Need architect to transform the front of my house
nancymiley
December 1, 2013 in Design Dilemma
My columns are rotting and I've never been too crazy about them anyway. I want to remove them and replace them with a larger porch as seen in the attached photo of the blue house. Also attached is my white house. How much should I expect to spend to have someone suggest some cute plans to update my house? Is there a way to ask people to submit ideas so I can choose which I like best?
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sstarr
This isn't a four square house, it's a colonial.
Question: Are you planning on putting a dormer into your roofline when you eliminate the portico?
0 Likes   Thanked by nancymiley    December 1, 2013 at 9:57AM
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nancymiley
Thank you so much...I don't want a covered porch across the front because I don't want to cut down on the light coming in through the windows. As for the dormer, probably yes. The windows on either side of the front door go all the way to the floor so I could make them into doors to open onto the porch. I really like the open porch shown on the blue house but I feel like I need someone who is properly trained to suggest other details and make it look awesome. I could just hire a contractor and make those changes but I'm thinking that there is something more that could really add to it. Problem is, I don't know what.
0 Likes   December 1, 2013 at 12:17PM
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nancymiley
Plus I look forward to losing the fake balconey
0 Likes   December 1, 2013 at 12:19PM
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PRO
David J Gill
I think the un-covered porch or elevated patio idea as shown on the blue house is a great idea. Making usable outdoor space in front of a house isn't for everybody but you have a large, shady front yard so it makes sense.

The style of your house is what I would call "Contractor Neo-classical" for which the builder creates a pediment and adds columns without any thought about how to design such things or how to detail them. Most of the particulars are off-the self construction products. REmoving the portico and columns, and that false balcony, will help change that. The roof gable over the porch could be cut back with a pediment/gable created flush with the front of the house, the door surround at the front door could be sort of upgraded and you might remove all of the the fake shutters and install real shutters with shutter hardware on just the four main windows....and, of copurse, construct a porch/patio just like the blue house.

There are two wyas to build this porch.
1. Pour foundations and build a brick faced masonry wall toped with a slab and stone or brick paving. (This is how the blue house patio is built.) (More substantial, more expensive, most likely.)
2. Pour more modest foundations, build a wood stud wall, faced with brick and build a wood deck. (Less expensive, perhaps, but requires more skill to design and detail to make it look like #1.)

You need to find an architect/designer that can develop some simple drawings to help you consider options and can draw and detail the work for construction. Not every architect is enthusiastic about traditional styles but if you do some research in your area on architects you may be able to find someone with that kind of experience. I don't know where you are located so I can't suggest more than that. (What is it about Houzz that no one mentions where their house is located.)

The cost of this work could be by the hour for a free-lancer or substantially more for a full service design firm. It will cost more than you expect or desire but a lot less than consulting your lawyer. Ask for an up front estimate for fixed fee work or for an estimate of hours for hourly work. Because this is a very modest amount of work for an architect a free-lancer or sole-proprietor would be ideal. Ask for a preliminary idea up front and offer to pay for that work if you elect to proceed. You can get free drawn ideas on Houzz, perhaps, but I don't recommend it for a variety of reasons.

....I always write too much. Good luck. I'll try to answer questions if you have any.
1 Like   Thanked by nancymiley    December 1, 2013 at 1:24PM
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nancymiley
Wow, thank you SO much. BTW, Charlotte, NC
0 Likes   December 1, 2013 at 2:20PM
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PRO
HERE Design and Architecture
Not sure I agree that you should ask them to give you their idea first and then you will decide whether you want to pay for it.
0 Likes   Thanked by nancymiley    December 1, 2013 at 2:28PM
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nancymiley
I know, that would look as if I were trying to get their ideas for free. I just don't know how to hire someone without knowing what they are capable of doing, or if they have good ideas and understand what I am trying to do.
0 Likes   December 1, 2013 at 2:42PM
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nadine_elkabash
Id say get an estimate for the ideas you want implemented first...
0 Likes   December 1, 2013 at 2:45PM
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PRO
HERE Design and Architecture
Typically, you should look at their portfolio to make sure that you like their work and you therefore have some confidence in their aesthetic judgment. Then, ask them what would be involved in the project you are considering and how they would expect to charge for it. Many people will provide 2 or 3 options for a schematic design, and many will also include some time for a final revision after the schematic design presentation in their fees for that work.

