like to change exterior of 70s house - ideas?

kiki_thinkingMarch 10, 2014

It seems that we will have money to repaint, or perhaps even re-side our home this summer. The existing boards have lots of woodpecker holes, and the wood is pretty weathered/damaged in places.

If i could update the exterior attractively, i would be happy to put extra money into it by doing new siding. But if residing just means putting new vinyl siding on the house, i suspect it will look odd.

So my question is:

What could i redo as far as trim, type of siding, new directions of siding, shingles, stone facing, anything really to attractively update my home?

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tibbrix

My first thought when I looked at the pic of your house was that the windows are too small and leave way too much blank space on the exterior. I would add contemporary shutters to all of the windows, and add some kind of masonry at the bottom of each window, maybe window boxes on the first-floor windows.

I'd switch the siding to shingles, again because of the large amount of empty wall space, and maybe add a narrow pergola on corbels just over the bottom windows or just under the top ones, or some kind of decorative wood work to give the wall a dual look, and stain the top shingles one color and the bottom a lighter or darker stain.

Add some kind of wall decoration to the blank wall to the left of the front door.

This post was edited by Tibbrix on Mon, Mar 10, 14 at 19:58

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 7:48PM
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PRO
Sophie Wheeler

Adding windows would do more for the curb appeal than doing vinyl siding.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 8:05PM
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DreamingoftheUP

The small windows struck me too. Tibbrix has a good idea. Look closely at the following - home has two tiny windows, one larger window and a lot of blank wall. It looks great.

Contemporary Porch by Minneapolis Interior Designers & Decorators Fresh Space Design

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 8:07PM
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Lady_West

What if you did that center section between the windows in a different orientation, like vertical board and batten. You could do the same to the doorway section on the right. Maybe also beef up the trim around the windows. But then there's the roofline. So I don't know. Maybe some of the experts will offer their thoughts.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 8:34PM
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crl_

I agree that the middle section of the house seems like too big of a blank proportionately. I once saw before and after pictures of a similar era house with a similar middle section and the after picture had a big trellis in that middle section. I was super impressed by what a huge positive difference that made. I wish I remembered where to find the pictures, but I cannot.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 10:41PM
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Fluffeebiskits1

I was thinking the same things as Tibbrix. If you cant do the pergola maybe lose the two smaller trees in the middle in favor of one showy tree in the blank spot between the windows. Maybe something with a little width and some color like a japanese maple or whatever works for your USDA zone. Can you extend a deck around the front entry and add some seating and colorful accessories?

A different color scheme would be nice too. Right now everythings is brown: roof, windows, siding, trees, mulch. A nice green like SW Box of nails maybe with light taupe trim and a dark orange door? Or lighter tan siding like SW Hippo or Wafer and an eggplant door like Raisin? Maybe looking at their Suburban modern exterior palette will give you some good ideas. The cork wedge, smokehouse, rustic red combo will look really good on your home.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:47AM
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awm03

Just my 2 cents worth: shutters aren't going to make up for too small window size and awkward window placement on a house. If anything, they'll just draw attention to the windows and make your house look even more wall-eyed ((windows too close to the sides). You're better off not emphasizing the windows. My house is wall-eyed too, btw. Also, shutters aren't right for your house style anyway, IMO.

I was thinking you should unify the siding on the first story so the house looks connected and for unified sight lines.
And then you could do some color blocking to add interest to the plain Jane right side (different shades of the same paint). Perhaps use board & batten on the upper story to also add interest. Wider trim on the windows would look nice too; instead of severe rectangular trim, I've used a slightly longer trim piece on bottom and a even longer piece on top for the mock-up. That's a nice craftsman-ish look. Trim banding helps too.

Instead of trying to fiddle with the middle expanse on the right, could you add windows to the wall on the left side of the house to balance the front facade better? Is that possible? I know it's an expense, and maybe you can't because of what's behind the wall (closets?).

Then landscape to pull the eye forward, adding some tall plants in the middle expanse and something to soften the left wing entry. Landscaping to pull the eye forward will help alleviate the flatness of the house facade.

p.s. I love those clerestory windows on the left side!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 2:09PM
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daisyinga

If this was my house, I'd get the number of a good landscape architect and call him/her. You have a great space to work with.

