Need Help with our Front Elevation

MGDawgOctober 11, 2012

Hi everybody,

Here's the current front elevation of our house (the 2nd image below is our inspiration house that combines many of the different materials found in our plan):

1 - I would like your opinion on the materials that we have on there now. It definitely looks a little busy without the blending and contrasting of various colors, but does this work with you (or does it definitely not work)? An option we're considering is to use vertical board & batten and limiting the shakes to the gables... something like this (quick photoshop):

We're also looking at possibly limiting the stone to a few feet of height (about 1/3rd of the height of the first floor) then covering the rest of the house with a yet to be determined combination of horizontal siding / vertical board and batten / shakes.

2 - We had a discussion with our builder and he thinks the best option for the large front porch is a cement slab. We had planned on using some type of composite decking and possibly closing the gap under the porch with the same material placed vertically. We're still unsure of the final grade of the house (therefore how many steps up we'll have to take to get to the front door), but we don't want to lose the country feel of the porch by using a big slab of cement. Our builder doesn't thinks our idea will look good. Does anybody have pictures of big porches that use vertical blocking to close the opening?

Thanks for the help!

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You asked for opinions so...

It doesn't "work" for me. Not at all. It's far too busy and there seems to be rational plan to how the different cladding materials are used on different parts of the structure. They're just slapped on willy-nilly.

But then, I also don't like your inspiration picture. To me, having stone go part way up the second floor level but not all the way to the roof makes it look like somebody goofed and didn't order enough stone and then, rather than get more, decided to just "do something different" the rest of the way up. Ugh.

And, if your builder doesn't flash very properly between the bottom of the Hardi sections and the stone/brick below it, you're likely to get water intrusion.

In my opinion - and I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder but you did ask for opinions - you've chosen a bad "inspiration" and made it worse.

James Hardie's website has a nice little booklet called "The value of design" that I urge you to read.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Value of Design

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 8:46PM
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I agree that the materials are much too complex. It doesn't make sense to have stone on the second story that is not structurally tied in with the stone on the first. A house with supporting masonry walls can't be constructed with masonry on dormers sitting on a roof, so this detail calls it out as a fake, and it's never really a good idea to use materials in an obviously fake way.

I also think the rooflines are much too complex, but that is very popular right now.

But in terms of the materials, I would use masonry on the first story and one type of siding (whether it be shingles, clapboard or board and batten on the upper and leave it at that. I think there is a tendency in modern construction to pile on the details, and that is going to look old fast. Around here this type of thing is colloquially known as "Trying to shove ten pounds of s--- into a five pound bag."

Sorry, but I think you will be much happier over the long term if you simplify.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 9:04PM
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It looks like it is sinking underwater. Or, that it had sunk underwater. Why is that stone so high? And, why cut it off where it is?

I'm with Pal and Bevangel--simplify.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 9:46PM
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Wow Bevangel! What a great resource. I am pouring through it now. My build is already up, but I am so happy it doesn't violate any of these principles.

To the OP don't get discouraged, but I agree with the others. I think you need to look up styles of homes and really go in a direction that meets a historically accurate theme. Also read the material in the link Bev sent. I am halfway through it.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 2:18AM
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Sorry, I don't like the inspiration or elevations. Agree with comments made by previous posters. Why does the stone on the columns only go up 90% of the way? Too many materials. Too many transitions.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 2:30AM
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Thanks for the comments. Pretty unanimous so far - I think we'll revisit our look.

Any comments on the finishing of the porch?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 7:36AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I'm with the others...not a fan of the inspiration, and definitely do not like the excess mix of materials on the exterior. I too would worry about the integrity of the exterior envelope especially with unsupported stone on the 2nd floor....even thin stone needs support.

Note how the stone and siding was used here, one shingle, one batten:

Traditional Exterior design by Other Metros Interior Designer Suzanne Denning Suzanne Marie's Interiors

Traditional Exterior design by Minneapolis General Contractor Stonewood, LLC

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 7:42AM
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M thoughts on the porch: I think that using decking vertically to block off the porch would end up as another visual element, and as your plan stands now, would be too much. I think a concrete slab porch can be a really clean look, and wouldn't make the house less "country". Is there a reason you don't want to use lattice to block off the porch, if you go with decking? Since it's the expected material, I think it would have less visual impact than using decking, and would also have a more traditional feel.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:12AM
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The designer drew horizontal bands attempting a "prairie style" feel.
But the des. messed up with the snaggle-tooth shakes.
They need to be even-coursed shingles,
preferably in a different color and shade distinct from the masonry.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:51AM
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