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Exterior Updates to Brick Split Level

Kristin
3 months ago

It’s time! After all our interior renovation work, we’re finally ready to tackle the exterior of our home!

Someone is coming in the next few weeks to repair our stoop and we have a storm door on the way to replace the green screen door.

Other items on our to-do list include painting the window trim, painting the front door, and removing all the current foundation plants (and the holly bush under the tree). I have our color for front door picked out - Evergreen Fog by SW (picture included).

When it comes to the rest of the design choices I’m at a loss! Should we add shutters? If so, I have no idea what color to use. I’ve debated limewashing the house, but I’d really like to try to work with what I have.

As for the foundation planting, it’s difficult to find the balance between textures, sizing, and bloom schedules. We’re in hardiness zone 8a and get afternoon sun (the picture was taken at noon).

Does anyone have any suggestions when it comes to giving my house some curb appeal? Any ideas are greatly appreciated!

Comments (33)

  • Kristin
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    To add - I’m not 100% set on the front door color I picked. The green is an attempt to complement the green tones in our roof.

  • Sigrid
    3 months ago

    Don't add shutters. There isn't enough room for properly-sized shutters on the upper half of the house.


    I would not remove the existing foundation shrubs, but merely to add new shrubs for depth. I'd start with a beautiful flowering tree on the left corner. You want it far enough from the corner to not outgrow its spot.


    I might include a gold ninebark. They come in a bunch of sizes and shapes. Tiny Wine Gold, Festivus Gold, Dart's gold. I'd also put in a gold-toned conifer, like Thuya Fluffy. The pic below has some gold conifers, but not, as far as I can tell Thuya Fluffy.


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  • Kristin
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    I didn’t even think about the sizing of the shutters up top - thank you!! The house had shutters previously that were in bad shape so we pulled them down. They were a kelly green and all different sizes! I assumed that was why I didn’t like the idea of shutters to begin with

    I love small flowering trees, but the left side of the house has no room on the corner. It’s a small section of grass between our driveway and the walkway to the front steps.
    We also have a beautiful pink flowering tree (I wish I knew what it was - I’m terrible at identifying plants and the previous owner left all kinds of interesting things!) to the left of our driveway in front of the fence.
    I will look into the gold ninebark and conifers. Thank you!

  • chloebud
    3 months ago

    Agree with no shutters on your style of windows. Love the Evergreen Fog; you could also go a little darker.


  • jck910
    3 months ago

    I don't think the evergreen Fog is dark enough for your orangey/yellow brick. Your inspiration brick is whiter. Try the Dried Time or Rosemary. Is the stoop red brick? Are you changing it to something else? If you do the doors & window trim Rosemary the siding & gutters could be Evergreen Fog

  • Kristin
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Oh I do like those darker colors, especially the Rosemary! Thank you!

    The stoop brick matches the rest of the house. Unfortunately the previous owner had to covered in outdoor carpeting and caused the brick to get damaged.
    In the repairs we’re going to try to match the brick.

    Would you suggest doing the doors and the window trim all the same color? We were considering doing the window trim in either a white or off-white. We don’t like the current green on the windows at all.

  • Kristin
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    If you’re referring to the landing, then yes! There is a red brick pattern.

  • acm
    3 months ago

    I like your brick and wouldn't mess with it. No shutters.


    The biggest thing that will make your house look nicer from this (street?) view is landscaping. Not just foundation plants, but something along the walkway and maybe widening into the yard a bit to allow for some welcoming plantings and maybe a small tree. Colorful planters might help draw the eye to your front door.

  • Sammie J
    3 months ago

    Landscaping for sure. Have you thought about adding a front porch instead of just fixing the stoop? Consider going along the entire right side of the house. Also, your current sidewalk isn't doing the curb appeal any favors - if you have the $$, I'd take it out, and add a not-so-straight walkway with pavers, further away from the house, so you have room for some plantings along the home and an accent tree on the left corner of the house.


  • littlebug Zone 5 Missouri
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    No shutters.

    I agree with you about the green trim around the windows. Even plain white would be an improvement.

    The stoop is underwhelming and is devaluing your home. It appears as a small wart stuck to the front of your large home. You need something much bigger, more in scale with the house. Something more porch-sized. There’s all kinds of porch pictures on Houzz, or you can even Google for porch images. Spend some time looking for simple porches for ranch-type homes.

