Need help with the exterior design of this colonial stone house

Edie GoodrichJuly 15, 2012
We're in the process of buying this 80's colonial style house. All of the trim needs to be replaced, and I want to make the right decision. The current trim color doesn't quite seem to fit. We're considering doing all the trim (shutters and porch pillars) in a deep gray color. The current brick that's on the corners of the house doesn't seem to fit very well with the stone either, so we're thinking of painting the brick in the same color. Any thoughts? Also, we're considering making the windows above the garage (currently sky lights) into gables. And finally, any thoughts on the color of the roof (it also needs replacing)? We're considering some shade of gray. Thanks for any advice! And if you have any other ideas, it'd be appreciated!
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HI -- I have never seen a house like this and that's what I like about it . With that stone you could just about go in any color direction. Not liking the brick and yes I agree painting it is the answer. I like the roof the way it is style wise and maybe a charcoal color shingle would look good. Doing a grey color scheme you have to be carefull doing grey on grey ,that you don't end up making the house too flat looking. The front door needs a better surround , sides and across the top and not the same as the shutters. And a lantern style light on each side of the entrance.Have the house fascia and the rain gutters the same color as the roof. The porch posts need to be fattened up (square ones ) and re-alined so a post does not end up in front of a window. I don't think you need to change the skylights and roof style on the garage ,but that's your choice.Paint the garage doors also when you paint with your grey paint choice. The shutters are a little too narrow. The shutters could be a charcoal black color and then a bright color on the front door. I know you are thinking a grey for the house , But , Maybe think about a dark tan instead,because I think that might go with the stone coloring better. Get some test pots of paint to try the colors before commiting. Then for the landscaping ,- the first thing would be to have a curved walkway leading to the front door.Then add somemore trees and perrenials. Maybe hire a landscaper , if you need help with that. This is a real charming house and I think it's going to look great.
2 Likes    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 12:07PM
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Edie Goodrich
Thanks for the tips. I'm thinking you might be right in going with tans/browns instead of grays. In that case, do you think a dark brown shingle would look better?
    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 4:23PM
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Edie Goodrich
Ok, another question. What color should the porch posts and railing (we want to add a railing) be? It seems like every porch I've seen on the internet is white. But if our trim is gray or tan/brown, should we have the porch match that?
    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 5:16PM
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HI - Edie - OK , maybe this will help you for some colors to try. Benjamin Moore Paint . For the garage doors and the porch posts and rails and the corner brick -- "Natural Cream " OC -14 --- For the roof edge and shutters " Willow" R -9988 And for your front door " Prairie Lily" R-9927 This is a stunning color for a stone house and because your young . If this is not to your liking then have a look at "Amsterdam " for the front door .And if you can get a very dark brown for the roof . This will all go with the stone .
    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 9:11PM
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Richard Johnson Design Studio
I think no one has had the courage to tell you that the stone facade is your problem. You should replace with a Hardi Plank concrete siding, good for life and colour of your choice. Check out their website & good luck.
2 Likes    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 9:55PM
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I like your idea of dormer windows to balance the main section of the house but will leave colour choices to you.... Having said that, a deeper coloured 'grout' between the stones may have a big impact, so try printing a large photo of your house and colour in various options on overlayed tracing paper if you don't have the right software.

I would suggest that the front steps be changed to a flight up to a flat section level with the rest of the porch before the front entry.

Some colourful planting would also help a cottage feel.
    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 10:55PM
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I like the stone and I think You are correct about changing the trim and brick to dark gray. I would like to see the center porch post centered between the windows and make the posts larger with maybe some decorative brackets (not victorian) The shutters can then be changed to a more rustic feel.
    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 5:07AM
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I agree the stone is horrible. I like the idea of concrete and think the columns need to be boxed out to beef them up. Also think the addition of a railing system is in order.
2 Likes    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 5:54AM
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Dar Eckert
Well, that was kind of harsh Ali. I think the stone gives so much texture to the house and covering it over would be a travesty. However, I would consider covering the brick corners and brick by the entry with hardiboard in a cream color also use the cream on trim and facia. A standing seam roof would be wonderful. There are browns, reds and green in the stone and I would choose from that pallet for the roof. I guess a sage green front door and shutters would be my choice. Love your idea to add dormers above the garage. The front porch would benefit with larger posts and a softer color. If money was no object, I think I would have the stone tuck-pointed with a lighter color grout which would reduce the shadows between the stones and make the wall appear more traditional. Here's a couple of stone houses to make you drool. Search under stone house exterior in photos and you'll realize what a treasure you have.

Stone Residence 1 · More Info

needham studio - dphj.01 · More Info
    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 6:34AM
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Edie Goodrich
Don't worry. I'm not offended that anyone thinks the stone is awful. I've had similar feelings :) But our budget is a little tight (there's tons of work to do inside too), so doing anything to the stone will have to wait. But things like the trim, roof, and porch are falling apart and must be replaced right now, so we want to do so with the best design possible. We're now planning to beef up the columns and add railings. I think our biggest concern now is the colors. Because our stone is so white, I'm concerned about a cream color next to it for the brick and porch (as some have suggested). Would white on white make one of the whites just look dingy? Thanks for all the comments and keep 'em coming!
    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 8:01AM
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my first instinct was that cream would be the way to go, not the gray.
    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 8:24AM
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Chroma Design
Yikes! Good for you for looking past the current and being willing to make this your own.

