White Brick Colonial needs some curb appeal!

xtinad25August 29, 2014

DH and I are putting a 2-story addition on our home (in the rear), and in the process we are re-doing the siding. When we first saw the house, the current siding bothered me, it looks "added-on" even though the garage and BR above are original.

Some options- white-painted brick? light grey cedar shake? white cedar shake? white hardiboard? tan?

The siding will also be on the sides/rear of the house.

I am really at a loss.

Note: The short shutters on the left window will be taken down (my bad decision as I was trying to fix things). And I'm contemplating putting up the flowerbox that DH is holding up in the picture. Not sure whether it adds or takes away...

Can't wait to hear your opinions! Anything to improve the facade would be greatly appreciated.

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Closeup of the problem-area...

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 9:45AM
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Holly- Kay

I LOVE your house. I think it has great curb appeal now and will look even more stunning when you are finished. I like the idea of white painted brick to really tie it all together.

I love cedar shake (painted white) but that may also just make it look like an add on. Not necessarily bad but the siding bothered you so cedar shake may also.

Maybe a great photo shopper will add the materials to see what you think.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 9:57AM
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I think I would brick the addition and paint it to match the body of the house. I like the classic look of a colonial style house painted white with black or charcoal shutters.

I love the look of your house. You might consider while you are working on the exterior, making the front door more important? Hopefully other GW'ers will chime in with ideas of how to accomplish that. I'll continue to peruse Houzz for ideas. This comes close but may be out of proportion for your house.

Traditional Entry by Woodbridge Architects & Building Designers Huestis Tucker Architects, LLC

This post was edited by bbstx on Fri, Aug 29, 14 at 10:02

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 9:59AM
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Very pretty house. As to the siding, in my area, pretty much all of the colonials have this kind of siding for the garage. So, to me it doesn't look like an afterthought at all.

Remove that shutter next to the dormer, hang the window box, and it'll look great.

Maybe paint the front door a color.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 10:09AM
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If you can add a brick facade that matches the house, I'd do that.

then I think I'd paint the shutters a blue, like BM Prussian Blue. I would not take the small shutters down.

I'd paint the trim of around the front door the same blue as the shutters, and I'd paint the inside trim of the octagonal window the same blue as well.

Paint the door a pale, buttery yellow.

I'd take the three shrubs out and put window boxes on the bottom windows, paint them either the blue or the pale yellow, or keep them wood.

Put a large ceramic planter in the corner in front of the hose.

And I'd plant a row of grasses along the diagonal of the entry path, and maybe continue it down along the driveway.

I think I'd paint the fascia board at the top black, and put up narrow fascia boards on the window your hubby is in, and paint them black.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 10:14AM
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I think those black half shutters and window box are putting too much emphasis on the dormer type window making it look out of place with the rest of the house.
I would like to see it without them.

From far, the color is uniform on the brick and siding, so it doesn't bother me so much. What you can try is to play with the image. Remove those shutters and apply the same brick exterior on the garage side and see how it looks. White brick can't look bad.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 10:16AM
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First: Is the octagonal window to the right-hand side of the garage door necessary? In any case -- try to find a carpenter that would build a white-painted wood (but lined) planter (that would sit just under the hose faucet) with a tall trellis that would go around that window .....

Yes -- keep the window box -- and lose the shutters on that small window above the garage door ....

Move the door lighting!! Have an electrician create a spot on each side of the main front doorway to have a large lantern ....

Paint the front door white so it blends into the white storm door -- add a black knocker .....

Move the house numbers to a wood plaque (painted white or black) on the right-hand side of the front door .... OR create a small garden bed at the edge of the end of the driveway and add the house numbers down there .....

Then frame out the garage door and switch the lighting above the garage door to a more traditional-style security light ..... if necessary add security lighting along the side walkway on the left-hand side .....

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 10:40AM
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Thank you all for the quick replies! Lots of great ideas already.

I had originally thought white brick would be best, but my architect worried me saying that it would make the house read flat. I'm going to bring it up to him again.

