tom_oliver9422011

Not sure where to start!

hatz
5 years ago
Hi all, my wife and I bought and moved into our house close to a year ago. We have done lots of bits and pieces to make everything nicer.
However we are lost as to what to do withe the facade.
The entire street is beautiful Victorian weatherboard. Ours however is fairly awful dark red brown brick, and a verandah with arches.
We were thinking a couple directions...
1. We think maybe the house was once weatherboard, so possibly taking it back to this. However I imagine it would be terribly expensive.
2. Some sort of render option. However to the right we have a driveway that is very very tight, and adding thickness to the wall might be troublesome.
Also not sure the best render option or colour scheme.

3. Maybe a combo. Front Victorian weatherboard, the rest rendered.

Also not sure what to do about the arches. The roof goes completely over the verandah of that makes sense.

The fence and gates I suppose is something that will come after.

The trees, I'd hate to see go. A fully mature lemon and olive tree Id rather not loose.

Anyway, keen for any thoughts, tips, pointers and ideas.

Thanks so much!!! :D

Comments (49)

  • bigreader
    5 years ago
    It's very brown isnt it.

    Don't render. Its a look that's fading fast.

    I'd work with what you have.

    Spend money getting the arches professionally cut back and squared off.

    Roof could be refurbished and recoloured grey with the gutter to match.

    Paint fence and house. Maybe a light grey or blue grey.

    Change gate to a plain wood. Build a movable screen for the bins at the same time

    Add some landscaping. Keeping the mature trees you love.

    Good luck.
    hatz thanked bigreader
  • jbantick
    5 years ago

    This is what happens when people decide to modernise an old house. Or build a new house and only use a couple of character features........ They don't realise the value of what they have. Which is a shame as so many streets and houses have ended up this way.

    We really need to know a budget on this one.

    I would completely remove the brick veranda and start again. I have seen a facade or two on the 'Heritage Buiding Group' website that may look good. They build superb character homes! It will be expensive to try and mimic what was there before so something newer may be your only choice.

    Remove the gate & arch above driveway.

    Rendering the walls will add 10mm only to wall thickness, if that. So that's not going to narrow the width so much that it'll be unusable. There are quite a few around that are rendered so the style will still work ok. Even render whole house rather than weatherboards. Spend the weatherboard money on the veranda. A sandstone 'tile' over the brick on the facade could look ok as well. Look at changing the windows to timber if they aren't already....they look aluminium in the pic.

    The front fence could be rendered and painted, sandstone caping perhaps. A formal landscape or any landscaping will help too.



    hatz thanked jbantick
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  • hatz
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Hi all,


    Thank so much for the responses! Some really brilliant ideas.

    I suppose a couple of follow up points from me...


    1) Budget. Really good point. To be honest I dont know. Im the type of guy who tends to work the other way around. Want to understand what the best is, and work backwards until I find what I think is the best bang for buck. Not sure if that makes sense. I guess we are still working out our budget in some senses..


    2) The verandah, some great ideas above! The problem as I see it, is the roofline currently goes over the verandah. So I couldnt do a "stand alone" type of verandah like my neighbours have unfortunately. Ill need to get an engineer in to assess how the arches could be either removed and replaced OR squared off.


    3) Sounds like rendering might not be the best option. Would painting over the bricks be any better though? That would leave the brick outline right?


    4) Correct that the window frames are aluminium. Moving to wood would be good, though I suspect expensive. Would that be right? We also have window shutters on all of the external windows, I suspect we would need to remove these as well?


    5) Definitely planning on removing the arch over the driveway. I suspect we can just chop it out, though it connects to the bricks on the side of the house, so may need an engineer to double check for us.


    6) Landscaping wise, totally agree we need something. I suspect this will happen after the vast majority of the work is done. With that said, you dont want to see the backyard. It is a complete desolate wasteland :P and would probably constitute its own post hehe.


    7) That Heritage building group page had some great ideas. Maybe something like this? http://heritagebg.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/renovation-brighton-front-2.jpg


    8) Roof and gutter wise, agree a change in colour would be nice. Would it be worth considering a tin roof?


