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What can I do to the exterior of this double wide mobile home to add c

Laura Gaither
June 10, 2014
My husband and I purchased, with cash, a foreclosure double wide mobile home on two acres in a great location, surrounded by stick built houses. This will be our first time owning a home and we have a 5-7 year plan to sell it and make a profit. I will likely hire a professional landscaper, as my thumb is anything but green, but we would like to design the porch and the front and DIY. I would love to make it look less like a cookie cutter mobile home.
I definitely want to change the trim color and I'm open to changing the exterior color.
What style porch would be best? It occurred to me to build a storage room adjacent to the front porch, done in the same siding and trim as the house, to add dimension to its flat face.
Everything we are doing is with resell in mind.
It is located in central Alabama and the surrounding stick built homes are newer construction (10 years and newer) and in the 120-150k range.

Comments (23)

  • Denise Marchand
    Hi Laura, I think that the most important aspect of a home is the front entrance and curb appeal. We all like to drive up to our home with pride. It's also the first impression for a resale. I attached an image that could be adapted to your home. It's one of my favorites. I love the pale grey color with the white trim and natural wood door. Also adding trim to the windows instead of the shutters will update the look. Let me know what you think!
  • katelyn1953
    You didn't say what direction your house faces and if there are any budgetary concerns. If it were my home and I could afford it, I'd build a porch the length of the house, with a peak in the center, following the roof line. That is if rooms in the front of the house are bright enough to handle the shade.
  • Laura Gaither
    Yes, white trim for sure. I didn't even register the shutters as being outdated- I am so glad you pointed that out!

    The entire lot is very sunny and the from room is the living room and the sitting area of the master bedroom is to the right of the porch.

    I think I am going to leave the siding the grey that it is and replace the dark shutters with regular trim. I considered replacing the windows altogether but they are in good shape and they are effective storm windows so to keep my budget in line I guess I will leave them.

    I spent the day yesterday pondering and googling and sketching. The first thing we are doing is putting in a brick permanent foundation. Since we are using brick for the foundation I am going to use the same brick for the front steps, with a poured concrete floor.

    I am going to extend the roof line over the porch and use the same type and color shingles that the roof has.

    White posts and railing to match the trim of the windows. I may shop around and see if I can find a new door with some visual interest, otherwise I will paint the existing door, though not sure what color.
    A light fixture by the front door for sure, but I also think we will install a fan with a light in the roof of the porch.

    There is a good sized deck on the back and we are going to stain it and screen in the deck, installing a grill with proper ventilation. The view from the back deck is gorgeous, of the mountains in the distance and we are only backed by woods.

    The back deck will be the true outdoor living space so the front really just needs to be attractive. I think two rocking chairs on the front porch, and some hanging plants and a pretty wreathe on the door will finish it out nicely.

    Our budget is $20,000 total but we don't have all of the cash in hand so we are breaking it down into smaller projects over a period of 2-3 years. We are doing the work ourselves, as we are blessed with friends and relatives who are professionals in several building trades and who are willing to guide us, and allow us to use their contractor discounts to buy materials.

    The outside will be our first fun project, beginning in September once it's cool enough to work outside.

    Can anyone see anything I am missing?

    -Brick permanent foundation, brick steps
    -concrete porch floor
    -extend roof line to cover porch
    -white posts and railing for porch
    -replace shutters with white window trim
    -two chairs, decorative plants on porch
    -new light fixture by door
    -ceiling fan with light fixture in the roof of the porch
  • Denita
    The most cost effective change you can do is landscaping the exterior as well as changing the front entrance so it faces forward rather than sideways as previously mentioned. Wide steps to a generous landing at the front door with the changes you have listed will give you that 'welcome home' look. Naturally these steps in pic #2 are too many for your home, but the concept is there for you.
    Telezhenko Home · More Info

