Need help for home exterior
March 21, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Our 100-year old home is looking its age. We would like to revive/freshen the exterior and would appreciate ideas on stucco and front door color, woodwork, windows, soffits/fascia/eavestroughs and garage door. Thanks.
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Jenna Umberger
I think that the brick is lovely. Maybe make the stucco the lighter color of the brick. If that its the original door, I would stain it a brighter color. Landscaping would do wonders, as well. Maybe some plants by the door to bring some interest
March 21, 2013 at 3:34PM     
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Amanda Cohen
I love all the character of your house!!! I wouldn't change that much. The only things I might do would be over the garage. The architectural design over the garage would look newer and updated look if painted white. The door is antique too, so I think that your house is great!!! Good Luck :)
March 21, 2013 at 3:35PM   
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I agree w/ making stucco the lighter color of the brick. Same color on dormer or paint the wood to match the roof. LOVE the brick!!!!

Hate the white trim - very dated.
Suggest maybe a taupey/mushroom (Benjamin Moore baby turtle or bed of ferns) or sage moss color (Benjamin Moore Forest Hills green) for all trim.

Love the door! Scrape off the silly medallion which is completely out of place. Refinish it to let the natual wood show through. Or if wood is in too bad of shape for stain, paint with a dark dark glossy brown. Replace hideous kickplate with a nice burnish bronze one. Update handle & lock w/ same.

It's a great house!
March 21, 2013 at 3:45PM     
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Wow, it is beautiful already. Maybe off white trim paint this time. Add two flower boxes to the lower windows. Touch up paint on the two front lampposts, too.
March 21, 2013 at 4:22PM   
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
Gorgeous home. A beautiful soft blue gray for the trim would look great. Here's an example :
March 21, 2013 at 4:26PM     
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
Your home has actually aged very gracefully. I've never seen an area of stucco on such a grand home and I have a feeling that maybe the original brick is missing and wasn't replaced , just taken off . I think it would look nice if you could add brick to that area matching the rest of the facade. Is that a thin black wrought-iron railing on each side of the porch ? I'm sure at one time there must have been some very beautiful ornate railing there and I'd try to find some to replace it. Your outside lamp posts could also be upgraded to some antique reproductions that would look great. I love the retaining walls and raised beds and your landscaping doesn't look too bad although I can't see everything under the snow. I would say to take out the dinky Japanese Maple that's been stuck by its lonely in the lawn. If you don't have perennials and annuals planted in the beds on the sides of the entrance then I would suggest you do . My neighborhood and street in Chicago are both historic districts and my home there is over a hundred as well . It's not nearly as ornate as yours but it has a lot of character.
March 21, 2013 at 4:47PM   
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Wonderful architecture history. Your bricks are dark brown, red-orange/clay, golden clay, buff. I would select the red-orange brick color to try and match for your stucco - right now it is closer to the red tile roof tone so it breaks the rule of house being lighter than roof. It needs to "read" with the brick wall in the same tone, but muted is best and it would be fine to land one tone lighter.

Now you have something like this shade -
when the right color is more like this shade -
You can even stay in this shade but go lighter to match up with the lighter golden bricks if it is well muted. I would paint the dormer this new lighter brick color too rather than the trim color. That allows the dark red tile roof to be darker than the wall, and for the stucco area (and dormer) to read with the rest of the brick / vertical planes.

Whoever painted over the keystones over windows in stucco area needs to be re-trained. Ask whoever does this work to uncover them, and restore the stone face by stripping or if this is not feasible, paint them with a color matched to the sills in a masonry formulation. They were smart enough to leave the sills - probably just didn't mask them off before they waded in.

The buff / camel toned brick, the tone to take from and match for all the trim, eaves, garage and window sashes. Paint those tall columns and the white urns. This shade would be the lightest you should go with a bit deeper camel also working well - just with a yellow undertone. You will want to test 2 or 3 buff and camel tones and look at them in different natural lights to see which echoes the buff brick best from afar but complements the keystones.

Since this tone also roughly echoes the keystones and sills, plus the original eave stone cornice, they may need a bit of attention. They are a bit more stained from time - a powerwash would do them a world of good if your painter uses such tools in preparation. Just select a warm time of year as just a bit of water may get into the wall since these are around the windows and you want the ambient temperature to be such that it dries out nicely within a few days.

Here's one note that isn't apparent straight off - the flashing at the top and side of your garage should be painted with the brick color rather than the accent color (now white) the cornice carving and the garage door should be painted the buff trim shade. If there is flashing (not eave or fascia board) on the rest of the house, consider whether it constitutes something to highlight or hide as you select the shade to use - follow this example as your guide. An eave or fascia is like a hat that wants to be seen (biltmore buff tones), while flashing is like underwear - better hidden with the darker brick tone.

Finally, use a cherry stain on your front door to bring it into the russet family of your home brick. The carving and stained glass is so beautiful - they have gel stains now that will give you a very consistent finish. Whilst your door is being worked on, you may want to change the kickplate in a silver tone to be antique brass to match the intricate and original brass hardware. You may want to purchase calligraphy house numbers and hang them on the cornice of the entry - I see the smaller ones near the front door fine, but "One Fifty Five" or 155 in large black script would be elegant there.

p.s. the landscape terrace walls would benefit from the choice of a trailing plant that will spill over and conceal them with green a bit - rosemary is a standard choice in mediterranean climes, but one must specify the trailing hybrid. There may be others right for your zone.

