Updating exterior?
julietuck
May 15, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Any thoughts on how to improve the appearance of our home are much appreciated!
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decoenthusiaste
First thought is to remove all the clumpy , work-intensive hedges so your home can be seen - new gardens without shrubbery are in order. You might look into xeriscaping for your area - it is basically just low-maintenance and low-water planting and can be designed with plants native to your area that tolerate a bit of neglect without dire consequences. Consider a paint color that will either help your home stand out from the surrounding greenery, like yellow, or blend in, like pale green or taupe, tan, brown. Window boxes would be a nice touch across the front windows too.
May 15, 2013 at 10:50am     
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julietuck
Thanks! We're planning to do landscaping after we do the siding, windows and roof and that is definitely an idea we'll keep in mind!
May 15, 2013 at 10:58am   
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Aegean Designing Whims
I actually like your landscaping. Maybe add something to the very front on the left. And a few flowers in spring and summer. Chrysteen
May 15, 2013 at 11:09am   
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Margo
I too like the landscaping!! It is hard to tell what condition the siding, roof, etc. is in from a photo, but at first glance the only thing I would do is paint the shutters.
May 15, 2013 at 11:19am     
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libradesigneye
You seem to have a fairly high foundation below your siding, so you could explore getting some red brick to match chimney or even better - local gray ashlar pattern / long brick in gray tones to clad those spaces. The red brick chimney is working with the red door well.

Unlike decoenthusiaste, I'm a shrub fan at foundations, they look good year round and every home needs some grounding there - though I would stop scupting them into shapes and hope some of them merge for grooming. Some need to be cut down a bit more and I might wave sculpt the tops as they grow together but you have a lot of good things to work with there. Tearing everything out to start over would be a mistake in my book, but it would be nice to layer in some new bronze foliage between shrubs and front of bed. I'd rather spend $ on path lighting or landscape lighting so I can put it on display for a party.

Back to house - boxing out your columns a bit more with trim at top and bottom would be a positive step as would high contrast shutter colors. Your shutters seem to be longer than the windows and trimmed out around a decorative panel below - a good place for a window box! You have great windows, so you can even do a contrasting sash color when you paint. You've a darling home with classic style.

For this style home, I think the white house against the greenery is really classic and terrific. I would just punch up the shutter color with a glossy black, replace the house numbers, porch lantern and entry light post with something updated yet classic (or mask and get out my high heat spray paint) and bask in admiring my new window boxes. {tip real window box enthusiasts get through winter with silk plants in theirs for filler}
May 15, 2013 at 11:21am   
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julietuck
Do you have any thoughts on bigger windows, changing the entry (from white-painted brick to stone, changing the overhang and columns) and/or a deep plum colored front door? Thanks for all the input!!
May 15, 2013 at 11:46am   
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Margo
If you are looking for bigger windows, I could see a bay window where the set of windows are next to the entrance. I guess it depends which rooms are where the windows are.
May 15, 2013 at 12:36pm   
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libradesigneye
Bigger windows would be wonderful. Stick with the paired double hungs and just let them get taller so they suit your interiors. I wouldn't do any bays or expensive fixes, just get these to 60" tall and consider adding a third window for added width at the gable if it was a public room like a breakfast room or dining room or even a master bedroom. This advice is for standard 8' ceilings. If you have taller ceilings, write back, because then you could add transoms above. Std headers are at 6'8" so 5' high windows allow you to still use the wall in front nicely - if you want to put in a window seat anywhere, this is also a good base height for the window so the seat can sit just a little lower and you will have room for trim, etc.
May 15, 2013 at 12:49pm   
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julietuck
The rooms behind the 3 sets of windows are bedrooms, none of them are the master. The siding is original (1960s) cedar plank siding hat has seen better days. I absolutely can't stand the thing below the windows on the front of the house and want very much to make the windows bigger and get rid of those things. Thanks for the info!! I don't have a green thumb so the window boxes are probably not in the cards for me.

Thanks for all the input! I really want to change the look of the house and update it to give it a more current, newer feel. All additional ideas are welcomed and much appreciated!
May 15, 2013 at 1:44pm   
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Sundeleaf Painting
Can you take a couple more photos "close up" of your home so I can get a better idea of color ideas? So the siding is original. If you do paint, just make sure your painter follows all the wonderful EPA laws...even if you do it yourself. My guess is there is lead paint on one of those layers of paint. Be careful removing it...especially if there are children there.

