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Exterior renovation: what would you do if you lived here?

12 years ago

We're planning an exterior renovation (new siding, new front door, new door surround/possible hooded entry) for our 1950 north-facing hip-roof colonial in a 1950s neighborhood in the seacoast area of New Hampshire. We've enlisted the services of an architect for some of the details, but have only just begun the process.

I'd love it if some of you could jump in here and offer some suggestions based on the photo below. We're pretty set on fiber cement siding (either James Hardie or Certainteed). Our architect has suggested shingles (probably only on the front since our budget is no terribly large). We're looking to add overall curb appeal. Please ignore the one missing shutter - it fell off in a recent storm.

Please feel free to suggest anything and everything, from colors to siding choice to shingles - you name it. We can't really add on to the front of the house (door overhang or portico are OK), and the windows have to stay since they had been replaced recently. The small window over the front door is yellowed glass bricks and can't really be enlarged (there are two closets behind it and we don't want to get into a mess there).

I have a tendency to get stuck on specific and narrow ideas for the house, so I could really use the help in opening up my mind to other possibilities. I would be so grateful for any help and will come back here and update all of you with the progress.

Thank you!

Comments (44)

  • 12 years ago

    Jenmarie, this is just my opinion, but I've been going through myriad style books from the turn of the century on back, and I have a few suggestions based on your house's style:
    1. Get rid of the shutters--they look to be non-operable, and are the wrong size anyway. Shutters should be usable, and sized so that they cover the window opening--yours would cover the frame as well, and they are obvious fakes. For the paired windows, shutters would probably have been bi-fold to cover the entire window, not just half of each as they would now.
    2. Move the mailbox off of the door surround, could you mount it closer to the front walk or street?
    3. The lamps are too small, bigger would be more in scale with the building.
    4. Frankly, I don't see anything wrong with your door surround, but that ugly storm door is giving it a really bad appearance and should go.
    5. If you add any sort of portico, you are going to throw off the entire scale of the front facade--I'd leave it alone.
    6. Regarding a new door--six or eight wood panel with the top panels being bulls-eye glass to let in light would be great! A great door wouldn't need the storm, and you could get in faster without the need for a portico at all.
    7. To make the current surround work better, I'd simulate corner blocks going up the ends of the house in alternating large and smaller versions, that would do wonders for your nice house!
    8. Some colonial houses had shingles on the front only, but I think the clapboards look best with the scale of your house.
    9. Colors? Highly personal, but pale yellows, greys or slate blue with cream trim were typical of turn of the century colonials and their later imitations.

    These are just a couple suggestions based on the style and what would be appropriate based on that style...on a limited budget, you should concentrate on the essence of the style, rather than making major changes that wouldn't enhance the appearance as you are hoping.

    Good luck!

  • 12 years ago

    Wow, thanks for that wonderfully thoughtful response, columbusguy1! You hit on many points my husband and I have been discussing, so it's nice to hear another opinion - in many cases, confirming our feelings as well.

    I love your number 7 - I think you're talking about "quoins" - a new word I picked up recently when googling that exact architectural feature. It's common in many old homes nearby in Portsmouth, NH. I absolutely love the look. I'll bring it up with our architect.

    I hate that storm door, too. Can't wait to see it go! :)


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  • 12 years ago

    Here is a link for colonial styles to start you off.

    Just remember, the architect is working for you--he isn't god, so reject his ideas if you don't like them. Be sure that he isn't just trying to add some 'trendy' features which aren't sensitive to your style of house--many modern architects aren't because they no longer teach the fundamentals of old style architecture.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Colonial Styles

  • 12 years ago

    Thanks for that link. I also have a book that deals with traditional architecture, "Get Your House Right." It's been really helpful. And you're right - even the author of that book laments that modern architects aren't schooled enough in traditional style.

    I've been wondering, though, if it wouldn't necessarily be blasphemy to try a different approach with my house. After all, it isn't a historical property (although with the sad state our siding is in, you wouldn't know it), and if you took the door surround off of it, it's pretty much just a box with a hip roof.

