Birmingham architect Bill Ingram gives his 1940s cottage some character-building TLC with materials chosen for their authentic looks and upkeep.
Inspired by the architecture of Colonial Williamsburg, Bill gave his home the authenticity and substance it needed with a few elegant upgrades.
Flimsy materials diluted the charm of this 1,400-square-foot cottage, but architect Bill Ingram couldn't overlook its pleasing proportions. He was also drawn to its ideal location—tucked away from traffic but only a stone's throw from shops and restaurants.
Bill put every inch of his small front yard to good use by forgoing grass for a more impactful garden. He replaced the unruly vines, sloppy shrubs, and front walk with a tailored parterre of boxwoods and paths of antique bricks. "The house is only 27 feet wide," he says. "It's no issue walking around that garden, and it adds a bit of green around the front door."
Bill first got rid of the lifeless siding, asphalt roof, mismatched windows, and flat, nonfunctioning shutters. He opted to cover the exterior walls and roof with more-tactile cedar shakes. "The house was static before, but now it's more animated," he says. "The shadows and textures all enliven it."
The new cottage-style windows (the bottom sash is longer than the top) work better with the home's architecture. They are also shorter than the originals, which allowed Bill to break the windows' previously awkward alignment with the front door. New operable shutters, painted Benjamin Moore's Georgian Green, flank the windows. Bill left the shutter hardware unpainted because he likes the crisp black color of the iron.
"They weren't bad as far as their shape went, but I felt they would look better with the same roof style as the main house," says Bill. He replaced their squatty, hipped roofs with pointy gables. He also added a third dormer in the middle, explaining, "They were just too far apart. It looked like something was missing." Lastly, he installed new double-hung windows to complement the first story.
Add iconic cottage style to your home with these charming picks.
Lantern: French Conductor in Antique Brass (CHO2100), $1,050; circalighting.com
Flag: 3' by 5' US Polyester Flag, $36.95; tidmoreflags.com $ Reader deal! 10% off with code SL13
Shakes: #1 Medium Handsplit Treated Cedar, from $2.59/sq. ft., available through Cole-Hall Lumber Company; 205/663-2900
Bricks: Chamfered Full Range Pavers by Ragland Clay (raglandclay.com), $2.43/sq. ft.; available through alabamabrick.com