Split Level Dilemma
May 8, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Daughter put contract on a foreclosed starter house. I'm suggesting removing the ugly second lower door and putting some brick or stone facing on that lower section where the garage *was*. Is that logical?
Can you help me with suggestions on how to update this split level? Other than the house having no curb appeal, the neighborhood and location are good for her needs thankfully!
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I think converting the lower door to a high horizontal window across that elevation would be good - hate to lose all opportunity for light. Definitely convert the entry package door and light fixture needs to split into two lanterns to light the way up. I would not waste $ on brick to match the stairs - better to paint the whole thing [ Camel siding and glossy black shutters - barn red front door to echo the roof and the brick stair. Since the garage is gone, ere, you might cut the pavement up to the right of the existing door opening so you don't have a blank wall next to the flatwork without some plantings. Know you need to connect to stairs and path to door but otherwise, get some plants there - even in trough planters would help a lot.
May 8, 2013 at 9:39pm   
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Kevin Patrick O'Brien Architect, Inc.
Sadly this looks like a garage was converted into an apartment. Two front doors? How is the lower door used? Is the upper one still the main entry? I'm confused! I guess if this was my house I would try and define the front door and "downplay" the other one. If the lower door is not the main entry, then a trellis structure and low wall would help privatize that door? I guess I need more info.
May 8, 2013 at 10:19pm     
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Young and Borlik Architects, inc.
I agree with Kevin on this. What's inside? Before you do any work, check with your local planning department to find out if there are parking requirements that are not being met (i.e. 2 covered parking spaces for a house). Any investment may be at risk if you put money into improvements that increase (or do not correct) a non-conformity.
May 8, 2013 at 10:32pm     
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The previous owners seem to have made it in to a playroom or something. I haven't seen the house in person, but it appears there may be a window on the outside wall (side of the house) so *if* there really is a need to have a door perhaps that could be the place. I would suggest she close off this ugly white door and center one or two windows on that front wall. I just don't understand split levels so don't want to suggest something goofy looking
May 8, 2013 at 10:54pm   
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Mary Barranti
Nice house! Split levels always have so much room. I think it has lots of possibilities. If you can match it and integrate the new stone facade with the existing stone on the side wall, go for it. Otherwise, add a shallow porch overhang, perhaps with posts and rails, the entire width of the former garage. Depending on the interior space, add one large picture window or two smaller casement windows to the right side of the lower door. Replace the door and sidelights with something more modern. If replacement has to wait, paint the existing door an attractive rust color. Paint the screen door and front door on the porch the same color as the lower door. Paint all the shutters a solid, warm brown.
May 8, 2013 at 11:01pm   
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Nancy Walton
If that is the only opening in that cellar space, code may require there be way of egress in case of fire. I would think that installing double-hung windows at that level would satisfy that requirement. Has the home been inspected yet? If not, that would be something to ask a home inspector. Even if it is an "as is" purchase, a home inspection is in order, just so you know what issues you might be dealing with down the road.
May 8, 2013 at 11:06pm     
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I would not do away with the door. I think it would hurt your resale value with the current desires for office space, artist studios, mother in law or returning kids quarters, etc. I'm thinking making a trellis type overhang with sides for the door which would partially mask the formality of the door. Give it a side door feel and paint same color as house. Porch would extend to right of light. Then one large window, to balance two above, to finish off the wall. The room would look much more inviting inside with that window and the light. Potted plants, a window box or low plant boxes could be used in front of the wall. Lighting and potted plants could lead the way to the real front door.
May 8, 2013 at 11:27pm     
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