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natasha_prasad84

Exterior remodel emergency

Natasha prasad
3 days ago
last modified: 3 days ago

Need suggestions for exterior speedy remodel without breaking the bank...had to downsize and purchase a house quickly, for my kids to stay in the same school district this was one of the only options. I am struggling with ideas to update the exterior due to the odd structure of the house and the entrance being so off to the side. I need ideas and suggestions to dress the exterior up without changing the whole structure of the house since the inside is nearly complete. Any suggestions for paint color, pillars, perhaps faux material to achieve a stone look? if anyone had pictures or before and afters of a house with similar structure to give me some hope that would be great! im desperate


Comments (98)

  • Erin

    You may have a hard time finding faux brick that blends well with your current brick. That's why everyone is suggesting you paint or cover the brick. If you like Victorian, you may be able to add a few decorative items like this house has:

    Queen Anne Victorian Remodel · More Info

    Notice the scalloped siding and the decorative white piece at the peak -- very Victorian. You can possibly add these elements to your house, plus paint the porch/railing white and beef up the posts, and paint the brick the same color or white.

    Natasha prasad thanked Erin
  • justerrilynn


    :Natasha

    on Sunday at 12:54PM

    I wish I could extend the entrance by some sort of addition, but due to the awkward layout of the front entrance being so off to the side I don’t know if there’s a way to extend it.

    You also said: you wanted speedy and didn’t want to break the bank and used the word glamorous several times.


    As as you can imagine some of us are confused.

    Do you have a budget? Or, is this to be a DIY over the weekend with your kids?

    It’s all good but if we know we will be better help.

    Natasha prasad thanked justerrilynn
  • Mrs. S

    One thing I've learned from these forums (perhaps the most important thing) about architecture and exterior facades, is that exteriors look better, more cohesive, more sophisticated, and more appropriate when they are simplified. Simplified. When the angles coordinate, when the windows are sized and designed appropriately for the house, when there is less or no "faux" anything. When there are fewer materials. When the landscaping is appropriately designed.

    I'd spend some time reading through the long threads in these forums. You can then develop a better appreciation for what you HAVE, and not what you DON'T have. A term that I've heard here a lot is a "remuddle," which is trying to make a house into something it's not. Sure, I agree your house could use a little bit of help, if you can afford it, in terms of the odd entrance, but aimed toward simplifying and unifying the style, and not changing the style.

    It's worth noting that the prior owner probably desired some kind of coach-house entrance and missed the brick facades of his/her childhood, and so thought that a brick entranceway would be a nice way to segue the house into the brick house of yore. But you can see what was created---it's added yet another material, not professionally designed in terms of roof, stairs, etc., that the next owner has to figure out how to resolve. Go for the simple.

    Natasha prasad thanked Mrs. S
  • Holly Stockley

    What Mrs. S. said. She speaks wisdom.

    You might also see if your local historical society or the library has photos of the house from earlier in its history. Seeing what it was originally might give you a vision for staying true to its roots.

    Natasha prasad thanked Holly Stockley
  • Natasha prasad

    I apologize for the confusion. I should Have specified, I am not handling the painting and Other exterior updates myself. My kids and I were going to go shopping for plants and little affordable accessories to give The house a little character. I meant to say that reconfiguration of the structure of the house is out of the budget, even though the off center door is extremely displeasing. I cannot spend more than a few thousand on the exterior as it took a lot for me to allocate that, I also have no experience with remodeling and decorating or any sort of design. This is all sort of new and a big adjustment, being a single parent, working full time and trying to get this done as Quickly and less costly as possible. I don’t have knowledge of the materials for exterior remodels such as “faux stone” or products to achieve a stone finish. I would sincerely appreciate any suggestions of what materials anyone has had experience with that look great for a great price. Any advice at all is extremely appreciated since This is all foreign to me.

  • Natasha prasad

    Im sorry about the repetition of the word “glamorous“ I meant the word in respect to aesthetics. I do not Expect to buy the most high end this or brand name that, nor would I ever consider it since that is not in the cards for me. It is just the look I was hoping to achieve. i Was hoping there were affordable ways to achieve the look but if not then a simple classic look will suffice. Sorry for the confusion everyone

  • Natasha prasad

    if I put off updating the backyard, my bedroom, and bath, i can put that towards the exterior update. My Max budget would be $9,000.

  • justerrilynn

    Ok, that was helpful : ) Do you like the idea of (for now) just painting the brick addition the house color and replacing the steps with two added step stones and side rails ? Then, some landscape done by you and the children?

    Talk to some neighbors and see if they can recommend someone for the step area and railing. Talk to the handyman about your budget amount. He will then tell you what materials fit into that budget.

    To save money, paint the addition yourself. Homedepot or Lowe’s paint department will fix you up with the sealer and paint color match and suggest materials you will need.

