Looking for ideas- exterior update to my house

Katie B.
last month

Hello creative people, I’m looking to update the outside of my house, and I’d like suggestions. My house is not my style, but it’s mine, for forever says my husband, so I’m hoping to infuse some of my style into it. My style is eclectic. I like modern, farmhouse, industrial. I like white paint, black-framed windows, metal roofs, barn lights (which I recently installed on the side and back of the house). I’m limited somewhat by our HOA as far as paint colors and decorative additions, but they aren’t that strict. I feel like the bottom window needs something- enlarged? or wider trim? maybe an awning with copper or metal roofing? I’ve thought about whitewashing the stone. We can change the front door too. And of course paint. Initially I thought I’d keep the beige paint and go with a dark charcoal trim, but I’m open to ideas. What do you see that maybe I don’t see?? Looking forward to your ideas!! Thank you in advance.

Comments (38)

  • cat_ky

    Well, I see a very nice house, with a beautiful roof, but I dont see farmhouse style in that house at all. Please do not do anything that takes away from the very nice house that it is. You could use a bit of landscaping help, from the small amount of it, I can see. You could change the color of it, to a lighter color. You could paint the trim, a charcoal, if the HOA approves. I cant see your front door.

  • Katie B.

    Thank you. Yes our HOA does our yards, and not very well. What would you do landscaping wise?

    Sadly, I agree, no farmhouse here. I was just hoping to get some touches in there, like a metal accent roof or awning somewhere. Of course I’m thinking it through, so I don’t do more harm than good with changes.

    The front door is just a builder basic door painted brown.

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    If you like craftsman, I would start by replacing or boxing in the columns with nice wood or white like all the examples above. Here's some nice wood ones. You could add a simple railing to the porch as well to frame it in. As far as making the house appear wider, you could add a pergola over the pathway on the right side of the house and over the driveway on the left side (like a carport). Would look nice and make the house appear larger. Something like this on the right side and similar but wider over the driveway. Lots of types and sizes. Could also go really simple on the right with something like this off the side of the house.
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    Could you add windows above the entrance that mirrored the shape and size of the door and side lights? As it is, the columns seem much more formal than the rest of the facade. If you have the budget for it, new larger windows could make a huge difference. I also think painting the wood a color besides white would help bring depth to the house if you keep the columns and trim white. I wouldn't paint the brick, I'd choose a color for the wood that complimented the brick instead.
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    I would go with a neutral tan or gray, and pair it with a medium blue if you want a pop of color. What material are the carports? Stucco?
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  • Katie B.

    here is what I mean when I talk about a decorative awning (over the bottom floor window)

  • Katie B.

    I get ideas from looking at homes and businesses around me. Like this chili’s restaurant. It’s stucco, with stone, and a spanish tile roof, yet the industrial lighting and metal awnings work. I’m hoping

    a professional here or creative person could help me work these elements into my house.

  • PRO
    JudyG Designs

    You could leave the siding and trim as is, but I would change the color rof the garage door and resurface the driveway. Found a good picture for inspiration:

    Lastly, take the muttins out of the windows. Too cottage looking for your home.

  • suezbell

    Consider changing the shape/size of the roof over the entry and extend it-- both to the side and to the front: Have that roof cover the window and patio to the right of it and have that roof extend forward to a point equal to the front wall of the garage. Enclose most of that space as a new foyer but with your new front door recessed about 6'. Paint your all your trim around your new front door and sidelights the same as the trim on your other windows/doors but paint your new front door your favorite bold color.

    You want your front door to be the focal point of the front of your home. With the door moved forward, you'd not truly need to make changes in the garage. You could, however, also paint your garage door the same color as your exterior siding so it visually "disappears" a bit -- at least is de-emphasized; however, because the color difference with your exterior wall/siding isn't that drastic so you could just leave the garage as is. Wait until you've redone your front door -- whatever you choose to do with it -- to decide..


  • Katie B.

    Judy and Sue, these are great ideas. Thank you. Judy, your inspo pic makes me want more windows. I love walls of windows.

    I’m still obsessed with the idea of getting a metal accent roof on my house somehow!

  • suezbell

    You could use a version of a metal accent roof (with skylights) over your new entry/portico/foyer.

    You could lower the height of the entry/portico/foyer roof to below the upstairs window and create a partial metal octagon "gazebo" roof atop your front entry/portico/foyer.


  • suezbell

    Really like the stone color exterior siding color suggested via inspiration pic by JudyG Designs.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    my house is the same style as yours and I also like the black and white. so I did a white stucco and Wrought Iron Trim.

    I had my roof tiles changed to charcoal. I can't get a good pic of them or the house because the sun is alway behind it.

    my garage doors are like this

    the white stucco is really white, not this pink tint. it's the sun in the background!

