Need help giving our home a facelift?
July 26, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We bought this 1962 midcentury a year ago and we're ready to update the front. Please advise how you would do this without changing the roof material or structure. We're open to paint, siding, lighting, landscape. The windows on the left are three bedrooms that need privacy. To the right of the front door is a sidewalk in front of the kitchen windows.
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I would replace the roof with something in a light gray, and definitely make sure those tree limbs that are touching the roof are trimmed back. You could trim out the windows with a darker gray paint. I'd remove all those heavy, front bushes. You have that wider red brick wall to the right of your doorway - perhaps some metal art would look cool hanging there. Is it shady? There are such a number of hostas, including some really large varieties, that would look nice in there, and you could do a number of different shades of greens with those as well. Your landscaping choice will be dictated by the amount of maintenance that you'd prefer to do.

Is there a walk way to the fron door?
   Thanked by nataliegreenberg    July 26, 2013 at 8:48AM
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*front* door....
   July 26, 2013 at 8:49AM
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Hi millekat1, There is a sidewalk behind the bushes on the right. It leads from the carport area to the front door. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
   July 26, 2013 at 8:52AM
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I thought that was possibly the case. You could always add some walkway lighting too once you rip out those shrubs. Good luck!
   Thanked by nataliegreenberg    July 26, 2013 at 9:08AM
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Drapery Connection
Window Treatments can absolutely give your house the fresh new look it needs. There are a lot of cost effective ways to make a room look gorgeous, and we all know the windows are the eyes of the room
   July 26, 2013 at 9:13AM
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You could take out the overgrown bushes in front of the bedroom windows and put an enclosed area there with a privacy fence and lower growing plants. The shrubs on the right could be reduced in height or replaced. The house is gorgeous and very horizontal, I'd like to see some vertical planting, perhaps an ornamental tree to the right of the kitchen windows. I like the taupe and gray theme with the red brick. You could reverse it. Dark gray trim and light taupe where it is gray now. I wonder if rain chains would work instead of the leaders. They would be so attractive.
1 Like   Thanked by nataliegreenberg    July 26, 2013 at 9:30AM
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John Mills Davies ASID
Hello- I specialize in mid-century based modernist design in my practice and design in all styles based upon my clients desires as they relate to the original architectural intent.
Your home is horizontal and linear. I would caution against "adding" elements that would complicate the clean mid-century lines. If you were to change the roof-and for a price, a standing seam metal roof would really make this house! I did it on my own home. Also landscaping that front bank with some terracing, perhaps something of a courtyard effect with a terraced retaining wall to get you a flat space in front of the house with cascading landscaping would be great. Lots more ideas-but good for now!
Ps: People like to suggest "adding" to...when modernism in general is about simplification and deletion of features that are purely ornamental.
1 Like   Thanked by nataliegreenberg    July 26, 2013 at 10:03AM
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If you can't replace the roof I would look into having it pressure washed. It is such a prominent feature on the house with the slope of your yard. I would definitely remove all the shrubs that are blocking the entire front of the house. Just those couple of things fresh paint and new landscaping will make a huge difference. When you repaint it would be nice if you could find some window treatments that show well from the outside. Maybe some blinds that you can open during the day with the same color as the trim.
   Thanked by nataliegreenberg    July 26, 2013 at 10:12AM
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Expose the stem-trunks (about 24 inches) on the shrubs on each side of the front door. This gives an attractive Japanese effect. The other shrubs-hedge, shorten to a bit below the bottom of windows. I cannot see sidewalk?
   Thanked by nataliegreenberg    July 26, 2013 at 11:00AM
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Shannon Taylor Scarlett, Architects
First I agree with JMD about keeping the house simple, enhancing the mid-century modern (it's a great example!) and with terracing the slope in front. If you did want to add some contemporary flair, something like this trellis leading from drive to front door might enhance the entry experience.
   Thanked by nataliegreenberg    July 26, 2013 at 11:18AM
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I love the style of your home / the screen for the parking and layout. If you can afford to do some retaining walls in the front (that you would look at holding back the higher slope behind from the front door) then you might use what you excavate for some strategically placed berms at the street to both add to landscape interest and make that flat area more private. Using a stacked stone retaining wall, or even an allen block ashlar pattern in a standard brown split face would be in keeping with mid-century. Don't use the castle blocks or circular stack retaining stone that reads cottage or mcmansion - bare concrete with a brown colorant / stain on it might be the least expensive and the most modern. Do this with a good landscape designer, and add architecturally interesting plants in spaced patterns.

My first instinct is to ask if you have any interest in staining your brick - the lovely terracotta brick either wants to have better trim colors (the contrast between tan and gray isn't doing much for me with the dark brown on the screen timbers) or go gray itself. A platinum brown-gray taupe color on the brick would definitely make it feel like a new house. You would then paint out some of the trim in a deeper tone, and perhaps highlight only the window square trim with a lighter gray tone.

Since that isn't likely, I want to suggest you head into the greens to complement the terracotta. Look at this card - suggest the next to darkest tone - oakmoss for the timbers at the carport and the fascia board where a deep green signal doesn't have to compete right next to the terracotta. Then, for the siding sw green sprout - it is a very brown khaki / camoflauge green that is going to sing next to your brick. Use the deeper shade sw edamame for trim. Here's a thought - under the kitchen windows where the siding now has every trimboard carried all the way down the face of the house, paint out the vertical trim beneath the windows with the siding color. Only paint the squares around the kitchen window with the edamame. Use this around the front door and all the other windows, but you can use the lighter green sprout up on the eave itself. Paint the downspouts that are next to the brick a brick tone or better yet, look into rain chains - they are charming and great for planter beds.

You have a real gem - count me jelly (as the teens say when they are expressing envy)
   Thanked by nataliegreenberg    July 26, 2013 at 11:52AM
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Get rid of the shrubs, replace the roof with dark (grey/black) shingles,tile or metal and paint the window trim in the same tone as the new roof. You don't need to touch the brick.
Your home has great modern lines and needs more severe horizontal, clean lines to compliment it, and you can probably have the roof redone for about 8-10k depending on where you live. (The roofing appears like it needs to be replaced anyway?).
1 Like   Thanked by nataliegreenberg    July 31, 2013 at 8:11PM
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Could you do a mini-linear gravel courtyard on the bedroom side? It would kind of extend the walkway/entrance area. A screen in the same style as the carport? Then add a tree to the front of that. Perhaps take out some, all or really prune back the shrubs on the right hand side, and add plants/grasses with color. If the asphalt shown is part of your entrance driveway, I would have that crackfilled and sealcoated, straightening the edges as part of that work. It needs repair if it is to last at all.
1 Like   Thanked by nataliegreenberg    July 31, 2013 at 11:24PM
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Hello Natalie. I've done an impression of the look with trimmed shrubs, a bit of attention drawn to the entrance, and a cleaned-up gutter and roof --although how anyone keeps a roof clean among all those trees, I can't imagine. I really like that the house isn't so hidden this way. As for bedroom privacy -- the blinds you have there are very effective, and when they are open during daytime sheers might do the trick? Otherwise, Venetian blinds, which fit the period, can give a good combination of light and privacy. Hope this helps as a starting point.
   Thanked by nataliegreenberg    August 1, 2013 at 1:11AM
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