    If you are lucky there might be a can of house paint in the garage.

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  • Natasha prasad

    Amanda, thank you for the photos. My kids love the planters and can’t wait to pick them out!

  • Natasha prasad

    Erin, I love The photos you posted. I have printed them out as the kids wanted to add them to their idea binder Along with Amandas.

  • Natasha prasad

    justerrilynn, thank you SO much for your advice And visual. It’s extremely helpful. I Have gotten Estimates on other parts of the house and for some reason the numbers are higher than what I expected. After speaking to some friends regarding How much their updates cost I fear that the People I received estimates from are taking advantage of the fact that I am not experienced with this and would Not be familiar with the average pricing of such updates. Do you have any estimate or idea of how much the step and railing remodel would cost? Also, The kids are excited to paint, they never pass up an opportunity to make a mess! Lol

  • justerrilynn

    Oh, for some reason I didn’t see your budget amount before I posted the above.

    It would take more than $9,000 to do the front properly. I would try to save and add to that after you have been there awhile and have a solid plan.

    Estimates will vary greatly depending on the materials used. Cement steps, plywood steps , composite steps, stock wood railings vs wrought Iron Or aluminum rails, big difference on prices.

  • Natasha prasad

    In regard to the history of the home, I looked into it a few weeks ago and apparently this was one of the last homes built on the street. One of the only homes without some kind of history. two of the larger homes on the street served As a church and school, with a very interesting background. sadly, nothing I could find in regard to this home.

  • SapphireStitch

    Natasha, it sounds like you’ve recently had a shakeup in family circumstances. Your kids are probably missing some things they saw as normal in your former life and if other kids made fun of your house that only makes it worse. I get the feeling this is a much less nice house than you’re used to and that is really hard to adjust to. I just want to encourage you to do whatever small changes you can do that don’t cost much at all. Do them more for the experience of helping your kids work through their feelings about the move and family change than for making a big difference in the house right away. You really need to build up a good emergency fund to take care of house and car problems and things like that as they come up more than you need to change the appearance of the house. Your kids will take their cues from you as they see you do small improvements and learn to be happy with less, and they will see you being an empowered woman supporting her family. Those are things that will help them now, I think. I wish you all the best!

    Natasha prasad thanked SapphireStitch
  • Holly Stockley

    Don't give up - sometimes you have to do some digging where local history is concerned. If your library has a local history section, talk to the librarian. People sometimes know more than books.

    Not sure how old your kids are - sometimes you can engage them in the actual sprucing, too. I remember painting the exterior or my parents' house. (Lying flat on one roof section to be able to paint under the eaves of the upper gable stands out). Also, spreading 70 cubic yards of top soil to bring the level of the back yard up because it was soggy. By hand.

    NOW I'm confident about taking 10 ratty acres in hand and making a home out of it. Because most of the things I will do are things I have done before - just on a little larger scale.

    Natasha prasad thanked Holly Stockley
  • Natasha prasad

    Sapphiresitch, you hit the nail right on the head. I do feel Its a bit superficial of me to be so concerned with updating the exterior, but I just want to have a home the kids will be happy and proud to come home to. It’s a tough adjustment, for adults too, but especially for kids. kids At times do not have filters and don’t understand the consequences of what mere words can do, which Is a part of being a kid. But it’s also my part as a parent to try and protect them from that. I just Hate failing my children, which they do not say that I have, but I feel that. Since they are not excited to come home, and they have stopped asking to have friends over, even when I suggest it. I can tell, though they are too sweet and do not want to hurt me by saying it, I know.

  • justerrilynn

    Aww, you sound like the best mother in the world! I think the kids might enjoy painting and planting.

    Do they like basket ball? A hoop on the garage back there might attract neighbor kids.

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  • RedRyder

    You sound like a loving mom who wants happy children. They need to get involved in the "update" process and since painting the non-matching addition is a great idea, get them paint brushes and go for it! Have them plan landscaping that is inexpensive and get them shovels and pruners. This is YOUR house - together! It is also important that children learn that what goes on INSIDE the house is more important than the OUTSIDE of the house. You're in this together so encourage team thinking, team work and team support. (The basketball hoop idea is also a good one...)


    Natasha prasad thanked RedRyder
  • Amanda Smith

    I don’t think your curving front entry is bad at all. Your house just needs a little TLC and creativity. I agree with the above posters about getting the kids involved as much as possible. Take them to the garden center and have them help picking out plants and decor. If it helps at all, remember that kids will always compare houses, etc. That‘s what kids do.

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  • Amanda Smith

    Hey, how about a happy garden flag like this to greet them when they come home?


    Natasha prasad thanked Amanda Smith
  • Natasha prasad

    Thank you all for the encouraging words! 8 and 12 :) basketball hoop is a perfect idea, one sport we all play together! That will put a huge smile on their faces... I can’t thank you all enough!

