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Photoshop Redo: Reinventing a Style Misfit

A 1970s split-level gets a curb-appeal boost from an inviting entry porch, new siding, and updated windows and trimwork

Style Misfit

Styles change, “but faux-Tudor split-level just should never have been a style,” says Dana Gigler, referring to the 1971 house she shares with her husband and son in Allentown, PA. So we asked local architects David R. Drake and Christine DeOliveira Carl of W2A Design Group to retool its appearance.


Illustration by Drawgate Inc.

First, the duo would brighten the recessed entry by adding a porch with open stickwork in the gable end, along with a French door, sidelights, and a transom. The existing gable end gets a steeper pitch and trimwork to echo the porch’s for a look that’s updated yet classic. Large double-hungs above a wide trim board open up and unify the facade. Gray clapboard-style siding, with the stepped-back lower level’s brick painted a darker shade, suits the new charcoal-gray roof. “I like it!” says Dana. “The new porch really adds balance.”

Higher Gable

Illustration by Drawgate Inc.

Raising the pitch of the existing gable and adding a gabled porch roof help break up the horizontality of the house.

Finishing Touches: Siding

Illustration by Drawgate Inc.

Quality details refresh the house and contribute to the cleaner, more coherent design

Rot-resistant fiber-cement clapboards have a traditional cedar look; pale gray fits the palette.

HardiePlank Cedarmill Lap Siding in Pearl Gray, $16 per plank; Lowe’s

Finishing Touches: Pendant

Illustration by Drawgate Inc.

A lantern-style porch light in a cast-iron finish accents the new entry.

Bransford 17 ½-inch Outdoor Hanging Light, $200; Lamps Plus

Finishing Touches: Windows

Illustration by Drawgate Inc.

New, larger double-hungs with grilles make the low-slung house feel taller.

Marvin Clad Double Hung Window, from $640; Marvin

Finishing Touches: Pavers

Illustration by Drawgate Inc.

Slate walkway pavers transition easily into the entry-porch floor.

Daltile Indian Multicolor Versailles Pattern Slate, $5.84 per square foot; The Home Depot

Thanks to David R. Drake and Christine DeOliveira Carl, W2A Design Group, Allentown, PA