The focus of this column is to provide information to homeowners on how to improve the appearance of their properties. But there are other concerns that influence many of my design responses, such as:
➊ How can I make my home feel more unique or distinct from its neighbors?
➋ How can I reformat my house to make it seem more upmarket and impressive?
➌ If I am going to invest in upgrades to my home, how can I make it function better and be more valuable at the same time?
To provide answers to the above on a ‘typical’ home, I have transformed a center-hall Colonial that was commonly built in suburbs throughout the country in the ‘70s and ‘80s. They usually are set on a decent-sized lot in a subdivision of similar homes. The sample home shows orange/red brick, double-hung windows and black shutters often seen on homes of this era. The side wing with a side-entry garage is another frequently seen feature. The home’s simple dignity, which was achieved inexpensively, made it a popular choice for families moving up the housing ladder.
➊ To make our house feel more unique and distinct from its neighbors, note the following changes on the remodeled scheme:
» Paint the brick for a more ‘urbane’ feel.
» Add more elaborate architectural details such as a roof cupola and matching chimney and brick terrace wall to subtly differentiate the home from its neighbors.
» Add a front-facing gable for some height variation, and switch to a colorful, variegated, slate-like roof to increase quality.
» Remove the shutters and make the windows longer to add elegance.
➋ To address the second question, the length of the composition has been extended with an additional garage and attached gate. The previously mentioned garden wall, roof gable, chimney and cupola all make the façade feel taller and, therefore, more impressive. Painting the brick a lighter color ‘catches the eye’ and yields a feeling of expensive restraint.
➌ For our third question, the new circle drive and garden wall allow increased utility for the property that also should reap dividends at sale time.
With these changes, the ‘70s Colonial has received extensive upgrades (including the landscaping), and it clearly has moved up several rungs on the property ladder.
Homework is penned by Paul Doerner, founding partner of The Lawrence Group. If you would like your home critiqued, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.