    Ill definitely post some photos when we complete the work :D

  • jbantick
    5 years ago

    Sort your budget first, how much are you happy to spend; $20k, $200k? A renovation will take as much as your willing to put in it.

    A builder (or architect/draftsman/etc) could inspect the existing areas rather than having an engineer do the same. They can also give you an idea on costs where an engineer probably will not. Builder's are usually pretty smart people and know what works and what doesn't.

    I would rarely advise anyone to render their house unless it's a small area for a feature, mismatched brickwork and the like or as in your case, brick's not suiting the area, the house, etc.. In your case I would render or paint, as they don't suit the house or local area. It's also cheaper than cladding over it.

    Timber windows are generally more expensive than aluminium but insignificant as the real cost is in the labour required to remove and install new.

    I was thinking more along the lines of keeping original roof line and add a feature gable & piers to the facade rather than an 'actual' veranda. You could almost reuse the arch that aligns with the front door and just 'open' up each side of the veranda with thinner posts.

    A new metal roof could cost around $10k+.


    hatz thanked jbantick
  • hatz
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Thanks Jb.

    I think budget wise you are right, we need to lock this down. I think we are closer to 20k than 200k however :P


    Good to know I wont need an engineer, that will save some effort.


    Render vs Paint. I imagine that Paint is easier (can possibly do it ourselves) and cheaper, less prone to cracks like render. However I imagine Rending has its advantages over painting as well?


    Great thinking on the veranda, I tried to look up some pictures but not quite sure what gamble and piers looks like. Ill keep googling I think :D


    Thanks mate!

  • jbantick
    5 years ago

    hatz thanked jbantick
  • jbantick
    5 years ago

    I was thinking along these lines. This is quite extravagant but your arch could be reused, rendered and detailed. This one uses a 'hip' roof rather than a 'gable'.

    hatz thanked jbantick
  • hatz
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Wow that is grand! Interesting.

    So where the windows are on the left and right, for me that would be an entirely open area right? Or should I look at closing it off, and making the verandah more enclosed?

    The tin roof looks very nice as well.


    I found this picture on Houzz, could be an interesting option?


    Marrickville house · More Info

  • row1row
    5 years ago
    This is what I'd do. I definitely wouldn't get rid of any trees, but I would prune the lemon a bit so that the front door arch is fully visible. Then I'd put some coach lights or some kind of interesting light either side of the door arch. This would be in a colour other than brown, although copper might do it.
    I'd trellis and plant bright flowering climbers on the sides of the other arches.
    I'd then add a top layer of vertical timber pairings to the front fence. That is, I'd put it ontop of the brick fence say an extra 30cms. This timber would be a nice warm one.
    Finally I'd paint the roof to a brighter colour.
    hatz thanked row1row
  • hatz
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Thanks row1row!

    So you wouldnt look at changing the brick colour at all?


    Fence idea sounds great!

  • jbantick
    5 years ago

    Yeah keep it open, similar as the Marrickville picture.

    I'd nail down the budget though initially, have a good chat with a builder or designer to get a better idea. The ideas noted above will all work ok. Theres a lot of options when renovating, difference tastes and styles all with a $ attached. Cheers

    hatz thanked jbantick
  • hatz
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Thanks jb! You rock!

  • denisemander
    5 years ago

    You need to work out if this is your forever house or a stepping stone to your forever house, this alone will set the budget as over capatilising at this stage will have dire consequences in the short term. Adding a gable is a fantastic idea along with squaring off those 70's arches. We painted our brick work in our entertaining area untill we decided what to do with our forever house, it cleaned it up a gave more light to the inside of the house. We ended up demolishing half the house 8 years later and rendered but have left an adjoining garage with painted bricks to add texture and interest. I wouldnt replace the roof unless it is past its prime second hand tiles are available in most areas so it would be a cheap option for the added gable. If at a later date you extend the back of the house ect i would redo the roof then. Work out a style that fits your budget, you may like a more contempory style than your neighbouring houses with turning your front yard into a usable courtyard. Adding vertical wood to the top of your existing fence would modernise but removing and adding a picket fence would be more heritage. New front door and side light windows as well as removing those horendous roller shudders (shutters). Good luck!! Exciting times ahead for you.

