Post-Rental Refresh

Our family just moved into this ranch. We absolutely love the area and the totally renovated interior, but the curb appeal is lacking. This home previously was rented for more than 20 years, and now we want to give it the love it deserves. We have several projects in mind, including painting the exterior a tan/light cream to match the siding and windows, installing plantation shutters and perhaps a new front door, and entirely redoing the neglected landscaping. We would love your input and vision on these ideas and more!
—Post-Rental Refresh

Dear Post-Rental Refresh,
While I’m sure your house will look fine painted tan/light cream, I love the brick the way it is. I think it gives a nice, warm Frank Lloyd Wright feel, which is rare.

I think your house starts out with several big advantages. First, I think a ranch usually looks best if it sits a little higher than the street, which yours does. It also is nicely framed by large pin oaks that aren’t too close to the house. And finally, I love the bold, horizontal striping on the chimney created by projected bricks.

To get more mileage out of these features, I first would build a more impressive front door entry with a higher roof. This will be connected to new, low garden walls (with their own horizontal brick bands) and a spill of brick steps centered on the chimney. These additions will make the chimney part of a layered composition rather than an isolated object. A curved, exposed aggregate walkway further emphasizes this focal point.

Additional architectural changes include removing the shutters on the left-side window, adding flower boxes, painting the wood trim a slate green, and adding another brick wall/light pier at the mailbox.

Landscape changes include planting a birch and Japanese maple close to the façade, as well as evergreen trees at the left property line. The pin oaks get some ivy at their bases, and Liriope beds soften the curb line.

Thanks for asking,

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.