How on earth would you re-side and re-roof this strange looking house? Please help and share your ideas.
kellykola
November 4, 2012 in Design Dilemma
We are buying this house. It is a tri-level and appears to be a very strange design. The home inspection says that a new roof and siding are needed. (Current siding is rotten T1-11). We would like to do a metal roof and vinyl siding. Would LOVE to have some other opinions on siding (horizontal/vertical/board&batten) and color schemes. I am into more rustic/classic looks. Thank you to anyone who is willing to share their opinion!

Note - images are front and side view.
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Christa Somerville_Chase


What a great property
November 5, 2012 at 7:15am     
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megan_barnett
We just bought a similar property and are facing the same decision! I have been leaning towards a metal roof as well, but maybe a combination of stucco and siding/stone (we also have some brick just at the front entrance). Here's a photo of another houzz that caught my eye - I think the vertical panelling looks great on your property but this just has a little more detail to it and a more rustic cabin feel. I also like how they broke up the levels with the horizontal "beam". Good luck with your decision!
Smith Cabin 1 Smith Cabin 2
November 5, 2012 at 1:09pm     
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fife2
Wow - what a STUNNING house - why you ever consider Vinyl Siding - sorry but - YUCK!

This is absolutely an architecturally designed home, and part of its beauty is its simplicity.
I would start by replacing the roof, consider some NEWER designed windows - try Anderson or Marvin windows and doors - and simply replace the siding with something in a new material - but keep it the same and STAIN it!

Then I would try some landscaping that is not so staid and boxy looking. Some trees which have a softer look, what grows in your area? Lacy Dogwoods, to give the home some free form movement? NON-fruiting Cherry Trees (like on the Tidal Pool in DC?)? Beautiful - size appropriate Japanese Maple for the vacant space in the last photo?

Change the railing on the second level to something more modern and fitting for the home - stainless steel wired railing?

Re-move the stones around the planting beds to open the spaces up and not make it look so confined? Trench the landscaping to make it free form into the natural areas.

PLEASE - do NOT cover this stunning home with Vinyl Siding - what a waste of beautifully designed home. Nothing DE-VALUES a home like adding Vinyl Siding. IF you were ever to re-sell this house - it would lower the asking price - and the next owner would be tasked with removing same to restore the integrity of this house.

CAN you HIRE an architect? Get a professional involved who has knowledge and access to new materials you can use on your home. What about ARCHITECTURAL shingles? The lifetime rubber shingles which look like slate, or tile?

Maintaining the Integrity of the beautiful home is going to provide you with the lovely visuals which will make this comfortable - mixing styles and periods are going to make the confusing looking to be sure.

Please - do think and consider what is out there before you make your decision. Hire a landscape professional - ????? Please - I think the home is MORE than you know - and it is truly amazing.

please let us know - I am sure there are others on Houzz who can assist you further with this - as there are ACTUAL Architects & and landscapaing Designers here who work on this Site.

Thank YOU! :-)
November 5, 2012 at 1:27pm     
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apple_pie_order
This striking house looks like an architect designed it for the original owners in the mid 1960's. See if you can find out who the architect was from examination of the permits in the local administrative office. You can consult them about changes to the roof and siding materials. The roof is complex and will need an experienced contractor. It's a good time to replace insulation in the walls, too. Metal roofs can be noisy, often too noisy to sleep during a rainstorm.

If you do find the original architect, ask what the original landscape design was. It's quite stark at the moment. It may have emphasized some angular shapes of colorful perennials to complement the strong lines of the house.

Last, I recommend you google "Sea Ranch houses" for similar architecture that may give you some ideas. This article tells a story: http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/12/14/travel/14SeaRanch.html?pagewanted=all
November 5, 2012 at 1:38pm     
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colonialgp
First off, buying a home where you have to replace the roof AND the siding is a lot of $$$. Vinyl siding would be a bad choice, not only for the house, but also for the environment. As for cosmetic changes, landscape which will transform the lot, use a warmer stain on the house and change the windows so that they aren't so dark. Agree with previous post about finding the original architect.
November 5, 2012 at 1:58pm     
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Aja Mazin
Beautiful property!

