Photoshop Redo: Dressing Up a Cookie-Cutter Ranch
Facade improvements, including a new roof and porch, give a simple one-story house an elegant new look
Julie Robinson of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, minces no words when she talks about the exterior of her two-bedroom 1954 ranch. "There's nothing appealing about it," she told us. "It's very blah." To help her out, we asked architect Michael T. Gray of Essex, Massachusetts, for a few ideas on how to improve it.
Gray told us that Julie's description fits many houses from the same era. "They were built inexpensively, so they often lack texture and architectural features, the very things that make a home feel inviting," he says. His modifications—a street-facing gable, a front porch, and a faux cedar- shake roof—give the house more detail and distinction. The gable and eyebrow dormer could be installed when the house is reroofed, he says. To balance the facade, he suggests adding more windows to the gable side of the house and changing the ones on the opposite side. Finally, a yellow-and-white paint scheme offers a cheery look. Julie agrees wholeheartedly. "The color makes my house pop!" she says. "And the new roofline and eyebrow add so much character and curb appeal."
The eyebrow dormer and new porch help make the house's entry a stronger focal point.
A new street-facing gable gives this ranch more architectural character and curb appeal.
Replacing the asphalt walkway with a handsome flagstone path makes the approach to the house feel much more welcoming.
The shutters were removed and the windows modified to better balance the facade.
Realistic polymer shakes look like wood but won't splinter or rot.
DaVinci Roofscapes; About $2.95 per square foot uninstalled*
*Correction appended: The earlier magazine print version of this story erroneously gave the price per square foot for this product as $295. That is actually the price per square, which is an area equal to 10 feet by 10 feet, or 100 square feet.