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Style of home/curb appeal help!

Posted by drybean (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 2, 12 at 17:29

We have put in an offer to buy this house. After looking at dozens and dozens of adorable character homes from the 20s, 30s, and 40s, this 1952 house feels so blah to me. But the price is right and more importantly, the school districts are a winner.

There is a ton of potential inside and in the backyard, which DH and I have some ideas about.
However, the curb appeal is hideous! Any ideas? We were thinking about painting the stucco, then the wood trim and front door, landscaping, something. Anything. I also just realized that the driveway to the right in the photo is extra-there is another one in front of the garage. Perhaps ripping that up and replacing it with sod or other landscaping?


I am struggling because it doesn't seem to have a really style-just 1950s tract home-ish. But not mid century. So I'm not really sure what look good.

It's been in the same family since it was built, and it's very well taken care of.

Help. Please?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

I think a different color on the stucco would make a world of difference. Perhaps a color for the body of the house, a trim color and a different color for the front door and garage doors.

Since the garage is so prominent I would investigate new doors with a paneled design.

I would leave the driveway to see if it makes sense functionally, there may be a reason for it, but I agree that it takes up a lot of yard.

It essentially has no landscaping, so new shrubs and trees are important. Does it really need all those retaining walls and the posts by the driveway? I would probably eliminate most of those things if possible.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Can you back off and take a photo of the whole thing?

I'm wondering if you can take the two porches off and replace with something that makes the front door the focal point.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

I would be inclined to leave the extra driveway there. You don't say how old your kids are, but it would be great for roller skating, tricycle riding etc, for younger kids, and when they are old enough to drive perfect for extra parking.

I agree that a nice garage door will do wonders, but most importantly get some trees planted!


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Pal-thanks for your response. I was thinking a light grey stucco with white wood accents and a different color door, perhaps red. What do you think about that idea?

I suspect the posts are to support the carport, and may be structurally necessary. Great idea about a new garage door, too. Would something like this work?


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

I am wondering if you could face those retaining walls with stone to make them more attractive, and add thicker trim around the windows. I would paint the doors off the little porch the same color as the house and add some outdoor wicker/faux wicker chairs to make the area look inviting, now it is a bit awkward.

Painting, garage doors and some plantings will help so much too.

I think it has lots of potential, you just need some creativity. I'd keep your driveway as well, especially if you live anywhere drought is likely. The less sod the better. Ripping up a driveway is expensive and a mess.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Oh sorry, didn't realize that was a carport.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

I would do what the others have suggested and think about the main front door area. Maybe at some point if you needed a new roof you could eliminate the two overhangs in front and make one long roofed porch with a higher pitch ( closer to the height of the garage). Everything would then look much more balanced and the eye wouldn't automatically shoot over to the garage. I would paint the two side doors near the garage the same color as you choose for the house and make just the main door a different color.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Oops, my garage door photo didn't load. I'll upload it to pb and repost.

Marti-I'm currently on a plane headed back home, so I won't be able to get back there for about two weeks. Which porch were you thinking of removing? The carport? I agree that the front door needs to somehow be emphasized more.

Terriks- good point about the area for scooters and bikes. I didn't think about that. However, there is still a double sized driveway on the right, so I'm not sure it is completely necessary. I'll try to take a wider photo.

Totally agree about the trees! W will be planting some fruit trees, fig, and bougainvillea as soon as we figure out the landscaping plan.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Greate ideas about painting the two doors the same color as the house. The idea is to camoflauge them, right?

W were also thinking aout having the cinder block covered with stucco (the whole back is in cinder-it looks like a jail cell! But I really like the idea of perhaps facing it with stone instead.
It is southern California, so drought is probably a reality. More yard probably isn't the most sustainable choice

Jterrilynn-excellent idea about the roof height. DH would have a heart attack if I even brought that up, lol. Maybe good pie in the sky idea though.

Th carport is really terrible, isnt it? They are very common in this part of California, but this one is just so ugly.

Would shutters work on those front two windows?


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

definitely some landscaping, and the driveway needs a different look at the concrete has a rather cold look (pavers?), you could stone veneer the wall as well.

I would look for things that will give it a natural feel, way too much concrete.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Paint the house in pale to medium gray -- including the two extra doors -- and the garage doors.

