Front yard landscaping and whatever else will make this look great
christofu
September 22, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Hey guys, Bought this house a couple of years ago and not sure what to do with the landscaping or how to make the house look really wow. Any ideas? Thanks!
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christofu
Oh, I should say this is zone 8 - Rock Hill SC
September 22, 2012 at 12:41PM   
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christofu
I didn't! Haha. This was when I first moved in. I use pruners. Here is another picture without shadows.
September 22, 2012 at 12:50PM   
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christofu
Thanks for all your help, guys. The brown looking grass is that the lawn is a mixture of fescue and bermuda grass and the bermuda had went dormant. Think this was a November picture. You may be right about getting a landscape designer. Probably a lot cheaper to do it right the first time.
September 22, 2012 at 5:02PM     
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justbuilding
Lovely house. I would transplant the old bushes elsewhere and start bringing home bushes from a local nursery that allows returns. Often nurseries will do a landscape plan for a small fee that can then be applied as a credit towards future purchases. It helps to bring home a bunch of bushes and place them in front of the house to see what works. At a minimum bring along a picture of your house with an idea of your sun exposure. best of luck!
October 18, 2012 at 8:26PM     
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decoenthusiaste
Sweet cottage. Looks like a Spring pic to me with the blooming trees. Yes, the clumpy bushes need to go and I wouldn't bring home another set of clumps. Try a dwarf Japanese maple under the window to the right. Plant the entire area between the house and present walk with bulbs and azaleas to bloom next spring. This is the season to plant them, and keep the planting scheme loose, not soldier rigid like the clumps were (at least five dwarf azaleas.)Remove the "imitation" shutters; your windows already seem to be nicely framed out, so tiny shutters aren't needed. The door is nice but needs some beefy trim to set it off. Might search the site for ideas on rounded doors like yours. Replace the wrought iron railings with something more substantial, painted and in the cottage style. How about a curving stone walkway? If you'd like to paint, consider a light grey with yellow door and white trim, latte or cappucino beige with light teal, and creamy trim.
October 19, 2012 at 7:41AM     
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vineyardflute
I agree, the front bushes are too shaped and uninteresting. A beautiful Ornamental Cherry tree, or other small flowering tree would give colo and not add bulk or hide the house. I also like yellow, so groupings of daffodils and stella d'oro daylilies would keep the color blooming from early spring thru summer.
October 19, 2012 at 8:10AM     
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Judy M
Your foundation is low to the ground so there is not a lot of foundation to hide. This means lower growing foundation plants to my mind. Between the foundation and sidewalk eliminate the grass and fill with plants, slightly higher in back and lower in front, but still vary the height of plants in each row. Think of fluffy grasses about 18 inches high, peonies, daffodils. Mix the plants so they each bloom at different times for more continous color. Along the sidewalk the layer could be low creeping phylox or ajuga or plant annuals each year in the low front row and perennials in second and third row. If those plants are not your zone, ask a nursery for similiar plants for your planting zone.

Then add similiar plants on the left side of the house along the foundation.

You already seem to have blooming trees, so not sure you need more.

I would consider a different paint color for house. Check out the Benjamin Moore web site for exterior colors and you can upload photo of your house and play with color choices on the web site.

and I would defintely change your shutter style. This exterior could be transformed with a few small changes. It is very charming.
October 19, 2012 at 8:24AM   
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PRO
Ross NW Watergardens
I agree with Judy about removing that bit of grass. That bed should be a focal point. I would also plant the beds under the trees with grasses. Look for colors that pop- yellows especially. You have enough green!
October 19, 2012 at 8:46AM   
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PRO
Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design
Got a minute? - watch this video - it's fun and informative!
October 19, 2012 at 9:11AM   
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victorianbungalowranch
You have a pretty little storybook cottage--all white/gray is really not bringing out the nice architectural details and the arched door and the tiny little lattice window and the decorative "shutters."--is it about 1940-1950 vintage?

Normally I don't like fake shutters but these are appropiate for the the style and vintage of the house, and they are obviously not trying to look real. If I took any off, it would be the ones on the far left--looks a bit unbalanced and cramped there. If you removed those shutters and planted some nice flowering shrubbery there, it would emphasize the building's asymmetry.

I think some paint would really enhance it--didn't even notice the chimney at first.I think you could go a number of ways with this house, depending on the siding and it looks like you have replacement windows. A darker body color would be nice, and it could even go pastel, but if you want to keep it white, some color on the shutters and the window frames or case would really help bring it out. Even darker gray would help, and the black door seems a bit stark. Brick red, colbalt blue, various kinds of green, teal would all look nice, and perhaps a kickplate, and a curtain in the door window would help bring it out if you keep it dark. If you painted the door, you could even go with some strap hinges, but that might be overkill

The fancier you get on some of the other elements, and if you add window boxes, then taking off the shutters would be a good idea before it gets to cluttered.

