Update Curb Appeal for 1960's Ranch?

maryellen333September 28, 2009

I need help with updating my 1960's ranch! The roof is new so I don't want to touch the roof line but I have envisioned changing the front cosmetically buy adding accent stone and beefing up the columns and the woodwork in the high pitch of the porch roof. Anybody got any ideas? I would sign up with Curb Appeal but they're not taking any new clients now. Below is a link to a picture of the front of my house!


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here is the link

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 3:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Better yet:

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 9:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Those pillars really stand out. I would put a railing between those posts. I would put in trellises against the posts and plant climbing vines like clematis or climbing roses. I can just see those posts covered in flowers. I'd also widen the flower bed in front a bit and put in some perennial flowers.

I don't like that shrub right at the end of the porch. It seems to block the patio doors. Would it be possible to move it to the other side between the doors and window and perhaps add another one on the other side of the window--near the corner. with a few flowers between

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 9:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Welcome to GardenWeb. I love that style of house! You may want to cross post on the Home Decorating forum for additional ideas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Decorating Forum

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 10:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't have any ideas of my own but know I don't like the scenario Oilpainter has suggested - sorry! - as it seems to me to be trying to make mid century modern into english country. Or something like that.

I'm not actually sure I would feel a need to change the woodwork at all, but if it bugs you obviously it should be explored. Sometimes taking a picture and doing some doodling on it, either on the computer or on the kitchen table, can help.

The house also looks very "authentic" to me with the brick, but the brick is certainly not enhanced by the paint colours. Are you thinking to replace all the brick with stone? That might work, but I am not sure that there should be some brick and some stone. Looking into new paint colours first might be time well spent.

I can't be sure without a wider view of the whole property with respect to the street, but I think I would do a lot with the landscape design. That forum (including me) might have some ideas to enhance this setting, if given a better photo.


    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 1:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 2:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here are more pictures of property per a request! I've uploaded to Photo bucket! Thanks for all your input! Mary Ellen


    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 9:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The only thing that really bothers me about the appearance of the house in that uninviting, unappealing appearance of the porch roof architecture. The roof has a nice pitch angle, but it needs some definition to highlight it's function. Closing off the gable end above the eave height I think would add greatly to it's attractiveness. Perhaps in a material to match the gable ends of the house. I don't think it would cost that much, framing it on the same plane as the support posts. This may cut off some light getting into those upper windows, but I don't suspect there is much light getting in there anyway.

The whole setup would likely look better with two, slightly heavier, posts rather that three, but it appears that center one might be structurally necessary (unless adding the bottom cord to the gable wall makes it unecessary)

Actually, when I think about it, if you can picture just yanking out that middle post and placing it sideways as a connecting cord between the other two posts, that by itself would greatly enhance the entire appearance. Plus you'd still get the same amount of light in those upper windows.

I don't know what's involved in doing this, engineering-wise, but it seems to me that center post is the root cause of your esthetic issues. Too utilitarian and not a bit graceful.

If none of this is doable, perhaps a couple of spartan junipers or other tall evergreens right in front of it would help.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 1:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It would be a better fate to tear down your nice example of Mid 20th Century stark modern than frippify it with closed gables blocking windows(!), needless railings and God knows what? Aluminum Shutters screwed into the brick. Fake taupe stucco? Eldorado stone?

Better to update its curb appeal by going back to its roots. Of which there is none truer than Frank Lloyd Wright's Zimmerman House.

1950 Zimmerman House by Frank Lloyd Wright. Manchester, New Hampshire
    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 12:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My thoughts exactly. How many of us with old homes have had to undo well intentioned renovations, some of which kill the integrity of the style. Your home is a classic example of that era's architecture. It's a lovely home.

What oftentimes sells an era home is the audience of people looking for it specifically. Purists, IOW. I buy into making really old homes more functional, but try to preserve as much as I can afford to intact. No small feat when dealing with nearly lost arts in architecture and obtaining the proper materials. I'm not rich so sometimes have had to just 'keep in the spirit'. But I wouldn't change too much about what makes your home unique.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 4:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You're right, worthy, closing the gable with a window behind it is pretty lame. But I still like my idea of pulling out that center post. And I was suggesting connecting the two remaining post as an exposed TRUSS CORD (at eave height) not as a railing. Or leave it out altogether, if that's structurally possible.
I don't see any center posts in the Zimmerman House - just an elegant cantelevered overhang roof. I don't get the same elegance from the subject house overhang, just utilitarian. Maybe my fixes are too much from a traditionalist's view, but ugly is ugly, and something needs done with that porch roof.
One other idea I have for that porch is to cut off that center post about 3 feet from the top (at eave height) then weld in a cross cord at eave height to create an exposed king truss to hold up that roof. At least there would be something interesting to look at for the person sitting there or driving by. And you'd be loyal to the house's "roots" of brown steel exposed framing.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 1:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

cut off that center post about 3 feet....