@bbstx - I was thinking a portico too! My hesitation was on side-hall colonial it sometimes looks lop-sided. But I agree something needs to be done to draw attention to the front door.

@nosoccermom - IâÂÂm definitely open to painting the door a color. I wanted to paint it a muted raspberry but my husband wanted bright red. So we agreed on black :) ...and then I added in the pink wreath!

@wannabeGardnr - You make a good point about the left side being overemphasized. Here is a photo of the house before we moved in - without the shutters and window box.

It seems most of you lean towards the brick - but also arenâÂÂt bothered by the siding. Going with new siding instead of brick would save $8-10k (on a project thatâÂÂs already gone way over initial budget), so IâÂÂm thinking doing the white cedar shake to freshen it up and incorporating some of the other suggestions regarding trim and windowboxes may be the way to go.

THANK YOU! You all are wonderful. Please keep any suggestions coming!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 10:41AM
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I think the brick would look good on the garage area, but, I also think siding would look good too. I would personally put my money on something like bbstx posted around the front door. My personal like would be a full width sitting porch on the front of the house, which would give the front of the house more appeal, and the garage would blend in much better.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 10:51AM
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This is going way beyond your original question, so I hope you don't think I'm rude asking, but does the window over the garage door leak? I notice there is no eave above it. Ask your architect if one is necessary.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 10:57AM
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I really love the plain front of the house and wouldn't mess with it. I don't know why we always feel we have to dress up anything that's plain and simple. Isn't it kind of a French countryside look? Not that I know a thing about the French countryside!

I like the siding because it makes the garage recede and would want the addition to recede. I'd use a larger light. No shutter on the garage. Windowbox if you're good at keeping plants maintained in them--I'm not. The porthole window feels a little out of place in a colonial, and a small or narrow rectangle might be cute.

I'd accentuate your home's simplicity by removing the bulky, overpruned shrubbery and tree. Keep the conifer as a strong, solid corner anchor in place of the tree, and put in a row of small evergreens along the foundation that won't block the window. Keep the edging plants. I like Tibbrix's idea of a row of small grasses along the curved walkway, or whatever is typically used in your area. My goal would be to use plants with softer foliage and structure as a counterpoint to the boxy house. I love its boxyness though, so don't hide it with shrubs.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 11:39AM
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Is there a brick ledge around the garage? I know it can be done but it is not easy.

If there is no brick ledge, I would use white painted cedar shake.

Your house is just beautiful.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 11:53AM
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I am just loving all of your ideas. It sounds like there is a lot that might improve the façade without messing with the house itself too much (lighting, trim, landscaping).

@teacats - The octagonal window serves a powder room on the first floor. I agree changing out the lighting around the door/garage is a must. IâÂÂm not sure whether to go with black or gold finishes though. Would black be too much black?

@cat_ky - love the idea of a porch! That was a âÂÂmustâ on our house hunting list ⦠but you know how that goes :)

@bbstx - not rude at all! I appreciate your help. We have no issues with pooling or flooding on the window thankfully.

@may_flowers - I totally know what you mean. We are in a historical section of our village that has English Tudors, Colonials, all brick and fieldstone, neutral colors (think Dickens Village). So there is something to be said for less it more. Funny you mention a small rectangle window ��" that is what the original 1940 blueprints had but someone along the years changed it to an octagon. Also you (and others) make a good point about the shrubbery. We re-landscaped but tried to save the rhodadendrums and cherry tree. But they do look like a knotted mess. IâÂÂm glad to know that this is sticking out to your fresh eyes because this would certainly be an easy fix

@red_lover - no brick ledge there. So yes I think it would be structurally complicated to brick the extension ⦠hence the $10k estimate I got!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 12:18PM
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Or, black shutters with a red door. Very traditional.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 12:19PM
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I, too, love your house. I'm not really familiar enough with your style home to comment on fixes, but I was looking at it and trying to figure out why the garage/bedroom dormer look like add ons.

