrown, I can't tell from the photo what the smaller shrubs are along the front - perhaps they could be left in place, but they need to be trimmed. If you could, I would do a front walk to the sidewalk - much more welcoming than the concrete walk to the driveway. However, if that is not possible, I would remove the big overgrown bush and create either a wide walk, if possible, or a planting bed about the width of the front porch. I would do a low-growing plant - possibly pachysandra (this looks like a very sunny location) - and install two large black urns on either front corner of this bed. Plant these with colorful flowers (if it were me, I would add large window boxes to the upstairs windows as well). Fill the beds under the left window and along the garage with a mix of shrubs and flowers with more height than you currently have (consult a local garden center for ideas and hardy plant types). I would also add a trellis between the garage windows with a flowering vine. A birdbath here (or other sculptural item) would add some interest here, also, as you walk towards the front door. That arborvitae is very overgrown, too. It should probably come out.
April 9, 2012 at 1:54PM     
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Paul
I think the colours are perfect, but that front door looks out of place. It should be heavier framed, like the windows, to balance things, and the same colour as the window frames.
April 9, 2012 at 2:14PM   
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shead
I agree with most everything Kathryn said. You definitely need more contrast, but I wouldn't go overboard with it. I'd definitely change the green door and I'd put molding around your front door to make it pop, especially since you have wide moldings around the windows. Also, more splashes of color in the landscaping would definitely increase curb appeal.
April 9, 2012 at 2:30PM   
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77giggles
I believe the door has wide trim around it...looks like it..on the left the doorbell looks like its on molding..
April 9, 2012 at 2:43PM   
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shead
I'm not seeing the molding on my monitor, but if it's there, then it definitely needs to be accentuated and contrast with the brick color.
April 9, 2012 at 2:48PM   
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Liquidscapes
I would play of the main body and symmetry of your home and create a garden courtyard. This would create more depth and interest as you receive the home. Hedges would provide the form and structure of the space ( no higher than 36") and then go with flower ornamental trees, shrubs, perennials, ground cover and bulbs. Benches, planters/pots and a new walkway with a central focal point would be nice ( but don't let it over power the house.

The house already provides/ dictates the needed scale and proportion of this outdoor room/ court space. Lay it out on paper first, look at images on this site that have similar applications that I have described or hire a local professional to help you map it out.

Lighting will also give you that wow and elegant feel, but it all starts from good design. The landscape should compliment the lines, proportions and architectural details of a home, not hide or over power them.

Check out our page and you should be able to find some examples of what I am expressing. There is a real opportunity here.

I hope this helps!
April 9, 2012 at 4:00PM   
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Liquidscapes
I'll look at my page and see if I can find something for you.
April 9, 2012 at 4:01PM   
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Kathryn Peltier Design
This is the concept I had in mind:
traditional exterior design by atlanta architect Castro Design Studio
April 9, 2012 at 5:00PM   
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Kathryn Peltier Design
OK, try this link

April 9, 2012 at 5:02PM     
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ysisson
Thanks for some amazing feedback and ideas. To answer a couple of the questions posed - there isn't any trim around the front door and I was surprised to hear the green door doesn't work well! Good to know. This is a southern exposure, so I'm leery about a black door but I'll see what we might be able to do that won't turn into a frying pan by mid-day.

