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House style?

Posted by livingreen2013 (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 10, 12 at 0:48

I was curious if any of you could help me figure out what house style ours would be considered? We plan to have the house be board and batten on the body, some stone and shake siding in the peaks, and the railings will be an x-design. We know what we think it is (most importantly, it looks like "our" home and we like it), but were curious from an outsider's perspective. Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: House style?

This issue gets discussed here a lot and it often gets off the rails. The big question in my mind is: should the use of many elements characteristic of historic styles from different eras and different parts of the world be given the name of one of the historic styles with "neo" and/or "eclectic" added to distinguish it from the original style or should it simply be called "Neo-eclectic"?

In my opinion, the use of French, Colonial Revival, Shingle Style, American Tudor and Victorian elements in different scales and materials makes it impossible to give the house a specific historic style label so to avoid a six-word descriptive label I would stick with Neo-eclectic.


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RE: House style?

I appreciate the feedback Renovator8. We were kind of expecting to hear it would be neo-eclectic. We're working on trying not to make the house too busy. I guess our overall question to you would be- is it pleasing to the eye? Are there any suggestions you would make to make it more cohesive, or are we on the right track? The basement walls are poured so the foundation is done, but the finishes still have some room for adjustment if needed. Thanks again.


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RE: House style?

Also, is there anything else you would suggest to steer it in one direction or the other in terms of a definite style, or should we stick with what we have thus far?


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RE: House style?

If I was given the task to steer it in one direction, it probably would be craftsman/neo-eclectic style.


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RE: House style?

A real estate listing would probably call it a New Colonial Farmhouse! Make sure you spend a proportionate amount on your garage doors. Many times they are purchased at the end of the build when the budget is getting tight and they use really cheap doors. When it is a major part of your front facade it deserves to match the quality of the rest of the house. I'm not liking the garage doors on your elevation. We replaced the cheap doors on our house this past year and it made a big difference. We have wood custom doors that now match the wood front door. The link is for the company we used, with lots of photos.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garage doors


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RE: House style?

Thank you for the feedback everyone! These are the garage doors we have in mind as of now, but without the line down the center of the windows. I agree we'd like them to have a certain degree of impact, and thought these might play off of the x design we hope to incorporate in the porch railings. Any more suggestions? We appreciate the thoughts.


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RE: House style?

The easiest direction to take it would be Colonial Revival by using some classical detailing at the porch columns and cornice returns. It already has the fan window at the front door and paired windows and hipped roof.

To make it a Craftsman would involve some serious redesign to reduce the massive profile and make the house part of the landscape.


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RE: House style?

I can definitely see the colonial revival aspect in it. Does it work in that direction even though it's not symmetrical as many we seem to find are? Would this still work with the board and batten exterior and stone mixture we're planning? What are your thoughts on what we could do with the porch columns and cornice returns Renovator8? Apppreciate your help!


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RE: House style?

I did not say it can be Craftsman.

It could be Craftsman/NEO-ECLECTIC (In my opinion).

I doubt it can easily be Colonial Revival.
I can see it being a farmhouse, but then, I was under the impresion that the OP liked those columns.

Good luck and have fun planning your house.


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RE: House style?

Colonial Revival houses often had large hipped roofs and full width front porches. I own one from 1891. All this house would need is Doric or Ionic porch columns, clapboards and a Palladian window.

Neo-eclectic means it incorporates currently fashionable adaptations of architectural elements from different architectural styles. It might be considered Neo-Craftsman if the few Craftsman elements weren't so superficial and the massing so uncharacteristic of the Craftsman style.

Colonial revival houses:

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


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RE: House style?

Thanks for the visuals Renovator8. We really do love this look, but I think we're drawn to trying to make it look less formal...Any ideas which way we could try and make that sort of look go towards? I did like the idea of the combination of colonial and farmhouse. I agree about the craftsman details. The house is just too large and stacked to pull that off well. What do you think we should omit in that sense? Thank you so much- you all are really helping us pull the final look together.


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RE: House style?

I believe the massing and roof lines are the biggest contributors to the "formal feel" you're trying to minimize. I would also caution against the vertical oriented siding, which is not doing the rear elevation any favors.


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RE: House style?

If you are not wiling to let it be a Colonial Revival I would try the Shingle Style. It is similar to a Colonial Revival but with a more casual and unifying cloak of shingles, no corner boards. It has always been my favorite house style. I spend a lot of time on the Maine coast and up there the older houses on the water are called Shingle Style Cottages and many of them are huge. There is endless variety in the designs and the shingles can be bleached gray white cedar or natural red cedar and the trim can be white or dark green etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shingle Style images


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RE: House style?

