Not What I Pictured-Elevation

tulip55October 20, 2012

Long time reader of this forum, but just now beginning the process of building our home. This plan started as a builder supplied plan and has been modified in many areas with help of the "designer"and the construction superintendent. The front elevation is just not what I expected and I have been trying to figure out what it is that bothers me.

My desire was to have a "European"inspired facade with a symmetrical placement of windows that are proportionate to the area they are in and with straight rather than arched tops. I also wanted to have windows that were not vinyl with the grid between glass, but more dimensional like a wood window. The superintendent told me to "just tell me what you want and I can get prices on them. This after sending him multiple photos of what I wanted/liked. I do not know how to tell him the right size and type of window. Being a visual person, I thought the pictures would be helpful and speed up the process. Sadly, this is not the case.

The house originally had all gables and in the last redraw all were removed except for the dinky one on the left. I feel it is too low and just looks funny. Then they stuck a six foot window in it, making an already small area look smaller. I also so not like the "surprised"look on the entry. I believe it would look better with a lower arch that does not expose all of the transom.

We have a meeting with the designer on Monday, and I would like to provide concrete direction to him on how to redesign the areas. I will post an inspiration picture to show what I was thinking of. I am going to ask if the gabled roof can be changed to match the remainder of the roof, and if the height of the area can be made a couple of feet higher. Any specific suggestions on the window size and style would be so appreciated.

Am I on the right track?

Thank you for all responses and suggestions.

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This has nice windows and symmetry.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 2:30PM
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Another great example of what I mean about windows and doors doing a great dance together.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 2:32PM
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I love your examples and European inspired, but I think your plan looks to busy to me. I would simplify it and consider all three of those garage doors in the front of the house. They take up half the house from the front.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 2:51PM
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You're not going to get there from here unless you can do a side load garage. Pick a wider lot to get the side load, or pick a different inspiration that has front load garages.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 2:55PM
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The ratio of wall area to window area in both of your inspiration pics is greater than in your elevation. Therein lies the problem. Windows are too big for the wall spaces they reside within.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 3:05PM
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Thanks for the responses!

The pictures I posted were just meant for the window and front door relationship. I liked how they lined up and were pleasing to the eye.
Unfortunately, our lot is not wide enough to have a side load garage, and lot prices have gone up tremendously so we can't change that.

Casey, thank you for the specific information. Nice to be able to pinpoint my issue with the elevation.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 3:22PM
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The houses you posted are known as "French Eclectic" or "French Inspired" and were invented by American architects between 1915 and 1945 using architectural elements from many centuries and different kinds of French buildings.

Your house design is not of this ilk but is called "Neo-Eclectic" because it takes the earlier popular style and adds ideas that are popular with developer/builders today like huge multiple hipped or gables roofs built with trusses. When the earlier French Eclectic designers wanted to add some drama they put a round tower at the entrance of the house.

The grand houses you posted have a single main house element and roof with flanking elements but your house is deep and half of the front facade consists of garage doors. It's a tough design problem.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 4:22PM
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Renovator8, thank you for your post. I must tell you I have so enjoyed reading your responses in other threads. Seems I always learn something interesting, your information appears spot on and I like that you always are nice!

I have tried to quiet down the garage door part by simplifying the doors themselves and by minimizing contrast with my paint choices. Maybe I need to choose beautiful garage doors and just drink my lemonade! Perhaps I can lose some of the busyness by smoothing out the roof line? I really like the simple lines of the houses above. Oh well, back to the tracing paper.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 5:13PM
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If you want your house to look like the ones on the pictures you posted, you have to start over and work on the floor plan - also, some compromising is needed.
You need to separate the garages placing them at each end. The garages can be front load or side load (to the center of the house) if you have some sort of driveway/court in the front or your home.
Looks like your house is a one story home so probably it will look closer to the first picture.
The second picture is a 2 story house, it will not look like this but maybe you could use this color scheme and use the window type/french doors if that is what you like.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 5:29PM
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Could you enter the garage from the side?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 5:50PM
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The OP said that he does not have room for a side load garage.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 5:54PM
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No we don't have enough room with the current configuration. Naf_naf's suggestion about having the garages on either side would be great, but not sure our lot is wide enough. Right now, we have 5'on one side and just over 10' on the other. If we made the garage two wide, we would have to extend the garage into the back yard. Maybe I can get a site plan and show how the house is currently situated. Thanks for suggestions.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 6:33PM
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Jack Arnold has some home plans that I thinks are European and have very nice details.

