Posts Tagged 'curb appeal'

Under Construction – West Seattle

What started as a 80’s tall & skinny box in West Seattle, looking like this…

Before

…is still in construction and already looks amazing.

In progress...

Yes, that is the same view in both photos. The old front didn’t look like a front. The doors you see in the before photo were not even the front doors (the front door was around the side of the house – confusing for visitors!).

In the re-design, the house now has a facade with eye-catching curb appeal. The seldom-used 3rd floor deck has been enclosed and is sure to become a favorite hangout spot. The view is amazing, and the new indoor space is flooded with light even on a rainy day, thanks to an oversized skylight.

DLH, Inc. www.dlhinc.com is the builder for this project, and their team is doing a fabulous job.

Advertisements

Frelo – Before & After

Before

After

The Beginning

Some homes are ideal candidates for tear-down or whole house renovations. This home had a significant amount of maintenance due, in addition to primary spaces in need of updating (kitchen and bathrooms).

The Big Idea

Originally, the homeowners planned only to remodel the kitchen and bathroom and replace the furnace and roof.

One of my initial design concepts explored the possibility of opening the kitchen to the family room (by removing a large fireplace and re-orienting the kitchen work areas toward the view).  This completely changed the feel of the house, and the owners’ feelings about the house.

Inspired to transform this house into their dream live/work environment, the project became a “near” tear-down (one wall and the slab-on-grade remained). An entirely new, modern, energy-efficient home now stands in its place.

Home Sweet Home-Office

One of the criteria for combining home with work was to create an acoustically separate area where the sounds of home-life would not distract from work. The door to this space is fitted with an acoustic door bottom and perimter gasket by Pemko.  The office walls are double-framed with offset studs in a “floating” installation.

Acoustic home office door

Winter Cheer (and eco-mindfulness)

Emphasis was placed on high quality systems, including radiant hydronic heat, commercial grade metal roofing, and rainscreen cladding. The southern exposure boasts large windows, both to capture all the mood-lifting sun possible during the rainy Seattle winter and to allow passive heating of the hydronic tubing in the floor.

Magnolia – Before & After

Before

After

Adding a second story over part of this 50’s rambler captured the view while adding a master suite and extra bedroom and bathroom.

Prairie style proportions were used as a complement to the existing roof slope and overhangs, reducing the perception of height from the curb.  All windows were replaced, as well as the siding above the brick veneer.

The addition was designed to bridge the existing house, creating a front entry foyer on the main level where the stairs are housed without using any of the existing living space.  The second story, above, also creates a welcoming, covered porch.

New foyer with stairs to second story addition

New foyer with stairs to second story addition

The Secret to Picking the Perfect Paint Color

paint2

Paint color selection tools of the trade

For many homeowners, picking the perfect paint color is a daunting task – prone to error, causing arguments, piling up receipts for samples or do-overs, and sometimes resulting in the decision to “just give up and paint it white”.

This is why I include paint color selection as a part of my architectural services. Having done this many times before, I make it easy and fun for my clients.

Here are some things to remember when selecting paint color:

A lot of men are color blind.

One of every ten men have some form of color blindness, while women are rarely affected. There are different severities and types of color-blindness.  The most common type is the inability to distinguish red and green.  This can be very challenging when looking at various shades of paint colors, as often the only difference between two colors will be the amount of red or green undertone.

All whites are not the same.

If you hold a fan of “whites” at arm’s length, you would think they were colors like blue, pink, grey, or yellow.  Yet, each of them are considered “white”.  I have heard the following statements, each of which is a clue that my clients need help, whether they realize it or not.

  • “The contractor said he has a white that they used before, so we’ll just use that.”
  • “I just want white.”
  • “We don’t want any color, just an off-white.”
  • “My mother says we should use antique white.”

Complex colors change in different light.

Many of the popular brands of paints have a complex color base.  This makes the color very rich, whether light or dark.  It also affects the color’s appearance in different types of light.  When you select colors, you should look at them in the type and intensity of light they will be seen in.  DO NOT pick your paint colors on the floor of a fluorescent-lit showroom.

The trickiest colors are green, khaki, and grey.

In my experience, the colors that appear the most different according to the quality and type of light are green, khaki (or camel) and grey.  When I select one of these colors, I pull as many samples out of the oversize fan as I can find and pin them all up, either in the intended location or in the closest facsimile of the environment.  I look at them several times throughout the day as the light changes, and remove any chip that begins to take on the appearance of another color.  Green will tend to shift to brown.  Khaki will tend to shift toward either purple or green.  Grey will tend to shift to purple or blue.

Be careful with luminous colors.

If you adore “happy colors”, remember that a color can be bright without being luminous.

I once had a client who wanted a bright green bedroom, the color of the flesh of a lime.  The color she chose was very luminous – meaning that it had a “glow”.  As a small chip, it was very appealing.  But, when the whole room was painted, the color bounced off every wall, making the room so intense that the painters could only be in there for a short period of time before having to step outside to allow their eyes to adjust back to normal.  (That room was immediately repainted a soft yellow.)

Color looks more intense on ceilings.

A paint chip with a hint of color will take on the appearance of a strong color when painted on a ceiling.

Exterior house colors always look lighter than expected.

Selecting exterior house colors is one of the most challenging tasks.  Nearly everyone who has chosen their own exterior paint will tell you they wish they’d gone darker.

