This type project stands as one of the most enjoyable type for a designer/architect. Front porch additions provide a great opportunity to incorporate a very inviting sheltered entrance, a relaxing outdoor seating area, and a major boost of curb appeal!
Your desire to go with a craftsman inspired addition fits the single story house quite well. Additionally, you rightly recognized the aesthetic challenge to relocating the front door to the far left side of the house. A standard single-gabled porch of any size does seem to look very off balanced. Interestingly, unlike a single-gabled porch, one with a double gabled roof shifts the center of balance very nicely to the left. Additionally, the extra roof planes make the house look much more interesting. Although the double gable is slightly more complex, the additional costs for extra material and labor would be relatively small.
Tapered porch posts with square straight stone/brick bases are usually very prominent features in craftsman type design. However, in the case of your ranch conversion, straight square posts and tapered bases seem to fit much better. This combination gives a definite nod to craftsman design without appearing out of place on a simple ranch. If refacing the chimney and foundation is not an option due to budget, they could be painted a color that matches the porch post bases.
To facilitate flow inside the house, the front door location might work best as close to the kitchen as possible. This permits living room furniture to be placed in front of the fireplace without having to leave aisle space between sofas/chairs.
To deal with a slightly lowered roof over the living room, either the existing roof could be brought flush with the remainder of the house roof or the peak of the larger porch gable could coincide with the discontinuity. One option for making existing roof planes flush is removing shingles from the lower section, adding 2"-4" of foam board, fastening plywood, and then shingling.
To accommodate grade changes below the new porch stairs, any variety of decorative retaining walls/masonry stairs could be used. Redirecting a walkway with cutbacks or 90 degree landings can be very attractive.
If this design concept fits with what you want to do, I would be happy to incorporate any desired changes at no cost.
Thanks again for this opportunity!
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