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Sad exterior...how can I make it stand out more?

August 9, 2013
last modified: August 9, 2013
This house looks much better in the photo. It's asbestos siding, some rotting sills, carport and the front door goes to a screened in porch, and then there is another door to the house. I want to rip out the two huge shrubs. Thoughts please? Open to painting it or residing with cedar shake...it's a Southern Maine beach town, very close to the water. The windows look like they are missing something. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Also, there is a lighter purple house behind this one that can be seen from the road on the other side, and a whimsical ice cream shop and then dog store right across the st. Thank you!

Comments (15)

  • dblahusch
    this is what the back looks like still....almost. I purchased it as a rental and have done nothing yet but paint the entire interior. Previous owner reno'd the entire inside. Fabulous hideous before pics.
  • apple_pie_order
    What color is the roof? Green, greenish gray, brownish gray, blue-ish gray?
    dblahusch thanked apple_pie_order
  • dblahusch
    more of a dark gray/black where it has been replaced in some spots.
  • PRO
    J. White Handyman, Design & Construction
    I highly recommend looking at walpolewoodworkers.com for some excellent ideas on decorative elements such as window trellises, window boxes and planters. Also, a nice paint scheme idea would be to apply a lighter color to the siding, keep the white trim and paint the window frames only black. Plant a cottage garden full of color in the front and back. Consider a pergola-covered patio in the back also for cozy outdoor summer dining.
  • ohsuyque
    I think it would look great dark charcoal, with white trim and,shutters. Rip out the old shrubs but replant with greenery that only needs to be pruned occasionally. Then clean the beds and bark dust. Renters seldom keep up the landscaping as you yourself would do. So keep in mind low maintenance plantings. For a rental trellises and window boxes are pointless unless you get a long term renter who loves to garden.
  • ohsuyque
    And red geraniums would give a pop of color.
  • Margo
    Are you keeping it a rental or plan on living there yourself?
  • PRO
    Linda Zaff Architecture, P.C.
    What do you mean by "stand out"? Do you mean that you'd like your house to "turn heads" as people drive by? Or, do you mean that you'd like it to have a nicer "street presence" that draws someone's attention to the front door? I think the cedar shake siding would be quite nice if there is a precedent for it in your area. You could look at other homes of the same age for local inspiration. You might consider enclosing the yard with a short picket fence - perhaps cedar to match the siding or painted a bright white. You could center a gate between the front steps and the edge of the public sidewalk with a stepping stone path leading into the front yard. It would give the yard more definition than the low plants along the sidewalk currently do. If you are removing the two large shrubs, consider adding back some foundation plantings. You could either use a more-structured planting scheme in which plants are spaced farther apart and appear less "cluttered" or you could look into planting more of a "cottage-style" garden. If you want to draw more attention to the front door as a way of increasing it's street presence, look to other homes in the area and see what kind of railings are common on front steps. I think a style other than the black metal railings would give the steps more prominence. I would also consider some large containers with plants near the door to draw some focus to it.
  • brickln
    I would remove the carport and build a glass roofed pergola in its place if you feel a cover is needed. If the budget allows, consider replacing the hot top with pavers. See if your abutters will join in to complete the look.
    Invest in central air so the front view of the home isn't marred by air conditioning units.
    The first floor windows are wrong for the period-consider changing them, adding awnings or extending a covered porch across the front of the house.
    Check the ME laws before dealing with asbestos siding. It actually looks good, holds paint well and provides good insulation- I'd keep it. I like the front color, but if you're bold, go with an autumn leaf tone with a creamy white trim. It will complement the purple next door, and stand out against the shingled building on the other side.
    As for the yard, I guess it all depends on how you want to use it. I stayed at an inn on a busy street that had an extended front porch with a side entrance. It had a lattice maze leading from the middle of the porch to the street. The dead ends were small garden rooms- a great way to create privacy and an interesting view of the property from different angles.
  • dblahusch
    Thanks for all the great comments! The area is full of cedar shake and cottage gardens...but we get too much snow to have a nice pebble driveway or crushed shells like Cape Cod. We will be moving into it for a few months while we finish another house...and are avid gardeners. I like to include lawn care in the rent so it is done "right". I'm so eager to rip out those shrubs... I don't think I can do that myself though.
  • dblahusch
    And here we really don't need a/c but one week out of the year...so those units are already gone...former owner. I do think a burnt orange with a putty trim is nice but this house might be too big for that. Is there a program that you can upload an exterior home pic to and play with colors? Thanks!!!
  • brickln
    I don't know about the software, but I've seen it referenced. I think Sherwin Williams has one on their website.

    I've seen some pretty big Vics in terracotta- if the color isn't too bright, it works, especially since you have wide trim. And a rich purple house next door! Here's a modern one in orange. The putty would look better than the peachy color on this home.
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    dblahusch thanked brickln
  • PRO
    Linda Zaff Architecture, P.C.
    Sherwin Williams does have color testing on its site. It's the "Color Visualizer". You can upload a photo of your own home (although the software has more difficulty picking just trim and other small areas - colors tend to bleed into other parts) or you can choose one of their examples to play with. They have a few examples of the major house styles. https://www.sherwin-williams.com/visualizer/
  • PRO
    Linda Zaff Architecture, P.C.
    To add to brickln's comment, if you could remove the asphalt driveway - or wanted to decrease its area, I think a separation between the driveway and the sidewalk to the front door would increase the focus on the house and front door. A 3' to 4' wide planted area would give the house some breathing room. If you wanted to do that, the carport might have to go as well, although, depending on the zoning requirements, you might be able to replace it with a freestanding carport (detached from the house). Check the zoning ordinance for setback requirements and other applicable laws first. A planting strip in that area would also provide an opportunity to add fence in that location - if you like the idea of fencing the front yard. In that case, your sidewalk could be separated from the public sidewalk with a gate and be part of the more private front yard (See Princeton Road house below). A front porch could be nice and would give the house a whole new character, but check the zoning ordinance for requirements that might affect that type of addition and fence construction.
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  • brickln
    I agree that the new hardscape detracts. With the walkway matching the sidewalk and a double width driveway, it's like pedestrians are led to your front door. Which will be a good thing when you turn your pumpkin shell into an inn, Peter, Peter :)
    Bricking the walkway or even just edging it in brick will clarify that a bit. Wrapping around the enclosed porch and swapping out the first floor windows for French doors will allow privacy and light, and still leave room in front for pretty landscaping.

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