Need Help With Front Entrance
rpgrayso
May 2, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Hi folks. My 1940's stone cottage needs help. It's an interesting house, but the front entrance has no character. It currently has a small shed roof over the front step. The front of the roof has a short gutter on it, which is pitched for drainage, and it makes it all look crooked.

I was thinking about some sort of dormer to give the house some more curb appeal. But I'm not sure what style would look best -- a tall peaked one? A square arts & crafts one? The house has a sort of french cottage look to it. I don't have the funds to build out the walk-up attic, but the dormer needs to be compatible with an eventual master suite addition to the 2nd floor, by the next owner of the house. (I plan to sell next year.) I've attached a couple cellphone photos which show nearby houses which I like but I'm unsure if either style fits my house. I don't necessarily want to spend to do additional dormers, but will if it's the best solution.

I have lots of native stone on the property, so I could probably match the existing stone pretty closely. Otherwise I'm leaning toward wood shingles.

One gotcha - my property only extends about 3 feet out from the front door. (Yes, it's weird. I have an easement to use the front entry and driveway.) So, I can't do a massive front steps landing / stone columns / gable treatment. Any addition has to be pretty flush to the house, or at least jut out less than 3' or so.

Finally the roof is pretty old, so it will likely be getting new architectural shingles when I fix the front entrance. Shutters on the front windows are a possibility too.

I appreciate any and all comments. Thanks!!
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lefty47
HI -- Looks like it's from a fairytale - If your going to sell then don't spend big money on it . I would just add some shutters but I would also put some wide framing around the front door and some big brackets to support the porch roof. Make the brackets and the shutters very woodsy looking close to the color of the garage door. Thats all I think it needs to make it more charming.
May 2, 2012 at 8:47pm     
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houssaon
This is a beautiful house. First of all I would not build any dormers. They might limit the configuration the next owner might want to make to the upper area.

As far as the entrance goes, I would use a shed roof instead of a gable for your entryway. Here is a gorgeous one that definitly fits the style of your house: http://www.houzz.com/discussions/120128 2001 showcase Project: 2001 Showcase

I'd build it out to where the black railing is, so the new shed rood is twice the width of the current one. The one change I'd make to the inspiration design is to just have two square columns and the curve roof without any trelis. You might want to get larger laterns.

Paint your garage door one taupe color to blend into the body of the house. Remove any vines growing on the leaders or any part of the house. You might want to add an arbor to frame the garage. I rather like the house without shutters - the stones are the main feature.
May 2, 2012 at 11:04pm     
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michigammemom
What a charming home! Instead of hanging the typical louvered shutter, you might try something like this with prominent iron hardware.

Would also suggest larger lanterns flanking your door.
May 3, 2012 at 4:30am   
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mousemaker
i just love it. when i can i move in? :) it reminds me of a stone house in WI that i have always loved (in Sauk Cty)
May 3, 2012 at 7:42am     
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rpgrayso
Thanks for the suggestions to date. I like the idea of adding beefy brackets or doing a shed roof with columns. I had thought about getting larger lanterns -- although the current ones are original to the house they do look too small -- so they will definitely be upgraded. I had thought about an arbor above the garage too -- I could move the confederate jasmine from the gutter downpipe over to the arbor. (It's currently being trained on a wire cage I've fastened around the downpipe.) Good advice not to spend on the dormers now as that will constrain the next owner's options.
May 3, 2012 at 10:01am   
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michigammemom
May 3, 2012 at 10:07am     
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mousemaker
it does!!! it also screams Lord of the Rings :) kinda...
May 3, 2012 at 10:10am   
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PRO
site lines architecture inc.
Don't do anything! It looks fantastic the way it is. Adding brackets and other details will only detract from the simplicity the french country-side style is known for. If you're looking for curb appeal, I'd suggest some colour in the landscaping. And maybe dull the colour of the garage and pop the colour of the window planters.

Adding faux architectural elements takes away from the trueness of the structure.
May 3, 2012 at 10:15am     
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tlbeck
This is a truly beautiful house and doesn't need much tweaking. I would focus on Shutters to match that beautiful garage door, update the lanterns and then get lots of color in your landscaping.
May 3, 2012 at 10:32am   
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inabunker
I am envious. I love this look. I wouldn't raise a hammer to this house - escpecially if you are going to sell. I would paint out the trim, planter boxes, doorway and garage door in brighter colors. You would be giving it some life - it would look really cool to do that. I would also add some old world, fixtures - arts and crafts or art nouveau to the front (as in sconces).
May 3, 2012 at 11:48am     
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PRO
Marie Meko, Allied ASID
I agree with tbeck and inabunker. The addition of shutters ,color,and planters will retain the cottage feel . One thing I would suggest is changing or painting garage door.
Love your house.
May 3, 2012 at 1:50pm     
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sarahann_c
Like some others have send it does remind me of a fairytale cottage. Maybe check out Carmel's fairy tale cottage on the internet for inspiration...a wide trim around the door and windows, a few window planter boxes and some cute (not boring louvered) shutters will go a looooong way, and still be fairly cheap.
May 3, 2012 at 2:03pm   
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inkwitch
There's not much needs doing to this adorable cottage! The lot size and restriction will be your biggest challenge, and spending some effort in making it look like it doesn't need more sq. footage would help sell it. Is that a patio? (In this case, a miniature veranda!) Doing some plantings in that curve below the steps would add curb appeal. Do something on the veranda (!!!) -- a small water feature, some simple chairs and table (no umbrella needed -- great shade!), and a couple of impressive earthy pots of plants. It's absolutely a Hobbit house! What a wondrous find! Good luck!
May 3, 2012 at 5:03pm   
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PRO
Stephen Niles
The front door is not proportioned to the house and windows. Looks like traces of previous entrance in stonework? Any case a wider door in wood similar to garage door and a bolder frame around door would help. A stocky not steep timber framed dormer would look good.
May 3, 2012 at 5:11pm   
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rpgrayso
Lots of great ideas! Thanks folks. I wasn't aware of the Carmel cottages -- amazing homes. Regarding a water feature -- I built one last year. You can sort of see it in the second photo -- the dark area on the patio is a pond with pickerel rush just beginning to bloom. There's a stone waterfall just above that empties into the pond. Stocked with goldfish and illuminated at night -- it took me a month to build but was worth it. The sound of the waterfall through the open kitchen window (as I type this) is wonderful.
May 3, 2012 at 7:23pm   
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rpgrayso
P.S. Here's the back of the house.
May 3, 2012 at 7:26pm   
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hthr_hffmn
When I saw you post, I knew I had seen your house before. There is a very similar house in the March 2008 addition of Cottage Living. Since that magazine is no longer in publication I did a little digging to find the article on the wed. Here is a link to a blog that has all the pictures from the article. (sorry for some reason my iPad wouldn't let me attach the picture). The designers name is Chaffee Braithwaite from Atlanta. If I can figure out how to post the picture later I will. Hope it helps, I am having somewhat of the same dilemma myself.
http://www.duchessfare.com/2010/06/yesterdays-post-is-jumping-off-point.html
May 4, 2012 at 6:21am   
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rpgrayso
Interesting article. Thanks for the link. Coincidentally, my house is in the city of Atlanta too!
May 4, 2012 at 7:40am   
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PRO
Shoreline Renovations
http://porticokit.com/ Think about a Portico to update the front of your house.
September 17, 2012 at 4:04am   
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