But your home has a lot of potential. Are you looking at adding COLOR or keeping it neutral? Does the inside have color?
May 15, 2013 at 1:48pm   
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libradesigneye
Julie, if you want a newer cottage feel, consider painting your siding and trim (which, being cedar, will have worn beautifully - you just have to power spray clean it and let it dry out before you paint again). Maybe add architectural shingle siding in your gables over the cedar for a little higher charm factor.

Test camel colors for your house - like sw basket beige http://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/color/find-and-explore-colors/paint-colors-by-family/SW6143-basket-beige/ Use the lighter tone two shades up for trim, fascia, window sashes - called softer tan. Go for black shutters in the black - brown family, like sw black fox. Keep your red front door - this will still be classic but the light trim on the camel body will make it feel fresh, of today. You can go to a more pow red color, or just put another coat on the classic color you have now. Add a black door knocker and some black planters on your entry porch and wowsa!

Camel is classic, not as cutesy cottage or coastal as pastel yellow or aqua, which are other options you might consider, but it works great with red. If you change out the gables, they can use the cedar siding (which i think is amazing i found cedar on mine too when i went to power wash and it lasts like iron - everyone is jealous of us) to rework what is now below those windows you dislike. Consider new shutters that are equal to the width of the window they would cover - post a shutter query separately and all the shutter nazis (that term here is affectionate) can tell you about classic shutter hardware and width and styles - but stay traditional to be true to your sweet gem.
May 15, 2013 at 5:39pm   
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julietuck
Wow...I live the idea of French doors and mini balcony. They would be terrific for the back of the house off the master br.

I've added a few more pics of the house as requested. :-). Thanks again for the ideas and feedback!
May 15, 2013 at 7:36pm   
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colonialgp
Gosh, I like it just the way it is. Reminds me of those old Better House and Gardens house plans from the 1960's.
May 15, 2013 at 7:43pm     
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Nancy Walton
Be careful when removing mature shrubs from foundation. The roots are well established, and their removal can cause drainage issues if you have a full basement. You would probably need to have French drains installed, so an engineer is called for, as well as permitting to tie into storm drains, IF they're not (French drains) already in place. If they are, just ignore what I said, but you would still have to make sure the roots have not clogged the drains, in any case.
May 15, 2013 at 7:51pm   
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Nancy Walton
Are you removing the siding, or are you just going to be painting it? Do you know what material it is made of? It looks like cedar, but in the 60s they were beginning to make shingles out of other materials that looked like cedar, such as asbestos, so if you're not sure what the material is, I would have an expert evaluate it before you tear into it.
May 15, 2013 at 7:55pm   
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libradesigneye
omg - not only do you have cedar, but you have the most charming architectural shingle siding treatment.

colonialgp i was totally with you but i read what our homeowner wrote about what she hoped to do.

I can see that the shingles need painting and agree that the panels between the windows would be better as bigger glass. Here's the only thing about french doors and balconies - doors are about triple window cost, so it is really great to save the fancy ones for the rooms you spend the most time in. You may not have little ones to worry about balconies over, but you might someday or your buyer might. I recommend you save the french door budget for your family room or master bedroom. Price new windows from someone who will work with the new thermal options but don't let anyone talk you out of paired/twin double hung / single hung windows with divided light grilles.

The creamy white is really pretty - ben moore has a color like it called collingwood that one of the other posters clued me into. Trick is with your earth toned roof that you do need gray or platinum for the shutters instead of black - look at sw dovetail if you want to test a pairing with collingwood like that. From here I can see you have mahogany doors. The other thing worth pricing is a single wider front door with big glass sidelights - your header is already across a larger opening. You can use obscure glass like the first option, no glass like the second, though for security reasons I probably wouldn't go as far as the lovely dutch door in the third. Fourth pic is the style of door and sidelights I'd love to see on your house and demonstrates what your house number in large enough letters (though yours should be cursive) could do for the front of your entry gable. Hope they inspire!

