It’s the great architectural debate – be bold and make a statement, or be sympathetic to the surroundings and try to emulate other properties in the area. The best solution will depend upon the type of house, its surroundings, the budget and, of course, its owners. Here are some guiding principles to help.
It’s easier to go forwards than backwards
Drawing style inspiration from a particular time or decade of architecture can be an effective way to stand out from the crowd. In the past we have changed a boxy 1960’s house into a very minimalist contemporary style, given a dowdy post-war extension an Arts-and-Crafts style makeover and transformed a bland 1950’s house into a pair of perky town-houses.
The one limitation to be flagged is that attempting to mock-up an elevation to look much older than it is will generally make your home’s exterior stand out for all the wrong reasons. Adding Georgian details to a façade that clearly does not have Georgian proportions will usually just look fake and glueing blackened timbers on to the front of an inter-wars house will not make it look convincingly Elizabethan.
Beware of keeping up with the Jones’
If you envy your neighbours’ Victorian brick façade, think twice before removing the 1960’s pebble dash covering yours. Many people think that revealing brick that has previously been covered up will look fantastic, but stripping existing render or pebble-dash off older brickwork may well not leave the brickwork looking nice at all.
Doing this can even break the surface of the brick leaving a very porous surface, which might cause damp problems and will quickly look dirty. Your architect should be able to flag up any potential pitfalls with your exterior plans and suggest a suitable alternative.
Kerb appeal matters
With any update to your home, it’s important to consider the potential implications on the value of your home. While standing out from the other houses on the street can certainly improve kerb appeal, you also need to consider that bold exterior statements may not be to everyone’s liking.
People often ask us about the added value to their home of doing various different works, but market value is dependent upon much more subjective and emotional factors than many people give credit for. First impressions count for a great deal and if potential buyers are put off before they even walk in, then the value will inevitably suffer, so making your house attractive externally can be a big plus.
Consistency is key
Whether you go for something traditional or a little more unusual, very often the key to an attractive exterior is unifying the use of materials. Frequently we come across houses that may have looked great at one time, but have been added to or altered in a way that may have worked well inside, but has created a complete mess on the outside. Covering ill matching brickwork and pebble-dash with a unifying rendered finish can be very cost-effective and can really tie an elevation together.
For more information on how Architect Your Home can help with your renovation, fill in our contact us form and we’ll be in touch soon.