Stone bump out above porch?

livingreen2013November 4, 2012

I've learned so much from reading the posts here and one thing that has really stood out (among many) is that stone should at least appear to be somewhat structural in nature. My question is, would it ever make sense to have a stone bump out that is above a front porch then? I have talked to our contractor and he said structurally it can be done, but we're still unsure of it. We'd like to add some more stone to the house if possible, but are questioning if there really is any other place that would make sense to. The area in question on this photo is around the round window in the front, middle bumpout. Right now we have shake siding in the peaks, board and batten on the body, and stone on the front of the garage, around the front door b1ump out, and on all 9 columns. If you would do stone, would you do it all the way up the peak? Or stop it where the trim line is and leave shake siding in the peak? What would you do with the bump out to the left then? Leave it as-is or do it in all shake siding or something? Any ideas or thoughts would be awesome. Thanks!

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Stone floating in the air (or appearing to sit on the roofing), as in your example, is completely non-sensical.

Stone veneer (the lick-and-stick variety) may technically be installed in such situations, but to any educated or trained observer it will look false and unrealistic. Masonry (stone and brick) is a historical load-bearing material--it carries it's own dead load to the foundations and supports the floor and roof load for the rest of a structure.

The only way such an installation would be visually belivable is if those same second story walls actually came to the ground and were stone there as well. In other words, it would be a continuous 2-story wall of stone.

IMO, this house would benefit from less massiveness and a more restricted, unifying and harmonious palette of materials and finishes. Be cautious about a different material every 20 feet or so.

Good luck with your project!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 5:17PM
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Thank you vigilcarter! That's kind of what we were expecting. I have spent hours on pinterest, houzz and google looking for images of houses with this look and you're right- it always seems "off" somehow. I appreciate your honesty. Any concrete ideas you would have for what materials should be where on our house? Or any where else it WOULD make sense to add more stone (we're still debating on veneer or true stone). Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 5:22PM
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Livingreen2013, there are two different challenges for your elevations as I see it:

--The front elevation has been considered for aesthetics, and there are a variety of changes in wall plane, projecting roofs (and receeding wall planes under the porch roof), plus a garage mass at a different angle. Thus, there is considerable visual variety without so much that the elevation becomes unrelated and visually competitive;
--The rear elevation, on the other hand, (and I suspect the two side elevations) is/are visually very massive and planar. This is accentuated by the 3-story height of the rear elevation.
Thus, I think you may wish to consider a design strategy for all of the elevations that are highly visible from the exterior (I don't know your location and lot, so I have no way of knowing where tree masses may be and where key "view corridors" may be). The design strategy would be to mitigate some of the bulk and massiveness of the house through a use of: 1) some wall offsets, where possible (some walls advance while some recede--this is particularly needed on the rear elevation, and I suspect on the side elevations); and 2) a palette of several harmonious materials and finishes that help accentuate the change in wall planes and creates some variety in the appearance of each elevation.

If you have not started construction, you may wish to consult with your contractor on where wall offsets of just 1'-0 on the rear and sides may be reasonably possible.

Based on your developed design, the palette of materials I would consider would be: 1) stone; 2) wood siding (either horizontal lap siding or vertical board and batten siding), and; 3) cement plaster. I would continue the 3'-4' high stone wainscot around as much of the house as could be afforded. I would use the wood siding and the cement plaster above the wainscot to differentiate the elevations and create some visual variety, while using only the three materials on all elevations to keep a harmony and consistency to all elevations.

Discussions with your contractor will help you decide what might best go where.

Hope this helps. Good luck with your project!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 8:03PM
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Thanks so much for your time vigilcarter! I definitely can see what you're saying about the rear of the house, and agree with many aspects. Unfortunately, the time to make many structural changes isn't now as the foundation is already poured. Our hope is that the sunroom addition and porch will give the back the dimension that it needs. We may look into doing a bay window in the master too (3 windows together to the right of the deck). I appreciate your ideas for materials to use. That's the kind of feedback that I really need. Question though- what do you mean by the stone wainscot? I thought that that was what people referred to as the short pants syndrome?? I'd be interested to hear what and where your thoughts would be exactly for the stonne. We're continuing to work with our contractor and he's been very good about giving us advice, while mostly giving us freedom. A good and a hard thing. :) Thanks again!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:42PM
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There are a lot of good examples of exterior stone wainscot on Houzz:

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:43PM
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Looks similar to what I am building. Love the look, btw.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 5:04PM
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Thanks building a house! I immediately loved your house too! I love your finishes and overall feel of your house. I'd like to find more ways to incorporate the stone in other areas of the house, but maybe what we have is the max?? With the wrap-around porch, I don't know that it makes sense to do a wainscot anywhere or that it would make sense to add it anywhere else. Maybe what we have is enough, without it looking too strange or busy? Anywhere else someone could see adding it? Thanks again!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 6:21PM
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A house in a neighboring town was done all in Eldorado stone, including the dormers! Guffaw!
Stone above wood defies logic and natural process. You would not see a stone house with brick foundation. Where materials are intermixed, stone must be lowest, then brick, then wood/slate/shingles. Almost like some kind of hierarchy or sumthin'

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 8:46PM
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That's a great way of putting it Casey! It's amazing how much we have learned since we've began following this forum! And, it's amazing how many houses just around our area alone are breaking these ideas. Thanks for the guidance and direction everyone! Now I'm wondering (and should run this by our contractor), but does anyone know if it would be a big deal to add some height to our front porch if the cement is already in for the footings of the porch. The dirt is already filled roughly around. Would it be possible to take some of that dirt out and fill it in other places (3.5 acres) in order to make it more of a higher front porch, and then be able to better line the front of the porch with stone? Again, I'll ask the contractor tomorrow, just a thought I had that I thought I'd run past you educated folk. :)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:11PM
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