Weird blank areas - Exterior front door + window - brick?

whiterosesinbloomJune 19, 2013

What would you do with these odd 9" wide blank areas on either side of the window and entry door?

Other than shutters.

The narrow strips of siding are not appealing. Can't change window or add glass, because of interior elements in the way (closet, wall, cabinets).

Can't add windows or glass, because of interior elements in the way.

I haven't been able to find photos of a similar situation or solution on a mid-century ranch.

Maybe a two-tone trim, one color matching the new vinyl siding, the other the new trim? Or white?

The storm door will be replaced, not sure what with as yet. From SidingIdeas

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Can you add stone?
I'd also move the house address number and frame it to make it a more prominent feature, maybe a slate with a number and address. Window box with some trailing vines for softening. Paint out the door in a contrasting color. I think a full glass or screen door would be fine.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 12:41PM
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Agree completely about the house number, and window box.

I'm asking specifically about the white blank areas on either side of the window, and the narrow strips of siding on either side of the door. I don't think stone would help...

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 1:50PM
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Are you keeping the brick or getting siding? I can't tell from your post.

If you are keeping the brick, I'd try painting the white areas out in a color that tones with the red of the brick.

If you are covering the brick with siding, I'd cover those areas with the siding.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 5:54PM
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Keeping the brick, and replacing the existing siding, trim and gutters here and on the rest of the house.

So, both!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 6:27PM
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This doesn't bother me. Could you add black shutters?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 8:47AM
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I'm guessing that the original door and windows were replaced at some point with stock models that didn't fully fill the openings. And if you're not planning to pull them all out right now and replace them with custom sizes, you're looking for a solution to the "filler' isue.

For the door, would it be possible to just run a wide, flat piece of trim from top to bottom? It might replace the siding, or go over the siding -- I'm not sure. But then you'll have a flat piece of trim that can be treated like the rest of the trim.

For the window, I'm not so sure. If shutters aren't an option, and you don't like what's there now (which I'm not minding so much), consider trying to paint it to match the brick.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 9:11AM
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ellendi - Um, no. Just my preference. I'm getting rid of shutters, the wasps and boxelder bugs like them too much.

jakabedy - No. These were the original window openings. I know, because I had replacement windows installed. As I noted earlier, because of items on the interior in these blank areas, the sizes can't be changed.

Thanks, I'll figure something out myself.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 10:15AM
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Can you back off and give a photo of the whole house? I would have guessed replacement windows and door smaller than the original also.

My thought would be to be to box on both sides the way it is on boxed bay windows. Something like the look of these

Traditional Exterior by Boston Architects & Designers david phillips

Traditional Exterior by Saratoga Design-build Firms Merz & Thomas Design/Builders

Traditional Exterior by Toronto Interior Designers & Decorators Duncan Consultants

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 9:38PM
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Here's more of the exterior:

From [SidingIdeas](

And here's some (pardon the poor quality, it's late) quick photos of the inside - see? no room for wider door or window now - kitchen window, maybe before the kitchen was redone, not now. From SidingIdeas From SidingIdeas

So, what you all are trying to tell me is, the exterior is basically colonial in style, hence the suggestion for black shutters... and probably white rather than, say, linen trim, would be preferable?

And are these door trims what you have in mind? And maybe dentil moulding along the top board above the brick? From SidingIdeas From SidingIdeas From SidingIdeas From SidingIdeas From SidingIdeas

And a storm door like this? From SidingIdeas

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 11:51PM
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Elraes Miller

Here is another pic for ideas

Here is a link that might be useful: entry

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 6:17PM
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Yeah. Sidelights are not possible, there are walls in the way on the interior.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 7:20PM
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Oh you found the kind of pictures I was looking for. Yes, something like that, with the trim proud from the brick.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 8:25PM
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Elraes Miller

The photo I posted....ignore the windows and focus on the trim. I saw it more of a way to deal with the top trim and add wider on sides. Which for some reason seems to work, even though I would not have thought so.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 7:52AM
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If you meant, add brick across the top, that's not an option for me.

If you meant, add brick mold around the door, which is what I think I see here, that could work, but brick mold won't cover 9", we have to add something else. From SidingIdeas

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 9:34AM
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Try the home decor forum too.

