From Cookie-Cutter to Colonial
An architect's ideas for giving one reader's split-level much needed curb appeal
"Our fixer-upper was a good buy, but my tastes are traditional, so I've never liked the way it looks," says reader Erica Venaski, who shares this split-level in West Islip, New York, with her husband, Sal. To help the couple envision their home's full potential, we called on Stuart Disston, principal of Austin Patterson Disston Architects in Southport, Connecticut, to reimagine it. He worked up a sketch that we tweaked with some computer wizardry to bring his ideas to life.
Disston's diagnosis was swift: "The house seemed very flat. It needed some elements that break up the monotony." So he recommended adding a 1-foot overhang to the gable to suggest the gambrel roof of a Dutch Colonial, and putting paneling around the windows. Topping the entry with a gabled portico lent it more prominence, and a bumped-out bay window varied the facade's contours even more. Warm, gray wood shingles, blackish-green trim, and a salmon front door gave it an inviting, stylistically fitting color scheme. "This is much more my speed," says Erica. "Maybe we'll make the entryway our spring project."
A gambrel-shaped overhang adds dimension to a flat facade.
A portico, wider steps, and bright paint make the door a focal point.
Beadboard ties together the garage and front doors.
These Colonial Revival–style products add a traditional look to any home.
An oval shape appropriately marks the spot. Shown in rust-proof aluminum. About $106; Address Plaque Store