Split Level With Issues

Dear Homework,
I love your columns in T&S and always look forward to your renovation ideas in the upcoming issues. My daughter and her husband purchased this home as a foreclosure. She wants to remove the semicircle front stairs; they are an odd aggregate concrete way to get to the front entrance. I am confident you will find a better solution and perhaps spruce up the landscaping and exterior. The yard and entire subdivision are very flat. Most of the houses in the neighborhood are new construction from teardowns and are much larger than their home. Thanks for your advice.

Split Level with Issues

Dear Split Level with Issues,
I’d like to suggest a handful of modest changes that will give the house a new sense of integrity. They start with the removal of the curved entry wall. I show replacing it with a more cottage-style wood railing with a corner light pier.

To continue the cottage theme, the garage and front door have been replaced with more upscale versions. Above the garage door, I added a wood trellis held up by large brackets. Lattice work at each end allows wisteria to add some interest to this portion of the facade. A new, two-tone concrete drive dresses up the overall impression.

The landscape changes are simple. A huge window box under the living room window adds life to this area. A more dense hedge under it helps extend the horizontal lines of the overall composition. A white wood fence at each side of the facade makes it appear a bit wider, and a more extensive hedge at the street
adds privacy.

One way to ‘compete’ with larger homes is to increase the level of shadow casting detail on a smaller home. Making the garage part of the overall feel of the architecture adds new dignity to the presentation.

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.