Front Exterior & Front Yard

Figuring Out My Stone/Siding Exterior (What Do I Do With All Of That Stone?!)

The siding guys made really good progress on the studio siding yesterday, and I just wanted to stand outside all day so that I could watch, stare, and dream. It has been so fun for me to watch this…

garage conversion - before

…be transformed into this…

front exterior - siding and stone mix - new siding on studio

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My once ugly garage is slowly being transformed into this cute little cottage all on its own, and I stand out there staring at it, just dreaming about paint colors, shutters, window boxes and flower beds.

And then I look a few feet to the left only to be awakened from my beautiful daydream and see that my new, cute little cottage is still attached to a house that looks like it hasn’t been touched in at least a decade, covered in a mishmash of stone and vinyl siding, both in desperate need of a good pressure washing that would only make it cleaner but certainly not prettier.

I’m convinced that this ugly duckling of an exterior can and will look beautiful and charming one day, but in my dreaming and planning, I always get hung up on the stone. Ugh…that stone!! And yes, it’s real, and it’s about five inches thick and sits directly on the concrete footing around the perimeter of the house.

Every time I mention to someone that I want the stone taken off of my house, they look at me like I’ve sprouted a second head from my shoulders. “You don’t like the stone?!” they always ask. I think for most people, removing stone from a house is just as bad as painting wood is for most men. It’s just unheard of. It’s stone. You don’t remove stone.

It’s not that I don’t like Austin stone. I do. In fact, if I were to choose a favorite stone, I’d choose Austin stone. My issue is the bizarrely unbalanced way in which the stone was applied to this house. The best pictures I have to demonstrate this were taken right after we moved in, but let me show you what I’m talking about.

The left end of the house is completely covered in stone, as is the left side of the front of the house. I’ve pressure washed it since then to remove all of that dark brown (looks black) dirt, so it looks a little better now.

front exterior - siding and stone mix - left side and front of house

But then on the front porch, we have vinyl siding. Since this picture, I’ve installed a new front door and new living room windows, but everything else pretty much looks the same.

front exterior - siding and stone mix - front of house and front porch

And then around side of the living room, there’s stone and siding on that one wall. Again, we have new windows now (and no widow A/C unit…yay!), but the stone and siding remain.

front exterior - siding and stone mix - side of living room, breakfast room, and garage

And then the front of the breakfast room and the garage-turned-studio are currently being re-sided with new HardiePlank siding, and both rooms have new windows now.

front exterior - siding and stone mix - breakfast room and garage

So you can see what I mean about the mix of stone and siding. Basically, there is no mix, and that’s my issue with it. Almost all of the stone is on the left, and all of the siding is on the right, with the exception of part of the side wall of the living room.

Basically, my house looks like it might capsize from all of the weight on the left side. I’ve thought about removing all of it and just doing all siding, but I just think that will create an issue with that concrete footing that the stone sits on right now. And adding stone to the actual facade of the house on the right isn’t really an option because then I’d have to actually pour a new concrete footing, and I’m just not going to do that. Plus, the studio is almost finished, and the front of the breakfast room will also be finished this week. I don’t want to throw a wrench in that plan now.

To be clear, I do still plan on extending the front porch and having the roof reframed so that I have a double gable look like this…

double gable with garage conversion

But that’s still a whole lot of stone on that side of the house.

So I asked the siding guys yesterday if they could remove the stone just off of the top portion and leave it on the bottom part and then add siding above the stone, and they said they could certainly do something like that. And then I could use the leftover stone to wrap the porch columns. This is a very quick and not-so-pretty mock up, but you get the idea. And this is definitely NOT the color I’m considering for the siding. I literally just copied the unpainted siding from the front of the studio and pasted it right onto this picture, and that’s the color it looked.

front exterior - siding and stone mix

On the double gable design, it might look more like this, with the stone on the bottom and the siding on the top on the very left portion of the house…

front exterior with stone and siding more balanced

But I’d also wrap that around the left end of the house, as well as that side of the living room that currently has the stone and vinyl siding mix.

And then with the leftover stone, I could add a raised flower bed at the front of the studio. I don’t want to add any stone to the actual facade of the house, but a raised flower bed made with the Austin stone would give it a bit more balance, I think.

So as of now, I think that’s the vision I’m aiming for. The main things I have to work around are:

(1) Leaving the stone on top of the concrete footing,

(2) Not adding any new stone to the facade of the house since that would require new concrete footings,

(3) Balancing out the siding so that when I paint the siding, the color will be distributed all around the sides and front of the house, and not just from the front porch and to the right.