    The sidewalk leading from the stoop to the garage is also much too small. It should be at least twice as wide.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    I am not sure what we are looking at is that your front door with that tiny landing? I see no walkway to that door and for sure on thta size of house tyou need a much larger entry stoop for sure . I really dislike the green totallyfor any trim not even the door. I think a nice white trim around the windows would be nice then if you want to have a color for the door make it a statment but please first get a walkwy to the door and a much more important looking entry . If that is not your front door then we need to see the front of the house.

  • ShadyWillowFarm
    3 months ago

    Widen the porch by 3’ on either side, and do a nice, pretty railing. Make the steps almost as wide as the porch.

  • nester44
    3 months ago

    I agree with a wider, more impressive porch, and a wider walkway. The darker green (e.g., Rosemary) looks like it would be good for the windows and doors. You could paint one window trim and see how it looks. Your current green is too bright and white or cream would also be too bright and distracting. Think about putting some sort of roof or portico -- something simple -- over the front door to keep rain off. As for identifying plants, there are (free) apps that can identify plants if you aim your iPhone camera at them. They basically take a picture and tell you what the plant is. I think it needs to have leaves on the plant to make an identification. I use an app called Picture This.

  • Kristin
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    The vote is in! No shutters for sure!

    This is a street view from the front of the house. We live in a small rural area and there are no sidewalks along the street, which is why there isn’t a walkway leading to the front door there. It’s from the paved driveway instead.

    I agree the stoop and the walkway are small for the house. We’re having to take baby steps with our renovation choices, so those would have to wait until later unfortunately. Our main focus for this first step is going to be exterior colors and landscaping.

    Thank you everyone for your advice and input. This has been extremely helpful!

    Nester - I’m downloading that app now! Maybe now I can finally figure out what’s in my backyard 😂

    Celery - this is beautiful!! I didn’t know my house could look like this! This is definitely selling me on the darker trim. Thank you so much!
    If I tried to achieve a look like this with my brick, would it just be a beige toned limewash? Like Romabio’s Riposo Beige? So many options!

  • Sigrid
    3 months ago

    You don't want to paint the brick. Any trim color you pick should be warm. If you want dark trim, pick a dark brown, not black. If you want a light green, as others were suggesting, pick one with warm undertones. The cool, grayish greens suggested above won't work with your lovely brick.

  • nester44
    3 months ago

    The warm charcoal color that Celery chose for windows and door looks the best. Leave the brick as is. Also -- the larger porch sconces and landscape design. A real winner!

  • cat_ky
    3 months ago

    I agree on either a warm charcoal for trim, or a darker brown. It depends upon what color your roof is. I cant tell from your photos, what color your roof is. I do agree on a wider porch and steps, and eventually a wider sidewalk. Not all houses have parking on the street, and need a sidewalk from the street. In my area, unless you live right in the middle of the crowded houses directly in town, no one has sidewalks from the street. No reason to. Roads here are narrow, there is no parking on any road, other than a middle city street. Sidewalks go off the drive way.

  • simplynatural
    3 months ago

    The biggest needs I see are (1) an emphasized entrance (existing door and stoop/steps are too small; would the interior allow a wider door unit?), (2) a wider, curving, more inviting walkway from drive to door, and (3) landscaping. I would hold off on any major landscaping near the house until you're ready to redo the walkway, since construction could damage plants there and a new walkway will need a new landscape design anyway. Landscaping could be developed now, though, around the large tree and out into the front lawn area (see Celery's lovely suggestions).

    Here's a visual showing the difference that a new entry plus simple landscaping changes could make. (I kept the existing foundation shrubs for now, just fixed any off-balance groupings with minimal additions.) Planting around the tree nestles the house into its setting. It becomes an integral part of its place, and any architectural faults recede.


  • grapefruit1_ar
    3 months ago

    Celery’s mock-up is stunning! I think that it would be money well spent to invest in a professional landscape/ hardscape plan. Take a drive through some neighborhoods and pay attention to the landscaping. It will not take long to realize that the landscaping makes much more immediate impact than window trim, new porch lights, etc. Those elements are important, too, but they do not stand out as much.

