Help ugly box! Any ideas on how to fix?
zeitgast
August 17, 2012 in Design Dilemma
House has great views (as long as you are looking out). No symmetry, featureless. Any ideas?
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bwenk
This looks like the front of the house is that correct? If so I would hire a contractor to come out and give u some ideas including some type of porch. If this is a backyard I immediately saw a neat 2level deck system the wound it's way down..maybe making one of the windows a door...
August 17, 2012 at 1:00PM   
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zeitgast
Its actually the side but this is what you see when you drive down the cul de sac. Front to the right, water front to the left.
August 17, 2012 at 1:20PM   
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Dytecture
Hi zeitgast, are you able to attach more views of the house so we can have a better sense of what it looks like from all sides?
August 17, 2012 at 5:04PM   
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imzadi
If it were me I would have a full porch built right across this side of the house with the steps off to the left for the upstairs deck. It would bring the eye down instead of rising all the way to the top of the house.
The lawn looks so bare. It needs some interest to soften the effect of the box of the house. Some low bushes with colourful annuals in a bed or two would do the trick and for very little cost.
The shutter on the upper windows are way too small for the size of the space they are on. Maybe they could be painted a different colour. A dark reddish brown might work and paint the porch railing the same colour. That would break up the pale yellow.
August 17, 2012 at 5:57PM     
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Barbara
Looks like you are in a great location near the lake. I would add a roof over the front door making it very tall; reaching into the area where there is no window. For a quick change think about painting the home a darker color, perhaps a dark grey. This will bring the height of the building down. See Ideabook: A Weekender Welcomes Visitors, shows a tall home painted dark grey.
August 17, 2012 at 8:10PM     
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houssaon
I'd paint the lowest level another color, beef up the trim around the windows and get rid of all of the shutters. Add some native plants to hide the parking area and other plants out in the yard where you can see them from inside. Get rid of the highly pruned evergreen by the foundation.

How about this gorgeous beauty for inspiration:
August 17, 2012 at 9:44PM     
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Scott's Creative Home
Consider ways to add architectural interest. Eyelash roof line, Window gables, a Continuous catwalk that wraps around to the side. Second consider colors to break up the large blank side of the home. Taller Landscaping will help as well.
August 18, 2012 at 5:16AM   
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Vikrant Sharma Homez
Hi I'm with David on this add a few more shots .
August 18, 2012 at 5:27AM   
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zeitgast
Thanks all good suggestions. Here are a few more shots.
August 18, 2012 at 7:59AM   
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AMN
Really, the three other sides look good, so it's just the first one you featured that truly needs help. Is this the side from which you enter the house most?

The first thing I see that could be improved is to feature the door on the ground level. It almost disappears with the white door and white storm door. Some soft, sizable landscaping to the left of the door will help shorten the look of that floor and shorten the tall boxiness overall. A tree added to that side of the house will break up the huge expanse of land + tall wall of house.

I agree with the idea of painting the lowest level something different than the rest of the house. I say go with something just a little bit darker in tone.
August 18, 2012 at 8:09AM   
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Dytecture
Forgot to ask what is your budget? This house is the perfect candidate for a contemporary exterior makeover which isn't too concerned with asymmetric designs.

Lobster Boat Residence

David Vandervort Architects AIA
August 18, 2012 at 8:17AM     
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judianna20
How do your guests come into your house?
August 18, 2012 at 9:09AM   
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zeitgast
Dytecture, we have to do a pretty extensive interior remodel-- kitchen, 3 bathrooms etc. Want to keep the whole project in the $150-200 k range. Goal is to accentuate the views, keep/improve natural light and improve curb appeal.

We aren't big fans of a lot of contemporary design. Prefer the cedar shake, New England cottage style.
August 18, 2012 at 9:18AM   
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zeitgast
AMN and Judyg the bottom floor will be an in law suite so main entry will be mid level on the right side opposite the water front. The ugly side is very visible from the street so therein lies the curb appeal dilemma.
August 18, 2012 at 9:24AM   
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bwenk
I think with all the new views and info of the house I would look at wrapping that porch around to the side that you are wanting to change and I agree with alot on here that there need to be a break in the color to add visual interest. Is it a paintable material...siding? Also add in lots of great landscaping that should help. Also I know black topping is cheaper esp if u have a long driveway but maybe something diff here like a design with concrete driveway or even white rock..that is if the color is changing. Also I agree with the shutters going a "beefing" up the window trim...show us pictures of the finished project,.we wanna see it!
August 18, 2012 at 12:02PM     
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ikwewe
Where is the main entry door from the car parking area?

