Charming Cottage Curb Appeal Makeover
Architects Bates Corkern Studio turn a 1930s home into the neighborhood favorite by pairing timeless details with classic proportions.
Birmingham Cottage Makeover
Little was wrong with this Cape Cod-style cottage—except that it could better reflect its Southern locale. The young home-owners wanted to give their house more character and local flavor but without hampering its good points: charming proportions, high-end materials, and sturdy hardscaping. They turned to architects Paul Bates and Jeremy Corkern, and all agreed to a few improvements. "The home was already very stylish," says Jeremy. "It just needed some simplifying and rescaling." A new color palette, enlarged front entry, upgraded roof, and updated landscaping created a crisp Colonial home with a neighborly Southern accent.
Neighbors refer to this as "The Pineapple House" because of the portico's stylize finial. Find more pineapple-inspired decor.
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Cedar Shingles: painted in White Chocolate by Benjamin Moore.
Notice the Details: A Generous Entry
The 15- by 12-foot portico with its 4- by 8-foot door gives the home the height and dimension it previously lacked. "We designed the door to look like a pair of doors," says Jeremy.
Chippendale-style shutters, rather than columns, give Southern flair to the entrance.
Notice the Details: A Handsome Foundation
To mimic elegant foundations typical of historic homes, they upgraded plain cinder blocks with dark paint. In time, creeping fig will grow to completely cover the base of the house.
Notice the Details: Correct Dormers
New flush tongue-and-groove pediments and deeper window casings gave the existing windows more depth and historical accuracy. Properly fitting and functional shutters finish off the dormers.
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Notice the Details: Overscale Lanterns
Two matching 3-foot-tall copper gas lanterns, modeled after antiques, elegantly cap the existing stone walls. "Because these are away from the house, they had to be oversize," says Jeremy.
Architect's Advice: Paul Bates & Jeremy Corkern
- Favorite architectural style: We can't pick just one! We love the Regency period of the 1830s—excellent examples are in New Orleans and Charleston, SC. We also love a pared-down modern look that's elegant, not harsh.
- Small upgrade that makes a big difference: Raising door heights from 6 feet to 7½ or 8 feet makes exteriors appear much taller.
- Make a statement by... Painting the front door a bright color, such as peacock blue, that reflects your not-so-serious side.
- Worthy splurge: Quality windows and doors help lend homes critical historical accuracy and depth.
- Stock up on... Jewelry-like exterior hardware. Our top sources are E.R. Butler & Co. (erbutler.com) and The Nanz Company (nanz.com).
- No. 1 design mistake: Overt trendiness. If you really love a trend, though, find a way to make the look your own.
- No Southern home should be without... A magnolia tree and an ice-maker.