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chris_g873

Help with ugly columns and general exterior updating.

Chris G
last month

Hello! My wife and I just purchased a new home, we are moving in a few weeks.


My wife is an interior architect and while we love the majority of the interior of the home and have plenty of ideas on how to improve what we don't, we feel the exterior needs some major help (I know it might be to some people taste it's just not really ours.) And because the exterior design isn't something we are as knowledgeable about we thought it would be helpful to get some outside opinions!


The main concern - we hate the columns. We don't even love the idea of large columns on houses but these in particular feel off to us. The proportions seem strange and like it doesn't fit the style of the house. I think in a perfect world we would love to replace them with a single story column, whether it has a small porch or is more of a facade detail. Something about this just feels like it's trying to hard to be someone's idea of "fancy". The problem with this is it will likely be expensive and not something we do for a very long time (if at all). So any smaller/cheaper/more immediate solutions that will at least help lessen the imposition of these columns or make them feel more a part of the house would be greatly appreciated!


Some ideas we have:

-One thing we plan on doing immediately is whitewashing/lime washing the brick.

-Replacing the door all together or at the very lest replacing the glass, stripping the stain and either leaving the wood natural or painting it.

-Changing the molding around the door

-A larger chandelier beneath the portico to make the columns feel more to scale

-Removing the black banister on the portico (there's no access there anyway) or replacing it with shorter, white posts that match the style of the house more.




Other

Comments (18)

  • latifolia
    last month

    Get a quote on removing the whole thing. At least you'll know what it would cost.


    You didn't ask, but on the right, remove the tiny shutters. What is the odd trim beneath the windows? Did they cheap out on replacements, because they look like they were meant to be longer.

    Chris G thanked latifolia
  • Lyn Nielson
    last month

    I agree. Remove the whole thing and then decide how you'd like to address the Entry. I also agree with removing ALL the shutter, immediately.

    It really looks like a straight forward removal.

    Probably was added on when the house was finished anyway.

    I'd love to follow the progress, anyway you can keep me posted?

  • Rawketgrl
    last month



  • ptreckel
    last month

    Two suggestions. Look at the White House. Yes, the one in DC! The President’s House. The insertion of the Truman Balcony was controversial but it worked! You could create a middle balcony beneath the second floor window, and replace the window with a french door. OR, lower the entrance roof to the lower level and place a french door out onto the roof, creating a balcony. Either way, I would try and salvage the shape and style of the circular roof. It does work. Either insert a balcony beneath the roof, or drop the roof and turn it into a balcony.

  • ptreckel
    last month

    One more thought. Create a French Balcony above your front door (a faux balcony of sorts), and open up the window and create a french door there. (That is three options!)

    Chris G thanked ptreckel
  • Chris G
    Original Author
    last month

    It is great to know it won't be that expensive to remove, but I think you all are correct that whatever we decide to add in afterward will be the majority of the cost. I hadn't thought about the fact that without the portico the dormers feel a bit off balance - they are however real dormers and create a mother-in-law suite that will be used so removing them is out of the question. If we wanted to spend the money we could maybe add in a third but realistically I'm not sure it would be worth it.


    @Rawketgrl thank you for mocking this up! I've been meaning to do the same just haven't had a chance yet but now you've inspired me and I may try to do some ideas tonight. It feels so naked without it!


    @Lyn Nielson I will try to keep posting updates here at the very least as we make progress, and I think my wife wants to setup a blog/website for the design work she does on the house with before/afters etc. So i can keep this updated with that as well.


    I want to try to add something else in and see if it helps balance out the dormers being off center enough to feel ok.


    I agree with everyone about the shutters on the right and the weird siding underneath the windows. My wife and I had the same thought, it looks like they ordered the wrong size windows. The shutter makes no sense as it is decorative and could never actually cover the window.


    Thank you all for the input!!

  • Chris G
    Original Author
    last month

    @ptreckel I didn't see your response before but I LOVE that idea!

  • Chris G
    Original Author
    last month

    Does anyone know what @ptreckel 's idea would entail structurally and cost wise?

  • houssaon
    last month

    I think you should get rid of the double story portico. I don't think you have room for another portico with the large pediment. But you could do an interesting class portico, it you remove the pediment.

    You might want to add another dormer over the door.

    I like the brick as is. I think it is classic.



  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    last month

    No shutters anywhere they are not appropriate on those windows . , what is the style you are going for inside? IMO a grat examlple just becuase you can does not mean you should. Mcmansions are always poor design and them so expensive to fix. A new front door for sure I agree the trim under the right window looks tacky .IMO the fastest way to devalue the house is to paint or lime wash the brick it is IMO the best thing about the house. The walkway needs to be twice as wide . I think this color for trim door and all siding would be ahuge enhancement on this house without ever touching the brick.


  • HU-187528210
    last month

    Beautiful house. It really has a lot of potential.
    I’d personally start with investing in removing the columns and portico.
    I agree with the above comment to leave the brick. At least for now.

    ....

    Can you add a third dormer up there?

    ....

    I like the shutters on the left side. He right ones I’d remove the left I may replace with something a bit less typical in style.

    ....

    Love the front door.
    I’d keep. And replace the glass.

    .....

    Cleaning up the landscaping, trimming and neatening it up will make a big difference as well.

    Totally document your journey. We’d love to see!!
    Good luck and enjoy the process :):)

  • P.D. Schlitz
    last month

    I think removing all of it, repairing the roof/eaves, and adding a third dormer in its place would likely be comparable cost-wise to anything else you could do that would make you happy long-term (the only other thing that came to mind was going with a New Orleans vibe and adding wrought iron balcony with wrought-iron columns holding it up, but that would be pretty cost-prohibitive!).

  • P.D. Schlitz
    last month

    A cheap, short-term idea that came to mind: after removing the railing on top, remove shutters on window above door and then have a thick/body decorative white molding fabricated to surround the front door and up to around the window above? This would create a white vertical ‘mass’ around the entry that could at least partially camouflage two of your columns…..

  • decoenthusiaste
    last month

    If the rotund portico comes off, you definitely need a third dormer above the door. I wouldn't paint the brick unless there is a big variation in tone once you remove the shutters. Then you'd want to cover up the difference. I wouldn't do whitewash either way. There are so many more interesting colors. Check Romabio; they can do custom masonry paint.

    Chris G thanked decoenthusiaste
  • Chris G
    Original Author
    last month

    A lot of folks are saying not to paint the brick, but I think I should clarify what we have in mind, and my reasoning. Personally neither myself or my wife are huge fans of red brick. I do like certain kinds of stone....but to be honest if we were building a house from the ground up red brick would never be an option. @decoenthusiaste some of the stuff from Ramabio is exactly the kind of look we are going for so they are actually a great resource to have. Thank you for that! So anyway we definitely won't be painting it entirely, there will be an aged quality to it where brick is still showing through. Attached are some references we've been looking at, as well as an in progress mockup I started a bit ago.

    Still lots of ideas to try but I started with the door and the limewash.


    There are a lot of great ideas here and I want to get back to as many of them as I can but I'm still at work and will try to get back asap. Thank you all for your input and advice!







  • P.D. Schlitz
    last month

    That mock-up looks great and tones down the columns quite a bit! I would do that (plus remove the railing) and live with it a bit before jumping into any major exterior renovations.

  • jck910
    last month

    Agree with P.D.Schlitz your mock up really improves your homes curb appeal.