    I guess I'm trying to decide if I'd be happier keeping the design strictly within the boundaries of a colonial style home, or if I should relax a little and consider alternative approaches. My neighborhood is full of homes ranging from colonials like mine to split levels, ranches, capes and some other unidentifiable styles, all built between 1949 and the mid 1970s.

    I suspect that our architect secretly wants to turn this house into a craftsman home. Which, I'll admit, intrigues me. :)

  • 12 years ago

    I think the middle window on the second floor looks odd. The pattern for this type of house has a wider and more prominent middle window if it isn't the same size as the the others of the floor. It makes for a consistent balance of emphasis on in the center of both floors.

    I agree about the shutters, they should be practical (or at least look like they could be) or they should be gone. And if kept, mounted at the correct position on the window frame (along inside edge). Otherwise they look like elephant ears just stuck on the building.

    I would consider changing the windows on the first floor, as well. The paired windows are a design problem, for me.

    The mixed colors for the window trim is peculiar; I'd get rid of the white and/or paint all the windows the same trim color.

    I would consider painting the chimney some color other than white which just calls unnecessary attention to it. Maybe a close match to the roof shingles.

    Pay attention to older houses that appeal to you. Look carefully at each detail and see what works and doesn't

    Re quoins: be thoughtful in choosing them, or pilasters, since you have no room above the window for a cornice.



  • 12 years ago

    What exactly are you trying to achieve? I have to say I can't quite formulate an opinion about proportions and so on... I think it's because there is no contrasting window trim, as well as the shutters being distracting.

    But the key question is really why you are doing any renovation at all other than painting. Something other than cosmetics must be at stake?


  • PRO
    12 years ago

    Along with all else already posted( especially the shutters and chimney) get the ornamental(maple?)professionally pruned.

  • 12 years ago

    Personal taste ought to dictate most of what you do, but...

    The house seems to be a very well done reproduction of traditional New England Federal style. There are only two jarring notes. The too small second story window and the chimney which is also too small in cross section. The white with black cap of the chimney is an attempt to be authentic - according to legend this coloration adverised Tory sympathies during the Revolution and War of 1812 in hopes that the British would spare the building. I realize these are two things you probably cannot change.

    The use of shingles and clapboards on the same house was also very common, but the clapboards, because they were more expensive, almost always were placed on the entrance side of the house. Shingles were used elsewhere, especially the north side.

    Cedar clapboards can easily last 200+ years with proper maintainence. They're expensive, but anything else would likely not look as good.

    There ought to be many, many examples of Federal styles near you - Portsmouth has some beautiful examples. Pick what appeals.

  • 12 years ago

    Jen, if your architect wants to turn your house into a Craftsman-inspired one--get another architect! You would have to do a complete reconstruction of the house; you have no eaves overhang, your window proportions are all wrong, the height to width ratio is WAY off, and any 'crafty' additions would just make the house look wrong on so many levels.

    Your neighborhood may have many styles of houses, but the one you bought is what it is--colonial--and can't be easily or cheaply adapted to something else. With the advice offered above, you will be surprised how much better your 'plain' house can look.

    Just a note, when Craftsman was popular, many houses with your proportions were done with colonial details--there had to be a reason for that--it looked right. My own house from '08 was built in that era, and it has mainly classical features on its cube shape.

  • 12 years ago

    Thank you ALL for your suggestions. I knew I'd get some great and informed advice from this forum. :)

    A little more background regarding the windows: they were replaced last year when I was about 9 months pregnant (and nesting like crazy). I wish I could turn the clock back and put more thought into their selection (such as simulated divided lights, although we were on a tight budget), but what's done is done. What I'm most disappointed about is the fact that they're vinyl and therefore not exactly paint-able - though I've found some instructions online - and the grilles-between-the-glass are barely noticeable from outside. On the last point, I ordered a sample kit from to add some inexpensive vinyl stripes to the exterior - you can see the results here - the strips were placed on the left window:

    You can also see from that close-up that the shutters are actually hinged as close to the window opening as possible. Because of the replacement windows and all the extra frame they add, it appears from a distance that the white frame of the windows is actually the trim. The entire exterior of the house will get new siding and new trim, so the new trim will certainly be white - or if I can figure out how to paint the vinyl - some sort of off white.

