Help my street appeal!
Mark Robinson
April 8, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Hi! I recently have purchase this house, its the ugly duckling on the street so to say, I've got the interior downpat however I'm really struggling with the street appeal,

The brick one is my house, the other houses are an example of the houses in the street... Whilst I know its unrealistic to achieve a similar look, any recommendations or options on how to get the house looking more appealing (located in Brisbane, Australia)
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Those are traditional and you'll do better with modern. Three elements will help this shine - you need to balance the facade, add some artistic elements that have a purpose, and harmonize your roof and brick colors with the trim and doors..

You need some custom metal work - i've seen small diameter rebar used in vertical angles like reeds. Go to an artist for some custom modern rebar reed screen fence for a new gate across the front entry and also gate the open area below the sun porch with one fixed and one rolling gate panel to camoflauge the posts and storage/ patio. Add low flowering shrub planting in front of that area. Use the dark gray, natural raw steele finish on the grille and gate screen below the upper. Move the trash can in or over to screened area. For painting, use a mid tone cement gray trim and panels at the sunporch, and same color for the garage doors.
Then, with shell pink, gray trim and raw steel rebar and rose tone brick, charcoal roof, add a fabulous pale gray inside the gate before the front door. If that is the front door next to the metal gate, paint it silvery gray so it pops or use a fabulous mahogany or shisham wood front door in those same rosy tones. Get a modern exterior light fixture in a gray tone or raw steel - hubbarton forge does things in the right modern vein you can see at

Add some rebar reed elements at the curb - in a mailbox surround, an entry feature with a brick base to match the house, etc. Go modern and do it with art that is functional on your house.

Eventually, go for clad wood windows with a pearl gray exterior, casements flanking picture windows, double casements over the sunporch. Start researching modern landscape, add boulders, bunch grasses, succulents, uplighting, kangaroo paw, cistus, rose toned flowers, layers of different shades of green.
April 8, 2013 at 9:12pm   
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Mark Robinson
Thanks for the input definetly something to have a think about, I'm just worried about being the only house looking like that in the street (literally all the other houses are in the traditional style), was considering rendering or bagging or even painting the brick. could look awful though.
April 11, 2013 at 10:15pm   
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This house isn't ugly, it actually has good bones and the chance for charm. There are just a few things dragging it down, which you can fix:

1) Too many disparate materials, textures and colors: reddish brick, two kinds of wall tile (right?) - pale gray and orangey brown, ornate door grill, glass, corrugated yellow metal garage door, black roof tiles etc. Apologies if I misidentified anything. The whole effect is a discordant jumble that cheapens what was originally a clean and dignified look. Think of ways to simplify colors and materials. Render (aka stucco) could be good to unify disparate tile and/or brick. I'd strive for maximum 3 materials/textures and 2 colors. Roof is hardest to change so how about black, gray, silver (and maybe white) as theme to coordinate. If you ever re-roof I would much prefer e.g. standing seam metal.

2) Door grill must be removed; either leave empty or find something simple, linear and mid-century modern to blend better.

3) Plant materials is a huge part of the picture. Square shrubs are awkward. Let them grow naturally if they fit, or take them out. Only in formal Georgian (etc.) type landscapes should shrubs be forced into rectangular shapes. Your house needs a few large, powerful, organic plant shapes, e.g. Gunnera, palms, yucca, native trees, as well as a permeable paving area for driveway with interplantings. Gravel is also a possibility if green grass is not feasible.

Last point: Let your house be itself. It will never be one of those tropical/colonial nostalgic neighbors so don't try to put it in that mold. Instead, let it be the bold, confident and modern design it wants to be. I think you can do wonders and it's so fun for us to see houses from a world away. Good luck!
April 11, 2013 at 10:56pm     
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