Want to renovate our front porch- no idea where to start!
April 10, 2014 in Design Dilemma
Do we need an architect or just a good contractor? We want to make this ugly cold front porch a comfortable and attractive place to sit. Ideas and advice appreciated!
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Great architects are few and far between. I've had much better experiences with good contractors. I hired an architect once to design an upscale basement. He took well over three months--lots of meetings/wasted time and planned to put the most important space into a tiny corner. He had weird uses for other areas. I interviewed contractors and in the first meeting of less than an hour, walking through, several guys had practical, stunning ideas.

There are numerous examples on here of dilemmas with architect blunders. One recent one someone had hired an architect and kitchen designer and they both didn't realize the refrigerator door wouldn't open enough to pull out the drawer. That's typical, head in the clouds-- not practical

Good luck!
April 10, 2014 at 6:21pm     
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I had to use an architect when we added a porch for permit reasons. The contractor recommended the architect, and all went very well. Added a porch that's 8 X 22. Gave him some photos of styles I like and he was spot on. Plus he know all the local building codes.
April 10, 2014 at 6:30pm     
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I think you could make a noticeable improvement by starting with some landscaping changes..

The bush on the left side of your house looks lonely--need a couple of "friends". The two bushes flanking the front porch are overgrown and need serious trimming (or removal and something new planted). The downstairs window on the right is too obscured by that small tree.

Landscaping and architecture work together. Fix landscaping imbalances and the whole house will look better.

It would be nice to see more of the front doors--the porch roof looks low---but on the other hand, the porch roof location is limited by windows above it and its pitch matches the main roof's pitch--which makes the two roof lines harmonious… There are constraints on how major structural changes in the porch must be handled (or you could create something far worse than you have)...

Still, it would be nice if you could change the porch roof's appearance---give it a more open and welcoming look.

Maybe, changing the uprights that support the porch roof would help. Make them beefier. Change them to square wooden columns.

See if anyone will post a suggestion about how the appearance of your porch could be modified. Then, if you get concrete ideas, you will know if you need an architect, or a contractor, or just a carpenter and a roofer...

I can see why you would want to make changes in your porch, but all in all, you have an attractive house.

Looks like part was an addition (on the left)? That must be why bush on left is smaller (newer) and plantings on right are larger (older)…

Would also be good if you created a more consistent look in your windows---either curtain look on both floors or shade look (on that left side addition).

Just my opinions. Good luck with your project.
April 10, 2014 at 6:47pm     
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Kolbe Designs llc
On a project such as, you would need an architect or an engineer to sign off on the construction documents anyways. This project can utilize the design skills of an architect, to bring a better curb appeal to this home.
April 10, 2014 at 6:54pm     
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Fred S
Below is a list of exempt buildings, where the state does not require the plans to have an architect stamp or seal. (Most places, in this case, do not require an architect) http://www.homedesignernetwork.com/do-house-plans-need-an-architect-seal.php#.U0dd8hNZ6Ck
April 10, 2014 at 8:26pm     
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Not sure how extensive you are going to go, but with such a beautiful large home, I think a covered porch that spans the entire front would be great. I think the bay window is too small for the home, a regular window, included under the covered porch would fit nicely. Large steps that are very wide at the ground and taper slightly to the porch would add some nice character.
If that is more than you plan on, I think stepping down to another seating area at a lower elevation- under and in the area of the bay, would be a nice way to give a bigger grander appearance.
April 10, 2014 at 8:57pm     
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For a more pulled-together look, consider replacing the two picture windows and the bay. You don't need shutters on picture windows, but the upstairs ones on the right could stay and be painted a darker color. Extend the porch all the way to the right side. You might even wrap it around the corner and back to a deck or screened porch. Here are traditional, craftsman, farmhouse,and Dutch colonial versions. Finally, rethink the landscaping, especially the overgrown shrubs. The Owens Model at Old Davidson Arts and Crafts Farmhouse Renovation Exterior - Classic American Dutch Colonial
April 10, 2014 at 9:09pm     
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Get a creative person out there (architect or other) and, with you as an active participant, figure out the elevation for your house in a few hours. I do these all the time and call them "design charrettes". They're "eyball to eyeball" with the client usually done over their dining room table.

I'm not promoting myself either as these are very dynamic and fluid and a remote "Skype" type thing would not work. Find someone local to come out to your house and design the thing.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about. This rear addition was conceptualized in three hours, all at the clients home.

And good luck with your project. Exciting times!
April 11, 2014 at 4:23am     
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Thanks so much for all of the comments. I agree with all. We are waiting on the landscaping until we make changes to the house. Still not sure what type of service provider we need to make changes to front porch but I do know I would like to enlarge it, resurface, change railing, columns, and possibly roof.
April 11, 2014 at 5:11am   
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