Help needed for new patio and entrance door!
June 27, 2013 in Design Dilemma
This is a 100+ yr. old house. We want to replace this deck and door since everyone uses this entrance instead of the main one on the other side of the house. (The white door is the entrance to my parents apartment. We would like something with wider steps, a railing of some sort along the steps and it needs to fit the era of the house. Any pictures would be welcome as we are having trouble imaging how changes would look. The room you see through the sliding glass door is a sun porch with south windows.
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Jeannie Nguyen
If you're free at 11am PST today we're going to have a live Houzz chat about curb appeal! Look out for it in the Design Dilemmas, it'll be called Houzz Live: Curb Appeal. It might help you decide on what to do with your space!
0 Likes   June 27, 2013 at 10:32AM
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I would classify your house as a four square. I think a simple square porch and a door with sidelight would be appropriate. Tangle Town Prairie Home, American Four Square - Front Exterior, and Traditional Exterior are good example in masonry and wood. You will have to take into account that the roof slants a bit, but you can minimize it with the roof of the porch, which could be flat, hip or with a small decorative gable as in the examples.

I would paint the entire house the same color and remove the too small shutters on the second floor.

Good luck!
0 Likes   June 27, 2013 at 11:15AM
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Alma, you have a couple of issues, which you are already aware of. In terms of code, you have 4 or more steps and the walking surface is 30" or greater above the adjacent grade or walking surface, so you are right to address these issues. The roof is a little funky in this area. In addition to your ideas, I would verify with lot coverage and zoning if you would be allowed to cover this space with a roof. If the steps were to pull forward or the deck was to become deeper from front to back, I would suggest that you hire a design professional in your area to make certain that all your proposed changes comply with local codes in your area. Ignore the colors and the roof pitch (and center the stairs) here is one idea for you to consider (pic) and another (ignore the open truss at the end, your roof will not be as tall or as wide)--the railings don't comply in these pics, either. I haven't seen all sides of your home, but I think the brick in this one area is out of place. I feel the brick could be removed, and reused for building out the plinths of the columns over a deck roof.The roof on your house appears to be done with asphalt shingle roofing, which when installed at less than a 4:12 pitch is usually not warranted. If you are thinking about adding a roof over the deck, the slope will match the existing pitch, and you will be extending a similar condition. Work with your design team, perhaps consider using standing seam metal roofing for the lower portion, which could be warranted, and last twice as long, when installed properly. Happy Houzzing.
0 Likes   June 27, 2013 at 11:15AM
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Another option might be to remove the brick and recess the entry in the sun porch about four feet. This would make it more of a mud room or foyer and you could add space for coats. The new porch could still look like the example I previously posted, but back from the street more.
2 Likes   June 27, 2013 at 11:24AM
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The roof makes just changing out the sliding door for an entry door with sidelights kind of problematic. Since the roof slants down on the right, it will never really look right. Maybe that can inform our solution?

What if you put an entry door on the left of the existing opening, at 36", then set a new post, and to the right, used borrowed brick from another covered up area of the house (behind the stairs/ under porch / could replace with any color?) to fill in under a new white double hung window immediately to the right of the door/ other side of a new post/trim? That double hung window should be the height of the ones that look out over the path to parents door. Maybe replace them at the same time so the sunroom entry comes out consistent. Do not use siding here.

The sun porch is going to become a real entry one way or another, if only by use. That leaves the "peak" nearly centered over the new door and fools the eye a bit.

Then you could do a train rack supported gable "trellis roof" over the new front door at eave height / in front of the existing eave and cheat the center of the peak to the center of your new door. Let the gable follow the slope on the right, but be symmetrical to that on the left so the eye reads "entry here" The eye will never notice the angle again. The trainrack wood brackets would set up high on the brick immediately on either side of the door.

Your light fixture needs to be eliminated on the right, to move down on the left (fix this before brickwork done) and a house number would also signal the change.

You'll need a new porch deck - drop this from the door, so the little 1/4 step down is from the entry door, not from the porch to the first stair. The porch needs to be full depth of the flower bed and split the stairs into two sets of three with a big square landing on the left front corner at a 90 degree turn. Start the stairs from the right running parallel to the front wall of the house in front of the new deck and front door, then hit a square landing the width of the stairs and head straight on up from there. That will give you decent depth all across the deck. about 2/3 width porch and 1/3 width stair of this overall elevation is probably the right proportion to determine your stair width. (about 10' and 5' ?)

