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Curb Appeal: Please share your ideas

Posted by wolfgang80 (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 18, 10 at 14:35

We recently purchased this house and are fixing up the interior and exterior.
The house is on a postage stamp lot (2,450 sf) which is the standard for this beach town.

I would love to hear your ideas for the front elevation and landscape/hardscape. I think the biggest fault of the house is that it's flat all the way across. Please note the following:
1. The house is already encroaching the 20' required setback to the street so we can't build on to the front of the house.
2. We would like to create a (small) living / seating space out front.
3. Since this picture (Sorry for the car. This was taken before we moved in and I haven't taken a picture since) was taken, we have cut out planters to the side of each door to at least soften the transition from concrete to house. We haven't decided if these will be raised with a pony wall around them.
4. The only ideas we have to add depth to the house were flower boxes below the two windows and possibly awnings above.
5. We are replacing the front door with a dutch door with glass up top.
6. We also want to replace the windows (approx 4'0 x 4'0) as these are cheap vinyl sliders with cheap fake divided lite inserts. We like old looking true divided lite windows but our first quote was at $1,300/opening for the front two windows. Not in the budget.
7. We want to paint the exterior but haven't decided on a colour scheme. We are drawn to classic white cottages with vines trained up the sides but can go other directions as well.
8. We want to replace the garage door. Because of the size of the house, we need the garage for storage and laundry so we will not be parking a car in there. We wish to keep the opening 8' wide as it is now but put a more charming carriage style door there.
9. We don't park on the driveway so the entire front yard (all 500 sf of it) is fair game.
10. We like ornamental grasses, some succulents, and other low water plants. We are most drawn to grasses that will mimic the grasses on the dunes.
11. We are in SoCal.
12. We have removed the visible cabling and satellite dish.

Thanks so much. Sorry for the length of the post.

Photobucket


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RE: Curb Appeal: Please share your ideas

It's just stark right now. I wouldn't go white with the house being right on the sidewalk, but a buff the color of grasscloth would be awesome.

I LOVE the idea of the dutch door and was going to suggest something similar. How awesome!

Don't worry about low water. ALLLLLLLLLLL container plants have to be watered regularly, so what you need is a drip irrigation system on a timer going to everything (which you can do yourself) rather than chasing a vain hope that these plants won't need regular supplemental watering. Drip irrigation is extremely efficient and uses very little water at a go, but keep in mind that your plants have a very limited area to get water from.

1. You'll have to lose the lights for my plan. Can you put new ones int he soffits?
2. Fabulous house numbers down R side of door--also black.
3. Decorative brackets for eaves and a prettier fascia.
4. Lose the screen for a concealed one.
5. Paint the door aqua! Add a black kick-plate and door hardware--a touch of class without the fussiness of bronze here.
7. Add more substantial trim around the door using the Home Depot foam stuff. It works greant and is super-easy to install.
8. Normally, I love windowboxes, but under yours would be...concrete. Ew. So I'm going to vote for big planters--2' deep and coming up to 18" beneath your windows, and 1' wider than the windows, total (6" on each side). You must, must raise them! And paint them aqua, too (the surface should be smooth, like stucco)! In these, plant sedums, spurge, pennyroyal, potato vine, guara (trim!), blue flax, thyme, variegated monkey grass, etc. Get a good foundation of evergreen plants, then go for chartruese foliage with a solid combination of "spillers, thrillers, and fillers"--google that! Stick to pink/mauve/blue for your palette for you blooms, and with that little space, ALWAYS leave a spot for annuals! You need their punch. Grow stuff that's supposed to reach 24-30", for the tall accents. The tall planter will be more visible from the street, and the overlap with the window (there'll be less than you think ) will provide real charm and life.
9. A big white pot should sit between the garage doors and the window planter. And in it--bougainvillea! Pink bouganvillea! Whack it back regularly, but train it over the garage on a pergola-like lattice.
10. Get another large pot for the other corner of the house and put really vertical grass in it--Jose Select Tall Wheatgrass, for instance, with some great bright annuals planted around it. (It'll look interesting in winter, even dead.)
11. Buy a retractable awning to stretch from 6" to the left of the L window to 6 inches to the R of the R window. When retracted, it should look something like a valence for the house--and should include a your house colors in a vertical stripe--the vertical stripe is CRUCIAL, as the horizontal stripes make your car look like an RV. This will make your entire front yard into an entertaining space--AND will give you a bright and cheerful "inside/out" kind of punch, too, when retracted.
12. When you get those carriage doors, get black hardware and paint them aqua, too!
13. Stain the concrete with a casual pattern. Don't try to do irregular flagstones--that always looks fake--but use painter's tape to mark out a simple block pattern, working with the slabs that are there. IF you are allowed and can afford it, actually making a patio of stone or brick would be even better, but if you have to not touch part as the "sidewalk", you're better off staining, which will make the space seem bigger. Do the whole "yard," not just under the awning.
14. Get a big coconut husk doormat. Make it as wide as will fit.
15. Get a patio set with two chairs and a sofa in a palatte-harmonizing color--buff, preferably, with accent pillows of aqua patterned indoor/outdoor fabric. Chairs have their back to the driveway, sofa has its back to the yard of the yellow house next door. Skip the coffee table that comes in with the set, as it'd block the front door. Instead, get small teak/ipe side tables in a dark stain--one between the chairs and one next to the sofa. Add some big planters with tall plants to give dimension and shade.
16. The driveway is now the place for your outdoor dinner table! Get a set that seats 6--not one with the pivoting chairs on a circular base but a more classic design. Back-bolsters in an accent fabric can do wonders.