I think I’ve accomplished those things with my plan, but if you have an idea of how to improve upon that plan, I’d love to hear it! I will happily admit that exterior design is not my strength. 🙂

The one thing that keeps me from jumping in with both feet on this plan is that for some reason, I have it in my mind that if I have Austin stone on my house, the siding needs to be a neutral color. Why does it seem like that to me? Do you agree, or do you think I could get away with painting my house a color even with the Austin stone on it?

I’m not planning on some wild and crazy color, but all of the exterior siding inspiration pictures I seem to be drawn to lately are some version of this…

front exterior - paint colorsvia At Home Arkansas

Can that house color work with Austin stone?

And just an FYI, the Austin stone on my house has been painted. I didn’t do it, but what you see is not its natural color. So my options are either (1) having it sandblasted to get back to the original color, or (2) painting it again, in which case I’d use a slightly brighter white/cream/taupe/greige color than the antique white look that’s on there now.

I just don’t want to be forced into having a neutral house. I have nothing against neutral houses, just like I have nothing against neutral interiors. I just don’t think it’s me. So if I have to sacrifice a pretty color on the exterior of my house because of that Austin stone, I’ll find a way to get rid of it. All of it.



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77 Comments

  • Reply To This Comment
    Brenda Pawloski
    July 25, 2017 at 10:14 am

    I think that the answer to Unbalanced Stone is More Stone. Then it can be Balanced. But that probably would have involved some stone on the Studio and it’s being sided, so there’s that. I will resist being lumped in with people who abhor the painting of wood or brick or stone. I am much cooler and sophisticated than that.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Deb
      July 25, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      Totally agree. Add stone, not take away and I think with the right colors, the studio will blend in just fine. Also agree that if you want to paint, paint away. Doesn’t matter that it’s stone. Looks too chopped up taking away stone.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Bev
      July 25, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      Would you consider a veneer stone? Home Depot has a veneer Austin Stone that looks amazing.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Cate
    July 25, 2017 at 10:15 am

    I love the direction you are going in…the siding on the left side of the house will tie in the right side of the house, and the columns and flower garden trimmed out in the stone, would bring the stone from the left to the right. A beautiful balance of both!

    On a side note and something consider…I would love to see the front porch extend to the entire length of the breakfast room windows to allow for a beautiful sitting area out there.

    Beautiful home, Kristi!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Mara
    July 25, 2017 at 10:16 am

    May I suggest stone veneer? You would not need new footers. A good Mason could do what you envision to make it more symmetrical. Go with a high quality brand like Eldorado Stone or Coronado Stone. These can’t be purchased at your local home improvement store, (unless you want the cheap stuff) so you’ll need to find a distributor. A quick search came up with Whiz Q Stone in Fort Worth. Looks like its a drive, but with such a big decision, it may be worth it!

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      July 25, 2017 at 10:27 am

      I actually considered that a while back. The problem I ran into with that option is that no Austin stone (real or fake, full pieces or veneer) matches the stone that’s on my house. The way they cut the stone that’s on my house seems to be very uniquely a 1940/50s style cut, with a smooth cut border framing the rough cut center of the face of the stone. I’ve only ever seen it on houses built around the time mine was built, and I’ve never found it available for sale. That means matching it would be something custom, which means it would be very expensive. It might be out there somewhere, ready made and available for purchase, but I’ve looked off and on since we bought this house, and I’ve never been able to find it.

      • Reply To This Comment
        Mara
        July 25, 2017 at 10:43 am

        Sorry, I meant an entirely new stone, not to match the existing. They have “Austin” stone if you want to stick with that, but they have so many other good options too. And I’m almost positive they can put the stone veneer over the existing stone and where you want new stone.

  • Reply To This Comment
    angela
    July 25, 2017 at 10:26 am

    get rid of all the stone.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Patricia
    July 25, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Yes, you can use a color! In the application above, the blue serves as a neutral. Almost anything can be a neutral depending on its application.
    You’re not sure why they painted the stone, correct? So it may be in bad shape color wise ? That’s the big question with going through the expense of having the paint blasted off. I am in the “You can’t remove stone (unless its hideous )camp but I think you’ve hit on a very pleasing solution.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      July 25, 2017 at 10:38 am

      My understanding was that they painted it with something that would keep it from getting dirty/mossy like Austin stone tends to do. Unfortunately, it didn’t work (as you can see from those pictures, it still needs regular pressure washing to keep clean), and I’m now left with Austin stone that has a very one-dimensional solid color on it rather than the actual color of Austin stone, which has a very subtle mix of neutral/white/cream colors.

