Hearing her all-too-familiar lament, we asked Greta Weil and Barbara Friedman, of Weil Friedman Architects,
in New York City, for a doable way to spruce up the flat front. To take advantage of the south-facing exposure, Weil and Friedman added an open porch and a pergola that provides distinction and a splash of shade while still inviting sun into the front rooms. "It extends the concept of the front entry and makes it larger than the door itself," says Weil. "It also enlarges the house without adding much cost." Multipane windows and door lights unify the facade—and those elements can be added over time. The flower box under the kitchen window helps balance all the porch additions, which were well received. "I love the little porch," says Cheryl. "It makes the house really stand out, but it still blends in with our neighborhood."