I'm not sure about beefier trim with the arch and the brick--could be difficult to install properly. I do think some nice hammered iron house numbers, a brighter or more decorative mailbox (perhaps in metal) moved over a little bit, and a nice chair or even tiny colorful bistro set would help highlight the front stoop. To mee the little roof over the door looks like it is missing a bracket to hold it up--it is probably fine structurally, but a chunky scroll or angle bracket , or perhaps rustic wrought iron (not too fancy) would help set it off. .It was quite common for houses of this type to have an initial or something decorative attached to the chimney. Some lighting might be nice too.

The wrought iron railings are a bit skimpy and some sturdier looking cornerposts would be nice. Sometime down the road it would be nice to put in new ones--possbily even with a bit of decorative detail (nothing too fancy or with a lot of scrolls though). Painting the porch stoop (but not the foundation) and steps would be a possibility and help add a little dimension. Reddish brown (Tile red) is a traditional choice, and even a darker grey/putty might be OK. The color scheme is very cool, and adding a bit of subtlely warmer color to the door or ealsewhere could help set it off.

There are a lot of online paint programs you can use to try different ideas out--Sherwin Williams has a number of preloaded house styles that might approximate yours to start--otherwise you load your own photo and create masks, which can be a little tricky. Once the hard part is done, it is fun to play around with.

A cottagy garden would really set off the architecture, and some sort of bench might be nice. You could even add some window boxes or hang some from the railings. The mulch looks really thick around the trees, and that could encourage roots to grow above ground and eventually cause the tree to die, especially in a drought. Ask when the landscaper comes.

Here is a source for hardware and house numbers that could work: If you do a search for "Tudor Revival" you can find more. (Storybook Cottage is sort of a smaller and cuter version of Tudor Revival--yours could be considered a variant on the Cape Cod with Tudor, not Colonial, detailing), . Some of the rustic Cratfsman/Arts and Crafts type stuff could work too.
http://www.houseofantiquehardware.com/Romantic-Entry-Accessories

Acorn Manufacturing address numbers are similar would be perfect too and cost less than $4.00 each from http://www.ventingdirect.com/ They make hinges, door knockers, and other hardware too.

This was a really popular style but I'm having trouble finding good pictures for landscaping and paint ideas. Here is a link of a house somewhat like yours with suggestions for cottagey style gardening and fences. It might give you some ideas. Or you could try posting there for specific landscape help.

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/decor/msg1016022627737.html
October 19, 2012 at 12:41PM   
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christofu
Wow!! Thanks a ton for all of the great suggestions! You're right, that picture was actually from early spring 2011. I have uploaded a current picture. I wanted some gardenias near the front entrance but didn't want something huge like August Beauty and not too taken with Radicans. There is a new introduction called Crown Jewel which stays about 2.5-3' high and a little wider in width. I planted those without a full plan developed. I hate when I do that!! Anyway, I think those huge hollies at the front are probably quite old. I definitely want to take out the one on the far right when looking at the photo and put something like a Winterberry or something there. The shrub near the front door on the left is a Reeves Spirea. That is definitely going to be too big, I think, for that area. There are stainless steel numbers on the front door
October 19, 2012 at 3:58PM   
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christofu
I do have some Stella D'Oro daylilies I can move to the front and also some Autumn Joy Sedum. I should add, I am unemployed so have a lot of time but not all that much money. Great suggestions on the window boxes and railing. It is old and rusty. Maybe I will hit Angie's List and see what kind of price I can get on some new railing. It is a 1950 something house, I believe.
October 19, 2012 at 4:02PM   
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christofu
I love the idea of turning that grassy area between the house and the sidewalk into an azalea and bulb bed. I am partial to purple and I just saw some encore something Lilac at Lowe's today. Not sure what it is like to dig up that thick grass. Think it is Bermuda? Plush, like a carpet.

What an eye you have Victoria! There are a couple of wooden brackets above the door but I see they are pretty invisible. Probably could use some chunking up! Great suggestions!! I love this site.
October 19, 2012 at 4:09PM   
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Judy M
Traditional Landscape design by Portland Landscape Architect Samuel H. Williamson Associates

You might find a local garden club that has plant sales. You can get a lot of bargains and in the fall many nurseries discount the plants to get rid of them before winter.
I included a photo of the "look" i was talking about. A mix of a few small shrubs for winter interest with some perennials for color. The stellas and the sedum are perfect perennials to use.

