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Exterior Help Needed!

Vannessa Cole
3 months ago

We just approved our final blueprints for our new custom build and it's time to start picking materials! I am having trouble deciding on how I want the exterior to look. I love the mixed materials look so ours will have a mix of brick, stone and siding or hardiplank. I don't want to splurge on the black windows but I can't find a single exterior that I like that doesn't have them! Here are my two favorites (one dark and one light. The rendering of our house is the last picture. Also, we are building in a new neighborhood. The lots are very large and all of the homes are custom, so we can do whatever we like on the exterior and I don't mind standing out from the crowd.


Any help or recommendations would be great!




Comments (39)

  • PRO
    PPF.
    3 months ago

    We just approved our final blueprints for our new custom build


    Are you open to changing them? Your house looks more like a standard subdivision house than a custom build on a large lot.

  • Vannessa Cole
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    It's a custom builder, but he did have 24 floor plans already drawn up, so we chose one of those to save on costs and time and made several changes already. This *i believe* is our final elevation.

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  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    I love the look of the first picture.

    could you do the bronze windows? they aren't as much as the black, right?


    you have a lot of stone in the front where your other photos have board and batten. what color is your stone/brick going to be?

    Vannessa Cole thanked Beth H. :
  • PRO
    RES2
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    I'm surprised that your house is nothing like the inspiration houses. Unlike those houses, yours has the standard developer/builder giant hipped roof, front facing nested gables, double roof "wedgies" and too many arbitrarily located cladding materials.

    Did you show the designer the inspiration photos?

  • Vannessa Cole
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @RES2 No I did not, he already had 24 plans drawn up so we chose one of those and made several changes to the interior but didn't think much about the exterior until now. To be honest, I'm not familiar with a lot of the terms you are using. First time building. It's too late to start all over from scratch, I was just trying to get color palette and materials help. Thank you!

  • flopsycat1
    3 months ago

    The nested gables add to a very busy façade. Perhaps your builder can simplify the elevation, more like your second inspriration pic. Consider deleting the shutters and using no more than two siding materials.

    Vannessa Cole thanked flopsycat1
  • Vannessa Cole
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @Beth H. : The bronze are a little cheaper than the black, but not enough to chose that over the black if that's the way we go, if that makes sense. We aren't sure on the stone or brick either, I'm trying to decide between light and dark at the moment.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    are we talking a 10K difference between black/white?

    If it's rolled into the mortgage, the monthly diff is negligable.

    Will you be building equity here? if you sell in 5 years, will you make money?

    Spending the extra doesn't seem like a loss if you get it back.

    or do you plan on staying for 10-20 years? If the latter, get what you like.

    but you will need to pick your design elements.

    Vannessa Cole thanked Beth H. :
  • PRO
    RES2
    3 months ago

    You will not be able to make this a "stand out" house with materials and color. Or at least not in a good way.

  • PRO
    PPF.
    3 months ago

    for our new custom build


    When someone says "custom build", we assume they are referring to a house designed specifically for them, and not a stock plan with a few changes.


    I'm sure it's frustrating when you post asking about colors and materials, and the overall design is criticized instead. People here simply want you to have the best house possible.


    The problem I see is circled in red. A large windowless wall, and what looks like a gable added in an attempt to disguise it. This wall is seen in many builder plans because of the interior layout.


    I also notice the tall skinny doors. A single door with sidelights, and with the head height matching the windows would probably look better.


    If you care to show us the plan, someone might give you some simple ideas to improve the look, and some ideas on how and where to use various materials.




  • Vannessa Cole
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @res2 this was the other elevation we considered and it looks a lot like your drawing. I didn’t like it at first but now that everyone has pointed out the nested gables, I think I do prefer this one. Maybe it was the brown color throwing me off.

    I will post the floor plan in a bit.

  • Vannessa Cole
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Other elevation

  • Vannessa Cole
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Floor plan

  • Vannessa Cole
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Our floor plan is flipped from what you see on the elevation. We will have the garage on the right.

  • PRO
    PPF.
    3 months ago

    Here is a really simple change. Move the garage to the side. The kitchen needs work too, but this change will give you an outside front wall for a couple of windows into the kitchen.


    Upstairs, bedroom 3 gets front windows, and if you rearrange bath 3, flipping it so the tub is on the opposite wall, you could have a window there too.





  • cpartist
    3 months ago

    It's too late to start all over from scratch, I was just trying to get color palette and materials help. Thank you!

    Why is it too late to start over? We were in permitting with our custom builder and the best thing we did was pull out and rethink our plan. Yes it added 4 months to our timeline but was so worth it.

    Vannessa Cole thanked cpartist
  • cpartist
    3 months ago

    I post this all the time. Anything in bold you might want to rethink regarding your house. One thing I don't know is what direction your house faces so can't bold that one.

    The best houses orient the public rooms towards the south for the best passive solar heating and cooling

    The best houses are L, U, T, H, or I shaped.

