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Craftsman/Cape Exterior Window Decision Dilemma

June 11, 2019
last modified: June 11, 2019

We're finally getting around to replacing our original 1950's front facade windows which are single-paned, cracked, off-centered (we have the original blueprints with this in the plan, why or why?!), and painted shut by the previous owner on the right side of our house (see pic). The house was an unfinished Cape when we bought it. We added the 2nd floor dormers, centered on the roof, knowing we were going to address the first floor and eventually have everything centered. Our dilemma is what style window to replace the existing ones with. We've drawn up a few ides (see pics): 3 double-hungs cased to be one unit (with our without window boxes), a fixed center with casements on either side with grills across the top only to match the one that's in the kitchen in the back of the house, or fixed center with casements on either side with full grills. We do not want to do the Classic Cape of two double-hungs with our without shutters as we are trying to maximize the abundant light that comes in in the afternoon and the gorgeous view that it looks out onto. The left side of the house which was remodeled in 2006 is more Craftsman style and we're trying to make the entire front more cohesive. The front door will be replaced and centered with one similar to the main front door without sidelights and hopefully the house will be painted white once all is said and done. We may or may not paint the new front door white at that time to have it 'disappear' and not compete with the main front door. Thanks for taking a look!

Comments (6)

  • Anna (6B/7A in MD)

    I love your doodling. Similar to how I decided on house colors—with colored pencils! Haha.

    Question: are the dormers ”faux”? And I’m assuming the red/brown door is what you are referring to as the “front door”? It’s very confusing to have two doors facing the front.

  • HU-137060702

    The second floor dormers are in the bedrooms, aka real. The main front door is the one with the columns and dormer, and yes, I agree the two front doors are very confusing but we tried to emphasize the main one with a wide brick walkway, columns, etc and the secondary door only has stepping stones. We're replacing the small front porch with stone or granite steps without railings, again to make it more simple.

  • Anna (6B/7A in MD)

    Code may call for railings on those steps.

    The overall look, while not unpleasant, appears as if two houses were combined to make one. But the area that bothers me is what I believe to be the garage--proportionally, the windows are too small for the area. Those skinny, wispy, pencil shrubs don't help.

    Aesthetically, I'm partial to the grids on top, I love how they look. I wouldn't do window boxes. I would do more to focus on the actual front entry and not add planters or anything to that secondary door. Agree, once it's "painted out," it'll disappear more.

    As for whether you choose casements, choose what works for you and your budget; windows that open are key for many folks.

    Personally, I prefer to have an unobstructed view thus the appeal of the half-grid windows. But that's why they make so many styles--pick what works for you and looks good.

    Will you be painting the siding shingles?

  • HU-137060702

    Thanks for your feedback Anna! I'm with you on that the house almost looks like a duplex and we're trying to fix that. I'd remove that door if I thought we could do more windows as that whole first floor is one big room (combined living and dining), but I think it would look too long. Love your thinking of keeping the right side of the house as simple as possible.

    I also agree that the garage seems out of proportion. I was thinking of adding a frieze board across at the roof return line and replacing the siding above that board with shingles to match the other parts of the house. The wispy bushes are 4ft grasses that are just starting to come up and they were divided this spring and therefore look a bit thin.

    We are leaving the shingles to age naturally.

    Again, I really appreciate your feedback!


  • Brown Dog

    You have a lovely house but it looks chopped up. The two parts, each with a door, kinda makes your house look like a semi-detached house. I think once you decide on your windows, you should try and make this house look more cohesive. Perhaps changing the colour of your siding to match closer to the grey shake colour and not white like you are thinking. I would definitely play down the door on the right and make it disappear. Perhaps you could achieve this with landscaping and really make your actual front door be the focal point. Maybe plant mid-sized shrubs and a couple freestanding trellises with climbing plants so it's blocked off from the front door and hidden or partially hidden from the street. It doesn't look like you have a sidewalk to the door on the right which you could add. I think your goal should be cleverly disguising the utility door so your actual front door is the focal point by unifying styles and colours and adding landscaping.

  • HU-137060702

    Thank you Brown Dog! Yes, it does look like a duplex or a semi-detached, ugh. Interesting idea with shrubs/trellis to hide the right door. I'd really just like to remove the door completely as it is never used as a form of egress (mostly just opened to allow light in), but I think that end of the house would look ridiculous without a door and just windows. Agree?

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