  • Natasha prasad

    Love the flag, thank you Amanda! It’s perfect. I’ve never had Any lawn decor so I’m not familiar with much but this would be a perfect surprise, a change they will be happy about. does anyone have thoughts on a bench with a cushion Infront of the house with maybe some decorative planters around or would that seem tacky to have just on the grass?

  • Kitty Lanier

    Natasha,

    To save yourself a problem with paint peeling off the brick, go to a reputable paint store, not a big box store, and get a good masonry paint and good advice on how to paint the brick. Brick needs to breathe and needs special type of paint. I think painting the brick the same color as the rest of the house will make a big difference in the way your house looks. As Mrs S stated in her first post, Romabio makes a masonry paint. I know Home Depot here carries the interior lime wash, but I don’t know if they carry the masonry paint. You could call Romabio and find out where you can buy it. I would not depend on big box store personnel to know how to use it. romabio.com

    Put some nice pots on the front with some colorful plants and involve your children in helping to care for them through the summer. With some grass removal and adding some soil amendments, you could also have a nice perennial bed by the steps. A good garden center can give you some advice on plants to use if you will take pictures of the house and yard to show them.

    Natasha prasad thanked Kitty Lanier
  • emmarene9

    I would not take money away from bathroom improvements to work on the entrance. It will be fine if you paint it to match the house.

    Please no stone added anywhere to this house.

    More perennials and Hostas in front would be nice. It looks shady so be sure to buy plants that can tolerate shade. If you tell us your zone people can recommend flowers.

    Natasha prasad thanked emmarene9
  • housegal200

    My comment, except about getting an architect to get this right, was a little harsh, so please accept my apology for that. It sounds as if your family is going through a challenging transition. You sound so caring about your children's well being. That's number one. You're their home, not that building.

    A move can be so disorienting. Sometimes during such times, costly mistakes get made to try to make a house into something it isn't. There are a lot of plusses to a smaller house--coziness, more contact with each other, less to furnish, less to clean, less to maintain, heat and cool, lower taxes. Love the house you're with, to paraphrase the old song.

    Yes, that entryway is a problem, and it's awful that other kids on the bus are making fun of your house. But if you were considering faux brick, big paint job, and such, then it seems you've set aside some money to tackle the project. Find an architect who can come up with a simple, attractive solution that would include a nice walkway and inviting entrance. Good luck!

    Natasha prasad thanked housegal200
  • Olychick

    It's difficult to say about placing a bench without more pics of the front, but it looks like you might have a perfect spot, around the corner to the right of the big windows, kind of tucked in that little alcove. It won't be handy to get to from the front entrance, but I don't think that matters. It can be a destination in the yard/garden.

    I'm back with my horrible mock up "skills" but I wanted to see how a door with glass would look. I'd probably do small panes like the windows, but that's impossible for me to figure out how to mock up.

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  • Amanda Smith

    Just wondering why so many posters are suggesting removing the shutters. Have shutters gone out of style? To my eye, they add a lot of charm to this cottage-style house...

  • Amanda Smith

    I think adding a trellis or flower box onto the left side of the brick addition may soften the look. Can someone do a mock-up? I like the idea of putting in a new front door with glass.

    Natasha prasad thanked Amanda Smith
  • SapphireStitch

    Amanda Smith, there is a big push on these forums for shutter authenticity: windows should only have shutters if they are on the style of house that would have had them originally, shutters must be wide enough that they can close over the windows, and they should be hung with the proper hardware to make them closable.


    But after you take the shutters off, the windows often look plain and awkward and the response then is to “beef up the trim”. I’m not against replacing shutters with wider trim if one likes the look. We’re going to do that on our house because we are getting dark blue siding and I don’t care for white shutters. But I see nothing wrong with using “fake” shutters as trim or accents!! The fake stone everyone is slapping up on columns couldn’t hold up a wall, but somehow it’s okay. Just like that stone, the “fake“ shutters are adding a bit of color and interest to the house. I’m fine with people being purists about their own homes and pointing out when something is not authentic on someone else’s historical home. But it gets taken too far, IMO.

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  • Amanda Smith

    Thanks, SapphireSmith. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with design trends and fads!

  • justerrilynn

    I hate to be a poo poo , and I know you have a lot on your plate right now, but I couldn’t live with that curvy step railing thingy. If you paint that addition the house color and redo the step and rail I think it would look nice. I would choose mid-cost point for materials. Not cheapest and not grand. In 6 or 7 years you might be in a position to do something more extensive in the front.

    Plus, if you ever have to sell for whatever reason the house will have improved curb appeal. Maybe just change the shutter color to charcoal, pressure wash the drive and brighten the trim.

    Ready to plant. Pretend the roof on addition is what you have now.




