Charming Home Exteriors
Almost everything about the 1940s mountain house Norman Askins discovered 23 years ago delighted him. The unusual site with a secluded meadow in front and wide mountain views behind, the charming cottage details, and the long front hall with interesting vistas all captivated his eye. Shortcomings such as dull gray shingles, dark pine walls and floors, and dated decor called Norman to do what he loves most. "It was a wreck when I first saw it, but the bones were there," he says. When he brought his wife, decorator Joane Askins, to the house years later, they joined forces, combining their talents to bring out the home's charm.
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Shingles: HardieShingle; jameshardie.com.
Inspiring Garden Entry
The brick walk, laid in a traditional running bond pattern, leads the eye (and guests) right to the front steps where a bright red door welcomes guests into the home. Too often, a foreboding hedge of large shrubs obscures the porch. Here, low plantings and a short entry gate complement the facade and allow the full exterior of the home to be seen from the street. Homeowners Christine and Gil Pritchard worked with a landscape architect to ensure that the outdoor of their home was transformed into useful living space.
Timeless Southern Design
This Louisiana home, designed by celebrated architect A. Hays Town, is both elegant and welcoming. When a journalist asked what Town wanted his typical home to epitomize he said, "[My houses] settle down to look as if they've been here forever."
Baton Rouge Beauty
Located in Baton Rouge's Bocage neighborhood, this brick home was designed by celebrated Southern architect A. Hays Town. The classic materials, generous front porch, and elegant setting are all signatures of Town's designs.
Proportion and Patina
Classic scale and a reclaimed-slate roof give this 1991 home timeless appeal.
The Genteel Cottage
A couple from Connecticut moved down South with the plans to develop land in Virginia's horse country. With a plan that would take years to complete, they decided to start with a guest house to provide lodging while the main house and stables were built. The straightforward floor plan can be seen in the cottage's simple exterior.
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This Arkansas home and garden prove you don't need a mansion to live big. Garden designer Daniel Keeley was searching for a small, affordable house to make his own when he stumbled upon a 1,004-square-foot fixer-upper in a desirable neighborhood in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Daniel was drawn to the cottage, built in 1948, because of its simple, symmetrical design and relatively level, corner lot. He saw opportunitiy for creating unique spaces for gardening and outdoor living.On a lot of less than a fifth of an acre, he's integrated a house, front garden, perennial garden, fountain garden, cabana, courtyard, rear garden, and vegetable garden
This delightful cottage gives Southern Gothic a new meaning, updating the classic Carpenter-Gothic-style space for contemporary living without altering any of its wonderful charm. Built around 1890, this beautiful Monteagle, Tennessee mountain cottage is a study in simplicity, mixing natural materials including stone and timber to create a warm, inviting, and welcoming space. The "window" that underscores this house's Gothic charm is actually a repurposed mirror found at an antiques shop in Nashville. A chipped Victorian front door sets the tone for the decor inside. Clearly rooted in history and tradition, but delicately and sympathetically restored for comfortable living today, this Tennessee mountain cottage is elegant, enticing, and clearly fit for the Southern life.
Charming Cottage Makeover
With a little give and take, the inherent charm of a 1920s cottage comes into full view. Easy shifts in scale and dimension with tidy plantings boost this home's curb appeal. The exterior makeover of this Alabama cottage included removing metal awnings that were hiding the house and adding a dormer for extra dimension. The awnings were drawing attention away from the rotting cedar wood cladding, which they replaced with cement siding. A coat of bluish gray paint and crisp white trim were the final touches for transforming this cottage into the most dashing home on the block.
All of the homes in the lake community of Carlton Landing in Oklahoma are designed with large porches to foster neighborliness. The home of Jen and Grant Humphreys is extra-inviting, featuring a 10- by 16-foot seating area on one end of the porch and an equally spacious dining area on the other.
Lake House in the Trees
Set at the edge of a clear, deep lake just north of Birmingham, the unassuming home of designer Richard Tubb and his partner, Danny Weaver, rises like a tree house from the shore. In the evenings, it glows like a lantern, becoming a beacon of sorts for boaters on Smith Lake. Architect and friend Jeff Dungan designed the home's addition.