Check on this site searching for "foundation plants" under traditional landscape section for more photos like this one.
October 19, 2012 at 4:32PM   
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Judy M
Traditional Landscape design by Portland Landscape Architect Samuel H. Williamson Associates
October 19, 2012 at 4:33PM   
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Judy M
sorry tried to get the link up, won't work
October 19, 2012 at 4:33PM   
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victorianbungalowranch
I thought the shine was a window and the door is plainer than what I was expecting. It looks like layers of paint have obscured the plank style--you could try sanding and stripping it down and repainting some accent color to bring it out more. I would definately go for the black rather than the stainless street numbers and move then onto the brick, perhaps arranged on a diagonal. And definately move over the mailbox if you can to get it off of the brick surround.

Too bad the grey paint robbed the brick of all dimension. I'm not sure how this will work, but you could thin down some burnt umber (sort of a dark brown grey color) maybe with a dash of dark grey and paint and quickly wash over the brick and wipe off on the brick face to bring out the mortar joints. It could look nice on the whole chimney, but mask off the arch around the doors and try that first. It should be subtle. If you like that, you could do the whole thing. Be very careful to work quickly with a big carwashing sponge and lots of rags and mop up any drips immediately--works best with two people, especially on something big. I used to paint sets in the theater, and it amazing what antiquing can do. If you overdo it in a spot, you could dab over with some of the original grey when it is dry.

That porch light is all wrong--you can get a motion sensor flush mount Craftman type light for around $50--I was considering one myself at one point--and much cheaper regular ones for about $10-$20.

The little brackets could be beefed up by stacking some cedar wood or composite underneath the existing ones to beef them up. Make then slightly narrower than the existing bracket and prime and paint all around to help keep the water from rotting them out. Create a curve profile to echo the one above--concave or conves would work. Perhaps draw the profile first before cutting. The top panel and J-channel of the vinyl could be adjusted.

Since your budget is limited, Give Freecycle and Craig's List a try. People are giving away plants all the time, and they probably have some sort of plant swap with the local garden club, esp. in the spring. Fall is the best time to buy cheap from a nursery, and since you are pretty far South, they will probably do just fine. You can also get free gravel and other goodies if you are willing to do the digging!

I would be careful with iron railings--usually they are shot when people get rid of them. Maybe you could get some from a new house or a stairwell redo. I find that Rustoleum consolidator (which turns rust black) works pretty well, and with some bondo or putty, you can eek out a few more years from them.

It sounds like you really know your plants, and you have all winter to come up with a plan. Measure out the yard and draw in what's there and what you are taking out. and use the old garden hose trick to plan out new beds. I created some berms out front with bushes and plants to give my yard some dimension (got free compost from the county, layered with topsoil) with some fieldstone and it turned out great.
October 19, 2012 at 5:13PM     
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christofu
I am just knocked out! Such great advice. I think after looking at it for a couple of years, I don't see the potential. It does need some pop. Definitely going to work on the brackets and pull that grass out of the bed between the house and sidewalk. I may be a little scared to do the brick wash, but, hey, a couple glasses of wine and I might be out there in force!! Thanks so much!
October 19, 2012 at 6:26PM     
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christofu
I could do without the sensor lighting on the front porch pendant. What would you suggest as a pendant? I looked at a bunch of Craftsman style but not sure that is what I should go with. I am so terrible at this! Help!
October 19, 2012 at 6:45PM   
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victorianbungalowranch
Get some a friend and not too much wine!

Just try a small area if you don't like it, wipe it off immediately with lots of water and a little scrub brush, or try another layer, or paint back over it. Alternatively, the arch could be painted white, or washed with white. I dislike masonry painted in contrasting colors, but if you do, neatness counts.

Note the iron ornament on both chimneys I posted, and the picturesque change in cladding on the two-story. If the washing is randomly slighltly different, it will be OK, and you can always wash a bit of the base color to lighten it up. Doing the whole chimney would be a workout--work your way up from the bottom and make sure you wash first.

For lighting ,something bonze or wroght iron like would work, kind of chunky, but fairly simple. These would work: http://www.rejuvenation.com/catalog/categories/lighting/old-world My vote is for the old English Latern Pendant.

Here's a cheaper version: http://www.signaturehardware.com/product12323 but I think it is too big. http://www.lightinguniverse.com/outdoor-pendants/nuvo-lighting-60-489-briton-hanging-outdoor-pendant_g488665.html?isku=4524564&linkloc=cataLogProductItemsImage is only 9 1/2 inches high and probably would be better. $39

I prefer a frosted finish and a small finale. Perhaps you could frost it yourself with some etching cream from Michael's.

