Trapped Between Two Styles

Dear Homework,
Our house has been a great family home for the last 14 years, and we love its location and interior layout. But we would appreciate your opinion on how to enhance its curb appeal. It was built midcentury with elements of traditional styling. The exterior is not as welcoming as we would like it to be. Our taste leans toward traditional or transitional, which is more in line with most of the houses in our neighborhood.

We would love to revamp the landscaping, increase outdoor lighting and perhaps add more importance to the front entry. I realize the shutters on the main part of the house are likely too narrow for the windows, but I don’t know what the alternative would be. French doors? We would consider painting the brick. Can you help?

—Trapped Between Two Styles

Dear Trapped Between Two Styles,
As you note, your home is a blend of modern and traditional features. Since you would feel more comfortable sending it in a more traditional direction, the Federal or Regency period of Georgian architecture is a good option. It features simple, more ‘modern’ detailing.

Beyond that, it would be nice to give the façade a bit of oomph. I think your suggestion of painting the brick would be a big help. A medium warm gray would provide a sharp contrast to the white trim details. I ditched the “too narrow” shutters for a cleaner, ‘more Regency’ look but restated the crisp black in new railings and flower boxes.

At your suggestion, I turned the main windows into French doors and added wider moldings at the window heads to make them look even taller. All of the windows also received a simplified grill pattern. The central, round window is embellished with characteristic Regency details. The landscaping is bolder and more architectural. A new evergreen hedge features segments that align with the main windows and bring the architecture of the house closer to the street. Window boxes and flower urns adds a consistent dash of red.

The house now has a jolt of sophistication, and the existing modern features, such as the front door sidelights, the entry lantern and the shallow, sloped roof, now mesh more comfortably with the rest of the composition.


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.