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sherimcm

Which elevation, A or B?

8 years ago

Comments (55)

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    None of the above. It's seizure inducing to have that much pattern. It's the exterior equivalent of a 70's interior.

    Design Gems · More Info

  • PRO
    8 years ago

    I can't get past the graphics.

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  • PRO
    8 years ago

    Yes, the line drawings are very distracting and unappealing. That said, the "design" is unimaginative and unappealing. It's appears to be simply an interior floor plan that has had roof trusses stacked on top of a common wall plate height and decorated with some exterior goodies. Besides too many materials, the windows are utilitarian (give each room a window...check!). What purpose does the large front gable serve? Why is it even there? The stacked hip roofs in the early photos suggests some development beyond the front façade, perhaps a second story somewhere? It appears that a lot more thought could be given to both the interiors and exteriors for an improved design.

  • 8 years ago

    What purpose do the two stone things in elevation B serve and why would they be stone? How far do they protrude? Are they really necessary? The house would be much better without them. How will water drain between the two gables on the right? A floor plan would help.

  • 8 years ago

    This is someone's dream. How do you know the house isn't almost done? Maybe we should ask where she is at in construction??

    it may be too late for all of your suggestions. Offer suggestions for where she is at.

  • 8 years ago

    If forced to choose, I'll say A. I agree that the stone is "too much".

    However, I think both elevations could stand improvement. I'd encourage you to simplify them. Simplify the roofline, reduce the number of materials. They're both clutter-y looking.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Perhaps this photo will help. I've always loved stone, but my architect originally put shakers on the apex and stone along the base and just at the entrance, with columns like yours. It didn't look balanced. The roof was too prominent, the columns too skinny. We ditched the shakers (too busy) and the columns, simplified the trim, and increased the stone, and we love it. I was worried that our roof line was too busy, but I end up getting lots of compliments on the roof line and the stone. The shutters were an afterthought--we didn't want to cover the stone, but it really added a finished touch.

    Here's the original concept, before modifications:

    And here's how it turned out after the changes:

    The door is now painted red, which helps it stand out. Sorry, I couldn't find that picture quickly, but you get the idea.

    What helped us was a book called "What NOT To Build: Do's and Dont's of Exterior Home Design" by Sandra Edelman. It helped me clarify my thinking when I could tell I didn't like something but couldn't pinpoint it. It has much of the expert advice you're receiving here, like reducing the number of materials and proportions.

    Hope this helps.

  • 8 years ago

    Of the two you posted, I prefer A.

  • 8 years ago

    Golfer girl recommend's an excellent book. I would definitely look into it.

  • PRO
    8 years ago

    A is more balanced. Congratulations on your new home! For others who decided to bash this person's plans, you shouldn't really offer advice that was not asked for. They simply asked A or B. If you don't like anything about it, then just don't respond.

    Black and white renderings can be deceiving. If the three materials are chosen correctly, it may not be too busy. Coordinate the colors and the different materials could be a good textual contrast. Have fun! And remember, it's your house, you have to like it.

  • 8 years ago

    If A and B are the only two choices, then definitely A. But I'd go with the crowd and suggest another choice with only TWO different materials, not three.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    A is more balanced. Congratulations on your new home! For others who decided to bash this person's plans, you shouldn't really offer advice that was not asked for. They simply asked A or B. If you don't like anything about it, then just don't respond.

    Black and white renderings can be deceiving. If the three materials are chosen correctly, it may not be too busy. Coordinate the colors and the different materials could be a good textual contrast. Have fun! And remember, it's your house, you have to like it.

    You are entitled to your opinion and the people on here are entitled to theirs, including the professional architects and designers here who do or did this for a living.

    Why would they pick A or B if in their experienced opinion's neither was a good choice?

    I'm guessing the professionals can figure out what is and isn't deceiving by the black and white rendering.

    FYI: 3 architects and one designer all felt both choices needed work. You as designer are entitled to your opinion but so far you are the only designer who thinks the choices are fine as is.

  • 8 years ago

    "3 architects and one designer all felt both choices needed work"

    Make that 4 architects and one designer.

  • PRO
    8 years ago

    DETAILS design studio wrote, "...For others who decided to bash this person's plans, you shouldn't really offer advice that was not asked for. They simply asked A or B. If you don't like anything about it, then just don't respond..."

    The OP posted two elevations and asked a question. As far as I can tell, none of the responses have been "bashing".

    When one posts on this forum and asks for responses, any and all responses which are reasoned and based on experience are worth sharing. There is nothing to be learned by encouraging bad choices or simply remaining silent in t he face of inexperience. Learning is one of the major advantages of this forum and the discussion here.