Oh, never mind, I see you are a two family house with Two main entry doors. OK, I think your entry door on the second floor needs a little extra emphasis to make it stand out more. Otherwise, I agree with the others on the extended deck so the in law suite will have a nice covered area out front.
August 18, 2012 at 1:10PM   
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judianna20



How about this solution? Wrap the deck all the way around the side you don't like. Remove the shutters and paint the trim around the windows to match the doors. You have quite a view. Where are you?
August 18, 2012 at 1:21PM     
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Scott's Creative Home
JudyG has got it. In addition add some berms to your landscaping, terracing that side of the property.
August 18, 2012 at 1:44PM     
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zeitgast
That could work JudyG thanks! Darker color on bottom. Maybe even a stone veneer with cedar shingles up top. Thanks for the pic.

We are in RI
August 18, 2012 at 3:44PM     
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alwaysdesigning
Breaking up the vertical lines will be important. I hope you will invest in a residential architect to give you some options to work with. It will be money very well spent to achieve an amazing new look. A landscape architect would also be a prudent investment. Good luck
August 18, 2012 at 5:56PM     
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Brady Ostergren
I suggest residing it. First floor board and batten with a 2x8 SPF band at the base. 2nd Floor horizontal cedarmill fibercement @ 8.25 with 2x6 SPF at the base. 3rd floor fibercement shingles with another 2x6 SPF at the base. Trim windows with SPF 5/4x4. Paint body grey, with cream on trim around windows and doors. Paint doors red.
August 18, 2012 at 7:19PM     
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L Cole
On the ground level I'd resurface with a cultured ledgestone with a mix of light to medium to dark tones. Then I'd reside the rest of the house with the Hardiepanel vertical siding (board and batten look) light to medium gray, beige or light green color. Trim out your windows with extra wide trim painted off white and change out your shutters to board and batten painted a chocolate brown. Add a 2 x 10 (white) to divide the second and third levels. If you didn't want to do all vertical for the second and third levels you could do horizontal on the second and the top vertical! It would be really interesting. This picture is a little bit of an example of what I'm meaning. Good Luck!
August 18, 2012 at 9:49PM   
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August 18, 2012 at 11:11PM   
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miminieves
...definitely paint the bottom a daker color ! least expensive solution will make a huge difference! It will no longer have that tall blank look to it. This will improve all 4 views of the house!
Adding awnings over the windows will aloso add interest that won't bust the budget ! =)
August 19, 2012 at 5:23AM   
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sacapuntaslapioz
zeitgast, too bad you are not into contemporary, because as Dytecture said, this is a prime example of a house screaming to be a contemporary. Besides, just replacing portions of the siding would be much cheaper than building porches, changes rooflines, etc, to make it into a cottage-like house. That said, the shutters should go, too small make the house look like a tall guy with tiny eyes. I would use a stone veneer in the lower level, and then some combination of cedar or wood siding and stucco. Also consider adding a fence to the side of the parking area, creating a garden area for the in-law suite. This would help create a visual balance. I would add a pergola to that side as well to balance the height. good luck it is gorgeous setting.
August 19, 2012 at 5:38AM     
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sbutler10
Love JudyG's idea of the wrap around deck- and if the second floor is the main floor as it seems, you could maybe make one of the windows a door. Also, you might work with a local nursery, taking in these same photos and ask for a planting plan to help you soften the exterior. I am envisioning a maple off-center (fast growing, good color) plus some ornamental and native grasses, bushes and perennials for low maintenance. Perhaps even some landscape boulders to help offset that blacktop. But they can come up with a plan that suits any style you like. Sometimes they charge a nominal fee sometimes they don't if you source the plants from them. But I don't know too many gardners who wouldn't give you some free advice as well. :-) A little landscaping will go along way.
August 19, 2012 at 7:57AM     
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Nan