[houzz=Dwellings]
[houzz=Savvy Interiors]
[houzz=before and after exterior home]
[houzz=Century Home]
May 15, 2013 at 8:57pm   
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julietuck
Nancy, Thank you for the info about the shrubs - I NEVER would have thought about that and definitely will be careful about that now! I'm sure it's cedar and we're thinking of removing it and replacing it with a fiber cement siding like Hardie. I feel like it would give the house a cleaner, more updated look and would make it more marketable if and when we decide to sell. Other houses in our area are doing Hardie (I've attached a couple of pics of homes near ours) and we generally like the look but don't want to do the same things they've done, plus our house is quite a bit smaller.

libradesigneye, thanks so much for all the input and ideas! I love the idea of 1 door with sidelights and obscure glass and the spelled out house number is very cool! Do you think if we kept the house nearly the same color and did a charcoal shutter, that we could do a dark plum colored front door? We're thinking of getting a new roof so the roof color could possibly be changed to coordinate...
May 16, 2013 at 6:54am   
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julietuck
Woops... Here you go...
May 16, 2013 at 6:58am   
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julietuck
And 2 more...
May 16, 2013 at 7:07am   
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Nancy Walton
Yes to the charcoal and plum, I think it would be a nice combination!
May 16, 2013 at 8:58am   
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libradesigneye
Yes! Gray and plum would be darling. Love that combo!

As a builder from a family of builders, let me implore you - please don't change your cedar siding unless someone qualified has determined it has rotted from standing water somewhere. You can't afford to possibly replace it with something as high quality that will last as long - that cedar is literally going to outlive you and may outlive the next owner of your obviously vintage (guessing 55?) year old home. Nature can do what we can't do with manmade materials in this case. Your neighbors homes have obviously just been added onto so they had to do new siding.

The thing that will get you the look you want and makes these look updated isn't the siding but the oversized trim compared to yours, and trim is much less expensive to replace because it doesn't affect the integrity of the building envelope (a much smaller job materials and labor too). Study the front door pictures with the trim info in mind and then go look at exterior pictures on houzz with the trim in mind. Do you follow younghouselove.com? it is a great site - they just beefed up their porch columns so you can search for that post and see what I mean.

Just painting the house you have is going to make a big difference! If you hate the panels beneath the windows, but can't do windows now, get new shorter shutters the height of the windows you have and tear off that trim panel, replace with siding that nearly matches yours - someone still sells that in cedar. That alone would solve your bugaboo and be really cute!
May 16, 2013 at 10:07am     
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
You have a beautiful home but it is being hidden by all those green bubblegum shrubs.. Removing those would be my first recommendation, Opening up your entrance with sweeping beds with a mixture of blooming shrubs ( broadleaf evergreens which are green all year and bloom ) , ornamental grasses, perennials and annuals and planting a small to medium ornamental tree on both sides of the house would add a lot of appeal . I think thesepaint colors would look terrific on the siding you have :
May 16, 2013 at 10:12am     
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julietuck
You are amazing! I never thought of the trim as something that could make such a difference! We actually ARE planning to replace the windows (what we expected to do was to do windows (and shutters), siding, roof and fix up/change the porch. After looking though Houzz, I think i'd like to create an arc in the overhang, lifiting the "ceiling" of the porch, change the brick to a modern stone, do the door idea you suggested, and change the columns to columns with a stone base about 1/3 of the way up and then a square column that tapers to the top. How does that sound?

If we were considering an addition (which we are a few years down the road), would you have a different opinion about changing the siding?

What kind of person would be qualified to give me info on the condition of the cedar?

Another question, maybe for Sundeleaf Painting, if there is lead paint, is it potentially harmful to leave it there? We do have a 1 year old baby so now I'm a little concerned. (Our home inspector missed a lot of things and I'm worried he missed the lead paint as well...) Would leaving the cedar and just painting over it be a bad thing to do if there's lead paint underneath?

Wow...this is really great! I love houzz!! Thanks to all!!
May 16, 2013 at 10:19am   
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julietuck
Sweet Caroline, we have lots of deer in the area. Does this mean we're limited in the types of plants we use? We do plan on doing the landscaping and getting rid of some of what we currently have after the work on the exterior of the house is completed. :-) Thank you!
May 16, 2013 at 10:23am     
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judianna20
My comment is about the windows. If possible, I would prefer to see longer windows 9 over 9 double hung. Absolutely no shutters.

If you can't change the size of the windows, use the panels beneath them to help elongate the look using the window trim paint…like in julietuck's first photo.

May 16, 2013 at 10:25am   
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julietuck
this is something like what i was thinking for teh entryway, but my front door is not centered on the existing gable...

