Exterior Design 101

My rainbow exterior: Lilac siding, beige brick, gray roof, navy eaves, and lots of exposed concrete foundation.  Yuck!

My rainbow exterior: Lilac siding, beige brick, gray roof, navy eaves, and lots of exposed concrete foundation. Yuck!

As much as I love colour inside my home, I generally find neutrals work best on the exterior of most homes.  Unless you live in a grand old painted Victorian, bright colours and pastels should be limited to front doors and flower pots, in my opinion.  So how did I end up with an exterior that sports lilac siding and navy eaves troughs paired with a gray roof and beige brick?   I’m secretly glad that our kitchen renovation has expanded to include the exterior, so I no longer have to be embarrassed by the outward appearance of our home.  But of course, nothing is as simple at it seems at first glance….

This is the view that visitors have as they approach our front door.  The only thing I like about it is the front door, which we put in 2 years ago.  It stays!

This is the view that visitors have as they approach our front door. The only thing I like about it is the front door, which we put in 2 years ago. It stays!  (Excuse the dead flora — we haven’t planted the new Spring pots yet. Nor have we gotten to the Christmas lights, yet.)

Let’s start at the front entrance.  We love having a covered porch to protect visitors from the weather while they wait for an answer to their knock.  However, the supporting beams, ceiling and soffits are all wood, and have to be constantly maintained.  We are going to cover them with aluminum to match the new eaves and soffits around the house.  We’d also like to enclose the area somehow, for better insulation around the front door in winter, but we don’t like the typical aluminum enclosures that we’ve seen.  For now, we will improve the existing structure, but there will be no enclosure this year.  We have discussed removing the brick around the porch, but now I’m not so sure I want to do that.  It does give the porch substance, which I like.  The dark brown door is a relatively new addition, and we still like it.  The colour works well with our new colour scheme, so it will stay.  That little picket gate has to go!

This is the door that is responsible for the exterior becoming a priority for this round of renovations.

This is the door that is responsible for the exterior becoming a priority for this round of renovations.

The other side of our house is a disaster!  The door leads into the kitchen, and is being removed to allow us to remove the interior stairs that cut into valuable floor space inside.  It’s too narrow here to (legally) add a side porch, so the door is being completely eliminated.  Rather than having a gap in our siding, we have decided to replace the siding.  Check out all the exposed concrete foundation on this side of the house.  The new siding will come down to within 18″ of the ground all the way around the house, so we don’t have to look at this ‘bunker’ effect any longer.  The mansard roof, which hangs down the front of the house and at both sides, will be changed from shingles to vertical board and batten siding.  The rest of the house will be horizontal siding, as it is now, but vinyl instead of aluminum for better durability and easier maintenance.

The garage door takes up most of the front of our house.  It definitely needs a facelift.

The garage door takes up most of the front of our house. It definitely needs a facelift.

We thought the garage door was the simplest part of the project.  We knew who we wanted to work with (Stouffville Garage Doors) because they’ve done a great job of keeping this old door working.  We look forward to changing from a door that swings out to one that rolls up, but we had no idea that our garage interior wouldn’t accommodate that.  The look on our salesman’s face, when he saw our existing structure, was priceless!  In the end, he was able to come up with a great solution by decreasing the width of our door and building up the sides a bit more.  He is also specifying a 6’9″ door height instead of a 7′ door height, which we can live with.  Actually, we think the door will look better with beefier side frames, so all’s well that ends well.

Our exterior colours are coming together.  How appropriate that our new garage door is coming from the 'Designers Choice' collection!

Our exterior colours are coming together. How appropriate that our new garage door is coming from the ‘Designers Choice’ collection!

With new siding, new soffits and eaves, new roof and new garage door all coming from different companies, it has been a bit of a challenge to coordinate finish colours.   Since the brick is the only element that’s not changing, we want to connect the siding and garage door to the brick colour.  We also like the idea of having eaves and soffits and front window shutters (did I mention that we are adding panelled shutters to the front windows?) in a slightly different analogous colour to the siding colour.  The roof will be brown — a no-brainer, really. The only dilemma at the moment is whether to match the garage door to the siding or the soffits.  Either way, it will be a huge improvement over what we have now.   Our neighbours should thank us!

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