      • Reply To This Comment
        Carla
        July 25, 2017 at 11:58 am

        I think sandblasting would be an excellent idea. That way it would have the natural look back. That means it would be neutral to any color you wanted to use. I think the paint gives it a “color”, which means it has to match whatever color you want to paint your house. Whenever you have natural stone, I think just about any color would look good. Your mock up of having the top half of the stone removed balances it so much better, especially if you have a raised flower bed with the leftover stone.
        You have done an incredible job on your house so far, so I imagine anything you do will be beautiful.

        • Reply To This Comment
          Dale
          July 25, 2017 at 1:21 pm

          I agree with Carla. I think adding some stone to a flower bed will balance it perfectly. I also like the top part of the left side of your home in siding. Kristi, it is going to be beautiful, just like the inside of your house!!

  • Reply To This Comment
    JeanneAntha
    July 25, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Your idea to take the stone off on the top is a good one, it makes the stone less overwhelming and would make using a color on the siding easier to figure out. Would it be difficult or too costly to sandblast the stone that’s left on the bottom? Maybe if it was more it’s natural color, you’d like it better.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      July 25, 2017 at 10:40 am

      I haven’t even looked into pricing for that yet, but if it’s not too expensive, I’d like to try it. I agree with you that I’d like it better in its natural color. What’s on there now is pretty close to the real color of Austin stone, but it’s just off enough to make it look drab and fake.

      • Reply To This Comment
        Bev
        July 25, 2017 at 5:20 pm

        We rented a machine and bought sand and did it ourselves.

      • Reply To This Comment
        Rebecca Neustel
        July 27, 2017 at 11:09 pm

        I think this idea sounds best, too. I love Austin stone, but what I love about it is just what you described, the subtle, beautiful mix of beige, cream, almost white and taupe. Then any color you use on top will look good with it – blue, green, etc. So: sandblast, remove stone from the top left, use stone for columns and planting bed and then paint the siding whatever beautiful color you want!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Diane
    July 25, 2017 at 10:31 am

    I like the stone as it is now on the left side. Going to the roofline makes the house look more expensive and thick stone makes a house cooler in the summer. I would buy additional stone to wrap the columns and add stone flower beds to the front of the studio, porch and breakfast room windows. That will balance the left side.

    I certainly think you can point your siding a pretty cooler. Stone is neutral, especially if you paint it or sandblast.

    If you sandblast the stone, it is almost maintenance free, which means more, the older you get.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Gilmer Gal
      July 25, 2017 at 11:26 am

      My favorite answer and just what I was thinking! And I love, love the idea of extending the porch to just under the bkfst room windows.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Linda
    July 25, 2017 at 10:35 am

    I think your ideas are all right on spot! And yes, you can paint colors with your stone. White siding al over would just be boring…..IMHO. 😉

  • Reply To This Comment
    Andrea
    July 25, 2017 at 10:37 am

    yikes… I have no idea on this. I kinda like the idea of painting the stone. Treat it like a texture that it is. Maybe removed it half way down… But I’m the most indecisive person ever. lol But on a humorous note- it reminded me of that episode of Green Acres where they painted the siding and it couldn’t breath and punchline was when they zoomed in, audio of it wheezing. 😀 I have a very tangent driven brain… oh look squirrel! lol

  • Reply To This Comment
    Cheri Varvil
    July 25, 2017 at 10:39 am

    I love the look of blue/gray with a natural or light stone color; so I say yes you can do that.
    I also think that it’s ultimately what looks good to you that matters. You are the one who gets to admire it every day.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Gwen
    July 25, 2017 at 10:42 am

    If the stone is 5″ thick, and you remove half of it to have the top half sided instead, won’t there by a pretty large ledge all around? *shrug* I don’t know if that will look odd or not. All the houses here have stone and brick veneers only, so they are only a little bulkier than the siding, and that’s what I’m used to. The right side that currently has stone and siding definitely looks odd – I’ve never seen a mix where the siding overlaps the stone that way.

    As far as your plan, I think so long as you can indeed repurpose the removed stone into a raised flower bed on that right side, then I think you’ve come up with a wonderful solution. And since I’m not from there, I don’t know what colors you typically see with Austin stone, but here there are plenty of colorful houses with stone and brick accents. Your stone as-is is definitely a neutral color that would play well with plenty of other colors.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Carmen
    July 25, 2017 at 10:46 am

    I love the idea of the raised flower bed by the studio to balance out the stone. We currently have a deep blue house and because of subdivision rules, had to have stone on it. It is a very neutral stacked stone and looks very nice with the deep blue siding.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Stacy Norman
    July 25, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Just a thought, because I have never done it, but couldn’t you cut down the width of the stone that is removed to make your own stone veneer? That way you wouldn’t have to do anything to the foundation…time consuming, yes, but the stone is already yours!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Ann
    July 25, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Painting the stone the shade of the siding might make it blend in rather than stand out, the texture of it is the beauty, rather than the colour.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Adele
    July 25, 2017 at 11:00 am

    I would be inclined to paint everything white, stone and siding, and then have a really bright front door, and bright flowers and plantings. You could remove the vinyl siding on the font of the main part of the house under the porch roof and put vertical board and batten. A touch of black on there would be good but if the windows are vinyl-clad that won’t work. Black shutters?

