We've recently purchased a new (used) home that needs extensive repairs and cosmetic improvements. We're about 2 months into the renovation, and while the interior has been progressing nicely, we're stumped on what to do with the exterior. The home is about 10 years old, but has a mixture of styles incorporated into the front of it. There is cedar shake, fish scale shake, cultured stone, brick, victorian accents, etc. It also had a mauve colored set of shutters and flower boxes on each of the front windows. We've removed them, as they need repair and pairing. I've attached a photo, and am looking for ideas on how to make this home look amazing once again.
The shake is brittle, needs to be removed We're just not sure if we should put it back (obviously with some color) or not. Also, what to do with the paint colors? We would love a rustic look on the front of this home, but again, we're just having a hard time visualizing it. Any suggestions?
I think your house has a really interesting combination of styles, mixing Victorian gingerbread with Southern columned pillars. There is already a rustic look on the upper portion of the house where the shutters have been removed.
I think if you want a truly rustic look, you'd have to remove the gingerbread. Still, the columns lend a stately colonial look and I don't know how that could be easily or inexpensively changed. So there still will be a formal look as long as the columns remain (and I think they're lovely).
I can't offer any suggestions on how to clean the second story, but as you probably already know the shake (?) exterior needs cleaning. That would greatly improve the overall appearance of the second story.
Beyond that, I think landscaping around the steps, at the base of the deck, and on the deck is an easy way to make the house stand out. Big container plantings of sun loving plants on the deck would bring a lot of color very quickly. Even greenery and foliage would add some spice.
You might try something like ostrich ferns to complement the Victorian styling, and flowers in bright colors to bring some contrast.
I would also put some planters underneath the two first floor windows bordered by the deck unless you plan to add shutters.
You could also add planters that fit like a saddle over the deck railings. Put in some sprouted sweet potatoes or vining plants (flowering or just foliage) for accents.
Same with the side deck. If you can afford it, a table with an awning and some chairs along the far right side of the deck would add color. If you chose them in redwood or cedar, you could add the rustic touch you want.
I actually wouldn't change any of the coloring on the exterior, but would just add landscaping accents. If you decide later that you want to remove the gingerbread trim, you'll have already tested the effect of landscaping to see if provides the improved look you seek.
Really, consider hiring an architect for an hour or two of advice. You don't really need drawings, but just a talk through. Draw up a few line drawings of your house and photocopy. This gives you talking points with the architect and you can make notes on the photocopies. Best money I ever spent was doing this with an architect. Within 40 minutes, we had a plan. Did the same thing with a landscape coach.
I truly appreciate both of your comments. We love the idea to hang plants over the deck railings, as that would definitely dress things up. I'm a fan of the flower boxes that were once on the home and will probably put them back, after building new ones.
We're going to consider consulting with an architect for the front of the home, but I think it has more to do with color than anything. We like the different styles, but the gray siding seems a little gloomy. Given the cost of the overall renovations, we're postponing the landscaping until the spring. That will involve an entirely new porch and steps made of boulders, with a slight curve in the steps to the left.
Thanks for the advice.
No offense intended... I thought the siding on the front and side was a cocoa/dark taupe color, not grey. Perhaps it's the lighting...
I don't know what you might have in mind for the grey siding or if it's even feasible, but the grey sidings on some New England houses look wonderful when paired with white trim and climbing rose, white and pink roses. Just something to consider...
No offense taken. We've considered keeping the same colors, or lightening the grey siding a bit. Everything just looks weathered at this point, needs a good power washing, and will definitely benefit from a fresh coat of paint. I think that the biggest obstacle is the red brick. We feel that it really limits our color choices. I'll do some research on the New England homes and see what we might be able to come up with.
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