Thoughts on rendering?

CamGOctober 3, 2012

The drafters emailed me the initial renderings on the house today. They haven't put in the siding type yet, because I'm not sure yet what to do.

Generally going with a prairie style. If I just did vinyl lapboard siding, would that work? We might need to do a stone apron around the front to satisfy local covenants, but I'm not really a fan of that, and hoping if we did stone on the porch (where it belongs) that would satisfy the stone on front requirement.

After seeing whallyden's house, I thought about putting a couple of bumpouts, which certainly add interest, but they also add a lot of cost.

Would the non-bumpout version, with lapboard siding, look too plain? Thoughts on how to spiff up this house? Does the prairie style work? I might have to go back to a neo-colonial style, but it does not fit in very well with my neighborhood.

No bumpout:


Thanks for any thoughts!

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Your house has the low, horizontal proportions of Praire-style architecture. It certainly is not Colonial or neo-colonial style.

Why don't you Goggle images for Prarie-style houses and see what is appealing. The early and mid-career work of Frank Lloyd Wright would probably offer some ideas as well.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 11:52AM
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The roof pitch is currently 4:12 hip. If I made it a 6:12 gable, it would look much more like a colonial.

I have poured through pictures of every prairie-style house I could find--I really don't like many of them, and I haven't seen any that look much like this. I'm also concerned that lapboard siding is not really consistent with priarie style, but I need it for costs... not just the inexpensive vinyl, but I will be installing it myself. Most prairie seem to be predominantly stone, brick, or stucco.

The main reason I'm thinking prairie is there are some prairie style houses in the neighborhood that don't seem terribly out of place. On the other hand, the rest of the houses are eclectic with big garages out front. Not a single house has the symmetry that ours will, and I'm afraid if I do a neo-colonial, that will emphasize the symmetry even more.

Other houses in neighborhood are these styles:

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 12:21PM
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I demand a design royalty payment!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 1:59PM
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It looks much better without the bumpouts. The other houses look like garages with only some incidental living quarters attached. Yours at least looks like a house first. It would look even better if the garage could be pulled back behind the front plane of the home though. That washed out white and grey rendering isn't doing your imagination any favors. It just needs color to bring it to life. A sage green siding with cream trim and red shutters along with some darker stacked stone for the porch would be perfect.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 2:00PM
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Our new build exterior is also quite similar. Like Whallyden, we used a different colored shingle siding on the top portion to break it up, which I think helps considerably. I don't have the bump outs, but do have a steeper roof pitch with a dormer in the attic portion. Our garage is also tucked clear at the back of the house. My goal was more farmhouse, than strictly prarie style. I believe our roof pitch is either a 7/12 or 8/12 hip. We went back and forth and can't remember what the ultimate decision was!

I think you could still add the shingle treatment, while staying with a vinyl product if you were happy with the color combinations that are available. I also prefer the simpler version without the bumpouts on your rendering.

Here is a picture of our (still unfinished!) home. I apologize for the lack of landscaping and temporary front stairs.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 2:24PM
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Haha! (I hope you're joking, that is, not sure I have budget for royalty fees...) I posted after you a couple times on other threads trying to get your attention. Your house is gorgeous. I was playing around with the prairie style after someone suggested "modern prairie fusion" on the thread I linked to below. I was about to give up on the idea when I saw your house and thought "wow, that's really works!" I already was planning the little gable end above the front door, but I definitely stole the dual columns from you, and the bumpouts if we end up going that way. (Although, with our budget, even the dual columns will probably get axed in favor of a single column...) Of course, part of what makes your house so great is the mix of materials and the little details, none of which will be present on mine!

That's really interesting that you prefer the no-bumpout version. I can't figure any way to push the garage back anymore, as the mudroom entrance is towards the front of the house (see below), but I will push the garage back so it is equal with the front of the house at least.

The color combination you suggest is intriguing--should we keep the roof styles the same and such? Shutters don't seem to go with prairie. I had written off shutters--particularly since the second floor windows are double mulled, shutters next to them would violate the "could it actually work" rule. Of course, we could easily push those windows apart to match the main floor. I really appreciate your thoughts!

Small, rough version of main plan (the CAD plan is not ready yet):

Here is a link that might be useful: Other thread on style

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 2:41PM
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Love the house!! Can't wait to show my wife. What do you use for the band between the lapboard and shingle siding? Plus, you buy from Menards! A good deal of our materials will undoubtedly come from there. Do you have a blog or anything with more pictures of your house? You might become my newest GW stalking victim... :)

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 3:11PM
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I think one thing that Whallyden's house has that you are lacking is bigger, more substantial windows and trim around the windows. If you can - make the windows bigger, add trim, add color and then see if you like it.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 3:13PM
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CamG, our exterior is all Hardie, including all of the trim boards. The band board was just a flat piece of stock (either 10 or 12" wide???). Our siding guy used a continuous small bent metal piece to flash the board where it met the shingle siding. Our contractor spends a lot of his time putting up metal pole buildings, so the piece he used was something they use all of the time on ag buildings and were familiar with. I am sure there are multiple ways that it could have been dealt with, but we are in central Iowa, so the agricultural building solution was the most familiar to the guys!