Traditionally, these lights were rather small. With your cool color scheme, I would stay away from the mica lamps. The taste these days is for larger lanps, which wouldn't fit. They are typically 9" x 15" which is roughly twice the traditional size. The latern should be either tapered or round--not blocky or square like a lot of the Arts and Crafts types, although a squarish caged type might work. If it looks like something the town crier could have carried with one little candle in it, that's about right.

You could go to Home Depot--they have a nice selection and get a hanging latern type that is kinda of heavy, with a hammered finish if possible, sort of handwrought if possible. Anyway you can get some and hold them up to see if they fit--if not take them back. If you find one you like, but it looks a bit flat, you could lightly scrape the edges to give it a bit of wear. Anyway, you can find the right size

But you don't have a lot of hanging space, so flush mount might be best.
http://www.signaturehardware.com/product5453?utm_medium=shoppingengine&utm_source=google&utm_content=Lighting-Exterior%20Lights&adtype=pla&gclid=CJjb-PaskLMCFVBgMgodfVsARw ---$71 in black

These would be nice: Acorn ceiling mount like http://www.rejuvenation.com/catalog/products/broadleaf?category_id=5074726de694aa7b8c000031 $290! or http://www.rejuvenation.com/catalog/products/sabin?category_id=5074726de694aa7b8c000031 $120

The original was probably something simple like this: http://www.homedepot.com/Lighting-Fans-Outdoor-Lighting-Outdoor-Ceiling-Lighting/h_d1/N-5yc1vZbvntZ1z1163s/R-100467683/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&storeId=10051 $25

With the sort of 40's-50's vibe, perhaps the laste option would be best. If you go more Tudor, keep it to the more simple styles.
October 20, 2012 at 1:46PM   
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christofu
I love all of these, especially the first and last. The last, I know, is a little too steep for me right now but it is lovely.
October 22, 2012 at 5:42PM   
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christofu
Would this be too busy or wrong style if I painted it black? Thought it would mimic the lattice window in the house but maybe not a good idea. It is 11" H by 7" w
October 22, 2012 at 6:13PM   
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Judy M
Of the four lights in photo above this latest one, I prefer the lower left, IF you have the head room for a pendant. You can shorten the chain to just a link or two. This last light is a bit fussy for my taste. I would paint the door and let that make the statement, in addition to some landscape changes.
October 22, 2012 at 6:18PM   
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Judy M
http://www.houzz.com/portland-williamson/p/8

This was the image I had in mind for the foundation bed between house and sidewalk.
October 22, 2012 at 6:28PM   
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christofu
Thanks, Judy. Yeah, would have liked it more if it had thinner lattice or less of it. The perennial bed is lovely! I think I am pulling on the holly on the far right in the picture tomorrow. I'll have to see how much energy I have! LOL. I do have a Jeep so maybe I could just run over it!
October 22, 2012 at 9:09PM   
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Judy M
Consider a mix of both low shrubs and perennials, so in the winter when perennials die out you still have green in the bed.
October 23, 2012 at 5:37AM     
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christofu
Sounds good. I like the lower left one and is in my budget. The only thing I don't like about it is that it is clear glass. Victoriabungalowranch suggested I etch the glass. I will have to google that and see if it is within my capabilities. I have been walking the neighborhood and think I prefer the frosted glass ones.
October 23, 2012 at 6:00AM   
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Judy M
That light has "seeded" glass, I know the bulb shows but it probably gives off more light with clear glass. Maybe you can find similar light with frosted glass you prefer.
October 23, 2012 at 6:26AM     
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christofu
I love the round caged Hinckley but I see it is 14" H x 10"W. Think this might be a little big. What do you think?
October 23, 2012 at 1:00PM   
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dcer
I would lower the mailbox, sand, strip and repaint the door, replace the shrubs, move the numbers to the side of the door. I love your house! It is sooo cute. At first, I thought it was an "after" picture!:) Good Luck!
October 23, 2012 at 1:07PM     
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Judy M
Search online "lighting universe" for smaller if you think it's too big.
So much available online or visit a local lighting store, with photo of your house and that light, they can tell you what size you need.
October 23, 2012 at 1:29PM     
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christofu
What do you think of these Victoria? I like the style of the Hinckly 14" high but I am worried it is a mite to big. I found something that says to take the height and width of the area being lighted and add those inches together and divide by 12 to get how large in inches the pendant should be. I have 155 total H+W so it woulds be 12.92"
October 24, 2012 at 9:20AM   
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christofu
Top left - 11X6, top right 10"6 and bottom 14" X 10
October 24, 2012 at 9:21AM   
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mpoulsom
christofu...i love your house. if you have the time...you may want to drive down to the botanical gardens at clemson one day....for plant and flower ideas and suggestions. And for buying as well. They DO know their plants and plenty of experts there for free advice on planting in our region! :)
October 24, 2012 at 9:53AM   
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victorianbungalowranch
I like the Hindkly in style, but it is probably too big for the space you have--I estimate you have 18-24 inches clearance above the top of the door, and you don't want to be too close to the door both visually and for practicality.

