Thursday, September 29, 2016

Front Door: Changing a Few Things

'There you go again', said during a much earlier debate.  Architecture, below, with a big fat garage, teensy front door, and a room at the end to finish the story.  I lived in one of these homes for 30 years, the entire neighborhood stuffed with them.  Built in the 80's a few newer neighborhoods outlawed the style in their deed restrictions.  Why?  Not street friendly, not conducive to neighbors knowing their neighbors, hulking garages with their landing strips dominate the entire neighborhood, front doors entered from their service court, not thru the 'garden'.  Very little, friendly.
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No worries, all easy fixes.  Remember, I had 30 years of this particular game.
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First, bravo the style, below, of front door.  Using a ubiquitous 6 panel door would lower the roof height. The long bottom panel, below, heightens the space, then the windows add a warm welcome with a bit more height, wonderful.  Have changed many front doors this way thru the years.
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Beyond this point there be dragons, early map makers wrote at the edges of their maps.
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First dragon I will completely ignore, it is so obvious, the huge conifer.  If you say it must be kept, ok.  Move it closer to the house, and keep it a bonsai espalier against the wall.  Learn how to do it properly, and it will be a pleasant few minutes each year.
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Next dragon, faux stone pavers are designed much too narrowly.  Total function, zero form.  Add more faux stone pavers.  Left of the front path, between drive/front walk, add stone pavers entirely where there is now mulch and those ornamental grass looking things, from house to front step.  Add more faux stone pavers to the right of the path, from the second front step, to the front door.  Why?  Creates a wider foyer, instead of this pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey front door & path.  In addition, instead of a narrow rigid walking path to the front door you've opened up a large landing.  Incredibly affordable too, most big box stores sell these faux stone pavers, and unskilled labor, aka you, can install them nicely.  Hint, if you are doing faux stone pavers yourself, always pull a string.  Always.
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Dragon- of- flat is next.  How to 3-D the walls at the front door?  Add a bell to the wall, preferably to the right of the door.  Either historic or artisan, and scaled properly.  Example, at bottom.
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Dragon downspout, another common issue.  But whoa, the white downspout at left corner.  This situation a bit of an exception.  Normally, paint downspouts copper color.  Here, the white house trim, tight space is all encompassing.  A lot going on with horizontal and vertical white trim, a mosh pit.  Boldly creating an exception, I would only paint the section of downspout, copper color, fronting the brick wall.  Why?  The rest of that downspout is blending with white eve and white vertical trim.  Will include the electrical socket with this dragon, at the left of the front door in the brick, paint it copper color too.
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Dragons on the wall to left of the front door, below.  I cannot see clearly what the 2 white rectangle squares are.  Paint them same color as shakes, they recede, instead of jump forward, look-at-me-look-at-me.
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Dragon, lighting.  Cannot see a light for the front door.  To keep the space feeling large, perhaps a simple recessed lite, in the eve, above the front door or a matching light on the wall, to the left of the front door, matching the light, below, to the right of the garage door.
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Dragon, dead brown mulch.  And it must be replenished yearly.  Plant an evergreen groundcover, done.  Warm & lush vs. dead & brown.
    

blue door | Highland Custom Homes:
Pic, above, here.
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Your turn.  What dragons, above, did you see, that I missed?  How would you change the dragons I did mention?  Please note, I've used affordable changes.  Of course I have changes for a different price point.  This home is lovely, I would truly like to see a stone path/steps.  And, I would add another bonsai espalier conifer, a dwarf conifer, to the left of the front path too.  A tighter espalier than the conifer at right of the path.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Image result for bell at the front door
Pic, above, here.

10 comments:

Jean Campbell said...

Imagine that you are a 70 year old visitor. Walk up those front steps in your mind, go inside and come out again. Can you keep your balance? Try it again, carrying a package.

La Contessa said...

I THINK YOU HAVE DONE A FINE JOB with THE EDIT!
XX

Beth said...

Hi Tara,

I agree with everything you mentioned above! I'm in the process of fighting my own dragons in a new build in VA. Question for you - I've planted groundcover in hopes of never needing mulch again, but as it's growing in should I mulch around it? Will it be able to spread? Should I just plant tons of the stuff? Thanks for all your lovely advice!

- Beth

Laura said...

Hi Tara,

Just added a bell to my front door the other day :-)

Tara Dillard said...

Jean, Go Jean.

Boom.

Must have a rail. Coming/going and at my age, not nearly 70 yet, and might never be, without the rail !!

XOT

Tara Dillard said...

Beth,
Planting groundcover, yes, I always put in a mulch until it has spread. Preferrably, Nature's Helper, it's a finely shredded bark, very finely shredded, enriches soil, not a hindrance to your spreading groundcover.

XOT

Joni Webb said...

the rails, yes. I hate steps without rails now that i"m getting older. great ideas!!! esp. the bell and the paving. what a beautiful front door.

Mary Duffy said...

Thanks for the suggestion of adding a bell for dimension. It's just the fix I needed for my porch but I couldn't get past the idea of adding a light fixture which wouldn't work for lack of space. And hanging a lantern with a fake candle seemed dumb. And a lot of work. I'll send you a before and after picture once I find a bell. BTW, was in Dorset earlier this month on a garden tour and I thought of you often. Did you choose the color of your patio furniture at your old house after one of your trips to England? I saw it everywhere and it made me want to come home and paint mine! But first I find a bell!

Beth said...

Thanks Tara! And thank you for all the inspiration!

Giovanni said...

I agree with you that having a wider foyer leading to the front door will be much more pleasant. I personally like the rugged look of the conifer tree, it’s masculine and inviting. I would also add lighting flanking both sides of the pavement so you can see at night. Right now, it would be hard to see those narrow steps. Overall, great suggestions on how to spruce up your front door area.