Homeowners who schedule introductory meetings with our construction manager are generally more concerned with improving some aspect of their home’s interior design and usually haven’t put a lot of thought into its exterior. They need more space and seek a home addition, or they wish to correct an unhandy layout, or fix their kitchen or bathrooms. Sprucing up things on the outside of their house is an afterthought. Fortunately, the builders and designers at Eastview Homes are obsessed with architectural design, and we help homeowners select the best styles and the right materials to increase their property’s aesthetic presentation and market value. Here are the top design elements our clients most often add to their work orders to enhance their home’s exterior finish and increase its curb appeal.
An Attractive House Has a Pristine Roof
The roof is the most prominent feature of any house and while its durability is always discussed in property valuations, its aesthetic appeal can add to or subtract from the bottom line, and can certainly make a difference when it comes to creating curb appeal. The specific roofing material the homeowner selects will either add to or reduce the sleek appearance of their home. Inexpensive shingles made of multiple layers of asphalt-coated fiberglass laminated together will only look good for one or two years before they fade to mediocrity.
Wood shingles look sharp and will catch the eye for decades, and they can be used to highlight other exterior design elements we’ll discuss later. Cedar wood is naturally resistant to water, ultraviolet rays, insects and moss. Chemical treatments can make these shingles even more resistant to fire, fungus, and bugs. Wooden shingles will always keep their shape, and their flatness and straightness without shrinking (too much) under variable weather conditions.
Concrete roof tiles provide a powerful visual appeal and safeguard your house against harsh weather elements. While dark-toned flat tiles are popular in contemporary, colonial, and farmhouse architecture designs, barrel tiles are timeless and ideal for Spanish and Mediterranean designs.
Do Roof Dormers Add Value to Houses?
Yes. Installing just one roof dormer can increase your home’s value by twenty percent. Generally speaking, any home with a pitched roof can add dormers. These window pop-outs create more headroom and are perfect for loft spaces that are just that little bit too small. Dormer windows offer extra light, additional space, and increased ventilation. Roof dormers with windows have a stylish complexity that breaks the monotony of a plain, unbroken inclined roof.
How Many Hours are Required to Build a Roof Dormer?
Ten days is a conservative time estimate considering Eastview could have it done in less than a week if the plans are approved and all the parts and pieces are assembled and ready to be installed. When our construction company does open-roof surgery, it’s like we are operating on a patient in the emergency room. Time is of the essence. When the home’s protective envelope is open, we have to safeguard it against weather. In most cases, we cut open a roof and frame it up (to a 12-foot-wide gable dormer or a 20-foot-wide shed dormer to the point of being dried-in) in less than two days.
Front Doors are Focal Points
The front door of any house is always a focal point and is usually the first thing people notice when approaching the residence. Guests will fix their eyes on the entrance in general, and then the actual door, and finally the buzzer, knocker, and door handle. All the bits work together in combination to positively or negatively impact new arrivals visiting your property.
Installing a new front door or refurbishing an old one is a quick way to improve the exterior design and appearance of your home’s entrance. Typically, doors are painted light colours or neutral colours and can include unique designs and doorlights, which is what we call any glass inserts in the door. In the photo above, the homeowner has selected sidelights which is what we call the narrow glass windows on either side.
Sidelights allow sunlight to enter a house even when the front door is closed. They help brighten an entrance which is sealed shut. They also create the illusion of a bigger doorway, as though a single door is actually double doors. Sidelights are made of glass, and breakable, but they actually increase security because they provide the homeowner with a better view of the front yard than the door’s peephole.
Entry doors must be strong and secure, and tough enough to withstand wind, rain, scorching sun, and would-be intruders, yet handsome enough to make a good first impression. Doors have improved in recent years, and now the market has new product with surfaces which resist the elements better than earlier versions, as well as metal and fiberglass variants which resemble wood but provide greater security at less cost.
Covered Front Porches Add Civility to Residences
Eastview Homes’ exterior renovations typically includes a front entrance make-over with a covered porch and three or four wood pillars, painted white. This design element gives the property more self-respect. It dramatically improves its appearance and adds value of the house. Blog readers can get an inside look at how Eastview Home uses Extira, a waterproof building material to make those uprights, seen here during a recent full-house renovation in Burlington.
Extira is a medium-density fiberboard (MDF) which is a hybrid wood product composed of wood fibers bound with wax and resin. The wood paste is formed into 4×8 panels by applying heat and pressure in a factory setting. The result is a really strong building product that’s much denser than particle board, and even denser than some types of plywood and its the perfect building material for porch pillars.
