Closing next Friday, feedback on elevations welcome

matt_in_ksJanuary 25, 2013

I'm curious to hear people's thoughts on our exterior. We will be building on our 11 acre lot this spring. Here is probably the best example from our inspiration photos from Houzz:

Traditional Exterior design by Salt Lake City Architect Joe Carrick Design - Custom Home Design

Our front Elevation would have nichiha lap siding and their sierra premium shake in the gables on the garage bump out with a stained finish, columns would be cedar stained to match. I will post a side and rear elevation next:

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West Elevation with the garage:

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 1:13PM
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The Rear elevation faces South and we are trying to take advantage of passive solar in the winter while minimizing solar gain in the summer. No large trees around the house yet to provide shade but I will try and get those going asap to make the porch habitable in the summer. I am also considering a smaller deck and larger patio to the right along with a pergola or gazebo. I am concerned about the south side of the house being comfortable in the summer- we are actually tilting the house a bit West to take advantage of the view which will make the porch less comfortable in the summer. I also forgot to mention earlier that the windows and french doors will likely have bronze exterior.

Thanks for any feedback, we are trying to maintain a fairly simple structure to control cost but it's better to make changes now if necessary than never right?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 1:21PM
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This is the look we are going for as well, this exact picture from Houzz...haha, so of course I think you have good taste! We will start building May/June, we are very behind, still trying to figure out our floor plan. I'd love to see your floor plan!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 5:51PM
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I like how in the inspiration picture the stone goes up the front of the house in the porch area and your house would look great if you incorporated something similar. It would get away from the look of your house having just been "dipped" in stone for the first few feet! :)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 6:00PM
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This isn't exactly what you describe but I saw this house while driving around one day.

Do you think leave the "dipped" part and then add the stone to the porch or do the porch stone instead?

tempe- Thanks, I would love to see what you came up with! I'll try and get the floorplan up later this evening when the kids are down :)

Also the gables in the pic from Houzz are quite a bit more substantial than ours on the left but the designer wanted the entrance to be the focus. I've wondered if maybe there's not enough "mass" on the left side or if it's just the different angle that my elevation drawing shows.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 6:58PM
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Where do you live? Do you get a lot of rain or snow? The reason I ask is because of the roof on the back of the house. See the section that goes down lower to cover the window? We have a similar roofline over our porch. If you plan on having gutters, you need to plan ahead of time how you will handle the downspout for this section. The downspout would need to come off this lower edge, which means it would be away from the house. The downspouts shown in your drawing will not capture water from the gutter on this section. We have a rain chain going into a rain barrel, but I know this look is not for everyone.

This post was edited by dekeoboe on Mon, Jan 28, 13 at 19:24

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 7:22PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Stone should be used as if it's the home's foundation, or as a "whole piece" section of the home that was originally done in stone and the rest in another material as an addition at a later date. Putting it like you have it (and the inspiration) is like an old man's pants under his armpits. It's unnatural. Make one complete gable, or the garage, entirely stone. And leave it off of the rest entirely, except below the foundation level. Where it will be covered with landscaping, so you might as well leave it off there as well unless that will count for some % required by some HOA.

Make sure you have substantial overhangs on the south and west sides to shade the windows during the summer. The lower angle of the sun in summer will still give you plenty of solar gain during the winter months.

But, the suggestion that I would make to you since you have a large lot, and are evidently in a hot summer climate, would be to reverse the home. Mirror image it with the private family space to the north, where it's cooler. And then the public space and garages etc on the hot west and southern side. With that much acreage, it should be easy enough to do.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 8:28PM
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I like it! The only thing I noticed is that the windows on the front elevation look really short and squat. I would prefer them taller like your inspiration pic.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 8:42PM
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Dekeoboe, I'll definitely need to do something there. Would it make sense to run that extended roof all the way to the left (west) so one downspout could catch it?

Holly springs, that seems more like what the latter picture I posted did but I think I like the look of the inspiration pic you think the stone is too much with the shake and lap siding there also? No HOA's here to please.

The garage faces west and the front faces North and the bedrooms will actually be on the east side. The windows on the front (north facing the road but we are about 200 ft. back) are pretty high up ( and short and squat) because the set of 3 are above the master bed and the next one over is to the master bath. Sorry, I can't find a way to post the floor plans using my iPad so unfortunately it will have to be tomorrow.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, now I'm thinking about how best to use the stone...

