Help!! I hate the front exterior of our new home!!
April 25, 2014 in Design Dilemma
We had planned on building a new custom home in the small town we are moving to. When we couldn't find a lot, we had to start looking at existing homes. We wanted to live on lake so our only option was this 1968 ranch. I hate the front of it and it makes me cry looking at it. Our plans we had drawn up when we were going to build was a large craftsman ranch. With peaked gables, and stone column porch. The roof on this is crazy. Can anyone offer some help? Since we are moving to a small town all of the contractors are uncomfortable trying something new, and their ideas are way outdated. I would love some help! The first one is the home we are buying, and the second picture is what we wanted to build. Can we somehow make this new house have a look and feel like the craftsman we wanted? Thank you!!
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Lampert Dias Architects, Inc.
Of course you can make your new house beautiful. You will need a talented architect to design the remodel and to draw it up for you.

A good local contractor should be able to build it from the drawings that you provide them.
1 Like   Thanked by myleemoo2    April 25, 2014 at 8:56AM
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I'm not sure how big of a change you are looking to make or what your budget is, but I have a few ideas. A few simpler changes would be to add more color and shape (think rounder) to your flower beds in the front and paint the exterior (your original house looks warmer with the white and beige). A few bigger ideas would be to change the garage door and bring in a craftsman wood looking one per your original home plan (if you keep the current green exterior, a wood tone would be nice). You could even add some big beams in the front to bring out the door and match the garage door. You could also paint the front door to make it pop a little more. Good luck! Enjoy that lake!!
0 Likes   Thanked by myleemoo2    April 25, 2014 at 9:05AM
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myleemoo2, the one you were going to build suffers from the designer's lack of understanding about what makes a traditional house a home. The massing, proportions, and visual planes are a disjointed, jumbled mess that's uncomfortable to look at. It combines elements from nearly every style imaginable and throws them, willy-nilly together. Be thankful you have a chance to get it right.

Architects don't become architects with much knowledge of what makes good residential architecture. All architects are educated to focus on the bread and butter of commercial architecture. That's why you need to put together an idea book of original (pre-vinyl) homes that you like.

Prairie homes were built from about 1905-1925 (primarily along the plains states)
True (high) Craftsman homes will have been built from about 1899-1930 and are large, complicated structures. [see David B. Gamble House or Duncan-Irwin House both in Pasadena, CA]

Craftsman Bungalows (not the same as Craftsman) were less expensive than "high Craftsman" and were popular from about 1899-1939; see communities along either the Pacific or Atlantic northern coasts (ie. Northern CA, Oregon, WA, or ME, MA, CT, NY, NJ)
2 Likes   Thanked by myleemoo2    April 25, 2014 at 10:04AM
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Metes & Bounds Landscape Design
I'm a big fan of the American Flag, but I'd recommend moving it to another location. After that I would design a walkway that leads the viewer's eye to the entrance. (The eye follows lines) In the area immediately in front of the entrance I would propose a small garden that would serve as a focal attractive, intermediate destination that would be visible from the street. I would define the garden with Korean boxwoods and use colorful perennials on both sides of the hedge that would flower for three seasons. On the outside of the hedge, facing the street, I'd use only one or two colors, but in the interior of the space I'd use more color variety. I'd also put a bench and some urns in the space, maybe a fountain that could be seen from the street. Like one of the other commentators said, I would recommend hiring a professional to design this for you. Good luck!
0 Likes   Thanked by myleemoo2    April 25, 2014 at 10:40AM
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Good bones! But you need an architect. Good luck!
1 Like   Thanked by myleemoo2    April 25, 2014 at 11:02AM
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"Can we somehow make this new house have a look and feel like the craftsman we wanted?"

Only with lots of money.

You have a great house with a beautiful, mature landscape. While I might make some changes, they would only enhance what is there.

It's your new home -- embrace it! Stay true to its roots and don't try to craftsmanize it.
7 Likes   Thanked by myleemoo2    April 25, 2014 at 11:17AM
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Agree with ppf.
0 Likes   Thanked by myleemoo2    April 25, 2014 at 11:30AM
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Lampert Dias Architects, Inc.
It all depends on your budget. There are different levels of improvement that you can get depending on what you want to spend.

I would suggest a new front porch across the front of the house and new windows that are more traditional ( meaning that they are taller then they are wide, and are casements or double hung windows ).

You can accomplish a lot with this simple change. It will still cost, but it is relatively inexpensive for the improvement that you gain..

I am posting a few remodel projects where we added a front porch to mid century stucco box tract houses and gave them a whole new look. You can do it with your house too......
0 Likes   Thanked by myleemoo2    April 26, 2014 at 7:49PM
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The second picture is what I was thinking. Adding a front porch for dimensions and changing the windows, garage door, and front door. We are planning on spending $200,000-$300,000 on the remodel, but that is including the inside as well. Thank you for your help and suggestions!
1 Like   April 26, 2014 at 9:52PM
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I think the second picture would work wonders for the house. this would also enable you to move the front door out even with the front of the house-giving you more room inside if needed. good luck.
0 Likes   April 26, 2014 at 10:45PM
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myleemoo2: I live in the land of the aforementioned Craftsman. If I were you, with that sort of budget, I'd focus on making the interior the style you like. How frequently are you going to stand out in the driveway, after all?

As far as the outside is concerned, I think the devil's in the details. Our sort of NW style, influenced by Craftsman, could help here. For example: Change out the driveway to a more textured, organic looking material. (Exposed aggregate with a colored concrete pour is a popular choice here, but understand that is expensive in some parts of the country.) Change the garage door to something waaaaay more interesting and artful. Look at doing changes such as lining up the window sizes and levels, and doing detailed trim around the windows. Change the brick to the stone as in your wish photo, and maybe do the stone from floor to ceiling in the entryway. Get a signature wood door. Hire a landscape architect to rework the entry walkway (less linear), do new plantings, and for sure do some landscape uplighting on the tree in the front. I think your house has the potential to be much more personal and interesting than what you may have originally wanted, or currently believe, even without changing rooflines, etc. etc. Best wishes, and happy lakeside living!
0 Likes   April 26, 2014 at 11:02PM
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Lampert Dias Architects, Inc.
You could extend the roof out across the front of the house (except where the garage is ).

Add fairly large posts with the Craftsman detailing. Add some stonework around the edges of the porch. Change out the windows and doors to the traditional style and you have the look that you want.

An interesting fact is that many true Craftsman houses from around the 1900's had low pitched roof just like the roof of your house......

Just for reference I will post a few photos of some early Craftsman houses from the Pasadena area of Southern California.

If you look up the architects Greene and Greene, who designed many of these homes at the turn of the century you will see other details for the porch that you might want to consider on your porch.

I think that you will be much happier with your wonderful remodel that you are doing then if you had built a house.......

Have fun.......
0 Likes   April 26, 2014 at 11:28PM
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