There is actually a discovery process (measuring, finding out whether there are planning issues, etc.) so a prudent architect will often not be able to just tell you right off the bat what they would do. (I am always a little uncomfortable with people who decide what is the right thing on the spot. Design is usually more complex than that.)

This discovery process is called Programming or Pre-design. Part of the programming process is to gather information from you concerning your goals and preferences, and formulating that information so they can give it back to you in a Program or Scope document. This helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

I hope that that is helpful?
0 Likes   Thanked by nancymiley    December 1, 2013 at 4:28PM
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Tara Hall
I absolutely love the look of your house. Keep the architecture as it, paint the door a color- red or blue. You need to change the landscaping. It will make a huge difference
0 Likes   December 1, 2013 at 10:48PM
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Mariam Alameddine
You're house is amazing, I like it just the way it is. I agree with Tara though, paint the doors. Adding some flowers or plants would be nice too.
0 Likes   December 1, 2013 at 10:55PM
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PRO
Timberlane Inc.
We have to agree that properly fitted shutters, with hand-forged hardware will make a difference! If you want to stick a "Colonial" style you could do a combination of panel and louver styles on your home. This will provide a traditional appeal, if that is what you are looking for. Either way, just a single panel or louver style on all windows would look great!
1 Like   Thanked by nancymiley    December 2, 2013 at 10:40AM
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bungalowmo
I agree with Timberlane, and I have seen photos of several of their projects & they really do look amazing.

As for wanting a porch, I can certainly understand why. Just be careful with the ideas. What works on a foursquare or bungalow, does not necessarily work with a Federal or Colonial style. Research. If you have a local Historical Society, go there & speak with them for ideas.

The last thing you want is a good idea gone bad. Read up, look at photos, drive around your area & look for similar homes that might have something similar to what you're looking for.

Any contractor/carpenter will build you what you want...just be sure before any demo is done.

aka...measure 3x....cut once.
1 Like   Thanked by nancymiley    December 2, 2013 at 11:14AM
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sunnydrew
You should research and find an architect in your area that is well recommended. Once you are ready you should pay for some simple ideas. Usually designers do not just give away their intellectual property. then you can tweek the ideas with them. Your need to see what style house you have and how best to improve it. Some changes to landscaping might help and perhaps change your columns to some that are more substantial and "impressive". I think your house is very attractive already. Maybe a new paint scheme would help .
0 Likes   December 2, 2013 at 11:26AM
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PRO
Our Town Plans
I agree that the house is lovely as it is, but I can see that you might want to give the door more protection.
While it looks like you have a fair amount of room above the door for a new stoop or porch, there really isn't much additional room to each side. If you were to make something much wider, you would end up with noticeably more wall space to the outside of the flanking windows and the pleasing balance you have would be upset. Perhaps a porch that is similar in size to what's there, but that projects further from the house would be a good solution. I would start by talking to designers in your area or see if the local inspection department can give you some names of people or companies who do this type of work.
Good luck!
0 Likes   Thanked by nancymiley    December 2, 2013 at 11:41AM
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nancymiley
The word foursquare has been mentioned twice. I'm not familiar with that. Is that the design style of the blue house? Whereas the white house (mine) is colonial?
0 Likes   December 2, 2013 at 2:06PM
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nancymiley
David Gill seems to have captured what I want when he wrote "The style of your house is what I would call "Contractor Neo-classical" for which the builder creates a pediment and adds columns without any thought about how to design such things or how to detail them. Most of the particulars are off-the self construction products. Removing the portico and columns, and that false balcony, will help change that. The roof gable over the porch could be cut back with a pediment/gable created flush with the front of the house, the door surround at the front door could be sort of upgraded and you might remove all of the fake shutters and install real shutters with shutter hardware on just the four main windows....and, of course, construct a porch/patio just like the blue house. "
I didn't know enough to know that my shutters were fake - maybe that's why I don't like them very much.
Thanks David and everyone else.
0 Likes   December 2, 2013 at 2:15PM
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