Dear Homework,
We’ve lived in our house seven years, and it is time for a refresh to maintain the stately appearance we desire. The current cedar shake roof needs replacement, and we want something easier to maintain. The storm windows are hard to clean; would replacement improve the overall appearance? The landscaping was done seven years ago, but needs updating. It’s also time to paint, but we like the black shutters with white trim. Can you help?
—Tired in Town & Country


Dear Tired in Town & Country,
A number of subtle changes will enhance the stately feel of your house. For your roof, a ‘slate look’ asphalt shingle would be historically compatible with the Georgian style. Next, storm windows tend to minimize the appearance of the window mullions, which are essential to the proportions of the house, so removing them will help. Finally, the current color scheme is classic, so leave it alone, but you might add shutter hinges and tie-backs to enhance the historic feel.

As for landscaping, I would first remove the large tree to the left of the front porch. Judging by the shadows, its removal would be the most effective in bringing light to the front yard. Leave the azaleas, but add a new series of clipped evergreen hedges to impart a more dignified feel. I would block out the view of the neighboring garage doors by planting an informal grouping of white pine trees to keep the focus on your property.

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

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