Agree with JudyG....connect front porch to back porch area but not too wide. it will shade the lower part of the house a bit then, but you can add fun landscaping over time to really seat the bottom level. (you may not have to paint/stone or reside once the connection is made and put your money elsewhere). Maybe extend a small pergola type roof over the entry door just on the end for a little more dimension. By the way, what an interesting property and house- love it... Fun!!!
August 19, 2012 at 9:47AM   
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Nan
Oh, and yes, agree with taking the shutters down....maybe down the road you can do a wider white trim around the windows. Also, maybe paint the dark hand railing white too?
August 19, 2012 at 9:50AM   
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lyvia
Porch or wrap around deck would be great. But if you want something out of the box, and cheaper, to consider...
You could put a tall trellis up, that is five or ten feet away from the building, attaches at the top, whatever shape you want, and shades the side. Make the top pointed like a gable. Hops would grow that tall, give shade all summer, and be cut to the ground in the fall. I would make it about half the length of the house, and place it according to the most valuable window views. You could really save on a/c.
August 19, 2012 at 10:59AM   
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Grace Pugh
You already have a gorgeous property. With careful and thoughtful planning, you can transform this property into a spectacular home. Here's what we did to our boxy century home by adding stone veneer and stucco, front porch and landscaping to soften it out (before and after picture).
August 19, 2012 at 11:07AM     
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William Hill Cawood, Architect
very quick design idea sketch-think of a charleston house, with good sized brick piers below with more delicate columns above, and a wide-6-8' stair along the side, with a generous landing with brick peirs with nice lights to signal the entry point.
i could see removable screens and fans on the upper porch.
August 19, 2012 at 11:22AM     
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larryhinkle
yes... I'm never a fan of shutters but in this case the dark shutters in various sizes accentuates the jumble of window sizes and placement. This adds to the symmetry issue IMO with no other details to take focus
August 19, 2012 at 12:36PM     
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Elyn's Library
I don't know if additional and/or covered parking is an issue, but William Hill Cawood's gorgeous design could easily be adjusted a bit to make the lower level wide enough for covered parking, if needed. Agree with several others who suggested 1. living in it for a bit to figure out how and where your living/traffic patterns are, and then 2. working with an architect, at least for a consultation and some preliminary ideas would be worth the investment. Architect will also alert you to any zoning / code / building restrictions you need to work within.
August 19, 2012 at 12:48PM     
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zeitgast
Gorgeous transformation Candecorate. Thanks for the inspiration!
August 19, 2012 at 1:57PM   
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jukesgrrl
Your budget is tight since you need both landscape and exterior design. How about calling the Rhode Island School of Design and hiring a soon-to-be graduate for an internship at your house? You'd get plans and they'd get something real for their portfolio. In a lifetime of remodeling, I got my most creative job ever from an artist I hired through a gallery. The gallery owner told me he did construction work on her house to supplement his meager income as a fine artist. He tore my kitchen out and built an new one using the space in amazing ways for less than what I would have paid a basic carpenter.
August 19, 2012 at 4:30PM     
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William Hill Cawood, Architect
Dont use a recent architecture/design school graduate to work on your house--too often they mean well but they just don't have the knowledge required to complete the job, and you can end up in a real mess. and it not really anyones fault, its just the experience is not their and design school does not prepare a young intern for the complexities of remodeling work.
for example, by the water you may have wetlands or watershed protection guidelines that need to be carefully checked or you will spend alot of time and money making designs that would never be aproved. or the intern would not know to hire the appropriate engineers or consultants. the best thing for that intern is to build their portfolio with an quality designer or architect, and wait a few years before entering into a solo or moonlighting career. take it from someone who has cleaned up after these attempts.
August 19, 2012 at 5:14PM     
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zeitgast
We have time to do the landscaping later. My Father-in-Law is actually very good-- maybe just needs some inspiration/consultation.