    There are a couple reasons we're replacing our siding instead of painting. Firstly, the paint is failing so badly in many places - particularly in the back of the house, that according to estimates we received from painters, the cost would almost be as high as new fiber cement siding, believe it or not! They also warned that any paint job would only last a few years. Also, it's lead paint, and I'd prefer to get it completely removed from the premises - we have two small kids. There are a number of places - particularly in the back, where the siding is simply popping off the house, and I'm concerned we may have some rot and possible insect issues. Lovely, huh?!

    Thanks again, everyone. You've given me a lot to think about.

  • 12 years ago

    A thought regarding the awkward tiny window over the front entry:

    Would it look weird to completely cover it up, but add window trim as if it were the same size as the other upper windows, and then add shutters but fix them as permanently closed?

  • 12 years ago

    I guess I'm out on a limb in really liking the small window above the door. I actually think it's the only window that looks like it belongs to the house. The other windows are not being helped by the white outlining effect, which makes them float free of the background, which is disrupting the visual cohesion of the facade. The window trim should all be the same color so they read as units. There is a "small above large" theme going here, but it doesn't work unless they read as units.
    You might consider a three color scheme, not necessarily with that gray as the body.
    The lights are not properly shaped and are about half the size they should be. I think they need to be torch-type lamps, not top-hung style.
    Once the windows are painted together, and the shutter is replaced, the facade will be a lot more in keeping with the original design. The granite stoop is great.

  • 12 years ago

    i have to ask - why are you doing new siding? the original wood (cedar?) siding looks good to me in that close up. it just appears to need a nice paint job with substantial professional prep.

    i was going to comment about the shutters but looking closely they are hung right, although the lower ones are sized wrong.

  • 12 years ago

    civ_IV_fan - we're getting new siding because the estimates we received to paint it were almost as high as the cost of fiber cement siding, and just about every painter warned that the paint job would only last a few years. It's lead paint, too, and with small children, I would feel better about it simply being gone. :)

  • 12 years ago

    I'd change the front door to something more cheery. Possible a bright green or red. Get rid of the screen door it's not working. Over the door I'd add a triangular piece to off set the small window possible with a copper top OR maybe just wood painted to look like copper with a patina if you are trying to save money.
    The front of the house needs to be professional landscaped. Right now it's a hodge podge of stuff and none of it is making a positive statement about the house.
    Window boxes might help but they need to be fairly substantial and not made of plastic. They offer the chance to add some decorative touches to not only the boxes themselves but to the seasons as you change them out.
    I'd be very leary of covering over that wood. I think you are being fed a line about the paint job not lasting longer than a few years. AND if you think you have insect problems under the siding now covering it over isn't going to stop it it might actually make it worse. Replacing a few boards is much cheaper than redoing the whole house.

  • 12 years ago

    Thanks, Carol, for your great suggestions. Window boxes are definitely in the plan. And our architect has been talking about a copper roof for the door hood he's designing - really looking forward to that (and hoping the copper won't be TOO expensive).

    We'll be completely removing the siding, so no worries about covering up problems. I can't recall the exact explanation we were given by painters, but it had something to do with moisture coming through and causing the paint problems we're having. We had numerous sources pretty much tell us the same thing. I could put up some photos of how bad the back of the house looks, but it's too depressing! I figured that if the painting companies were pessimistic, it was probably for a good reason - I'm sure they wouldn't want to put up their sign in our front yard and have the paint job end up falling apart in a few short years.

    I'm looking forward to working on a landscaping plan for next year, once the exterior is finished. I love that big Japanese maple, but as a previous poster mentioned, it needs pruning. Unfortunately, it was planted just 2 feet from the house! :O

  • 12 years ago

    When you talk to the landscapers ask them if they can dig out the Japanese Maple rather than to cut it down. You might be surprised.
    It's a beautiful tree. It's too bad who ever planted it didn't think more on where it was planted.

  • 12 years ago

    I would prune the maple not cut it down, I think it actually adds a great bit of character to the landscape. I would also trim the bush to the left. Do some major weeding in the front and maybe add some white garden stones or red mulch. The mulch may not be a great idea if you have insect issues though.

