The other exterior challenge was that it'd been re-sided in the 90's - a huge benefit (even though secretly I wish they'd kept the original shingle ;) and they chose a neutral color, but it had forest green shutters and now felt dated. There were also shutters surrounding the door, and landscaping that had gotten really overgrown as this couple had been spending half of their year in Arizona for the last few years. We went ahead and ripped that out as well ('we' in the context of yardwork always means C, btw).
Additionally, the front of the house felt a little unbalanced once we cleared out the landscaping - there are two large bay windows on the first floor and then two regular windows on the second floor. The tiny exterior light wasn't helping but in general we needed to balance out the layout. Here is my pinboard where I collected most of my inspiration. (If I had even remote graphic design skills I would make a pretty collage for you but alas, I do not ;)
Here was our proposed plan:
- Remove the shutters around the door and replace with a classic white front door surround
- Add a portico
- Replace the forest green window shutters with black ones that are more to scale, and add traditional shutter hooks to give them character (these are common in our area)
- Paint the front door
- Replace the exterior light fixtures
Next we got to work sourcing bids from contractors. After that we both passed out from sticker shock and almost called the whole thing off.
KIDDING! Kind of. But many contractors were downright OUTRAGEOUS and couldn't be bothered with "scaling" the project over time vs. us awarding the entire piece of business in one shot. Here's what I mean:
- Contractor #1: Agreed to do all of the above minus painting the door, for $18,000. He would not accept the job unless he got the entire job at once. He was super snobby and acting like I was wasting his time and obviously "couldn't afford him." Eyeroll. Even though he was right. HAHA.
- Contractor #2: Agreed to the same as contractor #1 but quoted us $14,000. He would not provide sketches, renderings, etc. however and approaching this more as a product install than a renovation. They also never returned our call or followed back up with us.
- Contractor #3: This contractor was MUCH more flexible and actually proactively sketched out our idea (in stages!) after I sent him my inspiration board he and submitted them along with his bid. He quoted us about $8,600 for the same job as the other two BUT also quoted them separately - about $1,900 for the front door surround, shutters, and light fixture and door knocker/doorbell install and $6,700 for the custom portico. Needless to say it was an easy choice - this contractor was also very responsive, organized, and friendly.
Here were his proposed sketches: