Any ideas to make my exterior more charming?

JKRenoApril 3, 2014

Hi there, we are planning a renovation to the exterior of our house. We would like to bring out (or create) some of the charm that has been removed in the previous 70 years of renovations the house has undergone. Our plan is to push out the area that currently has an overhang (so that the living room can be bigger and more square) and we need to replace all the windows on that side of the house but other than that, we are open to ideas.

We are hoping to keep as much light as possible and also would like to better define the front door (as this is the front of our house and nobody can ever figure out what door they are supposed to knock on). We are thinking about moving the door to the centre of the house and putting in larger windows with transoms across the front, on either side of the door. We could also replace the bay windows upstairs, making them bigger or better defined somehow.

We have been to a designer and paid for a design, but they did not listen to what we wanted and instead produced a very modern look with faux stone cladding and glass railings - exactly what we are not looking for.

Any ideas?

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What a lovely garden you have.

I think when you bring out the front wall the face of your home will be too flat. Could you also bring the new door forward a bit, making a small entrance porch with a roof, perhaps a mansard roof like over the bay windows upstairs.
BTW, I like the bays.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 6:54AM
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Part of signalling the front door is the path and lighting, and another aspect is the door color (usually the front door is not the same as the other trim).

When you bring the LR forward, I would then create a new patio in front of it and give it a roof. The entrance also needs a roof or at least trellis.

To me, the bays look too far apart. can you add a window between them? Maybe one of the bay components?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 7:20AM
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robo (z6a)

Did previous owners add on to the front of the house? Could this at one point have been a four square? Is there an example if your neighbourhood of a house you like that is similar to yours?

Here is a link that might be useful: Four square

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 7:47AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Wow. When I looked at your pic, I thought it was the back of the house. I think it's because the patio looks like a patio, and the french doors look like a way to the patio, and there's no front walkway or anything that says welcome, and even the lighting by the door is not symmetrical. So those are things you can definitely fix.

Where is the street front and where is the driveway where people park? Is the front door visible from where guests park? If not, it's always more challenging to help them find their way...landscaping helps tremendously with that.

Before I'd move the front door, I'd think about what's going on on the inside as well. Do you have a foyer area? If not, this would be a great opportunity to create one. Much more gracious to separate the entry from the living room.

Second, in order to tell people where to go, the front door needs to be most prominent on the facade. Also, it is nice for guests to have some kind of shelter while they are at the door. So if you have the ability to add on, I would think about adding a porch with a hip roof to repeat the lines and color of the roof, and have it supported by posts and railing that will make it more obvious where the front door is.

Definitely change the style of the front door too so it's more like a front door. And move the downspout to a corner, not in the middle of the wall.

I agree the bays are small, but again, it depends on what's going on inside as to how much they can be changed.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 8:37AM
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Can you back off and show the house and yard from the street?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:53AM
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It looks like an incredibly beautiful place you're in.

Agree with Annie: Problem #1 is that the front of your house looks like the rear of a house. Where IS the front door???

I would definitely replace the bay windows. They really make the front look like a rear, IMO, as do the French doors, frankly.

I would also pullout the LR area since that will give you more sunlight.

Black or bronze windows, including grids (if windows have them). I would stay away from windows with the flimsy pop-out grids. They look awful; they break then look worse; they completely cheapen the look of windows. Better to go without any than with those, IMO.

I'd replace the siding with stained cedar shingles to give the house a more rustic look to fit in with its environs.

Totally agree with windows with transoms, as well as side panels.

Where is the front door??? Not the French doors.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:56AM
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