    I know it has been said already, but that small second story window is an eye sore, in fact it's hard to move my focus on other areas of the home. Kind of like the Austin Powers movie where the guy had a huge mole on his face lol.

    Porch lights need to be bigger, definitely to small, maybe 2 white lamp posts on either side instead of lights fixed to the home? The mailbox....I agree with the other poster in needing a conventional mailbox near the street.

    The storm door should be taken off and not replaced, I would do the front door in a different color than the siding, maybe a door with a window? I also think the shutters need to go too, and I like the white trim, or vinyl windows, but I would paint the trim white to match so the windows dont stick out to much. I also like the existing color, but I do also like the appearance of brick colonials too lol.

    As far as siding, being a mother of 4 little ones, I would much prefer vinyl siding to lead based paint. And the upkeep would be easier than painting it every couple of years. My home has new vinyl siding, and it is much easier to keep. Use a pressure washer to clean it from time to time, and inspect it for any chips or breaks after bad storms.

    BTW: I LOVE your house lol. I think it's beautiful. I come from a farming community so all we really have are old farm houses, so it's nice to see a colonial even if it's on the internet :)

  • 12 years ago

    What a nice house!
    I think that the double windows are fine. But the trim surroundintg them should be the trim color, not the siding color. At first I thought they weren't trimmed as a unit, but I see from you detail that they are, just lost in the siding colro. And the white of the windows should be painted the same color. Have fun!

  • 12 years ago

    jenmarie a lot can be done to that house but first step would be to truly examine the funds you have available for your project. this would help your architect. be straight with him and give him pictures prior to his starting. the house is a fine example of New England Federal as posted by maingrower. but I do have to say it's a bit flat and you are right it is in need of "curb appeal"
    No need to "fire your architect" if he comes up with a craftsman style . you say your neighborhood is a mix, so mix it up a bit more. It can be done
    I could go on with a list of things that you could do but a picture may be better , see below at bungalow front, there is a picture (clickonit to expand) of a before and after. the house started out like yours very flat. The architect was not fired, actually the drawing done by the owner artist

    Here is a link that might be useful:

  • 12 years ago

    Thanks for your comments, Moxcon. That bungalow link is amazing! What a beautiful transformation.

  • 12 years ago

    lose the tree! it is not the right tree for the spot and moving it would be a huge hassle and if by some miracle you succeeded, by the time it retook, a young tree from the nursery would be at a good size.

  • 12 years ago

    My mother-in-law tells me to remove the tree, too, so that means I can't. :)

    Truth is, I live on a fairly busy street downtown and everyone loves the tree - it turns a fiery bright red every fall. I wouldn't hear the end of it if it were to be removed. It's beautiful to see through our windows and it gives us a lot of nice shade.

    It's a pity it's so close to the house, but at this point, I plan to leave it there as long as Mother Nature allows.

  • PRO
    12 years ago

    It's lead paint, too, and with small children, I would feel better about it simply being gone. :)

    It will not be gone, just coverd up. Unless you are tearing it all off and re siding?

  • 12 years ago

    A couple of brief, entirely personal, points. It would be a shame to cart off the clapboards to the landfill. They are a very authentic touch and add a great deal to the overall appearance of the house, especially since they seem to have a 3" to 4" exposure. Even if they are pine rather than cedar, they can easily last 100 years. If they're cedar, junking them in favor of fiber cement siding makes little sense. If the new siding will have a significantly wider exposure - very likely in my experience - the entire look of the house will be changed.

    I'd be interested why the painters quoted what would seem to be a pretty high price - lead abatement maybe? In any case, scraping, priming and painting is just normal maintainence for wood siding. (My own house has cedar clapboards dating from circa 1810 which remain as solid as the day they were installed.) Second, why did the painters say a paint job would only last a few years? Premature paint failure always has a cause - commonly lack of interior vapor barrier - that can be corrected. Finally, have you considered the dust cutting and installing fiber cement entails? This product has some pluses, but it's hardly as "green" as manufacturers sometimes contend.