Natural Wood Siding has a Timeless Beauty
Wood siding never goes out of fashion. Clapboard has a natural aesthetic appeal that’s grandfathered into our group consciousness. Our ancestors appreciated its appearance as much as we do today, because natural wood siding never fails to gives a warm, honest look to a home. The natural grain pattern with its subtle variations imbue this siding with an authenticity and warmth. Wood siding at Eastview includes shingles, clapboard, board and batten, and more. This versatility allows homeowners to choose any style that best compliments the architectural design of their home, and their treatment can be further customized with paint or wood stains.
Outdated exterior finishes include green or blue coloured aluminum siding, older stucco treatments , and certain colours of brick. Pink brick was popular in the province of Quebec and in Eastern Ontario in the nineteen seventies and eighties, and is being steadily removed / covered-up today. Stucco was also a trend adopted here in Ontario, most notably as the exterior finish for The Beer Store and LCBO outlets. Outlets were all finished with brown coloured stucco (a combination of glue and cement) until 2008.
Windows Add Symmetry to Residential Structures
Houses with natural symmetry, when the right side matches the left, are pleasing to the eye. This is why we encourage homeowners to think seriously about the window styles they install, and how many windows to upgrade during their renovation. A home with clashing windows has less appeal and can make a building’s façade feel unbalanced.
Windows with Mullions and Muntins Are Part of the Exterior Finish
Mullions are vertical elements that form a division between the window panes. They’re only used decoratively today because glass is no longer sold in small pieces or ‘panes’. When dividing adjacent window units, a mullion’s primary purpose is to provide a rigid support to the glass.
Muntin is the name of the grid found on the glass itself. The name muntins is used to reference the vertical and horizontal elements that divide a window’s glass into separate panes. Traditionally, muntins were a necessary part of the window to support the glass. Nowadays, muntins are placed more decoratively to recall our heritage.
Shutters Should be Functional
Whether it’s the size, scale, or color, the right shutters matter. A true shutter should function as it once did historically. It should cover and protect the window if closed and latched. Even if never used in this capacity, it should have hardware, the hinges and latches, to be authentic.
Shutters should reflect the shape and size of the window. If your home has windows that are arched, your shutters should be arched. Shutters should cover the entire window, with minimal overlap, just as they did in the Colonial Age.
Exterior Lighting for Style and Security
When considering exterior lighting for your home, choose options which evoke the unique features of your property and create a welcoming and comfortable ambiance. The perfect lighting can significantly increase your home’s curb appeal and enhance overall safety.
The best arrangements are made by mixing and matching different fixtures, including path lights, string lights, and free-standing lights and sconces which can brighten your buildings, pathways and outdoor living spaces. If sustainability is a top priority, we’ll design and install solar powered / low voltage LED deck lights which are durable and don’t consume much energy.
Eastview Homes has lots of ideas and experience which we share with our clients when we design exterior finishes for their homes. Below are architectural designs made by our firm for our clients to show proposed changes to their properties.
Homeowners along with tradespeople, materials suppliers, and building inspectors all benefit from Eastview’s clear and concise building plans created by our own design professionals. Property owners really appreciate how our technical artists illustrate the proposed changes to their houses in the pencil drawings you see above. Easy-to-understand blueprints and handy drawings have become a signature service at Eastview Homes where we issue feasibility studies, draw practical floor plans, and sketch aesthetically pleasing exteriors to proportionate scale.
Read how Eastview Repaired A Barrel Vault Porch Roof
Earlier in 2023, Eastview was called to help refurbish a barrel vault porch roof which is a great example of an architectural design element that adds value to a house. The front porch’s concave roof is unique in the neighbourhood and a big part of what makes this property so attractive.
A barrel vault is also called a tunnel vault, wagon vault or wagonhead vault. This architectural element is formed by the extrusion of a single curve (or pair of curves, in the case of a pointed barrel vault) along a given distance. It’s the simplest form of a vault or vaulted ceiling because it’s essentially one single continuous arch. Structurally, a vaulted ceiling shifts the weight load around the profile of the arch to the abutments, jambs, or piers on either side. The arch is made stable because of this weight pushing down on the sidewalls, evenly balanced through the form, and in this case, it rests on a single porch pillar.
Vaulted ceilings are popular in shopping malls and commercial centers because they keep the shoppers’ eyes moving from side to side.. Barrel vaults are also used in museums and upscale homes because they resonate Classical architectural themes which appear sophisticated in today’s more linear world.
Eastview Homes has lots of experience and we’re always here to discuss your ideas and how we can improve the appearance of your house.