Paint the trim in black.

Paint the front door in satin black or red dark rich red.

Leave the circular driveway.

Add large black iron outdoor lanterns. Add a standing outdoor lantern at the end corner of the retaining wall.

Paint the retaining wall in dark green. Fill with a mixture of taller trees and hanging flowers/vines.

Add a long white bench under the carport.

Add a short stone (look at stacking stone) wall under the window -- add a mixture of tall bushes/short bushes and flowers.

Add a large fountain to the middle of the front lawn. Add flower gardens and stone walkway -- eliminate the grass.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

I like the idea of dark trim especially around the windows, because the windows appear to be black, I used charcoal because black looked stark to me, maybe beef up the thickness of the trim and add light gray on that. I think a red door that picks up the roof color would look great. I also made the trim over the door curved.

Photobucket


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

cool house! You are on the right track with planting some trees. I would close up that car port, nothing fancy, and make it a mud room kind of porch thing. It's just odd. And I'd leave the driveway as is, with some nice trees and shrubs it won't be so prominent.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Congratulations on the new home!

I know it never rains in California, but when it rains, it pours.

That's why I'm concerned about the pitch on the driveway and the carport toward the house, it looks like the house would fill with water in a heavy rain. I'd do some exploration on that pitch to make sure water is shed away from the house.

I'd live there awhile and see if that driveway is used...if not, you can get rid of it to add more softness to the landscape. Do Xerascaping if you're worried about water.

The biggest problem is the roof over the carport which makes the front entry look subordinate. You may need to add structure in front of the front door to make it more prominent...plantings will help too.

That retaining wall also needs addressing...even if just a coat of paint for starters.

I agree that much can be done with colors too.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

I would consider taking the carport down completely. This would simplify the roof line. Then I would beef up the overhang on the front door to emphasize it and balance the height and size of the garage. A circular driveway is a nice feature. Larger bushes or small trees by the retaining wall would also balance the house and anchor the right side.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Gmp3, that looks wonderful. The paint contrasts really bring out the best parts of the house.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

What Marisa said, above. Never give up a circular drive...someday when your kids are driving you'll be glad they don't have to back out into traffic.

I would spend most of your reno dollars on a plan, then really good landscaping, to start. As to the style, I think someone clearly had leanings toward a sort of pared down Spanish mission style, and I'd stick with that. After all, you're halfway there and it's completely appropriate to your location. Look at good examples of that type on sites like Houzz. Imagine your house with the carport gone, more of the dark brown rough hewn trim (esp massive corbels supporting a new door overhang), black wrought iron (lights, door pulls, etc), and beefier landscaping with sturdy palm trees (Washingtonia is a great type).

As much as I love black, white and gray, they don't lend any authenticity of style (above) and those particular shades together look like a 50s dinette set instead of. House, IMO.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

The black trim makes the front door look like a recent graduate.

That enormous right window bothers me. The windows generally aren't attractive but that one looks like it was retrofitted so somebody could watch for the mailman from his Barcalounger.


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It would be nice if those windows were the same size, agreed.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

I love teacat's suggestions & gmp3's fabulous rendition of them. But that roof is a reddish brown, and I don't think plain gray will go with it. You probably need a gray with the right undertones. Or maybe go with a taupe.

gmp3, you turned an eyesore into an attractive feature by adding the curve to the overhang -- genius!


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

That is a very cute house! Gmp3 has the right idea. I also think the circular drive is a plus.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

I guess I am thinking about what they do around here. I would play up that "car port" as if it were a front patio. I agree to camouflage/paint the two doors but then some how connect the two roof lines and get a bistro set. Maybe a railing to close it in? A car sitting in the "car port" would only make the front appeal worse IMHO. What is the deal with the retaining wall that barely sticks out in the bottom right corner of the picture? Is that on your property? It seems to cut your lot in a weird way.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

I would drive around the neighborhood to see if anyone has updated/changed the carport to make it more attractive. Is having one a selling point? You probably couldn't do anything with it until you need a new roof.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

I don't mind the colour but the landscaping is so blah and that's what I'd work on. If you plan on using bougainvilleas I think they will look gorgeous with the current stucco as a backdrop, they'll really shine.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Here's an example of a taupe house & reddish brown roof.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

I would think that removing the carport would leave you with a big expanse of wall that wouldn't be any better. You may like the convenience of the carport, or perhaps use that for a sitting area. It looks nice and shady.

