Sunday, February 22, 2015

Renovation Diary: Part 2 of Adding Curb Appeal to a 70s Split-Level

I'm still recovering from Friday's mishap, so instead of our weekly house tour, I'm just updating an earlier post about the ranchburger's front elevation. 
Last week, I posted eleven possible front elevations for the ranch (above). My goals for the house were to increase curb appeal, balance the similar, yet mismatched, wings, and reduce the long, "train-like" appearance of the middle section. Also, I hoped to add a traditional mood . . . but with a twist. If I had to define this twist in one sentence, it would be "Something's Gotta Give" (my all-time favorite imaginary abode) Meets a "Rambling Farm House." 

The elevation that you all liked best was #8. Murdock, the architect, preferred it, too. Thanks to your comments, I began to see this drawing with fresh vision. It seemed like the perfect choice, a home made for cedar shakes, white trim, operable shutters, climbing roses, and a winding garden path. 





I sketched a pergola onto the the bedroom wing (left). I tried to imagine the depth of the gabled front porch addition. 



After a series of emails, Murdock tweaked the design. He deleted the pergola and added an L-Shaped porch to the left wing. To balance the overall design Murdock added a porte-cochère to the right side of the house. 



Tucked into the upper part of the (imaginary) "L-shaped" porch are the Master bedroom's triple windows (below). If I decide to build a porch, these windows would be replaced with French doors, so the porch would be accessible.


Murdock's final version.



Murdock recommended keeping things simple on the porch, with recessed lighting instead of expensive lanterns. A painted "Haint Blue" ceiling (Me, I need some haint repellent) would be 'specially welcome. For the entry porch, I would like to change the oval window in the gable to something less formal. Dormers will be added to the center portion of the existing roof. 

The existing porch would receive a bump-out (near the old picture windows), creating
a welcoming (I hope) entrance. 

The old porch floor (above and below, right) consists of Tennessee limestone. I'd need more if I expand part of this porch. I haven't gotten a bid on Tennessee limestone, but I know it can take a while for the product to arrive, and it's expensive. Painted or stained wood will require too much upkeep, and since I'd be taking care of it, I'm X'ing this idea off the list. Stamped concrete could be power washed--I enjoy power washing--but Bomanite is expensive. I've had unhappy experiences with a simple option: stained/painted concrete peeled and was bothersome as a painted wood floor. Brick pavers would be classic and easy to maintain, but they're costly. Man made stone is another option. Again, if I add a porch, I'll need estimates for several types of flooring, and that alone could be a game changer.


In the above floorplan, you can see that the L-Shaped porch addition would not be level with the old porch. If you're standing on the new entry porch and turn left, you'd see two steps that lead to the (also new) wrap-around porch.

***

I like both designs. In #8, I like the way the "wings" add symmetry to the asymmetrical "center." I love the way the 4 windows in each wing are the same size and also have shutters. 

#8-A: While I love the idea of a wrap-around porch (great view, charm, function), I'm not sure I like the single French doors on the first floor. In real life, I bet it would look great. But I can't visualize it just yet. Double doors on each side of the fireplace may work. I could keep the windows on the lower level and add French doors to the side elevation. A guest might prefer more than one way to reach the porch, so if I went in this direction, a door, or doors, would be necessary, not windows (or "door windows," my new favorite thing, but they aren't operable--and the lack of egress would be a code violation. No matter what, I'd order the same style doors that replaced the kitchen's old casement windows.
(Photos by Medana H. Thank you, Medana!)


Going back to the front elevation and the lower windows...shutters might balance a single French door. However, I am warming to the idea of a side elevation French door. In my mind's eye, I am adding window boxes. (Playing with architecture is a wonderful way to pack up your cares and woes, even if it's temporary. Almost as good as a triple layer caramel cake.)

I'd love your opinion. Would you add a porch? Tweak the windows/shutters? Skip it?

UPDATE: My GC thinks this design is pretty, but it could really put a dent in my budget. We eliminated the port-cochere because it would be too close to the property line and I would lose the garden area. Love my garden. 

