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Next on the House: Front Gable Ends

Thursday, January 12, 2017 22:47
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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.


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