    The best houses are only one to two rooms deep. And covered lanai, porches, garages, etc count as rooms in this case.

    The best houses make sure kitchens have natural light, meaning windows so one doesn't have to have lighting 24/7 to use the kitchen. (And no, dining areas with windows 10' or more from the kitchen will not allow for natural light.)

    The best houses make sure all public rooms and bedrooms have windows on at least two walls.

    The best houses do not if possible put mechanical rooms, pantries or closets on outside walls

    The best houses keep public and private spaces separate (your master being up against the living room/great room).

    The best houses do not have you walk through the work zone of the kitchen to bring laundry to the laundry room.

    The best houses do not have the mudroom go through any of the work zones of the kitchen.

    The best houses do not use the kitchen as a hallway to any other rooms.

    The best houses do not put toilets or toilet rooms up against bedroom walls or dining areas.

    The best houses do not have walk in closets too small to stand inside.

    The best houses have an organizing “spine” so it’s easy to determine how to get from room to room in the house and what makes sense.

    Honestly, there's a lot that could be better with this "custom" house. Too many builder cliches. Sorry to be blunt.

    Vannessa Cole thanked cpartist
  • chinacatpeekin
    3 months ago

    I’m not a pro, and I’ve never built a new house (custom or otherwise), but I can appreciate the advice you’re being offered. I know it’s not the advice you asked for, but if you take it and keep working on your house plans, I imagine that in a year or two you’ll be very happy you posted here asking for advice before it was too late. There is a lot of wisdom to be gained here.

    Vannessa Cole thanked chinacatpeekin
  • Vannessa Cole
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Thanks for all the floor plan advice. I will take it all into consideration. Now if someone could just help with the exterior materials/colors...lol


    Maybe if I had left off the word "custom" my layout and elevation wouldn't have gotten critiqued so hard.


    Again, first time building a house and I happen to love the floorplan. I do agree the elevation could be improved and that is a conversation I will have with the builder and draftsman.


    Thanks again! Any and all help with exterior materials would be appreciated.

  • PRO
    PPF.
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    This moves the garage to the left. Changes needed on first floor kitchen area.






    Vannessa Cole thanked PPF.
  • PRO
    RES2
    3 months ago

    I'm surprsed you haven't been given a 3D computer model. The design effort seems like something from the last century.

    Do you have a site plan and roof plan?

  • mimimomy
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Based on the first three pictures you posted, the last of which I believe is your house, I prefer your house. It is so difficult to decide on everything almost at once when building a new home. Congratulations by the way! Exciting and stressful. I do like the colors/finishes on the second photo (white house). I think you could use those colors and finishes on your house to good effect. I would use the stone, the grey color, the white color, and the wood color. One thing I personally would not do on your house is to do (apologies not trying to offend) the number of differences in vertical to horizontal that are currently on the rendering of your house. If you look at the white house you will see that the center section has very little striation, vertical or horizontal (maybe it's stucco there). Also, I would stick with a single type of roof. I almost never see a roof where I think multiple roof finishes are more becoming (but this is me, not you). Again congratulations. I am sure you will love your new home (p.s. if it's in the budget, the black metal roof is awesome and never needs to be replaced... well, not in my lifetime anyways!)

    Vannessa Cole thanked mimimomy
  • Karen
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    @Vanessa Cole-
    Congratulations! Strap in, the next year+ will be hectic:)
    For me, I like:

    1. #2 (the light cream/greige/gray-blue. I also like the gray tone/charcoal tone roof as shown over black, as black roofs can be harsh (and hot) sometimes.
    2. Personally, I would stop at hardipkank, wood and either brick or stone, but not both.
    3. Before deciding on black or white windows, find out what level of Low-E glass your code requires. If Low-e 366, just know that the glass will appear greener if you use white windows and white shades/plantation shutters. Not so noticeable with black/bronze. I love the idea RES2 suggested of color windows (even if only taupe).
    4. Agree with single door and sidelines (this allows light without expensive doors and to put a console table etc against the foyer wall)
    5. Consider pocket doors for master toilet and dining room. Best wishes!!
      (Sorry for #4-5, but these are very easy changes now if you like them.)
    Vannessa Cole thanked Karen
  • cpartist
    3 months ago

    What do you love about this poor floor plan that will mean a dark kitchen and living room with no natural light and with pantries and closets on outside walls that instead could mean having natural light in the rooms?

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    3 months ago

    "It's a custom builder, but he did have 24 floor plans already drawn up, so we chose one of those to save on costs and time and made several changes already."

    You are building a tract home.

    Vannessa Cole thanked Mark Bischak, Architect
  • PRO
    RES2
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Elevations are a poor way to visualize a 3 dimensional object.

    It doesn't take any longer to draw a 3D computer model than to draw 4 elevations and the owners can then look at the model as 4 elevations and rotate the model on their computer (but not make changes).






