“Have you ever thought about updating the outside of your home?”
My friend Kristen looked at me like I had just said something impossible. In fact, if I wasn’t in the home building business…she would’ve probably thought I was joking.
“As in…new siding?”
“No, not just new siding. A real style update, changing up the look of your foundation. Maybe adding a brick accent to your entry. Something like that.”
Kitchen remodels. Bathroom renovations. Even home additions…when we think about updating our homes, the interior is always the first thing we go to. Why is it the outside seems so permanent?
“What do you mean?”
Kristen is due with her second baby in December. She and Ryan just moved to their home two years ago when they had their first child.
They looked forever to find this place. You know how it goes: the right school district, the right distance from both families, not too far from his workplace, the right size backyard.
But with kid #2 on the way she told me they were looking for a new home. Somewhere that looked less…outdated.
If you’re searching for a new home right now, then you know what she’s been up against. In the best areas everyone is buying homes- it’s impossible to keep up with the market right now. Kristen had already been let down by a few potential dream homes that had been bought before she could even schedule a viewing.
“You like where your home is, right? And you like the house as a whole. It’s not too small, it’s in a good location for you?”
“Yes,” she said, “But it looks so old. And not in a good way, you know?”
I knew exactly what she was talking about. And I knew the solution was easier than she thought…
Love Your Home at First Sight
I want to let you in on a secret: the exterior of your home? It’s not permanent!
You can change it just as easily as updating your kitchen. And it takes just about as much effort, too. With the help of a good design and the right veneers or siding materials, you can overhaul the look of your current house for much less than the cost of buying a new home and moving.
And let’s be clear: I’m not talking about big, expensive architectural changes like adding full-front porches, dormers, and additions. Those investments are great if you love your home but need more space. But big projects like that aren’t right for everyone.
In this article, I want to focus on folks that have found themselves in the same spot as Kristen and Ryan. People who love everything else about their home but how it’s dressed. People who already own their dream home…but just don’t know it yet.
There are other benefits, too, of course. Both financial- and maintenance. Updating your exterior can help you protect your interior long-term against weather. And if you do plan on moving in a few years? An exterior renovation can help you get bigger offers faster.
Ready to fall in love with your home every time you pull into the driveway? Let’s get started!
Get Inspired: Veneers for Every Home Design
Do you dream of living a log-cabin life, but don’t have time for the exterior upkeep?
Do sprawling tudor-style mansions stop you in your tracks, until you start to think about tuckpointing an old house?
Good news: Maintenance…and budget…don’t have to limit your design options.
The exterior of your home can be transformed into your dream home.
Even better? Exterior home renovations often cost less, in both time and energy, then moving to a new home!
Not convinced your ho-hum house can become your perfect retreat? I’m going to show you a few transformations and talk about the materials used in each.
And remember, if you see something you like- we can make it happen! At Martin, we’re a full-service contractor. That means we can help you choose materials that fit your style, show you virtual mock-ups, and decide how to get you into that dream home in a budget that fits.
Let’s get to it.
Cul-de-Sac Brown Turns Brilliant Modern
If ever you needed proof that exterior matters, here it is:
What I love most about this transformation is that very little of the original structure has been modified.
You can see a window has been removed in the front right corner but I’m guessing this has to be for an interior reason. This remodel would have just as much impact had no exterior openings been touched.
So let’s talk about what’s happened here.
Before, the exterior of this home had very little contrast. The beige color lacks commitment to any design, the vinyl siding on the side looks like an after-thought or maybe a later addition. Without contrast, this house looks small and low.
By using contrasting colors and materials in the new exterior of this home, length is emphasized. Even better, the basement looks like a living space from the outside.
Takeaway: This home has a large footprint and the contrast shows it off.
2. Bright Foundation
The bright foundation lifts your attention to the main level of the house.
It’s a good design practice to use a light-colored material near the base of a home. (We’ll talk later how you can use stone facade to do the same.) When you give the structure a “start” point, it separates the home from the landscape.
3. Warm Wood Accent
Did you notice the wood siding is the only change of material type on this home renovation?