I think you could help the looks of your house a lot with some type of specimen tree or espalier right there visually centered between those 4 windows. I'm not suggesting a tree planted right up beside the house, but something that will draw the eye away from that bare center of the wall. An espalier would need to be near the house, though.

I think windows near the front door would look great, as awn03 suggested. A landscape architect could help you decide if hardscape there would look good and be cost effective. If not, then some landscaping there near the front door would draw the eye away from the bareness of that wall, too.

A landscape architect could probably help you decide on a paint color for the house, also.

If it was my house, I'd paint it a soft mossy green. I'd keep all the siding the same color. I'd add a lovely stone patio with stone steps by the front door and a stone walk to the driveway. I'd put an espalier or a specimen tree visually centered between the 4 windows, maybe some hosta or something in that bed. I'd either put windows by the front door as awn03 suggested, or consider putting some type of iron scroll artwork there, if I could find something the right scale. I'd add a nice big potted plant or two in beautiful pots and call it good.

I love the pergola idea, and a pergola with the right plantings and beautifully maintained would be lovely. I personally wouldn't go that route because I wouldn't want the maintenance headache. I like pergolas with vines planted on them, and I wouldn't want to deal with the pruning, leaves dropping, etc. at my front doorway. I have a pergola with climbing roses over my back patio and I love it, but I don't mind the maintenance back there. If I don't get the falling leaves, etc. swept up every day it's no big deal in the back, but it would drive me crazy in the front.

If you're on a tight budget, the cheapest route is probably to repair and paint the siding, plant something in the center between the windows, do something with the landscape by the front door. If you choose the paint color well and the plantings well, you could probably make everything great for not a lot of extra money.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 3:43PM
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suero

How about two types of siding, shingles and boards, to break up the large expanse of wall.
And change the color. here are two examples:

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 6:00PM
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gr8daygw

Traditional Exterior by Dublin Architects & Designers RTA Studio

My neighbors recently painted their home an olive green gray color with off white trim and black shutters and it looks yummy. Something like this only a little darker. They added stonework to the foundation like in this picture which seems to be popular around here now. I would love to do that to our house someday, it's a veneer. What a nice, warm difference it makes in adding interest to the exterior. You can keep that theme going with stonework on the sidewalk, pathways and porch floor on down the road. They did some of that in stamped concrete and it is amazing how great that looks and I am very snooty about how improvised stuff looks. Fooled me!!! â¦.

This post was edited by gr8day on Wed, Mar 12, 14 at 7:09

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:03AM
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gr8daygw

Here is a photo with the black shutters with the olive-y color of paint. I really think it looks nice with the natural wood benches like in the other picture.

Traditional Exterior by Los Angeles Photographers Michael Kelley Photography

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:14AM
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tibbrix

The two different types of siding is a good idea, re: suero's.

Adding a window to the garage wall is also a good idea, I think.

Suero, can you do your magic and add the contemporary shutters, along with enhanced trim on the tops and bottoms of the windows? and maybe a downward slanted pergola just over the bottom set of windows? dual stain, darker on the bottom, a shade or two lighter on the top, where the pergola separates the wall? I'm curious as to what that would look like.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 9:16AM
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joaniepoanie

I don't think I would go to the expense of replacing the siding unless it needs it. I think you can achieve a lot with a frest paint color and landscaping. I like the idea of a tree, trellis or something for the middle section. A window on the left side would add some balance. As was suggested, bringing the landscaping forward and a larger hardscape area/patio leading to the front door.

I agree to hire a good landscape designer who should be able to address all these issues---house color, plantings, entrance, scale/proportion, etc...

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 9:50AM
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kiki_thinking

The siding does need some repair, and repainting... I think hey said the cost to repair annd paint would be roughly a fourth of the cost to replace.. I SO very appreciate your ideas. I'm travelling now, when i get back jone on monday, I'll post some things that we have been considering..

Any more ideas would be very much appreciated as well.

Kiki

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 8:21PM
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kswl2

You definitely need to replace the diagonal siding to the left of the front door. Putting windows in that wall would help a LOT. Is there any way you can add two more windows in a column between the two existing ones for a total of six symmetrical windows?

