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Exterior house design help!

HU-954691394
last month


Hello! I'm working on a new construction and did a first pass of the exterior design in the Hover app and need some advice. First, I'm wondering if the roof line above the garage and across the front porch is too linear. Perhaps a pitch above the front door would help break things up? I don't want to cover the second floor window above the front door too much though.

Secondly, I am realizing that the first floor window covered by the front porch is the only window to the first floor office. Is that going to block the only source of natural light to that room? I love the idea of a front porch, but with working from home, the office will obviously be used a lot. Our house faces south and the front porch is 6 feet deep. Should I consider reducing the depth of the front porch or removing it altogether?

And lastly, we planned to mix in some metal roofing and initially had planned for the roof above the garage, front porch and awning above the middle second floor window to be metal but I'm thinking that's probably too much. Our style is transitional leaning more modern. I like the different element a metal roof ties in but not sure how/where to mix it in.

Also, for reference, I was planning on doing the wider paneling hardy board siding instead of the skinny verticals that the picture is showing but don't think there's a way to change this in the app. But generally, this is the color scheme and look I was going for. Any other thoughts or advice appreciated!

Comments (38)

  • nester44
    last month

    You definitely need that little roof over the front door and office window. With a southern exposure, you will have a very warm office room unless there is something to shade that window in the summer. Whereabouts is the house located? The roof over the front door is needed to create a dry space for guests entering the house. The 6-foot depth is definitely not too much. I'm not a designer, but I think your design is quite nice.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month

    Please provide first and second floor plans and site plan.

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  • millworkman
    last month

    I would do away with the double door and use a wider single with sidelites. Does the stone go around all four sides?

  • PRO
    RappArchitecture
    last month

    Well, you're welcome to provide floor plans, just understand that you are opening yourself up to many comments and opinions. As for your questions about the front elevation, I would consider aligning the garage and porch roofs so that they are all one plane, and make this the only metal roof. And you'll need to think about gutters and downspouts too, of course, which should match the metal roof finish.

  • apple_pie_order
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Think about where the water is going to go when it rains when you are moving gables around in your design.

  • HU-954691394
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you everyone!


    Im in the midwest in response to the first question. Not sure if that changes anything with regard to how much light I’ll get through that front window.


    Agree on the comment on a single door. I was planning two side light doors but may skip those as well for privacy as we are on a somewhat busy street

  • HU-954691394
    Original Author
    last month

    Stone will only go on the front.

  • HU-954691394
    Original Author
    last month

    I dont think i can align the roof over the garage and front porch since the garage is set back a bit. Heres the floor plans



  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month

    Designing a house based upon one ill-rendered perspective is myopic. To create a unified design one must have a fuller understanding of the spaces and their relationship to each other and the site, and the massing it creates. Knowing the purpose for those spaces would be beneficial, but for free advice some things need to be overlooked.

  • lharpie
    last month

    Is there a reason to not put a window on the side of the office? it's always nicer to have windows on 2 sides of a room.

  • HU-954691394
    Original Author
    last month

    no other windows in the office since its a fairly small room (11’ x 13’) and decided to use our window budget elsewhere. But now wondering if well get any nice light coming in with that front porch..

  • T T
    last month

    The cost to add a window in the office will be in the noise in the big scene of things. Probably less than $1,000 depending on the type and size of window.

    I would also recommend only song one sink in the upstairs hall bath so you can have more cabinet drawers.

  • millworkman
    last month
    last modified: last month

    " Stone will only go on the front. "

    May want to think about that long and hard, it really needs to be used on all side so it doe not look like a paste on accessory. At the very least the foundation all the way around. I would eliminate it on the second floor as well as it is split in half by the roof making it also seem as an accessory as opposed to actually functional. I would drop if to water table height all the way around the house.

  • HU-954691394
    Original Author
    last month

    Our lot is also very narrow so its very close to houses on either side. Another reason I didnt think windows on the east wall would be too great

  • Architectrunnerguy
    last month
    last modified: last month

    What's the dimensions of what we call the "build box"? The box created when the building setbacks coming in from the property lines are considered. I ask because those narrow halls will make the house feel a lot smaller, especially on the first floor. Can the house get any longer (deeper)?

    And ether do stone all the way around or not at all.

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
    last month

    I'd forego the stone altogether. Having one type of siding looks more cohesive and avoids the house looking like a facade, with stone only on the front. You may save enough money to add to your window budget.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Windows on the sides of the house will allow for more natural light to enter the house and provide for natural ventilation. Besides, you will be able to see if your neighbor's house is on fire without spending the time to go outside.

    As far as the stone:

    "Masonry on a house is like a kilt on a Scotsman; if it doesn't go all the way around it is not very good.”

  • bpath
    last month
    last modified: last month

    We have a couple of bedrooms with a small window on the side. We never open the blind but light does filter in. The two bedrooms that do not have the window, well, it’s just not the same. I wish they did. The filtered light just makes the room feel better to be in.

    Btw, I’m looking at the garage entry and wondering if the door from there into the house proper can move to face the hall? Seems like it would make the family room cozier, fewer corners to turn when you come in, and lets everyone turn a different direction, toward the kitchen or the stairs, when they come in. And keeps the bathroom more out of sight.

  • lharpie
    last month

    I’m sure my neighbors are closer than yours. ours have light filtering blinds they never open so i open ours all the time! but even if you don’t it still adds a ton of light and makes the space feel bigger. not sure how much an extra window is but i would prioritize that, especially in a room you’ll be working in all day. also for the 3rd bedroom.