  • 8 years ago

    To expound on what Virgil said. When I first came on here I too posted my elevations. They were bad! Very bad. I knew they weren't right but couldn't put my finger on why. Thankfully the architects on this forum "bashed" as you call it, my elevations and with their help, and my own further research I was able to create a plan and elevation that will look great and work great.

  • PRO
    8 years ago

    Plans by Marcy

    Option A offers plenty of street appeal, given the complex roof lines, without the need for, or added expense of the stone on that front punch.

    In my opinion, it takes away from the aesthetic appeal of the home overall ... too busy.

  • PRO
    8 years ago

    I completeley agree with the advantages of this forum. I am amazed by how much good (and free) advice is given by very skilled professionals who go out of thier way to help when they normally charge for use of all their training & experince. Even the homeowners who comment usually have very good advice & suggestions. It is a great resouce.

    I understand the value of constructive criticism. The opinions, suggestions, renderings, photos and book suggestions are really helpful. I have seen posts on other threads by you all here that is all very encouraging, valuable and helpful.

    However, when I read this original post, I am under the impression they are possibly under construction with their home. If someone is building their dream home and reads comments saying their design is unimaginative & unappealing, along with suggestions about windows, gables and the general structure of the entire house (after simply asking a straightforward qustion about 2 exterior material combinations), then I could see where that could be very disheartening to the homeowner. I am not sure if you can see when posts are deleted or edited, but I thought I remembered someone else actually positing a very short and rather hurtful comment about both renderings without any constructive or helpful ideas at all.

    As a designer, I am brought into projects in all stages of design or construction. I assume most pros have had projects where clients have already made decisions, or have ideas in their minds they are not willing to change. Soemtimes I have to work within the parameters I am given, and although the project is not 100% what I would choose for myself, I try to advise the client as best as possible for their specific needs/aesthetic wishes. In the end, all that really matters is that it works for them and they are happy.

    To the poster - if you are under construciton, do not be discouraged. You do have a beautiful new home with whichever material combination you choose. And if you are still in the planning phases, it looks like you have lots of people who would like to provide input.

  • 8 years ago

    If they are under construction they had better ace decided on an elevation rather than now asking opinions.............

  • 8 years ago

    Like millworkman said, all of this should have been decided before the first trench was dug, especially considering the costs of these materials.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Give the ''my client's bad taste is always right'' a rest. People don't hire designers to be yes men. They hire them to give them results that they can't get for themselves, with their own skills and taste. Try to avoid selling your soul for a tacky end result that they could have gotten for themselves without any help.

  • 8 years ago

    Neither.

  • 8 years ago

    I appreciate all the input. No trenches have been dug, but too far to be making major changes. The exterior inspiration came from this photo, although the pitch of the roof needed to lowered and ended up exposing the roof line of an upper room to the back of the house. I already had to come to terms with that change and now it doesn't bother me at all. I see


    photos all over GardenWeb and Houzz that utilize stone, lap siding and shingle siding in combination. Maybe it is just a personal preference as not all exteriors nor house plans appeal to me.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    There ARE objective design guidelines. And those who aren't educated in them create plenty of atrocities. There are a LOT of bad designs out there. Don't model your home on "popular" yet bad designs. You've gotten some very good advice here. Simplify. You wouldn't wear all if the jewelry in the box. Neither should you throw everything but the kitchen sink at a home design.

  • 8 years ago

    "although the pitch of the roof needed to lowered..."

    Classic example on the significant effect a roof pitch can have on the look of a house.

  • 8 years ago

    The inspiration photo shows only 2 materials, no?

    And be careful on the massing of the bases for the columns. They "make" the inspiration photo and it looks like the sketch has them significantly less beefy.

    I find that is a common watering down of inspiration photos - and then the homeowner gets something that is "close" but now quite what they "felt" when they saw the inspiration photo. Now, I understand perhaps the columns don't need to be as beefy because of the change in roofline, (visually it looks like you are hold up less) but beefing those up might make a nice visual difference at a fairly nominal cost.

  • 8 years ago

    I would be tempted to bring the stone down further like golfergirl did on her house (the finished house), use it on the columns, and side the rest of the house in one siding...either lap or shingle. Two over one Windows.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    The danger of multiple materials, especially if arbitrarily or illogically located (masonry above wood, changes at half wall height, etc), is that it can so easily distract from or hide the primary architectural character of the house rather than enhance it and in an extreme cases to the extent of acting as camouflage.

    When I look at options A and B I can't identify any architectural element other than the big pediment that should be a dominant feature but is marginalized by rustic shakes and a big rectangular vent.

    The inspiration photo shows a strong pediment reinforced and made to appear dominant by a single centered arch-top window. Its OK to lower the roof pitch but your pediment is too small for the large hipped roofs behind it (although in the real world they will be foreshortened and appear lower). I realize that the slope of the pediment rake is constrained by the slope of the hipped roof behind it but your designer should have found a way to avoid that problem and let the gable/pediment be more dominant as in the inspiration photo.