    I know the above is rather farmhouse modern but a lot of the 1950s ranch houses in the area where I live have a combo of vertical and horizontal siding plus stone or brick or even both! Some look great as originally done but the best-looking updated ones are painted all one color. The more organic colors–dark green, dark gray–and white ones look best.

    White paint is also a good interim color until you are ready for all additions, porches, roofs, etc. It gives you a clean canvas.

    The mock up of the stone-clad porch posts just looks odd and would involve an awful lot of cutting, but I do like it as the thick column base on the craftsman-style mock-up.

  • Reply To This Comment
    wordshipper
    July 25, 2017 at 11:16 am

    I love the stone, and also the idea of stone veneer to balance the look. Even if you can’t find a perfect match, I’m guessing you could find a close match, then paint the stone to match the siding and it would not be terribly noticeable. Not a fan of removing the stone to create a facade that is part siding and part stone, it would look choppy on a house that already has a lot going on…

  • Reply To This Comment
    Sewducky
    July 25, 2017 at 11:34 am

    This got long…I think your solution that you describe is the best middle ground looks wise. But requires more “hands on” research. The cost to recycle it on the house could be more than ypu think. Why? Think of the cost of the skill level for your labor to remove vs the Masons you’d need to recycle. Saving the rock for flower beds would be more economical than column bases, (again think of the skill level of labor).

    As a trial, remove it on the side with the porch and continue the siding for consistency. Take notes, ask that contractor or mason (buy em lunch or coffee for their time) about the difference to remove and recycle vs just removing the stone, (cost and time-wise)… with that rock and save it for the big fix. Plain demo may turn out to be best, since masonry is labor intensive that requires a specific skill set. If you do re-use the stone, you’ll be probably sand blasting or re-painting what’s removed since the raw sides are unpainted.

    Honestly I think you can abandon old footings. At worst, You may need a new fresh curb/top cap to slope away off the foundation afterwards.

    Planning Tip: If you do save rock to face potential columns that are not existing yet, stack them in their new locations, if possible, so you can start the soil settling process wherever they land. Large phased developments stack removed dirt for new foundations to compact the ground durring the rest of the construction.

  • Reply To This Comment
    rachel
    July 25, 2017 at 11:35 am

    So much fun! You could throw in a third facade element and use that to tie everything together. I’m thinking of wood shingles/cedar shakes. I see them on the front of gabled roofs and around columns and on the sides too. Keep the stone and the siding both, but lime wash the stone and paint the siding an analogous color, and build the shutters out of matching wood/cedar. I love the look of an old cottage!

    http://bit.ly/2uxELuh or http://bit.ly/2tWPEnt or http://bit.ly/2uuhmeV

  • Reply To This Comment
    Shannon
    July 25, 2017 at 11:39 am

    For sure have the stone sandblasted and add the portion of siding to the left of the house. Austin stone looks good with most colors. Here are some examples I found for you.
    https://goo.gl/images/opBnTi

    https://goo.gl/images/qE6jGt

    https://goo.gl/images/SBNE5T

    https://goo.gl/images/teSdCr

    • Reply To This Comment
      Carol
      July 25, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      Those look so nice. I really like taking the stone down a little lower so that it looks more like foundation stone, rather than half-wall wainscoting, and then using the removed stone to carry the look over to the right side foundation and to accent the porch. I think if you end up painting it–even using a special effect technique to make it look more natural–you could add color, like these pictures. Beautiful!

