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kgally

Help updating 90s house exterior

kgally
last year

We'd like to make a few changes to make our 90s colonial look a little more modern. It needs to be painted and I'm thinking of a color like SW alabaster and shutters and front doors in SW iron ore. We also need new garage doors - maybe a walnut or SW iron ore painted door? And wondering what we should do with the red brick - leave it as is or limewash? Would love to hear ideas about how to update the look. Please excuse the sidewalk chalk and kids' toys in the photo :) Thanks!


Comments (28)

  • Jeff Smith
    last year

    Nice house and yard, looks good so far.


    More modern? Suggest remove shutters. Remove the brick and replace with stone. You might match stone with landscape stone? Replace exterior lights - putting up modern lights instead of what's present now. For garage door, replace with a more modern one. Could have the garage door and new front door a similar theme, like natural wood, see below. Could also have a few sections of horizontal wood on siding or as details as shown in image. Just ideas but the changes should be reasonably priced. Not sure about the colors - painting and the color scheme would be decided after changes above.





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    Creative Visual Concepts, Kevin Strader
    last year

    Some ideas:

    1) Paint the secondary (mudroom I assume) front door the same color as the siding so it is less noticeable.

    2) If you keep the shutters they need to be wider (so they would cover half of each window if they were operable).

    3) Don't usually recommend painting brick but for no more than you have you could paint it, or as earlier suggested change it to a stacked stone.

    4) Since the house is so "garage dominant" I would paint the garage doors the same color as the siding so they don't "stick out" so much. New garage doors with windows would help to break up the facade and not make it look as heavy. If you did go with a wood tone garage door make sure it's not too dark.


    It is going to be difficult to modernize a very traditional facade. If you're interested in seeing some virtual makeovers of your house check out my website, Creative Visual Concepts.


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  • PRO
    Celery. Visualization, Rendering images
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Some visual



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  • houssaon
    last year

    I think you should remove the shutters, but they look better in the dark color. Agree that the service door be the same color as the siding.

    kgally thanked houssaon
  • decoenthusiaste
    last year

    True, that little dab of brick supporting the columns and under the porches needs to be removed and stone to match what's in the lawn used in its place. That keystones in the arches there and above the big portico are the only "colonial" references I see.Consider opening up the portico as in the "Western MA" photo. Lots more light will come in via your big window if you do that, and you'll move away from the colonial keystone look. You could square up the garage openings too. Many of the colors ital mover posted could work for your home. Just don't paint the corner trim in a high contrast so your house doesn't get "boxed in" by the trim outlining it. I'm in the camp for removing the vestigial shutters. Upgrade the carriage style lantern lights to Craftsman style ones that are 1/3 of your front' door's height. Hopefully, you can find a hanging lantern for the entry that matches new ones flanking the garage.


    This style of arched window would work for your garage if you don't have the budget to square up the arches. I'd paint the door in a subtle color to match the siding or some of the trim that isn't so much of a pop, You don't want the garage to be the star.

    Garage Door Replacement · More Info


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  • PRO
    BeverlyFLADeziner
    last year

    Garage doors are expensive. You can often replace panels if they are damaged. Do you really need a new garage door? I'd add panels with windows to your doors & a wall pergola above to better use some of that space above the garage doors.




    kgally thanked BeverlyFLADeziner
  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    last year

    What I think the house needs is improved landscaping, remove shutters and if you are painting I would test out SW Snowbound and go with color on front door and sidelights. Get larger black carriage lights for garage and hanging lantern light for front porch. I couldn’t block out the shutters but they need to either go or get painted same color as the body of the house so they disappear. As I worked the mock up, I found these exterior lights and I like the idea of going in a modern farmhouse direction so do front door in glossy black and exterior lighting in black as well.

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  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    last year

    If budget allows, a new front door in black with half glass would be great. Paint service door same as siding but in satin finish.