    I tried to sketch something but without the floor plan I couldn't tell what is what (especially since the lines of the roof hips are hidden by the shingle pattern) so I gave up. This advice is the same I would give a client even if the project was finished although in such a case I would have had the advantage of understanding the design and therefore have been able to offer a solution rather than just criticism.

    If you are serious about getting professional advice, please post the plans (especially the roof plan) and the other elevations with no materials shown. Its never too late to make a design better.

    By the way, the term "constructive criticism" is commonly misconstrued as being positive rather negative. Constructive criticism should consist of both positive and negative criticism. What makes it "constructive" is the quality and manner in which it is delivered. Architectural school would be even less effective than it already is if it didn't embrace negative criticism and that is also true of this forum.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I see photos all over GardenWeb and Houzz that utilize stone, lap siding and shingle siding in combination. Maybe it is just a personal preference as not all exteriors nor house plans appeal to me.

    Don't model your home on "popular" yet bad designs. You've gotten some very good advice here. Simplify.

    Good design whether a house or a painting normally has a focal point. The best paintings create a focal point by using composition, line, light, color, etc to lead the viewer's eye to where the artist want's the viewer to first focus on, (and keep coming back to.) If you close your eyes in front of a good work of art and then open your eye suddenly, you'll see what I'm explaining.

    It's no different in residential architecture. In the majority of cases with residential architecture, the focal point will be the most welcoming part of the house, the front door (but it doesn't have to be the front door.) Notice when you look at a well designed house, close your eyes and then open them again how you first see the area that welcomes the visitor or says look at me?

    When I look at your examples (and do the close the eye test), I am not sure where my eye should look first, or even second or third. I'm confused by the whole thing. There is beauty in simplicity.

    I know you said you're too far to be making changes. However if no trenches have been built, you are not too far along to make changes that will give you a beautiful home. In fact with my own house, I was already in permitting when I pulled the plug because we decided to buy more land. That allowed us to fix the things that bothered us with our original build. (On our narrow city lot line, we were limited to a footprint of only 35% of the land) Additionally if it wasn't for some of the architects here on this board, my house probably would have wound up looking like a house where every piece of "craftsman" jewelry had been added with no cohesiveness.

    Yes, this all took time and we are only now hopefully going back into permitting five months later, but the difference is I'll have a house that works on all levels.

    I would suggest you post your layout and let's see if there's a way to create beauty from your house chaos.

  • 8 years ago

    The other thing that I see on your inspiration photo is again related to scale. The windows in the center section of the inspiration are HUGE. And the door is a large scale assembly with sidelights and a transom arch that mimics the one on the porch.

    Yours does not. Can you consider changing the windows and front door assembly? Your window scale looks a little off.

    It's visual details like this that will wow you.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Here are some things that work well in the inspration house but were lost in yours. These things are not just attractive features they are the essence of your home's architecture.

    Space between window head and eave soffit (lower head & lower sill); no masonry below window; mullions; wider window; shutters; wide corner board

  • 8 years ago

    Featured front door:


  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Don't put anything in the apex of a pediment. The roof should be vented with a ridge vent anyway.

    CAD drawing style:

    Don't use shakes or clay tile to represent resawn shingles.

    Don't show the roof shingles at all.

    Do print and use subtle color to help distinguish materials.

  • 8 years ago

    Very nice JDS. I hope the OP will consider such changes.


  • PRO
    8 years ago

    Keep in mind that lower window head heights mean less light in the interior. A 9' or 10' plate height makes a big difference in the height of window heads.

  • 8 years ago

    I love seeing the time that JDS puts into helping folks out with visuals.

    Even if you got some bashing it was worth it ten fold.

    Good luck with your project and look forward to seeing the progress you make.

  • 8 years ago

    Thank you JDS, looks beautiful. Your drawing shows the entry door system we wanted, but could not find with impact rated
    glass. If door doesn’t have impact rated
    glass, building code requires this ugly bolt system around the frame of door to
    secure hurricane panels. We live on
    east coast of Florida. Our windows will be impact rated and cost
    substantially more, therefore we eliminated the elliptical window, as shown in the inspiration house. We settled for a cottage style single door, not
    as drawn on elevation. This is style of the front door by Plastpro.


    Floridians, any recommendation for this style
    with impact rated glass sidelights.

    I questioned the designer as to why the window height hits the soffit area, definitely not the look I was after. Our interior ceiling height is 9'4". The height measurement of the windows are 6 foot and placed 2 feet off the floor (block house). The right side is the garage, not sure of ceiling height.

    Appears you changed the window sizes on right?? This is another area we went round and round about.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Given those dimensions the windows should be as much as a foot below the roof soffit.

    In my drawing I was forced to add a foot to the bottom of the house to relieve the squashed appearance.