    A smaller second story window above the entry door is a traditional Federal touch. Your window is just too small. Removing the glass block and enlarging the window slighty would not be all that difficult and would make things look a great deal better.

    Not so brief after all.

  • 12 years ago

    @ christophern - yes, the siding would be removed completely - not covered over.

    @ mainegrower - I agree, I don't like the idea of carting all this stuff off to the landfill. We put serious thought into and weighed the pros and cons of keeping our siding vs. removing it and going with fiber cement. We were told by the painters that the high price was due to the significant prep work the house would require. If I recall, we've been told that the lap siding might not have been painted or primed or whatever is required on the back sides, and that is contributing to our paint failure. We also would need to replace numerous areas of siding. In a few places, the siding has completely fallen off and the underside of the board appears rotted. Since we're a growing family in uncertain economic times and are looking for lower maintenance (but still aesthetically pleasing) solutions, this seems the right way to go. Also, the house was built in 1950 and I don't feel the obligation to respect authenticity as much as if it were a true colonial era home (or a really cool quintessential mid-century home).

    We're considering fiber cement shingles for the front of the house with corresponding reveal (5") lap siding everywhere else. I know it's a risk to go with something new on the front, but I would really like to freshen things up with our look. Certainteed has a "Nantucket Gray" color that I really like and is only a little brighter with a slight green cast than our current siding. Our home with its current color scheme is an extremely dreary looking place in the late fall through early spring.

    As for the tiny window, I mentioned earlier that I'm entertaining the thought of covering it up (the window straddles two closets and brings unwanted light into those closets) and trimming it out to look like an equal-sized window to the other top windows, then placing shutters (perhaps from the lower ganged windows) there in a permanently closed position. It's hard to picture it and I'm hoping it wouldn't look too weird.

  • 12 years ago

    jen: Last comment I promise.

    It's your house and I fully appreciate the desire for low maintainence siding. I think I might want to see what another painter says, however. It's pretty hard for me to imagine that a paint job, even one with a great deal of prep would cost as much as the labor of tearing off what's there, plus repairing what ever may lurk under the siding plus the material and the labor to install brand new siding.

    A good deal depends on what the current siding is. If it's pine or cedar clapboards I do think they're worth saving. If they're some kind of masonite type product (certainly doesn't look like it, though), then removal is probably the best option.

    Factory primed clapboards today do have the primer on both sides and back priming on site would have been the pinnacle of perfection for unprimed siding in the past. Hardly anyone ever did it, though. In any case, back priming would have very little to do with paint failure on the outer surface. Nearly always it is caused by moisture migrating outward from the house interior or poorly applied paint and primer, too hot or humid conditions when applied, etc., etc. What you've been told by the painter doesn't sound accurate; another reason for consulting someone else. (The original one doesn't also sell and install fiber cement siding, by any chance?).

    Fiber cement siding may prove to be a great product, but it doesn't have much of a track record, it's not a DIY product should repairs, etc. be necessary and there are some real questions about its high silica content especially when its cut, sanded, scraped or broken. Chances are it will work fine for you; I'm totally prejudiced in favor of materials and methods that have been around for a century or two.

    It's a beautiful house and I wish you and your family much happiness in it.

  • PRO
    12 years ago

    Being a painter myself, I have to agree with mainegrower on this.

  • 12 years ago

    I don't know if anyone's still reading this thread, but I thought I'd share a Google Sketchup mockup I created for a possible look for my house:

    Siding: Certainteed 5" fiber cement shingles in "Nantucket Gray"
    Trim: Azek, painted something off-white
    Door surround: Fypon products
    Door: Pella fiberglass Craftsman style (I know - it's not colonial, but I like it!)

    I also added a stone "wall" on each side of the granite.

    Any opinions on the enlarged upper-floor center window with closed shutters? As I stated earlier, we cannot truly enlarge this window as it is placed between two closets.

    What do you think of the door surround? Is it too narrow? I wish we could add sidelights, but there is no room on the other side of the door to do so.