The owners kept the brick and stucco foundation (painted) and replaced the old vinyl siding. Both of these choices? Budget friendly. They’ve decided to invest in one accent for the front of this house: the wood facade.
And it is stunning!
They’ve made a good choice limiting this material to a small accent-section. How so? By doing so, they’ve limited their ongoing maintenance. This is another great way to achieve a particular “look” without the problems of a full-wood siding in this mid-century modern mock up.
Let’s look at some other material options for your home’s exterior.
Stone Veneer Makes a Statement
Here’s another example of how a little contrast can make a big impact.
Instead of contrasting colors, this homeowner chose to add contrast through texture to the outside of the home using stone facade.
Before, the cement-block chimney too closely resembled the painted brick exterior. By choosing a shaggy, rugged stone for their chimney’s exterior they’ve added depth to their home’s look.
Stone and brick veneer is super popular for new builds, especially for foundation accents. But if you’re having Martin replace your siding, we can also add something like this to your existing home.
By “lifting” the siding off of the ground, you’re creating a visual separation between the landscaping and your home.
Not to mention how beautiful the stone looks! This updated take on a classic is a popular way to add curb appeal. It nods to the tradition of using foundational stone in historic home builds and gives newer builds a serious upgrade.
A Rustic Mix of Classic Materials
This is a new build, but wow- do I love a mountain home.
I just had to share a few home designs that feature a favorite accent material of ours at Martin: cedar shake.
One of the biggest things that hold homeowners back is not having the confidence to mix materials, especially on the same side of the home. Because they worry about things looking too “hodge podge”, they play it safe with all vinyl, all brick, etc.
The truth is with thoughtful application, mixing materials can make a standard home look like a designer beauty.
Take a look at this cabin here:
This home not only has
- cedar shake,
- vertical siding,
- and stone veneer…
…they’ve also mixed roof materials! Five materials on one house, and yet you’d be hard pressed to find a more welcoming woodsy retreat.
Building an Addition: Creating A Cohesive Exterior
So far, we’ve focused on exterior updates that don’t require major architectural changes.
But when you are undergoing big changes, like adding a bedroom or office to your home, mixing exteriors can have a big benefit, too.
When we build home additions, one of most important questions is “How will this blend into the home’s existing design?”
We’ve all seen bad home additions. Awkward white vinyl siding sticking out the backside of a historic brick house. Too-long side expansions on ranch houses that make the home seem squat and aimless.
Designing a home addition is tricky. One way to create a cohesive exterior is using mixed materials to
- accent the architectural value of your home
- and blend your new addition into the original space.
You might be thinking, “If I add on to my home, do I need to budget for a full exterior makeover?”
Sometimes, re-siding or re-covering the area where your addition ties in is good practice to create a seamless, weather-proof protection. But other times? Just being mindful of the material used on your exterior (color, texture, etc.) is all you need to create a beautiful look.
I’d like to be able to give you an easy chart to follow. Something that says, “If you have brick, pair it with this stone, etc.”
But there’s no one-size fits all solution.
My best advice? Find a contractor that understands the logistics of building a quality addition AND show you choices before you sign your contract. See more about how visualization software can show you how your home will look with a new exterior here.
We Make Dream Homes Happen.
We make dream homes happen. Simple as that.
Vern Martin and our crew here are more than a “lay some shingles and move on” type of people. We’ve been working in home building for decades and that means we have experience with dozens of different types of exterior materials.
What does that mean for you?
It means that if you’re looking to update the look of your home, you don’t have to piecemeal together a bunch of different companies and hope everything gets done right. You can save yourself the stress of hiring a roofing contractor for one part, a siding contractor for another, and a carpenter to do the finishing accents on your entryway…
…because we’re experts in full exterior remodeling!
Have a full vision for the outside of your home- but don’t have the budget to get it done all at once? Not a problem! Let us help you create a visual plan for your home’s exterior that we can revisit in phases as you update your home.
We’re more than a great construction company- we also love great design. Call Vern at 570-345-0406 and talk to us about what your challenges are in your current home. We’ll help you find a solution that fits into your timeline and budget.
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