If you go with a pendant, I think it should be 10" or less in height, and your options are limited. I looked around a bit at salvaged lights, and that is about the size of old lights, perhaps even a bit smaller, but tastes have changed and it is hard to get something appropiate in this size range.

The little square laterns are OK probably, especially if the price is right and you can return them if you do not like it. .

Rejuvation Hardware is having a 20% off sale and I rather like this one-- Black Lombard Base and Acorn opal shade. It is $140 on sale for $112. I'm not sure if it is rated for use outside though.

Kind of wondering if the flat bottoms ones will look OK not too far above the door--and don't want anything too pointy either! I'm not in love with this one, but the size is 11 x 7" roughly and it is tapered rather than square at the bottom $72 at Lowes
http://www.lowes.com/SearchCatalogDisplay?storeId=10151&langId=-1&catalogId=10051&N=0&newSearch=true&Ntt=outdoor+pendant+light#!&page=1&nvalue%5B%5D=0&nvalue%5B%5D=1z0zwwb&nvalue%5B%5D=1z0zwx4&nvalue%5B%5D=1z0zx35&nvalue%5B%5D=1z10w97&nvalue%5B%5D=1z10wbp

Maybe it is best to go with the $10-$30 pictured top second right above (depends on sizlow of $10 at Lowes) which is inoffensive and way better than the one you have for now and wait until you find the perfect light. An old jelly jar type (preferably in glass) would work too.

Habitat for Humanity has stores with all kinds of goodies, especially great old lighting fixtures and doors. Worth a try. Salvage shops and Ebay are other possibilities, although they probably should be rewired.

You can go blind looking at this stuff. I can't do it now, but maybe I'll try a few out on your photo. What is the height from the door to the ceiling at the wall and at the end of the porch by the steps? Plus what height is your door. 80" is standard but old doors can differ.
October 24, 2012 at 11:27AM   
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christofu
I love the attached one Victoria. It is damp UL ok. That is a great site. I want something a little different and cool. I think this fills the bill. I could be all wet. Let me know your honest opinion of that versus the one from there that you posted just above. I could go either way. This one is on sale, too.
October 24, 2012 at 6:13PM   
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victorianbungalowranch
By damp UL, do you mean weatherproof? How much clearence do you have for a hanging light?

I like the schoolhouse style, but it may be a bit big and they were not typically used outside, and the vintage is a tad earlier than your house. The acorn type is more in scale with your small entry. If it is a smaller type, that might be possible, and I did take a look at a f;atter one with black banding.

Which model is it? They have a lot of similar styles, and the acorn cover is available in only certain sizes. Perhaps you could order more than one shade and return the one you like least.

You don't have much space to work with, and the slope of the little roof will cover up most the chain I think. I'm not sure--I'm learning toward the first $72 one I posted--maybe not as unique as you wanted, but chunkier and bigger than most of that type. I think only the very bottom is going to show from the street anyway.

If you measure and take a picture from the middle of the yard, not tilted up, of the front entry so the old light is visable, we can mock it up before you buy.
October 25, 2012 at 10:31AM   
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christofu
I took the picture and measured - 101" up to where the the light is now and the area between the top brackets in front of the door is 54". I didn't get that you could change shades and use different brackets at Rejuvenation Hardware. I like the acorn, too, it is unique and not too gaudy. Oh, I bought a new mailbox - first got black but it had a gold lid and mail sign so I took that back but this one may look a little too brown. The front door hardware is brushed stainless or satin silver or whatever it is called. Any thoughts are appreciated and thank you so much for all of the valuable help you have given me so far!
October 25, 2012 at 2:20PM   
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victorianbungalowranch
Perfect photo. Sorry, but I actually liked the old mailbox better--the horizontal worked well. The vertical is a little too far from the door perhaps for the size, but maybe something next to the bench would help the proportions work.

What I really wanted is either the height of the door or the distance from the porch ceiling to the top of the door. This is critical to see if anything fits.

Glad to feel appreciated. Can't do fun stuff with my house right now--too much structural stuff to do--so it if fun to try doing stuff for someone else. Doesn't cost me much money and I love old houses so much that it really bothers me to see them ruined with inappropiate changes.

