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socalhomeaway
please help improve the curb appeal

The exterior of our new home is so bad and needed to change with minimum cost ($5000 or so). Any suggestion? The porch is falling apart and we blocked it off. the stair is very shaky.??? the curb appeal is poor
Thanks for your input..
socalhomeaway.com/ridge front.jpg

A. Spruce
Re: please help improve the curb appeal

First and foremost, take care of your structural problems. If the stairs and porch are bad, they need to be repaired so that no one can be injured, which you would be liable for. A sound house is a sound investment.

Once the physical needs are addressed, then you can move to the cosmetics, which IMHO, are not all that bad. A fresh coat of paint on the trim, maybe something to put a little color in an otherwise drab facade, such as a teal green. The accent will liven up the body color nicely. You could also repaint the front of the house to perk it up a little too. I wouldn't change the body color, only the trim.

From there I'd focus on landscaping. Trim up the hedges a little bit, clearly define the beds with mulch, and at the very least, seed and fertilize the grass to get it green and growing again. It wouldn't be that expensive to install sod, which will give you an instant improvement to the curb appeal.

The primary cost is going to be dealing with the porch and steps, that will easily eat up your $5K budget and then some. The paint work will be less than $100 if you do it yourself, the yard you might put a few hundred into, depending on what you do with it.

keith3267
Re: please help improve the curb appeal

Are you going to do this yourself? On the surface it looks like you need a new deck, but if the deck framing is rotted away, that will need to be done too. And if the porch deck framing is bad, does it extend into the rim joist of the house.

If you do it yourself, and the rim joist of the house is not damaged, then you could build a new porch and steps for $1000-1200. Replace all the wooden railings with wrought Iron or wrought iron looking steel or aluminum, in black of course.

It appears that you are in an arid climate so I would not recommend a lawn, but if you don't need that driveway in front there, I'd get rid of it. It looks like you have parking at the end of the house. Replace the driveway with a sidewalk of either concrete or pavers. That might bust the budget though.

Maybe shutters on the windows. If there is any money left over after all that, maybe you could make a small mural from painted tiles to inset above and between the front windows and maybe a second one on that blank wall behind the porch.

socalhomeaway
Re: please help improve the curb appeal

Thanks for the suggestions. Yes, I am planing to fix the porch and the steps. However, I want at the same time change the design if need be to improve the the look of the entrance since I did spend 2 years and lots of money gutted the inside and fixed it up very nice. I dont want just to put lipstick on the pig right now. Yes, we would do all the labor just need some design ideas to get us rolling again. The lawn to the left is totally wasted, should I turn the stair toward that way and extend the porch out? Gutters and mural sound nice, will try to get photoshop them in.

socalhomeaway
Re: please help improve the curb appeal

seeking for any suggestions to improve the front porch
socalhomeaway.com/front%20porch%20options.jpg

Thanks

keith3267
Re: please help improve the curb appeal

You will need a structural engineer or architect if you want to extend that front porch because those existing columns are supporting your roof. I don't think that is practical on your given budget. I do like the curved facade for the columns though and enclosing the area under the porch will give you some storage space. You should add some ventilation for this area though.

I like your current door with the side lights, but then I'm just not a fan of french doors. How is the view from your front porch? If it is a fantastic view and you plan on entertaining a lot, then extending the porch might be worth the effort, but just make sure it will be structurally sound. I think you will need some steel framing to pull this off though, and that probably won't be an all DIY project.

I also see issues with a roof projection over the steps, but I like the look. Main issues will be with the cost. If you remove that driveway, then maybe you could grade a flat area where it is now, then put in a retaining wall on the left side and a paver patio where the driveway is now. This could be an alternate entertaining area, if it isn't too close to the street. If it is close to the street, yo could use various junipers as a transition area, but you won't want them blocking the view if there is one.

A. Spruce
Re: please help improve the curb appeal

I would not recommend extending the roof because you're going to create a leaking nightmare between the existing gable on the left and whatever new you add over the steps/porch area.

I personally don't think you need to add any roof, but if you want to do something a little different, then I'd add a similar sized gable on the right side and extend the porch in that area only. Between the two gables you could put an arbor which will help to shade the steps.

Keith is right about the costs though, you're easily talking about $10K to $15K to modify the roof and increase the size of the porch. You're going to need permits for it too.

socalhomeaway
Re: please help improve the curb appeal

Thanks so much to take the time and comment. The house sit on an acre of land. It is rural and on a private street. No traffic. It has a turn around drive way, so the front of the drive way is a circle of garden, not that nice right now, but I hope will make some improvement later. The front porch is so narrow, not enough to have a chair there, just a walkway to nowhere. So I thought extending the porch. adding some table and chairs for morning coffee, but I could use the back porch to do that. I was hopping to use the $5K budget for material, and permit (if need to), and do most of the construction ourselves. I want to boost the value of the property best $$/investment

here is the view from the front porch
socalhomeaway.com/TOH%20front%20porch.jpg

and is it what A. Spruce suggested?
socalhomeaway.com/TOH%20front%20porch.jpg

Where would you suggest to use steel framing Keith? We did replace some support beam inside with an I beam, but didn't consider it for this project unless I take out the center column that support the roof.

socalhomeaway
Re: please help improve the curb appeal

correct link for the front garden, stair, driveway, garden, road, neighbor fence and garden.
socalhomeaway.com/front%20garden.JPG

A. Spruce
Re: please help improve the curb appeal

If you duplicate the gable, then you'll also want to duplicate the existing gable end, and not change to a California hip design as depicted in your drawing. Mixing and matching styles doesn't look good. You can leave the gable over the porch open, it doesn't have to be enclosed as the house end is, but you want the roof lines to match.

keith3267
Re: please help improve the curb appeal

Where I think you will need another I beam is where those front columns are right now. You can leave the column on the far right end, but you will need the beam to go from there to the gable end of the house. That looks like too long a span for a wood beam. even an LVL would have to be about 20" wide so that would hang down a lot. You might even have to open up the wall where the beam would tie in to put a steel post from the beam to a new footing at the ground level. There will probably be a lot of weight.

It might be possible though to get away with a lighter beam if the ceiling joists are fully cantilevered. I can't tell from the pictures. But anyway those existing columns would just get in the way of a porch extension.

I guess I can't appreciate just how narrow the porch is. It looked to me like it might be 3 to 4' deep. Four feet would be sufficient I would think, three is a bit narrow. How about this, leave the roof alone, frame in the arches like you are planning on, and the area below the porch, but put in one or two bow (bay, arched) balcony's with a curved wrought iron railing, kind of like you see in the old Spanish architecture. You could put a small wrought iron (looking) cafe set on each one.

BTW, you are wrong about that circle garden, it is beautiful, but then I like landscaping to look as native and natural as possible. There are no weeds, just bio-diversity.

If you don't need that driveway to circle, and it appears that you have a parking area off to the right side of the house in your first picture, then I really would consider getting rid of it and putting in a patio.

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