I would work on the landscaping, especially if you want to do something not too major right now. That little triangle of grass off the retaining wall in the very front, I would replace that with some easy growing plants that will cover the wall. The large retaining wall/planter bed, I'd grow some more perennial type plants and something that will drape over the wall to soften it up. Then you need some type of hedge plant in front of the big window. Gmp3's pic is perfect for what you need for the landscaping there--something shorter under the big window and taller under the short window to balance it out.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

It looks very California to me (I grew up there). Spend some time looking at what other homeowners in the area have done. If all the houses were built around the same time-- there will probably be other houses that have been updated over the years. You will notice some updates that you like and and others that you don't. What a great excuse to take walks around your new neighborhood.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Oh no drybean, wouldn't want your husband to have a heart attack lol! Anyway, (going with the pie in the sky inspiration) this is what I was talking about, one long covered porch. I partially hid one door to the garage behind the porch column and rounded the top of the other, also added a Spanish style metal wall accent in that ole carport, elongated the short window and added a new front door.
Sorry, I can somewhat draw but no good at computerized versions.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Wow-thank you so much for all your help!

So the driveway isn't really circular, although I wishit were. It is just this long sideways driveway that leads up to the other driveway on the left. I'm guessing the carport is the original 1 car garage, and then they added the larger garage with the upstairs addition.

Here is ai view of the back of the house, so perhaps you can see the shape of the house better.
The original house is on left, and the two story part is the addition.

This "patio" has so much potential. We plan to turn it into a very cool outdoor room. It is already all wired and plumbed for an outdoor kitchen., and has a half bath right there.

But you an see whati mean about it being an expanse of grey and concrete. Like jail.

So I am thinking perhaps the brown Spanish inspired look is the way to go. Stucco over the cinder, add a wood slat horizontal fence along the top of the back-to cover the neighbors chain link-for privacy, and lots of bougainvillea and creeping fig.

Gmp-thank you so much for that rendering! The landscaping looks so good, and I love the added trim around the windows. I think I agree though that the grey isn't working with the roof.

The front..I don't know that we can remove the carport. I think it would involve a lot of roof work, and we aren't prepared to pay for a new roof right now.

I like the idea of perhaps tuning it into a porch area.

I agree-the windows are horrible. Love the comment about the BarcaLounger! Hilarious. And probably very true.

Annie-thanks for the call out about the driveway pitch. The back of the house doesn't have gutters either, which is why I guess there is weeping from the windows. We will have inspection figure that out, hopefully.

So when you say to get plan drawn up, who would do that? A landscape architect?


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Awm-I love that house! It's beautiful!

Wow Jterrilynn-thank you so much. I like it so much that I am motivated enough to find out how much that would cost. It might mean I'll never get to Reno the kitchen, but that looks 5 million times better on the outside.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Tryingtodecorate-fantastic landscaping help, thank you! I love the idea of replacing the triangle area with something to cover the wall. Excellent suggestion about the hedge height to balance windows!

I'm not sure why that retaining wall is cut off like that. The house sits on a hilly street, and we are right up in the foothills of the mountains, so I'm guessing it's something to do with that?


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Tryingtodecorate-fantastic landscaping help, thank you! I love the idea of replacing the triangle area with something to cover the wall. Excellent suggestion about the hedge height to balance windows!

I'm not sure why that retaining wall is cut off like that. The house sits on a hilly street, and we are right up in the foothills of the mountains, so I'm guessing it's something to do with that?


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Ha, well don't I feel simple! Allow me to add that two story bit I thought that was a house behind you.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

You should look into concrete overlay or staining to change the look of the large expanse of gray concrete. It looks like you have a ton of potential in that house.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

I agree that the house is bursting with potential, and in a good school district you will not go wrong remodeling. L.O.V.E. the spanish inspired photo Awn posted above---that's exactly what I'm talking about and I think your house could look almost exactly like that, with the same vibe!

Landscape architects who also "do" exterior curb appeal... ask around for recommendations from people in your new neighborhood or town who have homes that have obviously been nicely updated. You must be excited about this!


