Dear Homework,

We just purchased a home in Chesterfield and are ready for a change. We would like to give it a Southern vibe and want to redo the landscaping, paint the brick, and replace the balustrade above the door and possibly the front door. We’re willing to change the roof, shutters and any other items that would help achieve our ‘antebellum’ look.
Many thanks,
—Antebellum Attitude

Dear Antebellum Attitude,
Since the vast majority of antebellum style homes are white, your willingness to paint the façade will be the most helpful change to move it toward a Southern feel. Painting the shutters and other trim black will further the transformation. Interestingly, this also imparts a fresher, more up-to-date look.

A few other architectural changes also can help. The balcony rail has been changed to wrought iron, and the windows behind have become French doors. A roof cupola makes the composition feel more authentic, and larger lanterns are more in scale with the façade.

As far as the landscape goes, the current hedges aren’t helping. By lowering the group on the left and removing the rows to the right, the whole composition looks much taller and more noble. Some begonia beds, flower urns and a wooden rocker are all that is needed to complete the picture. Bring on the mint juleps!

Hope that helps,

Homework is penned by Paul Doerner, founding partner of The Lawrence Group. If you would like your home critiqued, contact us at

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