  • Reply To This Comment
    janpartist
    July 25, 2017 at 11:41 am

    In my humble opinion, I much prefer asymmetry to symmetry. But, it is your home and you prefer symmetry. You have some really good ideas. I think my point in replying was just to say there is no right or wrong, both asymmetry and symmetry can be balanced to the eye. And, you can balance a whole left side of stone with no stone on the right, it would just entail some juggling. For one thing you now have far more house on the right (since you have encorporated the garage into the front facade of the home) than you have on the left which is already working to give more heft to the right. But, since you aren’t working on that yet I’d just keep ruminating those ideas around for a couple of years until you’re able to tackle that project.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Chelle Ellis
    July 25, 2017 at 11:44 am

    I would keep the stone on the bottom, incorporate it into beds and column bases as you’ve mentioned. But I’d sandblast it for the natural color before deciding on the siding color. You have been stalled by slight color conflicts before, so while it would be fun and easy to throw paint on the siding, I think you’ll be better informed to make that color decision once your stone is the color it will become first. Just my two cents, YMMV.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Christine
    July 25, 2017 at 11:51 am

    I think if you remove the upper part of the Austin stone on the left side of your house to leave a stone wainscoat, it’ll look more Mid Century and frankly, more granny. To be more exact, like my Great Aunt Stella’s Mid-Century house in San Antonio. She died at the age of 92. Seventeen years ago. It looked granny then and not any better now.

    If you cut the stone off in the middle, the house will undoubtedly look more choppy.

    I think that if you keep the stone, which I think has great textural interest, the overall look of the house will be better. Do consider adding some sort of stone on the right side and column bottoms, especially the planter idea. Those ideas of yours are right on the mark.

    Have you looked at salvage building material places to find reclaimed Austin stone cut like yours? I would expect that it can be found, as it was so ubiquitously used in the 1960s in Texas.

    Consider painting the stone and siding all the same color, as the stone is already painted. Choose whatever color you like, and look into beefier shutters, at all your windows. The uniform body color, a more important front door, thick shutters in a contrasting color, the double gables and a large front porch, along with carrying the stone to a planter along your studio wall, will all add up to an interesting facade for your home.

    Don’t cut the stone down, please. I think you’ll regret it, not to mention the expense, afterward.

  • Reply To This Comment
    CeeCee
    July 25, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    OMG, I never knew what Austin stone was or looked like – sandblast that puppy, that is beautiful stone!!

    I agree with janpartist’s statement that you now have far more house on the right than you have on the left which is already working to give more heft to the right. Your house looks balanced to me though a pic of the full length including the studio may show otherwise. I don’t care for the mock up but it is your house, to me it actually unbalances your house. If you were to do a stone wainscoting I think the front porch wall would be a good place to do it and serve as a transition full stone to stone and siding to siding. If you are going to paint the stone could you do a mold of your stone and do a concrete veneer since it will be painted? Whatever you decide, I know it will look great!!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Melanie
    July 25, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Whatever you decide make sure it is what you want. The stone shouldn’t stay just because it is good stone or you have so much of it or yadda yadda yadda. The stone has served its purpose for a good amount of time and whatever you don’t use, you could probably donate to your local restore or habitat for humanity.
    I like the idea of keeping the stone on the bottom portion of your home and pillars for a classic look but I don’t know what color Austin stone is originally so as far as your colors you have in mind for the siding, I like those colors with a lighter stone. Hope this helps 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment
    Rebecca B
    July 25, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Puh-lease don’t get rid of the stone! I think to most people a stone veneer means a classier house. it’s so expensive nowadays that almost no one can afford stone. So please don’t get rid of your stone! My neighbors have a house that is Bedford stone and it is painted. The house used to belong to a contractor and he painted it in a nice natural 2 tone color that look really good. I do agree that if it is a natural light color on one side and a bright attractive color on the siding it will look unbalanced.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Carol
    July 25, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Could you take the stone down even further on the left side of the house, so that it looks more like foundation stone (so that it ends well below the window–more like the foundation on the right side of the house)? If you could then sorta match that on the foundation on the right side, tie it together with paint maybe, then the front piece would look more intentional, I think. When I first saw your mock up, I thought it looked so much better, but I couldn’t help thinking it look like they brought the foundation stone up too high. My two cents.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Becky
    July 25, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    I’m looking at the stone issue from a different perspective. Austin stone houses just scream mid century style designs. Craftsman houses are from the early years of the 20th Century and incorporated either brick or more naturally shaped stone accents. IMVHO, if you remake your house into a Craftsman, the Austin stone will never look right; like putting tail fins on a Model A Ford. However, if chose to embrace and enhance your mid century style, the Austin stone looks perfect. Check out this website for some original designs: http://midcenturyhomestyle.com As everyone says, says it’s your house, you should do what makes you happy.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      July 25, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      In this area, Austin stone isn’t associated with a particular style of house. It’s used on everything from traditional to Italian to mid-century to ranch style to contemporary and just about everything else. I would imagine that’s because it’s so abundant around here. After all, it’s called Austin stone because it’s quarried in the Austin and surrounding areas of Texas.

