Can we make our ranch-style house more charming and cottage-y?
coastalboysmom
May 31, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We just bought our first home last year. I really love the cottage style, but not sure how to get there with stucco & brick. We just removed all of the overgrown landscape for a clean slate and exposed the nicely colored brick. We are planning a curved walkway up the center from the street to the door and maybe a white picket fence with arbor. I am not sure if shutters could work on just the left side (not enough room on right). Or if after-market grids would look good (windows are less than 10 yrs old). Overall, I just don't know how to make this rancher really charming on budget. We are planning to repaint and reroof within the next 12 months. Any tips would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
Love the lines of your ranch. I think it can be turned into a masterpiece with a modest budget. Instead of trying to make it something it's not why not go with it's style? Here's a Houzz design that I absolutely adore and I think you can use some of its ideas. New Prairie Style Ranch. You could just paint the stucco brown or have cedar stained a dark brown applied as in the Prairie ranch style . Window trim and garage could be painted a chocolate brown, or even better, you could budget for some great windows and a glass entrance door with wood trim. Since you plan to re-roof a nice blue gray like the one in the Prairie Ranch would look good with the brown. Having your driveway scored with a concrete saw and stained a dark brown or blue gray would be an inexpensive way to upgrade it since its a prominent part of the front yard. As to landscaping the contemporary lines of your house would be complimented by a minimalist style using lots of ornamental grasses, gravel and stone as in the Houzz example below , .The Woods Outback
3 Likes   May 31, 2013 at 1:23PM
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bluenan
Adding a porch will be a great cottage detail that can done when you re-roof. A pergola than spans the front from the garage to the left side of the door will also create a nice entrance and allow more light than a porch. A picket fence and arbor are definitely in keeping with cottage style. A carriage garage door would make a big impact, as well as a shallow pergola over the garage door. Landscaping is a big part of the cottage look. Change out your front door to a full French of 3/4 French door and select appropriate lighting. I don't think shutters will work on your windows. and window boxes probably won't fit either because of the brickwork.

Ideabook: 20 Ways to Get the Cottage Garden Look

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1 Like   May 31, 2013 at 1:35PM
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coastalboysmom
Thank you for your great ideas! i probably should have said that I preferred a more traditional style to a modern one. When I looked at the images for the "New Prairie Style", I found myself drawn to the Craftman homes...which our house certainly isn't. I don't want to force something that won't work, but I do want to add some charm, whimsy and curb appeal to our home.

Caroline,
I looked at some of the other homes you have commented on and the two below caught my eye. They seem similar to ours, but you suggested more cottage elements for them. I'd love to understand better why you don't think those same things (also suggested by bluenan) would work for our house.
http://www.houzz.com/discussions/494664/Help-decide-color-for-exterior-doors- http://www.houzz.com/discussions/487458/House-exterior-is-so-bare--help-me-beautify

