Need ideas for boosting curb appeal.
Sol Sanders
July 6, 2013
My husband and I have trouble deciding what to do to improve the curb appeal of our house. We've talked about getting new stairs with a porch, painting the trim a different color, chopping down or moving the bushes, getting a new door...but we have done absolutely NOTHING since we bought it 4 years ago. This is mainly because we just don't know what will work. Since our budget is limited now, we find ourselves over thinking everything, afraid we'll spend money in the wrong places. We will be getting a new roof soon (thinking black) and for now the house will stay white. Your feedback/ideas are very much appreciated.
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judianna20
Some Greek Revival style going on, but it has been altered severely. :>)

I love the fencing. I would put new lower level windows, new front stairs, landscaping and a different color trim on my "to do" list.

Maybe this picture could help.

    Bookmark   Thanked by Sol Sanders    July 6, 2013 at 1:39PM
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Sol Sanders
The windows are awkward in the downstairs unit. I think I got some good ideas on this website. We like the fence too and I think it's making sense to use black on the trim. I've never liked the brown and beige door.
    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 4:23PM
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carly4
The stairs need to be reconfigured. I would also paint the door.
    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 4:35PM
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hyweld
Smaller spiral staircase in the right hand corner
    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 4:37PM
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njmomma
The stairs need a landing.
    Bookmark   Thanked by Sol Sanders    July 6, 2013 at 4:41PM
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njmomma
pic
1 Like    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 4:42PM
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njmomma
I would not go black on the roof "heat, hot", I think gray would be a better color.
    Bookmark   Thanked by Sol Sanders    July 6, 2013 at 4:44PM
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jahrkid2
Add flowers, it's so dull add color. That makes everything look WAY better.
    Bookmark   Thanked by Sol Sanders    July 6, 2013 at 5:48PM
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lkg1984
So much potential!
It looks like your house had a front porch that was walled in, and that's what created that flat front. With the stairs so narrow and dark-toned, it all feels very vertical. Look for ways to add horizontals - maybe flower shelves under the windows. And pick a pretty color for your front door.
Also -- it would cost money -- but perhaps rethink the stairway, going wider, adding a landing and maybe a turn. Wouldn't be a bad idea to add a little porch roof over the door.
Have fun!
Personally, I don't care for such dark trim on a white house, as it outlines the windows and makes them look smaller. The downspout should be the color of the house to make it blend in.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by Sol Sanders    July 6, 2013 at 7:50PM
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houssaon
If you move the door to the far right, you should have enough room for a porch and then you could build a staircase that goes sideways and turns on a landing. A smaller mirror version of this: Rear view of the homes screened porch and deck from the backyard. Outdoor Entertaining & Exterior Farmhouse Remodel, Chadsworth Cottage, Rear Porch Exterior Stairs. Scaled down version of this: Alamo Exterior. Imagine this with a flight of stairs: Exterior Front Entry, but again a mirror version. Here is another picture for inspiration: Lake Coweta Cottage.

I agree that a black roof is not a good idea, gray would be better.
    Bookmark   Thanked by Sol Sanders    July 6, 2013 at 8:12PM
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mathomson5
Because you said your budget was limited, first paint the front door your favorite color. See Benjamin Moore or other paint company brochures for exterior color combinations if you are challenged with choosing two colors that complement the white. Any shade of brick red is always a good choice, but white, black or a warm gray works, too. Paint your stairs white, except for the treads; keep the treads dark to hide the dirt and scratches.

The color you choose for the roof is a fourth color. Your house has a nice contemporary feel, with traditional elements. A new roof could be metal. If it is insulated well on the inside, directly underneath the roofing material, the dark color may not affect the transfer of heat and cold. An architect may be able to identify combination products that would reduce costs rather than hiring both a roofer and an insulator. Dark charcoal gray sounds nice with black and white, and might age more gracefully than all black, as well as mimic the asphalt shingles on other older homes, or the grout on the brick house next door. When you replace your roof, consider extending the roof to the front of the building. It might be less expensive than you think and give your house more presence in competition with its neighbors. You could add a Victorian detail at the peak at this time if you also repeated similar elements at least two more times in the front. A multi-colored stained glass window with squares on the top half of the front door would draw the eye to the front door, but a bright color would have the same effect for less money. You could also consider using more than one color on the door, outlining shapes to see if that would emphasize the top floor as the main point of entry.