      • Reply To This Comment
        Becky
        July 25, 2017 at 3:13 pm

        You said, “The way they cut the stone that’s on my house seems to be very uniquely a 1940/50s style cut, with a smooth cut border framing the rough cut center of the face of the stone. I’ve only ever seen it on houses built around the time mine was built….”, thus my comment to keep the mid century design vs modifying it into a Craftsman.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Marianne in Mo.
    July 25, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    I like your ideas, especially the raised bed to bring that stone to the new studio. I would look in to sandblasting ( probably before doing anything else ) see if the cost is do-able. I understand it can cause damage to surrounding areas if they don’t protect it, that’s why I suggest checking in to it and see what they say. And I don’t see why you couldn’t use a color with the stone – it’s pretty neutral, if I remember correctly. Just stick with colors found in nature, and it will work. ( Because the stone is from nature!!! 😉 )

  • Reply To This Comment
    Cindy
    July 25, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Maria Killam just posted about choosing a correct color to use with stone on the house exterior.

    http://www.mariakillam.com/exterior-consultation-stone-brick/

    It won’t address the balance issue, but I think it will speak to your desire for color rather than neutrals. I think she would say that as long as the undertones of the siding and stone match, you are heading in the right direction. Totally doable.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Nancy Jo Croft Larson
    July 25, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    In one of the pictures of the front of the house, I was wondering how big the 2 trees will be getting, I just think they look nice when small, but if they grow any bigger the will over power the house and the look you want. So many idea’s, But as others have been saying, it’s your home, so go with what you think and will like the best. Good luck with this one Kristy.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      July 25, 2017 at 1:42 pm

      The smaller tree is gone completely. We had that cut down about a year or so ago. The only tree actually in front of our house is the oak tree, and it’s massive, but the canopy is pretty high so it doesn’t hide the house.

      • Reply To This Comment
        Nancy Jo Croft Larson
        July 26, 2017 at 11:37 am

        OK I checked back to take another look at the pictures and the one was a picture that you copied showing some what it might look like if you did that, it was not a picture of the front of your house. Sorry about the mix up. Old age & bad memory is my life now. ha

  • Reply To This Comment
    Mark E Tisdale
    July 25, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    I like the stone. And as others have mentioned, if it were sandblasted so it didn’t need cleaning so often, it’s a lower maintenance option. It doesn’t feel lopsided to me but it’s not my home.

    Wondering “out loud” kind of but maybe it’s the fact everything is running horizontal, stone, etc. Maybe if when you re-side the front porch, you went with a vertical siding of some sort to introduce a little variety? I don’t know. I could be way off and it could just add yet another element and make things look more mish-mash than planned.

    It’s your home, I’m sure you’ll find something that makes it work for you and look lovely in the process. 🙂

    Mark

  • Reply To This Comment
    Barbara
    July 25, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Oh my, that is the ugliest stone …..
    It is best to have no stone on a house, as it severely imits your choice of any colours for painting. Do a search and you will find blogs about this.
    Fantastic work you do.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Diana
    July 25, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    I would be concerned that sand blasting the stone may damage it. Kristi, you are so talented I bet you could faux paint the Austin stone in Austin stone colors you love. Since the stone seems to come in many shades pick one you like. It would not need to remain a light color. I like your idea of using the stone in the columns. Another idea is to use the darker color if faux painted for the siding so at least the color flows across the entire house.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Sue
    July 25, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    I would for sure sandblast the stone to get it back to it’s natural beauty. Instead of taking off stone, you might want to balance it out a bit more by adding stone pillars to the built out porch and a stone flower box in front of the studio. Then add your beautiful blue color and white trim. Ta Da! Beautiful.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Teresa
    July 25, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    I don’t know the answer to this, but could you install your Hardie Plank siding over/on top of the stone? Like a veneer over the stone???

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      July 25, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      I don’t think so. The stone has so much variation in depth on the face of the stones. The rough center parts of the face of the stones stick out as much as three inches in places. I would imagine in order to attach siding to that, the stone would have to be ground down much flatter. I can’t even imagine how much that would cost, or how much time it would take. It would be much easier just to take the stone off completely.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Lisa E
    July 25, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    I think the stone looks fine now but I know you’re big on symmetry. Your ideas sound good, so hopefully they are doable. Looking forward to this new twist.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Laurie
    July 25, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    I love your ideas, Kristi. The extended porch and blending siding and stone both look great, and I think the color you picked will look wonderful. Just to throw another idea out there, your last picture, the one that shows the color you like, has neutral colored trim on the corners. You see that a lot here in New England. I like the way it frames the color (or colors) of a house. Corner quoins are often used on older houses with siding, stone, or brick for a similar contrasting frame effect. I’m not sure how you’d incorporate them into your plan which like I said looks wonderful. It’s just a thought.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=corner+quoins&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiI8t2wgaXVAhVIdD4KHUXZB5gQ_AUICygC&biw=1366&bih=638

  • Reply To This Comment
    Cheryl Smith-Bell
    July 25, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Sand blast and see what you have. Be easier to blast it clean, still on the wall, if you’re going to reuse it, or not, then you’ll know.