  • gwyn5
    5 years ago

    I do like the roughened finish and concept of the first photo. Treat front fence similarly. Maybe that would hide the brick outlines. Light colours best for small house. Get rid of the ratty trees, prune larger tree wisely. Replant when finished but never olive. Do well, do once

  • poppyonit
    5 years ago

    I think painting the brick, restoring the roof, and some landscaping would lift your house nicely. It's amazing how much of a difference a coat of paint can make.
    You can also get a colour consultant to come to your home to help you decide on the right colour combination, not only to suit your house but also so your house matches in with your street.

    Good luck.

  • poppyonit
    5 years ago

    Here is an example I found.

  • Rebekka
    5 years ago

    Hi there,

    lots of ideas to think about. House looks much newer than those on either side. If your more worried about it fitting in and lightening the home, perhaps repaint all the metalwork in a cream, gutters, down pipes & gates. Trim the trees as they add great colour, texture and shade in summer. You could have cream and fawn stripe sun shades made for the front arches attached via the inside on verandah. Keep those beautiful arches! Make those lovely arches stand out as in photos above, attach moldings around them & paint in cream, add cream coach lights if you want, perhaps add a touch of heritage red? Good luck with it all folks and happy renovating!

  • Julie Huynh
    5 years ago

    Before undergoing a complete transformation, it's probably good to keep in mind that styles flux between trend and fad and back again. With the work that you have done internally, how would you describe the style? This should determine how your house presents on the street. E.g. if the internals are modern (or will be eventually), then go with a modern facade with a smooth render. A big mistake many homeowners make is not have a consistent style inside and out, the results of mismatching can be quite jarring and potentially limit your market if you decide to sell later down the track.

    If you have a classic style internally, below is an example of a render that would be quite sympathetic to your neighbours' houses and gives your house quite a bit of character without adding to the width. Also vines would help to further soften the harshness of the brickwork and draw attention away from the archways.

    As for colour scheme (as per below again) a cream or warm white would be quite charming with your well established trees and maybe charcoal for the roof and guttering (simply paint)?

    Facades that blatantly copy older styles tend to look awkward unless you fully commit to all the detail (inside and out, e.g. iron fretwork, roof sheeting, additional awnings, re-doing the facade, decorative cornices, doors etc) but the time you do that it would have been cheaper to buy a genuine Federation home. Work with what you have, research research research and the results will reward you many times over.

    Bondi Heritage House · More Info

  • hatz
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Thanks for the advice all. What an amazing forum!

    I guess this probably isnt our forever house as the area we are in is too busy, but it will be our place for at least 5 years. We hope to make it nice enough so that we can hopefully (fingers crossed, knock on wood) make enough to get our forever house.


    We are going for a modern look inside which I probably should have specified earlier. Bathroom/laundry/powder room renovation was relatively modern. Ill post a picture when I get home. Our wardrobes and down lights are would be modern as well. We are looking to knock down the wall between the lounge and kitchen at some point (when we save some cash) and do a bit of a kitchen fix up, which will try to be fairly modern.

    Is there any good software in which I can maybe import a picture and then play with colours and styles for the look, besides full blown photoshop I mean :D




    I jumped on google maps again because I know there are a couple of houses in the area that have similar facade, but dont have my trees obscuring the view. Our place is more or less the same. They have painted the metal window frames black, where ours are still brown. They also put a deck down where we have horrible tiles. But just a clearer picture I guess.

    It is funny though, everywhere I drive now I am on the look out for houses with the full front of the roofline covering the verandah :)



  • Rebekka
    5 years ago

    This photo looks great! If it's not your forever home, neat and tidy on the outside & contemporary/ modern on inside is all you need. Remember, this is someones forever dream home! The fact it stands out on the street can be seen as a positive too.

  • hatz
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    I'm staying at the in laws this week, as we are having a corker come and cork the new bathroom. But because of all the amazing replies here I thought I'd drive home quickly and take a couple of photos to help illustrate whats going on... even down to the horrible tiles :D


    I think the key things in my mind at the moment,

    1) Set a budget for the verandah, one for the front landscaping (I might try do this myself), and one for the whole outside of the house colour+windows.

