Blah-ssez Faire Curb Appeal
novicenoodler
November 12, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We just bought our first home and the curb appeal is sorely lacking. The previous owners hadn't lived there full-time for the better part of a decade, so the upkeep had been pretty laissez-faire, letting the plants do their own thing without much intervention. Gardening was pretty much reduced to mowing the lawn. Partly the problem is the lack of windows on the second story -- that huge "forehead" on the house in between the windows on the second story is mocking me. If anyone has any affordable ideas on how to fix that while I wait for the money to install more windows, it would be most welcome.

I would like to repaint both the front and side door red including the storm door on the front door to catch the eye a little better. The front walk which leads to the driveway has partially disappeared underneath those huge bushes and is simple cement. I'm thinking of pulling the front walk forward away from the house and bricking it in with a more graceful swoop.

Any ideas for a face lift for this blah front entrance?
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mmilos
Paint your front door red, but don't paint the side door the same color. You want to put emphasis on your front door. Paint the side door white to tie in and de-emphasize it as an entrance.

Landscaping is a good investment. The new walkway will help give more impact to your front entry door. A professional landscaper in your area can give you good planting and design ideas.

I would also look into upgrading the light fixtures with bigger, statement-making versions.

Your house is a good candidate for a front porch addition. But I would hire an architect before making that investment.
10 Likes   Thanked by novicenoodler    November 12, 2013 at 9:55AM
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novicenoodler
I was thinking of a porch, but I wondered if that would reduce the light too much coming in through the front windows on the first floor. I was thinking of putting in a stone wall along the front of the house as well to make the house -- relatively contemporary -- feel a little older and more classic.

That big house forehead though. Ughhh!
1 Like   November 12, 2013 at 12:22PM
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Denita
I agree with mmilos' comments. The red door you want is a terrific accent. You might also benefit by having the proper shutters to replace the existing ones (see below). Do your landscaping and entrance walkway before you do major changes to the front entry, I think you will get a different perspective on your lovely home.

6 Likes   Thanked by novicenoodler    November 12, 2013 at 12:33PM
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mmilos
You could stone clad the bottom floor of the main house. A fieldstone would give it more of a farmhouse look and break up the white siding.

I would focus on the landscaping and minor improvements first. Live with the house for a while before making permanent changes.

In the meantime, hang a big Christmas wreath above the front door.
2 Likes   Thanked by novicenoodler    November 12, 2013 at 12:35PM
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PRO
DMH DESIGN
If you are a first time buyer, I suggest that you live in the house for 6 mo. to a year, before you commit any major resources for anything. Preferences and priorities will change, as to your needs and wish lists the longer you remain in one home. Changes in the building envelope are likely best pursued when collaborating with a designer or architect. As one example, for a porch to be as useful as it can be perceived as a nice design element, it must be a minimum of 6' front to back, or it is design chattle--it won't function. If your home is part of an HOA, there can be issues re: what you can build, and often, there can be architectural control committees which have to give their blessings before you can proceed. Ultimately, though, The land use codes relavent to your site will be the guiding light as to what you can and can't do, in terms of bldg footprint/lot coverage/bldg. setbacks. Any pertinent HOA and permitting issues should be pursued and addressed concurrently. I suggest that your home is not as bland as you infer, and with the assistance of a talented Houzz pro in your area, you will be able to make some great decisions that will meet your needs in terms of curb appeal, without breaking the bank. Happy Houzzing.
5 Likes   Thanked by novicenoodler    November 12, 2013 at 1:09PM
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PRO
Savant Design Group
Love the orange/red door color suggested above. Not as expected as the traditional red. Adding some larger, dramatic out of the box lights would add some panache. Doing a brick paver porch and sidewalk in an orange/red tone would look nice. If you have a larger budget, I would consult an architect on utilizing the large blank area between the two upper windows to raise your outside entrance area and create a covered porch.
1 Like   Thanked by novicenoodler    November 12, 2013 at 1:22PM
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Maggie Holbrook
carriage style garage doors can really dress up the front. we just purchased a home in nj and I just ordered 2 new doors by clopay with beautiful arched windows and wrought iron accents. we spray painted our brass numbers and mail box a hammered bronze. replaced our lanterns by door, garage and post lamp to match the painted numbers. the light fixtures were from lowes and they make a great statement. we also trimmed back a lot of the landscaping too. painted the front door to bring out the stained glass windows that we have. good luck!!
2 Likes   Thanked by novicenoodler    November 12, 2013 at 2:22PM
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tsudhonimh
"thinking of pulling the front walk forward away from the house and bricking it in with a more graceful swoop. "

Good thought ... the walkway needs to definitely lead people to the front door, without having to do an Indiana Jones with a machete through the bushes.