Classic:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Braddock-Heights-Woven-Patio-Dining-Set/10899373

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Braddock-Heights-4-Piece-Patio-Conversation-Set/10574359

I particularly like the black metal for this design and how it coordinates with the hardware accents.
17. You can even add a rug! Yes, there are now attractive indoor/outdoor rugs to put under your conversational grouping.
18. Finally, place groupings of LARGE pots around, filled with (drip-irrigated) plants. If you can move a pot easily by yourself, it's too small! Put them alone (very large) or in groups of 3 or 5. Range the heights of the plants from 6' down to creeping plants that spill over the edge, and design each group of pots together, staying strictly to your palette. Somewhere between 3 and 5 of these groupings, total, will "finish" the front yard.

I don't know about your side setbacks, but you can probably find a way to attach a grill semi-permanently to the L side of the house, too.

How much fun!

HTH!


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RE: Curb Appeal: Please share your ideas

Thank you so much for the time you spent and all of your ideas, RS.

There is no sidewalk on our street so we can basically do what we want to the concrete all the way to the street.
You can't tell very well from the picture, but there's a noticeable slope from the street to the house, enough so that we couldn't arrange furniture without grading (maybe putting a small retaining wall out front) first. This means resurfacing and we're undecided on the materials. We're considering brick (herringbone pattern) or smooth concrete pavers in a buff colour with dymondia planted in the spaces between them, or smooth limestone with fairly wide grout.

About your 2' deep planters. Assuming masonry/stucco finish, we are still left with a concrete(or other hard surface) to stucco transition which in my mind leaves one of the problems unsolved. Maybe creepers would help this out.
We have already cut two planters out along the front of the house (they come out 21.5 inches from the house), so if we did window boxes, there would be plants underneath them.
I agree that the lights have to go.
I took out the screen door last week. It was awful. No more screens.
As for windows--this is where it gets tough because every colour choice affects the next one. We are leaning toward traditional TDL steel or aluminum windows with a 2 over 2 grid pattern in a matte black colour / bronze anodized if aluminum, which looks very close to matte black in person (if we were going with the cream body paint).

How do you suggest making the fascia prettier?

I like the idea of aqua for the front door but for the garage door i'm on the fence. The garage door is a big part of the elevation and it will become the focal point, i'm afraid, if it's aqua.

Thanks again for all of your suggestions.


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RE: Curb Appeal: Please share your ideas

Some examples of beach houses.

Beach  Houses 3

Beach Houses 2

Beach Houses 1


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RE: Curb Appeal: Please share your ideas

> This means resurfacing and we're undecided on the materials. We're considering brick (herringbone pattern) or smooth concrete pavers in a buff colour with dymondia planted in the spaces between them, or smooth limestone with fairly wide grout.

I'm for any of them! The brick would be least appropriate, I think, and too busy for the space. (I saw the slope, thought you might be stuck with it, BTW.) You can also look at stamped concrete. (Yeah, you though I'd make it easier....)

>About your 2' deep planters. Assuming masonry/stucco finish, we are still left with a concrete(or other hard surface) to stucco transition which in my mind leaves one of the problems unsolved. Maybe creepers would help this out.

Yep. The "spillers" I was talking about! You could also do a wood board-look over the surface, too, if you'd prefer. The color with a smooth finish would be a bit more contemporary--the wood boards more relaxed and inherently "beachy".

>We have already cut two planters out along the front of the house (they come out 21.5 inches from the house), so if we did window boxes, there would be plants underneath them.

Not as enthusiastic about that many elements together just because the plants below would have to be quite low to not hit the window boxes, and the window boxes above would be low by necessity. Too much going on, I think. I'd be tempted to make the cut-outs even deeper. 21.5" is minimal, which is why I said 24". (I mean depth versus height, which was probably unclear.)

I just vomited my ideas without reading more than what you wanted ("beachy, maybe white") the first time around and my edits didn't catch everything. Sorry. :-)

>As for windows--this is where it gets tough because every colour choice affects the next one. We are leaning toward traditional TDL steel or aluminum windows with a 2 over 2 grid pattern in a matte black colour / bronze anodized if aluminum, which looks very close to matte black in person (if we were going with the cream body paint).

Oh, I LOVE that!!!! Simple, classy, and nice, broad strokes. It would look drop-dead GORGEOUS with white trim!

>How do you suggest making the fascia prettier?
You can just replace/cover the two boards with a single one and do something to give more depth to the top--like a 2" wide, 2" deep strip of black material. Wood would be bad for this, due to the possibility of contributing to rot. Azek or fiber cement would work here. Right now, the board sort of fades into the sky. The roof is invisible, and it has no weight. This seems minor, but it'd give it some heft.

>I like the idea of aqua for the front door but for the garage door i'm on the fence. The garage door is a big part of the elevation and it will become the focal point, i'm afraid, if it's aqua.

I wouldn't do it if it stayed the same ugly door. Only because you're going carriage-house with it that I'm suggesting this. You can try it in Photoshop several ways.

Actually, I'd recommend skipping the carriage house doors (which are pretty but not too beachy) and getting an 8' pair of French doors instead. The garage door looks 6'8" to me already, and you could still drive through it, if you had to! It'll be drop-dead gorgeous with bamboo shades behind them (for privacy--or to hide your junk!), and that way, you can use it fully for storage or for anything else without having to pay double for a door or window (since carriage doors are awfully expensive for what may not be a long-term change). It'll make the front look fully like a true cottage and less like a tiny rancher.

Hey, can I decorate your house, too? :-) This is so much easier than doing my own!


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btw...

If you prefer the board look for planters, I can draw you up a model in Sketchup of what I mean. It's NOT the 1970s style ones--something more sophisticated.


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RE: Curb Appeal: Please share your ideas

Thanks, RS, for your follow up.
You've given us a lot of ideas.

I like the FD idea in lieu of the garage door.


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