Pour On the Cottage Charm
Architect Ross Piper brings back the symmetry and authentic Cape Cod style of an Atlanta home.
Sometimes a house muddles through life without living up to its potential. This one-and-a-half-story Atlanta cottage had good bones but needed a face-lift. "Its scale was really nice, but there were lots of little imperfections," says architect Ross Piper. "I wanted to make it what it was intended to be, not strip away any of its Cape Cod character." First up was correcting the asymmetrical roofline and too-small dormers and entry. Changing the cladding and refining all the details stayed true to the exterior's quirky charms while making it way more sophisticated.
Classic cottage essentials: Copper mailbox, (25599), $169; grandinroad.com
Before he tackled adding curb appeal, architect Ross Piper made these alterations to the home's overall structure.
1. Leveled the roofline. "This house wanted to be symmetrical," says Ross. A continuous roofline and third dormer did the trick.
2. Upgraded the add-on. "The side needed to feel like part of the same song but a different verse," he says. He enclosed the porch and added a shed-style dormer.
3. Unified the walls. Switching the siding and bricks to cottage-appropriate cedar-shake shingles cleaned up the exterior.
Make a Statement at the Entry
A swooped copper roof and bluestone stoop add prominence to the cottage's entrance. White lattice columns and a front door with a punch of color put a subtle twist on tradition.
Classic cottage essentials: Front door paint, Quarry (23-26) prattandlambert.com
Get Shutters Right
Board-and-batten shutters lend a more relaxed feel than louvered ones. Regardless of the style, shutters should be sized to be functional and finished with shutter dogs.
Classic cottage essentials: Cedar shutters, (NDB), shown custom painted, from $130/pair; finelinemillwork.com
Keep Dormers Tall and Thin
Retrimming the windows and dormers gave them more substance and increased depth. Maintaining the same tall and thin proportion stays true to Cape Cod style.
Add Iron Detailing
A Juliet balcony embellishes the exterior and allows for French doors off the new home office. Iron pulls and strap hinges finish the carriage-style garage door.
Classic cottage essentials: Garage door pull, (15), $60; williamsburgblacksmiths.com
Don't Forget the Back
Ross applied 360 degrees of charm when transforming the exterior.
1. Juliet balcony. The second-story French doors and balcony mimic the design on the front of the house.
2. Wraparound Porch. Arched openings and straight pickets are classic touches that add a graceful rhythm.
3. A wall of glass. Lots of windows and doors help connect the indoor and outdoor spaces.
4. A formal garden. The symmetry of the house is continued with the English-inspired parterre.
Meet Ross Piper
Hometown: Montgomery, Alabama
Known for: Designing inviting porches
Southern style is: Charming—an ideal balance between sophisticated and relaxed
What gives a new house patina? Mossy stone, reclaimed-wood floors, and iron hardware
A house isn't finished until: The shutter hardware is installed and working
The most often overlooked detail? Interior trim. For starters, don't simply put up just any old crown molding and call it a day!
One change that makes a big difference: Stain old brick—don't paint it—to allow the texture to show through.
Tudor or Georgian? I love both when they're done well.
Favorite go-to building product: Right now, it's custom iron windows. They are classic and modern at the same time.