Contemporize Our Colonial

Dear Homework,

We have a traditional center-hall Colonial that is about 25 years old. We’d like to update it to a more contemporary design. We know we want to remove the pediment and possibly the shutters. We’d appreciate any help you can provide.

—Contemporize Our Colonial

Dear Contemporize Our Colonial,

I think we can get much closer to the feel you are after. As you suggest, removing the front door’s pediment surround and eliminating the existing shutters will calm things down. I suggest installing a wider, simpler door surround that features matching carriage lights and centered address numbers.

You also will notice that I have painted the brick façade gray to create a bolder feel and eliminated the distracting mottled brick selection. A more minimal approach to the landscape design means removing the existing rock garden in favor of a wider lawn, edged by Liriope grass. I have cut off the lower limbs of the existing oak tree and under-planted it with ornamental grasses. A new, short Hornbeam hedge between the house and driveway screens the exposed concrete foundation and adds some detail to the side elevation. Simple, clipped evergreen hedges flank the front entry and add another calming and unifying element.

To my eyes, the whole presentation feels classier and more up-to-date. It now looks ‘classic’ without really seeming Colonial, which is a major step toward your goal.

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 homework@townandstyle.com.