How to improve curb appeal of 1940s colonial/tudor mashup

elisabethcbJanuary 16, 2011

We moved into our house a few years ago and concentrated our energy on the inside, but the outside has always gotten me down and I'd like to make it appealing. If houses have expressions, mine looks dour. From Pictures

I spent most of yesterday reading the porches & porticos forum, as I've been thinking about adding a portico over the front door. Now I wonder if shutters or windowboxes would help. Or painting the white siding? What do you think? The front yard is very shady, as there are two large oaks, and the landscaping is old and scraggly, but it does provide great privacy to the porch.

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manda3(8a DFW Texas)

I wouldn't say it looks dour. It looks very homey and comfortable. I would do something with that window above the porch. It looks forgotten about. It doesn't really match the other windows and blends into background while the others are white on dark and really pop.

On first impression, I really love the right side of your house. It's strong, you've got a huge shrub, and the tree frames everything. Maybe if you framed the left side, in front of the left edge, with a really tall evergreen. Something that is bolder than the tall shrub beside the door. Maybe there is already something there that isn't in the picture. But just from what I see, it needs a little boldness there. I don't know if mums grow up there, but it would be cool to see something low and mounding coming out on either side of the doorway before you get to the porch. Then have a few smaller things around them. Have the beds blend back into the other foundation plantings.

The dark red door is classic but there doesn't seem to be any other red in the area, at least not right now. Maybe change the red to a tone that agrees with the bricks. I can't tell, but I think I see a few red bricks. Maybe match to your reddest brick.

Just some thoughts. :)

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 2:39PM
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Overall your house has a cute shape but the little brick section above the door doesn't fit with the rest of the house. Is the wall of the porch the same as the rock work on the right side? I would clear out the bushes in front of the porch so the rock work could show and unify the whole house with just 2 elements--rock work or siding. I wouldn't clutter up the area with shutters and window boxes until you get the background unified. Trim the bushes in front of the double windows at the appropriate time and that will give the house a neat and tidy look. I can see extending the porch in front of the door as a positive. Take a picture of your house, blow it up to an 8/10, then cut out from white paper an extension of the porch and siding over the brick to get an idea of what it could look like. Paper house dress up! If you are photoshop literate you could photoshop the changes.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 8:19PM
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tibs(5/6 OH)

I have the same dilemma with overgrown shrubs that provide privacy. I want the privacy, but the shrubs really need to go. I also have the too tall arborvitae on the side of the house. And the yew in the front. I would take them all out (I have not had the courage to do this to mine, easy to tell someone else!) Look at it bare for a season to see if you really need foundation plantings. Change the white siding to a color that matches the brick stone shades, and replace the window over the porch with a mulluned one that matches the others. Geeze, I feel like those curb appeal people. I like your house-the love child of a tudor colonial relationship.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 3:56PM
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The only thing really glaring is the "Tudoring" on the window above the porch - that kind of stuff seems to be the brainchild of builders who don't know when to quit. If you can get that toned down - one of the colors from the surrounding brick - you might not feel the need to change the color of the siding. As mentioned before, I wouldn't busy it up with shutters and/or window boxes.

That being said, a good trim on the shrubbery (or even removal) would make a big difference. The two trees on the immediate left of the walk are probably beyond shaping or saving - fair amount of trunk showing that will never sprout new branches.

Do you spend a lot of time sitting on the porch making privacy a real concern?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 5:11PM
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I don't usually post here, but I've been exploring a bit...

I don't see dour, at all... I see a lovely, comfortable home that just needs a little landscaping change, perhaps.

If it were my home, I'd get rid of the evergreens and put in some forsythia, or hydrangea, spirea, roses... anything with a little spring or summer color... anything but evergreens!

I might even add a few smaller perennials in front of new shrubs... perhaps daylilies or some iris, spring blooming bulbs, ground cover roses... a couple of hanging baskets for the porch...

Your options are many, but to me, they begin with a planting change. I love the house... so much potential!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 5:42AM
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I like the tudor window and I love your house.

More expensive upgrades might include extending the porch roof over the front door. Paint the siding a color that would coordinate well with the brick and stone, possibly a tan or taupe. The trim could remain white. You could also add some sort of decorative rail and spindles to the porch if it doesn't already have one.

Inexpensive upgrades might include trimming back all the landscaping to the right of the front door. Replacing all the porch landscaping with a variety of really low growing shrubs and/or perennials. You could add a little more height at the left corner if you think it necessary, but not too much height. Then I would buy one of those inexpensive bamboo or matchstick woven roller shades from a big box hardware store that are meant for porches and attach one or two to the underside of the porch ceiling, simply unfurl them when you feel the need for a touch of privacy.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 3:06PM
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