The landscaping hasn't been trimmed up yet for spring, but I definitely see how the trees are looking scraggly. Great suggestion about adding a pathway to the front walk. You guys are terrific. :)
April 9, 2012 at 5:04PM   
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myosotis
The windows look kind of bare. Window boxes and potted tall plants on the balcony will dress everything up. Green door and yellow walls, too predictable. Still a beautiful home.
April 9, 2012 at 5:22PM     
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myrns
Paint the storm door & green door a charcoal gray to match the roof. On each side of the front door hang substantial black wrought iron flower pot holders, European style not country or cute-sy, or large black urns on either side of the door. Fill with greenery of your choice. Yellow, white, black/charcoal gray are a classic combo. How about charcoal gray & white striped awnings over the 2 main floor windows? Then you could open the curtains to give the house a more lived in look.
April 9, 2012 at 6:15PM   
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adelejuiamorris
I think the entrance needs more definition. The front door seems obscured by the bushes. Maybe a brick or stone path???
April 9, 2012 at 7:27PM   
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ysisson
Never even thought about adding anything, like plants, to the balcony area. What a terrific idea! Also love the idea of the flower pot holders or urns. Thanks everyone!
April 10, 2012 at 1:55PM   
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ArielC
Balcony railing, posts, base, white painted change to match roof color. Some rock boulders, and yes urns
April 11, 2012 at 9:42AM   
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annie_odette
I love the house - I think the landscaping needs more. With a house like this a traditonal planting /symetrical planting with boxwoods and other hedges and annuals couldr eally be amazing.
April 11, 2012 at 9:50AM   
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Bond Girl
You've got a beautiful home! And many great suggestions. I agree with needing more contrast. I also think the door needs more heft -- no matter what color you choose. It would be great if you could replace the door with a door with sidelights (but that's not a cheap fix!) My door is black, and trim around it is the same color, which is different from the trim on my windows. It looks great. You could consider this with a dark or neutral, but not if you go bright. I also agree with the lighting, and would love to see lights on either side of the door (which will make the door read wider, particularly with planters under them.) You might consider making the columns fuller. They could go square, and copy the detail above the portico. I like the idea(s) for window boxes or something on the portico, but know yourself. I'm lazy, and would never keep up with them properly -- then they'd detract! Good luck!
April 11, 2012 at 10:13AM     
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Holzman Interiors, Inc.
I think bland. I could see beautiful windowsill boxes on the top windows. Even if the flowers are artificial, no one will no from far away. Another alternative is to do some awnings. You could paint the front door black and add black awnings for a stunning, classy look.
April 11, 2012 at 10:17AM     
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Liquidscapes
This is not exactly what I was recommending for your home, but an example of a small court space in front of the front door entry. The walkway is coming from the side in this scenario off the driveway. Yours could come from the front, side or both (if necessary), along with a hedge to create that outdoor room experience. In this case, with the images I am sharing, we went with a low stone free standing wall to compliment the stone on the house.
April 11, 2012 at 10:38AM     
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Debbie
Bland. Need to cut down trees that are touching/crowding house and roofing. Need a "stately" walkway from street to front door. Not straight! Brighter door color w/matching shutters, and BIG BOLD house numbers. *more foilage color!
April 11, 2012 at 10:48AM     
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Liquidscapes
The before and after tell a better story, along with provide inspiration of the many possibilities and options that are available with every home and property.
April 11, 2012 at 10:51AM     
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Airoom Architects-Builders-Remodelers
Your home has a very sweet quality to it, but the dormer stands out too much. I would recommend reshaping it into a lower arch, something like in this photo (hard to find the perfect photo, but I think you'll get the idea): Rear patio looking back to the loggia
Alternatively, I would add two slightly smaller dormers on either side of it, like in this project we worked on: Colonial Masterpiece
Use a tin roof on the dormer, with much larger overhangs
April 11, 2012 at 1:22PM     
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kcraugh
I agree with Airoom 100% . Then add lights to the sides of the door, don't go to small. Make the columns larger and add shutters it will look great.
April 11, 2012 at 1:32PM   
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ysisson
Airoom - you are brilliant! I've hated that dormer since the house was built! Our builder changed the slope of the roof, didn't tell us and didn't rework the dimensions on the dormer to make it work properly. The picture of the lower arch is stunning and this is definitely going onto my project list. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
April 11, 2012 at 2:26PM   
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cheries
Wondering if you have fixed the dormer more to your liking since your last post? Would like to see the new dormer. Next time you paint go a shade or two darker on the house to liven it up and give it a fresh look and more of a contrast with the white trim, a lighter brighter spring green on the front door to offset the purple flowers and perhaps paint your dormer the same color as your roof to make it less noticeable in case you haven't already remodeled it. : )
September 30, 2012 at 5:56PM   
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klmt
I'm not taking time to read all these posts, but the one about the dormer did catch my eye. I had that problem myself once. First, pick up a book of traditional houseplans - you'll see several pics of your very style of house, done right. Note the symmetry, look at the dormer sizes, the shutters, etc - especially the front door area. Compare them to the pic of your home, and I think what you need to do will be readily apparent. Just don't do anything not in character with this beautiful style of house - and some of the advice you're getting would have you do that. Off the top of my head, the obvious problem is the front door - it's green, has a storm door on it, and is sorely lacking in trim. Also, I'd add white shutters, at least upstairs on on the 'west wing'. I think you need some balancing color on the left side of the landscape, especially since the wing is on the right. And as for the dormer, If after looking at examples of your architectural style you decide you need to make it less obtrusive, then before spending tens of thousands rebuilding it, try painting it the roof color first. It worked beautifully for me. Adding add'l (fake?) dormers would be my second choice, but I'm not sure they'll look believable on that low pitch roof (which is the same reason the first on sticks out so much). When the roof needs replacing, look back to your pics of good examples of this style to decide on the next roof color.