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  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    last year

    Big pots of flower in front of brick of posts with seasonal looks and low tidy foundation plants such as boxwoods or similar green plants that work in your zone.

    kgally thanked Flo Mangan
  • RedRyder
    last year

    Focusing on the doors (both two in front and two garage) is the best way to do “a little” to see the results. Can you remove the shutters and not have the siding look weird? If they have been there a long time, the siding might be a brighter, cleaner white. You have a classic white house that will look better with nicer doors and more landscaping. THEN decide about the brick.

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  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    last year

    I agree with what RedRyder said and you could just paint the shutters same color as siding (I think I said that above) and that solves the problem of potential holes in siding and discoloration of siding that would be hard to hide. If you did still want shutters and you like the modern farmhouse vibe, you could do wood shutters in farmhouse styling but size them correctly. Not sure you have space for correctly sized shutters though. Check on that first.

    kgally thanked Flo Mangan
  • kgally
    Original Author
    last year

    Thanks for all the ideas! I love the idea of painting the service door same as trim and removing the shutters to see how it looks without them. All the houses in our neighborhood are very traditional, many with shutters, so I was trying to stay in keeping with the area, but I see now how they don't even give the appearance of being functional! Unfortunately the garage door needs to be replaced, but it's helpful to know I should aim for staying the same color as the house rather than using that as a way to bring in some color. We definitely want one with windows. We also took down four huge arborvitae that were overgrown and blocking the bay windows completely. Some new landscaping should help add some interest.

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    last year

    You have a very nice home and it can only be better. One more thing to keep in mind. When you have an element you don't think quite fits (like the brick bases to the columns, sometimes, if you repeat the element it will look more integrated. For example, if you like the brick, then add some brick in another feature elsewhere. Repeat black if you do front door in black 3 times, with lighting or other elements to bring it all together. It's a great house and you will enjoy it for years to come.

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  • kgally
    Original Author
    last year

    @User it's really interesting to see your ideas and think about our house as a big craftsman instead of a colonial. Our old neighborhood was filled with 100+ year old bungalows which I love! I guess since our house has the interior layout of a colonial, I assumed that's what it was and am honestly just confused by some of the 90s architecture! I had considered painting the main siding an earthy green and trim cream, but since the upper windows don't have trim board, we weren't sure how that would look and it seemed easiest to stick with the all one color. I'm rethinking that now.

  • homechef59
    last year

    It isn't easy to identify many newer homes because they are a mishmash of ideas. Don't feel bad that you couldn't make an identification. In appraisal, we call everything that is a two-story stacked one floor on top of the other a colonial.

    All I can say besides doing what Flo suggests is there is a colonial in there, it's just being held hostage to the 90's.

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  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    last year

    This is a builder remuddle for sure. But it doesn’t have classical Craftsman lines and features. Stick to white and black. With landscaping improvements this will shine.

    kgally thanked Flo Mangan
  • User
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I agree with Flo with adding more brick as one way of dealing with the brick, and I agree that the architectural style is what I will call eclectic. Of course it is not ”classical” craftsman, but it stole more ideas from craftsman (and some European mansion styles) that it did good old American square wood colonial, even those ”revivals” with a neoclassical columned portical slapped on. The blockish volume of the separate elements of the house, the stocky paneled columns on brick pedastals

    ... Overpainting it all white and black so it looks like a conventional colonial seems to be the problem, not the solution.

    I think you need to be careful about using color on that house, but I’d explore it...









    Not all these colors could work for your large house, but I think you need to look at your house iand how it was put together like building blocks, not one square box.

    kgally thanked User
  • kgally
    Original Author
    last year

    @Flo Mangan I love your ideas and they're very much in the direction I was thinking of going. I'm generally not a fan of 90s houses but with the market what it is, we couldn't be picky so we've been trying to de-90s this place as much as possible! I thought pulling in a modern farmhouse vibe on the exterior would be a good way to update it while keeping it somewhat transitional with white paint and black details. As for garage door, would you stick with white or go with a wood or black? It will have windows along the top. Thanks for your ideas!

