In my last article, I introduced you to ways of amping up the curb appeal of your home or business. I wrote about elements such as house numbers, front doors, mailboxes, lighting, doorbells and entry door locksets. (In case you missed the article, you can go to signaltribune.com and select the article in the archives. The article will be under the column heading “In Living Color.”
I had suggested that you look at your property with an objective eye, and the best way to do that would be to go across the street and view the total structure and yard from a distance. It is even better to take a photo, just in case you missed something.
Are you styling?
What’s great about our city is that there are 17 historical districts in Long Beach. The chances are good that your property fits into one of the many architectural styles we have in this area. To make sure you are on the right track about what architectural elements to add or delete, check out sites such as these: architecture.about.com or decaturoldhousefair.com/what-style-is-my-house . Be sure to tailor the elements to your specific property. As a famous architect, Helmut Jahn stated, “Every building is a prototype. No two are alike.”
One good way to create a cohesive look to the exterior is repeating elements. For example, if one of the prominent design elements is an arch in a window, you might repeat a circular pattern in the awning over the doorway.
Like icing on the cake
Shutters, window boxes, trim, moldings, sidings, and stone veneers automatically transform the look of your property.
Shutters– an elegant embellishment
Shutters add a welcoming layer of beauty to the exterior. Shutters can be made of wood, aluminum, vinyl, composite, or fiberglass. New composite materials such as PVC resins or polyurethane make them durable and low maintenance. They come in many styles, and this is one area where you can repeat an element, such as a circular pattern.
All the trimmings
Trim and moldings add depth and definition to features such as doors and windows. They act like architectural eyeliner. Craftsman-style homes really use this element well.
Boxes of joy
I love window boxes because they are a fast and easy way to bring style, charm and color to the exterior. The materials you can use are endless (wood, metal, iron). The decorations are varied. However, plant selection is key. They need to be easily maintained and changed out with the seasons. The idea of having window boxes is a great one; the execution and maintenance might be another story.
Pick a side
Using siding and shingles instead of stucco is one way of keeping with the architecture and style. These now come in some durable alternatives.
Nothing has the look of permanence more than stone. However, there are many types of stone veneers that are less heavy and more cost effective. They look great on column footings and other small masonry details. It works best as an accent. Make sure that you don’t overdo it or your property starts to look like a castle (unless it really is).
Making an entrance
Adding arbors, fence panels (the new post-modern look is to run the panels horizontal instead of vertical) or gates can create a fun and inviting way to greet guests. These can be found in easy-to-build kits or prefab sections and can be made from an endless array of materials.
Serve and protect
Adding a cover over the front door can keep both the rain and sun off visitors and off of you while you fish for your keys. Whether you decide to create a front porch with a roof or awning, be sure to create one that is in the style and integrity of the building. This is a feature that needs thought and planning. Make sure that adding a porch or element is in code and architecturally sound. To add cohesiveness you will need to incorporate the walkways and landscaping leading up to the porch in your plans. The materials and ideas are endless, so you may want to do some research online or look at books and magazines to get some ideas. If creating what you want is not in your realm of expertise, contact a vendor who can assist you, and in the long run, do so correctly. Be sure to ask yourself some key questions: How do you want your porch to function? What look do you love? How can it be adapted to the architecture of your building?
Because winter weather is on its way, be sure to repair and maintain all the elements you already have so they don’t downgrade the aesthetics and integrity of the building. This in turn will help you enjoy the upcoming seasons.
Shoshanah Siegel provides color consulting as well as space planning, remodeling, upgrading and staging through her firm Your Color Diva. She can be contacted at (562) 427-0440 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Samples of her work can be found at houzz.com .