I also agree that if you make your trim more substantial, it would help a great deal. Because our house is very plain and I wanted window styles and sizes that could have been used in an old farmhouse, I insisted on using trim that was slightly larger everywhere. Doing this on the exterior didn't add significantly to our costs. The trim was going to be there either way, we just paid slightly more for the larger stock.

I can sympathize with trying to make your house fit in with a neighborhood full of standard new construction homes, when you want something that is different. Our last home was new construction in the burbs and we were the only yellow house in a sea of beige! My opinion would be that you could make your house blend in with the neighbors by using more muted or historically craftsman paint colors (such as a sage green and tan combo) that are often seen on the new homes, but keep the architecture true to what you want. Putting some of the contemporary features on the prarie style takes away from the simple beauty that could otherwise be there.

Thanks for the compliment on the house! I don't have a blog anywhere, but if there are any specific pictures you would like, just ask and I would be happy to put some up for you. The house is still unfinished, however we have been living in it for over a year. I designed it myself (going through countless versions!) and DH and I did almost all of the interior finishing ourselves. When we finally got enough done to close out the construction loan and convert to a perm. mortgage, we took a little break from working on projects. This winter we need to get back to it and start finishing all the little things that are still undone.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 3:51PM
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Actually, looking at your floorplan and your 3D, they don't match...
Is the garage front even with the house, or even with the porch? On the 3D, it is even with the house. On the 2D floorplan, it is even with the porch (pulled forward).

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 4:00PM
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I almost regret ever finding this forum--now I can't walk around most suburbs without thinking ill of the houses! There is a neighborhood near us where all the houses have to have a distinct style, and the garage is accessible only from an alley--but those houses all have tiny or no backyards, and with the kids and dogs, that's not very practicable.

Kirkhall, yes, after you and others advocated pushing the garage back, I did this in the CAD version. The official floorplan does not have all the interior features yet, so I'm still using Summerfield's. I would love to push it even further back, but I can't see how that could be done without really compromising the interior.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 4:12PM
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Working within your budget and neighborhood...what if you use the stone on the entire front first floor (under the porch roof) and about half way up garage front? Then you could use siding for the rest of the house. I don't think that would look odd, since the porch is also making that part of the house 'different' than the rest.

Also, I totally agree about more, wider trim, but NO bump outs. And, if possible...I would change the porch posts to look like Westiegirl's picture :)

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 5:21PM
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LL--I think that's a great idea and would look neat. I'm having trouble envisioning that transitioning to the garage, since the front of the garage is even with the front of the house. Thoughts?

After seeing Westiegirl's posts, I agree, and I think that will cut costs for me too.

So glad I posted about the bumpouts, I had all but decided on those, and it seems the consensus is not to use them!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 5:52PM
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Cam- It would look like the first 'neighbor house' you posted...solid stone on house and stone halfway up garage. I think it would look good, if you could line up the 'garage stone' with the top of the porch railing. Just an idea :)

BTW- Any chance of having a different color for the siding? The green on Westiegirl's house is nice...but any Arts and Crafts nature-inspired color would look good, IMHO.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 6:08PM
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LL-we have not chosen any colors, so absolutely. The above renderings do not reflect any particular siding. Good eye on the neighbor's house, didn't see that.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 6:28PM
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If the roof slope is only 4 in 12, in order to use asphalt shingles you must use a self-adhering underlayment like Grace Ice & Water Shield over the ENTIRE roof. I would not trust another brand to keep the roof watertight. A 6 in 12 slope would be a very wise upgrade.

At the corners of the porch I would add a post around the corner to make a triangular arrangement of 3 posts. I would bring the posts down onto the porch and let the beam supporting the porch roof show.

You will need a railing on the porch so it should be shown.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 6:43PM
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Cam- One more thing...the little triangle over the entry to the front porch. I see that on your drawings and Walley's house...but not Westiegirl's house. Just wanted to point that out, so you could decide which look you prefer.

