Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Curb Appeal - Storybook Cottage

Usually when I talk about improving curb appeal on one of our projects, it's because the house is a 'drive by' and if we don't do something dramatic, no one will ever want to come inside.

That's not the case with this house.  It's pretty charming, with the shingled second floor - that has a romantic 'swoop' that only real shingles can create when they float above the first floor.  And instead of a boring corner board, the shingles are 'woven' on the corners - a time consuming process that creates a cohesive look.  And look at the old-school shutters, they add a similar romantic vibe.

But there are some problems.  When you get up close, you realize that the shingles are actually in pretty bad shape - just painting over them won't help the curling and bowing.  And the shutters are in similar disrepair, probably at 'end of life' from a longevity perspective.

Most of the clapboards are in good shape, but there's evidence of lead paint and it will be a major project to paint the house.  Good thing we have experience with major projects!!

So here's the inspiration.  Natural cedar shingles, blue clapboards and white trim.

But it will take some work to get our house to this level.  Here are the areas we plan to address as we create a new front facade.
New Front Facade

First step is fixing the front door - it's awkward.  The useable entrance to the house is around the corner, next to the driveway & mailbox- which is on a one way street.  Let me tell you, nothing makes a delivery guy angrier than arriving at the front door and realizing he has to drive around the block to make their delivery.  (Some just give up in frustration - the port a potty driver routinely ignores this and just drives in the wrong way).  No one ever uses the original front door and we have decided to abandon it.

So we're closing off the old front door - but need to fill the space.  Thankfully we have this amazing, original window that's been hidden in the house for decades.  It still has the old wavy glass......swoon!!!!  We will install it instead of the front door, but vertically instead of horizontally.

The new entrance will be through the former side porch - leading into a nice foyer/mudroom.  I had hoped we could simply enclose the old porch, but unfortunately we discovered some structural issues.
The porch needed a LOT more work than we anticipated
As luck would have it, we need new footings, joists, walls, insulation, etc.  It's a much bigger job than we expected, but we want to do it right.    The guys got it framed up - don't you think the new windows and front door really dress it up?

Of course that's not all!  We also need to build a new staircase, a new walkway, remove the chain link fence and do a little landscaping.  Most of those items require the ground to thaw - so it will take awhile.  But it should be lovely when we get it all done!

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  1. Coming along nicely what thoughts do you have on the fencing?

  2. Can't wait to see the progress! I've always wondered: when you change the entrance on a house and it changes which street you "enter" from, does this change the address of the house? Is that a stupid question?

    1. Not a stupid question at all! We did change the street address - the old one made delivery people CRAZY, because they had to go all the way around the block to do a delivery. We had to work with the city to make it happen, but they agreed it made sense as well!!


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