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Jterrilynn-no worries! It's a bit difficult to see. I love that rendering so much., thank you so much for doing that. The arch around the doorway is wooden, correct?

Terriks-in the front or the back, or both? I agree, something needs to be done to break up the massive concrete jungle. I saw a show on DIY today where they acid stained it. Wonder what that would look like.

Kswl-I love that Spanish photo too! I think that is what the house wants to be...Iwe will just have to help income out of its sad shell. Ha. Terrific idea about asking neighbors for their sources. I never would have thought to do that.

I spent some time on houzz looking at garage doors. Something like this, right?

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppOr

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Or

photobucket.com/albums/h363/lsaeva/?action=view&current=1c0f2e74.jpg" target="_blank">Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Would be a huge improvement, I think.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Drybean, the columns that arch around the main front door, and the other column that somewhat blocks the second door to the garage are CBS = cement block and stucco, the same as the rest of the front. That area would look pretty framed with some bougainvillea. The first door to side garage was changed to an ached wood door. I wonder why the PO did not finish the stucco work on the back of the house. That would be a fairly easy diy weekend job, not pricey either.

I love the garage doors you posted. I could be wrong but the doors on your garage look higher than a standard height. To me it would help the eye if there were little windows that matched the top line or close to of the windows on the house.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

I would do something to the concrete in both the front and back, depending on your budget of course.

Here's an example:

Here is a link that might be useful: Concrete overlay


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Boooo! I just found out that we can not remove the carport. Te garage is only a one car, and code requires 2 parking spaces.

I'm disappointed, because I was really into the rendering that jterrilynn so
Kindly drew for me.

Terriks-those overlays look fantastic. That would be such a huge improvement on all that concrete in the front and around the pool.

My RE thinks that te house should go more craftsman style than Spanish. She said the roof is all wrong for Spanish, and a tile roof would look all wrong on the house. That would obviously require some type of overhang on the front, with pillars, which I'm not sure is the right direction..

Ugh. I hate the outside of this house. Monster garage indeed.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Do you need to have two-car Covered parking? Could the covered parking be under something more porch like? Does it have to cover the entire car?:)


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

It is my understanding that I must have two covered parking spaces, due to size of home. What did you have in mind? I think a long as I can drive my car up into said "porch" if the CO inspector knocks on the door, I would be safe. Ha.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

I don't see how it could possibly be code to require 2 covered parking spaces! 2 off street parking spaces maybe... any way you can check on that for sure, if seems strange!


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Maybe you could do a shallower porch-like thing as drawn, with a trellis extending over the car pad?


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

If you don't need the carport that large, I would make that skinny post a stacked-stone covered, thicker post. Looks like you can almost do it anyway into that weird square box planter thing. You could also extend the porch cover out from the front door, making it cover the entire right front of the house. Remove those funky support posts, making a more substantial porch, with stone posts on each end like by the carport. This would give the front of the house a whole new craftsman-like look and make that window less prominent. You would have to remove some grass and add some concrete for the porch, but if you have the budget for a re-do, I think it could work. I second the idea of a new garage door. Then worry about your landscaping.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

We are closing on the house next week. Finally.

We met with the city, and we do have to keep the carport as long as it is only a one car garage. If we convert the existing garage to a two car, we may remove carport. There is room to turn garage into 2 car, but I'm not sure how expensive that would be. It requires removing a partial interior wall in garage and moving electric panel. Then the expense of carport removal and roof work. And since this is Southen California, no one seems to park in garage anyway.

If we do this, the door to the left of front door would be turned into a large window. The door to the left of that accesses the workshop. I would love to close that in and put a door on the other side (the backyard side)-and make that my laundry room. But that all adds up pretty quickly and I think that would over improve the house.

The city did say the house is likely in violation of code by having too much cement in front. So we may indeed have to rip up the second driveway anyway.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Forgot to add that as soon as we close, I am calling out a landscape architect. Never having worked with one before, how does the fee structure work? Can we pay her for a design and rendering, and then implement in phases as budget allows?