  • 12 years ago

    Hmmmmm- I like it! Gotta admit I was skeptical when you were talking about going "craftsman." The thing is, craftsman is highly trendy now and when trendy features are just tacked on whether they really fit or not... it can make a house look really dated in 20 years time.

    For that reason I'm not so crazy about the obvious Craftsman door, but on the other hand - it's only a door, and if you like it, what the heck! The rest of it seems true to form & timeless, & the door style doesnt really clash or anything... its just so identifiable as craftsman is all!

    Re: that shuttered window, it does look better I think - will there still be some light coming in that room (or is it a hallway)?

  • PRO
    12 years ago

    There is still something wrong with the shutters. The shutters should be large enough to cover the windows, upstairs looks OK, downstairs, not so good. The rest of it I like, especially the nice grass!

  • 12 years ago

    i rather like the mockup. the exterior window trim looks good. the downstairs shutters really need to go.

  • 12 years ago

    Without downstairs shutters:

    Any ideas for alternative surrounds? I like this one I've mocked up - and it's somewhat similar to what already exists. What about a triangle-shaped pediment? Or a half-round pediment? I also like the idea of a projecting crosshead (no more than 12 inches, perhaps), with modest corbels that attach to the flat pilasters.

  • 12 years ago

    jenmarie, what a terrific mock-up! I didn't know Google Sketch Up could do all that. Will have to look into that app more.

    You have some fabulous ideas for your house. I love the second mock-up very much. It still reads colonial New England to me. So beautiful!

    Two ideas. (1)What are your current front steps made of? I rather like the simplicity & historical touch of the simple two stone slabs. You see those with historic houses here in Connecticut/New York. I think your current slabs would actually work better than the redesign you did. Not as fancy but has more historic character. (2) What if you kept the little window instead of covering it with shutters? With the rest of your design so nice, the small windows could remain as a charming quirk like you see in old New England homes. I kinds like it, like sombreuil mongrel.

  • 12 years ago

    Okay jen, you wanted opinions...:)

    1. I still prefer the original door surround--it's wider than both your mockups, and would look great with matching quoins at the corners rather than flat trim. The craftsman door just jars too much for me...I'd prefer a colonial panelled door where the top panels are glass.
    2. Your original slab steps are great--granite is a trend and doesn't quite fit...neither do the stone edgings--too fancy for your house unless you add more stonework elsewhere.
    3. Love the new window trim, and glad to see the shutters gone downstairs! Love the window boxes and new lights also.
    4. I'm sorry to say, but the small window, especially enlarged and permanently shuttered, looks bad. Why not replace that small original window with an oval-shaped replacement with muntins? That would be very true to period and look great!
    5. If you MUST change the surround, and want a bit more projection--do half-columns on the side supporting a projecting lintel with dental molding?
    6. I'd love to see small topiaries flanking the steps!
    7. I want the hostas if you're going to pull them out! :)

  • 12 years ago

    I think columbusguy read my mind. How'd he do that?
    The only other thing I would explore is, now that the bottom shutters are gone, the dark colour of the upper story and roof rather overpowers the ground floor. The trimmed up Japanese maple would help to minimize the apparent imbalance. To carry that further, what would the mock-up look like if you were to either add a thin dark trim or paint the original door surround in the same colour as the shutters?

  • 12 years ago

    A Japanese maple of that size is probably 30-40K at retail. They are VERY slow growers and one of that size is pretty unusual. And yes, it can be transplanted by an expert. It wouldn't be cheap, but it could be done. An alternative is to find a local well respected landscape company and see if they'd be interested in purchasing it. Large corporate landscape jobs often are willing to pay a lot for a mature tree. You could correct the landscape misstep, salvage the tree for recycling and get some money to boot.

    I'd say no to the craftsman door and stone fou fou step decorations. And you really should research how much of a real maintenance intensive PIA that window boxes are before deciding to add them. They look nice, but a lot of times they end up with plastic flowers in them for a reason, and then they don't look so nice.

    It would suit the clean likes of the style to have a bone straight path to the street with some small beds of a box hedge on either side. Bluestone or granite would be lovely if you choose the grey siding color.(I think a more blue with grey tones would be a better choice.) If you removed the maple, you could do a post lamp and small patio type garden between the drive breezeway/side addition area. Even if you kept the maple and just trimmed it up, that area would be a nice spot for a mini patio with garden beds.