    2) Decide on a colour scheme

    3) Decide on if we paint the bricks or render or go with some of the other great suggestions above.

    4) Square off the verandah arches, look at a gable option (Im still trying to understand what that really means).

    5) Remove the driveway arch, replace with more modern gates.

    6) Assess the front fence, and either fix or replace with something that matches choices above.

    7) Look into roof colouring options, and gutters as well.

    8) Look into window frame options.

    9) Replace front tiles.


    Seems like a lot, but we will do it over a couple of years as we save cash :D



  • PRO
    My Country Homestore
    5 years ago

    One thing you could do straight away and wouldn't cost much, and take away from the brown of the house, is to take away the screen door, and put a new front door on and paint in a lighter colour, and the frame around the front door. Also what type of material is your fascia? Metal or timber? Cos you could also paint the fascia in a lighter colour.

    hatz thanked My Country Homestore
  • hatz
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    The fascia is the bit under the gutter? Wood.

  • PRO
    My Country Homestore
    5 years ago

    Yes its the bit under the gutter, if it's wood its very easy to repaint.

    hatz thanked My Country Homestore
  • wuff
    5 years ago
    Hi hatz, we live in a similar street. Our house is now painted brick more 50/60s style while most of the street is weatherboard 1900s homes, with a couple of modern monsters destroying the street scape. Have you thought about going to your local council to see if you can get original plan or any front elevations. Or even see if any older people in the street remember what original facade looked like..we tried to do that but all plans were destroyed in a flood in 1964.. Shame.i hope you ha e more luck. Remember to keep us updated.
    hatz thanked wuff
  • wuff
    5 years ago
    You can start with just taking verandah back to a more sympathetic look for the house and street. There are many houses that have the traditional front with bricks down side, concentrate on front and back what you see and use. The blocks look narrow like ours. We only have very narrow sides so not worth going over the top with
    hatz thanked wuff
  • hatz
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Hi wuff, I'd love to see a picture of your house if you are willing to share! Are you in Australia, and specifically Victoria. Trying to get a feel for if my council might have what you mention.

    I called the council and they werent very helpful. The put me through to Land Victoria. THe best I could find there (and they had like 50 choices of things to pay for) was the title to check for easements and certificates of previous ownership. That was really cool. There were certs going back to like 1901. So I assume it looked a lot different back then :)

    Ill go to the council again and see if I can find someone else.


    wuff I was actually thinking something like what you say in your second post. Take the front back to something more original or at least similar. Then leave the sides as brick, but colour change. Maybe best of both worlds.

    Our block is narrow, but unlike most of the rest of the street we actually have a (very skinny) driveway.


    Im scared to post a picture of the backyard haha. "Wasteland" is putting it nicely :P


    PS have I said how much I love this forum, you all rock! :D

  • wuff
    5 years ago
    Hi hatz. I have my own before and after idea book in my profile of what we are doing with our house, we plan to make this our forever home but we have had our family and looking at retiring in the next 5-10 years. We live in our preferred location (we love the location). The neighbours are very happy with the changes, they are still feeding that back. The house was in disrepair and becoming an eye sore. Plus had had a series of less than desirable tenants
    hatz thanked wuff
  • denisemander
    5 years ago

    I would square off the arches, paint the front of the house a light colour, remove the side arch but leave the gate, paint gates and front fence in a charcoal and put vertical wood pailings on the top of the fence and fence off the drive way side courtyard with a gate to your veranda. New front door and frosted glass panels. Remove the olive tree and deck this area leaving a 50cm boarder along the fence line, deck the verandah and front path you now have a usable sitting area. What is the room on the left? I would even look at putting in a glass door to this room and it now has a courtyard. Plant some low maintenance native grasses around the verandahs boarder or maybe dwarf citrus one side. Under plant the lemon tree with shade loving plants and boarder the path with grasses. The bricks dont look to be that old i'm guessing 70s so the house has been changed considerably so trying to go back to an original look would be very time consuming and expensive.

    hatz thanked denisemander
  • hatz
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    @wuff wow great job, that is some amazing work!