    And if your still not thinking it is balanced, maybe a large planting at near the very L corner of the house, would balance it visually, and take the weight of the stone away?

    For my 2c, I’d like to see you use the stone, under all the windows[porch, too] and find nice cap stones for all, but especially under the windows to match the left side, just carry them all the way to your studio windows and corner. The end wall of the LR would be better just under the windows, too. IMHO Then the siding will be consistent and balanced.

    On another note, how much of an extension will you do on the back left for your master BR. Will you need stone[if you keep it] for that? You have a full gable of stone, I see, and if you remove down to lower window height you will have lots to work with.
    Save any left for back of house, new parts, and low flower beds, maybe even face of car port half walls. Lots of uses for good stone! Can’t wait to see it all come together!

    • Reply To This Comment
      susan
      July 25, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      really like the sand blasting and stone pillar/flower bed idea. do you know what is under the siding? i like the idea of the gables with siding. sand blast it first then look back at the elevation you show. very upscale. the kind of home a designer would have.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Mary
    July 25, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    In weighing all ….I do mean all..I like the pic with leaving the stone on. I think the changing of the porch, windows, color…AND the adding of the shrub & flowering bushes…it ALL gives it the WOW..beautiful look. The color of the stone is not jumping out at you..so with you having added changes & color elsewhere…plays up & adds to it. I think the stone gives it CHARACTER & STABILITY..with the added extra’s..it’s a winner. You can take the money you’re saving by leaving it on & go elaborate on the landscaping..decorating porch area with pieces with bright pillow colors, etc. At the end of the day..you must love it..do what makes you happy!!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Flymoma42
    July 25, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Add stone to the right hand side to balance.

  • Reply To This Comment
    StargzrBlog
    July 25, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    1) definitely sand-blast the stone to remove all layers of paint and get back to the natural beauty of the stone (otherwise, what is the point of the stone? I’m not a big fan of painting over such things.)

    2) need to ask yourself: what is the problem(s) that I am trying to fix? In reading the post, I think that I could summarize that there are 2 problems:
    a) The yucky black stuff that collects on surface –> continuous maintenance issue
    b) The stone is on one side, siding on other, creating (perhaps) asymmetry –> aesthetic consideration

    To address 2a) above, what about applying a stone sealer on the stone after it gets sand-blasted? Sealing the stone with a quality product to make the surface less permeable would deter biological growth, and make its removal much easier when it does happen.

    To address 2b) above, I suggest just putting some stone veneer to surface the foundation on garage area to the right of your house. Wouldn’t matter if the veneer is not an exact match to the stone on the left side … a new double gable porch would place enough visual distance between the stone left side and the siding right side that no one would be able to tell that the rock-veneered foundation was made of something different, so long as the color of the rock and general texture were similar to that of the left side. I would add a flower garden using large rocks of similar size and color in front of the right side of the yard to further “tie together” the stone+siding components. I actually love the stone+siding look, and I think that some asymmetry in the design adds needed interest.

    3) I would not advise removing the stone to make a half-wall sided surface on the left side of the house.
    * While I like your mock-up pictures, I think that there will be a 5-inch “ledge” created by the remaining stone that will just look odd (and will collect stuff … leaves, twigs, more moss that will not make you happy).
    * Leaving those rocks intact gives you amazing insulation for the house. I lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for over 10 years, and know from first-hand experience that keeping a house naturally cool as possible is a big deal (especially so for an MS’er!).

    4) I love the double gable front porch design. Would definitely go for it. I like having stone at the base of the columns, and would just find a veneer that approximately matches the color of the (post sand-blasted, post sealed) stone on the house to put around those column bases. No one will ever know that they aren’t the same stone if the color is about the same.

    • Reply To This Comment
      judy
      July 25, 2017 at 5:03 pm

      I agree with you. Because of the distance of the addition and the left side of the house you wouldn’t notice the difference in the stone. I would consider board and batten on the porch also so that it will create a visual balance. Not sure I said that right but your eye should flow across the home not stop and say whatttt happened.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Maxine
    July 25, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Instead of trying to figure out how to take stone away from the one side why not add stone to the other side. Stone porch columns and stone porch steps. A nice stone patio in front of the breakfast room area with stone planters. Stone steps on the side for the studio door. And your driveway will be running down that side of the house, how about some nice stone columns on either side of the driveway entrance and a nice stone mailbox?

