Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My House Tour: Exterior Renovation

The exterior renovation is finally complete and I must confess I had an HGTV moment when I saw the completed project.  There were some tears and some squeals (I am blaming it on the pregnancy).  But before we get to the BIG reveal, I wanted to share some info about our home and the design decisions that we made.

A Little History

Our home is located in a suburban neighborhood that was established in 1969 and filled with Neo-Colonial style homes that were popular during this period. Since these homes were located in communities planned by developers and builders, the architectural styles are interpretations of previous Colonial Revival styles, but without the attention to detail that was given to the homes of earlier eras. For example, our home is a Dutch Colonial Revival style, which was introduced in America in the early 1700s .  The photo below shows a home in this style built in 1916.

Dutch Colonial Revival style house built in 1916.

The most defining feature of this style home is the gambrel roof, which is commonly identified as a "barn" roof.  The entry is located in the center of the front of the house and the windows are symmetrical on either side.  Upper story dormer windows protrude from the second story roof line.  As you can see in the photos of our home, the Neo-Colonial interpretation of this style in the 1960s is a watered down, mass produced, builder's interpretation of the original style.

Our home, move in day 2007.

The Exterior Renovation

My goal for this renovation was to add a little character and curb appeal to our home. 

First up was the roof.  We were experiencing leaks due to its age, the shingle color was too light, and it was showing heavy stains from the trees in the yard.  Since the roof is such a design feature of the home, we decided to use dimensional shingles to add texture to the facade.  Also, we chose a darker shingle which complimented the color of the brick and will show less staining over time. 

Next we tackled the wood siding.  The paint was peeling and many boards were rotten, so we were looking for an option that required less maintenance.  I also wanted to add depth and texture to the areas of the house that featured siding and I thought that a cedar shake look would enhance our exterior.  We chose HardieShingle siding, which gives the look of cedar shakes without the maintenance.  No more peeling paint or rotten boards.

The cheap-o vinyl shutters were not a great design feature and they had to go.  We replaced them with beautiful board and batten shutters.  The dimensions are a bit wider than the vinyl ones and they have more presence on the front of the house.

Paint can make all the difference on an exterior.  Our house has an ugly peach color that shows up randomly in the brick.  I briefly thought about painting the brick, but decided that was too expensive and would increase rather than decrease my maintenance.  My painter was a genius and selected a beautiful palette that downplayed the peach color.  I don't notice it at all anymore!

Finally, we addressed the front door.  It was a wood six panel door (which was cracked) with a full glass, white trimmed storm door in front.  Functional, yes.  Pretty, no.  So we opted for the door combination that is popular in our area and is referred to as "The Mountain Brook Door".  This is a traditional wood six panel inner door with a six panel glass outer door in front.  Since we don't have an overhang on the porch, this combo will still allow us to open the front door to let the light in, or close the door to keep the heat out.  I felt the house needed a "pop" of color at the entry, and selected Valspar's Crimson to highlight the new doors.  We also added new light fixtures on either side of the entry.

So, here's a little reminder of the "Before":

And now for the BIG reveal!
I am so excited about the outcome of the renovation!
We still have a few finishing touches to add to the entry and next year we hope to work on the landscaping.  But even so, I think this is the cutest house on the block!


  1. Looks so great! And I enjoyed the design history lesson. "Mountain Brook door"... ha!

  2. Amazing changes! The transformation you made here is stunning. I like your choice of color for the roof, shutter, and most especially, the door. Those colors made a big difference to the appearance and atmosphere of your home. The roof and shutters complement pretty each other beautifully too. And the door is a BIG attraction. I like how you were able to make the house look exactly like the way you envisioned it without removing that Colonial Revival feel to it.

    -Alejamuel Sultz

  3. Good point, Alejamuel. The changes were truly exceptional. :) Anyway, Tiffany, you should preserve your home’s integrity, so you can count on a quality home and avoid untimely repairs and replacement. One of the areas you should focus on is the roof. Keep your shingles clean and inspect them from time to time so you can spot problems early on. Looking forward to more updates about your home renovation project!

    Tyrone Speelman

  4. You truly revived and preserved the Dutch Colonial Revival style of your home with those few changes you’ve made. You were able to improve the appearance of the house, particularly the façade. A home like this definitely deserves to be renovated and conserved.

    *Alejandra Hutchcraft

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  6. Wow, you have a beautiful house! I like that you painted the door red. It added a little statement to the entire look of the house.

    Aubrey Mullins