Finally, paint parents screen door and trim and entry a charcoal gray. Look at sw software. Paint your new trim white like the wall adjacent, and consider an entry door with glass divided light on the top half. Paint your new entry door a distinctive mid-tone gray [test sw network gray] so it is different from anything else on the house. Use black railings in a classic foursquare style as the teal house above.
0 Likes   June 27, 2013 at 4:20PM
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The images others sent are great. The current room looks like an after thought and is not in relation to the home. It just needs columns and detail like the rest of the house so that it looks like it was always there. The brick needs to go. Just a door is not going to pull it together, but I don't think it would be a major project to blend it in.
0 Likes   June 30, 2013 at 5:23AM
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Jenny Clagett
I would pull the look of the house together by painting all of the trim - windows, gutters, etc. the same color. I would also make sure that the windows and doors are the same style. Right now you have a mish mash of two over two, four over one, etc. The current paint job isn't unified. Different parts are fighting with each other for attention. I would pick a color for the body of the house that compliments the brick or simply paint the brick the same color.
One problem with the sliding door is that it just isn't from the same period of the main house. You can pull the look together by using the same window pane pattern in the new doors. Handrails should also compliment the original house and if there are existing, attractive handrails and railings on the front of the house I would consider replicating them. I would also use porch flooring materials instead of decking materials.
0 Likes   June 30, 2013 at 7:57AM
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It would be helpful to see a pic of the front of the house to see what it looks like. I agree that changing the brick pillars to piers for new columns could work, possibly cluster column type that was popular back then and massive enough to relate the massiveness of the base. Top the brick columns with a substantial concrete cap with a slightly tapered top to allow for good drainage. The base could be higher than normal with short quite massive square cluster columns in the Prairie style, or lower with clustered round Tuscan type columns or Craftsman square clustered columns, or possibly a single tapered elephant foot column.

Either way, I also agree that recessing the entry behind the plane of the pillar bases would be helpful as well and a more formal door and sidelights, even if it means less space for the sunporch. Ask yourself if it is just a mudroom or junk space or through space, or a useable part of your home, distinct from the front or back door? If it is primarily an entry, then a smaller mudroom, possibly totally enclosed with glass, could be functional and give you a nice place to store coats and such.

You might be able to keep the stairs as is, possibly with the addition of a railing or at least a handrail, if you do not change that portion, to keep costs down. You will have to check local regs--sometimes it depends on the cost of the renovations and how much structure you change. If you keep it the same it could be grandfathered in.

As others mentioned, raising the peak of the roof would be a huge improvement because the shed built into the low hip just makes the roof look tacked on and warped. Rather than a flat roof, I would go for a definite gable facing the driveway with enough of a pitch to make it relate to the rest of the roof and building, possibly raising it to allow for good drainage and separation from adjoining roofs. Unfortunately this could be costly, although the area is small. It is important to get the details right too--make sure to have a deep enough architrave/beam supporting the roof with detailing to echo the front entry. It looks terrible with the pillars and beams are not visually heavy enough to support the structure and the detailing is off. Definitely worth hiring a designer with a good grasp of historic houses to do at least a schematic, and keep a close eye on the specs and construction.

Extending a portion over your parent's entrance might be a nice touch to create a bit more sheltered entry--maybe even a pergola to help tie it all together. Painting their door would be a nice touch, maybe with a wreath or signage to let visitors know which door belongs to whom. A little bench or stool might be nice for a place to put stuff while opening the door.

I see you have a back porch too, so there is a lot going on in this portion of your home to work with. If you really wanted to go whole hog, a wrap-around porch could work, shifting the hip to the corner, possibly resolving the corner with a little gazebo type structure, which is more Queen Anne than Foursquare and must be detailed carefully to look right. Or you can just create a sort of clerestory projection over the older rear portion, which might look awkward from the rear. Need more photos to see how the parts work together, and how important it is to you to keep the rear elevation.

Here are some pics of columns types that might work. Also agree that removing the shutters is a good idea.

Antique Homee Style is a great website with original planbooks to give you some ideas. I couldn't quite find what I was looking for--3 colums clustered in the corners, not two. Also a walk around the neighborhood can yield some good ideas and design details. Bring a camera.
0 Likes   June 30, 2013 at 8:24AM
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Perhaps since just off a sunroom, a patio might be welcome. French doors both to the sunroom and to the apartment would unify the look.If a deck would get more use just reconfigure with the steps extending from instead of cut into the deck. Or maybe just a great wide stoop would work for you.
Hollywood Hills Residence
Traditional Deck
Deck Ideas that Work!
0 Likes   June 30, 2013 at 9:14AM
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Thank you everyone for taking the time to send your suggestions. Now I need to ponder it all and decide how much $ I want to spend!!
0 Likes   June 30, 2013 at 2:59PM
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