Nervous Mom

Dear Homework,

Our daughter and son-in-law just bought this house in Olivette. The inside is perfect for them, however our daughter is concerned about the steepness of the drive. Getting from the garage down to the street with a toddler, plus a tricycle or stroller, feels a bit slippery and dangerous. Ice or rain would make it really scary! I think the house might be more inviting with shallow, wide steps to take people from the street up to the front porch, and these also would distract from the front-entry garage.

They also could use a ‘landing’ at street level, and they need to put a mailbox somewhere. The house has a narrow front porch/breezeway, and a concrete path that curves from the front door to the drive, both of which could use some additional charm. They have a 2-year-old and a baby on the way, so we’re anxious to get started on a plan!

—Nervous Mom

Dear Nervous Mom,
If we design your desired walkway in a modern and architectural way, we can give a new presence to the overall appearance of the property. You will note that there are three flights of steps, set off by brick retaining walls. Additional brick walls topped with simple light fixtures give further dimension to the scheme and also provide a perfect location for a new mailbox.

A new garage door and a long, custom flower box continue the architectural refinements. Painting the downspouts to match the brick is the final change. The revised landscaping shows a bold, simple approach. Japanese maple trees are moved to the edges of the house, and all the plantings are kept very horizontal. Liriope grass borders the new exposed aggregate concrete walkway and driveway border.

The property now presents a much more confident midcentury scheme, and it should be safer as well.


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.