Allison's house is great!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 7:08PM
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Here is a house my architect did. I don't have a shot of the whole thing but it is gorgeous in person. It is also very big...but the angle hides the full size. It has 3 cars front facing due to the lot restraints, but they are recessed and and are very lovely to look at. This pic simply does it no justice, but it's all I have.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 7:38PM
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If you slid the garage wing back from the facade by at least 6 to 8 feet, it would recede somewhat. Of course, this means reworking your floor plan. But you would need to do that anyway, as naf-naf said, to allow symmetry in the facade.

How deep is your lot? Do you have enough room to provide a turn-around for a rear entry garage? If so, you could widen the house and put a driveway down the side ... and of course, totally rework the floor plan! If you have a beautiful view to the rear, this plan is not a good idea.

Splitting the garages would block the bedroom windows, so that's not an option with the current floor plan.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 7:44PM
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This is not the french look you want but it is kinda European/ Belgian. The garage is front facing but recessed. Again my architect...

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 7:46PM
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Both of the inspiration houses you posted are in Atlanta. One is a renovation of an older house (think it was a ranch), and the other is by my architect. The first is by another Atlanta architectural firm - I will google and see if I can find the pictures. I think it is the house of a prominent real estate agent - just can't remember which one.

Both are on multi acre lots which allow a side or rear entry garage.

The symmetry is lost with the front load garage the way it is situated.

Moving it back would make a big difference . . .

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 8:35PM
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Here is a georgian by our architect, who designed your second inspiration picture. It has a front load garage but it is treated separately from the center of the house. Georgian and french houses have some similarities with regard to symmetry, and I think this handles the front load garage well while keeping the symmetry of the georgian exterior.

Here is a link that might be useful: Front load garage

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 8:39PM
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Thanks, Archie123.

One thing I would do is not do the large single garage door - make it two garage doors. I would also use garage doors that have some character - like the ones in gaonmymind's 2nd picture, instead of the plain ones shown.

Since you're meeting with the designer, take one or two (but no more than three) pictures of homes you love and explain what it is you like about them. Also what you don't like about this one. Hopefully, you'll be able to talk it though.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 9:18PM
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Here is a view of the site. We are about 25' from the street, which is the minimum I believe, and will have about 35' deep back yard. I tried to interest my husband in a corner lot that would allow the doors to face away from the front of the house, or maybe even building a two story that would allow a smaller footprint in general and maybe more options on where the garage could be placed. He is frustrated with me and my need for visual pleasantness. AND I still have to choose paint colors!!! Ha ha ha!

Everyone's response has be so helpful and I feel such relief just by getting some unbiased opinions.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 8:22AM
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Sorry no picture! Working on it now...

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 9:04AM
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The front facing gables of the house gaonmymind posted are characteristic of the American Tudor style derived from early English traditions and the use of parapets and no half-timbering emulates more formal late medieval English buildings.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 9:20AM
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If your husband is getting frustrated with your reason, maybe you need a different approach:
Explain to him that this is a big investment and the resale value of this home will be low.
If I was looking for a house in your neighborhood, I would not buy this house as is.

You could also do a 6 car tandem garage with only one double door as Allison suggested.
What really will solve the issue is a bigger lot or a double lot.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 9:47AM
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If I were...

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 9:50AM
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I was not suggesting a 6 car tandem garage with only one double door.

I was suggesting NOT to use a double door at all. To use 2 single's in its place. Helps to break up the garage door "feel."

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 8:37AM
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Maybe the garage could be positioned like this house has it?

Here is a link that might be useful: House with garage in front

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 12:18PM
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I agree a courtyard style garage can be much more attractive. I would also use seperate garage doors and perhaps even put an overhang over the garage to further dress it up. This is ours (which is on the side of the house but you see the side of the pretty brackets and the edge of the copper roof from the front).

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 1:27PM
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