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Suggestions for brick and stone exterior

June 29, 2013

We are currently building a home with a brick and stone exterior. We are looking for suggestions on which areas should be brick and which should be stone. Please see current exterior... Thanks!

Comments (33)

  • nini804

    Would it be better to have an entire section in stone instead of the partial sections as pictured? That way it could conceivably look like say, the stone garage, was added at a later date? As is, it just doesn't make sense to me. Or maybe the foundation could be stone and the rest brick?

  • virgilcarter

    IMO, brick and stone do not work well together. They are two different types of masonry with different shapes, colors and textures. Keeping one or the other, and using wood siding or stucco will make a much more harmonious exterior. More economical as well.

    Good luck on your project!

  • pittkol

    Virgil, so you really don't think this house looks nice with the stone and brick? Almost all the new construction in Pittsburgh has this type of combination.

  • deeje

    I agree with virgilcarter. It may be all in what you're used to seeing in your area, but I immediately thought that brick and stone would not complement each other. And now that you've posted a photo, I'm certain of it. The brick does absolutely nothing for the stone, imo, and vice versa. I would choose one for an accent, and use either cedar siding or stucco for the main.

  • pps7

    Nice house, the windows look great.

    Ditto to the pp.

    If you are set on doing both, do the entire right gable in stone, brick the rest. Personally, I would limewash the brick to make it more homogenous. Do a search for alison704's home. Her garage is stone and the rest of her house is brick with a mortor wash. looks terrific. I agree it is commonly done in Contemporary homes, but that doesn't mean it looks good. In the example you show, it would look better if only the right gable had been stone and the middle section had been brick. But the brick and stone colors don't play well together- it's very difficult to get it right.

    Also, i know you didn't ask, but if there is a way to eliminate the gable within the gable on the right, i think it would look much better.

  • PRO

    No, that house looks like two different people fought over what the exterior would look like. And the house lost. It's visually jarring and incoherent.

    Pick one material and do it well. If you need a second material, choose Hardiplant or shingles, and don't just pick random gables to use it on like they did with that house. It should look like the central stone structure was there first, and then there were subsequent additions in the plank material.

  • chispa

    Agreed, 99% of the time brick and stone do not look great together.

  • qbryant

    That's all that's built in my area for the last 8 years,I thank it's gets dated quick,and pretty vanilla.
    I agree with the above posts.

  • PRO
    Bridget Helm

    i'm with virgil. brick and stone should not be together. that house was ruined by doing so. what a shame because it could have otherwise been a pretty home! the colors don't even blend. red brick with buff stone??

    anyhow, personally, i would use brick and stucco. also, would you consider losing one of the gables within the gables - either the center gable within or the right side gable within?? i think that would look less fussy

  • renovator8

    Historically brick and stone were used next to each other but one would not be used to support the other as currently popular in your area. The reason is that stone is a very dense natural material that expands and contracts far less than man-made fired clay brick. The only reason they can be used today in an interlocking manner is that the masonry is a "veneer" that is separate from the wood frame structure and supported on the foundation or steel angles.

    This construction method allows designers to create modern fantasies that they feel are more interesting than the originals.

    But what I find more troubling is the seemingly arbitrary combination of strong elements from well established historical architectural styles. The facades are essentially American Tudor from the 20's with Colonial gables and cornice returns and tall hipped medieval French main roofs. Of course, the original examples of these styles had elements taken from other older historic building types but with far more sensitivity, balance and proportion. These new designs have the feel of a clever statement gradually changed by repeated use until it is no longer very clever.

    This post was edited by Renovator8 on Mon, Jul 1, 13 at 8:19

  • Annie Deighnaugh

    Oh, I agree with the others. Brick and stone. Nuh-uh. Falls into the category of just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. The application of the stone should make some sense in the context of the building, and not look like "we've got some stone...let's put it here."

    In your case, I would stone the left, center and right gables for some symmetry and balance, and do the rest in something else....