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 10:21PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I agree that the little square windows on the front elevation look too small.

Also, I think you have 1 too many materials on the outside...your inspiration picture has stone and siding.

What I don't like about the last pic you posted is it looks more like a 50s ranch that is an A&C wannabe. What really disturbs me on the last picture you posted is the color...the stone looks pinkish and the siding is orange-y. Yuck.

I suggest you either borrow from the library or purchase the book "What Not to Build" by Edelman et. al. It is really good about using examples and explaining important exterior design principles.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 11:32AM
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Annie, I agree about the house in the photo. Especially the colors. The inspiration pic has lap and shake siding but they are painted the same color. I think the entry caught my attention but overall there is quite a bit I don't like about the architecture of the home in the latter photo.

I don't think I can make the windows much taller before they become an issue in the master bedroom, the bottoms of the 3 windows are currently about 5.5' above the floor which is just perfect for our current bedroom furniture that we love. those windows are 29x29; i could maybe make them less wide so they look taller? On the photo above I think the windows are too big and they dominate the elevation.

I think the inspiration has a bit too much going on also but I think I'm afraid of making our front elevation too plain. I know there is that fine balance and we'll have to mull over eliminating the stone altogether.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, would love for them to keep coming!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 12:38AM
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I agree that a partial story of stone is an inappropriate for a traditional house. Our building traditions all come from the many centuries before the invention of the masonry veneer cavity wall. Before this invention a wall that supported an upper story or roof could not change it's construction part way up - that would be unstable - the joint between the different materials would act like a hinge and the building could collapse in a strong wind.

So an exterior structural wall material should change at a floor line where the floor structure braces the wall.

It is difficult to say more without seeing the floor plan.

The windows look too small to act as emergency escape and rescue openings but I don't know where the bedrooms are located.

The clapboard siding is interrupted by many strong features. I would try to give the basic shape of the house more importance by making the siding all shingles.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 7:13AM
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Here is the 1st floor plan, thanks for the thoughts!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 8:25AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Wow...not a floor plan I would be happy with. All I can do is make my comments and feel free to accept or reject as it may or may not fit your lifestyle.

I like a separation between the public and private spaces and DH gets up before I do and makes lots of noise in the kitchen, so having the MBR share a wall with the kitchen would never fly in my house. And all I can think of is listening to the fridge run on and off all night long. If you are doing this, better add soundproofing to that wall.

I would want to put the DR where the MBR is, the LR where the DR is and get the master in the far back corner where the LR is, away from the public spaces and noise. That would also get the MBR closer to the laundry which a lot of people like. And it would be less of a rabbit warren to put your clothes away from the laundry. I also think it would make the public space less of a rail car which is what it feels like to me now.

Not a fan of the jog to get into the MBR...makes furniture moving more difficult.

I'd rather have the closet on the interior without a window and have the WC with a window. Sunlight fades clothing and the window take up valuable rack space.

As DH has gotten older he frequents the bath during the night and having the WC that far away would not be acceptable to him, esp in an en suite situation. You have to walk through the shower to get to the bath? And such a large shower will take a long time to feel warm when showering...we live in a colder climate and like a warm bath.

In the kitchen the work triangle is very large...I'd want the fridge closer in and the island seems off center for the workspace so less useful. I would probably turn it the other way so it faces out into the DR.

I would want a bench and closet storage space in the mud room. There seems an imbalance between the amount of sq ft devoted to the entry vs the utility space.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 9:54AM
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There are no coat closets at all in this plan. Is your climate so mild that's appropriate? If you will be raising children in this house, you will probably need somewhere for them to keep backpacks and a place to take off muddy shoes etc... from exploring on your property. If you plan to work on your property, you may need someplace to keep muddy things too. You may be able to use the garage for that, but it's something to think about.

Also, I would consider what people will see when they drive up your driveway-- will they be driving toward the front of your house, or the side elevation of your garage? Where will they park, and will it feel natural to go to your front door from there, or will they tend to enter through your garage? There's no point in putting lots of money into an attractive front elevation if no one will ever see it.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 11:11AM
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It's a long walk from the garage to the kitchen. Carrying in groceries from the car, you walk through the LR then the DR then across the kitchen before you get to the pantry. This might not bother you, but since your kitchen has a pantry I'm assuming you do your share of cooking and food storage.