Might work. But I'd get an engineer's view.

Yes, this is not Fallingwater. But I think some nods to the Wright colour schemes might do wonders.

And, if those aren't shadows, I'd try to get that massive combination chimney cleaned.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 2:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Posted by tryinbrian: "But I still like my idea of pulling out that center post."

There is no "center post".

There are four posts going across that porch. The roof over the porch is asymmetrical. It is wider on the left giving cover to the front door area. Even removing the tallest post (if that is what you mean by "center post") would make it look off kilter and leave a big unbalanced empty space between the three others.

Don't mess with good design. Removing posts. Beefing up the pillars. Adding railings and trellises. These are just going to ruin it and make it a mish-mash.


Here is a link that might be useful: Thread in Home Decor Forum

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 10:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This home does not need "curb appeal". I have a feeling that there is not a curb for miles. This lovely gem appears to be located on a mountain or hillside. Look at all that clear blue sky in the background and and the tall mature trees, and note the lack of trees further out. Nothing should be done to ruin the view looking out of the house. 'Panoramic view' trumps 'curb appeal'.

Definitely add some landscaping around the house and consider painting the harsh white trim. Don't start hacking up the house with a buzz saw.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 10:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh wow! I have to admit, generally I am not fond of ranch houses. However, this one really speaks to me. I think it's quite lovely. IMHO I think you would be better served by having someone who knows about creating beautiful landscaping (not lawn) come out and give you some ideas. I can imagine sitting on that front porch on a summer evening with a glass of iced tea looking at a beautiful garden of some type.

Maybe put the pictures in photoshop and play with paint colors. The angle of the front pictures makes it a little hard to tell, but from what I can tell your house has beautiful lines and I wouldn't necessarily mess with that.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 11:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I moved some of the photos from the album the OP linked to.

This home looks to be custom built for the lot. Notice the design philosophy where the posts blend right into the trees and are hardly noticed. Why would anyone want to "beef up" the posts or glue trellises to them?

It looks like some of the posts have started to be painted white to match the window and door trim for some reason. This is an easy fix and the posts can be repainted to blend.

If you start messing with the posts in front of the house then you have created a monster with the posts along the garage not matching. There is no reason to start hacking the support posts out as some are suggesting, both from a design perspective and from an engineering standpoint.

This home was designed to 'cocoon' the inhabitants and blend in with the natural surroundings. The FLW philosophy believed a home should work with the surroundings not just be plopped down. This home embraces that philosophy. I am very curious as to whom is the architect here.

It looks like there may have been tiered steps and a platform going up into the garden in back that have now been removed and replaced with a new sloping walkway. Before doing any other modifications a professional should be consulted for guidance.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 7:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Two story glass under a projecting roofs large enough to be a carport. I don't miss the 60's at all.

All you can do is try different paint colors on the exposed framing and trim. It is what it is.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 9:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Everyone's input has been awesome! Your suggestions to stay with the roots has really inspired me. I love the Zimmerman home. I do love my house.... I think I would be happy if I could just update the materials... like the more natural wood on the Zimmerman house. And possibly change out the slider doors using doors with natural wood framing. What to do with the bead board surround...I don't know yet. But, I'm still liking the idea of taking the middle post out on the porch and support with a large support across the front. I drew a little picture and will post it as soon as I can get to my scanner. Again... Thank you so much... You guys are making me fall in love all over again! Mary Ellen

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 7:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am elated to hear that Maryellen333! We did not hear back from you for a while and I was afraid that the consensus to keep the MCM charm was not what you wanted to hear and no one was offering any reasonable alternatives to updating.

I agree that your idea of using natural wood doors and framing would improve the look of this baby. Removing the tallest post and placing a beam would look good and not ruin the view from out of the upper windows. Remember to not only consider curb appeal but to always keep in mind the view from out of the windows too when making changes.

