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Improving the exterior of an Edwardian semi-detached house

(5 Posts)
MaryHays Thu 16-Feb-17 11:54:01

We have a large Edwardian semi, which isn't an attractive example of the species. The back part of the house is Victorian (and pretty), and an Edwardian front 'wing' was put on a few decades later. It's very large, and squat, with a large box bay window with crenellations. The gable triangle at the top has been rendered white, but everything else is red brick. I don't want to post a photo of our actual house, but it's like a much uglier version of one of these: uk.pinterest.com/pin/300896818834603032/
All the windows have been replaced with double-glazed monstrosities. It's on a busy main road, and has a concrete driveway at the front, with a low wall.
I'm looking for inspiration of how to make it look nicer from the outside.
Replacing the windows with wooden sash double-glazed windows would be prohibitively expensive (we were quoted £25K for the front alone!!).

There's no decorative plasterwork/paintwork at the front, apart from the white render in the gable. I was wondering whether it's possible to add it? Perhaps something like this, around the box bay at the bottom, and the 2 windows on the 1st floor? uk.pinterest.com/pin/385198574353641122/ Does anyone know if this is just paintwork, or whether it's plasterwork? What's it called? Who would I contact to do it? I'm really clueless about house exteriors!

Otherwise we're planting a tall hedge; I'm going to plant a wisteria to grow up the front; and I'm thinking about getting a driveway gate too. We're getting plantation shutters for all the windows at the front (instead of forking out £25K for new windows!) Any other ideas would be gratefully received! Thanks!

knittingwithnettles Thu 16-Feb-17 12:06:54

You can get pvc sash windows which look slightly more in period - it is the shape of the glass or the metal frames that looks wrong in some double glazed replacements

definitely hedge - noise reduction and screening

curtains are probably much more in period than shutters - you can get cheap thick heavy secondhand ones at Curtain Exchange type shops or ebay..I think shutters would be a waste of money and also I think they are going to date in a few years

pseudonymity Thu 16-Feb-17 12:09:42

Have any of the neighbours done anything to theirs that you like?

MaryHays Thu 16-Feb-17 12:15:58

knitting We've already ordered the shutters, so they're definitely happening! I know they're not in keeping with the period, but we need something that will let in some light, but entirely screen the busy main road at the front. We'll have William Morris curtains too in the living room, but we don't want to keep them closed all the time.

pseudonymity no, it's a weird road. There's only us and the other half of our semi that's built in the same architectural style. And the other half of the semi is just as ugly as ours!

I do think that adding some white (paintwork? plasterwork?) to the front of the house is the way to go; but I just don't know what it's called!

knittingwithnettles Thu 16-Feb-17 12:39:16

It's lime "concrete" (do not use modern concrete) I think, like render round a window frame to imitate stone work?

I've seen it done in a fawn colour (like Bath stone) instead of white. You need to go down a street of Edwardian houses for ideas...any prosperous surburb will have rows of them, some horrible some very nicely maintained. we are in Edwardian land here..and it seems to be bleak driveway and wrong sort of shape windows that make particularily horrible combo, whereas planting does wonders, and softens the effect of the pvc.

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