Saturday, March 01, 2008


Front Facade

I remember a few years ago the first time I stumbled into the Fairhaven Eichler neighborhood in Orange, CA. As I drove though I could tell that something was different about this neighborhood (other than the houses, of course). Then it hit me (and this was on a Saturday morning): it seemed like people were outside doing painting, gardening, paver-installing, chatting, etc at about 1/3rd of the houses.

I think a lot of times we start renovation projects with things we think we can handle and the things we think will affect our lives the most. In my case that meant starting with simple things on the inside. I've gotten to a point where I think most rooms are in decent shape inside and I've been getting a bit more adventurous with construction projects and ideas.

I've never been terribly happy with the front of my house. If you've been reading, one of the first things I ever did was start a gigantic cleanup effort and simply repaint in better colors. I also removed a larger-than-life ficus tree. As they say, even the longest steps begins with just one step. Here's mine:

Three pieces of advice:
Anyhow, with that done I started to play around with Google SketchUp. It's free and while the learning curve is a little steep (though much less so than other programs) it's got some really great features. I decided to delve into the "photo match" feature which allows you to draw "on top" of a photo with correct perspective. This is great at showing potential additions to something that's already there. Please be kind on the critique of my SketchUp skills -- I'm still a n00b.

I've long thought that the front of my house is missing some needed depth. Unlike the other homes on my street, my garage is around the back. As of right now, the left fence, right fence, and house are all in the same plane....which is pretty boring. I've been thinking about doing two things to alleviate that: move the left fence out towards the street by 5 feet and build some sort of extension on the front of the house towards the front door. I'm open to feedback:
And another angle:


These are great drawings. I agree with you that your house could use a little depth in the front - and it looks like you are already drumming up some good ideas. I also concur with your sledge hammer assessment -- its just like chopping a trees-full of wood. The next day you should plan to just sit in front of the fire you earned.

I played with Sketchup and couldn't get it to go where I wanted to (this was about 2 years ago). I instead bought Punch Home Design software. It looks like sketchup has come a long way though - particularly with the picture editing. I'll have to take a look.


I've been enjoying this blog as well as your postings on the Lotta Living board. The renderings are great, I think you're headed in the right direction towards creating a more pronounced/inviting entrance.

If I may I'd like to throw in a few suggestions. I think any pergola structure would look best if it appeared as simply an unclad extension of the structure of your house. For example, the ridge beam of the pergola could be designed as an extension of your home's existing ridge beam (size, color, etc), ideally with a tapered end as well.

In addition, what do you think about some asymmetry for added interest? Say only half of the pergola replicating the roof pitch with the other being horizontal (perpendicular to the support posts).

Sketchup looks like a great tool, I'll have to check it out myself.
I LOVE the extension of the fence on the left side. That's a great idea. Don't you have to be careful of setbacks for that awning though?

I can't wait to see it. All of your projects turn out great!
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