Best Exterior Makeover

With a little give and take, the inherent charm of a 1920s cottage comes into full view.

Blue Exterior Homewood Cottage
Photo: Alison Miksch

HOUSE AT A GLANCE
Where: Homewood, Alabama Size: 2,200 square feet Architect: Kristie Dunn Dieguez Contractor: Gibson & Anderson Construction, Inc.; gibsonanderson.com Materials: Cement siding, fiberglass shingles, double-hung wood windows, motley brick, and exterior paint

Fashion designer Coco Chanel famously advised that the best-dressed women always remove one accessory before going out, but she could just as easily have been talking about houses. Indeed, the first move Birmingham-based general contractors Gibson & Anderson Construction, Inc., and architect Kristie Dunn Dieguez made on this home just outside the city was to ditch its metal awnings. “It was as if the house were hiding behind them,” says Jay Byrd of the contracting firm. The awnings were drawing attention away from the rotting cedar wood cladding, which they replaced with cement siding. They also added weatherproof planks to dress the chimney. For extra dimension, the front door was recessed into the portico. Then off went the porch screens, and on went a sweetly scaled dormer. A coat of bluish gray paint and crisp white trim were the final touches that transformed what was once the dowdiest house on the block into the most dashing.