Okay, two more things (LOL) do you have steps from the garage up to the mudroom? It looks like you'll need them...and that may mean an extra foot or two for the garage width. I know you'll have a few changes from Summerfield's plan, but those stairs would give you room for some nice storage along the rest of that garage wall!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 8:54PM
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Ok, I am getting way OT here, but LL made the observation about possibly needing steps in the garage made me think about one of my favorite things in our house! We specifically made sure that the house was graded so that while we have a few steps up to the front porch, the garage floor was poured and graded to eliminate those steps.

In order to again make it easier on our contractor, keep our costs down, and satisfy my Dad (who is our structural engineer and drafter) the garage is poured so that at the man door that leads from our garage to the mud room, you take one step up and are at the finished floor level of the house. The original plan was to have no step at all, but our contractor was having a heart attack with trying to make sure that his calculations with the excavation and pour were done precisely enough that there wouldn't be 1 or 2 inches difference due to an error when all was said and done. My Dad was also upset about the possibility of the fumes entering the house from the garage. DH and I were not concerned about this issue, but I have heard various opinions about it.

Even with just the one step, bringing groceries and other items in from the garage is so much easier. I really appreciated it when we were moving from our old house, where I was carrying all of the boxes down four steps through the garage of the old house, but only had to take one easy step to bring the items into the new house!

We also feel much more secure when elderly family members visit and I purposely bring them through the garage entrance so that they don't have to worry about the steps.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 10:33PM
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One thing to consider is whether you really want a Prairie style house. When you combine the comment of not really liking images for other Prairie style houses and the fact you like westiegirl's house image (lovely house by the way), it makes me wonder if you actually are looking for an American Four Square design more influenced by Arts and Crafts than Prairie. Also, the increased roof pitch suggestion from Renovator to go to at least 6/12 gives some financial and practical reasons for heading in that direction. I'll look for an image tonight on my camera that show a couple houses more in westiegirl's style, but you can look online for foursquare and see some yourself.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 11:54AM
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I was thinking exactly the same thing about whether we really want to go prairie. Generally I like arts and crafts better than prairie, and its elements are prominent throughout our neo-eclectic neighborhood (such as in the tapered pillars, etc).

My concern with four square is that our house is really too wide and shallow to be a four square--like in westiegirl's house, the roof is much more prominent, not only because of the steeper pitch, but because it is deeper. I also don't ever see a foresquare with an attached garage right next to the house like mine. Are these big issues?

Renovator8, I'm really glad you mentioned that!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 12:42PM
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I am having a hard time reading your dimensions, but the main 2 story portion of our house that you see in the pictures is 38 feet by 36 feet. We are slightly wider and more shallow as well. Your plans don't look that different in size from ours. Where the hip roof meets in the center, is a ridge that is approximately 2 foot long. The dormer hides this ridge and tricks the eye into thinking that all sides of the roof are equal. Because we are on a large 10 acre parcel, we then have a 1 story portion at the back of the house that has the family room, kitchen, and laundry/mud room breezeway that attaches to a 3 car garage.

If you are interested and have the room, I think you could have a small one story breezeway off the mudroom to connect the garage to the house, but still keep a traditional feel.

This first picture shows the garage with a breezeway, but the roof is a gable instead of a hip:

This picture shows a hip roof like you currently have, with the garage attached directly to the house (it is set back further), but the roof is a steeper pitch:

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 2:26PM
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Found a neat garage next to house *somewhat* similar to mine (skip the dormer and complicated roof over the garage):

(Click for larger)

Now that I'm getting my hopes up, do I need to have the dormer at the top to pull this off?? It could be neat to have a little club house up there, but I have no idea how I would access it, and of course, that's a brand new cost....

Appreciate the thoughts about the garage entrance, LL and westiegirl. I will talk to the builder about that! If I have to have a couple of steps up, I can have them sideways along the garage wall so they don't stick out too much into the garage... but something we need to look at!

Thanks everyone, continually amazed by the great help on this forum.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 4:47PM
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Here's another with the garage next to the house. Very similar to your plan even in orientation.

From this blog:

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 5:09PM
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I like both images from westiegirl, but I'm not sure they work with your floor plan, nor that the roof in the second would look similar given your house dimensions. That said, I think the shift to a 6/12 or 7/12 pitch would just make your roof taller like westiegirl's house and the central ridge longer without too much shape difference.

That longer central ridge might make a hip dormer look a little small and out of place, but sizing it right could give you the same feel. Alternatively, one could put a gable dormer in the roof. One of the architects on this sight probably has much better insight.

On the attached garage, I like the breezeway better, but it comes with more cost.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 6:32PM
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I think the dormer adds to the overall look considerably. Ours looks into the attic space (filled with insulation), so it truly is just there for looks and not serving any function. It didn't add much to the cost. The window wasn't too expensive because it is a non-operating, fixed pane and the rest of the materials were negligible. It should be considerably less than using a lesser pitch roof with ice and water shield over the entire space.