You have an amazing historic property - thank you for sharing it with us!!
March 21, 2013 at 5:12PM     
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Thank you everyone for your feedback and nice comments. We are looking at replacing the upper windows too. Any suggestions on a style? Do you think shutters would be appropriate for the home and if so what style?
March 21, 2013 at 6:24PM   
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No shutters, windows could be double hung or single hung with two or three vertical mullions up top to approximate four or three over one for wider/narrower windows. That would add / bring back a lot of charm. If you order aluminum clad wood windows, then getting a sash color that is dark like the darkest brick - charcoal gray? would give great contrast to the tan / buff trim surround and be quite modern yet historical. Two shades at the windows were typical of yesteryear.
March 21, 2013 at 7:01PM   
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Ironwood Builders
I love the Flemish bond brick! So rare to see out here in CA. I think shutters would work with the windows...any plans for the aluminum siding on the dormer? Could that be stuccoed to match the rest of the stucco? And take the soffits to a wood trim, painted to match the rest of the trim? I vote for a limestone color on the stucco...

Windows as double hung sash...diamond pane uppers and single pane lowers.
March 21, 2013 at 7:03PM   
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Vintage Custom Doors
I build garage doors so I am immediately drawn to the garage door of course. The house is great very unique, at least from where I am from. I'm not sure where you are located. How about an arched carriage house door? Just grabbing this pic, don't think it's the right one exactly, but something like this makes a bug difference with the exterior presentation!
March 21, 2013 at 7:36PM     
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Vintage Custom Doors
Big difference, sorry about that.
March 21, 2013 at 7:38PM   
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I have been doing some research along the same lines as yours. We are moving into a 1990's brick Georgian style house and are planning to update it. I have been noticing that all the new brick homes in our neighborhood have dark trimmed windows so I am inclined to do the same. In fact, I am thinking I should choose a gray color that would match the slate roof. Note, however, that I am leaving the frame a light color. But what about the dormer windows? Just now, I found the solution -- paint the dormer windows the same shade of gray! Another concern is that we have columns by the front door (and 2 sets of smaller ones on each side). I don't want to paint that gray but not sure if leaving it white or a light color would be great. Again ... I just found the solution today -- leave it a light color! I think pictures would give you a better idea of the solution I found today. Photos are courtesy of Stuart Silk Architects and Buck Usher Photography:
March 21, 2013 at 7:44PM   
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I love your home! I think I'd go with an English Tudor design, depending on budget. Replace the existing stucco, as well as the clapboards around the dormer with very light colored stucco, along with brown trim boards possibly with arched diagonal bucks. I'd replace the windows with arched-top windows to match the arched openings in the brick. I'd have the garage door opening re-framed to match the arch in the brick, as well. Replace the garage door with a solid wood door to match the front, which is awesome and may only need to be refinished. Paint all the exterior woodwork the same Color brown as the tudor trim. Finally I'd replace the small retaining wall in the foreground with the same brick pattern as throughout the rest of the home, possibly capped with the same stone as exists below the window sills. Good luck!
March 21, 2013 at 9:30PM     
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CustomWorks Contracting, LLC
Hi Rick, We would like to help you with this project, I am assuming you are Boston/West? It is something that needs to be carefully considered so it is a beauty for the next 100 years. The look and feel (not to mention durability) of brick/limestone/copper/slate is hard to beat, but water management is key. There are issues I can see with that, as well as some mismatches and challenges such as the roofline v. dormer we can help you correct. We would be able to show you by thermal imaging where the water issues or other weak spots in the building envelope are, which you will need to address anyway to meet the state's stretch code requirements. We're sure we can come up with a design that makes it the anchor of the neighborhood. Feel free to call or email at your leisure.
April 22, 2013 at 7:15AM   
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Hello Joe. Our home is not in Boston. It is outside of Toronto, Ontario Canada so Rick is not working on it. Thanks anyway.
April 22, 2013 at 5:12PM   
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Frame stucco area (like neighbor) and paint frame darker then stucco and match door. Add shutters or window boxes.

If you want to be stone facing over stucco and paint door, and trim green or white.
April 22, 2013 at 5:19PM   
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ciliegina - how true to the house's original look do you want to stay? Seeing as how you're in Ontario, head smartly over to your nearest public library and go through books on Ontario architecture. Two to get you started are:

Kalman, Harold D. A History of Canadian Architecture. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1994
Robert Mikel. Ontario House Styles. James Lorimer & Company, 2004

If you find either of those, there should be other similar titles on the same shelf!

There are also some excellent websites that might be useful - is as good as any.

For the record, no, don't add shutters - I don't think the house had them originally, and they'll look odd. The two front windows don't look original.

libradesigneye has lots of good observations for you. Except, go VERY easy on the power-wash or sand-blasting, as both can remove the original baked finish from brick, leaving your brick porous, which is a minor disaster, especially in hot/cold dry/humid Southern Ontario!
April 22, 2013 at 5:25PM     
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I have looked at but could not figure out exactly what style our home is. I will look for the books you recommended. Thank you.
April 22, 2013 at 6:01PM     
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