    So, you have a Mediterranean style home. don't fight it and try to do farmhouse, do the spanish style w/the blacks/whites and wood. My house was originally very gold and beige tone, with similar roof color. i got tired of it.

    you have a cool patio area, will they let you do the cedar wood pergola over it?

    you could prob do a white/cream stucco w/the dark trim.

    as for the stone, look into Romabio. you may be able to alter the color a bit. see the color of these w/the darker door and cool lights? you may be able to change the color of yours a bit w/Romabio limewash.

    Then do a new garage door or paint yours to look like wood

    quick photoshop using some of the elements I spoke about

    imagine this w/the creamy white stucco and the dark trim around your windows. The cedar or redwood pergola, along w/the wood garage door, colorful pots, a bougainvillea ....voila!

    check w/HOA and see if you could do a little arbor over the garage.

    bring in black mulch or black rock for your flower beds. look how nice it looks w/the wood.

  • Katie B.

    Beth! More great ideas, thank you. I actually tried to private message you for your input after you commented on my post about mixing black and white window frames (I couldn’t figure it out on my phone).

    Yes, my HOA would probably allow a pergola. I like that. I also like what you showed with the flower pots- everything dies in that flower bed right there. Potted plants is a great idea.

    So you don’t think I can get a metal roof somewhere on my house? Sigh.

    I know eventually all of these ideas will come together to give me enough of the details I love, while still working with the house that it is. That is what has happened on the interior (We just finished an update on the interior).

    I didn’t think I could make Black barn lights work but then I saw a Spanish style home (white with dark brown trim), exaggerated (big!) barn lights and a modern, grey, horizontal slat fence and it totally worked.

    Love these ideas so far!

  • suezbell

    The wood arbor with wood garage doors -- and a wood front door -- per inspiration pic of Beth H. would look good.

    I like the lighter almost white stone for the exterior color and the wood arbor and doors -- garage and front doors -- should go well with that.

    Not so sure the wood look would meld as well with a stark white -- mostly because of your current roof color -- a stark white might be more likely to emphasize the roof color, whereas a stone/grayish white might not..

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    find out what HOA will allow. and colors.

    would they let you gate it off and do the pergola? that way you could tile the cement patio area w/some cool black/white Mediterranean or Spanish tiles. and if covered, you'd be able to do more green/tropical type of plants.

    this was mine before painting! all the gold and cinnamon colors! now that area is all black/white

    so imagine your home painted this color (see how it looks w/the roof tiles?!_

    now for that patio, do the wood pergola, and tile the patio, spray paint your little table a shiny black

    can't tile? then stencil. use a porch paint in black or charcoal and go over it w/white stencil

    bring in some lights similar to this style^ . Cobalt blue ceramic pots look beautiful w/this color combo

    and, you could also do the white stucco with more of turquoise accent. turquoise looks great w/your color roof tiles and your stone work. bring in some spanish type of lights and maybe a wrought iron gate .

  • K R

    Following. I’m looking at a Mediterranean style house now that I love but don’t love the exterior either. I think painting the house white and trim black would really modernize it a lot. I love pops of blue too!

  • Katie B.

    gorgeous, KR!

    do you see that metal awning on the last photo?? 😂😂 it works!

    Thank you so much to everyone here. I realized in pinteresting photos that it’s not farmhouses necessarily that I love- it’s white, black windows, industrial lighting, and that can absolutely be incorporated into my house. Modern industrial Mediterranean house is what I’m going for. These are photos I’ve loved. It’s the damn black steel windows Every.Single.Time. I love them so much.

  • Katie B.

    Last one

    So basically- creamy white paint, dark trim, remove pop-outs around windows, landscaping, and replace all of the windows in black steel (just kidding on the last one). 👌

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    lol, yes! and black/white cement tile on the porch/entryway

  • Katie B.

    This is a nice spanish-inspired take on black and white tiles I also found

  • msliu7911

    Yes, repaint all white and have black trim... will look gorgeous!

  • Katie B.

    For anyone still following this- I found this great inspiration photo.

    I love the front door, awnings, and pergola? over the garage.

    I used an app to change the paint on my house. The corbels/brackets would also be dark, it was just hard to do in the app. Just paint makes a huge difference, as you’ve all said.

  • Nancy R z5 Chicagoland

    It's a nice Italian style house. Before you invest any serious money on changes, I suggest you go to the library and check out some books on house styles, especially anything that's local to your area. This will help you develop an eye for what goes with what and what will look appropriate.

  • Katie B.

    Thanks Nancy. I’ve done research (Online, driving around neighborhoods, model homes) on my style house and the problem is, I just don’t like it. But every so often I see a remodel or new build that breaks the “rules,“ and it works, and those homes inspire me. There’s nothing better (to me) than when styles that shouldn’t go, do, and do so well. 👌 My house is coastal CA (Mediterranean-kind of) tract house, and those are style-benign or eclectic by nature. There is nothing the builder chose for the interior that screams Mediterranean either. I’m trying to work with it, and this thread really has helped a lot.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    Katie,,,you're prob near my neck of the woods. these style homes are everywhere in SoCal/OC area. I'm with you.