I agree that establishing stronger shapes for the lower windows and a horizontal line would help. If you cannot replace the lower windows consider framing them such that they appear taller, and then painting the siding below the window with a gray or black to mimic the look of the windows above. You could also install shutters that are always in the closed position on what will look like the bottom half of a taller window. These shutters come in colored plastic and do not fade for 5-10 years depending on the sun exposure. See also the window box idea below.

I am not sure if you need to move the front door to have a "porch". The space you have is large enough for two small chairs or a 3 foot by 18" deep bench on one end and another chair. You could also conserve resources by beginning to build the structural part of a new porch, and then later add the railing and decking. - to stretch out the cost. Without the decking, it's not a porch: it's a sun visor for the lower windows.

I wonder if the stairs could be repurposed by moving them out further from the house, or angling 90 degrees after building a larger landing. I agree that a landing 1/2 to 2/3 down the stairs would be awesome, but that is more expensive. You might be able to break up that long line of stairs with some clever landscaping as well, such as a tall tree that shields the porch in summer and provides shade for the front yard. A too big tree will make your house look smaller, but a tall slender one that tops out at the attic would emphasize its verticality. A panel of a trellis or a flower window box that extends from the bottom of the lower windows to the ground might also make the windows read larger. These could be constructed of exterior grade plywood and faced with a trellis, then painted white or black. If they do not sit on the ground, they should last quite a while --only the top part would be used for plants and the rest would be an enclosed box. Flowers in these lower window boxes could include trailing vines, while the ones on the upper could be more contained. If the porch is too narrow for window boxes, flower boxes could also be placed along the porch railing.

Four years is not too long to plan for such an expensive project; consult a realtor if this is not your forever home to be sure that the investment will be a good one. It's cute the way it is, and many buyers are looking for homes that need improvement. When friends and family are entertained, having a good plan in hand is as good as having it done. Everyone has an opinion, particularly about paint colors. Indecision is an effective budget strategy while saving for the choice with maximum impact. Or your next home. Good luck!
2 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by Sol Sanders    July 6, 2013 at 9:04PM
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nwduck
I'm not certain if this would just further emphasize the long staircase or not, but could you add risers and paint them the house color? I found the open look a little disconcerting going this high. You could test it out by just sticking up some white paper as "pretend" risers to see what you think. Perhaps you could build a two-step landing the size of the concrete pad, then go up the staircase. Add tall, narrow shrubs each side of the stair closer to the house to connect the door with grounded elements.
    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 10:09PM
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mveasey
Your idea about changing the trim colour is good. The contrast right now is very strong and it looks too stark. It needs softening. Landscaping with some tall, skinny evergreens,bushes and flowers will help tremendously.
    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 10:59PM
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brickln
I think the stairs would look better centered to the house. On a limited budget, I would switch the door with the window on the right, add another landing centered at the top of the first floor window line, then go straight down. I wouldn't use vertical railing- horizontal, Chippendale or something similar. I'd white this all out but if you like the bold house trim, keep it the way it is and paint the door red or some other bright color. The drain spout needs to be the same color as the house, though. If it's in the budget, I'd change the gutters to white to give you more color options for the trim.

For curb appeal on a budget, I'd try to give the front a courtyard feel. Hang a plant under the top landing. You could add a trellis that matches the railing under one side of the second landing, and build bench seating under the stairs. Maybe add awnings over the door and double window on the first floor.
    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 5:52AM
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Jocelyn wishlist
I would go with black red and white. so paint your front door red, trim white to blend and add black window boxes to windows on the left side of the house fill with red flowers. put in a small ground patio of rock on left side and place black or red adirondack chairs. and set plants around in pretty pots. simple yet inviting. remove small shrub/tree. Have fun!
1 Like    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 6:04AM
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brickln
Could you swap out the two upstairs side windows with the one's on the first floor unit? At least the main front windows would match, and there'd still be room to relocate the stairs. You could take a third window from the right of the door and both floors would be even. I'd replace the one next to the door with a smaller one so the door placement looks less of an afterthought.

If you add a porch on the second floor and run it the whole width of the house, the first floor windows won't be noticeable, though. I think a smaller porch with a balcony look would go well with the fence.
    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 7:28AM
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apple_pie_order
Have you settled on a budget?