I'm not a purist, but I would like to figure out a way to help people make better choices and understand the style of their house. And I wish the big box stores would do a better job of carrying more appropiate stuff and letting people know what works where, just as a general guideline.There are lots of old houses out there, and a relatively narrow range of products could work ff they were designed with old houses in mind. Worth a try. If they don't have it, it won't sell right? Like most of the doors are 36 inches wide, and old doors tend to be around 32., so you are stuck with just a couple of ugly choices unless you custom order, which costs more.

Anderson Windows just started a new guide to help people pick the right windows, so that is a step in the right direction. I think lack of proportion is the biggest problem with most homes and remodels, and it is hard to visualize just looking at stuff in the store.
October 25, 2012 at 4:24PM   
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christofu
The door is 84" from porch to top of white molding and from the bottom of the brick arch around the door to the ceiling is 16.75." It is really difficult to find something unusual. After a couple of days of looking, I noticed there are about 40-50 exterior pendants that can be found easily on the internet. Thanks for turning me on the Rejuvenation. They have such beautiful things. The door itself is in trouble. I actually was going to work on that first but noticed the trim around the door had three hinge cutouts for doors that have been on there in the past. The door in the attic is one with paned glass in the upper region. I haven't been up there in a while. Which makes me wonder if I should grab that one and see about putting that back on. It appears the door surface may be a veneer since it is starting to bubble up from moisture and chipping off at the bottom and revealing a composite like board interior. I have bondoed the hinge cutouts and am working on small portions of the trim at a time. Just a devil of a time. The paint is peeling off the porch. I have put in replacement windows, had the roof fixed and had some closet lights installed. There is no end, it seems, to what needs to be fixed. The people that lived her were graphic artists and did a lot of creative things to sell the house. The one thing is a concrete countertop. Seems fine but the glaze has worn off in spots and the sink fell down into the cupboard below about a month ago. Had a plumber out but he couldn't get it to stay up with special concrete epoxy. Probably had absorbed so much water that it would not adhere. Needless to say, I have my car jack under the garbage disposal which is keeping the sink in place. He put more epoxy on but I think I will give it a good six months before I take the jack out and see if it will hold. I bought this house a couple of years ago. They had redid the kitchen and the interior is very contemporary - halogen hanging tracks on the ceiling where they had them directed at their photography galleries. The black mailbox was rotting at the back and not staying on the wall so had to make a change and didn't want to drill more holes in the mortar than I had to. Yes, a work in progress!! What kind of home do you live in? Would love to see a picture.
October 25, 2012 at 6:19PM   
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victorianbungalowranch
Less than 17" is really, really tight for a pendant. The acorn might work, but I couldn't find the specsfor how lall the shade is. It is 5-7" just for the ceiling mount and light socket probably. Add a little chain, and pretty soon you don't have much space a all left.

The ceiling mount is the better choice I think. Your photo is low resolution and my mock may be out of scale, but I think both options work--$75-$112 (see specs above). I tried a couple of colors for doors for you--sort of a French blue (a softer lighter version of Royal) and a brick red. Tried a turquoise and jadite, but liked these best. Fiddled around with strap hinges and a tall planter to see how they look. You would have to move the house numbers (think they are too modern anyway) for the hinges, and the storm. Rejuvenation and Van Dycke Hardware both have them. I also saw lattice wrought iron brackets at Van Dycke for about $25 that might work for you for the porch brackets. Would have to check for scale and such.

Bondo is a good way to go with rotted wood, but you'll have to strip first. If the veneer is buckled, you have to remove the high parts and fill and sand. You can get custom wood storm doors--factor in hinges and handles with the price--about another $80-100. Fixing up the storm sounds like a good winter project! It is nice you know what the original was like.

----Love the auto jack and the sink--just leave it there permanently! I guess concrete and undermount sinks don't mix. No way mine could bear the weight. Perhaps you can just put in a top mount, although they are considered passe these days.

I haven't done anything outside to my house except spot paint and caulk. Still has some really ugly ranch style entry doors even because they are an odd size, and you can't see them too well behind the storm. Still making lists and researching what I want to do after two years--new roof and heating system and plumbing and electric upgrades wiped us out.

Aftraid that I have more knowlege than skill when it comes to DYI, and more ideas than money, although I'm pretty good with a trowel and paint and figuring out what's wrong. I did splurge on a scaffolding system and it already has come in handy. I have done work before, but it was on an empty house, which is SOOO much easier.

