Help! Suggestions for DIY Exterior Change


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Hi,
We recently bought this house, love the inside, hate the exterior. I’ll attach a few images but it is a sort of split level/colonial hybrid. The front porch has black wrought iron railing, concrete steps, and a flagstone floor. The exterior is white wood siding with white/gray stone veneer at the bottom. The garage and front doors were white and black but have been (poorly) painted a “wood-look) brown. We would like to find some ways to brighten up the exterior and make it warmer. Our style inside is shabby chic-rustic. We’re pretty experienced with DIY remodeling inside, but I’m not sure what we can do ourselves outside other than power washing. I hate the color of the stones, can we paint them? Should we? Should we change the color of the siding? Add shutters? I am at a loss! TIA.
 

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Since you asked I am going to be brutally honest. Your house has awesome potential but is visually screwed up. Item number 1 is correctable. It’s the front windows. It looks like the previous owners bought the left over stock at a rummage sale. None of them match! New windows that match would give the house a whole new look. The second problem is that this house cries out for overhangs on the end of the ends of the roofs. The ”salt box” appearance on this newer facade gives it an uncomfortable feeling. It is a great house and has potential. I wouldn’t touch the stone work on the front as it adds to the overall appeal of the house.
 
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Hi,

Welcome to the forum mgb144. :)

Doug has already pointed out quite a number of improvements that could be made; I agree your house has great potential and as it already is many would jump at the chance to live in it.

Before jumping in though and attacking it bit by bit may I please suggest you do as Bron and I did by sitting at your computer and spend ages looking at house exteriors then select the exterior you would love to be yours.

A lot depends on funds available and we all have different tastes in what we like so go with your own instincts; your house is in a beautiful setting and my choice would be to select colours that allow your house to blend in with this setting rather than really dominate as it currently does in glaring white.

I would add a wrap around decking to the front and side removing the two flights of steps adding a single flight of steps. The garage door could have a more sympathetic paint job as could the front door; someone has gone to a great deal of time and trouble painting both doors but they look rather "fussy".

The big apex above the garage could easily be broken up by simply adding big street numbers; the numbers do make a huge difference and would detract the eye from the siding.

I like tinted glass for windows; here in the UK we have glass that keeps heat out whilst keeping heat in it's "Pilkington K" This glass has transformed our bungalow front; in mid summer the front room used to become very hot indeed but with this new glass installed it's transformed the room making it more comfortable; we are amazed by the difference it's made.

Colour makes a huge difference and if funds are limited then this would possibly be the cheapest option giving the greatest impact. You've already got a lovely home so just tweak it to suit yourself.

I gave our bungalow exterior a full and comprehensive makeover about 3 years ago doing the lot entirely on my own.

If you do the work yourself then please take safety very seriously; a fall from the upper level could prove fatal.

Kind regards, Colin.



Colour choice.JPG


Here's the American home we chose our colours by; we bought Benjamin Moore Exterior satin paint; expensive paint but worth every penny.

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Our bungalow before the makeover; I had made the decking and side hung garage doors.

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Another picture before the makeover.

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The makeover well under way; the cladding is WBP 18mm plywood hand routed to give cladding effect. The original decking and railings removed.

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Our front entrance never pleased us so I designed; made and installed a new front entrance making a huge difference; this was completed only last year.

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Another picture of the new front entrance; it not only looks much better it has made a big difference blocking out our dire climate.

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Original paintwork to the bungalow rear extension.

Makeover_001_01.JPG


The new paintwork.

Makeover_001.JPG


A big job almost completed just the top handrail to install above the railings. The pictures don't do it justice.
 
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Hi, thank you both so much!! And never be afraid of brutal honesty with me :)

Silentrunning, I wondered if you meant all of the windows or if you’re referring to the front door sidelights? The regular windows were all replaced not too long before we purchased the house, and are all the same (though are all different sizes which does annoy me) but the sidelights most definitely do not match. One of them must have been broken and was made of plexiglass. I had plain (inexpensive) glass installed for now till we can afford to purchase a new matching set.

By overhang do you mean eaves? I have been trying to figure out why I don't like the shape of the house, and “salt box” is exactly right! It’s so ugly, especially if you could see the gorgeous houses all around it.

Retired, the stark whiteness of it is exactly what I meant! I want to warm it up a little. And I love the idea of making just one stairway. And numbers over the garage would help, you’re right! Also something I wouldn’t have thought of. Thanks for all of the pictures and detail you’ve sent. Your home looks absolutely gorgeous!

Thanks for all of the thought and time you both put into responding, I really appreciate it!
 
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Hi, thank you both so much!! And never be afraid of brutal honesty with me :)

Silentrunning, I wondered if you meant all of the windows or if you’re referring to the front door sidelights? The regular windows were all replaced not too long before we purchased the house, and are all the same (though are all different sizes which does annoy me) but the sidelights most definitely do not match. One of them must have been broken and was made of plexiglass. I had plain (inexpensive) glass installed for now till we can afford to purchase a new matching set.

By overhang do you mean eaves? I have been trying to figure out why I don't like the shape of the house, and “salt box” is exactly right! It’s so ugly, especially if you could see the gorgeous houses all around it.

Retired, the stark whiteness of it is exactly what I meant! I want to warm it up a little. And I love the idea of making just one stairway. And numbers over the garage would help, you’re right! Also something I wouldn’t have thought of. Thanks for all of the pictures and detail you’ve sent. Your home looks absolutely gorgeous!

Thanks for all of the thought and time you both put into responding, I really appreciate it!

Your first floor seems to look ok. If you just look at the second floor you have windows divided vertically, horizontally and with criss cross. You then have the two small windows very close together and of two different styles. This creates a busy appearance and gives a person an uneasy feeling. One of my houses had a mixture of windows and I could never make it look respectable. I then had all new matching and complimenting windows and doors installed. It changed the looks of the house entirely.
 

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