update red brick ranch house

horsemom1August 11, 2012

I am in need of ideas to update our ranch style red brick house. Paint? Add a front porch? New shrubs? Dormers? We love our acreage and having our horses in the back pastures. we have acres of white horse fencing behind and to the side of the house. I am desperate for ideas.

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tinan

I think the house itself looks pretty nice - Perhaps paint the front door slate blue or navy. What would dress it up a bit would be some additional landscaping, such as a brick or paver walkway leading to the front door, some nice flowers and perennials.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 6:15PM
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ellendi

I like your house and love the brick. please don't paint it!
I agree with tinan about the landscaping. A more interesting arrangement of shrubs and plants.
If you must do something because you are just bored with the way your house is, then I would change the entry. I am just not sure what can be done to what you have already existing.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 7:48PM
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allison0704

Is there a sidewalk? What about making a few large, irregular shape beds out front with trees, shrubs, flowers.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 8:42PM
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allison0704

Also, the shutters are too small. They should be large enough to cover the windows, if operable.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 8:45PM
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stinky-gardener

I agree with the ideas already suggested. Allison's thought to create some planting beds to break up the lawn is one I really like! You could also make the existing beds next to the house more curvy and expansive. As Tinan advised, you could also create a curved walkway that leads to your steps. Is there a driveway to the left? A meandering path of bricks leading from the driveway to the door would be welcoming and practical too.

There are no straight lines in nature! Think about how to incorporate more curves and rounded shapes to add interest to the composition. It's all straight, linear lines that feel rather harsh and unwelcoming now.
You have a pretty house that will be enhanced enormously with some landscaping attention! You have a wonderful canvas to work with! It will be fun!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 9:10PM
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dab07

I agree with everyone else. It's a nice house. Landscaping, including a curved path, will give it the dressing up you're after. I'd do that first. If it's still missing something, you can address the shutters and paint, which are pretty easy fixes. I wouldn't add dormers unless they can be functional, i.e., the attic space will be useable. Otherwise they won't look convincing.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 9:23PM
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oakleyok

I would keep the white paint and paint the shutters white also. I'm pretty sure they're decorative shutters and not meant to close.

I bet you all use the back door for the main entrance, but it would still look nice to add a sidewalk. Do guests use the front or back door?

You could put a flowerbed between the sidewalk and house, while leaving the privets in place.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 8:46AM
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graywings123

If it were my house, I would be tearing out the green blobs and making deep curving flower beds with a mix of evergreens and perennials and then add in some annuals in the spring.

I would have a wide, curved walkway leading to the house.

Then I would put in a freeform planting bed somewhere in the front towards the street, anchored by a smallish decorative tree.

I would paint the door a bright color. Maybe yellow?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 9:06AM
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loves2read

Plant the largest tree (or two) you can afford in the front yard and set them in an unbalanced/natural way...and work on other landscaping...agree with other suggestions that there is nothing to frame your house and create curb appeal...
How deep is the front stoop?
I always like a house that has some type of porch covering larger enough to protect those who come to front door when it is raining...so if there is way to create more overhang that might help...but not sure how to incorporate it in best way...

And whether those are decorative shutters or not--they are too small...
IF your white fencing is visible when you drive up to house, consider incorporating a similar low white fence when you do your landscaping---
a white fence along the new sidewalk could be done in appealing way to create depth of field for curb appeal...
the idea is to draw people into your home from outside--with such a flat one-dimensional view there is no transition...

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 9:07AM
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awm03

Here it is with wider shutters, full length sidelights with wood door, beefier trim on the gables, & stone steps. Also, I took down the indoor valence over the curved window because it adds height to the window from the outside. And I removed the shutters on that window because they're architecturally inappropriate (that's getting technical, I know.)

It's a graceful looking house. It just needs some good professional landscaping to go with it.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 9:19AM
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allison0704

I'm pretty sure they're decorative shutters and not meant to close.

I didn't mean that her shutters close. Just that the rule of thumb for non-operable shutters is that they would cover the window "if" closed. Otherwise, they are visually too small.

The photoshop above makes my point. ;D I would remove the shutters on the arched window (as shown in photoshop example). Shutters are relatively inexpensive and make a big impact. Have you considered adding them all the way around the house? We lived in a brick ranch for over 20 years and the house was on a large corner lot, so seen from three sides easily. We were out back a lot with the children, and adding shutters gave the house more character.

I thought maybe there was a sidewalk I couldn't see, due to angle picture was taken. I would def. add a curved walkway and make the beds against the house curved as well. Nothing softens up a brick house more than curves and plantings.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 9:32AM
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kswl2

I would consult an architect or design / build firm and have them pull the entrance forward with its own gable. The area of the current steps would be at door level under the entry gable and new steps would descend from that porch/ landing. From the steps, a curved walkway to your driveway. New landscaping and lighting.

