I’m so sorry for the lack of kitchen photos today! I’ll try again for tomorrow. I’ve been dealing with a pinched nerve in my neck and shoulder that makes movement quite painful. so I’ve been working much slower than I anticipated so far this week.
But I’m excited to share with you a few other things I’ve been thinking about. First, I have the most awesome and helpful readers imaginable. I woke up this morning and had a comment on my Garage To Studio Conversion Update from a reader named Brittany. She had worked some Photoshop magic to show different options with doors and windows, both with and without a porch, and also with stone and with siding. Check these out…
Which one is your favorite? I have to say, I really like the door and window combination with the porch, as well as the windows only option without the porch. The ones with just the doors and no windows look too plain for me.
But in the end, the one that I think will be less confusing for visitors is the windows with no porch option. It also looks more cohesive and balanced to me. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that windows really are more practical for light and air flow. On nice days, I can open up all the windows and get a nice breeze through the studio. But I can’t just open up French doors for a breeze without my cat and dog getting out. I’d rather not have to worry about that.
I do want a door, though. I like the idea of having a door just in case I want to start working with clients again in the future (you know…in twelve or so years when my house is finished 😀 ) they can pull up in the driveway, which will go to the side of the house, and walk into a separate entrance without having to come to the front door of the house and walking through the house to get to the studio. So now I’m planning on just one single door (no double French doors) on the side of the studio towards the front of the house. I’d love to add a cute little portico over it with some pretty lighting. Perhaps something like this…
As far as the rock vs. siding issue, I’ve been giving that quite a bit of thought lately. I don’t even remember talking to the contractor about exterior options, but since they’ll be closing up two garage doors, adding windows to the front, and adding a door and windows to the side, they’ll have to know my decision regarding how I want the exterior finished.
The issue with my house now is that it’s a combination of Austin stone and vinyl siding, both of which I hate, so I want them both gone. (For the record, I don’t dislike Austin stone in general. I just dislike the particular Austin stone that’s on my house. But I really hate vinyl siding in general.) For the longest time now, I’ve been mulling over the possibility of removing the stone and the siding and bricking the entire house. I’ve been stuck on this picture-perfect house for months now…
The problem with that option is that it would be very expensive and very labor intensive. The stone on my house isn’t structural. It’s just a facade, but the stone is about four to six inches thick. In order to add that stone facade, the builders had to add an extra wide concrete foundation footing around the areas where the stone would go in order to carry the weight of the stone. (It may not be structural, but it still weighs a ton!) The areas where there’s just siding, the house doesn’t have that extra thick concrete foundation footing.
So my options are (1) on the areas that are just siding, have an extended concrete footing poured so that the new brick can sit on top of it, or (2) on the exterior walls with stone, just remove the stone, add lumber to the existing wall studs to make those exterior walls to increase the thickness (more room for insulation!) and flush with the extra-thick concrete foundation footing, and then add siding.
The first option — pouring extended concrete footings for brick — would mess with the roof in areas where I don’t currently have enough overhang to accommodate an extra 4-6 inches of exterior wall thickness. That means additional cost and work would be needed to fix the roof.
All of those things are doable, but my goodness, at some point I do actually want this house to be finished. And that will never happen if I keep opting for the most difficult and most expensive options.
I’ve researched other options, like brick veneers that can replace siding, but I don’t trust those. Evidently, they’re notorious for cracking and leaking since they’re only about an inch thick. And our house is built on soil that is continually moving, so I can see myself having to be on continual mortar watch and having to repair slight cracks in the mortar on a monthly or quarterly basis. No thanks.
So I’m setting aside my “picture perfect red brick with German smear” house dreams, and I’m going with all siding for the whole house. When I initially made the decision (which was just yesterday), I was a bit disappointed, like I was giving up and compromising on a really huge thing that will affect the entire look of our house. But then I got online and started looking at houses with siding, and got over my disappointment pretty quickly. I found some really beautiful and inspiring homes. Let’s face it, this one is pretty much perfection…
I love how the brick was used on the front porch, and then repeated on the corner post of the fence by the driveway. So I can still have my brick in small doses, and in a way that won’t cost a fortune.
So please feel free to send me the most beautiful and inspiring pictures of houses siding that have brick accents that you come across. I’m going to purge my saved inspiration photos folders of brick exteriors and just focus on siding from here on out. Even with siding, there are so many options, and different ways to mix and match the different styles of siding to create a unique and custom look, so I’ve still got lots of decisions to make.