Then I saw this pic and realized that to me it's because the roofline of dormer doesn't match your main roof. Not sure if this is even a reasonable suggestion, or how difficult to implement, to change the roof of the dormer to one like this:

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 12:33PM
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I agree with the portico and black shutters, red door and I don't even mind the siding as long as it is painted the same color as the brick; I think it adds another texture.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 1:06PM
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I would say no to the shutters and windowbox around that dormer window. There is something odd about the look of the dormer, but I don't know what it is.

I think the octagonal window looks out of character for the style of the house.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 1:57PM
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There's nothing wrong with the siding that the right color couldn't fix. I think multiple types of material on a home makes it more charming and more interesting, but the mistake was in painting it the same color as the brick.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 3:41PM
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I think less is more here. I wouldn't change the siding, but what I would do is add trim (and an eave if needed) above the dormer window to mimic the peak above the front door. I would add pilasters to the sides of the front door in a very simple style. This is adding some of the detail a portico would, but if you need the protection from the elements and the budget works, same idea as a potico. I would add a larger lantern beside the door or hanging within the portico. If you relocate the lantern and need to cover a hole in the brick, that's a perfect place for some street numbers. They can be mounted on a back plate if needed to cover the hole completely.

I would consider painting the inner trim of the dormer window -- perhaps even the small window and garage door opening to match the shutters to tie in the color I also played with the idea of decorative straps on the garage door and was undecided which way I'd go. The straps plus a window box would give you all horizontal lines on the garage side and the vertical lines of the shutters, door and trim on the brick side. Contrast is okay, especially where it looks reasoned. Doing both was too much. If you want the garage side to recede, leave that trim white. The front door could be a color, but the black works well too.

The rest I think is landscaping. Start with larger pots beside the door and something under the port hole window next to the garage. The shrubs to the left are getting too large and crowded. They need to be scaled back or replaced. I'd keep the cherry tree and determine whether you can bring the rhodies down (will they fill out or just look leggy and chopped?). If more of the later, maybe you can keep the one on the end and prune it less severely and just replace the two in the center. Then I'd continue the bed over towards the driveway with some additional low plantings with the color and texture you have already going. I love rhodedendrons and hope they can be pruned back and fill out next spring. It's too hot for them here, so I don't really know.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 5:04PM
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I would add some white brick all along the dormer. I think that would look lovely. Maybe paint the planter under the window a nice lighter color. I would consider adding a potted plant that is taller right where the octagon window is.

Love the idea of a red door and no shutters on the left side of the dormer.

Here is a rough mock up just for ideas. I am not saying any of it is perfect but gives you an idea. Maybe the garage door should be white?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 5:42PM
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Actually, I like the black garage door and think that's a better approach. I thought about that too, but am not that good at mocking things up, especially when DH is talking and my son is calling form college. But yes!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 6:11PM
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I like the black garage too. It doesn't take away from the charm of the home. Prefer the black door too. I think the red makes the door more important than the windows, where I like the door and windows as a team, if that makes sense.

You could keep that end rhodie/shrub as lascatx suggests. You can't control the height of the other two without making meatballs, as someone here calls them. You can prune inside to open them up, but the height is the problem. Conifers will keep growing, so you'll want that out of there. I'd find another place for the cherry too. It's just too dinky to anchor the bed in relationship to the size of the house, but the conifer is perfect.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 6:30PM
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You have a beautiful house. I don't think brick is necessary. I'm sure it would look nice, but I think the siding looks nice now. Just based on what I've heard, I'm a fan of hardiboard.

I do like the black garage door and I like lascatx' idea of mimicking the peak above the door on the dormer window. I think having both the shutters and windowbox is too much. On one hand, I see how the black windowbox may help balance the house with black on that side, but I think I'm used to seeing houses where multiple upper windows have boxes. I'm not sure if one box would look a little lonely by itself.

The landscaping you've already done looks great. I'm sure whatever you decide will turn out nice. Enjoy! Lots of good ideas and help here.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 6:58AM
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Really must cut back on some of those shrubs in the front and bring the color from the planter box over to the front of the home.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 7:48AM
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It bothers us because it is not centered over the garage. The rest of the house is symmetrical.

