Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Vintage Colonial: Curb Appeal

At first glance, the exterior of our project is quite nice.  A stately white colonial, it looks great from the street.

But as you get closer, you notice a few issues.

  • The front storm door has no doorknob.  Hmmm.... makes it a bit tricky to go in that way!  (It's also missing a knob on the interior, as well as some other necessary parts)
  • There's aluminum trim covering the door frame, windows and garrison undercarriage.  But it's all pieced together and has a rather haphazard look.
  • We have a mixture of windows with/without storms windows and screens.
  • The garage door has seen better days
  • The side door is a) unusually narrow, b) falling apart & c) the mail slot is exposed and the mail falls on the damp garage floor
  • I'm a huge fan of rhododendrons.  These are loaded with buds, but need a bit of pruning to encourage them to thicken up and clear them back from the windows.
So - we've got some updates to do.  Some of it we really can't tackle in the winter, but we can start with a few changes now, while we wait for spring.  

First and foremost, I want to add a small front porch.  This will keep guests dry when they come to the front door.  And it will also help fill some of the space below the second floor windows.  We spent a lot of time trying out different ideas, but finally settled on a simple gable roofline.  It has an arched opening, which mirrors the windows we're putting on the new garage door.  It also gives us a great spot to put house numbers (which were absent from our 'before' house - unless you count the ones I drew in magic marker, so contractors could find the house).
Cardboard to the rescue!!!  The best way to visualize a change!
The guys made quick work of it and got the main structure in place.  The pillars will have to wait until after the weather warms up and we can fix the front steps - but I'm already so happy with it!  Someone commented the other day that it looks as if it's always been there, which is the nicest thing they could possibly have said!

We removed the aluminum that covered the bay window and discovered really nice woodwork.  I never like to create a lot of maintenance for new owners, but this isn't a lot of wood and it has so much more architectural definition than the bland, white aluminum.  With a fresh coat of paint, it will look great!  We are also going to add a little more architectural definition around the windows and doors, which should make it more attractive.  And once we get the new windows in, it will really look nice!
Original fluted casing under the aluminum!!!

And the best surprise???  We found original fluted casing around the front door in excellent shape!!!  What a discovery!!!

And the front door?  Well, my fancy new thermal imaging camera (thanks to a surprise stocking stuffer from Santa Claus - I know, I get the coolest stuff!!) shows a front door that leaks a lot of cold air.  The wood panels radiate cold (the blue/purple color is cold) and you see it seeping around the rest of the door (despite a storm door!).  So this will get replaced with a new, insulated fiberglass door.

Which brings me to the 28 brand new windows that we are installing.  They will also help the house look a lot nicer, as well as be much more energy efficient. We've started putting them in during the nicer weather days.  And what a difference - no more animal chewed mullions!!!

What else?  Well, the garage door is on order and the new front door will arrive this week.
It's probably hard to tell, but this arch matches the one on the front porch!!
And we've also started a lot of work on the back of the house.  It's not called curb appeal there, but we're doing a lot of work.  We had to move a couple of windows, which meant we needed to replace all the siding, which meant we had to update the trim, which meant we had to replace the gutters, and then there's the screened porch.....well, you get the picture.  We're talking major facelift here!  

So stay tuned over the next few weeks.  Barring a few more big snowstorms (like the one today!), we hope to make lots of progress!!  

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  1. You have such vision! I am inspired... but I don't think I'd like to meet the animal that did that to the windows!

  2. Love your posts. Love what you are doing with this house!


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