Need help fixing up a spec house (before building)
buigirl
May 11, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Hi. We are thinking of going with a builder who plans to build a spec house a pretty good lot. We can't change the elevation, but we are looking for advice on how to make it look more contempory farmhouse - thinking white exterior, prefer board and batten somewhere, possible would beam over porch, maybe remove shutters or do light taupe or gray barn shutters, slate porch floor? Any suggestions? I posted a photo of the elevation built somewhere else. Thanks!
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Design Freedom, inc.
that's a lot of money you are spending on a house with an elevation you don't like. something more farmhouse-style would have a less complicated roofline and simpler facade.

however, these are things you could do: use siding, extend the porch to the right, use simpler wood columns, don't use curved windows/door transoms, remove the extra bits of roof eave in front of all the gables, change the window muntins to a simpler pattern (4 over 4 instead of the 6 over 6 upstairs/9 over 9 downstairs). Add a rough stone basement/foundation. Use a different siding (like board and batten) on the garage than the main house. Use less formal shutters. Use one window where there are 2 - simpler.
May 11, 2013 at 7:41pm     
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buigirl
Thanks-all good suggestions! Yes it is frustrating to be stuck with this, but we are in a market where the builders have more control over what is built than we'd like :( Trying to make the best of an ok house in a really good location.
May 11, 2013 at 7:48pm   
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Kevin Patrick O'Brien Architect, Inc.
Modern Farmhouse is a great look and the "bones" of this spec house should work based on the suggestions in the post above. The thing to keep in mind is "simplicity" and no excessive detail. Also, window grid patterns are "minimal" and are vertical proportions.( See photos). If shutters are used they are simple barn plank style not usually louvered and sized to actually "work" to cover the window! The best way to approach this "look" is to think like a utilitarian farmer building his home, he would do things simple, economical and functional. And yes, no arch windows! Good luck and enjoy...
May 11, 2013 at 8:07pm     
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Kevin Patrick O'Brien Architect, Inc.
Example Modern Farmhouse Style
May 11, 2013 at 8:07pm     
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judianna20
May 12, 2013 at 6:22pm     
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Kevin Patrick O'Brien Architect, Inc.
@judyg, I agree no shutters, but if they want them the simple barn plank style is what I was thinking.
May 12, 2013 at 7:17pm     
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Kevin Patrick O'Brien Architect, Inc.
Note in all of our photo examples the window grids are "vertical" proportions and very wide, minimal look! Cool....
May 12, 2013 at 7:19pm   
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Kevin Patrick O'Brien Architect, Inc.
Also looking back at the spec house they are starting with, I would remove that small roof portion that "bisects" horizontally the gable end walls!
May 12, 2013 at 7:21pm   
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buigirl
buigirl Ok we photoshopped our original image- will still need to fix door transom and door color, still thinking slightly different posts, not sure which grill pattern. What do you think? I wonder if we need 3 windows on the left garage. The house is in a fairly dense neighborhood, but it backs up to a very green woods with giant trees and greenery - so basically backed by a wall of green, unlike the picture. House is still brick. Trying to decide on keeping brick, all siding, or some combination. I love some board and batten, just not sure where to put it.
May 12, 2013 at 7:22pm     
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Kevin Patrick O'Brien Architect, Inc.
Looking much better! Good job. I think I would change that vent to a rectangle instead of an arch top. And the barge (gable) overhang should be tight to the wall like the photo examples we showed. Most builders get "heartburn" when I show them that minimal overhang! They talk about wall protection etc. Just show them the photos and tell them that's what you want! Regarding wall cladding, I'm a real fan of fiber cement "board & batten" and if you want the clean modern farmhouse I wouldn't jump between wall materials! Look again at the pics we provided and discuss options with your "team". Think simple!
May 12, 2013 at 7:29pm   
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buigirl
Thanks! Yes we'll also be changing the vent and either minimizing the overhang or adding decorative beam under the overhang.
May 12, 2013 at 7:32pm     
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Kevin Patrick O'Brien Architect, Inc.