But, I like the moulding idea--boxing out from the siding. Then you could go white, or black, with the trim.

If you keep the present siding situation, I'd paint it with a color to blend with the brick.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 4:24PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

It looks as though you could install a larger kitchen window. What is there inside now looks to be mostly cosmetic and not something you couldn't alter. If it fits your budget, I would definitely fill that area with a larger window. I bet if you could find pictures of the original design, there would have been a bigger window there which someone remuddled at some point. It also looks as if the wall with the closet by the front door was a later change. Too bad. For the door, maybe you could fix up an exterior only change that would look like side lights from outside-frames with either mirrored sections (etched so they look old and not really shiny) or back-painted glass panes.

It is a pretty house, btw. I love ranches!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 6:04PM
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Read above and look at photos, already answered. Your assumptions are incorrect.

I give up.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 7:30AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Hmmm...sorry. I did read. Did not mean to offend you as I obviously did.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 12:13PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Oh, and maybe I wasn't clear. I was suggesting creating what might look like sidelights from the outside only since you don't have room inside. That would take care of the extra space. No worries, maybe you realized that and thought it was a bad suggestion. I will bow out now. Good luck finding a solution you like!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 12:20PM
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Didn't mean to take it out on you.

Sometimes I think I should just let this place collapse... wait, that's what the previous owner did. As I type this, a crew is here to install half a dozen plates in the north basement wall that is bowing in. Last year it was an 80' french drain on the south side, because of the neighbor's water runoff. Year before, huge trees endangering the home had to come down. Before that, all new windows (same size as original), air sealing, insulation, electric service.

This year, in addition to the basement work, the siding has to be replaced because half of it is coming away from the walls.

There have only been two previous owners. No remuddling to speak of, just some electrical work, mainly ceiling fans. The kitchen was the original 60's metal body cabinets refaced in maple by Sears. Rusted, odd patterns of contact paper half stuck on the inside.

Your suggestion of fake sidelights was creative. I've never seen that done. I'm not sure it would add as much value as maintenance-free trim that was properly installed. It's just the 9" of space to fill that's throwing me off.

Just a couple homes in the area have a similar situation. One has plain board in white, with rectangular wood accents a bit larger than brick-size on top in a color matching their trim. Looks dated. Another just has black shutters, which really darken the area around the door.

That's me, trying to make a silk purse out of this place. Sigh.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 1:41PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

When we bought our ranch, it was a fixer-upper. That was 16 years ago! We are still fixing. *sigh*

That said, I love our house even though we should redo all the baths and the kitchen. You will make it yours and love it. Your brick is much prettier than ours which was painted when we moved in and we just changed the color from yellow to taupe.

Oh, one thing we did was replace our storm doors with the full glass kind with the frame the same color as the house. We also can't change a lot of things (hate hate hate the way many of the bedroom windows are right next to closets or near doors in corners-certainly limits drapery options) and our door is one such item. At least with the full storm it looks nicer to us.

You will figure this all out, promise, and always remember to look at what you do like about your home every day. The rest will get there sooner or later.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 3:25PM
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I like the idea of adding some wood trim to frame out the front door. The only problem is that you have the same problem with your ranch home that I have with my two - no room at the top! The traditional-looking trim with the large capital (I think the top trim is called) does not work because your roof is right above your door. In the long run, when you redo the roof, you can consider making a little peak above your front door to bring attention to it and give room above it for trim and to distinguish the front door from the rest of the roof line, but for now, most of the more traditional trim options are out.

Really, all I can imagine you doing is just putting some wooden or vinyl trim that you like better than what you have next to the front door. Try out designs until you find one you like. There is fluted molding, plain flat molding, or you could have squares of picture-frame molding - options are endless with wood and more limited with your vinyl products. Figure out what product you are using and then you will know what your options are.

As for the blank areas of wall space between the windows and doors, I think that your landscaping plan will need to address them. The little sidewalk being so close to the house is limiting you there. Are you able to take it out and put in a curvaceous path to the door that allows for space to plant taller plants in those empty wall spaces?