Step 1 ... remove all the bushes between the front door and the driveway, and those things by the corner of the driveway.

Step 2 - Bring the front entry steps out as a small terrace, with a wall that is bench-height and make a wide brick walkway all the way to the drive ending at the end of the driveway. Leave an inconspicuous opening in the wall so you can use the old front walk to get to the other door.

"Swoops" are harder to install than squares, so use an interesting series of squares leading off the drive and to the front door.

Use short columns with downlights around the entry terrace and along the walk for safety and interest.

Step 3 - Start your "foundation landscaping" at the curb, with plantings of mixed evergreens and perennials and ornamental grasses that follow along the entry walk and around the terrace.
2 Likes   Thanked by novicenoodler    November 12, 2013 at 2:37PM
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Rosemary Freitas
I do like the orange red door idea. Do extend the front porch as a varanda type thing and redirect the walkway. Other than that I like the idea of waiting for 6 months. there will be things inside that take priority, i am sure.
1 Like   Thanked by novicenoodler    November 12, 2013 at 3:04PM
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novicenoodler
Thanks everyone for your comments. We will wait before making any major architectural changes to the house, like windows or porches. There are interior spaces of the house which will take time and resources to fix first (such as the hideous kitchen floor tile). We will start with the door color, shrubs, and walkway and reassess from there.

Denita, can you explain what you mean by better shutters?
1 Like   November 12, 2013 at 4:57PM
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Denita
Yes, the shutters need to be sized right and look like they could operate. Here, read this very enjoyable link by an architect that explains the differences much better than I can and he shows photos so you have a good handle on it too.
http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com/residential-architecture-101-shutters/
3 Likes   Thanked by novicenoodler    November 12, 2013 at 5:05PM
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decoenthusiaste
Here's a pretty updated garrison style home where you might find ideas. Major first step is removal of the blocky hedges and overgrown shrubs which are covering your home. Then have professionals come in to prune the tree in front.

4 Likes   November 12, 2013 at 5:22PM
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Rosemary Freitas
Decoenthusiaste photo is almost the same design. the reverse color scheme looks great and I like the porch cover. It gives importance to the actual entry.
3 Likes   Thanked by novicenoodler    November 12, 2013 at 5:56PM
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rosecafe
Novice noodler, Hi. Hey, you've made a good start by blocking out the wheelie bin : ) Look, the simple solution is to build a portico off the front entrance. It will direct the eye away from the - yep not a great feature- 'forehead' it will give the house real style, an attractive portico entry will actually provide shelter over the existing exposed front door. Check out the pics below from Houzz (Traditional Exteriors.) You'll find a local builder who can build it for you, no architect required. Good luck.
0 Likes   November 15, 2013 at 2:57AM
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PRO
Timberlane Shutters
Properly fitted (half the size of the window), functional shutters will truly make a difference on your home, as mentioned by Denita. We couldn't agree more with this suggestion and believe a louvered style would look great. Are you totally set on the color black?
0 Likes   November 15, 2013 at 6:25AM
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novicenoodler
Timberllane -- I'm not set on black at all, although I'm not sure what color to replace them with once I upgrade to the proper size shutter. We were thinking about a red door -- would green or blue be appropriate?

Rosecafe - Thanks for the suggestion. A portico might be a more affordable way to upgrade the exterior of the house than a full porch. The side entry there is covered and actually quite deep -- enough to sit in two Adirondack chairs in the rain and not get wet. So a true front porch isn't really necessary if a better aesthetic can be achieved with/for less.
0 Likes   November 15, 2013 at 6:39AM
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PRO
Timberlane Shutters
We always encourage our customers to follow their own personal aesthetic taste when it comes to decorating their home. Green or blue would not look bad with a red door. Our Colonial Times Blue color paired with a red door looks great on this home pictured below. We also have a Charleston Proper Green and Old Essex Green that could also blend.
0 Likes   Thanked by novicenoodler    November 15, 2013 at 6:45AM
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novicenoodler
Thanks for the suggestions. I love that white house in the bottom left corner of our post. Something like that would be my dream home (some day).
0 Likes   November 15, 2013 at 6:49AM
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apple_pie_order
Good pun, novicenoodler.
1 Like   Thanked by novicenoodler    November 15, 2013 at 6:59AM
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PRO
Timberlane Shutters
You're welcome! You can learn more about our shutters and what we have to offer on our website at http://www.Timberlane.com and be sure to request a free catalog for reference!
0 Likes   November 15, 2013 at 7:22AM
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