I. #8 A -- no porch

II. #8 B -- Tweaked -- yes, a porch

III. Other


27 comments:

  1. for some reason I like the No porch version. For French doors in a bedroom, I am always thinking of security. Just me...too many years of living in the country. Ha! This no. 8 is my favorite version.
    Glad you are feeling better. Keep resting...as long as you can ...:-)
    Sheila

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love the idea of a porch, but it gets to "sprawling," as my grandmother would say. I hadn't thought about security. Guests may not sleep well with two French doors in the room. Good point!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh my gosh, I just read about your concussion! Hope you are feeling better! I love porches and hope to put one on my house someday!...Then again, every option you have looks fantastic!
    Shelley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am much better, thank you.I haven't set foot outside, though. A thick layer of sneaky ice is still on the porch, despite salt and urea pellets.

      Delete
  4. I like 8 B because I love porches and the french doors would be so pretty. I am sure you will have a security system with all your lovely treasures. The home will be a show stopper and with your exceptional taste it will be stunning.
    Hope your resting and taking things easy. Hope your little dog is doing better.
    Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary, thanks for asking about Zap. He's having a great day, all curled up with me on the sofa. We're wrapped in three tartan blankets.

      Delete
  5. You have such good taste and sense of style that I know you'll pick the right look! Glad you are feeling better- isn't it shocking how quickly your life can be changed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it sure is, Liz--changed in a heartbeat. I'm bruised in places that I wouldn't have guessed, but on the mend.

      Delete
  6. Hi Michael Lee, I'm going with a new choice: C. # 8 tweaked but no porch on the front side of the house. I think the front door needs to stand on its own. Too many doors on the front can add clutter and confusion. As for doors on either side of the chimney, I had that in my last house in the kitchen and they drove me crazy! In one, out the other, so much room used up inside...I was about to close one off when we moved. Now I have french doors and windows across almost the entire back of this house. While they add light and frame the beautiful view, they also make furniture placement very difficult as space needs to be free for the opening and passages. The doors as you have them on the proposed porch will also eliminate the possibility of comfy porch chairs or rockers there. However, I love the elongation the porte-cochere roof and the porch roof give to the house, so maybe just a side porch could be considered, which would leave the front windows the same with room for gorgeous plantings underneath and an emphasis on the front door. Also, all that porch roof will make the room much darker. I guess in the South the shelter from the sun is important, but here we need more light. I really have no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to design, but I just wanted to pass on thoughts based on other houses I've had and mistakes of my own! I really like your new ranch burger and I know this house will be wonderful and full of character when you finish it! Linda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your idea of adding a side porch and porte-cochere, and skipping the new porch along the wing. Something about French doors on the front wing doesn't feel right. I'm glad you shared your own experiences with doors beside a fireplace. I can see how that would be a problem. I really think the two over two windows on that wing should stay and put a door on the side wall to the porch, if there is a porch. Yes, light is so important to me, too. The good news is, only two French doors on the existing porch are operable; the bad news is, I don't know how much room I'll have for rockers, etc. The demo on the existing porch (stone) could be costly (that is why I decided not to demo the fake stone chimney on the left/bedroom wing. It was cheaper to add gas FP units).
      But a pergola roof along that section may work and be less pricey, since construction will be going on there, anyway. I don't know how much of the porch roof will be needed for the dormers but will ask. You've given me fabulous and smart ideas, Linda. Thank you SO much!

      Delete
  7. I like #8, just as it is, Michael Lee. I must think like your grandma with the too "sprawling" look that the house has with the additions.
    I hope you're feeling much better, and Zap, too. We've had ice overnight and I'm heeding your advice and not going outdoors today. Take care, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Definetly a porch!! Love the view and a porch with french doors of the bedroom is a dream!

    ReplyDelete
  9. First off, I'm glad to hear you are on the mend and how precious that your little fellow Zap is your constant snuggle bunny and providing solace for you. Secondly, it's very generous of you to share in the process of your remodel and especially one of such large scale. I also know that when you request thoughts about the varied choices, it can either help or hinder, so in that vein, I'll offer a humble opinion and try and keep it simple. I vote for no extended porch. One other thing I would consider is changing up the three dormers in the front. My personal feeling is that one wide-width dormer would look less busy and I would also like to see what the roofline would look like with choice # 8, but with two eyebrow dormers (sorry, Murdock). I really like your idea of the pergola porch, but I'm not sure the expense of it is warranted. In other words, I'm not sure the house really needs it. The porte cochere seems fitting as far as I can tell without having seen that side of the home.
    Well, enough of my opinions! I did just come across an enlightening article about the paradox of choice that you will likely
    find as fascinating as I did. Here's the link: http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2015/02/how-to-find-happiness/?utm_source=%22Barking+Up+The+Wrong+Tree%22+Weekly+Newsletter&utm_campaign=e12b591380-schwartz_02_22_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_78d4c08a64-e12b591380-56484441

    Hope you're being pampered and Bandwidth is making you some warm soup to sip (hint, hint :)!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good ideas, Susan. My GC is looking at the elevations, and he will know the best options. It's always good to examine the choices and to dream a little (and dreaming can lead to the perfect solution), but I will probably opt for the safest and least expensive choice. My gut tells me that cedar shake siding, white trim, and shutters (maybe black!), and window boxes will go a long way with curb appeal.

