January 13, 2017

Next on the House: Front Gable Ends

This time of year is good for working on some of our big, one-time-and-then-they're-done projects. The results from getting the front bedroom window replaced and getting up the new siding on the front porch were pretty motivating, so Dan was immediately ready to move on to the next house project on the list - the front gable ends.

I'm not sure why there are two gables except as a decorative feature.

Dan and I differed on how to treat these. He likes the contrasting shake look, but for our house, I didn't agree. I do like that look, but from a design point of view, too much variety in color and texture can result in a cluttered or incongruous look. Our house is small, and as part of the whole the front porch is only a small piece of the visual picture. A good visual design has a primary color and texture, with smaller contrasts to add interest. I felt that the porch and gable ends should work as a unit, not compete for the viewer's attention.


Dan and I have some simple "rules" for decision making in our house upgrading and remodeling. If we both like the same idea, we go with that. If one really likes an idea but the other has no strong opinion, we go with the preferred idea no matter whose it is. If we strongly disagree, we continue to explore options. In this case, we researched materials and cost for both ideas. When it worked out to $250  for shakes versus $50 for the siding, the question was settled. That doesn't include labor, for which installing shakes would be more labor intensive.

One thing we've noticed during the creative process is how easy it is to get elaborate with our ideas. We try to analyze projects the way I described in my "The Time To Benefit Ratio" post, but sometimes we indulge in a splurge, like the tin ceiling for the kitchen dining nook. Other times, practicality wins out, especially when we put it in perspective; we have a long list of projects and don't want to get so involved with any of them as to drain all our time and resources.

To add a bit of decorative interest I bought this octagonal gable vent. I found it on eBay.


It's handcrafted of western red cedar, and was less expensive than the smaller plastic job available at Lowes. Extra bonus was free shipping. It will compliment the octagon stained glass window in the master bath. I'll paint it white before it's installed.

No repairs are apparent for this project, so it should be a straightforward installation of siding and the new vent. The trickiest part will be negotiating the roof angles and those roof struts. Weather permitting, I hope to have the finished results to show you soon. (And here they are, "Front Gables Makeover.")

25 comments:

  1. I agree that the smaller gable is faux and not structural. I also agree with the porch and the gables blending and not in competition with the porch. I wonder if the porch roof even existed when someone put the faux gable on? That roof line on the porch is a break in the flow. At least if the two are the same product the eye will go auto pilot and blend it for you. I can't wait to see the after photos!

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    1. There are a lot of "clues" that make me believe that the house we have now wasn't what it was originally. When we tore up the porch floor, we found a brick outline of something - looked like a smaller, earlier porch. But the porch roof was built open to the attic, even has blown-in insulation in the porch ceiling. It's a puzzle!

      Very true about the visual affect. In the top photo they contrast as blue and white. True, the white paint is chipped, but the overall look doesn't "work." At least we came to an agreement without having to argue over it!

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    2. Good. It is about being kind not right 😉

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  2. In our house, "If Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy" rules for the most part. Occasionally if I have a strong opinion, I'll put my foot down but not often.

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    1. Dan says that sometimes too, LOL. But we really try to work together so that both of us are satisfied. It doesn't always work out that way, but we try. :)

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  3. Glad you guys came to an agreement. Can't wait to see the finished product!

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    1. It's in progress and I hope to have photos to show you soon!

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  4. Oooh I'm so looking forward to seeing it done! But, I suspect, not nearly so much as you are.

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    1. Probably our neighbors most of all, LOL

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  5. This project will definitely bring out the charm of the front facade, but what I'm loving is the size of that front porch! Look fwd to seeing how you use that space.

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    1. That porch was screened in when we bought the place and was one of the things I loved. It didn't get much use, though, because it catches the afternoon sun and is exceedingly hot! :(

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  6. Oh, yes. I am glad it was more cost effective. All the nooks and crannies of the shake with two separate gables would have been might busy AND hard to keep clean. Wishing you great weather!

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    1. Yes, those odd shaped spaces (especially the little one because it isn't a true triangle) would have been a real challenge. As it is, we have too many other projects we want to get to! So simpler with time and expense is really a good idea.

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  7. In our house the less expensive route (in time, labor and actual dollar outlay) usually is the deciding factor. However, I do confess to possibly one or two instances where we've both wanted the more expensive and we've rationalized it by saying, "Oh heck, we're only going to do it once and it will be there forever." I'm imagining the front of your house is going to take on a whole new look.

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    1. I'm looking forward to showing "before" and "after" photos. And I think it's okay to pick and choose a few extravagances! Adds charm to the end result. :)

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  8. Leigh,

    Y'all made a decision and we can't wait for pictures of the finished project.

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  9. Our decision making process is similar but I'll admit when it comes to house things Keith usually has no strong opinion unless its related to structure or cost, design, he leaves to me. Now the outside animal buildings I leave to him but where we decide to put fences...that can be a real hot discussion sometimes. Love your new blog background by the way!

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    1. Interesting there should be such a difference of opinion over fences! Ours just seemed obvious, LOL. Nice to have a partner who is obliging to work with though.

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  10. Cost and the amount of time required to do the work are the primary drivers at our house. I mostly let De do what she wants trusting, that after almost 35 years of letting her pick, what she wants is going to be just fine and likely better visually than I would have done on my own.

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    1. Mark, Dan used to work for a moving company, and he said that 99% of the time the man deferred to the woman when it came to moving in furniture, etc. I'm guessing De knows what you like too, and that you're rarely dissatisfied with her choices. :)

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  11. I was just thinking about my gable vent tonight! Unfortunately, it's because I heard what sounded like something scrambling around over the ceiling or roof, and in the past that has meant a squirrel chewed through the gable vent and the screen behind it to find a cozy winter home in the attic. It's not a real stand-up-in-it attic, so creeping around up there is not something I can do myself anymore. One more thing to hire for. Sigh...

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    1. Oh well, shouldn't complain. At least I have an attic!

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    2. It's always something, isn't it! Can't say I'd be able to do much creeping around myself, so I'm thankful Dan is willing to do it.

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