Thanks for the link Renovator8. I'll do some more looking into the Shingle Style. Whallyden- what is your suggestion for siding? What is your thought with the rear of the house that the board and batten wouldn't work with? Thanks again.


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RE: House style?

What about columns more like these with the x railing detail in the front porch and entry?


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RE: House style?

Handsome columns; designers in the South know how to use classical ideas with less classical detail.

But you should identify an overall style direction before choosing the columns. The columns would then be chosen to reinforce the larger design concept. Start with overall design ideas and work toward the smaller ones. The hunt and peck approach is what got you where you are now. The railing design should be the very last thing you think about.

Seeing the floor plan would help us help you. Is the attic empty except for trusses? What are the neighboring houses like? What is the climate? Special needs? Special site features?


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I have attached a link to a Shingle Style house just because I think it is as informal as a large house can get and has a lot of character.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shingle Style example


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oops

click on the lower thumbnail photo at the far right.


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RE: House style?

I'd spend a few more $$ to make it look a bit less "pretend".

The front looks nice (but a bit eclectic). The back on the other hand screams "I ran out of money" with the low-budget siding.


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RE: House style?

Thank you for hte suggestions jrldh. We're definitely open for suggestions on the back. I guess we didn't see the board and batten siding as being low-budget? As of now that is the back's body, with shake shingle siding on the sunroom, then a deck spanning the back. There will also be thick trim surrounding the back windows (not drawn-in). Please let me know what ideas you may have! Thanks!


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RE: House style?

Renovator8- I'm in love with that house that you linked! I think we can definitely try and go in that direction. I think getting rid of the brackets in our house and replacing them with that other "large overhangs with scrolled brackets". Do you think? I get what you're saying about the front porch being a later thought, I just figure with them being such a large feature on the front that they'd be a good place to make an impact.
This may be an elementary question, but with shingle style, does that mean the whole house is shingle siding? Like I said, while we didn't think the board and batten style would be "inexpensive", I do know that doing the whole exterior in shingle would be more. Something to think about I guess.
Then, the next question is, would the stone we have designed work with the shingle style? As of now we have stone on all of the columns on the porch, on the front facade of the garage, and on the front of the middle bump out with the circle window.
Could you also give me some thoughts on the windows? How would doing these muttens in the front windows add or mix with the "new" look we're pushing for with the house?
As far as the house goes, we're sitting on 3.5 acres, half woods in the midwest. The neighborhood has a decent variety, but our street itself is mainly ranch homes (but with complex rooflines). A lot of the eclectic "new construction", but well-made homes with nice finishes. We're wanting to fit-in, but definitely want our home to feel like it's own with a lot of character. We really appreciate the help and feedback as we have drawn this house up pretty much by hand and then had a drafter draw up the images and dimensions.
Thanks in advance!


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RE: House style?

I'm also a fan of this shingle style I just researched. My other question is- can you do shingle style, but with painted shingles? We were thinking about a blue/green/gray scheme with white painted trim...


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This was our color inspiration...


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Okay, question overload, this will be the last one...What style would you call this photo and the one following? These are two of the photos that inspired the house (with a mix of board and batten, shingle siding and stone) and we were curious what they would be considered. Thanks so much in advance!


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RE: House style?

Other house we're curious about the style of...


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RE: House style?

Board and batten is not a cheap alternative because of the horizontal blocking needed to attach it (if you nail to the sheathing, the boards will eventually cup). It got a bad reputation from the use of Texture 1-11 scored panel siding in the 60's and 70's.

A shingle style house would have shingles and stone with the stone lower than the shingles. The shingles can be special shapes to create a decorative pattern in places. I like wavy shingles and drip flares at floor lines. There is no reason for any wall of this style house to look plain or dull. I have so many books and photos of this style I wouldn't know where to start in posting them.

The paired window would typically have a trimmed space between them so they wouldn't look like modern "nail-fin" windows. In the old days this would be called a weight pocket and more recently a stud pocket but modern windows can be butted up against each other with no space - something worth some effort to avoid. Intermediate studs also reduces the size of the header needed. You should have fun with the organization of the windows. The Shingle Style should appear clever and original.

The window mullions would be 3 over 1 for 36" wide windows and 4 over 1 for 48" wide windows. In a 3 windows grouping the outer ones might be one or two panes narrower than the center one. If you add a round top on the center one you have a Palladian window, a staple of the Shingle Style.

A round window would go in the face of the gable end like a bird house.