    I looked at your elevations again and the explanation for such low soffits that makes sense is that the roof is framed with trusses that have no "heel" (in other words, the top chords are tight against the wall top plates instead of raised to allow more insulation.)

    If the roof had been framed with conventional 2x rafters, the roof and the soffit would have been between 6" to 8" higher. If the roof had been framed with "raised heel/energy" trusses, the roof and the soffit might have been 8" to 12" higher.

    In any case, with more careful attention to the exterior design by the truss manufacturer there is no reason for the soffits to be lower than the interior ceiling and I would guess your soffits are at least a foot lower than that.

    I assume that revising the trusses would be cheaper than increasing the ceiling height but you may be stuck with this design. You could shorten the windows 4" but they have probably been ordered. I wish you had designed the cladding before construction started.

    Raised heel truss:

  • 8 years ago

    Even if you can't find a door rated for your local codes (and I have to think that they exist) you need to beef up the entrance visually - even adding some larger scale full height shutters, etc to fill in that space.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I am in FL too. Which window brand are you using? Custom Window Systems are a bit cheaper and just as good as PGT.

    As for doors, I believe Thermatru has the style door you'd be looking for in impact rated. I know they are available in FL since most of the newer houses being built have the window lights in the door and on the sides. If you were told otherwise, you were being handed a bunch of baloney

  • 8 years ago

    cpartist - we are using CWS windows. I'll check Thermatru. Have you decided on your front entry door?

  • 8 years ago

    JDS, I don't know how our trusses are designed, I just assume whatever is required by code. A question for the GC

  • 8 years ago

    JDS, I am getting an education. I didn't even realize there was different options. So I looked at the truss design that was sent to us. Don't know if I use the correct terminology; the truss does sit on the top plate and then extends 18 inches. Roof pitch is 6/12. I am assuming this is what you meant as to why the windows are up against the soffit. Just doesn't seem like good design.

    Feeling frustrated, especially when I questioned the designer about how the window/window trim is against the soffit. This is how they are on the back elevations as well.

    Don't know what code is but your diagram shows the hurricane straps.


  • 8 years ago

    I am sorry this is so frustrating for you - but you deserve to have the home that wows you and delights you. Your designer needs to up his / her game and start producing something that is worthy of all the energy (and time and money) you are putting into this project or needs to refer you to someone who can do this.

    sherimcm thanked just_janni
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    The only role the building/energy codes would play in the roof truss issue (other than to require that the trusses be designed by an engineer) is to require that the roof/ceiling insulation (presumably in the attic floor) be continuous to the exterior face of the exterior support wall. Unless that insulation is spray foam, it is likely to be 10 to 12 inches thick so the truss would have to be designed to allow the insulation to be that thick at the exterior wall. This truss configuration is called a "raised heel truss" or "energy truss" as shown in the drawings above.

    From your elevation drawing it appears the truss is not raised causing the soffit to be unusually low which would prevent blown-in insulation from being the required thickness at the exterior wall. This can be accommodated with 5 or 6 inches of closed-cell high-density spray foam for the last foot or so of the truss.

    Even if raising the truss was more expensive than using foam, I would have expected the designer to have called for it in order to maintain the full height of the exterior wall.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    sherimcm, Your "designer" sounds a bit like the one I had. Luckily I found this forum early and had the help of the folks here to make it right. I also realize how frustrating it can be. As mentioned before we've been at this for well over a year. We put a deposit on the land back in early March 2015 and finally went back into permitting today.

    Yes I'm using a craftsman style door but with no side lights (although I might change my mind on that).

  • 8 years ago

    Chiming in re: doors and to echo what cpartist suggested - have a look at Thermatru. I'm on the Georgia coast and we're using a Thermatru double front door with a lot of glass.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    This is the difference between a low truss and a raised truss on your house.

    In a northern climate a higher roof with full insulation to the outer face of the house is critical in order to prevent ice dams forming above the gutters so house roofs are typically framed with raised trusses or deep rafters or smaller rafters resting on the attic floor (my preference).

    In the south it would be less critical but still important. Whether or not the local building official would accept the reduction in roof/ceiling insulation I don't know but a higher eave would certainly look better so I'm surprised it wouldn't be a standard approach. I suspect the house in the inspiration photo used raised trusses and that should have been obvious to your designer assuming you showed it to him/her.

  • 8 years ago
    I wonder if JDS would agree to work on this project on a fee basis? There is so very much to know about design, as you are learning. It might be worth it to hire him, or another professional, to be sure you get something you'll love.
  • 8 years ago

    I second Anniebird's suggestion. I highly recommend you message JDS and see if he's interested and if he is, what he needs from you. Can't hurt to ask. You're in an endeavor that's involving a six figure sum of your hard earned money and there's no "do overs".