600 Square Feet of Landmark Stone
12 Feet of Linear Corners
A Q&A with Ashley Rene from @cherishedbliss
Q: What was your biggest challenge?
Designing the exterior look and settling on a floor plan were the two aspects of building a home that I struggled with the most. I am very much a visual person and will often find myself returning items because they just didn’t fit or look the way I had envisioned. Well, as it turns out you can't return an exterior ;). So let's talk about our Transitional Exterior Design Plans and on how we ended up with our final look.
Q: How did you settle on the exterior design of your new home?
The exterior was the first thing we had to design. This included rooflines, windows, doors, siding, stone, etc. Our neighborhood has a stone requirement, which meant that a certain percentage of our front elevation had to be stone. This left us with two options: a stone accent wall or wrap the bottom section of the home in stone like a border.
We ultimately decided do an entire wall section with stone. Initially, I had the little bump-out on the right side selected for the stone (where the dark siding is in the photo) but the more I studied and slept on it, it made more sense to me to have the stone on the wall behind the bump-out. Stone is a heavier product and naturally be found as a supporting wall.
We decided to wrap the stone around the front corner by 1’ to make the veneer stone look more like solid stone, which really enhanced the overall look of the stone!
Selecting the Stone
When it came time to select a stone, I fell in love with Cashmere Limestone from Glen-Gery! It has that sort of old-world yet modern look that I was wanting and I knew it would look great over grouted. Before finalizing my stone selection, I took every sample outside to view it in the sun and against the other materials. This is where I saw that the stone is not a pure white but rather a creamy gray color.
Q: What is important to consider when selecting stone for exterior application?
#1) I cannot stress enough to get samples because it's very important to see how the stone looks with the other materials and accents involved. This also allows you to look at it outdoors and see what undertones you see in all weather conditions.
#2) Know what color mortar you want. Do you want the mortar to blend with the stone, or are you looking for a contrasting color?
#3) Make sure your stone complements your other building materials. If you are using brick, they should contrast, yet have similar tones.
#4) Don't forget about your roof color. The roof is often overlooked, but it plays a very important role in the exterior design of your home and it should coordinate with your stone.
Q: How did you select the mortar color?
Once we decided on the Cashmere Limestone from Glen-Gery, I had to start thinking about mortar. Standard mortar has sort of a concrete gray tone to it, which wouldn't have looked bad at all, but I didn't really want to see the difference between the stone and the mortar. I wanted it to look older as if the stone had just always been there and was a little reminiscent of a European home. Which lead me to choose a white mortar with an over-grouted style. Our masonry subcontracts were awesome, and they worked with me on some samples of the mortar. Always, always, always get a sample of your mortar and stone together.
Below is the white mortar, which was still a little wet in this picture. It's amazing how it dries differently, so make sure you give it time to fully dry before making any final decisions. Ours took at least two days to completely dry.
Q: How did you decide on the other exterior siding materials and colors?
Initially, I thought I wanted a dark exterior, but I just couldn't get the look I wanted with vinyl and dark colors, so we went with white. To be honest, I'm glad we did. I love how bright our house is, and it feels like a timeless beauty – which was an important aspect of the design for me.
Our siding is a standard white and it pairs beautifully with the Cashmere Limestone! There aren't a ton of different options when it comes to white siding, although different brands have slightly different undertones, so it's still very important to bring samples on-site!
Q: What is important to consider when it comes to exterior materials?
When we were designing our exterior, I found these things important:
- Have an odd number of siding textures (Horizontal Siding - Vertical Siding - Stone)
- Have an odd number of exterior colors (White Siding - Dark Gray Siding - Stone)
Obviously, those are not hard rules, but they provide a nice balance and rule of thumb to follow. This gave our home’s exterior a nice texture, balance, and cohesiveness that resulted in a beautiful home that suited our style.
Q: What was your thought process when selecting your exterior accessories and accents?
Once we had the main elements of our exterior in place, I had to start considering the accessories and accents. The beams were my next big decision. I had to fight against everything in me to not do a natural wood. I love natural wood, but it wasn't blending with the overall aesthetic and brought in a farmhouse feel that I didn't want. Not all natural woods make a home look like a farmhouse, but with the shape of our home, I felt like it definitely did.
Our beams ended up being custom stained to a black that matched our doors and windows. Because the wood is cedar, it definitely took on a warm tone, but I love that it did. The beams turned out gorgeous and complement the exterior perfectly. These beams also balanced out the dark siding on the right side of our front elevation, which was feeling a bit heavy before the beams were in. I also like how the beams mimic the roofline of the dark siding. I had also dreamed about black windows for many years. They are gorgeous on the exterior, and from the interior, it looks like framed art.
Ashley also chose to bring the stone to the interior of her home by incorporating it into her kitchen design!
By bringing to the exterior materials in, this adds a cohesive flow throughout the entire home.