  • taniajk
    3 months ago

    Agree with other posters: Entryway and landscaping! My comment is to recommend you use native plants for your area. You have a really big yard and in a rural area native plants will attract birds, butterflies, fireflies and many native bees adding lots of wonderful activity! If you are interested in this, you have to work a bit to find a landscaper who will actually use natives (my experience is there are a lot of folks who say they will and then just incorporate a few plants, possibly because its easier to just do what's familiar). Natives use less water and require little maintenance. Certainly start with foundation plants such as trees and shrubs. Below is an image for zone 8a native plants. Good luck!


  • terrib962
    3 months ago

    Add a wide front porch for sure - look at photos on this website for idea. A DEFINITE NO to shutters unless they are REAL and workable to close. They should be the same as 1/2 the width of the window on each side. Just plain shutter as decor is a mobile home style trend that needs to end. I would paint or white wash the bricks, but some people do not like that idea. As for plants - look at photos or just dig up grass and make large beds with edging of some sort and go to a garden center and buy what you like or ask neighbors if they have plants to split - most perennials need to be split every few years. Avoid large bushes close to the house unless you want thorny bushes under windows to deter burglars. There are so many choices and your tastes could be so different from ours. Large flower beds with mulch and curved edges with scalloped concrete edging is the way to start. Empty mulched beds are OK for a while until you gradually get plants. Digging up the grass is a big job and great exercise.

  • Jenny F
    3 months ago

    I agree foundation shrubs should be removed. I was shocked at how dark a shade is needed outdoors compared with indoors. Do samples first and back up to see overall effect. If you do replace your stoop, try to enlarge it budget allowing. It never feels good to spend money you don't have.

  • Kristin
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Thank you all for all the input! We bought some paint samples this weekend and picked SW Urbane Bronze. Now our job for the week is to strip and sand all the windows before repainting. Then we’re going to work on prepping the foundation for plants!

    Unfortunately the interior entry will not allow a wider door unit. A wider stoop is definitely something we’re keeping in mind for the future, as it will add value to our home. Right now the budget won’t allow with the remaining renovations needed indoors (just the laundry room to go!) and the desperately needed landscaping.

    We’re going to add larger scones on both sides of the door, replace the railing on the stoop, and have some repair work done to keep it from deteriorating even more for now.

    I’m starting my research now to pick some native, non-toxic plants (I have small children and dogs) for the front. I’m excited for the progress to be made!

  • nester44
    3 months ago

    Be sure to post pictures as you progress. Have fun!

  • Kristin
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Absolutely! Nothing worse than not getting to see the outcome!

  • hank509
    3 months ago

    We lived in zone 8a for years and landscaping in full sun is tough. I landscaped our entire property and found some great plants. Look into distylium. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes and really take the brutal heat well. They are not native but provide a great backdrop, and are evergreen. https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/distylium/. For long blooming and low maintenance, you can add salvia, gaura, echinacea, and some native grasses. These are drought tolerant once established, and the pollinators love them. We had no issues with Sango Kaku Japanese Maple in full sun and it provided beautiful color. https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/acer-palmatum-sango-kaku/. You can go to gardenia.net and look at native plants for your area. Good luck

  • Elizabeth Ann
    3 months ago

    Your home is lovely. You are fortunate to have such great bones to work with as you tackle the exterior. I agree with everyone who gave thumbs up to celery’s contribution. In this case, a picture is worth a thousand comments. Best of luck. Looking forward to seeing your during and after photos.

  • k8cd
    3 months ago

    I was going to suggest SW Urbane Bronze! But I see you already found it. It’s a beautiful color and I think will look great with your brick. Good luck!

  • Julie Stellingwerff
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    You will love the effect of SW Urbane Bronze! I've used it twice in two different locations. Best dark shade you can find, in my opinion! Hope to see a follow-up pic!

  • golfer32
    3 months ago

    Urbane Bronze on the trim and front door will be spot-on with Celery's beautiful visualization!! Two new, larger lanterns on each side of the door will also add impact. Be sure to research how large the lighting should be so they are appropriately sized. Also, can you paint the downspout of the gutters to match the house color? Not the elbows, but the straight down part? This is not a must-have, but we painted our house this summer and the painter convinced me to get rid of the white and paint to match the house. WOW - what a good idea that was. Such a simple thing but made a huge difference. The gutters should not be a stand-out element of the house. Just a thought...

    Looking forward to seeing the finished product. It's going to look fantastic!!!!!

  • Lexsea Soto
    3 months ago

    The houses were so pretty

  • PRO
    Dig Doug's Designs
    3 months ago

    Here are a few suggestions:


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