Have to balance the interior and exterior renovation budget.
August 19, 2012 at 6:54PM   
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zeitgast
How about this? Darker bottom (as suggested), new shingles, move a window or two and a simple pergola. Maybe still able to afford the dormer and landscaping...
August 19, 2012 at 9:33PM     
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lucindalane
Just looking at your house with my amateur eyes, the things that stand out, to me, are that big gap on the upper side of the house-which you asked for opinions on-and the stairs. If you could fit it in your budget-or perhaps just down the line sometime-I would try to figure out some way to have fewer stairs on the front. You have a nice property there, so I wish you success in getting it to look the way you have envisioned it.
August 19, 2012 at 11:36PM   
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lionnessone
Definitly in need of; ''Landscaping, Landscaping, Landscaping''
August 20, 2012 at 6:33AM     
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racelander
I like the idea of painting the lower level a darker color, then add the full length deck or a smaller one in matching colors to the front and back enterances. Enlarge the small upper window. and spruce up the yard with shrubs.
August 20, 2012 at 9:23AM   
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mschele64
If you do the porch along the open side, go ahead and wrap it around the front too, if it's in your budget. It doesn't even have to be as deep, but you will be glad to have that access from the front. A porch can make a huge difference in cooling costs, too. Ours runs along the east (front) and south sides. It provides enough shade to keep the downstairs quite cool in the summer, but since it's only six feet deep, the winter sun is able to shine in and warm us up a bit. Can't wait to see what you do!
August 21, 2012 at 8:08AM   
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DMH DESIGN
I think this represents many challenges beyond what it looks like from the street. I don't know where you live, but redoing a kitchen and 3 baths, depending on your tastes and level of finish, could easily exhaust a good portion of your budget. My thought is that I am not wild about 2 things I see, which are that you don't have a garage connected to the house, and that you have to traverse a set of uncovered stairs, from the outside, to get to the main level of the home. I would suggest that these be addressed as part of the initial work, and worry about the kitchen and/or all the baths in future phases. Whether you have a young family or empty nesters, the convenience of being able to park under cover and enter the home immediately is a great convenience and selling point. That being said, assuming your budget is what it is, I would suggest using the upper floor line of the house as a point to change color and exterior materials on all sides. Add a 'belly band' with a 2X3 chamfered flashed cap over to delineate the transition btw. these materials. Remove all shutters and the 'faux' roof overhang at the first floor line. Use shingles for the bottom two floors and leave the siding for the top floor, using a two tone beige scheme with a darker base, white band and lighter top. Trim windows to match Bungalow designs. Add a small rectangular window or vent with trim at both gable ends. As for the entry, add a pediment detail with a roof to provide some cover, and to identify it as the main entry. Refer to "A Visual Dictionary of Architecture" for guidance. Good luck with your project.
August 21, 2012 at 5:39PM   
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Becky Drury
If all the windows could be made to at least be the same height it would help some. If it can be afforded, extend the deck around from the side across the entire length of the house and Pergola roof or porch roof over the middle row of windows would distract from the boxiness of it.
August 21, 2012 at 6:55PM   
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Joseph I. Mycyk Architects, Inc.
I like Houssan's inspiration photo. It is something no to shocking to shoot for. But I have to say, I agree with Dytecture's bold suggestion of total contemporary makeover. Total bold excitement.

