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QUESTION: We recently purchased a re-built home (built in 1956, destroyed by fire and rebuilt on original basement in 2009) which was only partially completed.  We have nearly finished the interior and hope to move the work to the exterior next year. It has some of the original roman brick on part of the front that we plan to keep.  However, because of the HUGE RV garage attached, the whole dwelling seems disproportionate.  We need design/style ideas before proceeding.  The attached picture gives an idea of our challenge.  We are thinking Hardi board for siding, and maybe shingles accent above garage door.  Our interior style is Arts/Crafts/Craftsman.  Thanks in advance for your suggestions and please ask away if you need more information.


Well, the first question I have is do you need to keep this huge garage door? Because if you don't, and you can replace it with a regular height garage door, that will immediately help the situation. Then you could break up the siding above the door, possibly adding a small square window. Sometimes a trellis structure over the garage door can help to lessen the visual impact of the door too.

It looks like there is not much brick left on the house? You might want to ask yourself if it makes sense to keep any of it, or just start a new scheme with hardiplank and/or hardishingles, or hardiboard w/ battens. I would look at possibly mixing two materials. There are a couple examples on our website:

Hope this helps get you started.

Nazim Nice
Principal / Architect
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---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your reply.  The example pictures were quite helpful.  The large garage door will remain in order to house an RV, so we will need to come up with ideas to minimize it visually.  We like the old brick, and plan on cleaning it up/staining and sealing.  The trick is not to get too many things going on and keep the exterior as simple as possible, is what I'm thinking.  So brick and plank siding will probably be our two materials of choice. If we continue the brick partially up both sides of the garage, that might help tie it all in a little better?  That, and choosing a neutral color palette.

Again, thank you for you ideas.

Hi Lea,

If you are going to keep the brick, then probably incorporating some onto the facade of the garage will help tie things together. Since the garage door is large you might carry the brick around a little higher than normal so it appears proportional to the garage door. About where the black building paper is located is probably a good height. It would be good to take the brick around the side facade, ideally all the way around but at least wrap a few feet back. A well placed plant or tree can help hide this transition. Keep in mind you will need something to support the brick at the garage. Typically this is done with a steel angle if the foundation was not poured with a ledge.

I agree with keeping the exterior simple and clean. Don't make it too busy, and see how you can tie things together as much as possible visually. And don't underestimate the value of landscaping too to soften architecture and make it look more appealing.

Best of luck to you!



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Nazim Nice


I am a Seattle Architect and can answer architecture and design related questions. Ask me about material suggestions or usage. Ask me about design options - what is good design and what is bad. Ask me about choosing exterior house colors and furniture layout options. Ask me about detailing and assembling houses or components in the home. Ask me about green design or materials. Ask me about choosing an architect, the architectural services, basement remodels, second story additions, and whole house remodels. Ask me about garage design, bathroom remodels, laundry and mudroom design, family room additions, and roof deck additions.


Over 12 years of practice in the Architectural field including three years of internship plus 5 years of school. I have taught at the Knowlton School of Architecture at the Ohio State University and lectured at Carnegie Mellon University. I currently own and run the Seattle Architecture Firm, Motionspace Architecture + Design PLLC.

National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB, Seattle Architects | Motionspace Architecture + Design. More information at our blog the (un)common house. Lumen ID Custom Engraved Switch Plates with Labels.

BArch from Carnegie Mellon University & Andrew Carnegie Scholar

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