  • houssaon
    last year

    You could go with two colors that are not very far apart. Like Navajo White with a bright white trim. Or a light tan and white.

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  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    last year

    I would get a sample from samplize.com of SW Snowbound and SW High Reflective White and a Sample of SW Tricorn Black for front door and leave the garage door white with windows. Then repeat the black with a pair of black large flower pots for in front of pillars and brick and possibly a bench on the porch in black. Not sure how much room you have there. Replacing lighting is also key to the look. Even if you just replace the side ones on the garage with the farmhouse style this would work well.

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  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    last year

    Here are a couple choices for exterior lighting.

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  • suezbell
    last year

    Would remove shutters

    Would remove the current porch, specifically including two story front porch roof and columns as well as the brick pillars and posts in order to add a deeper (8') wrap around front porch beginning beside the bay window right of the front entry door and wrapping around the left side of the house ... adding porch to the side of the house at least to the first window ... and have steps on the side of the house aimed at the back yard ... using a hip corner on the shed roof there at the left front corner of the house.

    Since you have a second forward facing door (unless you want competing focal points for the front of your home ) you may want to de-emphasize the door by the garage -- having it visually disappear -- by painting that door and trim the same color as the siding


    Alternately, you might consider either ...

    Have that wrap around front porch roof extend all the way to the garage, including covering the bay window and second door beneath it, and then literally create another room -- a sun room -- enclosing the bay window within that sun room or changing it for French or sliding patio doors.

    Add skylights in that part of the porch roof over the sun room and second door to let in light that the bay window and window in the second door would have. Then you could have the exterior sun room door(s) exiting to the side(s): to the left onto the front porch by the entry and/or to the right ...

    Either toward and with a door directly into the garage,

    Or, if you extend the room forward beyond the front exterior wall of the garage and beyond the front of the wrap around front porch, you could have a door on the right exit toward the driveway and then you could create a forward facing gable over that front sun room.


    If you need the upstairs porch roof to shade that window, add it to set atop the shed roof front porch and even consider altering that window if it impedes adding the wrap around porch.


    kgally thanked suezbell
  • homechef59
    last year

    There is nothing farmhouse in this structure. Don't try. It won't work. Concentrate on your landscaping.

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    last year

    There is no way this house will be a “pure” style of any kind. It’s a big house on a big property and kgally just wants ideas on how to improve and freshen up the look without breaking the bank. Major construction projects are not in the current thinking. I might be wrong but that is my take so far.

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  • tartanmeup
    last year

    No particular advice except to say I get italmover's puzzlement over people's obsession with "updating" their houses. I get wanting to stay "current" but not every house needs to look like a new build. How can we develop appreciation for diverse architectural styles and history if everyone is "updating" their house every decade? :)


    And this: "Please excuse the sidewalk chalk and kids' toys in the photo :)"? Why in the world would we need to excuse the joyful markings of family life?! :D That's the whole point of a family's house, no? Make it a home where kids enjoy playing? Seeing chalk drawings in my neighbourhood during my walks makes me so happy and I always take care to walk around the ones that make it to the sidewalk. :)

  • kgally
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    @homechef59 thanks for your thoughts. By no means am I trying to make this a modern farmhouse. I simply want to bring in some elements like black fixtures and house numbers that will give the house a bit of a makeover without drastically altering the structure.

  • kgally
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    @tartanmeup Thanks for your thoughts. I feel like my initial question has gotten lost in translation or there’s some misinterpretation of my choice of the word “update.” By that I simply was asking about paint colors, garage door choice, and shutters. We don’t have the budget to drastically alter the outside of the house, nor are we really interested in that. So by update, I meant exactly as you say - make more current through some new paint colors and other details like lighting house numbers and landscaping. And my comment about the kids’ toys was said somewhat facetiously. I adore my kids and don’t feel the need to hide their stuff, hence not moving it for the photo. I just didn’t want it to distract too much from the house, especially since this website is filled with photos of picture-perfect houses!