I love the last mock-up, and think it is a really pretty house!!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 9:02AM
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Agree w/Beverly about taking the three rhodies out. I'd put window boxes in the two bottom windows. And again, small grasses along the walkway.

I do think the trim of the front door needs more definition. Maybe paint the side trim black, with a white border around the door, and paint the fascia boards of the mullion (is that the right term?).

A second lantern flanking the door would be good too, IMO.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 9:11AM
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springroz, I think the dormer is centered on the garage addition, but not centered on the garage door which is not centered on the addition.

I've looked at this dormer for several days trying to figure out what bothers me. I have finally concluded that it is the lack of eaves on the dormer that bothers me. Sort of like a face with no eyebrows.

Here are some dormers that pierce the roof similar to the one above. They all have eaves on the dormer, and the eaves of the house extend beyond the dormer. If you will be re-roofing the garage when you do the new addition, I think the eave-less-ness can easily be remedied.

Traditional Exterior by Bath Design-Build Firms Fred Hahn, Residential Designer

Beach Style Exterior by Nantucket Architects & Building Designers Chip Webster Architecture

Traditional Exterior by San Francisco Architects & Building Designers Winder Gibson Architects

Traditional Exterior by West Chester Architects & Building Designers Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.

I also agree that the plantings need to be cut back or even removed. It is hard to dig up and pitch big shrubs. A couple of houses ago, I had a crape myrtle by the door that kept my entrance and steps a mess. When I had new plans drawn for landscaping, the landscape architect looked at me like I had 2 heads when I told him I hated that crape myrtle but didn't want to remove it. Fortunately for me, he was a kind soul and talked some sense into me. I can't remember now what he replaced it with, but I do remember that it was a relief to have it gone.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 9:22AM
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Your home is very lovely. Here is an idea I had.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 10:27PM
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I agree with Tibbrix ... paint the front door trim to match the shutters, add symetrical lanterns around the door, and I wouldn't worry about the siding for the garage.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 10:49PM
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I think bbstx is right about the eaves being the key. I thought it was that it wasn't a hip roof like the main roof, but it is really that there are no eaves or trim on the dormer.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 3:34AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

No question that dormer needs the same type of treatment that is above the door, it's not complete as is, looks lacking because it is. That would make it blend in much better and not be as noticeable in a bad way.
I personally would do the white brick at least on the front facing area.
Those 2 small changes would make a big difference.
And remove the light over the garage door, that is contributing to the off centered-ness of that whole area. Put it off to the far left side of the garage and using the same white one would be OK so it disappears into the wall.
The small shutters could never be functional so should go.
After adding the eaves and treatment around the window I don't think I would add the flower box, it just draws more attention to that window, it should blend in with the rest not stand out.

I like the black garage door much more. And there should be lights on either side of the front door, black would look good and sized appropriately.

If the octagon window bothers you maybe put a planter there with something tall and slim which would hide it.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 5:26AM
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I love rhomy's ideas, especially the front door treatment with the vertical trim and the white garage door. Looks beautiful.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 5:31AM
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Elraes Miller

Rhomy's idea for the dormer is what I was going to suggest. Beef up the low trim to same size as upper. Lose the shutters there. You could also use brick molding and attach same siding as they used on the upper part of window. It would make the dormer look complete.

I would also paint the entire front door and side areas. Put another light up. Perhaps a light between the round window and garage would balance out the odd spacing.

I like the black garage door too.

What are those "things" on the edge of your roof? Doesn't bother me, just haven't seen this before.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 6:55AM
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If you beef up the dormer's roof and presence, I wouldn't do it as pictured in the mock up because it looks as if you had leftover siding and were looking for an application. Rather, I would use stock trim pieces to match the dormer gable as closely as possible in style to the decorative gable over the front door.

Darker red for the door and a charcoal gray for the garage instead of black, which makes it look like a black hole. Lovely black shutters, wider by about 20 to 25% than what you currently have, installed with hinges and shutter dogs, new landscaping (replacing your current concrete walkway from driveway to stoop with the same gray flagstone that appears to be on your stoop) and you've got a makeover!