Traditional Exterior by West Linn Kitchen And Bath Fixtures Designer's Edge Kitchen & Bath

May 16, 2013 at 10:56am   
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
julietuck, as far as I know there's nothing a deer won't eat when its hungry and the only sure fire way to deter them is deer proof fencing. Deer are a huge problem here as well. I'm thinking someone would make a fortune if they could make a birth control pill for them. Of course there are plants that they favor less than others so be sure to ask your local garden center or google deer proof plants for your area.
May 16, 2013 at 11:26am   
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julietuck
judyg, why no shutters (assuming we change the windows to long, 9 over 9 double hung)?
May 17, 2013 at 7:19am   
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libradesigneye
omg - you are so close to on the right track - the barrel vault is inspired but I want to recommend a slight right turn on the style points. See
[houzz=Clean Room Addition]
Yes, the photo you pulled is craftsman, but true craftsman details require different window profiles and grills, exposed eaves and rafter tails that you don't have / won't likely ever have all the way around (without stupid spending).

However, what you do have is harder to find, and that is something that can be a really charming traditional cottage style. There are entire vernaculars of cottage - coastal cottage, tudor cottage, modern shingle cottage and on and on. The best example I've found here quickly to show you is the second one below.

Overgrouted stone and red brick can work together on these and they are so much more personal and unique (and a lot more integrated with the existing style story in your home - room sizes, window styles, layout, and so forth). If your budget is small it can be gotten and if your budget is big it can be gotten because the basic alphabet for it is already there in your home today.

No offense - it was an improvement - but if you look close the house above is not a high end house because they only changed the style of the entry and did not integrate it with the house (the door is not craftsman, the other windows are not, the chimney doesn't have stone, there are not exposed rafter tails and so forth). Compare it to your neighborhood photos and you can see it isn't as nice. Since you are in a very nice neighborhood / high end area, if you can stick to a architectural style that works with the basic strengths we are all oooing and aaahhing over then you can get a very high end look for less.

Look how this gable has the door under an eyebrow, with windows to side and above. You can imagine how that could be done in the space you have an add sf to your home at the same time.

See how the trim, shingles and stonework are slightly different than your neighborhood craftsman mcmansions - but also really charming in a good way? Go look at the 26 pictures of this second house and see how borrowing just a few of these incredibly high end ideas would do to add charm to your existing house when you rework your porch or do your addition. The first photo is cottage with a better gable portico and the second is the whole shebang - reworking your entry in a major way.

If I knew more about your long term plans I could help you more with whether updating the entry now is the right thing to do, but consider this: Would adding some high ceilinged entry space under your porch gable (not the whole thing, about 2/3 the depth) mess up the flow of rooms inside or could it actually make them better? Will you want a second level and need room for stairs to be freed up? Second floor space is usually less expensive than more single level - have to do roof but not foundation, and it allows you to raise ceilings below the new addition, no loss of land.

You might love these results even more and your home would be a lot more valuable when you were finished with the work. You might need a local designer to help you execute this well or you can keep studying on houzz and collecting images / searching pro galleries until you find a good builder with one of these already in his portfolio. I will add a few more in this vernacular to a new ideabook for you to come and look at - go look at them all and see if you love the cottage style as much as the craftsman.

[houzz=Robinson's Bay Residence]
May 17, 2013 at 12:23pm   
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julietuck
So would I be destroying the architectural integrity of the home if I construct an entry like the one I posted? I'm honestly not even sure what signifies a "cottage" syle home versus a "craftsman" home... I've looked at a few pics and will do more looking over the weekend, but I feel a little bit lost now, even despite your fantastic detailed and well-reasoned comments. I thank you so much for all of your time and energy - I am so very grateful!
May 17, 2013 at 1:19pm   
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libradesigneye
You can get to a craftsman julie, but it takes a lot more than just one entry to get it. Don't be lost - if you guys love craftsman, go for it entirely. Thought you might like to see another genre with the same arch entry - above left but different detailing that would maybe tie your existing elements together better (pair of round columns). Craftsman has been so hot in revival that all builders do (sometimes bad) knockoffs now. Don't want you to get a bad knockoff - you can get a gorgeous good one too - it is perfectly appropriate for your home if it is your favorite.
May 17, 2013 at 2:35pm   
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judianna20
Shutters are installed on windows to protect them from the elements. Should be working shutters and cover the glass. Otherwise, the shutters are just there for decoration…why? The windows, mullions should be important enough on their own.

If/when you replace them (a major investment), make the windows work for your house…which is very nice.

May 18, 2013 at 4:39pm   
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