Cost-conscious creative suggestions for a shed dormer house? HELP PLEASE!
July 19, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Hi Houzz community! I'm such a fan :) So we are on a $2500 budget for breathing life into the front exterior. I don't know if you can tell but the roof looks like it's caving near the front. It's not - there are no structural issues. The roof is new from last year. What can I do to make the roofline look straight and better? I don't want to do a trellis bc I would like a covered front porch area. I want to center everything around the front door too. Maybe come kind of extended trim overhang or something? a portico? I don't know. First time home buyer and this is our first acquisition. HELP PLEASE!
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Hi tinytinab, if you paint the handrails and put new wood composite fascia boards over the existing ones it will make the roof appear straighter.
9 Likes   July 19, 2012 at 4:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Thanks Dytecture! I was looking for something like that. Love the idea of doing the porch dark instead of painting it white (my original plan) - Do you mind if I ask - did you do this in photoshop or is there some other awesome software I should be aware of? lol
2 Likes   July 19, 2012 at 5:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Charmean Neithart Interiors, LLC.
Great idea from Dytecture, but it really doesn't look like it is caving in, at least to my eye it doesn't. Congratulations on your new home. Charmean Neithart
2 Likes   July 19, 2012 at 9:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Looks like you need a new roof and possibly structure issues
0 Likes   July 19, 2012 at 9:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Hi Tinytinab,

Its hard to tell from the photo exactly what the issue is. It could be something simple like a twisted gutter (if you even have a gutter?) but more likely your foundation and/or framing is sagging. Re-roofing doesn't do *anything* to compensate for that. A better quality photo as well as come close-up shots would really help determine whats going on. Could you post those?

Before you consider cosmetic fixes such as an overlaid fascia, I would suggest researching/verifying what the real issue is. When you purchased the home did your home inspector comment on the issue? You mentioned "there are no structural issues" - how was that determined?

I'd suggest contacting a General Contractor to have them evaluate this because the photo implies it's more of a foundation and/or framing issue. Its important to remember that a roofer applies roofing to whatever roof surface (framing & sheathing) is currently on a home. Even if it is crooked, sagging etc. They typically only replace sheathing et al if it is rotten.

Hope this helps
2 Likes   July 19, 2012 at 10:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
The roof looks "curved" because the lower portion over the front door is at a different angle than the larger roof portion. I personally like it. I think it adds character.

I also think your house is quite lovely and has curb appeal. Maybe other photos would show different flaws that I don't see.

My only suggestion would be to paint the house a darker color and paint all the trim a cream color.
3 Likes   July 20, 2012 at 5:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
S. Thomas Kutch
It does appear from the photo that there is something going on with the right hand lower corner of your roof (not over the porch). It might just be a combination of the angle of photo and the slope of the gutter, but it definitely looks like the corner edge is sagging some. An easy check would be to slap an 8' level to the underside of your roof edge fascia. It should be level. If you have something other than level, then I would check to see just how much sag you have in the corner. Get someone to help you and hold a level perpendicular to the foundation at the bottom of your siding (after checking to insure that the bottom siding is level). Then drop a tape measure down from the bottom of the fascia and measure the distance to the level. Start at the end closest to the porch, then measure the other end.........if you've got anything over a 1/4-1/2" difference, you need to do some more investigating. It could be as simple as you've got some sag at the ends of your roof rafters there at the corner... it is an older house. It could be some rot caused by water damage to the top plate of the wall at the corner.

Or, as I said earlier, it could just be the angle of the shot and the gutter making it appear that the corner is sagging. Hard to tell from a photo.

As to the curb appeal.......I don't see anything wrong that a little color and some beefing up of the porch columns wouldn't fix. The columns look wimpy. An earth color for the siding and a cream trim would make this little gem pop.

In addition, I would at the least prune those shrub around the porch down about half way and let more of the porch railing be seen.
2 Likes   July 20, 2012 at 7:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Cherry Yount @ Furnitureland South
This could be the shining star of the neighborhood with lots of curb appeal!! Keep it traditional. Consider painting it buttery yellow and adding white shutters. I would take off the screen door and paint the wood door either red or deep gray.Paint the porch and the top of the steps gray and the kickplate on the steps white. ( if you want to make it really interesting, paint the porch in a harlequin pattern using black and white)The railing around the front porch looks a little like deck railing. Replace it with traditional white rails and turned ballustrades. I would remove or prune down the existing shrubs and create a natural area that extends from the front porch steps out and around to the end of the house. Mulch it and put in colorful perinnials and an iron bench. I use to have one with the back shaped like big butterfly wings. Really cute!! Start some wisteria or jasmine that would grow up the column and along the roof line just over the steps. Lastly, add big house numbers on the front door and replace the mailbox and the light fixture. If you are willing to do a lot of the work yourself, you could easily to this within your budget.

