3 key elements to creating stunning curb appeal

May 30, 2012

A young doctor was just setting up his first office when his secretary told him there was a man to see him. The doctor wanted to make a good first impression by having the man think he was successful and very busy. He told his secretary to show the man in.

At that moment, the doctor picked up the telephone and pretended to be having a conversation with a patient. The man waited until the "conversation" was over. Then, the doctor put the telephone down and asked, "Can I help you?"

To which the man replied, "No, I'm just here to connect your telephone."

First impressions can be tough to make (I have had a few doozeys in my day). In my travels I see a lot of builders are struggling with their first impression - curb appeal. On almost a daily basis I see oversized windows, bad proportions, incorrect detailing and  a myriad of other issues.

Here are three things to consider when developing the look of your home:

1. Massing - The massing should be a balanced composition of the structure. A common mistake here is an oversized garage (sticking out from the home too far) or gables either too large or too small to create a nice balance.

2. Fenestration - This is a fancy word for openings (windows and doors). Window and door placement is all about proportion, large windows should not be crammed into a small section of wall, nor should smaller windows get lost in a vast stretch of wall. Look at windows as a way of balancing positive and negative space on any given plane.

3. Detailing - The details should be as authentic as possible. For example shutters should appear to close over the windows. Brackets, window capitols, columns and material treatment should all be an accurate reflection of the homes style.

So many times elevation design is more of an afterthought instead of an integral part of the design process. The items above should be elemental when conceptualizing floor plans as opposed to trying to make an "elevation work" to fit a floor plan. Keeping these three simple things in mind will go a long way to making a great first impression to your customers.


Todd Hallett, AIA, president of TK Design & Associates has been designing award-winning homes for more than 20 years. He spent 15 of those years working for a $50 million production building company. Todd designed all of its homes but also worked in every other aspect of the company including purchasing, development, land acquisition, product development, and operations, and was president of the company for three years. Equipped with his vast building experience and fueled by his love for architecture he left to form an architecture firm that is second to none in working cohesively with builders. Todd specializes in Lean Design and works, alongside Scott Sedam of TrueNorth Development, in the trenches with builders, suppliers, and trade contractors. Todd welcomes your feedback at thallett@tkhomedesign.com or 248.446.1960.


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