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Small, Boring, Eyesore of a House Needs a Facelift

March 15, 2019
last modified: March 15, 2019

First off, thanks for reading my plea for help. I'm tired of being the eyesore of the neighborhood.

I need help determining the best way to renovate my home's exterior on a small budget. Thankfully, a family friend works in the business and can help make things more affordable. It's a small (850 sq. ft.) single-story home just off a moderately busy street. Because of the close property lines, I can't do anything with the carport except paint/siding and possibly replace the support posts.

I'm a big fan of craftsman and arts & crafts style home details. I'm leaning towards shake style vinyl siding and a stone veneer. My biggest problem is determining the best proportions of each. Also, what size "stones" should I use to keep my house from looking overwhelmed and/or even smaller. I've tried using online home exterior makeover programs, but I've looked at too many options recently and it's a jumbled mess in my head.

The house is about 32 ft. wide in the front x 28 ft. down the sides.

Comments (17)

  • PRO
    JudyG Designs

    How small is small $?

    Take off the shutters.

    Paint the house a dark color so the white window frames become important.

    Build a front deck which runs the width of the house.

  • Tiffany

    I totally forgot to include the dimensions. Thanks! I'll edit my post to include those.

    It's about 32 ft. in front and back x 28 ft. at the sides.

    I don't think a full porch would be affordable, but it's definitely on my list of "wants" for the long run. The backyard is really big, and I'd rather spend the money on a back patio. I'd rather sit in the back and watch my dogs play, than sit out front watching traffic. Lol!

  • awm03

    Boring eyesore?! I beg to differ :) Your home is really cute and has lots of potential. I don't think Craftsman is the way to go, though. Your home isn't a Craftsman shape, & stone & shingle would overwhelm your house. You could do a lot of justice to it, though, if you stick to classic Cape Cod style and install cottage style landscaping. Another thing to consider would be turning your side patio into a screened in porch. That could add a beautiful architectural element & make the home look larger too.

    The brown things beside the door are supposed to be built in benches. The scale is way off.

    Tiffany thanked awm03
  • writersblock

    I agree that it's a very cute house that just needs a new paint job and some landscaping. What you have is minimal traditional, which is an actual style you might want read up on. Even the weirdly narrow shutters are very typical of that period, so I'd keep those, but definitely landscape as awm03 suggested. Don't try to make it a craftsman.


    ETA A new front door, too, maybe. The dutch door awm shows you would be very period-appropriate.

    Tiffany thanked writersblock
  • celerygirl

    I would paint the front door, get a proper size shutters and make wide porch/steps.

  • Tiffany

    Thank you all for your input!

    I had never even thought to make the carport a screened in porch. I love that idea!

    I haven't heard of "minimal traditional" before, so I'll definitely be checking that out.

  • tatts

    Spend some money on growies! Not just shrubs. You need some ornamental trees--not oaks or maples, but smaller--cherry, stewartia (the tree, not shrub). crape myrtle, etc. Make that front yard do some work!

  • littlebug zone 5 Missouri

    The #1 first thing you should do is enlarge your front porchlet/steps. What you have now is entirely inadequate. It looks temporary and makeshift.

    Something like awm above pictured is great. You need a landing with room enough for more than one visitor to stand at the door. Then equally-as-wide steps, probably with handrails. You don't have to make it as wide as the whole house as someone else suggested, but HALF as wide as the house would be a vast improvement.

    I think your house can be very charming.

  • lindahambleton

    Your house is so cute. Blue hydrangeas with pink door ! Ooo la la !

  • katrina_ellen

    I think of your house as cottage style. It could be super cute with a few improvements. Mine is similar and I went to the landscape forum and got some excellent advice on the exterior. The landscaping alone made a big difference.

  • Sherry

    It may be small, but I don't think it is boring!. You just need a different paint and some landscaping!

  • Alison

    Here's a before and after of a no-porch to full-porch to give you an idea. Note - their house was WAY rough. I don't mean to be drawing any comparisons beyond basic shape :)

    It's from here if you want more info:


    Also - if you live in the South, and that was built between about 1930 and 1960, you may also have an American Small House. A genre I just learned about! (ETA: seems this is another name for the Minimal Traditional!So pick the one you like!)

  • calidesign

    It's a cute cottage. If you can't change the porch, at least extend the two steps so they run the length of your current porch. Paint the front door. Landscaping will make the biggest difference, and you can do it yourself once you have a good plan.

  • ashtonchic

    Your little cottage is adorable! I would paint the front door and get some colorful flowers for the front. When you have the $$, you can add a porch like the one shown.

  • Pajarito

    No stone veneer.

  • bellburgmaggie
    Repaint. Go with a bold color front door. Add a deck across the front, landscape and pull the sidewalk away from the house. Your house is adorable.
  • writersblock

    Just coming back to say that widening the deck/step area isn't necessarily a terribly expensive project. For instance, in my area, where the originals were all concrete and now are often crumbling, you see this a lot:

    So basically just an oversized, reinforced wooden box that goes over what is there and a separate assembly for the steps. I wouldn't want to do that for a full deck, but if you just want to widen what you have enough for safety…. I would also add a stair railing. Narrow wrought iron would have been the original choice if they'd put in railings when the house was new.

    Tiffany thanked writersblock

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