"In a word, it's bland," says Mark Foohey of the circa 1954 ranch he shares with wife Valerie and son Logan, in Austin, Texas. "We're not sure how to give it more character." To help him, we asked architect Donovan Davis to reimagine the exterior.
Right away, Davis zeroed in on the front entry. "It's confusing," he says. "There's a window where the door should be, and the door is hidden away to the left of the stairs, so it's practically invisible from the street." Moving the door to a front-facing spot would create a more welcoming facade and improve the floor plan because it would open into the mudroom rather than the living room, as it does now.
For the rest of the makeover, Davis took cues from the house's design. "The one-story structure and stone base have a Craftsman-like quality," he says, so he added square porch columns and other period-style touches. He also extended the porch to match the bumped-out facade on the left, topping both areas with open-truss gables. "I'd never have thought to widen the entry steps," says Mark. "The bigger porch alone makes the house feel so inviting."
For visual harmony, the new gables, made of rough-hewn cedar, are pitched at the same angle as the sloped sides of the hipped roof.
The porch was extended to match the bumped-out facade on the left. Square porch columns are wrapped with stone-veneer bases that harmonize with the house's handsome water-table base.
Thick, unruly shrubs were banished in favor of low-growing, colorful flowers that let the stone base show through.
The sidelights echo the design of the picture window in the house's center.
A wood garage door adds Craftsman appeal to this utilitarian element.
Colonial-style windows were swapped out for more energy-efficient windows with a Craftsman pattern that don't require solar screens.
Moving the entry door to a front-facing spot creates a more welcoming facade and also improves the floor plan, since it would open into the mudroom instead of the living room, as it does now. Sconces with Tiffany-style honey glass and a rubbed-bronze finish cast a warm glow.
An earthy color palette pairs well with rustic, natural-looking finishes.
Moss green and clay are a classic Craftsman color combo.
Pratt & Lambert's Thyme Green (siding) and Lambswool (trim); about $39 per gallon
It adds heft to the porch columns and ties them to the handsome water-table base.
Eldorado Stone; from about $6 per square foot
Tiffany-style honey glass and a rubbed-bronze finish cast a warm glow.
J du J Mission Hills; about $50
Sidelights and patterned glass boost the porch's curb appeal.
Therma-Tru; from about $3,483 unfinished