  • HU-954691394
    Original Author
    last month

    @bpath good call on moving the mudroom entrance to the hall instead of the family room. I was worried about how that entrance would impact furniture arrangement anyway. I do have plans for a counter on the east wall for a drop sone area which i like so im not sure I could swap that to the north wall with where the pocket door is.

  • PRO
    PPF.
    last month




  • HU-954691394
    Original Author
    last month

    @Architectrunnerguy we are at the limit on the house width but so have room to make the house longer as its a pretty narrow but deep lot. The first floor hallway is almost 8’ wide in the foyer and goes down to 5’ wide after the staircase. Would you still consider that too narrow?

  • bpath
    last month

    You could still do a 1’ counter and cabinets on the north wall. The good news is, nothing will get shoved to the back of the cabinets behind other things.

  • HU-954691394
    Original Author
    last month

    If I bring the stone all the way around, can I do a small amount all the way around or do I need to carry the same height and do half the house? Assuming i go with the original design.

  • Lorraine Leroux
    last month

    I like the idea of a peak over the front door area of the porch but it has to be a lower pitch so it does not interrupt the window on the second floor. I am not a fan of sloped roofs towards the walkway where snow gets piled up. I like the snow and rain it to go to the sides if at all possible. Crude drawing attached but you get the idea. I also do not like the roof over the garage but I did put another two courses of brick to raise the look a bit..


  • HU-954691394
    Original Author
    last month

    @Lorraine Leroux thanks! I really like that and hadnt thought of the sloping into the walkway. I wasnt crazy about the roof above the garage either but does the transition between the stone and siding look ok without a roof to break it up? What do you mean by adding two courses of brick?

  • Lorraine Leroux
    last month

    I added more brick when I removed the roof. The transition between stone and siding is fine as long as they use a nice trim board to separate it. You can drive around new houses in your area and you will probably see examples of it.

  • millworkman
    last month

    " can I do a small amount all the way around or do I need to carry the same height and do half the house? "


    As I mentioned foundation height all the way around. You can do the from right face elevation up to the porch ceiling if you really want but definitely do away with the second floor above the roof stone.

  • bpath
    last month

    The nice thing about an overhang for the garage is, it helps keep the garage door dry and snow from piling up against the door and falling in when the door is open. Another midwesterner here.

  • S M
    last month

    You definitely would benefit from windows on two walls in the office. Even a transom window would allow you light without a direct view into neighbors house.

  • dani_m08
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Mark - I read your Scotman’s joke as I was taking a drink of water - bad timing 😂

    One thing I regret is that I didn’t add more windows to some rooms - for example, my study. I have a center hall colonial - with a study off to the left of the foyer when entering the house - similiar to yours. Even though the wall of the study that faces the front of the house has two large windows (eastern exposure), I still wish I had added another window on the north wall. As a study/office, you don’t need to worry about losing the wall for furniture placement (even if you did, you could make it a transom style window).

    I was worried about blocking too much natural light in my family room when I had plans drawn for adding a covered porch a couple years ago. The main windows for the room (three windows - approx 80”x 33” each) would all be located underneath the width of the new roof extension (+ the southern facing single lite glass door out to the patio would also be underneath the new roof). I knew that it would be very helpful during the summer (back of house has a western facing orientation - obviously, I knew nothing back when I was 25 re: selecting the right lot/building a house) - but worried about cloudy days during other seasons - especially winter (I did not want to need to use any form of artificial light before sunset).

    The roof is over twice as deep as your porch (13 -14’) - and I still have plenty of natural light (my family room is a little bit larger than your study - 16.4’ wide x 19.7’ deep). While the room benefits from some light filtering in from a tall window located on the landing of open switchback staircase along one wall, the windows located under the patio roof would still provide plenty of natural light even if the staircase was closed.

    Do NOT get rid of your porch! I love porches - I actually am trying to convince my SO that we need a front porch that wraps around the side of the house to the back patio!

  • res2architect
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Apparently you went to the trouble of drawing a 3D computer model but only posted a straight on view of the front. Show some views from the corners so we can understand the overall concept of the house assuming there is one.

    Offhand, the low partial roofs that you think are too linear aren't linear enough. They seem random and unrelated. Don't let that be the focus of the design.

  • nester44
    last month

    I'm not wild about the peak over the front entrance, even though it may be advantageous in snowy climes. I think that makes too many peaks. The sloping roof looks better to me. If you decide to forego the roof over the garage door, then I prefer the rendering by PFF with only siding, no stone. Having stone directly next to the siding in the middle of that wall looks weird to me.

  • Architectrunnerguy
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @Architectrunnerguy we are at the limit on the house width but so have room to make the house longer as its a pretty narrow but deep lot. The first floor hallway is almost 8’ wide in the foyer and goes down to 5’ wide after the staircase. Would you still consider that too narrow?

    5' is fine as it's open to the dining room on one side. But what makes it feel smaller is that closet which honestly looks like an afterthought.

    "But where's the hall closet?"

    "Huhh? Oh geez!! Ok, TA DA!! We have a hall closet!!"

    Find another spot for it.

    But back to my question, how deep can the house be?

  • barncatz
    last month
    last modified: last month

    We have a 7' porch in front of a small office on the southeast corner like yours. We also have a small window on the east wall, towards the back. Plenty of light year round. (We are also in the Midwest. We have no neighbors, so the east window isn't blocked by an adjacent house.)

  • HU-954691394
    Original Author
    last month

    @Architectrunnerguy We have another 50’ of depth that could be used to build

  • HU-954691394
    Original Author
    last month

    @barncatz thanks thats really helpful. Im thinking to opt for two small transom windows on the east wall for some extra light but to avoid staring at our neighbors house

  • HU-954691394
    Original Author
    last month




    Heres some side photos