It looks like your stairs are about as steep as they can be already, so you'd need to add a turn to change that. Furniture moving would then be difficult, unless you have a back stair which is easier. Adding a larger porch would block the light to the downstairs unit's windows.

How about landscaping out front? Move the single bush to a corner, add some blooming plants. Is it realistic to think you'd sit out there if you had more privacy?
    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 8:30AM
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njmomma
I also would go black, red and white, but I would paint the trim black around the windows, red door, white house, gray roof. Black window boxes a must, filled with red flowers. Bring the eye up. Paint first then buy, paint is cheap, no harm done.

Paint railings black. Get rid of the front bush. Make a large planing box under the lower windows. Fill with Knock Out Roses in Red.

Plant Hostas at the fence.

Two potted plants at the gate.

This is budget friendly. (above)

Awning at the door if it allows.

Inspirational pics. below
    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 8:32AM
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njmomma
red knock out roses
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by Sol Sanders    July 7, 2013 at 8:35AM
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mathomson5
The architectural detail above the door in the picture above is like the ones I have over two bay windows on the side and back of my house which is sort of Federal/Georgian/Colonial. They are not in keeping with the architectural style of my house or this house; but both houses are what I would call "neo-whatever". These metal ceilings are functional, however, but from decade to decade do need to be recaulked which is best down by a specialized roofing pro with a specific product, heated (for sealing metal roof seams). Instead, I would recommend a few layers of wooden molding to make the door stand out more than the window trim. Paint and a little caulk, also replaced as needed is simple DIY. .
1 Like    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 9:30AM
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brickln
Good advice, mathomson. Those awnings are gorgeous but not very budget friendly. When I suggested it, I was thinking or the canvas type that hang on wrought iron poles. The more I look at the house, removing that right window will give space to improve the entryway- but that also might be more than the homeowners want to do right now.
    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 1:09PM
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mckell6
To add curb appeal, first cut the grass, then add some flower bushes along the side walls of the front of the house to add a little color.
    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 1:14PM
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PRO
Lockman Renovations LLC
I definitely agree that the stairs have to go and be replaced with at least a landing on top or a full length deck/porch along the front of the house. If money wasn't an issue... I'd change the pitch of the roof to match the main house and extend it above a new deck with a new stairwell going down. Painted white. I'd also get rid of the brown trim and go white on that as well. Paint the door or replace it with something that has a light in it and you'd be all set.
    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 1:30PM
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Sol Sanders
A MILLION THANKS EVERYONE!!! There are some REALLY GREAT IDEAS on here.
@mathomson5 - I LOVED your idea about stain glass. We have an indoor stain glass panel which happens to have red flowers on it. So much really good advice. Thanks.

@brickln - Funny I hadn't even noticed the down spout is brown too! That's so ugly. lol

@njmomma -i must admit it's took me a long time to come around to using black. I think if we do it right (not too much black and even having a thinner window trim) it can look classy. I like the six-panel windows in the picture with the flower window box. I definitely want red flowers.

AND RED DOOR might just be the thing to keep our house from looking so drabby in winter.
I like the ideas about the stairs and possibility of a small porch. A turn could work especially because we have a second sidewalk but blocking light in the downstairs unit is one of our concerns. Looking at the houses in our area, walk-ups to an enclosed porch are quite common....So if we don't get a grand porch I'm ok with that. We do have a decent back porch and yard, for a Chicago lot that is.
    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 2:22PM
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Sol Sanders
@apple_pie_order Those stairs are not only steep but shaky too. They are at the top of our list. And your question about us sitting out in front of our house is valid. Our house extends to the front more than any other house on the block. Anymore forward and we'll be sitting over the street. lol We actually have two bushes in the front. The second one is to the left just outside the picture.
    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 2:29PM
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brickln
Sorry, Sol, I just notice these things.
In the neighborhood I grew up in, your front yard would be considered massive! Parents are still there. Mom has two whiskey barrel planters flanking her front bay window, and she has to hang over the fence from the sidewalk to weed them! I can still remember all the parents with their aluminum lawn chairs sitting out on the sidewalk on hot nights like this one.
Oh- and she has brown gutters!! LOL!
1 Like    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 4:04PM
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