Exterior paint always looks significantly lighter (10x or more) than the swatch.  The sun is an incredibly powerful light source, even in the Pacific Northwest, and it affects the appearance of color dramatically.  When you are choosing exterior colors, you should be looking at the darkest colors in the range.  If you there is a house in your neighborhood you like, it is well worth knocking on the door to ask what color they used or to ask permission to bring your paint fan with you to compare swatches with their house.

Consider the items that will go in the room.

Does the furniture have a red or green undertone? Are there things in the room that will contrast too much with the color? Is there something that you want to use as a focal point against the color  such as artwork or antiques? Are there things on the ceiling that you don’t want to draw attention to?  (A color on the bathroom ceiling might sound like a fun idea, but remember that the exhaust fan, ceiling lights, etc. will be more noticeable than they would against a soft white.)

Avoid trendy colors.

The retailers have a knack for rotating color trends, and today’s beautiful green will soon be dated.  The exception to this rule is choosing a color that is currently “trendy” but is one that you have ALWAYS loved.  If you have loved it your entire life, you probably always will.  If it is a new color that you are enjoying, have fun with your towels, bedcovers, or rugs.  It is easier to rotate those when you become sick of the color than it is to repaint the room.

Question the accent wall idea.

My theory is that if you want a color but only on one wall, you probably aren’t convinced that you like the color – or that you will like it for very long.  Here is another opportunity for tablecloths, rugs, towels, etc. to take on that role.

A true accent wall uses a contrasting or more saturated color to emphasize the architectural features of a space, not to showcase a fad.

Ask for help.

I bring every Benjamin Moore and Devine color created into my client’s homes, sparing them the confusion at the paint counter.  Rather than looking at tiny strips of five or six shades, we look at 4″x4″ swatches of color.  My paint kit is organized by the amount of undertone in each color, so it is easy to predict which colors will tend toward red, green, blue, or purple, based upon where the color is located within the stack of each color.  I leave these swatches with my clients, ordering replacements for my kit.

paint1

4"x4" squares of Benjamin Moore colors

After my clients have had some time to look at the color swatches in various lighting over a few days, we select a few to mock-up on the wall.  We don’t use the little paint pots or pouches unless they are the exact brand AND sheen we intend to use, since both of these factors affect the color’s appearance.  We normally have mock-ups painted in 12″x12″ or 24″x24″ squares, in both the brightest and darkest spots of the room.

Tejon – Before & After

When my client purchased this house, it was hardly apparent that this was originally a “stick style” home. The previous owner’s remodel was an attempt to convert the style to “Swiss chalet”.

Located within a historic preservation overlay district, an additional design review prior was required prior to permit approval. This zoning designation mandated that changes be “in keeping with” the character of the historic neighborhood, not necessarily an exact historic replica.

The siding was completely removed and replaced with cedar shingles, and a new front porch and rear porch were designed and constructed.  The size, spacing, and moulding profiles for each element were detailed very carefully, recollecting the original stick-style vocabulary.

Before, as a "Swiss Chalet"

Before, as a "Swiss Chalet"

After, with Stick Style features

After, with Stick Style features

A flight of side stairs is tucked behind a low shingle wall to provide easy access for the owner from his car, parked on permeable paver tire strips rather than a concrete drive. The mail carrier gave a special “thank you” to us for those steps, which are also a convenient shortcut on his walking route from the neighbor’s porch.

Tejon-side-stairs

A flight of steps is tucked behind a low wall next to the front door.

Queen Anne 3 – Before & After

QA3_before

Before

QA3_after

After

First, fix what is broken.

When purchased, this house had one issue that needed immediate attention – a drainage problem created when sellers hastily poured a concrete driveway to increase resale value. By doing so, they inadvertently directed rainwater, which previously found its way into the soil, into the neighbor’s yard and also into the basement.

And, while you’re at it…

As is often the case with remodeling, fixing this problem triggered other projects. The back and side yard were partially excavated in order to expose the basement foundation for waterproofing, during which we discovered that the existing underground drain lines were broken, filled with sand, and discharging water too close to the house. Since this property is surrounded by parcels on 3 sides and there is no stormwater main line in the street in front of the house, the downspouts were directed to a dry sump, located as far away from the foundation as possible.

The ground disturbance moved the landscaping projects up in priority.  After all, why spend money planting temporary grass?  This, in turn, moved the roof up in priority so that a dumpster could be placed close to the house without damaging the landscaping.  Which, of course, meant that the gutters would need to be replaced…

Hello, curb appeal.

The result is a great example of getting “big bang for the buck” by utilizing maintenance projects an opportunity to create curb appeal.  And, the money spent generated more return on investment than the sellers ever dreamed possible.

Tangletown – Before & After

After

After

Before, with asbestos siding and wrought iron

Before, with asbestos siding and wrought iron

Historic photo from archives

Historic photo from archives

Historic photos of this Craftsman bungalow, originally built in 1924, revealed a design flaw that existed from the beginning.  The steps from the sidewalk were unfortunately aligned with a view of the side porch, rather than an approach to the front door.  Sometime in the 1950’s, the original pillars and railings were almost entirely replaced by wrought iron panels, window sills chopped off, and beveled cedar siding covered with asbestos shingles.  When the homeowner decided it was time to restore some of the home’s original charm, he recognized an opportunity for improvement.  The new stairs borrow the scale and details of the original porch railing and add curb appeal.  The transformation required skilled carpenters to replace rotten siding and barge boards, restore window sills, improve ventilation, and restore the structural stability of the porch roof.