Curb appeal: 1930s brick bungalow

Kris00March 30, 2011

Hello all. I recently bought a 1930s red brick bungalow. Please follow this Flickr link to view 2 photos: house pics

I think it needs some serious help with curb appeal, and was hoping to solicit some advice. My first thoughts are to paint the trim white and possibly get a new (white?) front door. As is, all the colors seem to run together with the brick. Not sure what to do about the little porch... maybe add some flower pots or railing?

ANY suggestions will be much appreciated!!!

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Wood door, oak. Paint the trim white.

I agree with flowers somewhere. Needs color.
A nice bench under the window? A flowering tree in the corner? (You could bring it in in the winter, if your climate required.)

Do. Not. Ever. Paint. The. Brick.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 9:57AM
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First off, no railing--it would ruin the proportions of the house, and isn't really necessary. Think planters--long and low filled with annuals. A bench would be nice, as long as it was in keeping with the bungalow style--wood, not metal, lots of straight lines.

A nice planting of peonies in front of the house would look great, or rhododendrons. A small tree would be great at the corners--stay away from crab apples as they sucker like mad. Japanese maples might be nice.

Why think white for trim--it is too glaring with all the sun you seem to get? I could see the trim done in a nice 20s era sage green with a band of mustard yellow or something a bit browner, like dijon. Oak door defintely stained, and I'd trade in that storm door for a similar stained one in wood.

As a side note, I'd move the house numbers--put them on a plaque to one side of the door, in a different style more suitable to the house.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 6:28PM
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Thanks to both of you for the excellent suggestions! This is a great help. Don't worry, I'm not considering painting the brick. I was thinking white trim mainly because it would be more consistent with other homes on my street. I love all the flower ideas and the oak door!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 8:46PM
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Check out Jane Powell's books, if you haven't already, they offer excellent suggestions for all things bungalow. (Especially the Bungalow Details books, there is one for Interiors, and one for Exteriors.) Some people don't care for the writing (I think it's great, but I am also similarly acerbic), but the photos and information are top-notch.

Paul Duchscherer also has done quite a few bungalow books, but his tend to be heavy on the California style, which I don't believe yours to be.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 9:22PM
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I'm not picturing white trim or door. I've seen brick bungalows with a nice soft green, with red accents around the windows. Leave the door, maybe remove the storm unless your weather dictates you have one. Once you get some bold accents going, the door won't be an issue. Cute house!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 11:31PM
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I agree, not white trim. It's far prettier as it is (and would also be far prettier with a green or mustard) than it would be with white. Just because some neighbors have white trim is no reason to do the same. You're after curb appeal for your house, not matching the neighbors' houses.

Also, if you painted it white, you would lose the impact of those very very pretty upper windows on the right. The stiles in the windows stand out because they are much DARKER than the blind behind them. They're very pretty and very "period." You can't leave them dark and paint everything else white, it would look strange. And if you paint everything a light color, you lose the visual impact of the window stiles (unless you put in black blinds, haha, but I'm assuming you're not going to do that). Whatever you do, make sure the window treatment in those windows makes a strong contrast with those stiles, so that they continue to stand out.

What jumps out at me as a thing to improve is the porch surface. It's too bright for the house--it looks brand new and generic, which detracts from the bungalow look. The link below is to a random stone supplier whose website happens to show a lot of different outdoor stone surfaces; something like that could really add to the bungalow look, the period look, and thus the curb appeal.

I totally agree with Columbusguy on the flowers and the small tree. Depending on your climate, a redbud or a dwarf Japanese maple might be just the ticket.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stone surfaces for porch

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 12:41PM
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Sorry, I guess my preference for white trimmed bungalows stems from being in the midwest. Many of the Chicago-style brick bungalows (mine included) have white trim. Realizing you have a different style and looking at your pics again, I do agree that a sage would be quite appealing, especially given the color of your brick. You could bring a tan/putty color in as an accent along the roofline, perhaps?

Have you tried one of the online virtual paint tools? Sherwin Williams has a nice one.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 4:05PM
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Can you tell whether the little trim bit over the front door is original? I have zilch expertise in brick bungalows, but to me it looks too high above the door, and the space between it and the trim bit that runs laterally along the edge of the roof seems peculiar.

If you have any reservation at all about this section of the facade, it might be worth sketching some variations on a kind of portico that is deep enough to protect visitors from the rain. Such a thing might be cantilevered or maybe supported at its front edge by pillars attached to the planting boxes.

You might want to check google or yahoo images of "brick bungalow" to see if anything catches your fancy

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 7:34PM
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Thanks for all of the wonderful advice and suggestions! @honorbiltkit: I think the trim over the door is not original. In fact, the porch and the front door are not original. From the pic, notice the sunroom on the left side... that used to be the porch and was closed in at some point to become an indoor space. I think that's why the front porch seems so awkward/boring to me. Not sure what to do about the plain concrete top.

I hadn't considered other trim colors, but I like the idea of soft green. I will definitely think about that. I live in Georgia, so the climate is very mild in the winter and very HOT in summer :) Almost anything will grow here, so should be lots of options for landscaping with flowers and flowering trees. Can't wait to get started!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 8:31AM
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Not sure what to do about the plain concrete top.

That's what the suggestion about stone surfaces was for. They're basically stone veneer or tiles almost, quite thin, so they barely raise the surface, and they pretty up a porch instantly.

You could also look into actual tiles, ones for exterior use. Any of these solutions could dress up the porch, the stair treads and the risers in about one or two days of work.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 10:18AM
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Thanks ideagirl! I was thinking you had meant to do a stone walkway (poor reading comprehension, lol). I will look into that. Stone would really warm up the porch area a lot. I didn't realize you could put it over the surface like that. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 11:07AM
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Kris, looking at the pic again, I'd get rid of the little porch overhang entirely, keeping the upper part as is. I'd fill in the new space with trim to match that on either side of the small hood.
In Georgia, you don't often get so much rain that you really need a roof there--been down that way a lot as my oldest sister lives northeast of Atlanta. I think a pergola would be nice, covered with wisteria--making it with brick piers to match the rest of the house in style.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 10:06PM
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pergola- yes!!! Exactly what I was thinking. You could also stain that concrete if you wanted something less bright.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 4:47PM
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I must be the only one who likes the trim color as is. I think it makes a nice quiet background for the plants that you are planning and a more interesting front door.
So I vote to try to work with the existing trim.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 6:16PM
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