So first rescue the front door, beef up the trim, and then see if the dormer still looks obtrusive. If so, consider a consult with 2-3 architects to get their perspectives/costs. Then try painting it the roof color before spending a fortune.
October 1, 2012 at 10:15AM   
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klmt
BTW - is that a house number plaque on the trim above the entry? That's just wrong, as my teenager would say. Try staking one near the sidewalk or driveway.
October 1, 2012 at 10:18AM   
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sharleeg
your front door looks very lonely.. skinny and all by itself... and very green . Dramatically improve the look of the house by adding a double wood door there if possible, beautiful wood finish or black painted. At the very least sidelights. That will make a HUGE difference in my opinion. Nice house so have fun!
October 1, 2012 at 11:03AM   
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ysisson
klmt - LOL. yes, that IS a house number above the entry and unless you know someone who will keep my yard guy from running the mower over anything staked in the yard during the summer/fall and then come to dig the snow out from around it in the wintertime, it shall remain above the entry.
November 25, 2012 at 12:26AM   
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cheries
LOL, if you don't like the house numbers there you can put them next to or above the door itself, the main concern is having the house numbers visible from the street for emergency personnel such as the fire dept./police/paramedics etc. in order to find your house quickly and easily. If this were my home I would want to change the dormer if possible as you have stated, or paint it the same color as the roof in order to minimize it and hopefully make it recede visually. Fresh paint on the house and a new door color and possibly a matching storm door would be ideal. Also you may plant some new flowers and trees for better curb appeal when you are able to do so.
November 25, 2012 at 12:26PM   
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Kathryn Peltier Design
The last comment just popped up in my email a few minutes ago, so I clicked on the link to remind myself what this thread was about. When I looked at the photo of your home again, and some of the dormer comments, it suddenly struck me that the problem is that there IS a dormer. Dormer windows are found on steep pitched roofs - steep enough that there is living space. Your roof is such a low pitch that any dormer is going to look funny. The most you could do would be an eyebrow kind of dormer, but that doesn't really fit with the style of the house. I would just get rid of it altogether.
November 25, 2012 at 12:45PM   
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Kathryn Peltier Design
One more thought: if you remove the dormer, that little window above the balcony can be played up and could be a very charming focal point.
November 25, 2012 at 12:47PM   
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Paint Creek
Great House! Change the color of the dormer to a charcoal and leave the window trim white so the dormer is an accent to the facade not an interruption. Also, removing the overgrown shrub on the left will omit further distraction.
November 25, 2012 at 1:24PM   
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Paint Creek
Great House! Change the color of the dormer to a charcoal and leave the window trim white so the dormer is an accent to the facade not an interruption. Also, removing the overgrown shrub on the left will omit further distraction.
November 25, 2012 at 1:25PM   
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bdennison
Black door would look stunning
November 25, 2012 at 1:35PM   
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Linda
I would leave the house light colored and use a darker tone on the trim work. The dormer does look "off" to my eye. If it serves no useful purpose, I would consider removing it if you can match the shingles. Or, paint it dark and wait until next time you do the roof.
November 25, 2012 at 2:06PM   
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ysisson
Thanks to all for the great comments. When we repaint the house next year, I will try to make the dormer blend in with the roof while also getting prices on removing it entirely. Will also be adding more trim details around the windows to help them pop and elminating the green door. The landscaping is going to get shaped up and I'm definitely going to add trim/fixtures around the front door to improve the balance. Also going to get new columns that better fit the space and add (faux) greenery to the balcony area. You guys have all provided much food for thought and terrific ideas to play with. Thank you! I'll post updated photos when it's all done!
November 25, 2012 at 8:55PM   
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