  • john_wc

    Brick and stone seem to work on this home.

  • dbrad_gw

    I'm a fan of brick/stone like in the picture immediately above this my post - we plan on using that mixture ourselves.

  • live_wire_oak

    "Brick and stone seem to work on this home."

    No. It doesn't. It's less glaring the the two different color families that clash so badly above. But it still doesn't work. If they'd left the stone at the foundation line, and then done the entry in the same siding that they used on the gable end, it would have been more successful.

  • deeje

    Fully agreed with live_wire_oak. It's not quite as obnoxious a pairing as the first photo, but it doesn't look at all good to me either.

  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler

    It's part of the "kitchen sink" design philosophy that has pervaded so much of the "architecture" of the past few years, usually with the homeowners in the drivers seat. If one thing is good, then two things is better, and 3 even more so. Pretty soon, you've got everything including the kitchen sink thrown at a design with zero regard to any underlying principles of design. In fact, the principles of design are sneered at, because it's stupid to pay a professional for something that everyone can do themselves.

  • john_wc

    Is the objection to brick and stone based on historical design standards or aesthetics?

  • Annie Deighnaugh


  • dbrad_gw

    Which is personal preference, no? I happen to really like it.

  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler

    Personal preference? Nope. Or else everyone would have a "live and let live" attitude if their next door neighbor created this to HIS personal preference.

    Aesthetics is NOT "just" about personal preference. There are rules behind what humans find attractive. Proportion. Scale. Repetition. Balance. Not making your eyes bleed. Etc.

  • Annie Deighnaugh

    There's a good book out called "what not to build"....if you look it up on amazon and "peek inside" one of the first pictures you come across is of a what not to build...a home with stucco and brick and stone, oh my!

    This is an especially wonderful example in that, it looks like they put so much effort into the front facade: the textured brick and the stone and the arches and the shutters and the stone at the corners, they forgot the building has 3 other sides.

  • FmrQuahog

    you do realize that's a computer-generated rendering, don't you?

  • Annie Deighnaugh

    dBrad, if you really like the look, be very careful if you do it. Be aware that it is a look that can go really bad, really quickly. That doesn't mean that there aren't some decent examples, but they are the exception rather than the rule, esp in the homes they're building today.

    It's like combining stripes and plaids. You are putting two very strong, very textured and colorful materials on one facade which are competing with each other. It's not that it can't be done, but that it requires a great deal of skill to do it well...and preferably on a home style, like this victorian, which is meant to be fussy and ornate.

    Note here how the materials really yield 2 very distinct and almost solid colors and very different textures so there is more complement than competition between the materials. Further the color of the stone is continued and sprinkled throughout the facade so that there is a rhythm and a sensibility to the color scheme. The red becomes a supporting accent to what otherwise would have been a bland color scheme.

    This contrasts sharply with this more current home where the multi colored stones and the multi colored bricks are in competition with one another, leading to a sense of confusion and no focal point on which the eye can rest. Really like mixing plaid with plaid.

  • PRO
    Bridget Helm

    i'm with annie and holly on this one. for example, i really really love louvered shutters,but they don't work with the style of home we are building, so i am showing RESTRAINT and going with a recessed skinny tongue and groove as the architect suggested. i knew the louvered wouldn't work, but i really didn't want board and batten, so i asked the architect for guidance. RESTRAINT and trust in good professionals is key to building a tasteful home.

  • mfowler423

    Build what you like. I like the mixture of stone and brick myself. There are many beautiful homes in my area with a combination of brick/stone. Look for photos online and I am sure you will find a combination you like. It's all about personal preference.

  • Annie Deighnaugh

    Fmr Quahog, yes, I do. So what? If anything it makes the point stronger as they are presenting this is as the ideal for this home design, since they can do anything they want on paper...and yet look how they chose to present it...awful.