Either direction will be great to view from all perspectives.
August 21, 2012 at 7:04PM   
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lovebalancedlife
I actualy like the shape of your home. I agree with Dytectur. There is a lot you can do with It. I would just change the windows for more modern look and add colors. Posiabley just paint the sidings. Dytecture in the picture he sent you gave some very good ideas for modernize the look of ths home.
August 25, 2012 at 10:38AM     
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mitzimkthinks
It's like a blank canvas! I like it. I'd do wraparound porches and balconies. Plenty of sliding glass doors and either awnings or eyebrow windows.
September 1, 2012 at 10:30AM   
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Roni OConnell
You have many great suggestions here, but to add my own. I would continue the second floor poarch to wrap around and add stacked stone veneer beneath on the first floor level. This would add a rich depth and beauty to your lovely traditional home. Check out El Dorado Stone for gorgeous stone ideas that are native to your area.
September 1, 2012 at 11:50AM   
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zeitgast
Thanks everyone for the help. I learned how to use Google Sketchup (sort of) to incorporate some of the ideas. Looks better-- thoughts?
September 4, 2012 at 10:41PM     
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William Hill Cawood, Architect
I would change the lower posts on the porch to masonry piers-thin posts, while structurally able to handle the load, do not visually handle the weight of the second floor level porch, especially with a closed railing. I would also delete the turn in the stairs, and look at a straight run-its going to be tough to have the stair run under the porch from both a technical and visual standpoint. otherwise, really nice start to a sketchup model-i use it as a start to all of my projects. its one of the best for quick studies of form.
September 4, 2012 at 11:53PM   
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DMH DESIGN
Zeitgast: The model itself isn't bad. The exterior is similar to the ideas that Mr. Carwood offered earlier. Given the scope of work you spoke of initially, it would seem that this level of exterior renovation would be a project unto itself? To do this level of exterior renovation, in addition to two bathrooms and a kitchen, I believe that your budget will either have to increase or your scope of work will have to be done in phases. This is one of the reasons why I suggested that the exterior work be primarily a reside and some trim work. Spend most of your money, if the budget is not flexible, on the interior work If you do plan to go to this level of exterior renovation, I would, as I believe Mr. Carwood suggested, hire an architect with substantial experience in the development and planning of homes on waterfront parcels in your area. As this illustrates an expansion of the existing building envelope, it is important to make certain that this intended work complies with all building and zoning codes in your area, before you become married to the idea that you can legally build this design. If there are any governing CCRs, if your lot is part of a development, you should review them to see if you need to get these ideas approved by your home owner's assn. I would also recommend that you engage the services of a professional land surveyor first, in order to make certain that any of your intended work is not impacted by setbacks, easements, sewer or septic systems or buried underground utilities. Nothing is more frustrating (and costly) than when a person engages in home improvements that they are not permitted to do.
September 5, 2012 at 10:00AM   
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zeitgast
Hi all its been awhile since I last posted but we took DMH DESIGN's sage advice and hired an architect who has extensive experience in costal zones. Indeed we had some restrictions that we are working through. Attached is the first draft of the concepts.

The tall stair case on the front was really a problem so we asked for that to be addressed and this solution moves the staircase inside which also allowed us to eliminate the down going stairs to the first level (in-law apt) creating more interior space on both floors.

Gambrel roof line and wrapped deck help to break up the height.

Sliders open the view up.

Deck couldn't extend as far as we wanted due to set back rules.

Would be interested in your thoughts/comments.
November 21, 2012 at 9:02PM     
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houssaon
Love the gambrel roof that extents aound to the front. It adds interest and seems to make it less tall and boxy. I like the change in materials for the lower level. I like that you move the steps to the side and the way the back corner has been extended with an entrance on that level with a shed roof. I also like the new windows without the shutters. It really shows what a good architect can imagine.
November 22, 2012 at 12:31AM   
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greenthumb2
thanks for the tip on Google Sketch. didn't know is existed. Great job finding and experimenting!
I think you may want to look at incorporating your design with his more. Although I understand the idea of the gabrel, your home looks pretty good without it. Smart idea to hire an architect. After all, that is their specialty. :=)
November 22, 2012 at 2:35AM   
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ikwewe
The architect's design is great! I was trying to think how to make the entry more inviting and more clear where guests are supposed to come in, never thought of eliminating the second level entry altogether and bringing it all inside. Having a shared first floor entry for both units makes so much more sense. Unloading luggage, groceries and more will be so much easier this way. You might still have to go upstairs but it will be out of the weather. Next step, a dumbwaiter!
November 22, 2012 at 7:50AM     
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pollyannagal
I really like what your Architect suggests - well worth hiring them. I still think the front entrance could be made a bit more impressive to suit the scale of the house as it looks a bit like a side door to me, especially with the large stairs near it. I would use part glazed walls at the side of the entry porch rather than just posts so that it is more substantial looking. Would a larger door with side lights work with the internal layout?
November 22, 2012 at 8:42AM     
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zeitgast
Thanks Pollyannagal