    @denisemander thanks for your thoughts. I think the squaring off of the arches is definitely going to be the first move. Painting the gates I like, that isnt going to be too expensive thankfully. I wont be removing the olive tree, it looks quite mature and I spoke with an arborist and he told me that it would be high risk to move it and likely would die. That said, happy to work with it. New door, absolutely.

    Both the rooms on left and right are bedrooms.

    Thanks so much for replying!

  • LouieT
    5 years ago

    Hi hatz, this porch roof is a gable though not on a brown brick.

    Tomposki Residence · More Info
    This is how your house could use the arches if you closed in the front of the verandah with french doors and painted the brown brick (photo is stretching the imagination I know but...)
    Hermitage Rd - Mountain Brook AL Real Estate Photographer · More Info
    And great to hear the olive tree is staying! I think you could save money by working with those arches, though they seem to echo Spanish mission style.
    Montecito · More Info
    They can be quite formal and classical too, especially if the garden follows the formal style too. The other Houzzers have given very helpful advice so have fun & good luck!

    hatz thanked LouieT
  • hatz
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks Louise. Those French doors look amazing! Wow. Really great option. I suppose the trick will be the arches I have are wider on the sides and skinny in the middle. But thats ok, can look at that.

    Enclosing the verandah, the more i look at that Hermitage road pictures the more I like. Even the non french door picture (the actual facade of the house. The only thing there though is the 2 front rooms, the windows of those rooms would open into the closed off verandah. Would need to understand what that looks like. I also like the colour of that house. Very pretty.


    Funny you mention Spanish mission. We were thinking that when we first bought the place as maybe the path of least resistance. Might reopen that line of thinking actually.

  • LouieT
    5 years ago

    The ugly duckling did grow up to be a swan :))

    Black Swans · More Info

  • hatz
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    haha or in my case the swan turned into an ugly duckling and now wants to become a swan again :P


  • Brandy
    5 years ago
    Hi I have recently completed a similar project on my house. I used vinyl cladding and the fence is actually made of plastic which is virtually maintenance free and cones with a 50 year warranty! I also had my concrete re-painted and the garden was replaced adding quick kerb and new plants. I have aluminum windows and a blue roof which are original and have worked well with the new facade. I also painted the front door blue as a feature which looks amazing :)
    hatz thanked Brandy
  • PRO
    Cascio Associates - Site Planning - Landscape Arch
    5 years ago

    Victorian - Forgetaboutit! Who said the neighborhood is Victorian, no Victorian roofs in your photos. Get a book from the library on the style as self-defense, and then leave your house as it is. You didn't build it, enjoy its beauty that attracted you to it.

    The only unusual thing is the driveway gateway. Copy the design of Queen Victoria's crown and attach it to the top of the gate. Pure Victorian.

    In another year or two, you won't be able to see your house from the street. By the way, I advise a close planting of groundcover plants beneath the trees, and bulbs of all seasons.

    Enjoy.

  • PRO
    Cascio Associates - Site Planning - Landscape Arch
    5 years ago

    Another point, if only to please Rebekka, if you are itchy about your neighbors, invite them over for morning coffee on your front porch, before going off for the day. Let them see what a wonderful space your outdoor room provides. Let them peak in through the front windows, with envy, at your contemporary interior.

    Victorian - bah!

  • hatz
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    lol thanks Cascio Associates, appreciate your thoughts. If you look at my first photo, and see the house on the left you'll see what I mean. It would be Australian Victorian, maybe Regency.


  • PRO
    Cascio Associates - Site Planning - Landscape Arch
    5 years ago

    I apologize, but I do not understand why any of that is important to anyone except the homeowner. Why should the style of architecture affect anyone else in the neighborhood? You either admire it or you don't, but why do you need to copy it? What happened to "our home is our castle"? I don't delve into my neighbor's business, and he respects me as well.

    I always admired the Australians for their fortitude and backbones. The Aussies defined the word fortitude. What am I now hearing - a contradiction to my long-held belief?