There is so much going on that I find it easiest to break down my response in dos and don'ts.
Do use the same roof color. It's the only thing that currently looks correct with the stone.
Do use the same color to paint the porch, fascia and shutters, but don't use that same color on the brick. They should be from the same family but need to be different in order to add some visual dimension. Once the brick is painted, the corners and around the front door will look flat. Two different colors will prevent the eye from connecting everything that has been painted.
Do use a fascia, porch, shutter color that relates to the roof. Something midtone.
Do use a color for the brick that is lighter and relates to the stone. Not too light.
Do replace the porch columns with beefier posts and add the railing.
Don't use turned posts like the ones there. You need craftsman styling to compete with the stone.
Do put wide benches on the porch under the windows to mask the atypical height of the window sills.
Do stain the concrete porch floor a dark gray.
Do use a bright, happy door color. It will be something to smile at as you approach the front door.
Don't waste your budget on gables over the garage. To do gables properly, you would either need to add a third or (with just the two) you need to reposition them to fit the proportions of the roof width. The skylights are currently too close together to be made into gables (aesthetically speaking) and are positioned to the garage door.
Do spend 90% of your budget inside. It's what matters most.
Do keep the garage door it's current color. Same for the breezeway.
Do add lots of tall grasses to your landscape. Grouped, in separate clusters. They're inexpensive and the more full your corner lot is, the more your eye travels around.
Do feel confident that you will tackle this monster :)

Just curious, what do the sides of the house look like?
    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 10:05AM
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Keeping in mind that budget is an issue. Personally I would:

Asphalt roof. If you like gray, look at "Colonial Slate" for the roofing color, you'll find the company also. What ever you do, make sure the roof you buy is not a flat one- color shingle, try to choose one with various color tones in the same family. Because the roof for the porch is such a small area, you could go with a standing seam metal in a bronze or copper patina, or go with a product that looks more like slate. They have vinyl composites that look like slate, but you don't have a lot of squares to buy, so I think it would be well worth the expense. I think you want the custom look of two different materials,one for the porch and the other for the house. Your roofer may have some great low cost solutions. You'll want to get at least 3 bids, so you'll have three opportunities for ideas.

Columns: Beef up and reposition the front columns. Do not add fretwork or brackets. I would make them out of cementitious "Hardiplank" and wrap top and bottom with seriously deep base trim and cove on top. A little bit more expensive would be to fabricate them out of white solid vinyl. You'd never have to paint it, ever. I would not do a railing at all, it will look messy and it just adds more expense. The turned ones one the porch right now are not right proportionally or stylistically. To me, they're more for a Victorian house. Yes, reposition the middle two so they are framing the windows better.

Shutters: I dislike fake shutters and I really do not care for the ones on the entry door.
I would make real shutters sized proportionally and hang them with appropriate hardware including shutter dogs. Each shutter should be the length of the window and half the width of the window. You could make a board and batten style very cheaply. No shutters on the front door.

Color: I can't tell if your stone in in the tan family or the gray family. You will determine the color family by picking the roof. If you choose the gray, colonial slate you're in the gray direction, if you choose a brown tone, there's the other direction. Here's where your personal preference comes in. Every house needs at least 3 colors. you have light grey, (body), cream (or white), trim, and med gray, or med brown tones, roof. You could go classic and safe and do black on the shutters or go a bit wild and do a navy blue or a wine color, whatever makes you happy. The door could be the same, or a variation on one of the colors that you like. Personally, if you love the color green, be careful, the shade of green is very important. Greens can look dated; like the house was done in the late 80's or 90's. My apologies to everyone who loves the color. Leave the garage doors alone for now. You can have a mix of cream and white on a house. It doesn't have to be one or the other, designers may go nuts at this, but if it bothers you when you are done, and it's easy to correct. My personal preference would be to do black shutters and a burgundy or a wine color door, but I'm a sucker for that color. I agree with the posters that said do what makes you happy.

Brick on sides: You may be able to cover up the brick with a styrofoam product that looks just like quoins, you might see if it affordable for you. The easiest way to handle it is to just paint. Take a med color out of your new roof, a gray or a tan from which ever family you choose, and paint the brick. This will minimize it and make it look more like quoins, which was the original intent, I imagine. Whatever you paint the brick will be a good color to paint the facia and downspouts.

Garage roof: Do not do the dormers. Not necessary and more expensive than you think.