I wouldn't use shutters, they are wrong for your style house. Agree that a nice foundation of stone all the way around the building about three feet high would be a nice touch.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 9:02PM
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may_flowers

Instead of trying to plant under the trees, you could bring a planting bed to the curb to draw the eye forward. You'll have a lot more success and plant choice. Most plants don't grow very well or very tall in dry shade with that much root competition, so landscaping near the house won't solve the blank wall problem.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 10:38AM
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tibbrix

I still would like to see a rendition of her house with the contemporary shutters I put up here, which look like windows, since they would enlarge the windows and look less like shutters. I think the enhancement of the windows would look great and add more architectural detail.

On the other hand, they could look awful!

Can anyone add the shutters I put up here to the house in a rendition?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 12:03PM
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suero

I tried the shutters. IMHO they look awful.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 1:13PM
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tibbrix

Sheesh. We can't see?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 1:15PM
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awm03

Four rectangles, Too horizontal. Still think kiki_thinking is better off not emphasizing the windows.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 2:27PM
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tibbrix

Thanks Awm! See, I like it! Add a window to the garage (the plane three-pane someone added above), and change the siding to either all shingles or to Suero's dual-type of siding above, add the pergola just above the bottom set of windows - really nice and complete, IMO.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 2:38PM
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awm03

Not the best pergola rendition, I admit.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 3:03PM
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tibbrix

I think it's awesome! Can you put that on Suero's red rendition? I think the bigger windows make a huge difference, and those shutters are great because they're contemporary, like the house, but they're meant to five a facade of a window. I think they're fantastic on the house.

I wonder if the garage window should have them, though, to match.

What is that program you use? Such fun!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 3:12PM
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awm03

I'm using both MS Paint (for simple cut & paste stuff) and PaintShop Pro (for trickier things like changing colors or pasting a picture layer on top of another picture, then erasing stuff to let the original picture show through.) Still learning PaintShop Pro -- slow going :) Hoping to get as good as Suero who does beautiful work.

For example, pasting in the pergola: Open Paint, right click/copy kiki's original house picture, paste in Paint. Open another Paint session. Go on internet and find a full frontal picture of a pergola (most pictures are on an angle). Copy the picture of the pergola, paste in 2nd Paint session. Use the free hand selection tool to select around the pergola top (not so easy). Copy. Open first session of Paint with Kiki's house picture, paste in the pergola as transparent selection. Resize the pergola, drag it into position.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 4:15PM
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tibbrix

Thanks Awm. ARe they free programs?

Now, I think that red house looks fantastic. Garage window needs a set of the shutters, I think.

I think it looks 100% better with the shutters, not so barren, and it makes the windows more a correct size for that wall. She can hang flower pots on the pergola, and put window boxes on the second-floor windows and the garage window.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 4:20PM
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awm03

One more thing: I didn't put shutters on the left window (don't think it's a garage) because shutters should look authentic. They should look like they cover the windows when closed and should look operable. They should not be too skimpy & tacked on to the siding, like most fake shutters that you see. Shutters on a triple mulled window don't look authentic because they couldn't possibly cover the window. IMHO, nothing says mass produced housing like fake, skimpy, screwed-to-the-siding shutters tacked on for a color accent.

(disclaimer: I live in mass produced housing that looks like everybody else's in the neighborhood. I got rid of my fake shutters.)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 4:29PM
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tibbrix

There is also a two-window shutter from the same place, and the site says you can mix and match, so I gather she could replace this filler with the glass-looking filler in the three-panel shutter above.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 4:29PM
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andee_gw

The shutters take up a lot of the horizontal space that is so noticeable. And so whether or not the shutters are the right style for that style of house, they improve the worst defect.

I think the little front forest should be culled. Keep the large tree on the right and one of the smaller trees on the left. Remove the large tree that is obscuring the front door. This will allow the remaining trees to grow and give some room for landscaping the middle as mentioned above.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 4:35PM
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tibbrix

awm, that is a very good, and IMO correct, opinion about the shutters. What if that window were changed to a two pane with shutters, like the windows on the house? I do think they have to match.

Thanks andes, glad someone agrees w/me about the shutters. I think they make a huge difference. Just flip back and forth between the rendition with and the ones w/oâ¦way better with them, no?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 4:40PM
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awm03

My concern about the shutters, and this is the problem I had with my house, is that the windows are too close to the edges of the house and too squat for the expanse of the facade. Adding shutters will exacerbate that look, not mask it. It may not look like it in the mock-up (things always look good in the mock-ups), but I think in real life shutters will just draw attention to the poorly placed, too small windows.