I agree with colonialgp
November 5, 2012 at 2:05pm     
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PRO
Walsh Krowka & Associates, Inc
Stick with vertical siding. Look into a rainscreen type of siding installation. It will let the siding breathe with an airspace behind it. It's a nice modern house. Don't trash it out with vinyl siding...but the metal roof is good.
November 5, 2012 at 2:09pm     
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fife2
Well at least WE ALL agree . . .
November 5, 2012 at 5:24pm     
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tbhattac
We purchased a 1965 custom designed and built mid-century home 2 years ago with a lot of rotten siding--it was vertical like yours. I had a bunch of contractors out to look at it to figure out what to do. What I found out was it was variable width tongue and groove redwood (with no seams!) that had been stained a dark green. Many contractors were recommending me to install vinyl siding over it. I was dead-set against the vinyl siding, thinking it would destroy the character of my home. I was able to find a contractor who agreed on saving what he could of the redwood and substitute the worst boards with tongue and groove cedar. It had to be custom-milled to match the redwood dimensions but I felt very strongly that it was the right choice for the architecture of the home. I had also considered hardi-plank (vertical) if I couldn't make the existing siding work. We replaced a lot of siding and it was not inexpensive but my home is absolutely stunning now.
November 5, 2012 at 6:30pm     
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fife2
tbhattac: Can you post some pictures of what you did - so our "person here" can see how your home came out? Sounds like your home came out beautifully. I think this might help her.
November 6, 2012 at 6:33am     
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kellykola
Thank you all so much for your comments! I really,really appreciate it. I agree real wood would look the best on this house, however I don't want the maintenance associated with wood and plus the woodpeckers have been having a feast on the existing wood. Is there any product that looks like wood but doesn't have the maintenance (that is also affordable).
November 6, 2012 at 7:06am     
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nevadan
Vinyl siding always looks bad. When you pull off the present siding, you will find additional problems underneath. You will need an architect and perhaps a structural engineer. Whatever siding you put on will require a lot of expensive maintenance over the years. It's a big house. Perhaps you bought the wrong house? Vinyl siding is only good for a small cheap house in the city.
November 6, 2012 at 7:23am     
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creeser
Since you like rustic, perhaps a cedar shake option would work. Shakes are available in vinyl siding as well. I would go with more than one color on the exterior to break up. I like the dark trim around the windows with the siding in this photo.
[houzz=
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November 6, 2012 at 7:41am     
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pjtime
I agree with Fife and Apple Pie. I think Hardiboard has vertical patterns and has been touted as low maintenance and virtually indestructible. It's some kind of cement based wood look siding. My cousin in Colorado is siding his new build in Colorado with it and he's pretty smart. I envy you. It's a WOW property. Metal roof would be great. Landscaping definitely would help. It's a special property and should be treated with care.

Another siding option I've been looking at is corrugated steel laid vertically. I absolutely love the look and seems to me it would be virtually indestructible. It changes color tones in the changing light of day and looks very dramatic.
November 6, 2012 at 8:01am     
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tbhattac
Following up on your questions--attached are "before" pictures of my home--prior to moving in. My home is a large ranch with a walk-out lower basement, built in 1965. Although I don't have any closeups of the rotten boards, the siding was in sad shape. Woodpeckers had done a number on it after rot started to set in from a design flaw. Most of the problem was caused by a horizontal "drip edge" installed where the upper level met the lower level vertical siding. The drip edge was not beveled away from the house and it had collected water over 45 years --literally rotting the bottoms of most of the siding pieces. In addition, other siding was just damaged from woodpeckers and weather. It took me a while to find the right contractor, but what he did was completely reside one side of the house--the side with the most damage. Then he salvaged the boards that he removed by cutting away the rotten parts and used them to repair the rest of the house. In addition, he created a newer, wider drip edge that beveled away from the house and was flashed correctly. In doing so, he removed the rot from the bottoms of the boards. It was a good solution. As I mentioned before, the original siding was variable width redwood. We substituted cedar since it was going to be stained anyway but we had to pay to have it custom milled to the correct widths.

I don't have any "after" pictures at the moment but I will try to take some and post later. Another option could be galvalume siding. It may not be the look for you but I think it's a very contemporary choice and it could look pretty stunning. Here is a blog where they had a problem with their original cedar and chose galvalume. The blogger goes into a lot of detail about the decision to go that route.
http://modfrugal.com/tour-2/exterior/
November 6, 2012 at 8:19am     
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PRO
Buechel Stone Corp
If you were able to add some stone you could sure spruce the house up. Maybe in some of the spots that are by them-self like the under hang shown on the second and picture. We have photos that show stone and siding combinations.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/buechelstone/sets/72157626635322735/
November 6, 2012 at 8:36am     
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fife2
WOW TB - very wonderful job and your home is lovely! I am sure it was painful - but looks to have been worth the work! I hope this helps our homeowner. :-)
November 7, 2012 at 11:02am     
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victorianbungalowranch
Agree with all of the above. Plus I think you will destroy the house's value with vinyl--financially and aesthetically. Vinyl shakes look terrible, especially over large surfaces where the joints are very noticable. Cement fiberboard is the closest thing to wood for both shakes (straight edged, not hand-split) and board and batten siding, but it must be installed with a backing that allows moisture to escape. It is highly fire-rated, which can be a plus for your insurance costs.