Best of luck!! Cherry
1 Like   July 20, 2012 at 11:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Thank u all for talking the time to respond! you were all helpful and I can't wait to post a finished product! :))
0 Likes   July 20, 2012 at 8:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Cherry Yount @ Furnitureland South
I had a little time last night so I played with Photoshop. Your house has so much potential!!! Enjoy your new home. Cherry
4 Likes   July 21, 2012 at 8:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Cherry Yount @ Furnitureland South
Also changed the color of the shutters to gray. Either one looks great. Cherry
6 Likes   July 21, 2012 at 8:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
two small eyebrow dormers in front of and to the left.right of that main dormer may create a balanced look because you'll be able to level them and simulate a straight line left to right across full width of the house and add some vertical feel - many can be found pre-made, and they do not need to be functional (connected to interior), they could just rest on fact, they could be even be simple eyebrow vents as a nonfunctional veneer (it'll look like there's fancy hvac! and those are way cheaper, just need to shingle or wrap them) - added a pic of an eyebrow window dormer AND an eyebrow vent for you
0 Likes   July 21, 2012 at 9:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Defined Design
If budget allows, or you can do the work yourself, moving the porch stairs to the other side to center on the door would really make that a focal point and make the rest of the porch more conducive to a pretty seating area. Removing the large shrubs and putting in a planting bed with smaller scale shrubs or perrenials would further highlight the door. It looks like path to steps is brick? If so, leave the front at the sidewalk & curve it over to the repositioned steps and your entrance becomes a feature. Beef up the posts by boxing them out to a more substantial size and trimming out with straight bases and top caps - not fancy, just solid. Then some paint in your favorite colors, and away you go!
3 Likes   July 21, 2012 at 11:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Love the color combinations that were photoshopped. The shutters and a front door that pops add a lot to the curb appeal. If these colors aren't your choice, stick with the principal of the shutters and the interesting front door. I also agree with the suggestion of beefing up the posts. You would be surprised by what adding trim to the top of the posts can do. The person who commented that the railing is deck railing is right. From looking at your photo, my guess is that the front porch and its roof are not original to the house. Looks to me like they were added at some point and the roof of the porch was attached over the existing roof. I don't know how much the existing tree in the front comes into play, but I would follow your original inkling and center things on the front door. You have the choice of extending the roof completely across the front or limiting it to an area over the front door. A wide set of steps is inviting an gives you the opportunity to set some colorful potted plants. You can extend the porch on the other side of the front door. This may afford you the opportunity to have two different seating areas. I realize by moving the steps to the front door will probably involve moving your walkway as well, but that may offer you another curb appeal boost. The new walkway could be a DIY project. I have taken loooooong walks through my neighborhood pondering the same issue for our remodel. I suggest you do the same. It helps. Also just do a porch search in Houzz to study the elements of porches such as railings and posts. Good luck and enjoy your new home. Dreaming about what you can do to YOUR home is half the fun!
0 Likes   July 22, 2012 at 5:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
I also think it would be beautiful to extend the porch (when your budget allows) across the entire front of the house. I'd also get rid of the existing railing and beef up the pillars some. You could forgo railing all together if you did this, or go with something traditional in wood or wrought iron.
1 Like   July 22, 2012 at 7:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
I agree with posters who would professionally investigate the roof. The entire roof looks as though it needs attention, not just the porch.
0 Likes   July 22, 2012 at 7:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
It seems to me that the house did not originally have the front covered porch. When they added it, the existing roof was not at the right angle to provide for a seamless roof addition. May not actually be a problem. However, check the gutter because it seems to be twisted. Finally, i love the photo shopped options. I really like the yellow house version but may not allow for a $2500 budget at this time.

Home ownership is a process and there will always be improvements you'll want or need to do. Enjoy your first home and focus on creating beautiful memories. What an exciting time for you! Best of luck.
0 Likes   July 22, 2012 at 8:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Becky Harris
Hmmmm, so not sure on the structural stuff b/c I'm not sure what's going on and it's certainly not my forte, however, I'm more about distracting and giving the illusion of balance.

Blow some of your budget on a nice tree to the right side of the house to balance out the porch. Plant it in front of the corner of the house. Not sure what zone you're in, but i'd go for a magnolia, serviceberry or crepe myrtle (do NOT give it that weird pruning treatment so many people do).

By this same token, add some hanging plants off the front porch

I'm also totally for painting those unfinished looking handrails. Pet peeve of mine when builders leave them like that.