I still think kiki would be better off breaking up the expanse of siding on right side and drawing attention to the entry and the landscaping. The entry needs some good design element to make it prominent, as an entry should be.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 5:08PM
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tibbrix

I might agree with you, awm, about the shutters were these particular shutters not meant to look like windows. i think they do an excellent job of doing what needs to be done, which is to make the windows larger. And if the renditions are to scale, there is plenty of room between the outer edges of the shutters and the sides of the house, IMO.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 5:23PM
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tibbrix

Curious to hear what kiki thinks.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 5:28PM
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kswl2

I think the shutters all look awful. They draw attention to the worst feature of the house. And usually I am a shutter-lover!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:46PM
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azpedsrn

I love that red color and bigger windows.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 12:27AM
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peony4

awm03, you make some excellent points about shutters. Even though most are decorative only, their scale should be kept in mind with regard to the width of the window (so, a 3-pane window shouldn't have a single shutter on either side).

Decorative shutters are attractive on many homes, though. (Working shutters are rare--and should be cherished!)

In this case above, they look like fake eyelashes to me.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 2:10AM
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awm03

In a way, the wide expanse on the right could be an asset as far as landscaping goes. It's a fine backdrop for any of these: japanese maple (fluffeebiskits1 suggestion), weeping cherry, a clump of white bark birches, tall ornamental grasses. Some of the current trees would have to go, of course, to ensure adequate sunlight, or at least remove a few and elevate the rest. I believe that's the driveway on the right and there's a walkway to the door on the left. So creating a pretty garden to walk through on the way to the door would be very nice. Perhaps plant something tall in front of the expanse, add a bench there, some stone, and some more plantings, some pretty garden lighting to highlight it at night, and voila! Eyesore to asset! Instead of spending money on shutters, put the money into fine landscaping.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 9:37AM
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peony4

Agree about the landscaping. Not sure what zone OP is in, but there are a number of understory trees and shrubs that would do well even if existing trees are kept. In my zone, I would plant an Eastern Redbud or serviceberry in the center of the main section, surrounded on each side with a collection of hydrangeas and groundcover. A few fragrant viburnum on the left side, with a stone pathway leading to the hydrangeas, to which you'll want access for cutting. :-)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 10:01AM
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lyfia

This is a really bad example and hack, but I do think you should start with landscaping. The problem I see is the way the trees are arranged. They are currently blocking your windows and framing the open blank wall. In this I removed two of the trees. Then I think you should add something in front of the blank wall, I just stuck a tree there. Like I said bad example, but I messed up and didn't save the in between with just the trees removed and don't have time to redo.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 10:30AM
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tibbrix

You think shutters are expensive? Try tree removal! Yikes.

Those windows are just too darn small.

All seems moot anyway, since kiki hasn't chimed in for a while.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 10:45AM
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tibbrix

I like the moss green house in the renditions too.The lighter one, not so much.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 10:55AM
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kiki_thinking

I'm here! Just travelling and only have dial up connection!!!! Photos load so slowly!!! Will be back from travel on Monday. All the thoughts, ideas and mock-ups are very appreciated. Monday tibbrix! I'll be back monday! : )

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 11:47AM
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tibbrix

Lol kiki.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 11:51AM
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mary52zn8tx

As much as I hate to see a tree go, that one in front of the door needs to go. I thought this was a side view the first time I looked at the picture because I didn't notice the door. I like shutters, but they do end up close to the edge. If you don't do shutters, thick molding around the windows might help? I do like the windows on the other side of the door. The smaller tree in the middle lyfia showed looks nice.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 2:32PM
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awm03

Lyfia, very good point re trees framing & blocking. Here's another mock-up, if I may use Lyfia's, per mary52's suggestion to remove the door-hiding tree

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 3:59PM
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edeevee

What about a barn quilt? You see them around here on, well, barns, but sometimes on houses too. There's one just outside of my town. The family built an addition that has a long expanse of brown wall without windows, kind of like Kiki's. When they placed a crisply colored barn quilt in the middle of that wall and it suddenly looked stunning. This isn't the one though - just an example.