It is possible to paint a shingle but it would defeat the natural advantage they have over continuous siding: they can "breathe" (a misnomer since it has to do with moisture rather than air movement). If you want color or consistency in appearance you should use white cedar shingles dipped in stain at the factory. Many architects in New England use Cabot's Bleaching Oil which is a bleaching chemical and a pale gray stain but you can get any color you like. There are also fiber-cement shingles and wood shingles that come in panels but I've never used them.

example of white cedar shingles with bleaching oil:
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The photos you just posted are all of the Shingle Style. I don't see much of these design elements in the design you first posted. The dramatic roof rakes, eaves and roof features are entirely missing. The board and batten siding works effectively as a siding texture in place of shingles because there is so little of it.


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RE: House style?

Thanks again for all of the information you're sharing Renovator8! Do you think we could somehow do what these houses have done and draw a line through the house at some point around the sides and the back do do part shake, part board and batten? I had once heard someone refer to doing just stone on the bottom of the house as being like someone with high-water pants that just look too short? That's not the look we'd be going for :). But, we really do like the board and batten and shake. Any way you could see us incorporating that? You've given us a lot to think about.


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RE: House style?

I wasn't suggesting a high-pants builder/developer stone accent. I strongly believe that masonry should be used for an entire facade or wing of a house or it should stop at a floor line. Stone was commonly and very effectively used on the lowest/basement levels of old Shingle Style houses often with the arches that HH Richardson favored but you already know that if you have been researching the Shingle Style.

You need to understand that as an architect I find it difficult to answer question about design elements removed from their context. It is also difficult for me to make judgements about things that I believe should be decided in the later or design development phase of a design. The preliminary major design elements ideas should always drive a design. This principle should be obvious but it is commonly overlooked.

I realize that it is natural for a homeowner to think of house elements removed from the overall design and to allow those decisions to drive the early design process but I know where that leads and by now you should too. Regarding mixing of cladding, in a later design phase an unusual design condition might cause me to consider using two different kinds of siding on the same house but it hasn't happened yet and I'm over 70. I have used shingles on dormers and clapboards on the body of a house but that is a pretty traditional and obvious design idea but I've never seen a design that I thought would benefit from different cladding nor have any of my clients asked for that. The white cedar example I posted was designed to be unfinished red cedar with green trim but the builder ordered white windows by mistake. It's a little far from the ocean for this treatment but the owners are happy.

Until you get the massing and roof lines of your house under control there is no need to be thinking about exterior cladding or porch columns. The houses you like are great but they were obviously designed by professionals at considerable expense and I assure you that the exterior finishes were selected in support of the overall design.

I'll say it one more time and then I'll leave you alone: the smaller design elements should be used to reinforce the larger ones therefore the order of these design decisions is critical to the success of a project.


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RE: House style?

Thanks again for your help! You've given us lots to think about and we're excited about where the house can go from here. Thanks.


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RE: House style?

I mentioned the siding on the back and sides of the house because here in Dallas it is common to build a super nice front with real stone, brick and fancy stone trim around windows but on the back where it doesn't add to curb appeal, it's popular to cheap out with Hardi-board.

The pictures on top of this thread reminded me of this.


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oops

click on the lower thumbnail photo at the far right.


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RE: House style?

A similar question was asked about the same house back in August by another member.

Here is a link that might be useful: House


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RE: House style?

That was actually our same house with my wife's account. I tried to take the emotions out of things a bit more and bring our latest plans out with a new approach. We're both in a much better place with things and are feeling really good about the direction the house is heading. Thanks again for all of the advice we've received- both the easy to hear and not so easy to hear type. :)


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RE: House style?

Take the time to learn about the history of architecture and what social and economic changes led to the popularity of new styles or adaptations of older styles. Resist the temptation to select pieces of several older styles and cobble them together. Don't take a sandwich to a banquet.


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RE: House style?

Thanks again for all of the help you've been Renovator8. I guess we came in with quite a few skewed perceptions based on the fact that this house is definitely trying to play by the rules more than any other new construction built in our house in the last 6ish years. So in our minds and from what we see, we thought we were at least heading towards a good track. With limited knowledge and without the resources and finances to hire a full-fledged architect (turns out who we thought was going to help us as an architect was actually a seasoned drafter, not architect), so all of the adjustments, changes, and look of the house have come from us. Again, we know we're not textbook, but hopefully you and others have seen the ways we've tried to improve. Thanks.


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RE: House style?

btw- this is the latest hand-drawn finished look we did on a blank slate of the house. I think we're pretty happy with how everything's coming together thus far. Hopefully it's not too sandwich looking. :) It feels and looks like home to us. Thanks again!