  • pps7

    The house posted by john_wc is really cute despite the stone. It could have been amazing if they had just continued the brick instead of the stone, gotten rid of the pork chop returns and installed gutters the same color as the trim.

    Mfowler, yes of course build what you love. But I was just trying to get the OP to evaluate if they really love it or have they just been bombarded with it and so they are convinced that is the way to go. 2 different things.

    There 3 features of new homes that I wish would go away:
    1. Using 100 exterior elements
    2. Prok chop returns
    3. gables within a gables gone crazy

  • HappyW

    I guess it's all a matter of personal taste. I personally think the house in pittkol's photo looks very nice.

    As a matter of curiosity, those of you who dislike the combination of brick and stone, please look on the Internet for pictures of Wawel castle in Krakow. The castle is a hodgepodge of colors and building materials, and I think it's very beautiful.

    Does anyone disagree that the Wawel hodge-podge is successful?

  • DreamingoftheUP

    I really dislike separate sections alternating between brick and stone scanning left to right as in the picture of the first home. The second picture is a little better but it looks strange the way the foundation stone has been carried up around the entry way.

    Stone sparsely used as trim has a more timeless and classic look. Here's some examples. All but the second picture are million dollar plus homes currently for sale in the Chicago area. The second picture is somewhere in the midwest from a limestone fabricator's project gallery.

    Stucco with a stone entry way, 1937:

    More recent, brick with Indiana limestone trim and entry way. Beautiful.

    Some more.....
    From 1930, looks like lannon stone exterior with smooth limestone trim around the windows and quoining . Beautiful wood entryway.

    1955, all stone ground floor with siding on the second story and gable, smooth limestone window sills:

    This post was edited by DreamingoftheUP on Sat, Apr 12, 14 at 20:23

  • DreamingoftheUP

    Old doesn't always mean successful. Following just doesn't do it for me - brick with brick quoins are nice, but the stone entry/turret doesn't work - looks to be an after thought. And, it's just plain weird - looks like a face with a party hat. From 1936, currently on sale for $1.5 million.

    Compared to this beautiful home from 1928, brick with an entry turret, in a Mediterranean style. Hard to tell, but the trim around the windows and door looks to be custom made terracotta, not stone, and "only" $900K.

    1953 Chicago tract house with high belt line lannon stone trim with face brick above. Less successful.

    1954 tract house with reverse order of the stone and brick. Not attractive, very dated.

    1956 tract house which works way, way better (for me). Lannon stone entry way, rest of the house brick, limestone window sills.

    This post was edited by DreamingoftheUP on Sun, Apr 13, 14 at 8:01

  • tlpetty

    I agree that the combination of different materials can go very wrong, BUT I also think it can go very right. In the end no matter what people's arguments that design taste is not of personal opinion, it is. What one person finds esthetically pleasing is not blanket across the human race, that is why homes all look so different, people all look so different and preference is such a wide-open topic. If you are looking to make your home esthetic to a more general audience, not just yourself, then I think you will find 50/50 in opinions and it all depends on how the stone/brick combo is executed and the colors used.

    I happen to love this home as it looks timeless and welcoming http://www.davidsmalldesigns.com/index.php/new-homes-showcase/72-new-homes-corner-house#3695-cornerhouse_4

    Here is a link that might be useful: Brick Stone Exterior Combination

  • musicgal

    Almost everything new down here is a mix of stone and brick. Some gorgeous. Some are really bad. It all depends on the owner's choices.
    We did an all stone front and tower with a terra cotta brick on the other walls. Just a few places are stucco upstairs... Here is a picture of a typical luxury build in our area.

  • musicgal

    Almost everything new down here is a mix of stone and brick. Some gorgeous. Some are really bad. It all depends on the owner's choices.
    We did an all stone front and tower with a terra cotta brick on the other walls. Just a few places are stucco upstairs... Here is a picture of a typical luxury build in our area.
    Sorry-don't know why it is double posting.


    This post was edited by musicgal on Thu, Apr 17, 14 at 17:16

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