“The Style”

February 2013

 I believe strongly that the “style” that we choose must be carried throughout the entire house. That said, I’ve designed and seen many homes that the interior decor really didn’t reflect all of the exterior style elements and yet it was done very well. This approach may raise an eyebrow or two when you go to market the home. It’s truly your home and if the “mix and match” approach works well with your family’s lifestyle and pocketbook, go for it! Remember, it’s your home, not a model home. Enjoy every moment, live comfortably, and have it be a reflection of you and your family.

Let’s approach the “style” of the home first. There are so many styles to choose from and I won’t bore you by trying to list each one’s descriptions. There are countless numbers of books and web sites for you to research on the particular style you are drawn to. I would suggest that if you really want to understand a specific style, i.e.: rustic lodge, arts and crafts, traditional, etc., explore the history, and regional considerations each offer. Doing this will allow you to understand the specific nuances and construction considerations that make the style what it is. When I refer to regional considerations, we have indeed all seen a home in a place that simply “didn’t fit the neighborhood”, have we not? Well, if you want a Jefferson Colonial home back in the mountains and your dead set on creating a “Gone with the Wind” entry and stairwell, go for it if you are really not concerned about your investment to a future buyer one day. This can and more often than not be a real “deal breaker” when you are trying to sell the home in the future.

After you’ve selected a style start the design build process. I suggest you gather all of your clippings, tear sheets, books, etc. and take them to your property, if you’ve selected it at this point. Stand on the land and use these photos and clippings to imagine how the style you’ve chosen will “live” in that environment. I have in the past set up several inexpensive easels with the clients’ drawings, photos, etc. on the property. It is a lot of fun to see in person how well the home works with the land.

Very specific styles such as rustic elegant, timber frame, log, arts and crafts, prairie craftsman, and contemporary to name a few, come with very specific and expensive cost considerations. That’s not to say that you cannot create a wonderful and tasteful home utilizing a few specific features of the style selected without going the “full boat” route. This value engineering process should be approached carefully and with professional help in creating and achieving positive results. My clients do this all of the time as the “budget” always rules. You can achieve many great looks by simply thinking about the “what if” approach to all things related to the home. “Question everything” and understand the subject as well as possible before proceeding.

The textures, fabric and colors selected for your exterior are all very important to the style’s overall appearance. When facing the decisions of selecting these items, my advice is to reflect first on the style in choosing the texture, i.e.: stone, brick, stucco, siding, rustic finish verses smooth, and roofing materials. The style selected will bring forth considerations for your review. Carefully examine each product as each selection will come with a maintenance schedule of time and cost. Again, question everything prior to selection for a clear understanding of what you are going to live with in the future.

The “fabric “of a home can be explained in several ways; but I approach this subject by how the overall feel and vision of the structure works with the chosen design, materials, and colors applied. The terrain, trees, vegetation, boulders, or water features all create the total fabric of the home. These items really need to be carefully included and reviewed throughout the design and construction process.

The natural environment of which you are placing the home is your best color palette. When visiting my Client’s home sites, I present these thoughts and the visions given to me in the language that nature has provided. Many of our client’s selection have come simply from the bark of trees, a hand full of dirt, or a small boulder. I think you understand what I am trying to convey.

I have seen so many folks fret and worry over selections of the exterior colors. Make it easy on yourself and look to the landscape. If your building property is in a regulated development, you may not have many color choices from which to apply to your home. Normally this is often the case with small lots in planned developments that have mandates in order to be cohesive with the selections made for the entire development. These still can and should reflect your homes “personality” and your good taste.

I hope that the ideas in regards to the exterior of your home presented above will allow your thought process to expand in a very positive way. Careful planning, reviewing each issue, questioning everything, and listening to the land will assure you the best results and comfort with your decisions.

Should you want to discuss any of these issues further, please do not hesitate to contact me at www.kenpieper.com

Until next time enjoy the process!


Ken Pieper



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