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  • Kitty Lanier

    Natasha, you have received a lot of advice in the comments here—-some good and some not so good in my humble opinion. As mentioned in an earlier post, you NEED to have an emergency fund. If your car needs work, hot water heater goes out, furnace needs repair, or any number of other things, you need some savings to pay for such things. With a little hard work, some good advice from a good paint store such as Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams or even Romabio, some pretty plants from a good garden center where they can help you with good info, you and the children can make a big difference in the appearance of your home. If you have any of the house paint left by the former owners that‘s great. If not, you will need a paint chip about the size of a quarter to be able to get a good match in your masonry paint. Trying to match from a sample card will be difficult. Be sure to use some drop cloths to protect you driveway and entrance. As long as your steps and railing are in good condition, I think you should leave them. Paint the handrails and any trim a white to match the house trim. If they are made of cedar, be sure to prime them first. Take pictures of what you want to paint with you to the paint store.

    If they do well in your area and you get enough sun, plant some Knockout Roses in front of the railing to add some color. They bloom profusely and will give you bouquets for your table. If you don’t know how to care for them, the garden center can help. They can get pretty big so plant them at least two feet away from the railing.

    Paint the door to match the shutters and the storm door. Someone suggested changing out your door, but doing that will take the better part of $1,000.00 or more for the door and labor to replace it if you get a good door.

    Please consider talking to your children about the need to save money to do things to the house at a later time. Involve them in thinking of ways to do that. It’s unfortunate that children on their bus made bad remarks about their home, but kids can be mean sometimes. They were able to stay in their schools, have what looks like a good roof over their heads, a nice yard to play in and above all, a Mother who loves and cares for them. So many people don’t have any of those things. Please tell them to just ignore the mean kids.

    Please excuse my long post and the ramblings of an old lady. I do wish you the very best of luck for you and your children, Natasha.

    Natasha prasad thanked Kitty Lanier
  • Amanda Smith

    IMO, the addition won’t look any better with a straight staircase and in fact might look worse. It will be a lot of work and expense for little payoff, if any. It is what it is at this point. As for the shutters, I would drive around and see what your neighbors have done. In some parts of the country, shutters aren’t used. I’m in South Florida and they are not used. (Only hurricane shutters, lol.)

  • Amanda Smith

    I think a curved garden bench would look charming in the area between the curved railing and the rest of the house.

  • Amanda Smith

    Kitty Lanier, you’re right about replacing the door. Could easily cost $1000. That’s why I suggested hanging a pretty wreath on the current door.

  • Amanda Smith

    Something like this.


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  • Kitty Lanier

    Good ideas, Amanda. I think the bench would look good in front of the railing, too. Some pots of colorful flowers on either side of it would brighten things up.

    I have a storm door and found a magnetic hanger for my wreaths.

  • Natasha prasad

    Thank you all SO much! I’m calling about the paint now, and heading this weekend to the local nursery for flowers. Roses would be spectacular and would definitely add some life to the house. The bench is exactly what I was thinking, thank you Amanda. Would any more planters or perhaps hanging plants be overkill?

  • Amanda Smith

    imo, hanging planters might be too much....

  • Natasha prasad

    not planning to tackle the backyard for some years but just to show you all


  • Natasha prasad


    The plants are no longer there, and its Much less kept than the picture portrays but definitely a lot of potential when I can afford to update it


  • Amanda Smith

    You’re welcome, Natasha. Post pictures!

  • Amanda Smith

    Such a cute house. Loads of charm!

  • Kitty Lanier

    Wow, Natasha, you have a nice property with so much potential. Your kids really do have a nice yard to play in, and I love the back deck. I also love all those big, beautiful trees!

    I think a hanging basket on your entrance might be in your way. Some red or pink begonias in the window box would be pretty. Pots of shade loving plants on the back deck will be great. You will have to get the children to help you water all the pretty flowers through the summer.

    Hanging baskets outside the screened porch would be nice-like those in your photo.

    Natasha prasad thanked Kitty Lanier
  • Natasha prasad

    justerrilynn love the photo you made! That is what I am picturing

  • lizziesma

    Great house to grow into and I love the back space. Awesome for you and your family. I would just paint the brick the same color as your house; then, dream and plan and play.

  • justerrilynn

    You are welcome! Regardless of your decision on the steps... I removed the landscape you have to make a landscape plan easier. And, wow, the grounds are really nice on your new house. It feels like home to me!



  • Weathy

    Love the paint and landscape simplification justerrilynn mocked up. I second justerrilynn suggestions and would say add two more planters under the other two sections of the front bay window so that the planter under the middle section reads like one long planter under the total bay window width. Gray (roof and steps, and shutters if you're keeping them) and tan (door and planter box) look sharp with that light blue. Or if you want even more simplified, remove the planter box. But, hot pink flowers in the boxes would look fab with the gray, tan. blue.



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