  • 12 years ago

    Well, I'm going to quibble with columbusguy, but the current door surround & quoins just don't jive with a simple traditional New England home, IMO. If the house were large & grand, that idea could work (see examples on the 'net). I don't like the idea of an oval window with muntins either -- that's more akin to suburban new construction than New Hampshire seacoast vernacular architecture. jenmarie's mock-ups are a nice blend of traditional New England & some updates that don't fly in the face of local style. I think her shuttered central window looks fine.

  • 12 years ago

    I'm gonna jump here and agree with columbusguy. I'm the biggest bungalow fan you're ever gonna meet - I've been told I should have "Is that historically accurate?" on my arm because I say it so much, I'm borderline obsessed with it, honestly - but you've got a colonial. If you really want a bungalow: craftsman, chicago, prairie, california, take your pick, then you should buy one. Just don't try to make that lovely colonial into something it's not.

    That door doesn't belong on that house, nor do those colors. Sherwin Williams has some great historical color collections to guide you, if you want to go the historically accurate route.

    That being said, if YOU like it, do it. It's YOUR house. You have to live there and drive up to it for years. Do what makes you happy. Seriously.

  • 12 years ago

    I know nuttin' about nuttin' but I do love your mock-ups. I also like some of the things you've suggested for your home.

    I was wondering how you learned the Sketch up? It didn't make any sense to me.

    I have a ranch that's been reshaped after a house fire. It's a bare canvas and I also love the bungalow look and wanted to make a sketch up of my house as it is, so I can draw on it!

    Keep up the interesting work!

  • 12 years ago

    I think that is a common Acer rubrum, not a pricey JM.
    IMO it's too big to prune into anything even remotely Japanesque and is too close to the foundation to suit me so in my world would be sacrificed and replaced with something that better serves the corner of the house.

  • 12 years ago

    It's definitely a Japanese Maple. It's a beloved tree by many of my neighbors, many who have lived here for decades and have watched it grow over the years. I'd be in big trouble if I took it down - but yes, definitely TOO close to the house. :)

    Christine - thanks for your compliments. Sketchup is indeed a somewhat challenging program to learn, but it's worth it. I started using it a few years ago when I designed my IKEA kitchen. There are lots of tutorials available on the web - they're a huge help.

  • 12 years ago

    I would not let anyone talk you into leaving that maple where it is. I'm overstating the point to make it so please don't be offended - but it looks ridiculous there. It would be one thing if it were rendered insignificant by other mature trees in the yard, but as it is your major tree, to have it two feet from the foundation is simply absurd. And if your neighbours complain about your insensitivity, ask how much they'd like to contribute to the replacement of your foundation, which will be losing its battle with the tree shortly, or if they're up for going up the ladder to do your quarterly eaves-cleaning (the brain wards are full of people who have fallen off their ladders cleaning their eaves). And offer to buy them a maple just like it (get it identified on the maple forum if you don't know what kind it is) to plant in their own yards.

    In particular given the work you are planning on the house, you can be entirely excused - the tree will be horridly in the way, and it may even die. A convenient excuse - use it!

    Do talk to them in advance if you know they feel strongly, but it's your yard, not theirs.

    Karin L
    PS, I do like your fake closed window.
    PPS, I have raised two kids in a house with old siding covered in old peeling paint (and then there is the inside). Neither one is precisely mentally handicapped. I think throwing siding away to protect them from lead is thoroughly misguided. Other reasons to throw it away may be valid, like rotting and the paint won't stay on it (though I quibble with that diagnosis). Not to say you shouldn't do what you have planned, but just to be clear on your reasons.
    PPPS, if you put the siding for free on craigslist, you might not have to take it to landfill.

  • 12 years ago

    I gave all my faded, light blue, 1970's siding away free on Freecycle dot org. It was very well received, which I could never really understand.

    But who needs a landfill when there's Freecycle! I've given away almost everything here that wasn't nailed down and I'm eyeing my windows...