If this is the plan you stick with, definitely post it on the kitchens forum as well. It looks like you'll have some conflict with the fridge doors and the pantry door, and make sure the fridge isn't recessed too far to fully open the doors. A prep sink in the island would help, since the fridge is across the room from the sink.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 2:29PM
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Renovator- If we did all shingle siding on the front of the house would you leave the garage as is with the clapboard and shingle? We've seen some really nice pictures of the Nichiha Sierra Premium Shake stained so hopefully we can achieve a nice look. Also, would you leave stone at the bottom of the posts on the porch or do away with that also? I think the other three sides of the house would be left "as is"...

Annie- I appreciate your feedback. After walking through numerous homes we liked the kitchen, dinning room, and living room being in a straight line with lots of natural light coming in from the south achieved the feel we were going for. We have a cathedral vault above the dinning room and living room, I bet you remember the previous thread about that vault :)

Our view on the property is to the South and West and we wanted the living and dinning room to take advantage of that. We wanted bedrooms capturing morning light so they are all on the East side of the house- we thought this would also make the bedrooms more comfortable in the evenings. We wanted the garage on the West side to insulate the house from the hot afternoon sun. We chose to put the master off the kitchen as opposed to the main entrance because this layout seemed to provide a bit more privacy. Our whole house wakes up early these days with a burr noisy burr grinder and espresso machine but your point about the sound insulation there is great. Our main criteria were related to how the different rooms in the house related to the sun and the lay of the land. Maybe we're over compensating for the actual impact the sun will have on the temperature on the inside of our home but our thought was that we would rather work with the natural light and heat as opposed to fighting it. I know you also took energy efficiency into account with your new build- have you been pleased with the result or does it seem like overkill?

On the bathroom we kept fighting layouts that we didn't like and I mentioned that tub/shower combination to the designer based on some Houzz photo's we had seen and the designer had been wanting to try it- we're much happier with the layout now but your suggestion on swapping the WIC and WC makes sense.

Zone4-I am considering putting a pocket door on the utility room and putting a row of coat hangers and cubbies along the south wall. I also envision the entrance having a bench and coat rack. The only other common storage on the main floor would be around the corner by the dinning room but I doubt coats will end up there. There is substantial storage in the basement and on the 2nd floor but we were trying to minimize our footprint while also getting all of the features we wanted on the main floor. Honestly, we went around quite a bit on whether we really needed the master on the main floor- if we had put it upstairs I think the layout on the main floor would have been quite a bit easier to do.

Our driveway starts out heading directly towards the front entry and then curves around to the west side over the course of about 250 feet so I think those 2 sides of the house will be seen quite a bit. I think people will naturally go to the main entry but I may get surprised. Maybe I should wait a year and just put sidewalks wherever the kids have killed all the grass by walking the same path every day :)

Chicagoans- We're not too worried about the grocery trek- we seem to buy most of our food in bulk a few times a year so our weekly groceries are pretty minimal. The trek to the deep freeze should probably be more of concern to us :)
Maybe if we reverse the swing of the pantry door we will be ok? My other thought was putting the fridge next to the stove as I don't see that piece of counter being used for much. I think the counter between the stove and sink will be used all the time. I could see the island going either way but I like the idea of sitting at it and being able to see out the windows.

Whew- that took all day to complete a thought! Hopefully I'm making a little bit of sense :) Thanks for taking some time to look over things, keep it coming!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 10:06PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

OK, I see...I hadn't made the connection with the vaulted ceiling, but now I remember.

I understand maximizing views and solar gain. Ours has worked out well...we gain 4 degrees in the house on sunny days in the winter, but have little sunlight penetrating in the summer. I put my bedroom on the south side so it too had a view and gets toasty in the winter.

Here's an idea that you might try on...always easier to make changes on paper than in 2x4s! How about swapping the LR and the kitchen??? That would answer a lot of the other questions about having the kitchen and pantry near the garage and utility space and laundry, and keeping the noise away from the master bedroom area. It would still allow for your southern exposure and open floor plan. And you may be able to get rid of the jog into the master...Just a thought...the drawback is your guests will come into the kitchen/dr area instead of the LR, but most of my guests head straight to the kitchen anyway...