I live in a house that was built before 1894, was squared off and turned into a bungalow in 1925 and was rancherized with picture windows (hardly any open on the first floor!) hollow core doors and ranch casing in 1962, and hasn't hardly changed since. Hence my name. It was maintained well for the most part, has good bones and a nice yard, but everything needs updating, and I would love to take it back closer to what it was as a bungalow. So it is a real mix--It isn't horrible, but I sure wish they kept the casing (we have some) and the tall ceilings. Seen much worse though and at least the materials were quality at the time.

I got outvoted--I wanted to tear up the gold shag in the living room and raise the ceilings and redo the casings and refinish the floors, but the boys like it as it is, so I'm trying to cope and figure out a compromise. Just doing maintenance and little projects for now.

But yeah, owning an old house can be a slog, even if you love it, and I can understand why some people don't care that what they do doesn't look that nice. There's a lot of other things in life and other priorities.
October 25, 2012 at 8:37PM   
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victorianbungalowranch
Oh, they are so small you can't see anything! The acorn looks better bigger, like it is turned on on a dull day. The blue should be a bit warmer (more yellow). Don't know it you can see the planter--it has a tall base and some trailing plants.

If you put on a storm, don't put on the strap hinges--will be covered up anyway.

OK here is a pic of my house and a mock of what I want to do to it. The diamond like things are areas I would stencil with Arts and Crafts patterns--either a geometric or a kind of cool pinecone motif. Maybe next summer. The canopy on the second floor is actually wood, not aluminum.

I would really like to add a little porch, but I can't really justify that besides looks and a bit of convenience.
October 25, 2012 at 9:20PM   
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christofu
Great house, Victoria!! You definitely have an eye. The patterns really add something special. And I love the size of the windows! I ordered the acorn shaded light. So glad it was on sale. I'm running into a problem with the front door. The veneer on it is bubbling up from the bottom up about 1/4 of the way. I read something about dampening and slitting the surface and regluing but I think it may be too far gone. Not sure what will happen if I take a sander to it. I will have to think about it a while. I am excited about the light. Been looking at curb appeal websites and going to start working up a plan to landscape. I have a program for it but haven't used it in a while.
October 26, 2012 at 9:56PM   
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victorianbungalowranch
The windows are from a 1962 remodel--only the top are original, and they are 9 over 1, four in a row. Can't see too well in pic because of old storm windows, but probably will paint casing and mullions so they show up more.

The big windows are nice, but I really don't need a 8' x 12' window in the living room. I only open the drapes about a third of the way because the backside of a motel is on the other side of the street and I feel like I'm in a fishbowl all the way open. They built the thing in 1964, but it is long-term executive apartments on the back, so it isn't so bad. Really don't understand the fashion of having the biggest window in the house facing the street in the 60s! Fortunately, I have two 6 x 8 foot windows in the back--one with a view of the house next door unfortunately. But with some plants, it isn't so bad.

You probably have to remove the door to glue and clamp the veneer--I thought you were talking about the screen door. A storm would help protect it a bit--can you dig the one out of the attic? My stepfather fixed my Mom's front door that was doing this, and it is a job. Guess you can take it off, glue and clamp it all day and then stick it back on at night, and then strip and sand the next day, and then fill with bondo, sand and paint the day after that. The storm would be nice to cover the entrance while you are working on the door.

It might be wicking moisture from the bottom. A sweep that covers the entire bottom of the door (like a U that wraps around the bottom) might help for now, if you can get one thick enough to fit. They are a little hard to find--saw them at Fleet Farm--do you have that there? Is the bottom edge checked (cracked through the end grain?) Some primer and paint on the bottom edge of the door might help a bit, but you have to remove and fill and sand to really fix it.

According to Google, both these are at Home Depot and Ben Franklin, Measure before you buy though

MD Products 05991 36 Inch Brown Dual Durometer Door Sweep (vinyl so you can cut it to size)

Frost King E/O 1-3/8 in. x 36 in. L-Shaped Drip Cap Door Bottom-White (cut with hacksaw and spray paint black?) Needs a saddle threshold --higher in the middle, beveled on the sides. You probably have one already.

Of course you might not have the clearance to put these in, esp. option two. If so, prime and paint the bottom and wait until summer.