    I do hope I am wrong, and will continue to have the highest regard for you all.

  • jbantick
    5 years ago

    The crazy and in many ways unfortunate part in Australia is that many are more concerned with the resale values of their homes rather than what they personally require or admire. So many want a 'federation' home (early 1900s character) and renovated for example with 4 bedrooms double garage, etc, so more money can be made when sold....Even though they have 1 car that gets parked outside and no kids...... They renovate and extend for the future buyer who then also purchases for their said future buyer! Also federation types of character homes are sought after more than anything else. The local councils also have heritage orders and the like on many streets in the various suburbs throughout Australia.

  • LouieT
    5 years ago

    Make the most of what you have and work with your house not against it. Don't waste money unless you are passionate about changing the exterior of your house and that is your choice. I think you have asked for help with the ugly duckling and have had some nice ideas suggested to you.

    You could spend a lot of money just trying to fit in with the streetscape. Yours is not victorian or federation so ignore the neighbours. Paint could be the cheapest way to fit in but I think you can just add character with structures like pergolas & plants.

    When I drive home I go inside to enjoy the sense of comfort inside. The outside is really less important until you sell. Good luck making the decision with how to spend your hard earned money in the most beneficial way to you and your family hatz! :-)))

    hatz thanked LouieT
  • hatz
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    I want to change it, not for my neighbours but for us. Though this isn't our forever house, it is our house for now and for the next few years. The wife and I do not like the facade and want to change it, hence this thread. As I stated in the first thread that making it look like the other houses was an option, but clearly not the only one.

    I appreciate everyone's comments on how to fix it up, everyone has been amazing! :D

  • deanli14
    5 years ago

    Hi hatz wow you've had so many responses. I got a bit lost in all the comments but I love love love your Marrickville option. Roofline down to the edge of the verandah works well; colour of roof works fine; you would only have to have that central gable cut in; brick pillar demo is free of the house; timber posts and fretwork fits in with the federation street; keeps the symmetry; keeps the trees....I could go on and on. Have you talked to a local real estate agent about bang for your buck in doing this? If you're in a heritage overlay area you may be very pleased with the answer.

  • deanli14
    5 years ago
    Fastest response ever hatz!
  • fianou
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Honestly Hatz its not your forever home then don't do anything major to the exterior. Save your money for your house of dreams. Make the changes that will improve your life in the place and don't worry about the facade too much. Its a hard style to change, and perhaps a few years down the track brown brick will be as popular as grey seems to be these days ( which i personally hate), and someone will love it.

    I think the only thing I would look at is making it look more inviting and less austere. So I'd get rid of the lockdown security screens, and maybe replace the metal gates and grills with something a bit warmer and softer, wood? Or maybe just a different colour. I'd maybe try and play up the symmetry of the facade with landscaping with more formal plantings.

    hatz thanked fianou
  • hatz
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Thanks for the replies!

    My wife suggested we talk to a local real estate agent, so i think that is a good idea... just that Im not sure how helpful they are likely to be if we arent selling yet :)

    As for saving for our dream house, I dont disagree, however if doing this up nicely over the next ~5 years or so while we live here nets us some extra in the eventual sale, then that of course will help us as well.


    Interesting thing happened today actually. I got a knock on the door and one of the older neighbours asked if he could take some lemons from the tree. I of course said yes. Anyway he was telling me he had lived in the street for 40 years. I asked him if the house had always looked like this, and he said no that ~30 years ago the old old owner did a massive renovation and pulled off the timber and put up the bricks and gutted the inside of the house. Interesting stuff!


  • LouieT
    5 years ago

    Interesting information hatz! When life gives you lemons....make lemonade!

    hatz thanked LouieT
  • Lou
    5 years ago

    That's a lovely Greek-inspired brick veneer job, complete with paved or concreted courtyard. (Or so I'm told be all my Greek-Australian friends... this is the trend loved by their mothers and grandmothers.) All that's missing is a pair or lions on the front pedestals either side of the fence! Perhaps you need to just 'go' with the flow of this style...hahaha.