After Martin and I did the troubleshooting post for Juliette I received an e-mail from Katie, who lives in a small mining town in the US. She asked for our opinion on the exterior of her house. I knew Martin would jump at this, having strong feelings about architecture in general and exteriors in particular so I passed the photo on to him.
Here's what Katie wrote:
This house has gone through a major facelift from when we first got it. It's not the most beautiful space, I'll admit. For some reason, people in the community just fell in love with attaching indoor porches to their homes in the 70s. It has a screen door (you can see it leaning against the wall for repairs), then the main house has a standard exterior door. The whole neighborhood is like this.
The problem I'm curious about your opinion is the wood paneling. It isn't fake paneling. It's real, tongue and groove, 4 cm thick stuff. Should it be painted, replaced with something else in a different color…? I guess the paneling just feels too "interior" in my mind to be across the whole front of the house, so I blame it for the weird feel the front has. I'd take any suggestions on the space, really.
First of all I have to say I disagree with Katie. I love the house! I love the porch! I DO think it's beautiful!What I love most about it is the symmerty, the square structure with the centered porch and centered door. There's always room for improvement though and here are a couple of suggestions for Katie and Martin ( Yes, she has a Martin too!).
For the interior of the porch we suggest painting the paneling to give it more of a room feel than the sauna (sorry, but you know how I feel about bare wood) look. I think a couple of coats of white in there will give a totally new feel to the space both when looking from the outside in and once your inside. We would also go for white trim but since all white's not everybody's cup of tea a nice pale shade of grey would look awesome too.
For the exterior of the porch we would paint the paneling in the same color as the house itself. It's a really nice green and painting the rest the same would make the porch stick out less and be more integrated with the main house.
For the outside trim we would again go for white. There's no denying that painting trim white will give the walls or in this case the paneling that added freshness, at least in our book.
Martin got a little carried away (as he does with these types of things) and threw in a few more things that will give give the house more curb appeal.
How about making the front steps more substantial by running them along the front and sides of the porch? If there's no frost in the ground where Katie is it's quite an easy build. With frost there's a bit harder labor involving digging for plinths but it would be so worth it. Imagine some nice pots and lanterns on there…
Another suggestion is that because there's not much of a yard at the front of the house to put gravel down there so there's no need to mow a thin strip of lawn. If laid correctly the gravel will be virtually maintenance and weed free. Pick the color of gravel carefully. Martin and I stay away from anything with pink in it because it tends to look fleshy and clashes with a lot of paint colors. White-gray-black gravel goes with everything and looks fresh.
What we're not crazy about is the metal fence and gate in front of that cute house and if it were up to us we'd switch to wooden fencing. Here's one version which is open and airy but maybe not a great idea if there are doggies involved.
The other version is more closed in to contain any four leggers.
So these are our two cents. Anyone else have any other suggestions for Katie and Martin?