  • Reply To This Comment
    Judi
    July 25, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Kristi, this is off topic, but I noticed in the pic that includes your car that your left front tire looks low. It’s too hot in Texas to have road trouble. If this is a recent pic, please check the air in your tires.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Gina
    July 25, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    I love your idea of taking the stone off to balance but I had a question regarding the siding under the front porch. Since there is stone along the right side/outside living room wall, could there be stone under the siding? Looking at your photos, it made me wonder if they covered the stone with siding (for whatever reason) and the stone could still be there and it’s just hidden. I can’t wait to see more outside progress…

  • Reply To This Comment
    Tiffany Bush
    July 25, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    I love the idea of adding more stone to balance the house out. I think if you sandblasted the stone, it would look gorgeous with the color you’ve picked out. Love seeing all your progress!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Genelle McDaniel
    July 25, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    According to the Real Estate Society, yellow house are the most inviting and sell much quicker than other exteriors. Not that you’re looking to sell. I might add that I would want lots of white shutters and whilte porch furniture to accent that. Just a suggestion.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Verni
    July 25, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Any chance that there is a climbing plant that would thrive in your Texas climate to cover the stone? Here in the UK I am looking out at ivy and honeysuckle and Virginia creeper that all needs a good pruning as its totally covering a brick garden wall and shed.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Nicole
    July 25, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    I like the look of removing half of the austin stone on the left side. I also think the stone would look great with the light blue color. However, I would sand blast the stone to bring it back to it’s original color. I’m not a stone purist but I would think painted stone would look flat and without real texture if it was painted. If that’s not possible, I’d paint it white. It would balance well with the white columns in the future plan.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Mrs Mike
    July 25, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    I love that color on your sample house and definitely think you could use it with Austin stone! Seeing that you are drawn to blues and greens, it feels like a color that would make you happy every time you drive up.

    There are plenty of good suggestions for the stone, I hope one of them will work for you! 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment
    Susan
    July 25, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Sand blast the stone and let its natural beauty shine.
    Then do shiplap cedar/some kind of natural wood on your porch area.

    I like what others have said about adding stone planters/etc to balance the stone walls.
    Your front door , trim and flowers/shrubs can be wild and crazy colors, lol, like the victorians did.

    Don’t underestimate the sophistication of neutrals-they allow things like flowers/garden art/details to soar.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Irene
    July 25, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Kristi, you mentioned the size and cut of stone not being currently available. Are there any homes being torn down or undergoing a major facelift that could be a supply for you? Then you would be able to add some to areas of the right side of your home and paint all to match.

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      July 25, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      I haven’t noticed any, but I haven’t really been paying attention. I’m going to be more alert from here on out and see if I come across some that’s being removed from local houses or buildings. There’s quite a bit of this style Austin stone in my neighborhood and this area of the city.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Mary
    July 25, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    I would use the stone on the side of the house by the studio to wrap the bottom part of thick porch columns on the extended porch that many readers suggested. I would keep all the stone on the front and add substantial wooden shutters to the windows to balance the left and right sides of the house. I would sandblast the stone and be fearless with color.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Seattle Sue
    July 25, 2017 at 11:49 pm

    What about removing the stone from the right side of the living room as you face the house from the front and applying it to the front of the breakfast room?

    The front left side of the house is sheathed in the rock all around. Applying it just to the front wall of the breakfast room would balance out the weight of the rock on the left front of the house as you view it from the street. And it looks like there is enough right to go from top to bottom and side to side across that wall. That might look like the house was intentionally built that way from the beginning.
    .

  • Reply To This Comment
    Akshay
    July 26, 2017 at 5:22 am

    I think Painting stone is pretty cool idea. I would really consider it while i plan to renovate my house. Your blog is really good every time i read i get some new ideas. Keep going on.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Pat
    July 26, 2017 at 9:39 am

    I wonder if there is stone under the siding on the porch and the top part that wraps around toward your breakfast room? Can you tell?

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      July 26, 2017 at 10:05 am

      I was curious what was under there, so I took some of the vinyl siding off yesterday. It’s original wood siding under there, and sadly, it’t not in very good shape.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Debbie
    July 27, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    Another idea is to go to a quarry & buy a few samples of the different shades that Austin Limestone comes in and match your paint color to that, maybe doing some faux shading to make it more natural looking. I’m sure you could do that. Then maybe you can paint the siding in a nice teal adding shutters in a complementary color.

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