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Need help with our 70s era split level exterior.
step06
November 27, 2012 in Design Dilemma
We are going to be doing a second floor addition over the living room area of this house for a master suite. Anyone know of any tasteful exterior renovations for tri/split levels of this style? We are struggling as these types of additions in our neighborhood are just boxes stacked on top we would like something more integrated...not afraid to re-frame entire roof if need be! Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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mmilos
Hire an architect. Gabled two story entry porch above the front door would help tie it in. Don't skimp. You need pro help to make it look right.
November 27, 2012 at 3:14pm     
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janishill
There is no way around hiring an architect to do the addition, so why not have him or her redesign the exterior as well?
November 27, 2012 at 3:23pm     
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PRO
Aesthetic Tile Imaging
Some landscape inprovements would help. Add kiln fired outdoor art while you're at it.
November 27, 2012 at 3:29pm   
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victorianbungalowranch
I can see adding over the garage too to help balance it out. These sort of houses are difficult to add on to gracefully. Can you push out the front any for a porch or maybe add onto the back instead and put a deck on top?
November 27, 2012 at 4:12pm     
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November 27, 2012 at 4:29pm     
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step06
The problem with the master over the garage is I would have to lose a bedroom on the 2nd floor to make way for the stairs, not to mention plumbing over an unconditioned space. We have 4 kids so losing a bedroom is not an option. These houses are tough to deal with to say the least.
November 27, 2012 at 4:33pm     
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hjatlantic
Don't just hire an architect hire a good one! All you above conserns should be solved, with great design, economy and a thoughtful result. DO NOT have a builder design it for you!
November 27, 2012 at 5:38pm     
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nevadan
You'd do begtter to sell the house and buy another. These split level huses from days gone by really can't be added-onto. They are what they are.
November 27, 2012 at 5:48pm   
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PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
It can be done but takes a lot of creativity. This is one of my favorite remakes of a split level.

[houzz=
]
November 27, 2012 at 6:40pm     
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step06
I agree it's a nice renovation...a much easier project with the center entry. Our configuration makes it much more difficult due to the lack of symmetry...so frustrating.
November 27, 2012 at 7:01pm     
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PRO
Gemini Design/Build, Inc.
If you are able to add on out front, you could do something such as this before and after. It allows you to transform the look of the exterior and provide the extra space you want.
November 28, 2012 at 3:29am     
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nomadkath
I like that 'after' picture on Gemini's post. That would give it a 3 section depth, and solve the distracting garage problem. Then paint the door, put up a tall wood fence and tall shrubs on the right side of the house and landscape to draw the eye toward the front door - tree(s) and hedge or taller flowers out closer to the sidewalk, and a lead in porch/courtyard
November 28, 2012 at 5:06am   
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maggiemoomoo
We have a split level we are remodeling. I disagree that they can't be updated. It's just hard. We tried to sell our house and what a disappointing nightmare.

We hired a designer to create the plans. Our contractor, also my brother, tried. He just couldn't come up with something we were happy with. Within two days (literally) we had a plan in our hands that was PERFECT for us. We threw around the idea of creating an upstairs space. Too much money for us. However, we aren't getting any younger, so no additional steps (aren't there plenty in these houses anyway?) was a great thing for us. We have only one child. So, we will eventually redo the three small bedrooms with small closets into two bedrooms with walk-in closets for him. I understand completely how frustrating it is to try to visualize it all. Hire a designer/architect. It's wonderful. Cost us about $1,500 for his services. A drop in the bucket considering what's to come! See my post (though not updated in a while). I have some pictures and ideas on there.

We will have a HUGE walk-in closet, actual light in the kitchen and a laundry room on our main level when completed. We had some issues with an easement on our property that took about 4 months to resolve. But, we are finally up and running and everything is framed in, plumbers here today, and we should be completed by the beginning of the year. Good luck and don't get discouraged. These houses can be wonderful if remodeled properly!
http://www.houzz.com/discussions/135936/Split-level-1970-s-remodel-
November 28, 2012 at 6:10am     
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maggiemoomoo
As far as the exterior, we took off our brick and will have Hardi Plank with some stucco on the bottom. Well, I think they are actually going to put the siding over the brick and make the whole thing flush to the ground. Our siding and brick stuck out farther than the block work around the downstairs. Landscaping will have to come next fall.
November 28, 2012 at 6:12am   
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PRO
Modern Updates
I did a quick sketch of a possible solution for your elevation. I would suggest adding some sort of element over the entry to make it more grand. I would also add a small shed roof over the front door that gives you a small covered area. I hope this helps.
November 28, 2012 at 6:25am     
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sewlutions
Hire this guy!
November 28, 2012 at 6:30am     
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sewlutions
Hire this guy!
November 28, 2012 at 6:31am   
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step06
That sketch is awesome...this is the type of solution we were looking for, a great starting place! Thanks!
November 28, 2012 at 6:48am   
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PRO
Aesthetic Tile Imaging
I really like the elevation renewal in the sketch. So much more character. Could the space in the central section between the upper and lower windows use perhaps a little something artsy?
November 28, 2012 at 9:28am   
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PRO
Mary Weimer, ASID
As an ASID Interior Designer/remodeling contractor I agree- Hire a designer and show him/her what you saw here. Don't just let "anybody" do this for you. I've worked with arichtects, and sometimes they can do what you're after, but you'll pay $5000.00 at least.
November 28, 2012 at 3:00pm     
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maggiemoomoo
Our guy was a designer. Great ideas and a WHOLE LOT LESS than $5K! He had a website so we could see some of his work and before and after portfolio of things he'd designed and remodels he had been involved with.
November 28, 2012 at 3:07pm   
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pinzerella
Nice sketch Ron ~ how about a redesign of the window treatment over the overhang mid-section beside the garage? Something with a Swiss feel ~ ? and or a balcony? Great start in any case.
November 28, 2012 at 4:00pm   
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Janet Hobbs
I agree that Mr. Pettit's sketch is good. As you had already concluded when you posted your question, you need to do some major roof reframing to make it coherent. But, if you are you have a wonderful opportunity to remake the house into something more beautiful. The overly dominant cantilevered gable needs to have its "edges softened" in a number of ways. One way is to simply do exactly what you plan to do - add more wall and roof so it isn't the biggest element on the front of the home. If the interior can support it I'd like to see different fenestration in that gable, too. Two window groupings like you have always look like BIG eyes in a very plain "face". Having a prettier grouping (odd numbers are more pleasing) of windows will help. If you can't change the windows then shutters as that sketch showed are a decent (but not as good) solution. The other thing to do is to create some sense of arrival. While porches are a nice idea, I suspect you may be on your front setback line, but even if you are, check local ordinances; many allow an open sided porch to encroach a little. You don't need a big porch, and with the change of levels it would be hard to do - a gentle suggestion of a porch would help a lot. And, yes, hire a good architect or building designer who has a good portfolio of work you can see is similar in nature to what you are trying to do. Good luck with it!
November 29, 2012 at 12:14am   
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Randy Clap
This is so exciting. I'm sure there are cool roofing ideas that have come up too. I've been considering additions to my house in Kansas City MO for sometime. I hope this years Christmas bonus is generous this year. Man, I feel like the Giswald family.
November 29, 2012 at 12:11pm   
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PRO
Eileen Kenah- Baird and Warner Real Estate
I live in split that we eventually want to add on to as well. My thought is to increase the pitch of the roof over the living room and add dormers. I would do something with the garage door so it is not the focal point. Adding a porch in the design is on my wish list too.
November 29, 2012 at 7:31pm   
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