Trends come and go rather rapidly these days. Fads in clothing and hairstyles tend to only last a season or two. That popular dance move that all the teenagers were doing just a few months ago became suddenly uncool once all their parents started mimicking it.
One area in which trends tend to hang on a little longer is in architecture—specifically home exterior styles. Some of the more classic designs have stood the test of time, while others can reemerge in popularity after temporarily falling out of favor (think the midcentury modern style of homes).
At our Long Beach architecture firm, we occasionally get requests for “modern” home designs, but the overwhelming trend is for more traditional styles and materials (siding, shingles, brick), as well as crafted detailing.
Part of what we believe is driving the more recent request for traditional-looking materials may be the reduction in cost and the advancements in durability of such materials. In the past, stucco was widely used in Southern California because it was very cost effective. However, now, we as architects have a wider range of affordable materials at our disposal to convert a conventional “stucco box” into a home with traditional charm that is the envy of the neighborhood.
The Challenge of Giving Newer Homes a Traditional Look
One challenge our architecture firm runs across when redesigning home exteriors is the fact that the average home size has almost doubled in the past 50 years. Despite this, homeowners are still wanting their homes to have the charm of the much smaller cottages or Craftsman-style homes built in the early 1900s. One of the ways we can achieve this is by designing elements into the home’s façade that allow the homeowners and their guests to experience the home on a smaller scale at the places where they view and interface with the home the most, such as at its entrances.
Redesigning the Interior and Exterior of a Home at the Same Time
Some homeowners like to break up their home remodel into stages—typically for budgetary reasons (they can’t afford to do everything they want all at once) or because taking on a complete home remodel all at once would be too disruptive to their home life. However, there is an important advantage to doing an interior and an exterior remodel at the same time: significant cost savings.
From the design phase through the end of construction, there are minimum costs that apply every time the project is worked on. There is a cost involved every time we as architects have to submit a set of plans to the city. Every project that the city engineers plan check and the city inspectors visit involves a minimum fee. Every time a general contractor has to mobilize his team to a property, there are minimum costs involved. When multiple projects are combined into a single project, these costs get combined, saving the homeowner money.
Are There Limitations to the Changes That Can Be Made to a Home’s Exterior?
Typically, the only limitations to transforming the exterior of a home relate to homeowners associations (HOAs) and budgets. Most HOAs have strict rules about the colors and styles of the homes in their neighborhoods, or require a homeowner to go through a design review process before allowing exterior changes. However, we have seen some dramatic exterior transformations on homes within HOAs, so this isn’t always a restriction. Even if a home isn’t part of an HOA, some homeowners may not want their home’s exterior to be too big of a departure from the rest of the homes in their neighborhood, so as to stand out in a negative way. Fortunately, there are always more subtle ways to give a home a curb appeal upgrade without doing a complete remodel.
As far as costs are concerned, with an unlimited budget, just about anything is possible when it comes to transforming a home’s exterior, but you don’t necessarily need a huge budget to make a big impact. A few carefully considered design choices can go a long way in changing the façade of a home and giving it more curb appeal.
Are you ready to talk about a home remodel that includes an exterior renovation? We’d love to talk to you! Give our Long Beach architecture firm a call or contact us through our website.