Home of Travis Robeson, photograph by Bjorn Wallander for Country Living
Design by EddieRoss, photograph by James Merrell for Country Living
There’s nothing like building a house to make you think through the tiniest details and things you’ve never considered before in a home. You suddenly find yourself obsessing over which ways doors swing, or where crown moulding starts or ends, or which direction the floorboards should run. I’ve decided that one more huge advantage of the long wait to build our house is I have a few years worth of Pinterest boards - so now I can look back at my inspiration homes and study those little details.
While I’ve been studying and thinking about interior design for years now, one thing I’ve largely taken for granted is exterior design. However, with the house plan we recently picked I LOVED the interior, but felt the exterior was kind of “meh”.
Suddenly I’ve found myself going back through my pins, scouring Houzz, or my favourite design magazines to try and figure out what it is that makes me love an exterior.
I have a long list: a mixture of finishes (board and batten, horizontal siding, shingles, stone, etc.), high contrast colour schemes and a painted front door, symmetry, windows with mullions and transoms, details like light fixtures or width of trim, or shutters… but here are a few of the major things I’ve boiled it down to:
I’ve always been attracted to dormers. I once heard they’re like the eyebrows of a house, and anyone who’s ever drawn a face knows that it’s all in the eyebrows. They add character, personality, charm. But getting the scale and shape right can be tricky.
Photograph from Better Homes and Gardens
(I like this look of one long dormer above the entry. If dormers are eyebrows, perhaps we will call this a “unibrow”. )
Dormers give that traditional, cottagey feel I love. They denote coziness and add architectural interest to the roof line.
Photograph from Better Homes and Gardens
PORCH OR VERANDA
And of course you know I love a porch. Preferably a long veranda, but really any usable space at the front of the house is delightful. They provide a sense of welcome and entry as you transition into the house. They’re like the smile on a house. A house with a porch just instantly feels more welcoming.
Home of Joan K. Davidson, photograph by Christopher Baker for Martha Stewart Living
Photograph by Michael Luppino for Country Living
(This is one of my all-time favourites. It is quintessential farmhouse to me.)
Another major detail to me is the roof pitch. This is a hard one to explain how important it is - it’s a detail most people don’t notice, but it can have a big impact on how we feel about a house. I can’t explain to you the math behind a roof pitch, but basically the higher the number, the higher the pitch (i.e. 3:12 is low, 12:12 is high). A good roof pitch just speaks “home” to me. It’s the way a child draws a house, with it’s triangular roof. It’s the classic shape of a house. Not too low that it feels uber modern, and not super steep so that it feels all Tudor/castle-y. (How’s that for an adjective: “Tudor-castle-y”.)
Photograph by Tara Lowry via Between You & Me
Photograph by Joyce Lucas via Pinque Inc. Diaries
Now, a higher pitch means upgrade $$ for us with the builder because it increases moving costs, because the house will be moved to the farm via the highway and gravel roads. So for me it’ll be all about how high we can go without breaking the bank.
It’s a scary thing planning the exterior of the house! It’s something we don’t want to have to change or mess with in the future, so you kinda’ have to get it right the first time. Wish me luck!
Photography by Michael Alberstat for House & Home
Home of Pia and Stefan Wiesen, photography by Robin Stubbert for Country Living
Woodstock Inn, Vermont. Photograph by Shane Lynn for Country Living
Home of Frank and Andra Mollica, Photograph by Bjorn Wallander for Country Living
Photograph by Bjorn Wallander for Country Living
Photograph by Gridley & Graves for Country Living