You have a lovely, classic house!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 1:12PM
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To me the garage door is too flat/horizontal. I would want something to make it look like the point of the window above, similar to over the front door. After that once the odd shutters are gone I think it looks great!! And yes keep the flower box.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 2:40PM
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Very pretty house.

I would not paint the garage door black. The one thing about the house that bothers me is the window not centered above the garage. Making the garage door stand out emphasizes that. I would not want to emphasis that.

The siding is totally fine. The suggestions for landscaping, front door a bold color, symmetrical lighting around front door, and new larger light over garage will make a big difference.

If budget allowed, I always like some sort of covering over front door to allow a dry spot for guests. Something simple.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 4:04PM
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Great idea from Jill, above. What about a gable shaped awning in black over the front door?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 4:15PM
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Thank you all so much for all the advice and awesome pictures.

We are going to make many of the changes you all mentioned as we start construction. I already started on some of the landscaping ideas in places where they will be protected from the construction. It could be a while from now but I will post a picture of the finished product once I have it! Again, thank you all so much for all of the wonderful thoughts.

@bbstx ��" I think you hit the nail on the head. The lack of eaves is definitely what looks odd about the dormer window. IâÂÂm going to share your comments with my architect, I canâÂÂt thank you enough for identifying that!!

@technicolor ��" The âÂÂthingsâ on the edge of the roof are copper snowguards. They break up the snow as it falls (or melts) so you donâÂÂt get an avalanche type situation.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 8:23AM
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How exciting that your project is going forward. Please keep us posted on your progress!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 9:02AM
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looking forward to seeing your home!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 11:00AM
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I have red brick on part of my house and I had a hard time deciding when it was time to replace the aluminum white sidingon the remainder of house. I don't think you should bring in a third material. You have white brick. What color / material are you using on the new extension?

I think Aktiller's pic with black garage door is a big improvement.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 3:27PM
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Beautiful House! Love the idea of the red front door as well as a window box with colorful trailing flowers. Bushes in front are too big and make the house seem unbalanced. I would tear them out with the exception of the evergreen and plant some low lying perennials. I wish I could photo shop because I would like to see what it would look like with one of those nicely done garage overhang things - sorry, I don't know what their called but I see them all the time with older homes. I think it would make your driveway more puposeful, planned and balanced. A portico would be lovely as well.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 11:07PM
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A few more ideas: I think if you continue the banding along the top it would do loads to help unify the addition with the brick house. Don't use the same fancy molding, just a plain band to go with the simpler style of the addition.

Yes to a pediment/eave over the window. It would "cap" it and give it presence. Use beefier trim on the sides of the window so it looks like the trim is supporting the pediment and to make the window/trim/pediment look like a whole.

More substantial trim around the garage and on the corner of the addition.

Splurge for a pretty garage door and pretty lamps.

I didn't care for the window box. It didn't look like a graceful length to my eye, and the black was distracting. If you still want a window box, paint it white to make it part of the window/trim/pediment element.

I also found something odd about the way the siding goes all the way to the concrete (or maybe it just looks that way in the picture). If you had a little foundation showing like over in the brick section, that would also make the addition look connected to the main house. I've drawn in a "foundation."

Others had wonderful landscaping ideas, especially about balancing the plants and putting a planter or trellis under the octagonal window.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 4:55PM
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I don't see the picture, so trying again:

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 5:00PM
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I would either paint the shutters around the door black or add the numbers vertically like Rhomy showed. Add the black window boxes first and see what a big change that will make. Also larger black colonial lantern. If you can't afford to make the garage door symmetrical, the idea with planter under octagon window is a good one. A brass kick plate to the door will add some sophistication to an already beautiful home.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2015 at 7:17AM
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I am bothered by that little porthole window to the right of the garage door. Perhaps the idea of adding a window box would help there. A new garage door would be money well spent. Your house is so pretty. I love the tidy look of colonials.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2015 at 8:50AM
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One thing that seems to be happening here is that people are reviving really old threads. Not sure why or where they are getting them.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 12, 2015 at 9:44AM
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