Thank you again for your time and inspiration!
0 Likes   May 31, 2013 at 3:12PM
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Niche for Design
Landscaping will add major charm! Also consider adding shutters- especially on the two front windows.
0 Likes   May 31, 2013 at 3:29PM
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loriskitchen
I love the lines of your house. But you're right. They don't easily lend themselves to the cottage look. If you don't want to work with the sixties look, which is becoming a classic, here are my thoughts. I would paint the stucco white, which would be a nice contrast with the brick. I would install black shutters, a cottage classic.. I would spend the money for nice window boxes, especially the two most prominent ones to the left, and fill them to overflowing with flowers. I would soften the edges of the flowerbeds with dry stack stone as edging, one or two feet high, and curving, so that the sharp angles of house are not so stark. I would edge the walkway with flowers as well, and find a nice place to put a pretty garden bench somewhere on the lawn. And lastly I would paint the front door something rich and inviting, perhaps even a Chinese Red, which would be a nice contrast to the white, the black shutters, but pick up hints of the red in the brick. Hopes that helps. would love to see pictures of what you do!
Lori
1 Like   May 31, 2013 at 4:28PM
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Stamps Design Services
I would lose the shutter idea, how about planter boxes (wth a mix of flowers and trailing plants) then add flowering plants around the front..... knockout roses, hydrangea, stella d'oro lillies and lavender bloom most of the summer, you could also mix some evergreen shrubs and grasses with them as well as a miniature tree or two :-)
0 Likes   May 31, 2013 at 4:50PM
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Stamps Design Services
A picket fence with an arbor, or just the arbor with a climbing flower growing up it would add tons of cottage charm as well :-) (I forgot to add a picture of the stella d'oro lilly)
0 Likes   May 31, 2013 at 4:58PM
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
2dsmomma those homes don't come close to comparing with the long classic ranch style you have. Look closely and you'll see that they are much shorter in length and don't have the excellent lines your home does. The landscape I suggested for those wasn't intended to be cottage , more like rock garden, simple and contemporary and the pergola was to unify two sections of the home that had too much space between them. Of course you could use a pergola to bring the recess you have in line with the other two spaces but it still wouldn't make it cottage. If you made your home into a prairie style ranch it would add so much value to it for very little investment really and if you ever had to sell it you'd be way ahead of the game. It's just a unique style for a ranch which stands out among others. BTW did you notice the two brick pillars with lights on them in front of the entrance of the Prairie Style Ranch ?
1 Like   May 31, 2013 at 5:00PM
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coastalboysmom
Well I am certainly intrigued about the Prairie Style Ranch. I have honestly never heard of it. The pictures I am seeing have a more Craftsman or Arts & Crafts style to them. So that's not really helping me visualize it for our house. I like the idea of painting the stucco a medium brown. And doing the garage door a chocolate color or changing it out to a style like in this first picture. Could we do a narrow pergola over the garage? I do love that look! I like the suggestion of putting one over the space "in between" too, but not sure we could pull off both. I'd like to keep our front door as it is, versus changing or painting it (it is nicely stained now), but if it makes "all the difference", I can be persuaded.
Yes, I like the 2 brick pillars with lights at the entrance. For us, they'd need to be at the sidewalk entrance as we don't have enough space at the front. Please see additional pictures. Lastly, Caroline, do you mind sharing what program do you use for your mock ups? I could use help with the design work. Thank you all!!
0 Likes   May 31, 2013 at 7:34PM
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libradesigneye
I think that the prarie style would entail a lot more changes than have been discussed and that you are a lot closer to cottage-y style with what you have. If you have the budget for a design professional, and you love it, then yes, go prairie. True prairie has a much higher stone or brick element, and tall windows that break the plane of the brick or stone. Often, clerestory / high narrow windows are involved. The style of both your entry door and your garage would need to change and all the light fixtures - that starts to add up. Where you have been headed can be achieved easily. your flowering shrubs and white lanterns definitely reference cottage ranch.

A pale creamy yellow with more white trim at the eave and the new trellis or arbor elements would work well towards that cottage thing - and would set off your entry door nicely. Look at stucco and siding in a tone like http://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/color/find-and-explore-colors/paint-colors-by-family/SW0067-belvedere-cream/ Put crisp white trim across your eaves and fascia. Where you now have the dark blue against the brick needs to be the yellow color, but the trim around the front door should be white with the top element across thickened up to the thickness of trim around the windows.

Add the arbor to your path as it steps off the drive - put up a picket fence and plant cottage garden elements.
0 Likes   May 31, 2013 at 10:09PM
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laurakdesigns
You can transform your home by painting the brick and stucco white. Add black shutters, window boxes and boxwoods. Then fill out with more color in plantings with blue or pink hydrangeas. The picket fence & trellis won't look good with this style house. Best wishes for much happiness in your home! Make it YOURS-- the "60's" or "70's" ranch can be pretty much a clean slate with clean lines so you can incorporate your style!
0 Likes   May 31, 2013 at 11:05PM
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
Here's a look that may be in line with your more traditional tastes. I don't, however, care for the landscape and especially those green bubblegum shrubs. This entry is beautiful.
1 Like   June 1, 2013 at 5:05AM
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
And this one looks a lot like your home
1 Like   June 1, 2013 at 5:08AM
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coastalboysmom
Wow, I really like the way that (Traditional House Remodel) house looks! My husband works in Los Altos, so we may even be able to see it in person. I particularly like the view from the street.
I feel like I should start a new discussion - how do we get from here to there? Our biggest challenge is the entry way. As you can see from the picture, our entry way cannot easily be popped out like the grand entrance of the remodeled house. Is there something we can do to create a more defined entry way w/o a remodel? Also, we really like the brick and don't want to cover it with stone. Is this look still achievable without the stone on the house? We were planning to do our walkways in a buckskin colored flagstone with brick border to tie into the house. Thoughts?
0 Likes   June 1, 2013 at 9:05AM
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
2dsmomma why don't you contact the builder listed on the traditional house remodel ? He may be able to visit and give you some ideas as to what can be done and how much it would cost. I think you can achieve a similar look by adding columns with bricks that match your existing ones. BTW the program I use is Paint .
0 Likes   June 1, 2013 at 10:47AM
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sstarr
Your house could take on a cottage/carriage house style in this way (below). Added eyebrow windows on the hips, and a shed dormer with mullions on the body of the house. New window and garage door style. Add plantings and walkways, to reflect the style.
0 Likes   June 1, 2013 at 6:55PM
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sstarr
Here, shown on your site...
0 Likes   June 1, 2013 at 7:03PM
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Fred S
Not sure I would do it, but to give you a cost/ practical standpoint, the two gables would be cheap and easy while re-roofing. Especially if you just sided them and maybe put in a fan shaped gable vent. The middle roof remodel is a bit more costly. The slope is too shallow for most roofing. Copper would work. Also a lot of step flashing and potential leak spots around it. Though anything can be done with enough money.
0 Likes   June 1, 2013 at 8:30PM
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sstarr
Here, with copper roofing on the shed dormer....
0 Likes   June 1, 2013 at 8:43PM
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esgdesign
do your house a favor and don't turn it into something that its not! the beauty of a ranch is that it is design "neutral" and you can make slight modifications to suit your taste. the "traditional house remodel" that Sweet Caroline Garden Design shared is a beautiful example of this. "cottage" style conjures up images of gingerbread-style wood shutters, picket fences and a tangle of plantings, which really doesn't seem appropriate for a ranch home.