Here is a link that might be useful: Indiana Barn Quilts

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 10:53PM
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housefairy

Not knowing the floor plan, but I would suggest moving the front door so it is more central on the smaller wall. Use a substantial door with side lights. Then take the roof, that is over the door, and change it to a A-frame orientation. Complete with columns and a porch. Hang a nice outdoor light from the new entrance roof. (You would have to check to make sure you can do that and still comply with any setbacks.). Then cut down the trees and reconfigure the landscaping running a walkway to the front sidewalk.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 12:14AM
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arcy_gw

I wonder if the front door would look more prominent if you could encase it in a porch? Extend the porch to the left as you face the house and bring it forward so it is at least on the same plane as the rest of the house. Perhaps you would not need more of a roof than a pergola like the one shown above? That would keep costs down on an expensive endeavor. I would want the door to stand out and say "here I am, come in here". Now it does not. Until it does I do not think your home will look inviting. Could someone with photo shop show us what that would look like?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 6:07AM
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jterrilynn

Sorry I haven't read all the replies.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 11:32AM
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teacats

Excellent ideas and virtuals!

Love the example posted by DreamingoftheUP -- the dark brown house with the contemporary decking and steps ....

So ... for the OP's home .... I would love to see two French doors (or the more contemporary version) to replace the bottom two windows ... WITH a large contemporary "stepped" wood deck that would span that entire front elevation.

Yes -- a BIG vote for Tibbrix's idea for the pergola -- above the new deck.

AND the same idea (the large stepped deck) in front of the front door -- and then "stepped" down across the front left-hand side of the house, too ....(see the example that I mentioned at the top of this discussion)

I vote for dark brown siding with the gray-brown accents (including the decking and the pergola) -- again -- see that same example posted above ......

And -- to be placed later -- a contemporary sculpture in a gravel garden (with additional larger boulders or rocks) in the center of the tree grove in front of the right-hand side of the house. Also -- consider adding a larger meandering gravel-and-larger-paver-stone walkway to the front door and the new decks.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 12:05PM
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awm03

jterrilynn, I was admiring the pergola you drew in your mock-up -- very nice!
I like your rendition because it keeps the flavor of a 70s contemporary. Teacat's & Dreaming of the UP's idea of stepped wood decks would fit right in with that style. Deck swing too? Not crazy about the French Doors -- though nice idea in concept, they don't relate to to the rest of the house visually, at least to my eye.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 2:00PM
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teacats

Wonder if any of these modern sliding glass doors on this pin board from Pinterest would work???

Here is a link that might be useful: Pinterest -- modern sliding glass doors

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 4:33PM
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jterrilynn

After you decide on your house finish all you need is a cool wall light and fine tune the landscape.

This post was edited by jterrilynn on Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 11:04

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 10:58AM
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teacats

GREAT modern decking ideas from this pinboard from Pinterest!!!

LOVE the horizontal modern fencing too!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pinterest -- modern decks

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 11:13AM
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awm03

Of all the renditions, I like jterrilynn's last one best. It doesn't fight the original 70s contemporary style -- and perhaps is the least expensive option too. One could quibble over the choice of colors, but I think the bicolor scheme with the top color carried over to the pergola & support columns, and pergola top being at the same level, size, & color as with the center trim band are terrific. It's balanced, it's clean lined, it's attractive. The wider trim around the squarish windows and on the sides works really well. I love jterrilynn's placement of the address numbers -- so simple and so effective. Great job, jterrilynn.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 1:40PM
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awm03

Something else to ponder: jterrilynn's mock-up has wider siding than kiki's original narrow clapboard siding. I think using a slightly wider siding works well with the overall mass of the house and would fit in with the somewhat chunky look of a pergola on the right.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 1:56PM
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kswl2

IMO the design issue should be addressed, not covered up with pergolas and shutters and different types of siding, etc. I think the house looks better in its current state than with all the embellishments.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 2:18PM
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jterrilynn

Why thank you Awm! I agree though that the top color needs to be tweaked. I'm seeing a color one shade darker than the roof . However, I cannot see the roof well enough to get a handle on it.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 2:23PM
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awm03

I like the red! Works with the roof color (on my monitor, at least) and would be colorful year round. Wonder if a dark green on top & lighter green on the bottom would work, carrying the dark green over to the trim & pergola too. Or two shades of a muted blue.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 2:55PM
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kiki_thinking

Almost home from ski trip! Not having wifi is killing me. Cant see the pictures. Have been discussing your ideas with hubby on chairlift all week!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 6:53PM
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daisyinga

What kswl said.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 11:13PM
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