Our framers accidentally built the dormer with a gable roof the first time. I felt horrible asking them to fix it, but it just didn't look right not having the roof match the hip roof on the house. I drove all over looking at old houses and almost 99% of them had the dormer roof matching the same style as the main roof.

Here is a picture of our dormer with the gable roof before I made them change it!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 9:03PM
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A 4" step up or curb between a garage and a house was required by almost all single family building codes until it was eliminated from the IRC in 2000 or 2003. Sometimes local or state amendments put the requirement back in. The requirement for the garage floor to slope down toward the doors should still be in the code and that is important to do. The slope can create a small step at the house door that might be better if increased to 4".

Gasoline fumes really do collect at the floor and can be set off by a flame or spark. It is also easier to wash your garage floor if water cannot run under the door to the house.

Some codes used to require a floor drain but that is now seen as a hazard.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:17AM
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Tminatl, I also am concerned about the long central ridge. I'll see about the CAD folks doing a rendering and see how it looks.

Westie, thanks for the picture. That makes sense about the gable. We'll see what it looks like rendered, but we'll start with hip for the dormer.

Here's my plan forward:
-Going to move the garage back 8" to break up the plane between the front of the house and front of the garage (I really can't go much more than that without moving things around inside)
-Make single, tapered columns instead of dual
-Increase roof pitch to 6:12 and see what that does
-See about putting a hip dormer up there
-Remove the little gable end portico thingy on the porch roof

Question: should the porch roof be the same length as the main roof (as in the green house I showed) or be just the length of the house (as in Westiegirl's house)? Westiegirl, any reason for your decision?

Again, thank you all so very much... I hope you'll take some satisfaction in the coming months seeing your suggestions be made into reality!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:39AM
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My decision on the porch roof length was based purely on aesthetics. Again, I was trying to keep the "look" as true to an old four square farmhouse as possible. We have an abundance of those around here and looking at all of them in person, as well as numerous pictures online, the old porches were historically slightly shorter than the house and had the roofs terminate at the end of the house, not extend past. I was just trying to keep those types of details (that didn't add any extra cost!) as true to the original inspiration as possible.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 8:57AM
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Here is an image of a classic farmhouse that appears to have the longer central ridge line. Sorry I don't have a picture directly from the front to give a full view of how the dormer on the ridge looks, but I think it could work for your house. As an aside, the porch roof stops at the edge of the house.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 11:03AM
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Cam- I like the porch ending at the sides of the house...that's very nice. The dormer is a great feature, but would you be able to take advantage of that light...or is it just for curb appeal? Could you use it to bring light into the hall bath?

As for the last house...what do you think of the shutters? Your house has smaller windows (except for the back) than most of the other houses used for examples. This last house has the brick/stone front, too, although yours would only be on the front, main level.

Finally, the stone requirement on your house...I'm guessing it's faux stone for cost. Could you use a brick look, instead? It seems to be the popular choice, with these home examples.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 12:15PM
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Here's a longer ridge

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 12:24PM
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BTW I think when you change roof pitch you won't have that long of a ridge. You could make it meet at a peak I think.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 5:31PM
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I love all the foursquares. I was wondering Westiegirl if I could see your plans?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 7:43AM
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I too would be interested in seeing the plans (always interested, even though we're nearing final plans).

In other news, in love:

Think with the steeper pitch, we could do this without a dormer.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:00AM
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Here are our floor plans, however as much as I love it for our family/lifestyle, this is truly a custom plan that would not work for the majority building a conventional house on a suburban lot. This version is also missing notations for all of our planned built ins in the foyer, dining room, laundry room, kitchen island, banquet, ect. I know that the layout has a lot of quirks that work for our 3 person farm family, but would not be good for most folks!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:40AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Sorry, but every time I see this topic, I can only think of getting lard out of pig fat......

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 6:22PM
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I am loving this thread. We are going to build a house in a historic neighborhood with an ARB, so it has to look old. My husband nixed a 1.5 story bungalow, so we are also leaning toward a 4 square style.

I love the half-shingle gray house I uploaded here. It is from Muddy River Designs which has many older looking new houses on their site. I am also including an interesting link about Historic Home Colors.

CamG, your wonderful floorplan helped me figure out some sticky issues I kept having when I was trying to sketch ours out. Thank you for sharing it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Historic Home Colors -Foursquare

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 7:15PM
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CamG: That's a nice looking house.

Westiegirl: Thanks for posting your plans. We're trying for a more rural lot and I am unsure if a foursqure or a bungalow would look odd in that context.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 6:39AM
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