also, if you aren't already in love with the brick on the house, don't add more to your landscape. I would skip the brick and flagstone walkway idea, and perhaps think of using stone or pavers, much in the same way that the "traditional house remodel" does.

Sweet Caroline Garden Design has some great comments; I would like to reiterate that you should contact the contractor of that home (since he is local for you) and go from there. If he can't help you, he can most certainly point you in the direction of somebody who can. best of luck!!
1 Like   June 1, 2013 at 8:51PM
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coastalboysmom
Thank you for all the comments. This has been really helpful for me in understanding what you can and cannot do. Our plan for creating charm and curb appeal was not to invest a lot of money (got enough in already) nor make the house something it is not, but to bring out the best of what we have. I guess I just needed to understand what that was and where we could go. New paint, landscaping, hardscaping, roof (and maybe a new garage door) are going to do wonders. Now I am feeling better on what that overall look should be. Thanks again! This is great stuff! Incidentally, I did reach out to the contractor....we'll see where that goes. Cheers!
1 Like   June 7, 2013 at 10:58AM
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ktk1961
If you're really going for a cottagy-look, then I would definitely do the after-market grids to imitate divided lites on the windows. And I would put shutters on the windows on which they will fit. Would probably go lighter on the paint on the door, and change out the light fixtures to something more appropriate for a cottage-style.
0 Likes   June 7, 2013 at 12:02PM
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ktk1961
Hopefully this is a bigger image ...
0 Likes   June 7, 2013 at 12:04PM
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sensiblegal
One note on window flower boxes, especially with the overhanging eaves, is that they will need watering constantly. Rain will seldom get to the boxes unless it is raining almost sideways. I have the same type of eaves and flower boxes are too much hassle for me. I can't stand having to water plants and having water little flower boxes is just something I do not have time for. Of course, everyone is different and this may be something you enjoy doing. I just wanted to point it out in case you hadn't considered it.

I think your house is beautiful. I most like the Prairie Ranch House suggestions above and think that would be the easiest, least expensive way to update the exterior. I agree that changing the blue paint to a deeper, warmer color would really increase the charm. Changing the garage door to a warmer color might be good too, just so it isn't so bright-white. I think the door is nice the way it is.
0 Likes   October 29, 2014 at 10:11AM
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rubyloves2shop
Some simple things like adding fascia board, wider trim around windows and a picket fence all in white would give more cottage feel. Planting lots of flowering plants of different heights and colors especially along the walkway and hanging baskets of flowers also says cottage.
0 Likes   October 29, 2014 at 10:47AM
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moogers
Old post!
0 Likes   October 29, 2014 at 5:29PM
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Emily Hurley
It's totally fine to comment on old posts. Sometimes you get some awesome after photos. :) Any updates, Coastalboysmom?
0 Likes   October 29, 2014 at 5:46PM
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coastalboysmom
Yes! I have been meaning to post the "after" photo. Thank you for the encouragement.
3 Likes   October 29, 2014 at 9:57PM
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