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

In my neck of the woods before a property can be put on the market it has to be brought up to code. I like that better than now it is suddenly your issue to deal with the driveway. Your plans/dreams sound nice. Too bad it only takes $$$$$$


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Arcy-I know, my ideas are way bigger than my budget. Therein lies the problem. Fortunately, we live in an area with inexpensive labor, and we are open to DIY as much as we are able. But we will still have to be very mindful of not overspending.

I spent some time last night trying to photoshop some ideas for the exterior of the home. This is what I came up with. What do you guys think?

This involves:
-removing carport
-turning kitchen door into window
-closing up acesss to workshop (currently accessed through carport. Will have to access via garage)
-Turning exisiting one car garage into two car-new doors
-new front door
-stacked stone pillars and porch railings
-new front door
-adding lawn/landscaping where 2nd driveway apron is
-adding gable above front door

Photobucket


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

I like the idea of a two car garage, but not so sure about that roof overhang. I also like the removing the extra door that confuses the front facade.

How about doing a pergola along the whole front of the house and instead of wooden railings do some low stucco walls capped with rock to tie in the rock and the other walls. Stucco would likely be cheaper than all rock facing, but you could combine the two.

If you did a pergoal/porch/courtyard in front there then replace the window/door under the current carport with some french doors maybe although I think I like the symmetry of windows on each side.

I would try to use elements from mission or old spanish style as they tend to go well with stucco as does the Tuscan style.

Here is a link that might be useful: Some pergolas in San diego on Houzz


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Looks nice. I'm not sure that stacked stone and a gabled roof are right for the style of the house, though.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Lyfia-I like the idea of the low stucco walls along the front.
We were thinking more Craftsman inspired with the pillars and roof gable,but we love Spanish style too. I have trouble picturing spanish w/o the tile roof, however.
I love the idea of a pergola, mostly because I imagine it is less expensive than adding a roof structure. But I am having trouble picturing it in front of the house-I think of them as more casual, in a backyard setting.

This picture was on the link you provided, and I do like the front pergola here:

I do want to turn that odd second door into a window, as that is the kitchen, which is currently windowless. That will then be incorporated into the kitchen reno.

What about doing a lower, flatter roofline, similar to the garage, instead of the gable?


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Graywings-I think part of my problem is that the house doesn't really seem to have a particular style-ha. So I struggle with what would look right. Do you think it should go more spanish/mission in feel?


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

OK, so maybe we go back to the spanish style that JTerrilynn so kindly rendered for me. Perhaps that is more suitable all around. The more I look at it, the more I think you guys are right that we are trying to make the house something it is not.

I'm going to call in a landscape architect/designer next week to get some bids on getting this ball rolling, if you guys think that is the way to go.

Photobucket

It will even be a smidge better, because we won't have to worry about camouflaging the random kitchen door that is hidden behind that pillar-thus providing us with more usable front porch area. Will have to investigate the workshop door-if that is able to be closed off.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

I agree with the Spanish/mission. From the first day it gave me a Spanish/mission feel. I even went back just now to look at the original picture because I thought you had terra cotta roofing material, instead of asphalt shingles!! I think it would be very do able to put a porch across the front that nails that look. The question is does the inside need to reflect the impression you begin on the outside and do you want to carry that feel inside?


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

Arcy-i wish it had a tile roof! I can definitely get on oars with a Spanish feel on the exterior, but I share your concern over the interior continuing that feel.

There are two brick fireplaces, which don't feel Spanish to me:
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

And this one off the kitchen

photobucket.com/albums/h363/lsaeva/?action=view&current=671E7812-35B7-4C23-AB63-A1B00D47C18B-8769-000009485FD6DD5E.jpg" target="_blank">Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

The kitchen needs a Reno, and I am and always have been a white cabinet gal. But those don't feel Spanish to me either. :-/
I don't want to be themed, but I do want to be consistent.


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RE: Style of home/curb appeal help!

I think white in the kitchen can still work. This house has it and seems to work to me.

http://www.thelipmangroupsothebysrealty.com/blog/2011/06/23/spanish-mission-style-villa/

You could always use stucco with brick caps on the walls outside to tie in the brick fireplace.

http://www.google.com/search?q=stucco+wall+with+brick+cap&hl=en&client=safari&tbo=d&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=frIpUMKqBoem8gTP6oHACA&ved=0CDAQ_AUoAQ&biw=1024&bih=660


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