Desperate need of curb appeal!

gensmomMarch 3, 2013

I have lived in this house for several years. And have been soley focused on the inside. For the past 2 yrs I have been needing to pay desperate attention to the outside, but I have no idea where to start, so I do nothing. It is the ugliest orange brick and I have no idea what to do with it.I've called around about brick staining and nobody in my area has ever done that. Should I put siding on it? I know it needs landscaping and a ton of other things, but I just dont know what to do. Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

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I have stained the house on my brick and it wasn't hard at all. I used masonry stain from the paint store. You can only go darker though.

Do your plans doing anything about the door onto the driveway?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 7:35PM
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I hadn't thought about doing anything with the door on the driveway. What would you suggest? I know the driveway itself isnt in the best shape. Its 3/4 asphalt and the part up by the house is concrete. All of it has started cracking. The paint has started cracking and peeling all around the gutter area and the porch is horrible. There are just so many things that need attention that I am overwhelmed and can't visualize it looking any better.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 7:25AM
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I would consider staining or painting the brick if it a color you do not like. You could paint the white area where it looks like you have enclosed the garage a color that would blend. Another inexpensive facelift could be repacing the iron porch columns with wood columns. We just did ours with square posts in a complimentary trim color and sutters painted to match.

Your house is very similar to one that we lived in a few years ago. Brings back many fond memories of both the house & lots of remodeling we did too!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 9:33AM
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I think it's going to depend on your budget. If you don't use the door into the former garage space, I'd consider swapping it for another window so you have four windows across there. Then treat that "space" similarly to the brick -- so it doesn't stand out as much as a converted garage., i.e., painted to blend with the brick rather than contrast.

Some foundation plantings, or at least some plantings in the brick planter box would go a long way toward warming it up, too.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 9:33AM
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What you need is a plan. You need a budget, you need to do some research, and you need to list out, in order, the various changes that you want to make. List out all the issues that are bothering you. Start with the peeling paint, move on to the color of the bricks, the cracked driveway, the lack of landscaping . List everything.

Without a budget, you have no idea how much you can spend. You may not be able to do everything all at once, so you may need to budget money for two or three years to get everything done. Repairs first, like the peeling paint. Then necessary changes, like converting the door to a window, if you want to. Then the fun stuff, like changing the landscaping.

The research can also be a fun thing. Scout out home DIY blogs and see what other people have done in terms of paint colors for brick houses. How other people have changed their front porches. How they landscape their yards. Get a Pinterest account and keep a collection of all the pictures that you like. You'll also get an idea of the cost of some of these changes.

Pick up the phone and call people to come and give you estimates on converting the door to a window, painting all the trim, or fixing the driveway. Or even if the driveway needs to be fixed right away, or can be patched temporarily or can be left alone for a few years. Repaving a driveway can be expensive, so do find out what your options are.

Then, once you know what you need to do and want to do and have an idea of how much it will all cost, put each item on the list in order. Start with the repairs--those need to be done first to protect your house. So, peeling paint, broken windows, whatever is wrong with the porch, the driveway. Then move on to the "fun" stuff--the color of the brick, whether or not to remove the door, colorful plantings in the front yard. It might take two or three years to get the entire house and yard to where you want them to be. But with a plan laid out, you can keep track of what you are doing.

It's possible that changing the color of your trim to something that works better with the color of your brick would make it feel less ugly and orange. I'd post some close-up pictures of the brick and the house on the Home Decorating Forum and ask for suggestions. You'll get suggestions on changing the entire outside of the house, because the posters over there have lots of ideas, but you'll also get some suggestions on colors that would work well with the brick. I think part of the problem is that the white paint is so stark and white that it contrasts too much with the brick. Imagine the house with all glossy black trim and shutters and porch posts? Changes the entire look of the house, doesn't it?

About the door--how much do you use it? If it is the primary door that you enter on a daily basis, I'd be tempted to keep it. If it only rarely gets used, then consider converting it to a window. If you are going to convert it, it might be a good idea to do the work before painting the trim, so that everything can be painted at the same time and it will all match. This is why doing some research before jumping in can be valuable.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 10:10AM
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I agree with just about everything everyone said, especially starting with a plan. If you find it overwhelming, plan it so you can do it in stages with a break between to give you some time to relax and save more money for the next step.