      Delete
  10. Hi Michael Lee!

    I trust your heart and your body are slowly and surely on the mend. You're a steel magnolia if I ever saw one.
    One day at a time, eh?

    I like both the ideas. I guess part of what it will boil down to is how much you will actually use the porch in that location. I'm sure you will make a brilliant choice. You do have unerring taste.

    To be honest, my favorite is the one you tweaked at the beginning. I personally love a nice deep porch running along the front of a house. It adds another room that beckons because it is always in your sight line. And the columns you added were just right to me. The only thing I would change would be to widen the pitch of the roof line at the entry. But perhaps your was nixed because of cost considerations.

    No matter. We will all delight in whatever your decide!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the good wishes. I'm cozy in my flannels and watching "Something's Gotta Give." Still heavy hearted but that's to be expected . . . As always, I like your ideas. I enjoyed the porches at my old Four Square and would adore having one at the ranch, esp if it's tucked away off the master. I'm not sure why Murdock didn't adjust the pitch of the entry gable. Maybe it was a math/engineering impossibility. I'll ask.

      Delete
  11. Love that you chose #8. While I love a good rocking chair on the porch, by adding on the porch and porte cochere aren't you just adding more "cars" to the train-look that you were originally worried about? It will look wonderful with whatever you choose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, the length worries me. Also, I worry about trucks having clearance with a porte-cochere. I worry about the strangest things! lol

      Delete
  12. Glad to hear you are on the mend and that Zap is snuggled in with you. It will help both of you. I like the idea of a porch off the master. It will offer a wonderfully private retreat, good spot for reading or writing or napping. ;-)
    We have a porte cochere, and it's been a favorite feature for me. I like having a roof over my head to load and unload the car in bad weather.
    I don't think there is any question that this home will be gorgeous. You have an amazing eye and sense of style. Thanks for letting us be a part of this process. It's interesting and educational.
    Take care of yourself and let those men pamper you. You've had a rough time of late.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's hard to keep up with all of the changes at the ranch, as I'm homebound for a while. I'm working from photos that Medana sends and via phone and email. As of this week, my GC and I took this whole elevation off the table. It's pretty but will blow the budget. I'd like to move by June, and to keep this timeline, I must keep things simple from here on out. I'm motivated to move, as this farm is more than I can deal with by myself.

      Delete
  13. I don't know why I thought of this, but have you ever looked at Connor Homes? They are located in Vermont.
    They do beautiful, beautiful work. You might find some architectural inspiration as you're hammering out the details of this remodeling project. You'll find them at:
    connorbuilding.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love that website--i could spend hours looking at the photos. Swoon! Thanks so much.

      Delete
  14. Hi Michael Lee! I'm just popping in checking on you and hoping you're feeling better after you fell! Are you milking it like I told you to? :)
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Shelia. I've had sensitivity to light and sound and was told to stay in a dark, quiet room all week to reduce sensory input. I've got cotton balls in my ears this morning. Medana has mailed photos of progress at the ranch, which has been a lifesaver. What is most worrisome is my fogginess. Can't find the right word when I'm talking or writing. So I'm trying to rest for the next few weeks. Thanks again for asking about me. xxoo

      Delete
  15. Hi-
    Your home in any of the drawings is honestly more than I can grapple, however Susan from between naps on the porch did a post on MacKinsie- Childs home. Find it, and look at the carriage house roof line . There may be something you can glean for your own magnificent place. Dreaming Big is not something everyone can do, but I enjoy its possibilities, as I see you do too. Never give up on brainstorming..I will enjoy your process. Stay safe and warm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Kathy, I looked at Susan's post--wow, I love MC's carriage house (and house, too). My GC actually thinks that dormers (in the attic) like that would be the most economical and prettiest way to go (and skip the porches and center gable). Thanks so much!

      Delete
  16. I really thought your version with the pergola looked the best.

    ReplyDelete