Starting with A Blank Canvas
“There’s absolutely nothing I like about the front,” says Christine Matthers of the 60-year-old house she shares with her husband, Tom Raffensberger, in Girard, Pennsylvania. “I’ve been totally unsure what to do out there.”
For ideas, we showed their blank canvas to architect Michael Hiller of Hiller Albert Design Group, in Milton, Pennsylvania.
Pulling in Vintage Detail
“I wanted to introduce some points of interest,” Hiller says. Drawing from early-20th-century design details that wouldn’t overpower the house, he added a front porch trimmed with cottage-inspired stonework, plain columns, and a gabled roof supported by a Craftsman-style truss. Wood steps lead to a welcoming brick path, and a divided-light front door matches the windows. Custom shutters and a window box add more charm. “It’s just about giving a focus to the front of the building,” Hiller sums up. The design certainly captured Christine’s full attention. “Well, the house is just as cute as can be,” she says. “It would definitely be fun to do the porch.”
Shown: The new porch gable gets an open truss to let light shine through.
The new roofing material is Certainteed’s Landmark series architectural-grade asphalt shingle in “weathered wood.”
Sprucing Up the Window Sill
A window box, such as the Newport from Hooks and Lattice, does a lot to cheer up a lonely window. Its composite construction means little or no maintenance.
Replace Existing Gutters
Half-round gutters are a better match than the existing gutters with the new style of the house. What style is that? “It’s kind of a cottage style, but also a little bit Craftsman,” says architect Michael Hiller of Hiller Albert Design Group.
Cottage-Style Support Columns
The columns are 4×4 treated posts sleeved in rot-resistant AZEK material.
Design with Nature in Mind
The stonework’s Ashlar pattern, a pleasing blend of geometric lines in a not-too-formal grid, gives a natural look that fits well with the cozy design.
Finishing Touches: Paint
Soft yellow trimmed in crisp white keeps the look cheery, while a not-too-dark green provides a welcome contrast.
Benjamin Moore; about $35 per gallon
Finishing Touches: Sconce
A clearly recognizable Mission-style sconce anchors the house’s look in the early-20th-century period.
Finishing Touches: House Numbers
Whimsical numerals, with their scalloped serifs, bring a sense of fun without being cutesy.
Cottagehousenumbers.com; $10 each
Finishing Touches: Shutters
Board-and-batten cedar shutters with a custom cutout add personality to the design.
Shuttercraft; from $207 a pair