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  • potchiemagoodleberry
    if the house gets ample sunlight from other windows, I would consider a farmer's porch that with a roof to mimic that of the home itself, could go from the front door all the way to the right of the house. the roof of a farmer's porch will limit the light that comes in, perhaps keeping the inside cooler in hotter months. then add some comfy porch seating and a porch swing...i mean who doesn't love a great porch swing?! I would perhaps reorient the parking pad, so it sets beside the house and not exactly at the front door. landscaping (add curving beds of perennials and flowering shrubs to the front of the home to counteract all of the square edges) and growing some great grass, and trees will be key to transforming this space and making the yard feel more welcoming. by the time you sell, the garden beds and trees will be well established and looking great! good luck and have some fun with it!!
  • ksrberck
    Be careful not to price yourselves out of the market, since you intend to sell soon. Trailers depreciate at a fairly frightening rate: you can put $20,000 into a double wide and add zero to its resale value. (One of the things I like about the 1979 Magnolia I'm currently living in is that it's worth about $12.95. If I were to invest $20,000 into upgrading it, it would still be worth $12.95 to any potential buyer. So no need to 'invest' at all.) I would very seriously go with the suggestions that concentrate on improving the lot rather than the trailer. Absolutely remove the shutters and improve the entrance by adding a real porch so as to appeal to the first impression, but put 90% of the money into landscaping and the parking area - things that will not only improve the appearance but that the bulldozer will leave intact when the next buyer comes along.
  • moggie73
    Laura, I agree with the previous comments, especially reorienting the parking area. You did not mention (unless I missed it) how you will address the skirting? Once the porch is complete, I also agree that you will add a ton of appeal by adding curving landscaping beds and a softly curved walk way to the entry steps.
    We just sold my mother's mobile home. One of the keys to a quick sell was the landscaping pictures we kept in a binder, so the buyers could see the flowers in bloom each season. Also, they loved the maintenance binder that we kept showing the dates of replacements / service. (HVAC service, new dishwasher, etc.)
    Clearly you have really thought your project through. Best to you.
  • PRO
    Sounds like you have a good plan to improve your new home.

    Consider consulting a realtor. Outline your plans and see if you could sell today and recoup your investment of 20K, plus make a profit.

    Be mindful of over improving to sell. You bought because no one else wanted it more than you. You have the only trailer in an area of site built homes, and no matter what you do, you will still have the only trailer. Potential buyers will see this.

    Is there a garage? You could spend most of your budget on building one.

    Make improvements that you will enjoy over the next few years.
  • PRO
    North Star Stone
    Agree with previous posters. Also- have you considered adding stone to the lower quadrant of the home? You can use a veneer in a light gray contrasting color that would really make it pop. A larger, white porch would be beautiful, and of course moving the parking area helps. :) Some flowers and bushes in front and sides of the porch would be beautiful. All that would be relatively low cost, especially if you are the DIY type.
  • PRO
  • moggie73
    Also, assume you calculated the cost of roofing, once the porch overhang is complete. Lucky that you have so much knowledgeable help. I would wait until after the roof extension to decide about the window trim. It could be that you will want new, fresh shutters to help add to the exterior. Discussion on the resale is correct, but then we don't know what you paid. I expect with that acreage, and your careful considerations you will make a bit of $ and have created a lovely home for yourselves in the meantime.
  • Becky Harris
    Shutters that look functional even if they are not would improve it immensely - they should each be half the size of the window, to look as though if closed, they would meet in the middle and cover the window. I think getting those proportions right will make a huge difference.

    I also think the existing pediment gives you good proportions to extend a porch out from. Oh wait, I see Denita has posted a perfect inspiration example for that! 86 the storage shed idea - it doesn't sound worth the return and I don't really get how that would work.

    If it's not getting too expensive, perhaps back the parking pad so that it's not in front of the house, and place a nice hardwood tree in between the two windows on the left side.
  • PRO
    LB Interiors
    I actually like the shutters. They give dimension and color interest to the facade of the home. I wouldn't spend money there.
    Definitely landscaping.
    I would leave some dirt planter beds close to the house all the way around. No concrete close to the foundation. Plants close to the exterior will soften the front. Use some tall bushes in the tall spaces around the windows. Medium height plants a bit more away and low bedding plants in the foreground. Use evergreens and flowering ornamentals.
    I agree with a porch and would build it wide to extend the same width as the A frame above. I like Denita's 2nd photo as as example, just wider.
    I would not add a storage room to any front or sides of the structure. I would build it in the back somewhere near the deck if there is room.

