Front elevation

MNTwinsNovember 26, 2012

I am looking to get any thoughts/suggestions on our front elevation. We originally started with out with a symmetrical colonial look, but we had to move the door and windows around because of changes we made inside the house.

I don't have the actual rendering yet, just a basic sketch. It has vinyl siding with vinyl shakes on the front gable. The roof over the garage is pitched up because there is bonus area inside.

Feedback is always appreciated :)

Clicky for a bigger pic:

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Is the garage recessed from the facade? If not...could it be? That is a lot of garage front and center. I have to be honest, the lack of symmetry is really bothersome to me...particularly how the second story windows don't line up over the first story windows in any logical way. I at least think they should match a little better...even if the front door has to off center. I am sorry this sounds so negative, but I wanted to be honest with you.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 11:37PM
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Why would you not use real shakes on the front gable? The height of the gable is higher than the porch roof that it intersects which is a bit odd. The porch posts are a bit small and need a header above them. You might consider a hip at each end of the porch roof.

Make sure any emergency escape windows are tall enough. Why are the lower window pairs spaced apart and the upper ones mulled tight together?

Since the garage doors are so prominent they should have a more interesting, less busy pattern.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 7:42AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I agree with nini, the asymmetry is really bothersome as it's almost's not asymmetrical enough to look intentional. And especially with the overall style of the home, it calls for symmetry.

Difficult, I know (it's why we were in the design phase for 7 years) but a house needs to make sense from both the inside and the outside and they need to be designed together.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 8:21AM
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The door offset didn't bother me so much, but the door being a single with a side light makes it look even more offset. Any way you can make that symmetric with a side light on each side or none at all.

Also the windows on the left side of the door is really throwing things off with their spacing compared to the rest and then also being offset from the above windows.

I'd also look at making the support beams so you can spread out the columns to not block windows or if not possible make those asymmetric as in an extra column on the right.

It might also help adding a porch railing on each side of the peaked roof to take some of the focus off the windows etc.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 8:53AM
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Thanks for the replies, I'm not taking offense to any comments, that's why I'm here :) To address some points:
- The garage is recessed 2' from the house.
- The door is what's screwing everything up, it had to be moved because of what we did with the stairs.
- The bottom-right window pair is separated by a wall internally, which is why they are not mulled together. The bottom-left pair was drawn up to match.
- The top windows can be moved around a bit, they aren't constrained by much.
- I kinda think the gable is too "tall" as well.

Just to show something different, I took the original colonial elevation and moved the front door (and squished the bottom-left windows because of the door). I made the changes in MS paint, so just pretend that everything is aligned nicely. I didn't draw any gables on this version...check out the link below.

Do one of these elevations look better than the other?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 1:52PM
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That link doesn't work for me. It wants me to sign into Google...

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 2:50PM
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Whoops, sorry, try this one

Here is a link that might be useful: Original elevation with the door moved to the left

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 3:18PM
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OK, now I can properly post the image. This was the original/basic elevation, except I moved the front door over to the approx location, squished the two bottom-left windows together, and added a light to fill the void.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 7:33PM
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I like the original better. I'd squish the top left windows together so they are directly above the bottom left windows, line the middle top window over the light, and see how that looks. Also I'd add the gable over the front door again (but keep it the same height as the rest of the porch roof.)

Have you thought about giving up the shutters? The pushed together windows are a Prairie/Craftsman thing, and that style doesn't usually have shutters and they look better without shutters, IMO. You could use heavier window trim instead.

If you're only going to do one sidelight, could you move it to the other side of the door? Then the door would be closer to the middle of the space defined by the door & light, which is where people will want to stand when the come to the front door.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 7:48PM
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I like this one MUCH better too. Any chance you could do a double door instead of a single door and single sidelight? You could do a double door with glass in it to get light into the foyer space. It would help make the house appear a little more symmetrical too. Otherwise, I agree with zone4newby--flip the sidelight to the other side of the door and scoot the door over. Single sidelights are not my favorite.

The other thing that bothers me is that the top of the windows and the door don't match up--windows are higher. Can the windows either be lowered, shortened or could the door be taller or add a transom over the door?

I don't mind the upstairs windows as-is in the last posted elevation. I like them MUCH better than the 1st elevation. To me, it helps the eye track on the symmetry thing even though the downstairs doesn't quite have it. IMO, if you mirror the window configuration that's in place downstairs in this elevation, it will look like you took 2 houses, cut them down the middle, then stuck 1/2 of one to 1/2 of the other and called it done. No offense intended, just my $0.02.

I don't think I'd put the gable back in the porch roof. The gable seems to emphasize the fact that the facade is not symmetrical as porch gables like that are usually centered to the porch as well as the front door.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 1:33AM
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I tried moving the gable to the second floor on the original elevation, for kicks and giggles:

My wife still prefers the very first elevation that I posted, so I tried changing the windows a little bit, and shrunk the gable as well (done in MS paint, forgive me if it doesn't look quite right!)

And yes, I'm willing to consider removing the shutters if it looked better.I found an example of craftsman window trim, perhaps something like this:


EDIT: Thanks for the feedback :) I like being able to edit posts!

This post was edited by MNTwins on Thu, Nov 29, 12 at 0:42

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 12:39AM
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I think it looks much better, but the door and single side light is still throwing it off. Can you fit a door with two side lights and if not could you Do a single door with glass in it and center it on the peak.

Currently you have the offset peak and then within that the door is offset again. I would think sticking to only one thing that isn't symmetric would look better.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 6:16AM
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You're making good progress but you shouldn't put craftsman windows on a colonial house.

You also need to show the beam that supports the porch. If there is no room then you need to raise the ceiling of the first floor to allow a proper porch design. A porch must be very shallow to work with an 8 ft ceiling.

You should show a trim board (frieze) above the upper windows; you shouldn't just stop the clapboards against the soffit.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 8:09AM
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If you can't get 2 sidelights - how about changing to just a door and no sidelights? You could get a door that has glass in it if you're wanting some light and ability to see out.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 8:48AM
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