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Question from Michael - Curb Appeal

"My two-story suburban home is lacking curb appeal. How can I make my entry look more inviting?"

Answer from Ross Sanders

Hello Michael,

As the tie between the public domain of the street and the private domain of your home, the entryway can make a powerful statement! It plays a big role in the curb appeal of your home, so let’s take a quick look at some design considerations.

While your front door is designed to keep the elements out, it can benefit from additional protection such as a simple overhang or porch with a vaulted roof. Although many homes feature entry roofs that are 15’ or higher, low and simple roofs not only provide better protection, they also offer a pleasant entry experience. Frank Lloyd Wright, arguably one of the greatest architects in history, believed that architecture should take a building user from the tall space of outdoors, compress them through a low opening and let them then experience the grandness of an interior at a new scale, removed from comparison with the nearly infinite outdoors.

In a perfect world, the front door would be your visitor’s first experience of your home. Unfortunately, in suburban homes the front door often competes with garage doors. This is where a properly scaled, nicely detailed entry porch can combine with nice landscaping and good lighting to draw the eye and the visitor to your front door. Color also plays a role in making your home not only noticeable, but also unique.

In a recent remodel of a two-story home, I designed a revised entry that reimagined a long sloping overhang leading from the garage to the front door as an inviting focal point for the home. The overhang provided weather protection but was not at all welcoming, as its slope meant that visitors were faced with a low roof and gutter that ran parallel to the length of the house. I decided to highlight the front door by adding a small gable, which gave the long house a central focal point. In place of the spindly columns I added two wood-clad columns, as more mass and more detail were appropriate to the scale of the house and entry. Finally, I left the long, low roof but added a railing below it, turning it into a sitting porch rather than the entry path. I then re-routed the approach to the front door through the yard, with a flagstone path leading through new flowerbeds until it turned 90 degrees to approach the house to the front of the new gable. This simple design element changed the feeling of the entire house, giving it more street presence and making it much more inviting.

When planning your entryway, you should also consider adding elements that will increase the security of your home such as; good sight lines from the interior of your home to your front walk, driveway and street combined with well-planned lighting.

Best of luck,


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