    Landscaping will make the biggest difference. You can control the area that you do by not extending too far beyond the home and the driveway. Along the drive, a planter bed. I would try to design some curves to the planter beds instead of rectangular beds. Softens the lines of your home.
  • katelyn1953
    One thought on landscaping. If you pick a door color that contrasts with you home color and occurs in nature, use that color in your landscaping to pull the eye from street (or driveway). I am a big fan of red doors and there are a lot of red flowers that can be grown from seeds, very in expensively. Yellow would be another possibility with plenty of options.
  • moggie73
    Laura, just checking back to see where you are in the planning process? Lots of good advice here. Hoping the weather has not affected your progress. Best to you.
  • PRO
    Timberlane Shutters
    We have to agree with Becky on this one! She explained how shutters should be properly fitted perfectly.

    Attached are some images to see some inspiration. Feel free to use our Shutter Snapshot visual on our website to see properly fitted shutters, in your style and color choice, installed on your home before the actual installation. You will immediately see the difference on your facade.

    We would recommend a Panel or Board and Batten style. Both are featured below.
  • PRO
    LB Interiors
    Many times shutters are used just for aesthetics and dimension to the facade.
    Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. · More Info
  • camperoo

    I also have a doublewide with an almost identical front. It is about midway thru its renovation, we're also waiting for cool weather to finish :) We removed the wimpy shutters as others have recommended and instead used wide trim to give the windows more heft and it made a BIG difference in updating the look. This fall we will have a real porch built out following the roof line to give the front less of a rectangular box look. I would not recommend you put the porch all the way across, that won't change the basic box shape and would cost more. If you want to have the porch step down to a patio/garden area that would add visual dimension. Plant some shrubbery or trees NOW so your landscape has time to mature before resale time.

    I would caution you about anything concrete when it comes to mobile homes--the concrete will outlast the mobile and be a negative for future buyers who may want to live in the mobile while saving to build on the lot. Definitely upgrade the skirting, but **don't** set the house on concrete. Look at beautiful older homes porch skirting for ideas of wooden skirting that will look just as nice as brick but cost a lot less and not outlive the house.

    Your current front porch isn't working because it's tiny and not symmetrical--your roofline needs a symmetrical porch. **Don't** add any kind of storage to the front, that's what garages and outbuildings are for. **DO** make your porch symmetrical to the roofline.

    How wide is your roof line that faces forward? DC America makes an 18' wide aluminum pergola awning that would look fantastic across that space if you want to save some money on the porch, maybe build more of a wide deck with beautiful wide steps down instead of a formal roofed porch. It's also super light so you won't have to worry about if your house can structurally support it like a wooden awning. The porch photo shared above is gorgeous but I have yet to see an add on porch to a mobile look that good, they usually look like a porch was added as an after thought. Also when the house shifts (and they do, constantly!) the porch will not shift exactly the same, causing problems for any joinery between the two structures.

    Paint your front door! I sugest a bold color, that front is screaming for some color :) And replacing your mobile doors is an *excellent* idea for a value-adding upgrade--when a potential buyer comes to a wimpy/lightweight trailer door they will get a bad temporary vibe as a first impression even if the curb appeal from the road is stunning. Don't overspend here either--you're already going to have to spend extra for a custom mobile size, just get a nice paint grade with some heft and buy beautiful hardware.

    I'll try to add some photos, let me see...

  • camperoo
    This is how I envision the pergola, just over your front door/window instead of someones garage ;)

  • camperoo
    Pair the awning with the bottom steps/deck of this porch and add some beautiful rockers/chairs under that big window :)

  • camperoo

    That's the thing about the internet, it isn't a linear continuum. Houzz posted it on the front page today and it was relevant to me. It may not be relevant to you. You have never read an old post looking for ideas or inspiration?

  • Hockeymom84

    I have but I have never commented on it as if the advice would be relevant to the poster 3 years later. I figured it was oversight on your part as it would be odd to expect the op to be around to take advice at this late date.

  • Djonesstudio Djonesstudio

    I'm a retired Art Instructor and designer, I did this to my mobile., with very little money, under 2000$. Its become the talk of the area, people stop and compliment me. I'm very pleased with the final product. I included 1 " before" and several" after" pics.

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