  • PRO

    Italian Farmhouse??

  • Katie B.

    Beverly, yes please!

    more Mediterranean farmhouses. I mean, swoon!

  • K R

    I like the paint Katie! I think doing the black rocks and changing the landscaping would really help achieve the look you want. I like the low round shrubs like in your bottom picture.

  • Katie B.

    Beautiful Beverly- you definitely hit the nail on the head with the Italian farmhouse. There‘s a lot of inspiration when googling those search words. Love love love old, rustic farmhouses. Love the stone. I’ve actually considered adding more stone from floor to roof on the right side of the house.

  • Katie B.

    I’ve been messing around with my Visualization app. I’m loving this- stone paint, limewash the stone, black or brown-almost black on the brackets and garage, Black or pewter metal accent roofing (entryway), and a metal awning or eyebrow pergola above bottom window. My husband likes these horizontal slat fences...I’m not sure it works...but some kind of fencing and landscaping improvement is needed, for sure.

    These wall-mounted pergolas come in metal- that would give me that industrial vibe while staying Mediterranean-ish.

    any thoughts?

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    i like the arbor over the garage. and the metal awnings.

    as for the wood slat, I do like it, but you need this color wood (and maybe have the fencing spaced further apart)

    this color is perfect. and the iron banding is really nice.

  • Katie B.

    I like that fence better for sure, but I’m not sure about the fence in general. Here’s where I’m at. A huge improvement, I’d say!

    I might have to make some adjustments for the Hoa- like a lighter shade/brown for trim/garage. I think they’ll allow the metal accents- but maybe in bronze or pewter instead of black. They’d definitely allow a pergola. Pretty excited about this, guys. Now to look into front doors!

  • Katie B.

    Good morning,

    Beth, I never answered you. Yes, we are in SoCal. Stucco box land! I didn’t think I could achieve my “dream house” look with *this* house, but I’m hopeful now.

    I gleaned a lot of inspiration from this feature on Mediterranean farmhouses.


    I can’t tell you how helpful this thread has been...helping me understand what it is exactly I like and don’t like, and what terms get me images of what I do like. It’s not modern that I like necessarily, but minimal, simple. And maybe it’s not black and white, but contrast (I.e. not all beige, ugh!). And I do love farmhouses, but it’s really the metal roofs and industrial lighting. And I absolutely adore black steel windows, but I can get my fix in a front or back door.

    I’ll be sure to share a photo of what we end up doing.

    Here are a few of my favorite images from the website I posted.

    I hope this discussion helps others!

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    i love all of those. I too wanted the steel windows/doors. but price and lead time were unreal. there's a place in LA that makes them but they were 4 months out, and about 5-10K for one window. lol. I had to settle for wood and stain/ paint them black

  • Current Resident

    Are you allowed to remove the brackets? They dont seem to serve any useful purpose designwise, seem to be attached rather randomly. Sometimes its useful to think in terms of de-cluttering an exterior, rather than what other elements you want to put on. Youve already got a lot going on with the multiple roof lines

  • Katie B.

    That’s a great idea- I’ll have to look into that.

    They are purely decorative and could absolutely be removed.

    Yes, the steel windows are So.Expensive. If we were to come into 100k to waste on something, I’d definitely redo all of the windows and pay someone off at the HOA to put on a metal roof. 👌

  • Katie B.

    Hello... it’s funny how life is. I was recently at a strip mall and saw a storefront I really liked (the paint and awnings, of course), and it was similar to my house. I realized I could do something similar, and save myself a lot of money. So, here’s where I’m at. Leave the stucco as is- paint the trim around the windows and the horizontal strip to match the stucco (which I’ve always hated); paint the fascia and brackets, garage door and front door (dark). I’m still going to look into removing the grids in the windows, and get a landscape designer. Light fixture. I’m also still in love with the metal awning idea. I’ll use the money I save to put in a custom range hood or folding back doors. I’m happy with this!👌

  • Katie B.

    So, our HOA made some decisions easier. This is the darkest trim color they will allow:

    It’s a nice color, so that’s all good. I can do whatever I want with a front door/light. The metal awning and/or roofing would not be allowed because it‘s not a consistent roofing material to the neighborhood (I hear silent cheers- sigh 😂). I can do an awning in the backyard though, so that‘s cool.

    That leaves me with an eyebrow/visor/window pergola over that bottom window. I’m happy with that! Does anyone know where I can find this (for a window, not a garage door)? I want metal, and I can’t seem to find it.

    This process was actually really fun and enlightening. Thank you everyone who had ideas for me- you’re amazing.

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