@buigirl, I didn't see any brick on your original uploaded photo? Or did I miss something? And posts should be simple square 6x6 no detail. I know this all sounds clean and bland and it might scare your team, but trust the photos and stay true to your vision. Also, be aware Modern Architecture does not rely on any mouldings or decoration to cover up or distract the eye! That means scale, proportion and how materials and details work become VERY important! BTW I would keep the three windows as drawn on your photoshop elevation.
May 12, 2013 at 7:39pm   
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buigirl
Yes the whole thing is planned in white pointed brick right now, which is very popular in our area. I have to be careful not to do something too crazy for the neighborhood (always thinking resale :) ). I am not so much into formal "modern" architecture, but I really like more clean lines and am particular about proportions. I am not sure I can get away with 100% board and batten, so I was thinking either just vertical siding or a combination of vertical and horizontal, all painted a soft white. In real life the house in the picture is a bit yellow white and brick-ugh.
May 12, 2013 at 7:48pm   
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Kathryn Peltier Design
What would you think (asking Kevin, here, too) of doing the board and batten in one of these places: 1) the garage or 2) the main gable wall (i.e. the front door wall and second story). Do you think that would be too much mixing?
May 12, 2013 at 8:34pm     
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Kevin Patrick O'Brien Architect, Inc.
@buigirl & Kathryn, it's all good! My approach to this Modern Farmhouse style is "simplicity"! Stopping and starting wall cladding materials can get very tricky! HARD to do this in this forum format (I do this for a living) seeing inside and outside corners and how to stop & start brick, horiz. And/or vert. board & batten can drive you crazy! Almost too many options! That's why I advise "less is more" with this "look"! Trust the photos we provided. In regards to "brick", painted white it can work, then I would use ONE other wall cladding with the brick.
May 13, 2013 at 7:03am     
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buigirl
Just wanted to say thank you - we haven't finalized our design but here is what it looks like now- we changed the roof pitch from 12/12 to 12/14 and I like it much better. Now we are just trying to decide on color - all white or light french gray with white under porch.
June 7, 2013 at 8:31pm     
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Kevin Patrick O'Brien Architect, Inc.
I was wondering how you were doing! Looks like you have been busy! Only input from me would be simplify the post to beam connection (I would remove the knee brackets) the window proportions are nice and vertical! Cool!! Thanks for sharing!
June 7, 2013 at 8:58pm   
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Kevin Patrick O'Brien Architect, Inc.
Also, you might look at adding window muntins to the front entry door system? Only horizontals on sidelites and only verticals on transom? Also, this entry door should be built as a "unit" not a door with windows around it.
June 7, 2013 at 9:27pm   
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Kevin Patrick O'Brien Architect, Inc.
Also, you might look at adding window muntins to the front entry door system? Only horizontals on sidelites and only verticals on transom? Also, this entry door should be built as a "unit" not a door with windows around it.
June 7, 2013 at 9:27pm   
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Kevin Patrick O'Brien Architect, Inc.
Looks like I'm "stuttering" again!
June 7, 2013 at 9:28pm   
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Kevin Patrick O'Brien Architect, Inc.
Regarding color, I'm partial to "white on white" for modern farmhouse style. You can play around with options as things progress. Enjoy....
June 7, 2013 at 9:33pm   
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mveasey
Maybe google Princess Margaret showhome 2012 from Canadian House and Home. They did a farmhouse interpretation that turned out beautiful.
June 7, 2013 at 9:39pm     
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Kathryn Peltier Design
Hi buigirl: I like the elevation! I vote for white for a very classic look. Then you can add some accessories in either black or Charleston green (I think I may have mentioned it before: that very black-green). Nice job!
June 8, 2013 at 6:45am     
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Timberlane Inc.
Love the idea of board and batten shutters on this home. It will most certainly give it a country/rustic feel. At Timberlane, we have a variety of types and styles for our Board and Batten shutters along with 24 standard colors. We also have the ability to custom match any color, if you do not prefer one of ours. Take a look at our profile and visit our website for more info regarding our Board and Battens! http://www.timberlane.com/resource-center/ordering-support-mat/types-styles-shutters/board-batten/#.UboPjeeG3Ic
June 13, 2013 at 11:29am   
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