I hear your frustration with fixing poor construction practices of past builders! I have "saved" both of my ranch homes from ills caused by poor construction or bad luck. We are still paying off foundation repairs on the house we now live in, and had to put a new roof in with no extra to put toward nice updates because of the bad timing. I am already planning the new bathroom we will need because of a rotted floor, but can't do it for three years because we are paying off the foundation and roof. This is being a homeowner!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 1:16PM
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Whiterosesinbloom, have you ever taken off the trim next to your door to see what is underneath? How much depth do you have there? It occurred to me as I read the comment above about "fake" sidelights that you really could do fake sidelights now, using LEDs and glass block. If you have enough depth next to the front door to put a row of obscured glass block, you could put a row on each side and put LEDs inside them. Trim them out with wood or vinyl trim. Then you have an unique porch light that draws attention to the front door. LEDs have very long lifespans, so you can expect not to have to deal with changing them for at least 10 years.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 1:38PM
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Nancy, yes, you get it! No room above the front door. Yes, a peak, better yet, a small roof coming out over the entry.

There's another home in the neighborhood where they did just that, with a wood Craftsman front door and twin columns on stone pedestals, and twin lights. I couldn't afford that, but it looks very nice.

I think the fluted trim would be too much. Something simpler along the lines of what's in the photo above with the guy putting the trim on.

You know... there's that board going across above the door. I could probably use that area. Make the door trim look like it's set into or onto that board. I would prefer to replace that board (it appears to be wood underneath, aluminum trim over) with Azek or whatever maintenance-free plastic woodlike trim board would work. A little crown moulding or something.

Not sure about the glass block sidelights.

I put in my own undercabinet LED strips, cheap and easy to do and they'll last forever.

We're thinking the same things about that sidewalk. But I'll have to recover from the french drain/basement wall/siding projects before doing any fancy landscaping work.

Just had a siding contractor come to give me another estimate. First, he didn't know if he was here for roofing repair or what, had to look at his phone. He didn't know if .032 siding was thicker or thinner than .044 (he actually told me "smaller numbers mean bigger"). He didn't know what Azek was. He didn't offer to show me any samples. When I asked who the manufacturer of his siding was, he said Millcreek (that's the product name, Mastic makes it, and it doesn't have a double rolled top hem). His favorite phrase was "I can only do what the house lets me do." And this is one of the largest contractors in the area.

I think he's out!

Here is a link that might be useful: Azek trim styles pdf file

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 3:14PM
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I think simple wood trim - wide enough to cover the area - overlapping the brick so it is further out from the house wall than the brick rather than indented like it is now.

You could easily do this yourself with some wide planks, you say the gap is 9" so a 12" wide board would do it. Then paint it to match the other trim. You might want to fill in the gap behind the board with a bunch of foam insulation to prevent those nasty bugs from using it as a house.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 4:16PM
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Duplicate post - how'd I do that?

This post was edited by nancy_in_mich on Wed, Jun 26, 13 at 19:43

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 7:39PM
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I didn't know what Azek was, either. The link showed me that it is trim that is made of a composite material, like Trex is. I like that. I have a Trex front porch and ramp deck. On my last house (also a hopeless ranch - no room for soffit vents, same lack of room above the front door for trim) we did vinyl siding over the old asbestos shingles and the really ugly fiberboard on the back porch. Around the trim, the contractors placed aluminum sheets that were bent to cover the existing wood. It would have been okay if it were closely following the wood and did not bend when someone leaned against it or something hit it. It looks like #*&% now. This Azek might be a good alternative to covering trim with aluminum - just replace it with wood composite instead. I need to find a line that has a light tan/almond color, though. My brick is mid to dark brown, porch deck is Trex redwood, front door is cranberry, and the trim around the garage door, soffits, and front door are the light tan. None of the Azek colors are right.

When we redid the roof at New Year's, we doubled up on our number of soffit vents and roof vents. When we do have the money to redo the house trim, we will remove the new covers on the soffit vents and put in a continuous soffit vent cover under the eaves. I could see the Azek-type trim pieces being used on the fascia and soffits, along with the trim around the garage door. I wonder if they look too much like plastic, or if they resemble painted wood?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 12:52AM
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