I agree the front entrance needs better definition. A door change could help as will sconces and perhaps flower boxes. Not sure I understand what you mean by glazed wall-- would you mind elaborating? Thx and Happy Turkeyday
November 22, 2012 at 9:19AM   
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pollyannagal
By 'part glazed wall' I meant a wall that is solid at the bottom but a window at the top so that the porch is more enclosed but you can still see out to the sides. Lets in more light than having solid walls and I think is more welcoming. If you want I can try and post a picture.
November 22, 2012 at 10:01AM   
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Roni OConnell
This started 3 months ago... Haven't they made a decision yet?
November 24, 2012 at 9:02PM   
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pollyannagal
Roni - the initial discussions were 3 months ago, they then went and hired an architect to draw up plans and have come back to show the suggestions which is great for those who have been involved to see the progress. If you've ever worked with an architect on a big remodel you would have to agree that 3 months is pretty good going!
November 25, 2012 at 3:10AM   
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Roni OConnell
Thanks for the update.
November 25, 2012 at 10:19AM   
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Elyn's Library
Whether it’s something simple or elaborate, “privacy” glass or stained glass – Your main entry, especially since it’s downstairs and shaded, would, I think be nice with some kind of glass door which would help let in light. Combined with perhaps a large planter to the left of the door and maybe a simple outdoor bench under the windows, all would lead your visitor’s eye to your front entrance.
[houzz=Kuma Lodge]
[houzz=Light & Airy Foyer]
[houzz=mid-century [re]modern]
[houzz=Entry Door]
[houzz=Craftsman Style]
[houzz=Dwellings]
November 25, 2012 at 7:24PM     
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zeitgast
Hi All,

While we await our upcoming variance hearing we began the selection process for our GC. The one we really liked came up with a suggestion to add an upper balcony as shown in the attached.

This would obviously provide an amazing view from the master and guest bedrooms that are on the top floor and would provide full cover for the deck below. The downsides would be adding more poles to the deck thus impacting the views from the mid (main) level of the house and of course the added cost.

The family is at a split decision on the asthetics (budget tbd but likely ~$12k extra) but we thought it would be fun to throw this open to a poll since you have all been so helpful along the way. So the question is... is this worth the extra investment from an enjoyment and ROI on ultimate resale persepctive?
December 13, 2012 at 12:32PM   
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ikwewe
I love it with the deck. It really breaks up that big facade and makes the entry look more welcoming.
December 13, 2012 at 1:05PM   
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pollyannagal
We have a large balcony off our master and guest bedrooms with ocean views. It is wonderful, on a nice day (less fun when wet and windy) and everyone who comes to stay loves it. From the point of view of added enjoyment of your property and added 'wow factor' (which translates into resale value) I would say go for it, but it can make it hard to get your guests to leave!

I don't think that the views from downstairs would be compromised by the additional support posts, but have you looked at the impact on the view from the bedroom of the solid enclosure? When you are across the room e.g. sitting up in bed and admiring the view, the balcony wall will appear higher than the window cill in the room so will you end up looking at the clouds and not much else? To see what I mean look at the drawings of the views from your downstairs room - the balcony rail appears higher due to perspective. If you don't have drawings of this ask your architect, or even try to mock something up yourself so you can visualise the impact. Maybe an open railing would be better upstairs too and it would look lighter than the solid wall? Either way, you will want a nice high bed so you can really appreciate the views.

It might seem like a lot extra to find along with everything else you are doing, but in the long run you will be glad you did it and adding it later would cost much more.
December 13, 2012 at 2:03PM     
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zeitgast
Good point about the closed deck and high bed thx Pollyannagal.

Curious if you get much use out of the deck. We
are concerned that we wouldn't really use the upper deck so much and the additional pole would compromise our use of the main deck. On the flip side though the full cover would allow us to use the main deck on a rainy day.
December 13, 2012 at 2:22PM   
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Elyn's Library
LOVE the revision with the extra deck - as long as you open up the front of that top deck like pollyannagal suggested so that the lucky resident of that bedroom can enjoy the views. Once it is in place you will find that it is a perfect spot to savour that first cup of coffee in the morning, or to enjoy a glass of wine in the evening - making that bedroom a nice, private sanctuary when you have a houseful of guests..

I think once you get used to them, those extra support posts will "disappear" the more you appreciate being able to use that main floor deck more often in more kinds of weather. You will also find that the cover will help neutralize window covering problems for those front windows when it comes time to decorate that new room.

IMO, well worth the investment.

Good luck on the variance hearing.