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RE: House style?

Front elevation closer...
Last night I (roughly) pencil-drew in our latest look- board and batten on the body, a horizontal strip of trim from the side of the wrap-around porch around the bac (better picture of back to come), shake siding in the peaks, stone by the front door, columns and front of garage. X railings and x garage doors.


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RE: House style?

Rear elevation of the house closer...
I think just drawing in the trim, board and batten, highlighting the deck, some window muttens, and adding a horizontal trim strip wrapping from the front porch, around the side to the back helped to add some character to the back.


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RE: House style?

I fear you might still be approaching your task with a narrow field of view. There are no textbooks for how to design a house and the variations of even just one traditional house style would fill many books. Design is an expanding process, not a set of steps or rules and it must begin at the small end not the big end. It took me 30 years to learn how to do it. Serious architects past and present have routinely toured the US and the world photographing and sketching buildings they found interesting. Another important part is to learn something about the cultural changes that caused the changes in taste and style. The Craftsman style and the Colonial Revival were responses to the Victorian styles from very different points of view. Before combining elements of these long established cultural icons in the neo-eclectic styles made popular by builder-developers in the 80's, you should first understand what you want the house to tell people about you. Houses have personalities; they speak with their form and detail. Personalities are judged not only by how visually pleasing they are to others but their sense of integrity and clarity of statement. Order even with some eccentricity should be preferable to schizophrenia.

No one can offer you good constructive advice at this moment because your current design is already complete, you have only posted 2 elevations, and you are primarily concerned with the selection of siding. If you want to make this a better house, forget about the siding and porch posts and post all of the plans, elevations, site plan and the original program and be willing to listen to those who are willing to give you free advice even when their advice is uncomfortable or they suggest changing the parts you like. It is often necessary to lose parts you like to make the whole better. I learned that from a well-known painter who was riding out a recession as a visiting professor. The broadness of his field of view on the world was a revelation.

As I said there is no textbook and it is not an easy thing to learn in the short time you have so you should not be defensive about your current design. Any design can be made better but to take advantage of a group of forum members it is necessary to allow them to know the full context and to not limit their participation. Problem solving is a game where everyone must have the same opportunity to win. Your role is to define the problem and act as the moderator. Participants should focus on the design problem not the contributions of others; it should not be a debate. You collect the ideas and choose the ones you think work.

Here are some books you might want to borrow from the library or own:

A Field Guide to American Houses by McAlester

Traditional Construction Patterns by Mouzon

Identifying American Architecture by Blumenson

American Shelter by Walker

Get your House Right by Cusato

American House Styles by Baker

Distinctive Home by Eck

Creating a New Old House by Versaci

American Homes by Walker

Celebrating the American Home by Bouknight

New Classic American houses by Cooper

Simplified Design of Structural Timber by Parker (kidding)

Then there are many books about individual styles. You should look for them when you have a better idea of what you like.


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RE: House style?

Thanks for the references Renovator8. We will definitely have to check these out. We start framing next week, thus the only 2 elevations. When I came to the board I was curious if the house was a style and what we could do aesthetically to accent the house's structure. We obviously aren't interested in adjusting the body too much as a whole at this point. Things such as windows, etc. we have time to adjust, but other than that we aren't searching for major shifts in the plan. Thanks again.


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RE: House style?

I hadn't seen the new elevations when I made the above comments.

The elevations are looking better but the roof overhangs seem short probably because the facia boards are short and there are no gutters shown and there is no "frieze" board under the soffit. The paired windows would benefit greatly from trim boards between them, and there should be enough space between the round window and the lower roof ridge for step-flashing (6" minimum). I like the round window but it reminds me of a shopping mall "clock tower". Does the entrance interrupt the porch or is it back at the face of the house?

It might be more effective if the shingled cornice returns continued across the face of the gables and formed small roofs ("pent-roofs").

You never show the other 2 elevations. They are important to show the configuration of the roof even if you don't plan to change the roof. There also might be opportunities to reinforce the overall design with window and trim detailing.

You might consider HardiePanel with HardieTrim for the board & batten siding if the horizontal joints can be hidden by the porch roof.

I think the vertical siding needs the heavier trim I mentioned under the eaves and between the windows but there should be no corner boards; it is very important for the vertical boards to wrap around the corners. This would soften the formality of the house and allow the horizontal trim to balance the vertical siding. If you draw it and I think you will agree.


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RE: House style?

I'm off to google all of these ideas right now. :) Thanks for the constructive feedback once again. Any visuals you have of the overhangs, cornice returns, etc. Renovator8? Thanks again.


