The siding is HardiPlank and we used an 8" exposure. I also think this helps to bring the scale down, plus I just like the large exposure...I would have actually preferred more like 10" or 12", but this works. At the top of the gable end we alternated 2x material with the siding and then painted it the lighter grey. This helped to give it some character and balance. Without it, the gable felt too high and looked like it needed something. We originally thought of cross ties or brackets, but wanted a more modern look. The reason why we didn't just have higher windows, was we used scissor trusses on the inside and the windows are proportional to the inside.
Eventually when the older house is removed, I envisioned an entry porch further back off the sidewalk, but for now, we enter in the garage. Our friend Andy did all the metal work throughout the house including the roof overhang here.
Because we have a bus stop right out this door, our stoop gets quite a bit of use. You'd think we would be able to keep up with such a small garden (3'x30'), but this summer we really neglected it due to the new house...luckily many of the plants are drought tolerant. Next spring I'll fill in with more lavender, which is pretty hardy.