The day has come. About a month ago, we announced that we had hired a designer for the first time–specifically STUDIO MCGEE (!!!!) to design our exterior. Below you can see our exterior as it looked when we first purchased our home in June 2019.
During our renovation over the fall/winter, our contractor found that there was some mold under the stucco but in early April, they found it was significantly worse than they thought–covering nearly all of our exterior, rotting the wood underneath. I share more in this post and what we’ve done about the mold so far here .
Ultimately that lead us to hiring a designer (more about that decision here) and 4-6 weeks later, we have our design plans!!! We saw these renderings and design board for the first time on Thursday in our Exterior Presentation (via a Zoom meeting due to current restrictions) with Shea McGee and two of the talented designers on her team. The call was just under an hour long and they went through every detail!
But before we go any further–I have to show you these renderings that nearly made me cry.
Incredible right? In the meeting they also shared a 360 degree Sketchup which went into a lot of great detail, but I sadly don’t have that file to share with you. I loved hearing about the process. They went through several variations of our exterior–mentioning they took it very simplified and then decided to bring it back to where we ended up–and we were blown away at the thoughtfulness and detail. It feels like us.
I would love to walk you through some of the highlights from each angle, because even though it’s our house–there were some things that I didn’t even realize were huge changes.
• On the front, the first thing I noticed was that beautiful round window, and more specifically that tiny, odd window was gone–but it took me a few looks to realize the layered gable was gone on the right side!! It is not seen at all on the inside, and it really simplifies the exterior.
• Instead of the layered gable, they straightened out a front portion (connecting Faye’s room and our master bathroom) and added a round window there. That will be centered in our entry inside. I love that charming detail.
• Faye’s arched window was squared off and I couldn’t tell you how happy this makes me. It was something I mentioned to Chris was on my wish list just last week (a little late to bring in to the Studio McGee team) because it’s a challenge to dress inside.
• The window on the top far right (our master bathroom) is expanded. This will definitely impact our plans, but we’re excited about it! We are still doing some measuring to make sure the transom windows will work (our ceiling is not quite tall enough currently, but hopefully our contractor can figure it out because I love the drama.)
• The extra winged trim around the roofline is removed and streamlined.
• The porch’s barrel vault got streamlined!
• A few sentimental touches–the hanging gas lanterns on the porch (I’ll touch on those in a minute) and our front door that was actually on the back of our house when we first moved in and we’ve been hanging onto it ever since! I also am comforted to see the columns still in place and just painted the same color as the rest of the house. I think they keep it feeling a little different and dramatic and moody and still like the house we fell for.
The side of our house has always been my least favorite, mainly because of the garage area–and they completely remedied that! During our presentation I just kept coming back to that garage and saying it was my favorite part, mostly because it’s currently my least favorite part now. Here are a few highlights from this angle (some you can’t see but were shown during the presentation in 360 degree sketch up.)
• The extra overhang + pillars are gone from the garage. This wasn’t even a structural change–just a rip off. And I’m left wondering–why have we left it there this long. It looks so much better!
• They talked a lot about grouping the stone areas so they made more sense and looked more natural. So there are only two areas of stone that follow cut lines on the house. The front, far left that wraps around the garage. And the arch window area to highlight it.
• The arched shape of the garages will remain the same (and help save money!) but we’ll be getting new doors (see the gorgeous ones they selected in the design board below). Above each door is a gooseneck sconce. There will be a flat panel side garage door and our side entrance door (where we and all of our friends and family enter) will be a dutch door with the same copper gooseneck light.
• The siding will be mitered for a seamless, high-end look but they also brought in paneling around the breakfast nook and dining room.
• A simple X railing (that matches the design of our fence!) will surround our balcony and replace the railing on the side entrance. For safety, there will be glass or mesh backing.
• A trellis for greenery on the balcony.
• Expanding the size of the window on the side of the house. This is the girls’ bathroom that we’re not ready to renovate yet, but do think we can still expand the window size without too much trouble inside.
• One of my favorite details you can barely see in the rendering above is the terracotta chimney pots mounted on top of our chimney. They are so unique and will add so much character. Not to be sidelined by the copper gutters–be still my heart.
We also received this design board with a lot more details:
• We’ll be replacing our roof with a cedar shake composite roof from Brava Roof Tile.
• We’ll be reusing and restoring the door that was on the back of our house as our front door (stained in a medium oak color).
• For our anniversary last year, we went to New Orleans where Chris served a mission for our church for two years when he was younger. We loved all the gas lanterns on every house and business and the gas lanterns for the front porch area they chose come from New Orleans! It was kismet.
• We have several colors to try on the siding but we are shooting for one that’s a little lighter than the black windows.
Our contractors are ready to move so all the materials and finishes are being ordered and and we’re hoping they can start on some of the big structural changes immediately, mainly taking out the layered gables and adding that straight part and removing the garage overhang.
We’re over the moon with the work that Studio McGee did. The details are so perfect! They mentioned it is not offensive or out of the ordinary to ask for edits but we really couldn’t think of ONE thing that we would change!!! Can’t wait to take you along for the ride as it comes to fruition.
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