I promised you a post about siding and stone, and I’m here to deliver! Some of you (a.k.a. Alert & Awesome) may remember all of that exterior inspiration I was drooling Chardonnay over earlier this summer. By the time we needed to make our exterior selections G and I were pretty set on a black and white house. We both loved the idea of going with colors that were classic and timeless (especially since we were building in an older neighborhood), and we love the high contrast look of black and white. We decided to go with either a mix of black and white siding with white windows, or all white siding with black windows. And, as you know by now, all white siding with black windows won.
We discovered that really dark siding costs more than lighter shades, so we’d be looking at a couple of extra thousand dollars to get our hands on some nice black siding. Black windows were also an upgrade that would cost us a couple thousand dollars more. (We also debated doing an all white house – a look I love – but G wasn’t a fan.) So, to get our black and white exterior look we could either spend more money on siding (which was purely aesthetic) or spend more money on windows (which was aesthetic and got us higher quality, more energy efficient windows). We decided to spend the extra money on windows and get more bang for our buck.
[Related: ATG&D Dream Home | We Have Windows!]
So it was decided – our first major decision in the selections process – our dream home would be a white house with black windows (and a black roof)! You’ve already seen the windows and the roof, now here is the start of our siding:
The interesting thing about choosing white siding is that – although I think it’s a very classic look – it’s actually really uncommon for new construction in our area. When I met with the designer on my builder’s team to place the order for siding and trim, I told her we were going with all white, which surprised her. She grabbed a fan deck of siding colors and said, “Let’s just take a look at these. There are a lot of colors that look pretty white…” and then pointed out some very lovely light grays, creams, and beiges and asked me if I meant those instead.
“Nope. White,” I said, pointing to the pure white sample.
“White?” she asked again to clarify.
“White,” I confirmed.
“Okay, so what color for your trim?” she asked.
“Garage doors?” she asked.
“So…white for everything?”
“Yes,” I replied with a laugh. Seeing her surprise (and thinking about her company’s 30 years of new home construction) I asked, “How long has it been since you’ve built an all white house?”
She thought for a moment and replied, “Honestly…I don’t think we’ve ever built an all white house!”
Next up? Exterior stone. This was another selection I agonized* over – to the point where I was ready to just nix the stone and do all siding. G really wanted some stone though, so forgoing it wasn’t an option.
We had “cultured stone” in our budget, which is faux stone manufactured to look like real stone. It’s made from cement using molds shaped like natural stone, and then dyed to look like the real thing. Because it’s a manufactured stone veneer it’s a less expensive alternative to real stone. When G and I were working with our builders on our budget (prior to construction starting) we saw several cultured stone samples that we thought looked nice, so we agreed to go that route and save some money. When it came time to make our actual selection, however, I was having doubts. I spent a lot of time driving around newer neighborhoods looking at the cultured stone on houses and none of it was what we had in mind for our exterior. Since we had decided on all white siding we both really wanted exterior stone that was essentially colorless, and all of the cultured stone was pigmented. Anytime I found a stone look I liked, I’d show our builders and they’d tell me it was natural stone, which was out of our budget, but they could get me a price quote for it if we were interested. Since we’d already gone over budget on the windows I refused to even consider any of the stone that would put us over budget in this category.
Finally, after a week or two of not finding anything either one of us liked, G said, “Why don’t you just have them give us a quote for the natural stone that we like. Who knows? Maybe it won’t be that bad.”
It was $300 more.
Only $300 to jump from faux stone to the real stone (it’s called Chilton Ivory) we loved. So yeah, it was the second thing we went over budget on, but it’s also one of those things that could make or break our home’s facade – and something we’d never change out in the future – so it was worth it to us. Plus, it was early enough in our selections process that we knew we could adjust in other areas to make up the difference.
Bonus! We had enough stone left over that we were able to use it on our fireplace as well which saved us money, and we still have quite a bit left to do something fun with it when we finish the basement.
Our floor plans had the exterior of our house drawn up with shake siding at some of the gables, but I changed it to all board and batten. I love the look of shake siding, but I thought board and batten was a better fit for our all white exterior. Plus I love that mix of vertical and horizontal lines.
[Related: ATG&D Dream Home | Floor Plans]
Here’s a look from the back of the house:
A view of our house, coming up our street (boy do we have a lot of landscaping to do – that’s our topsoil pile, growing weeds):
And one last look with our permanent front door installed (the door and sidelights still need to be painted black) and the siding and stone almost finished:
New to the ATG&D Dream Home series? Catch up here:
*The most common question I’ve been getting about our house is, “Was it hard to pick everything out and make all these decisions?” My response? Yes and no. I had a very distinct vision of how I wanted our house to look, so that part was easy. The hard part was finding the materials that fit into my vision and into our budget. So when I say I agonized over a selection – like the stone – it wasn’t because I couldn’t decide what I wanted, it was because I knew exactly what I wanted and I just couldn’t find it (or a suitable alternative) within our budget. I have to admit – I was really stubborn about sticking to my vision for our house, and when there were stressful points along our home-building process that was primarily the reason why. Now that it’s over I hear a lot of “you’re so lucky you knew exactly what you wanted” and “I could never build because I don’t have a distinct vision or style.” I would argue that if you fall into the latter category you would likely have a much easier time going through this process! My point? Don’t let my saying I “agonized” over a selection scare you off from building (or remodeling) if that’s something you hope to do. The majority of my stress and “agony” was self-inflicted – and totally worth it in the end.