Post of pic of the new light--probably smaller than I drew, but still will look nice I bet! Does your screen/storm door look like this?
October 27, 2012 at 10:47AM   
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cyn222
Just a thought I had for something simple.
November 1, 2012 at 5:34PM     
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cyn222
Add brighter doo and a planter box on the railing with some vines and flowers. Soft cottage feel. Wish I could do this for a living...having fun!
November 1, 2012 at 5:35PM   
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christofu
Well, your house is lovely. It should be great fun turning it into what you love. The door in the attic is a regular door but has framed panes starting about halfway up. It looks like that may be what the cutouts were for - the ones I bondoed?!! Hahah. Oh, well. I should have done my homework when I first moved in in Oct 2010 and put another layer of paint and maybe urethane on the front door. Didn't think that it maybe a veneer but it is. There are chips out of the bottom of the door. Probably rubbing a little on the bottom. Could just be from weather, too. I will take a look at the sweeps you suggested. I think I may do a temporary fix on it where it is since I am the only one here and too heavy for one weak woman! I could farm it out through Angie's List. Since separating from my husband and being more on my own, I am finding there are some things that are beyond my capabilities. I am excited - the Acorn lamp is on it's way. I think I will go back to a horizontal mailbox. This is too tall to get the mail out of the bottom easily, too. There are a few on the internet that would do. I put a piece of board under the mailbox so all I will have to do is remove the little wood screws holding the box in place and can adjust the distance from the door a little easier with that piece of wood anchored there. What city are you in? Looks almost midwest. I'm originally from Michigan and lived in Illinois and Pennsylvania for a while. Reminds me of some houses in the Chicago area.
November 2, 2012 at 12:44PM   
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christofu
Hey Cyn! I like that!!! I like how making a little landing area down from the steps evens out the front of the house. I really like it!! I wanted to train a clematis (my favorite montana rubens) up the chimney or a climbing rose that can stand a little shade like New Dawn. I had a new Dawn at my last house and it rebloomed all summer - thorns were killer but need a good pruning every year. Thanks for the great suggestion!
November 2, 2012 at 12:49PM     
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victorianbungalowranch
I highly recommend finding a decent all-around handyman or general laborer who can provide occasional muscle. I get so much more done with paid help, even if it is just for a few hours. I make lists of things to do, even carrying stuff up and down stairs (especially heavy stuff and two-person job stuff) and such.

I live in a small town in the upper Midwest. The style of bungalow is fairly unusual--I did quite a bit of research and it may have been a style called the Milwaukee (or Racine) bungalow, which is gable-front with a projecting porch on one side. Chicago bungalows are similar, but usually are brick. This one is fairly wide too and its proportions remind me of a Swiss chalet--and indeed there is a subset of bungalow called Swiss Chalet Bungalow. Stickley even produced plans of them. I don't have documentation of what it looked like back when, but it might have tended in that direction, which inspired me to stencil pattern on it. I have also done quite a lot of research on Prairie style architecture, (there are a couple of good examples nearby) and exterior stenciling was used on those, but only on stucco. Still, I thought it would be fun and it is easy enough to paint over later.

Will you be paving the round area (the round kits of cobblestone would look nice)? Would you use it or is it just for looks? If you aren't using it, then maybe a round flower bed or ground cover would be cheaper.
November 2, 2012 at 2:35PM   
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cyn222
You could fill the round area with pea gravel and place a nice bench or table. Great spot to draw in neighbors for a cup of tea.
November 2, 2012 at 7:43PM   
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chindowney
SoCal Greetings-

Really like CYN's idea of a small space out in front. These seem to be assuming the roll that front porches served back in the days when we knew our neighbors!

NOT a fan of pea gravel. I don't like the way it is mined but mostly find it almost impossible to keep in one place. It migrates all on its own and don't even think of getting near it with a mower or blower!!!

Considering the house in question I'd go with used brick or used chunks of concrete with "stepable" perennials in the spaces. (Broken pieces of sidewalks or driveways area frequently available at my favorite rate of payment: none.) And then you can add a 16' recirculating fountain in the middle.. :-)

Alternatively, decomposed granite or half-inch or larger crush work well.
November 4, 2012 at 6:32PM   
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cyn222
Sand and landscape fabric work with a 4 inch base of pea gravel, but it's not the easiest to walk on. Pavers are the ultimate choice!
November 4, 2012 at 8:24PM   
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christofu
Yes, I am not a fan of little stones and rocks. I am not sure what I could use that area for but the birdbath just fell over in the back yard. Was ceramic on a flimsy stand that I had intended to shore up for about forever. It may be an overly ambitious plan for me as I am unemployed and getting, how do I say it, the O.L.D.disease. I can work a couple of hours of a time planting but then have to take a nap! LOL.
November 4, 2012 at 8:43PM   
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victorianbungalowranch
A neighbor used creeping thyme with her pavers and it looked great. Lots of varieties too. Not totally flat, but pretty tough and easy to grow.
November 5, 2012 at 9:51PM   
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christofu
I have installed the acorn light!! and didn't electrocute myself or anything! LOL!! I think I need to move the mounting brackett over a little to the left when looking at the picture but I think the size is great and it is sooooo cool! Thanks for the great suggestion!
November 9, 2012 at 2:23PM   
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