And thank you for keeping us posted on your progress. It is fun and very helpful to see how long some of these processes take - beginning with the initial "Help!......" questions through assorted suggestions, to ideas on paper and I'm looking forward to hearing (and seeing) the next steps as they unfold. Looking forward to progress reports - and more questions - in the months to come.
December 13, 2012 at 3:41PM     
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victorianbungalowranch
I would look into which way the prevailing winds blow and consider installing some sort of screening to block the wind from that direction==possibly even glass. I live up North and that is a big consideration esp. if you live near water. We once had a terrace that was enclosed on three sides and loved that we could enjoy it for much of the year, even when it was chilly.
December 13, 2012 at 4:48PM   
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pollyannagal
Hi again. We use the bedroom balcony quite a bit (weather permitting - we are in England). As Elyn says, a bedroom balcony a lovely place for a quiet moment and having an outside space off the bedroom is a little treat that makes us feel like we're always on holiday. Even when we aren't out on the balcony it increases the apparent space of the bedrooms and makes them feel more luxurious. The main deck gets used more as its used by the whole family and being able to sit out on the downstairs deck in the rain is great fun!

Another point about the solid enclosure, we found that it didn't really provide much additional shelter but did cause problems with the balcony floor getting slimy as parts weren't getting much sun or air flow. Changing to an open railing has not only opened the view but made maintenance easier.

If you paint the posts a soft grey/blue they will blend into the lake and sky and you will just look right past them.
December 14, 2012 at 12:40AM   
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pollyannagal
A final thought ... adding a balcony upstairs will reduce the amount of light in the downstairs rooms, but with the generous windows you have I don't imagine that will be much of a problem, and in summer it could be an advantage in cutting glare depending on the aspect of your house.
December 14, 2012 at 1:09AM   
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Elyn's Library
A suggestion - if you do go with the extended balcony, suggest you plan to paint the underside of that upstairs balcony white or very light blue. It will reflect a surprising amount of light and again, make the outdoor space more inviting while not making the adjoining indoor space feel like a cave.
December 14, 2012 at 11:32AM   
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zeitgast
Good idea Elyn. Was thinking of white beadboard up there.

I tried making the deck open as pollyannagal suggested. I'm no architect but I think I understand why she was trying to keep the consistent roof line.
December 14, 2012 at 3:51PM     
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cyn222
Love the wrap around deck look! However if you just add some plants that do not block your view it will help soften the structure and improve your yard space. Just a quick idea.
December 15, 2012 at 6:25PM     
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karlasgo
It all depend how much money you are willing to spend. If you have a small budget you can decorate the windows to make them more atractive
December 15, 2012 at 7:31PM   
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Elyn's Library
zeitgast - Can you check with your architect to see if it would be structurally and/or architecturally sound to extend that roofline to be the sides of the top deck with the safety rail, while still leaving the front open?
December 15, 2012 at 7:51PM   
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mollythecollie
Thank you for keeping us updated. I like what the architect and GC are coming up with. Good luck on the variance meeting. I like having the upper deck.
December 15, 2012 at 8:30PM   
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zeitgast
Thanks Elyn L we were thinking the same thing. The next step is sending out the bids. Would love to do lots of things but for the budget. We have an issue with lot coverage (% of lot covered by building structures) but the building inspector said that we can replace the asphalt driveway with a permeable one and be okay. Also found out that the HVAC situation is going to cost more too as are the hurricane strength windows. Anxious to get the quotes back!
December 15, 2012 at 8:44PM     
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zeitgast
Glad this is useful/interesting molliethecollie. We are learning so much during this process. It's actually fun and exciting but then again we haven't gotten to the hard part yet. Trying to get this done in time for summer vacation-- it's going to take awhile though so believe or not that is not a sure thing.
December 15, 2012 at 8:47PM   
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decoenthusiaste
Looks like maybe you decided not to go as elaborate with all the rooflines as previously planned. That always makes for lots of extra expense. It's looking good. Is it a permanent residence or a vacation place? You mentioned getting it done by summer vacation time. Sounded like you planned to vacation there, or maybe you meant you'll be ready for a vacation from it by then! lol
March 12, 2014 at 3:02PM   
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