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Can't tell you how much we appreciate this drawing Renovator8! So awesome. Thanks for wiping that up so quickly! I've been trying to research the pent-roof you spoke of. Is that the same as these flared shingles you drew? I agree that the additional top overhangs and fascia boards does make a huge difference. Do you like the idea of the horitzontal trim "line" wrapping around teh house? I'll try and upload the other horizontal trim lines here soon. Do you think we should do without the stone we have drawn? Would you give this house a style yet, or are solely eclectic? Thanks so much again.


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RE: House style?

Here is the side of the porch area. Like I said, we'd like to add a horizontal trim piece from the porch roofline around to the back, and also trim these windows...


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For some reason this is the only interior draft I can find, which has since had some changes made (most notably, the great room is now a peak-vaulted room with paneled ceilings and beams without open railings to the tv/family/loft space above the kitchen), but the layout of the structure is the same and should give you some insight to the front and back elevations. Thanks.


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RE: House style?

If you continued the shingled cornice returns across the face of the two overlapping gables you would have a pent-roof that forms the loser part of a triangular pediment. In my sketch it takes the form of flared shingles instead of a roof so it isn't really a pent-roof.

I didn't see the stone and I can't think of where it would add to the design. If it is used it should appear to support something heavy and not be used just for decoration. For instance the walls of the entire lower story or a separate wing could be stone.

I try not to think of house styles when I am designing a house unless my client has one they like a lot or a traditional trick to lower the scale of the house or make it less formal suggests a certain style. In that case I would then use certain elements of that style to reinforce that design solution always moving from the big to the little ideas.

The sketch I posted has one foot in the Colonial Revival style and one foot in the Shingle Style. I wouldn't want to say which is best because the determination might depend on how the cornice returns (pent-roof or classical cornice return vs flared shingles) since the styles have their root in the same era and both were responses to the late Victorian styles. Of course it wouldn't take much to make this a Victorian house.

Here is a sketch of a Shingle Style house that uses a time-honored traditional configuration of twin gables with a shed dormer between them to lower the roof scale and avoid the big empty trussed filled hip roof typical of builder-developer designed houses and shopping malls. It also provides a large gabled story and a half side elevation. Don't forget the house has 4 sides.

I didn't try to solve the off center entrance without a floor plan but it wouldn't be the first house I've seen that had such an an obvious offset.

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RE: House style?

Unless the board and batten consists of long staggered boards instead of panels, you will need a horizontal break with flashing half way up the side and rear walls. Given the tiny windows and large blank walls on the left facade I think you need to do some serious rethinking.

The windows on the left side can be larger and perhaps the same size. A simple trim board and flashing belt line should be avoided. I suggest using board & batten only on the lower half and shingles on the upper half. This would allow the shingles to flare above a crown trim band at the change of materials. It is a very handsome detail.

The exposed foundation is a great place to use field stone veneer but the B&B siding above should slightly overlap the stone or that could be done with a heavier traditional "water table" (thick board with a drip on top). This stone could continue around to the rear facade. This is a classic Shingle Style idea and it was popular to put arched openings in the lower stonework to make it look massive and rustic. the shingles were intended to look like a cloak draped over the house which was sitting on a massive stone foundation. the appearance is a bit old-fashioned but it is easily lightened up for use today.

You might like some doors onto that rear deck in case you get a nice day.


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RE: House style?

Thanks so much again for the latest drawings and thoughts Renovator8! We've been out of town for a few days and also working with our drafter and GC to talk about some of these changes. Another question for you- would this style of roof detailing go with the look we're going after? Is it practical with gutters, or do these homes not have gutters? What about just on the front porch? Thanks in advance once again...


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RE: House style?

Another example of porch overhang...


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RE: House style?

These roofs are both gabled instead of hipped and the first example brings the rakes down to the first floor in a 1 1/2 story configuration. There is no way to compare them to your 2 stories, hipped roof and no rakes.

My second sketch shows a way to use front facing gables as if they were dormers on a gabled main roof with the side rakes extending down as if the house was a 1 1/2 story when it is really a 2 story. These are common tricks in traditional house design. You need to decide is you want a formal house or a less formal house and achieve your goal with whatever design tricks you like. What you cannot do is make a big hipped roof house look less formal by adding superficial detailing that is associated with less formal houses.


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This is a 2 story house that uses a steep end gable rake and a front facing gable that looks like a dormer to make the house appear to be a 1 1/2 story house.

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This house could have been built for less money if it had used the now common developer cliche of a big box with a hipped roof constructed of trusses.


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