Landscaping: Putting in a flower bed in front of the porch will be a bonus. Choose plants that will grow tall enough to obscure the side and edge of the porch but not something you have to put a lot of maintenence into. Cut back the bushes in front of the garage. If you like spiral vertical topiaries, and you wish the minimize the brick "quoins" for lack of a better term, you could plant 4, one on each ends of the building, and 2 flanking the porch stairs for symmetry and as they grow the would really obscure the brick on the lower levels. At some point you may wish to redirect the walkway to the porch to put in a deeper bed for more color, but it's not really necessary.

An earlier poster mentioned "Craftsman", I'm thinking more along the lines of "Carriage House" and if you ever want to replace the garage door at some point there really nice ones on the market that will give you the look.

Things you should not do: Do not think about the grout, the window height, stain the porch, railings, covering up the stone or the dormer windows. No offense to anyone of the earlier posters intended. All of you had amazing ideas.

You don't need to spend a huge amount of money on this house to make it a really special property. Once you are done and you stage the porch with a sitting area, it will be wonderful.

Best wishes.
    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 2:21PM
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oops, I just saw the thumbnails. I can see that its not shutters flanking the door, it a different brick entirely. I would paint that brick the same as the side brick and try to minimize it. Pick a color as close to the stone as possible but stay in the color family of the roof. You have a proble with the two different hights of the stairs, and the surrounding porch. For safety's sake, you may want to lay a trex deck or build up the low areas with cement and pavers, flagstone or slate.
I now realize you need railings for the stairs, it's obviously code and it looks like there were railings there before. Either black or white would be fine, but my personal preference would be black powder coated aluminum and if you chose a black shutter it would be a very elegant, classic look.
    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 2:29PM
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That really is an 80's style home! How bout making the roof line more dramatic and bring in some columns. My preference would be tree trunk columns to match the rustic stone veneer. A more dramatic ridgeline will pull your eye away from what you don't like and may even help pull it in. Wrap the porch around maybe so your eye goes to a wider view..
The stone makes a bold statement. I would play with that theme
1 Like    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 4:29AM
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do some stucco on the corners of the house in a deep gray and kick out the brick "side No lights" on either side of the front door. I'd do stucco or put some real side lights and open it up instead of making look closed in.
    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 4:32AM
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and lastly, a widow's walk would be really cool looking on the front.
    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 4:33AM
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Shawn Lagemann
I am surprised your house was built in the '80's, it reminds me of the trading post built across the US in the early 1800's. They look very similar in shape and design, with the exception of the porch and the brick. Most were made from native stone that was dry stacked (no mortar between the stones) as your house is and the front facades were very flat, very un-ornamental. Many of these are on the national historical registry and you may find inspiration from looking at them. I like many of the ideas that blazinbabs has for working with the elements of your exterior instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. Hand hewn or larger scale distressed posts on the porch would blend well (cedar is readily available and cost effective) Wood shutters to cover the brick around the front door, and the idea of stucco over the brick coining and color matched to the stone would be great and don't forget the chimney. For the roof, I'd look at an architectual shingle that closely matches the look of wood shakes (like certainteed presidential) in weathered wood. Great roofing material that will last for a very long time. The shutters on the windows can be painted any color, I think black would be nice. You could use a concrete stain on the front porch and I'd leave off the handrail and focus on a great walkway to the front door and some framing landscaping. The dormer idea is good, I'd think about a single dormer with a double wide window, instead of 2 dormers, I think it would look more balanced. You could incorporate more of the stucco for the sides and face of the dormer to allow it to look purposeful. I think your house is unique, good for you.
1 Like    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 5:00AM
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Paisley & Tweed
Hey Eddie, it is a cool house with great potential. Can I make a few simple suggestions:

I would paint the bricks on the edge a cream colour to tie in with the stone and hardy plank around the entrance way like Dar suggested and if you have the money, maybe even hardy plank the garage. Go with a nice creamy colour or white for this. Add a really nice front door with side windows. Beef up the posts on the front porch and add a really beefy railing. Hardy plank around windows with nice wide trim. Don't spend any money on the gables as that will eat up so much of your budget. I live in Canada and out east there are lots of stone cottages, you probably have lots in the US so just google stone cottages and I am sure you will get lots of ideas. The stone is beautiful so play it up. Have fun!!
    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 8:49AM
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Not sure if you have gone on and started your remodeling yet. But if you still have time you might want to take a peek at some of the fincas on the Island of Mallorca in Spain. You basically have what could be a diamond in the rough. These fincas are gorgeous and your house has the bones to make it transform into something quite similar. If you google" fincas on Mallorca" or finca "rentals on Mallorca"and go to images you should find some lovely houses similar to yours. Good luck
    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 10:42AM
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J. Kretschmer Architect: Art & Architecture
It looks like you may have some structural issues with the porch roof. The posts appear to be undersized to carry the load/weight of the porch roof. I'd consider replacing them with new structural posts and covering the posts with some columns such as the image. If you ever rebuild the porch roof consider making it wider or change the hip angle.
As far as trim color goes, white would look good but so would a dark green.
    Bookmark   Thanked by Edie Goodrich    February 8, 2014 at 8:19AM
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