The front facade of your house is nearly all on a single plane. Pulling out a gable at the entrance gives the front more depth and detail.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 11:45AM
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horsemom1

I AM SO EXCITED TO ACTUALLY HAVE INPUT!!!!!! I was thinking of replacing the shutters because it just occurred to me that they are too narrow. I LOVE REMOVING THEM from the front gable window. THere is a walkway - but of course it is straight. We have 4 very large trees planted in a square in the front yard (pretty boring)...putting in curved walk, pulling out old shrubs and replacing with new low flowers, updating the shutters and taking away the one set of shutters should really help. THEN painting the front door with a more welcoming entry would be great. We have considering adding a small porch that would be in front of the gabled window...any thoughts on that?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 8:18PM
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horsemom1

KSWL: We hired an architect and they proposed a total makeover $100,000+...so we were very discouraged so abruptly came to a halt.
I would like to see some kind of visual about pulling out the gable, since that was our original thought..just cant find anyone to help us.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 8:36PM
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allison0704

Don't let one architect or builder tell you it will cost 100K to remodel. That's exactly what happened to us when we wanted to had a partial second story to our ranch. We knew what materials/labor cost (in commercial real estate) and knew it could be done for a lot less. We had a set up stairs going up to the attic, so access wasn't a problem - height was.

Here is our ranch before:

Here is the after:

fwiw, our front/brick sidewalk going from driveway was straight. We did not remove it (to save on cost) but we did make the beds against the house appear to curve with plantings (don't plant things in rows). We also added a large bed to left of sidewalk (next to house where the pink azaleas are). The front side walk going up to street (where I took picture) was slightly curved, so I planted a shade garden to the right and "curved" it more with mass planting of azaleas, ferns and lenten roses.

Our front porch was already pulled out, so no ideas on how to do yours other than to pull that gable out to the front to the left one. Maybe you could post and ask in Building a Home forum.

One thing we did with the porch was add a custom wooden storm door, arched with true divided windows. It repeated the arch upstairs and looked nice from inside too. Let in a lot of light when we were home and I would open the original wood front door.

Sorry this picture is bad, but I need to find it and scan:

from inside:

Hope my pictures at least gave you hope that it can be done for less, if not an idea or two!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 9:02PM
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horsemom1

Allison-
I like the new surface under your windows with taller shutters. I think that would be a nice addition to ours. Your update is beautiful.

TO OTHERS WHO MAY HELP: I am posting pictures showing more of the yard, the shop building and our stable. We have 4 huge trees and are over 200 feet to the street and no shade around the house. THere is also a detached shop building, White fencing 200 feet to side of driveway up to adjoining stable, then white fencing behind the house. How can we connect all this?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 9:42PM
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horsemom1

this is our stable, white fencing on one side of driveway and behind house.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 9:44PM
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allison0704

Thank you. We lived there just over 20 years before building/moving to our new home 7 years ago, which happens to be in a horse community. Ours uses the 4 board Kentucky fence in a dark stain. I'm not sure what you mean by "new surface under the windows" unless you are talking about the different material used on the addition. The house was antique brick, so it couldn't be matched. The shutters are all original to the house (1956) and were not changed. But we did add shutters to both ends and the back.

Do you have any fencing with posts or columns at the street/driveway?

What zone do you live in? Do you have a well to water?

Would you like to get rid of some of the front grass and have islands of trees? Depending on your zone.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 10:23PM
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horsemom1

We are in Arkansas and in the middle of a drought.
No fencing at entrance or front of house. Would love to connect it all

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 10:41PM
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allison0704

So no well? We're in central AL, so I know all about droughts. :( I'd consider large natural areas and plant with various pine seedlings. After the first year or so, they will be established (drought won't bother) and they grow fast. Just don't put too close to house. They'll also make their own mulch.

Would you be open to running white fence near street? (Not right next too, give cars a place to go and keep out of right of way.

Is your fence wood/painted (as opposed to plastic coated)? If so, if brick columns are out due to higher cost, you could do a various sizes of wood posts to make the columns.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 11:42AM
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kswl2

I am not a photoshopper, in fact this is from the crudest paint program that ever was on a computer. Even though your house would NOT look like this, lol, this may give you a very ROUGH idea of how a third gable would appear. If this costs $100k I will eat my hat.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 1:08PM
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horsemom1

Great idea for third gable!!!
Running additional white plastic fencing near the street may tie it all together.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 6:33PM
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kswl2

Considering how wonderful some of the actual photoshopped pictures are, I am really embarrassed of that attempt above! However, I hope it gives you the idea!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 6:58PM
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teacats

Build a connecting series of gravel based pathways -- and add stepping stones on the more well-travelled paths.

Raised garden beds can help to conserve water -- along with good compost (from your horses! :) -- and topped with good mulch ...

Google "photos of gravel pathway designs" for some inspiration photos ... I tried posting them here ... but could NOT make it work!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 8:14PM
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horsemom1

Great idea for third gable!!!
Running additional white plastic fencing near the street may tie it all together.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 12:55PM
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horsemom1

Great idea for third gable!!!
Running additional white plastic fencing near the street may tie it all together.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 1:11PM
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