    Black window sash is a traditional way of making windows look larger and stronger (especially for modern windows with sash that is set too far forward to create strong shadow lines) but adding black window frames can make windows look like big blank holes. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers offer frames and sash in different colors but it's worth searching for them and paying more for them.

    Front facing gables attached to a large main hipped roof contradicts centuries of architecture traditions; the former is English and the latter is French and they don't play well together. The common mixing of these unfriendly elements by builder/developers today is due to the cost savings of large factory-built computer-designed roof trusses which can easily eliminate expensive end gables but nested/stuttering front gables with unnecessary floor plan jogs and setbacks puts that approach far into the red. This amaterish approach has generated decades of houses with slumping shoulders.

    Vannessa Cole thanked RES2
  • Vannessa Cole
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Thank you @RES2...I do like the way that elevation looks better and I appreciate the 3D model. We are meeting next week and I will bring this up. I would like to see a 3D model of outside and inside before we move forward because all of this is very hard for me to visualize. And I now realize this is not fully custom, but that is the way it was described to us as we get to pick everything out and can change the floor plan to our liking as long as it fits on the pad. I'm learning a lot from this post.

  • mimimomy
    3 months ago

    RES2-- interesting about cost. My understanding was that a hip roof is stronger in terms of wind (hurricane forces), is more expensive than a typical gable roof, and saves on insurance costs (1 - was told to me by my very competent and well respected and fantastic custom home builder as well as the insurance company. 2- research/cost of build, 3- actual experience on my insurance policy). This was in Florida and perhaps costs are different in different parts of the country, so not saying you are incorrect, just that my experience was different! As for mixing design styles, I think that's individual preference. I had a hipped roof where all gables were also hipped and I loved that home. However, I saw many hipped roof homes that had traditional gables on the front elevation and I really liked them. It seems to me that most architecture evolves over time and takes from various styles. I think a gable roof might look funny on a Mansard roof though :)

  • PRO
    RES2
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    "a hip roof is stronger" Its not a matter of strength but of shape. Less strong uplift forces are generated by a hipped roof because it has 4 sloping sides. However, all sloping roof shapes perform better if the slope is 7 in 12 or less so the 9 in 12 hipped roof of the OP's house could be a problem in Florida. Gable ends are required to be reinforced at the apex where a high wind can generate an outward force. A hipped roof insurance discount would not apply to a house with a hipped roof and multiple front facing gables so I don't know why that issue would be relevant here.

    As for architectrural design advice, my intent was to offer a broader perspective on house design themes than what is currently offered by builder/developers and internet house plan marketers. To me they are unimaginative variations on the same few commonplace ideas that are therefore unremarkable and not appropriate for someone who would like their house to "stand out from the crowd". Since I design houses for a living that's something I take very seriously.

  • vinmarks
    3 months ago

    How wide is that dining room? Will those doors interfere with the dining table or when people are seated at the dining table?

  • Vannessa Cole
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @vinmarks the Dining room will actually be an office.

  • PRO
    RES2
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    I should explain that the design I posted is not what I would have designed for the OP or what I think the OP should build. Its just an academic exercise in how the house could be reimaged without standard contractor cliches and without changing the interior spaces.

    I'm a sucker for this kind of exercise because in New England good building sites are scarce and much of my work over the past 50 years has been total renovation of large old and often historic buildings so I tend to think of these builder designed houses as in need of renovation.

  • PRO
    RES2
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Vannessa Cole:

    I don't mean this as a criticism but to avoid multiple attempts to redesign your house I recommend not titling the thread as "Exterior Help Needed!" and not saying things like "custom build" and "we can do whatever we like on the exterior and I don't mind standing out from the crowd" and posting plans. Even though you were only thinking about colors and materials, on this forum, such statements are considered an open invitation to redesign your house.

    Good luck with it.

    Vannessa Cole thanked RES2
  • mimimomy
    3 months ago

    @simplynatural did some really nice mockups for a poster who was doing some exterior improvements on an existing house. Don't know if they could help you play around with the exterior colors/textures but I just loved what they came up with on a Suggestions for modernizing... dilemma.

  • ptreckel
    3 months ago

    Your posted floor plans show one side window on the downstairs side wall and one window on the upstairs side wall. Only two windows on the sides of your home? Perhaps you could add more windows on both floors, on the side walls of your home.

  • LH CO/FL
    3 months ago

    If you are open to redesigning the roof lines and elevations, perhaps the upstairs bedrooms could get more than one tiny window each. Kids spend more time in their rooms than adults - play, homework, etc., and they should be bright, inviting spaces.

  • K H
    3 months ago

    Found some pretty exterior colors that are closer to your house shape so it would be easier to visualize! My favorite are the red and blue!! All of these houses have a gable roof though not a hipped roof except the last two I posted. For some reason I usually think of grays or gray blues for a hipped roof house.








  • K H
    3 months ago

    How exciting to get to build a new house! Congrats! I personally would go with white windows. They are so classic.