Please help with 1903 farmhouse decision

gdw65April 13, 2014

I posted this earlier today in the remodeling forum, but it was suggested that I post over here for your input.

My wife and I are remodeling a 1903 farmhouse on 15 acres in the PNW. problem is, I got deployed again on short notice, so we're trying to make decisions via email, picture exchange, etc.
There's one thing I'm stumped on that I'm hoping the GW community can help me out...

We removed the green concrete stairs from the front of the house, were left with a 'hole' (full height basement), and put up new stairs (it will have a railing).

Question is, how to close off that hole?

Option 1) continue the siding horizontally
Option 2) put siding perpendicular to the house, covering the Sides of the stairs

Either way, we'd most likely put some plants/shrubbery in the corners.

The contractor likes Option 2 (covering the sides of the stairs), but perhaps because this is just easier for him?

What do you think would look best? I did some rudimentary photoshopping on both options.

Thanks a million

Front of house

Removed this concrete

Big hole

As it currently sits

Option 1

Option 2

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Option 2 would look better, but I think you need to provide ventilation under the wood steps to keep them from rotting. You could use lattice and paint it the same color as the siding.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 8:52AM
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That's some pretty good photoshopping; thanks. Your options are very clear! I like option 2, myself, but I wonder if it might be a good idea to see what others in your area have done with homes of similar vintage. It's a small detail, but if there's a standard, accepted "look" in your region, it's not a bad idea to stick to it, assuming you find the look acceptable.

All that aside, option 2 gets my vote. And that's a sweet house, by the way. I like it!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 8:57AM
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Option 2 for me as well. I think vjrnts has a good idea in that looking at similar homes may give you an idea of what has been done by others.

We are looking at the same issue and have put it off because we don't know what we will find when we pull out the cement stoop.
Be safe.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:44AM
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Thanks for the feedback, and good idea about looking at similar homes; we'll certainly try to do that.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 12:08PM
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I would put either a framed triangle of lattice on either side, or a framed triangle of "spindles" kind of like your porch rail.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 5:58PM
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Option 1 will keep water out from under your porch better. Option 2 looks better, but all the rain that seeps through the wood steps could drain under the house unless you carefully slope the dirt under there. You could build in a pretty cool built in doghouse under there, if you have outside pets. Wait, did you say that drops down into a FULL BASEMENT? Yeah, definitely go with option 1, and you should not just put up siding, you should insulate it as well.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 8:50PM
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Imhappy&Iknowit IOWA zone 6b

Where does the hole go? under the porch? You didn't mention where the basement wall stops. Does it stop before the porch? Crawl space under the porch?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 8:58PM
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Wife sent me a couple pics of the basement area.

It's "crawl-space-height", for the width of the porch, around the perimeter of the house. This area is covered by a vapor barrier and is sloped down to the center, where under the gravel is a water barrier and channels leading to a sump-pump. The perimeter shelf has never been damp. Occasionally during heavy rains, the water table will rise, and the sump pump will kick on.

Wether we go with Option 1, 2, or some variation, we'd certainly treat that hole so all our other water mitigation efforts won't be for naught.

The front porch steps are about center of this picture (before removal)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:50PM
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I'd go for both. Option 1 to keep the dirt and water out of your crawl space, especially since you plan to plant stuff in the corners either side of the steps, and option 2 as well for neatness.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:55PM
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Definitely option #2. It has a more finished look to it. Even when you landscape around the building some part of the underneath stair gap will show with option #1. Close it off completely so it doesn't show. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:36AM
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is that ductwork on the ground in pic one?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 10:23PM
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If you're referring to the basement pics energy_rater, it's not ductwork. It's (now) unused grey water piping suspended from the ceiling. It's most likely removed by now.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 10:29PM
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