I looked at the blog recommended above (pic 4) and they just wrapped the existing siding in house wrap and installed the metal siding, which is often used for commercial buildings and is probably pretty reasonable in price. It could look great, although it is a huge change to the original style, which is more rustic.

And I would not replace the windows unless absolutely needed--retrofiting interior or exterior storms is much cheaper and just about as energy efficient. It will really send the budget upward--I hope you have a good construction loan or line of credit (another reason to keep the architectural integrity to retain the value). I would keep them dark, or possibly a related color, but definately not white. I actually think the railings are fine as they are--if you do replace the stainless steel might be nice, but visually jaring uless you have stainless elsewhere, or if powder-coated, may not look visually heavy enough.

Again the help of an architect and contractor very familiar with this style would be a huge help to make these sort of decisions. Perhaps just some basic patching and caulking will hold you for the winter while you decide and you can do the roof first. Just what kind of metal roof are you thinking about? It is absolutely critical to get the flashing done right, and I would check on the water run-off during a hard rain to see if there are any problem areas.

More info about this "strange looking" style:

This style of house was popular mid-60s through the mid-80's and is supposed to be rustic and in tune with nature with a modern edge, and a bit brutal in the massing. Sea Ranch Condominiums mentioned above was the first of this style. I think your house has some influence from the Brutalist style as well, which often featured rough cast concrete and blocky forms (pic 1 has some similar shapes--and yes, it is a house.)

The most common terms is 70s Contemporary , Rustic Modernism, Shed style, and it was particularly popular in the Northwest , although you will find them all over the US, especially on wooded lots. This one is particularly large and sculptural. Cedar siding was the siding of choice, and properly installed and stained, maintenance is not as bad as you may think, although I would consult a local expert about the woodpecker issue. They like rotted wood, so new shouldn't be an issue for some time.

Clerestory windows, shed roofs and natural materials are defining characteristics. I suggest you read up on the house style and learn to appreciate what it is before making huge changes inside and out. Don't go ripping out all the paneling or massive fireplaces or painting everything white inside--take some time to understand the house, and step back from seeing all the flaws... If you pick what complements the style (and there is more than one way to do this) rather than fighting it, you will have a more successful end result.

There is a core of folks who love this style, and as time goes by, it starts to look less dated and more retro and cool. Found a number of historic tours highlighting these kind of homes, and a few recently designated historic districts. .
http://www.dahp.wa.gov/styles/shed http://www.historicdenver.org/resources/rustic-modernism/ http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Sea_Ranch_Condominium.html http://bo.lt/1xm7 (ideas for modern interiors that could work with this style)

The setting is stunning, and I agree, some softer, more natural and leafy landscaping, like flowering trees, ornamental grasses, maybe masses of easy field flowers like black-eye susan and such, could really enhance it.
November 7, 2012 at 2:18pm   
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Elyn's Library
There are tons of options with assorted Hardiboard products - many illustrations right here on houzz - http://www.houzz.com/hardi-board

But I agree with all the above posters who suggested you try to find the original architect. This is a beautiful home with a distinct, simple and elegant style. Vinyl siding would be a major mistake - financially as well as aesthetically.

Keep the siding vertical, while you're replacing the siding upgrade the insulation (it will pay for itself very quickly in decreased energy costs). The metal roof is a great idea, as long as it is adequately insulated and installed otherwise the noise can be surprising.

Gorgeous home, nice find. The landscaping will be fun to refurbish once you get the work on the house finished.
November 7, 2012 at 2:56pm     
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PRO
Robert A. McGraw Architect
We are a well respected Southern California architectural firm (www.mcgraw-architect.com) that works with many renovations of mid century homes. We have started started a small service company to provide homeowners with affordable 3D renderings of proposed upgrades to their homes. We have you send us three photos of your home (like the ones here) and fill out a brief questionnaire and we redesign the facade, send you three 3D renderings of our ideas and supply you with suggestions for materials(window manufacturers, colors, etc.) Our company is www.home-curbappeal.com. We would love to hear from you and help you plan your upgrades. You have a great property and it has potential for a beautiful update honoring it's mid century origins.
November 7, 2012 at 3:02pm   
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Kivi
I cant imagine why in the world vinyl siding would seem like a good idea.... I hope you will consider some of the other ideas from the folks above.
November 7, 2012 at 4:11pm     
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victorianbungalowranch
Here is another source of info on the Shed style (this is the best guide to American Architecture styles and you probably can get it from the library):