You can use color if the colors are muted. Look historical color pallets and find one that suits your taste. And please do keep us posted to all the changes. This house project looks exciting and I'm sure the results are going to be fantastic.

Frank Lloyd Wright's home in Oak Park:


Here is a link that might be useful: Prairie School Design

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 11:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pop the pictures into a photo editing program and try changing the paint colors. You've got some great visual things going on with the house now, I'd keep going in that monolithic spare look. It doesn't seem to be a house that needs a lot of frippery and might not need much more than some different paint color.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 5:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What a cool house in a charming setting. I agree with keeping in the spirit of the original design and using Wright as inspiration. The rewards are less wow from the curb and more charm from being in and around the home. I would like to point out however, that the Zimmerman house has some lovely flowers where they can be viewed from the house, and I agree with the poster who wanted to pretty it up that adding flowers is a good idea.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 10:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't understand the comparisons to Frank Lloyd Wright's designs. This house is a Modern/Gabled Contemporary/Ranch Style with only a superficial resemblance to the Prairie Style. It would be prohibitively expensive and require some pretty talented design assistance to modify this building to look more like a Wright/Prairie design.

The trim, posts and window trim need to be pulled together. I would start by eliminating the maroon color on the eave trim because it makes the brick look dull brown and plain. The trim color should be subdued and/or neutral in order to bring out the color and texture of the brick. This is something you can see in Wright's designs; he would have made them as dark as possible, capped the brick site walls and added more texture to the masonry. His design would be intentionally bold and richly textured; the Modern Style would be intentionally spare and lacking in detail.

Unfortunately, the windows are a harshly contrasting white typical of the this 60's design, so the biggest question is: can they be painted or replaced?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 12:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That's great input! Thank you. We are currently experimenting with the color of the posts, trim and window trim. I've thought about going with a darker trim around the windows as wells the regular trim. I found a Mid-century color palete on the internet so I'm trying some of those out. Currently the best so far is a dark grey with a hint of blue. But I must confess that my ideas are all over the place. We've decided to consult an outside source to help. And, you're right. The house isn't exactly "Wright" but there is a flavor there that I would like to see if it would work. Keep the input coming! Thanks again, Mary Ellen

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 1:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Get a sample board of brick that is similar to yours and test trim colors against it; think about showcasing the brick rather than adding accents. I suspect a gray-brown (a bit grayer then the existing posts) would be better than gray-blue since blue might appear too cold.

Get rid of the paneling under the "flying portico" porch roof. Sometimes shingles with a 3" exposure can be more compatible with brick than the vertical grooves of T1-11 plywood.

The big tall post supporting the portico porch ridge beam bothers me too. It could be removed only if a substantial horizontal tie member were placed from the tops of the flanking posts (assuming they are at the same height). The portion of the tall post that would be above the horizontal tie beam might be retained.

Frank would have put a low stone capped brick wall around the patio/porch to tie the base of it together. Or he might have introduced field stone for more textural variety. He might have put horizontal mullions in dark stained wood "terrace" doors.

Hanna house

Zimmerman house

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 3:21PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Hot water radiators
We own a 1900 home which has forced hot water heating...
Yikes. I just bought an 1898 Victorian house
Hi, I have always loved old homes and had the opportunity...
Original Heart of Pine Flooring - matching
Hello, I have a contract on a 1905 Edwardian row house....
Stair striping and refinishing advice
I ve been stripping and refinishing my stairs in my...
Best Way to Seal Rubble Foundation Against Water and Radon?
Hi, I am new here, hoping someone can help. We have...
Sponsored Products
Modway Gloria Bar Stools - Set of 2 - EEI-937-BLK
$79.99 | Hayneedle
Possini Euro Design Milbury Five Light 24" Wide Chandelier
Euro Style Lighting
Cyan Design Hat Token
$102.50 | LuxeDecor
Cyan Design Bronze Moosehead Book End
$207.50 | LuxeDecor
Sea Gull Parkview Chandelier - 24W in. Antique Brushed Nickel Multicolor - 31380
$412.00 | Hayneedle
Cyan Design Flowering Tree
$380.00 | LuxeDecor
Surya Tropics TRO-1009 Area Rug - Biscotti Multicolor - TRO1009-1616
$63.00 | Hayneedle
Bella Side Chair
| Italy Design
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™