2 Likes   July 22, 2012 at 8:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ann Smitt
Congratulations on you lovely new house. I'd beef up the landscape for now. Pull out the spreading yew in the front and get som Potentilla Bushes, along with Yellow and Purple Day Lilies. Check to see where the outdoor plumbing lines meet (either the front or backyard) BEFORE you plant a tree. We used to have a beautiful Red Bud tree in front of our hours $5,000+ in damages later to replace the old clay pipes that were cracked by tree roots. Ouch. Avoid our mistake.
0 Likes   July 22, 2012 at 8:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
I think the gutters look twisted also--are they? (if so, replace immediately so water run-off does not harm the foundation)I love the idea of painting the house yellow w/white trim....definitely paint the porch trim white. I have never cared for plants right up against the home...trim or remove....Such a pretty place to add curb appeal---watch those TV shows for some great ideas! Maybe add window boxes below all the windows...(just one longer one for the upper). *One last note--maybe get a stiff brush and clean up the chimney!
0 Likes   July 22, 2012 at 9:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Cathleen Vought
I agree with ej610 - it's the change in angle of the roof combined with the shadow from the dormer that makes it look like its sagging there. The angle change is typical of Craftsman era homes, as are the half-story dormers - if you get a chance and can finish the porch across the entire front, and build out the columns for a bit more heft, it'd look spectacular!
1 Like   July 22, 2012 at 9:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
I also would extend the porch across the front, center stairs and walkway, and most definitely beef up the columns (what a difference this will make) and paint railings.....lots of other good suggestions above; if you "do it yourself" you will be surprised how much money you can save....and how proud of yourself you will be! Good luck!
0 Likes   July 22, 2012 at 10:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Our first house looked very much like this one except the front porch was the full width of the house. However, changing the porch would certainly exceed the budget you have - as would repainting the whole thing. I would start with making all of the porch railings and posts the same color - white - for now, and doing some landscaping as others suggested in earlier posts. I recommend against shutters as they aren't appropriate for the style of the house, which is bungalow - unless you really love them - it's your house. It is a cute house already so don't stress over the exterior too much. Definitely investigate whether you have any structural issues as others suggested as it would be better to know this ASAP. Our similar house was built in 1910 - I bet yours dates from the 20's? Old houses are so high-maintenance, but I can't help loving them. I hope you enjoy yours.
1 Like   July 22, 2012 at 5:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Distraction, distraction - I would put a flower window basket on each window, top floor included and their vibrant colour will distract the eyes:)) Bold colours that you love, some flaming geranium will cost pennies now.
0 Likes   July 22, 2012 at 6:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ann Smitt
Good eyes, Alexandrina. Many items like haybaskets for window displays and flowers are on second clearance.
0 Likes   July 23, 2012 at 4:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
K.O.H. Construction Corporation
I agree with Dytecture, As a builder I run across this issue may times whereas the gutters are sloped on purpose or sagged over time. Installing a straight line fascia will drastically improve the look. When you reinstall the gutters, run them level, do not slope, the water will run to the downspout and do not run the gutters more than an inch past the roof overhang.
3 Likes   July 23, 2012 at 4:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
To my dearest Houzz community, I nearly fell off my chair laughing when I re-read my original post and budget. I was young, naive, and delusional. Thank you all for not laughing me off the discussion board at the time - and for showing my house some love. I was grateful for all your input and creativity.
I promised to post a picture after the fact. I said all along throughout the process that I'd never do it again, but I am proud of the hard work and end result. At the time, we were planning a wedding and remodeling a new home. We learned more during this renovation than we could have imagined, survived it, and still made it down the aisle together - which was a huge accomplishment - believe me!
Thank you again for being kind to a rookie ;)
...until next time!
3 Likes   October 29, 2014 at 9:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
If you survived all that, a long happy marriage is assured. Kudos!
0 Likes   October 29, 2014 at 10:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Looks beautiful, great job! and congratulations!
0 Likes   October 30, 2014 at 5:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PS - I love the touch of copper, very nice
0 Likes   October 30, 2014 at 5:04AM
Sign Up to comment
Related Discussions
Headboard too heavy! Any ideas for cost-conscious solution?
Hello! I found a vintage headboard in a consignment...
Budget conscious creative genius suggestions...
Just bought our first home and I'm hoping a savvy artistic...
Landscaping suggestions?? Cost conscious!
Sorry I didn't know how to flip the pictures. We are...
Full shed dormer costs?
Hello! We are considering putting in a full shed dormer...
How much does it cost to add a shed dormer for a bedroom and bathroom?
We live in a cute little 2 bedroom 1920's colonial...
More Discussions
Suggestions for a "wow" powder room.
Teeny, tiny powder room. 5x6. Just stripped paper and...
building planters
Long planters on the edge of the driveway. Wondering...
Help balancing living room please.
So we moved into our rental on Sept 1 and I kinda just...
Wainscoting Advice Needed
Our new brownstone has approx. 20 ft of wall until...
Any way to mount wood shutters to this frame/casing?
Hi, I have a couple office windows in a room I've been...
© 2014 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™