April 26, 2011

Curb Appeal

We're closing on The Lodge today, and we are bound to spend the entire day clearing off the truck, hauling boxes and unpacking.  So until we have time to get in, get settled and upload pics of our chaotic disaster, we thought we'd leave you with a little curb appeal dreaming.

We're not going to lie to you... when we first took a gander at our big, beautiful lodge, we didn't think it was so beautiful.  I mean, it's a little strange right?  With it's sprawling layout, peaked roof and super big driveway.

It's certainly nothing like our first baby the 1920's Bungalow, which to me looks a lot more like "home" and a lot less like "office complex."

But over time the lodge grew on us.  Maybe it was the gorgeous neighborhood, or the fact that one of the times when we drove by these guys were hanging out in our yard:

We knew no matter how "homey" the bungalow looked, the fact that it was in the city, with a tiny lot and in the airport's flight plan, we'd never find the serenity there that we could have at the Lodge.  So we started to dream up ways to soften up it's curb appeal, thanks to the miracle of Photoshop.  

First we thought about taking a power washer to the fence and deck, and then staining the wood a nice warm cedar color.  Like this:

I also added in a little cedar trellis that we already own to the left of the door.  That helps, but the house still seems really long.  Perhaps we could break it up by staining the chimney a different color, like this:

Now that we've stained all the other cedar, those cedar shakes on the roof look like they could use some love:
That really changes the pallet.  Although, I'm not sure if it's realistic to stain the shakes.  Even if we did go through all the effort to climb on the roof, power wash and then stain everything, would we have to revisit the project every couple of years to maintain it?  That might be one of my famous, "It sounded like a good idea when we started..." ideas. 

Plus, now there is just a little too much of the cedar color.  So we thought we'd embrace the Lodge concept and add a stone veneer to the chimney, like this:

Forgive the bad Photoshop work here, this is just to give us an idea.  Now there was just the issue of the huge, stained driveway.  We noticed that our new neighbors across the street had stained their driveway, and it looks incredible. (On purpose, not accidentally with a car that leaks oil like at our house.)  It immediately takes their house from standard to stand out, and makes it look really expensive. On our house, it would look sort of like this:

If we edit back through and remove the "not-very-likely" shake stain, and maybe go with a stacked stone, we'd have this, which is my favorite so far:
As a reminder, here where we started:

Pretty amazing what we could do, huh?  Full disclosure, we need to do A LOT of work on the inside of the house first, and these exterior changes are definitely not a priority for the next few years.  Heck, by the time we get around to it we might have an entirely different idea on how to go.  But it's fun to play around and imagine how this house could change over the years and become our home. 

Does anyone out there watch HGTV's Curb Appeal and Curb Appeal the Block shows?  It never seizes to amaze me how those houses look entirely different when they are done.  Does anyone else have curb appeal projects to share?  We are always hunting for inspiration...


  1. Found your link through your comment on YHL today :-) I have to say that I love the stacked stone and stained driveway option! The FIRST thing I thought when I saw your house was a stone option on the chimney. I like that the stained driveway and cedar porch bring out the brown undertones in the stone, but the body of your house and the shakes have gray undertones - it really gives it a nice dimension. Another option I think you should consider is painting the garage doors medium gray to bring in one more cool tone. I think you have some great ideas, good luck with everything!

  2. hi :) im also here from YHL, and brought some opinions! love the stacked stone chimney and stained drive. they add some warmth! and the stone on the chimney helps break up the length of the house just as you mentioned. with all the different planes and spaces going on, i feel like you could do a lot with materials. some galvanzed metal panels or cedar shingles would be nice to consider too.... being a young architect, im liking this house! even at first glance ;) i do however disagree with the person above about the garage doors. in general garage doors are ugly and painting them a different color would only draw attention to them. so unless you plan on spending some money on new fancy shmancy ones, i would just paint them the same color of the house. (just my opinion. to each their own!). also, please dont make your roof shingles brown. im not sure if thats what you were trying to represent, but i feel like brown would make it look outdates. keep the roof towards a dark gray. you have a lovely home!! cant wait to see what you do with it :)

  3. Thanks for the advice you guys, this is really helpful! The stone on the chimney is a must! I wasn't planning on painting the roof, rather those are cedar shakes that have gotten really gray over time. We thought maybe a good power washing could bring back some of the original color. I'm super intrigued about the idea of adding metal panels or cedar... At least the long Minnesota winter will give us a lot of time to think about it.

  4. You have provided such nice information. Your blog have so much for learning new things. A shake is a basic wooden shingle that is made from split logs. Shakes have traditionally been used for roofing and siding applications around the world. The strength and beauty of our lines of Cedar West red cedar roofing make for visually versatile, naturally practical, and value-enhancing roofing options for your property.

  5. If your home's curb appeal makes a great first impression, everyone -- including potential homebuyers -- will want to see what's inside.