Need to enhance typical suburban neo-colonial
dnwiley
September 9, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I need ideas for sprucing up this house we just bought in a typical mid-Western suburb. I don't think we want to replace the roof, windows, siding, or front door (deep blue, nice), because they're all relatively new and good condition. There's a plain cement path across the front to the driveway and 2 far right windows are the garage. Any DIY suggestions for enhancing and updating the looks of it?

From browsing this site, I know those shutters are too narrow. What else??
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dnwiley
The upper windows always look too large to me - any thoughts on how to balance them out? And, I imagine we should beef up the 4 front columns.
September 9, 2013 at 6:02pm     
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sstarr
Looks like aftermarket aluminum storm windows... which used to be commonplace. This could look much better. And yes, the shutters are the biggest problem.
Might be nice to add a porch railing to give more of a farmhouse colonial look.
September 9, 2013 at 6:19pm     
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dnwiley
Interesting that you mentioned a farmhouse colonial look. In our current home, I tend to like traditional (bordering on formal, but we're still a family with young children), with things structured and symmetrical. I keep wanting to do the same at this house, especially with landscaping the front. But, now I wonder whether I should keep it a little looser with an heirloom-planting look - to go along with your suggestions of porch railing.
September 9, 2013 at 6:27pm   
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sstarr
I would. I don't think the style of the second floor lends itself to the formality of the columns as they are now. The area under the overhang looks kind of pointless without a rail.
September 9, 2013 at 6:35pm   
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dnwiley
I haven't thought about "formality of the columns". I know there are different styles...do you mean they would be less formal with the rail, so it has the look of a country porch and not a "grand entrance"? We were thinking to make the columns wider, but still relatively plain and simple. The two stories do look more balanced with the rail and more activity on the porch.
September 10, 2013 at 3:36am   
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sstarr
Well, I don't think it has a grand entrance look now, but if you would like that, you should modify the overhang to incorporate a portico. That would give emphasis to the entry, and also give the columns a reason to be there.
I've designed a lot of porticos, and this is a definite trend. Your second floor makes this a bit difficult because of the window on the right.
September 10, 2013 at 3:56am     
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mousemaker
i'm not sure why country homes are built with columns? they don't look right for the setting. I would take them out if it's possible and then you could have a seating area/patio there with a pergola?
also, where's the croquet?? :) you have a giant lawn!! :)
September 10, 2013 at 7:22am     
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dnwiley
I agree, it's not a grand entrance as-is. It's like an unfinished, in-between look. Well, thank you for getting me this far! I'd love to hear other thoughts, too!
September 10, 2013 at 11:36am   
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
You have a lovely home - I would just remove the shudders :-) and paint the siding blue-gray and window trim a darker blue gray or charcoal as in the illustration below which compliments the red brick. . For the landscape, I would keep the current low growing shrubs and maintain their shape to form a nice hedge background . I would remove the taller ones on the right and repeat the low growing shrubs there. That would be the formal look you like. To break up the formality plant hydrangeas or other blooming deciduous shrubs in front ( depending on sun / shade ) , curve a walkway leading to a popular destination - didn't know which side so I just swung it to the left. Create two curved beds and fill with ornamental grasses, perennials, and annuals . On the right is a tall cone shaped tree ( European hornbeam or the like ) and on the left are large deciduous shrubs to add unity to that side and hide the background . Add hanging flower baskets from the front porch . Below is sketch of my ideas.

I see nothing wrong with the columns but if you want a more modern look then have someone box them into a square shape.
Oh, geez, missed it at first - now see your garage is on the far right so swing the path that way down to the curb or if you have visitors that are walking .
September 10, 2013 at 12:57pm     
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sstarr
Here's a semi-formal portico for this facade:
September 10, 2013 at 6:11pm     
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dnwiley
I'm afraid to leave the shutters off. I thought to replace them with a better (larger) size. It seems like every house in the neighborhood has some version of shutters around those windows, so I can't imagine what the house would look like without them. The back windows are bare and my first thought was, "Those windows need shutters, they're so plain." LOL. I don't love or need shutters - I just can't picture this style of house without them.
September 11, 2013 at 2:05pm     
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sstarr
The house needs shutters, absolutely.
September 11, 2013 at 3:40pm     
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
I don't agree sstarr93 . Here's a lovely home, dnwiley without them.
September 11, 2013 at 5:33pm     
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sstarr
Sweet Caroline, perhaps you could explain the similarities between these two houses, because I see very few. On the one hand, a classic Dutch colonial with odd non-Dutch colonial gables on the side, and on the other hand, a Colonial house in a style often seen in Midwestern suburbs (I'm a Midwesterner by birth..)..?
September 11, 2013 at 7:39pm   
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Timberlane Inc.
Dnwiley, the shutters that you have on your home now are throwing off the curb appeal because they are not properly fitted. We can't picture this home without them either. ;)

With that being said you have two options. If you are looking for properly fitted shutters you can purchase shutters that measure out to be half the size of the windows, or you could purchase bi-fold shutters which appear to be a bit thinner but when closed they would cover the whole window. If your specific taste does not call for fully-functional shutters, we would side with properly fitted shutters and decorative hardware.

Hardware makes a big difference in the overall appeal of your home, even if it's such a tiny detail.

As for the style of shutters, we would recommend either fixed louvered shutters (our most popular style) or Board and Battens which will enhance the country-rustic feel of your home. What about Khaki Stone for the color? Something neutral and not too dark. Although it appears to be dark in the Color sheet below, painted on shutters it is very subtle.

At any time you can request a free catalog on our website or talk to a sales representative to send you sample shutters.
http://www.timberlane.com/
September 12, 2013 at 9:00am     
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
Sstar93, the Dutch colonial was just one example I selected. There are many colonials in New England, the birthplace of the Colonial style, that have no shutters, such as the one below. It IS NOT written in stone that a colonial must have shutters, its just a matter of preference.
September 12, 2013 at 12:07pm     
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sstarr
Correct Sweet Caroline. I have lived in New England for several decades now...
September 12, 2013 at 4:16pm   
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