If you ever plan on building another garage and new driveway, I wouldn't spend the time and money fixing this one. And like others have said, if you don't use that door, I'd replace it with a window, and paint the trim under it the same color as the brick. I'd probably take out that planter too, as the direction it runs divides the house and points out the garage conversion.

I agree about the landscaping too, except for one thing. If you are going to plant trees, the sooner the better.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 8:33PM
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You all give great advice. I think I have a starting point now. We use the converted garage as a playroom for the kids, so that door gets as much, if not more use than the front entry door. How would it look if I sided that whole area, where now it is only the window area, that has white siding. And go with a darker tan maybe? I also am going to address the peeling paint issues. Sand and paint all the trimwork. Should that color be the same as the new garage siding? Redoing the porch columns is a great idea, and I am looking into this as well. If my budget allows, I was also wanting to replace the windows, maybe with a larger trim above and paint the shutters. I am starting to see it come together a little better now that I've broken it down into smaller projects. One other question I have, and I've been eyeing this for along time. Do you think the roof color is adding to the oddness? I love black, but again, it just doesnt seem to blend with anything. (Its in good shape and I won't be changing it, just wanted your thoughts.) What do you guys think?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 7:20AM
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Elraes Miller

I like the process Pal wrote. It would give you more of a total view and organized plan.

There is little room between the shutters which bother me. And I can't visualize adding to the framing. Perhaps some real hardware and the shutters could be slightly open.

I also agree with Marti. Spring is so close, some planning and planting is a good time now. Just start with the front area entry. Remember that 3 is a magic number, so look for 2 fast growing hardy trees to go with your existing one. Get rid of the planter and use the bricks for a gentle curving walkway from the driveway to the entrance. If you don't have enough bricks, buy a few more with a bit of contrast and mix it up.

Would also remove grass in a free form pattern on both sides of the walkway for small gardens, up to the middle of the right two windows. Plant when you consider what is enjoyed. You might want to drive the neighborhood to see what trees work well and flowering plants.

I used a concrete coat for my driveway and it worked well. There is a crack filler available prior to doing so. Don't use the tube stuff, I think mine came in a plastic container, it is hard as rock when dry.

Depending upon how handy you are, both concrete and blacktop can be done yourself. I never checked to see what it would cost out side of DIY. Took a day and dried quickly.

There is a house down the street similar to yours.
I've always been drawn to it with the way they transformed a ranch. The trim and shutters are black against a brick home. Under each window is a black panel from bottom of window to ground. The garage is white, but they have also used the bigger faux black hinges to detail it. The driveway crosses right up to the front of house, with an area in front planted with big trees and a dry stream, flowers, etc. A bit different, but love the look.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 10:40AM
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I would keep the brick but add wood/or painted square pillars and an arbor over the garage part and that side if the porch roof. On the windows add window boxes and matching box or planter in front of the garage windows. Either remove the brick planter or use it as a post base and add one to the right. Then add a curved path to the sitting area and entrance. Hope this atleast give you some ideas:)

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 10:16PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I like the brick...If I really couldn't stand it, I'd stain or paint it before I would go with siding.

I think color will make a huge difference in the look of the house.

Part of the house problem I think is the roof color which looks pretty dull. If you need a new roof, changing the color will help a lot.

You can look on line for images of brick houses to get some ideas.

I like the beige tones that soften the color of the brick:

Or you could go dark on the trim for a more contemporary look.

I think I would replace the scrolly columns with something more substantial...square.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 11:38AM
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You have gotten some great ideas! Try driving around to see what landscapes look nice with your kind of house and take pictures of what you like. My first house looked a lot like yours (we found paint that looked nice with the orangey brick.) I have always enjoyed training a rose or wisteria vine over my front porch wherever I have lived. It is not hard to do and can make your entry look special. Window boxes look nice, too. (I am not ashamed to say that I have very realistic geranium bushes from Michaels in mine if you are concerned about maintenance. ) I rotate them out seasonally. Trellises are nice, too.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 9:46PM
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