McAlester, Virginia and Lee (1996). A Field Guide to American Houses. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 484
November 7, 2012 at 8:02pm   
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kellykola
Wow...really can't thank you all enough for your thoughtful and generous feedback! This has been so helpful and informative. We definately have lots to think about and I'm going to start by seeing if I can find the original architect. I had no idea that there were other homes in this style and I love the modern rustic categorization! Thank you all again and I hope to one day post some beautiful before/after pictures!
November 7, 2012 at 8:09pm     
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fife2
Dear Kelly: That's what we all do here. There are so many fantastic homes in america - and your's is one! I also think it gives our children and families a greater appreciation of where we live and where we come from - and the common sense to understand what it takes to create something of value. You could also create a BLOG during the Process - to show the progress and change. That could be fun - and a treasure for your family? Please DO let us know. :-)

If you cannot find the Architect - perhaps check with the local government - where the permits were obtained and see if the orginal plans are stored. Sometimes this is a good resource. OR, at least you could find the original owners this way.
November 8, 2012 at 8:29am   
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victorianbungalowranch
Building permits and plans are not always kept on file, esp. this long ago. A list maybe. And if this is a rural area or a small town, there may be no records at all that way.

A deed search at the county courthouse and maybe a newspaper search by address may pull up something, at least the former owners, who could be tracked down. Also check old city directories--they list occupants by address going back over 100 years. Some of this stuff may be available online, or at your library. Addresses do change with time, but this should be a recent enough building to avoid that, but ask the reference librarian for help, or go to the local historical society. Their information is likely indexed by family name, not address, though, and this is recent enough that it might not surface.

Can you talk to the sellers--that is the first step. If you find the first family will probably be glad to talk to someone who likes their home as much as they did. Plus talk to the neighbors and local old-timers, they may remember something or know the contractor. This is a significant enough building that perhaps the local branch of the American Institute of Architects might have some info.

This could turn out to be an episode out of history detectives--it is kind of fun once you get started. I hit the jackpot online and found a complet bio of my most prominent past owner from 1924. Geneology sites sometimes have this sort of info, which makes it convenient.
November 8, 2012 at 8:17pm   
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Diane
This blog has a similar house they are redoing she has very good taste. great home!

http://purestylehome.blogspot.com/2012/09/whats-up.html
November 9, 2012 at 1:13pm   
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Anna
I like a clapboard look,just did this in a vinyl
November 9, 2012 at 4:14pm   
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Anna
I like a clapboard look,just did this in a vinyl
November 9, 2012 at 4:14pm   
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Christine
NO METAL ROOF. On such an expansive home it will look like a commercial building. Also no to vinyl siding. That would just be wrong. The building has a very neo-contemporary vibe so If you are going for a total re-do I would stay with the vertical siding but paint it a lighter color. If you have some bank then I would go for those look like slate rubber roof tiles. I hear they have like a 50 year life and are very durable. I would probably invest in uping the modern factor and open up some of those windows and create a meandering deck that circles most of the private areas of the house and where possible add doors that open up on to the new patio areas. The house is great but I would not waste time trying to "redo" it in to something it is not meant to be.
November 9, 2012 at 4:23pm   
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nevadan
I am re-visiting this situation. In my part of the country (Lake Tahoe area, heavy snow) metal roofs are IN and very beautiful. They are a bit on the expensive side! Not commercial looking in the least. They can be had in almost any color. Before you do something about siding, see if you can enlarge your windows. Unless you are in a VERY cold climate, you would want larger windows than what you seem to have.
November 9, 2012 at 5:32pm   
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nevadan
I am re-visiting this situation. In my part of the country (Lake Tahoe area, heavy snow) metal roofs are IN and very beautiful. They are a bit on the expensive side! Not commercial looking in the least. They can be had in almost any color. Before you do something about siding, see if you can enlarge your windows. Unless you are in a VERY cold climate, you would want larger windows than what you seem to have.
November 9, 2012 at 5:33pm   
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pjtime
Victorianbungalow had really great advice about taking your time to get the feel of your home and being sensitive to the original design of the home. It is a special home and I hope you can live in it for a while before making any changes.
November 9, 2012 at 6:55pm   
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pjtime
Victorianbungalow had really great advice about taking your time to get the feel of your home and being sensitive to the original design of the home. It is a special home and I hope you can live in it for a while before making any changes.
November 9, 2012 at 6:56pm   
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