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 9:18AM
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Your current elevation seems choppy and not very cohesive... kind of like the porch and gables were just tacked on to an empty wall. I tried extending the main roofline down so the north wall is at a regular height (9 or 10 feet, so it isn't so high like it currently is. With the main roof pitch being 8/12, I think this is possible. This allows the exisiting porch to be extended into a full length covered porch on the front of the house, which makes the house seem more to scale and kind of gives it more of that classic craftsman look. Plus, any rear decks you have facing south are gauranteed to get hot during the summer- a larger, north facing front porch would provide a cool escape from the heat. A dormer could easily replace the window above the master windows, and a matching one on the garage might be nice.

Others brought up the point that there are a lot of higher, smaller windows on the front elevation. You mentioned that the master bed is under the triple set of windows in the master bedroom, would it be possible to place two taller, single windows on either side of the bed? Or possibly have the bed on the east wall, so a triple set of full length windows could let more light into the master?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 11:38PM
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Nicke- that is really interesting, you hit the nail on the head with the porch and gable being tacked on. I notice you made the center gable larger - did it not look right if you only extended the main roofline down the North wall? Definitely like the idea of the full front porch... I may have to tinker with the size of the center gable.

Annie- agree it's much easier to change now than later! I'm not sure why but we haven't messed with the south half of the floor plan much. We've tried about everything possible on the North half though- you just suggested a new one :). Glad to hear you like the passive solar, makes me want to put the bedroom on the SE corner after hearing that.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 12:18AM
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It seems pretty normal to me that a porch would be added to the front of a house. The term "tacked-on" seems entirely inappropriate. These structures don't need to be part of the main house structure. If I wanted that to happen I would continue the main roof eave down over the porch since it would not be covering up any windows.

The original design is a 1 1/2 story and has a strong facade even though the main roof has its side facing the front. What I find odd is that there don't appear to be many windows in the upper half story. There is a stair up to it but you didn't show a plan of that level. That makes it difficult to think about the design of the exterior of the house. Why would there be such small windows in the main house and such large ones in the garage?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 2:32PM
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Here is the second floor plan. Each of the bedrooms have a window facing East. We decided to finish the "unfinished storage" above the garage as a bonus room. We like the bump out on the garage with the shake- would there be too much going on if there was a gable above that also? I was thinking 2 skylights above the garage to get some more light into the bonus room but am open to suggestions.

On the front how about losing the stone and the three square windows in front of the master becoming double hungs? Would that balance things out a little bit? Or two double hungs as Nicke mentioned- one on each side of the bed. currently thinking shake in the gables and the garage bump out then clapboard elsewhere. Still considering Renovator's suggestion of entirely shake on the front. If I did that I think I would still leave clapboard on the garage and shake on the bumpout.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 10:40PM
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Alright, we've tinkered around in paint a little bit after meeting with the rough carpenter last night. Do you guys feel like we're taking this the right direction? Any new suggestions on the front elevation?

Thanks for the input everyone has provided!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:23PM
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You have gone to a lot of trouble to create multiple cross gables with shingles and decorative false trusses but have not put any windows in the second floor bathroom and playroom (unless that is a closet). IMO that not decreases the comfort of the spaces but it makes the front facade look amateurish and will probably reduce the resale value.

Light at the top of the main stair appears to be ignored and skylights are not a substitute. Too many halls on the upper level and too little light and air.

It is interesting that you have not posted the other elevations. That tells me you are not taking the total design of the house seriously.

A single step on the landing is a tripper and only serves to shorten the run by one tread which is not a reasonable tradeoff.

The house looks a bit like a Craftsman except for the Victorian rake decoration but it ignores the principal element of the craftsman Style; a connection to the natural world.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:54AM
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Renovator- The playroom is meant to be more of a closet so we decided not to worry about windows there. The other elevations really have not changed. I haven't posted the East side of the house because it's not seen by many people and that is where we plan to put the air conditioner and egress window wells for the basement, etc.

Since the front of the house is facing North we felt like there wouldn't be as much useful light coming in and I was thinking windows on the North lose more heat in the winter than on the South side. As you can see in the rear (South facing) elevation we have windows going up about 11 feet in the living room in addition to french doors that should contribute substantial amounts of light to those areas. When meeting with the framer Tuesday night we did discuss opening the loft and hallway up completely to the public areas downstairs- would this at all address your concern at all about light and air?

The point is well taken on the stairs, I agree and will bring it up in our next meeting.

I'm confused by what you meant earlier when you said the front elevation had a strong facade and now you are saying it looks amateurish and will reduce the resale value.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 8:51PM
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