Picturesque Tennessee Farmhouse
New outbuildings, exactingly restored woodwork, and a commitment to maintaining the integrity of the original house add up to this picture-perfect makeover in Nashville.
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The exterior of our 2016 idea house was designed with a mountain setting in mind. The house is nestled on a corner lot in Mt Laurel, a community located between Birmingham (our hometown!) and Double Oak Mountain. Architect Bill Ingram played to the woodsy locale with a dark gray palette. The corner lot allows for 900 square feet of porch area wrapped with a traditional X-railing and newel posts, a more modest way for carpenters to finish posts on-site.
Horse Stable Exterior
The soft gray color of the house's weathered cedar shingles inspired the interior's neutral palette.
Breezy River House Porch
That endless front porch! Nestled into the hipped roof's overhang and accented with louvered shutters on one end, this shady spot featurs all of our porching must-haves: an iconic hanging swing, white wicker furnishing, and a tranquil color scheme that doesn't distract from the lush Southern landscape.
Who hasn’t dreamed of coming home to a cottage garden? Densely planted with everything from flowers to fruit, they exude grace and charm. When Betsy Fleenor and husband Michael purchased their Birmingham Tudor-style home, the front yard was very different from what you see today. The carpet of grass and boring shrubs didn’t enhance the house. Betsy envisioned a cottage-style garden, but it took 15 years for the garden of her dreams to become a reality. Out came the lawn, and in went the up-front flowers woven into a tapestry of shrubs, roses, natives, herbs, and vines. “Now our Tudor-style house feels like a home, and it has the cottage-style garden it deserves,” says Betsy.
That curvaceous white trimwork! Against the blue clapboard exterior, the front entry's rounded moldings and white spindles jump out like icing on a cake.
New Orleans Cottage Revival
When Karina Gentinetta's newly purchased 1930s home was wiped out by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she and husband Andrew "A.J." McAlear were left to build a new home on the lot where their old one had stood. "I wanted to pay homage to the architecture and history New Orleans lost," says Karina. Placing emphasis on simplicity, she drew the modest plans herself.
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Southern Craftsman Restoration
Montgomery, Alabama-based designer Ashley Gilbreath worked through years of neglect to restore her 1910 Craftsman-style home that's just doors down from where Zelda Fitzgerald once lived. Intent on preserving her home's architectural details and character, Ashley wanted to salvage and restore. "I reused what I could and replicated anything new to be as close to the original as possible," she says.
Atlanta Manor Makeover
When it comes to designing houses, architect Peter Block tries to avoid strict stylistic definitions. Case in point is the new home of Marcia and Mark Miller located on a rare expansive lot in Atlanta's Buckhead area. Fior its design, Peter looked to the English Country houses of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
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Charming Cottage Curb Appeal
Architects Bates Corkern Studio turn a 1930s home into the neighborhood favorite by pairing timeless details with classic proportions. A new color palette, enlarged front entry, upgraded roof, and updated landscaping created a crisp Colonial home with a neighborly Southern accent.
A Georgia farmhouse without a front porch? We couldn't believe it. This wraparound one greets visitors with style.
Modern Georgian Home
When a young couple bought this stately brick house, they knew it had great bones and wouldn't require too much work. Their only concern was that it felt dark and dowdy—a problem Birmingham-based architects Paul Bates and Jeremy Corkern easily remedied. Paul and Jeremy created an oversize but not imposing 9-foot-tall limestone entryway. Light spills into the foyer through the 7-foot French doors and leaded-glass transom. A pair of Palladian-style shutters adds a single punch of color (Pratt & Lambert's Artichoke). A bell-shaped front lawn furthers the illusion of more height.
Traditional Southern Farmhouse
Complete with simple farmhouse details like a gable roof, clerestory windows, and a wraparound porch, this Southern farmhouse is poised with classic style.
Cottage with Colonial Williamsburg Style
Birmingham architect Bill Ingram gives his 1940s cottage some character-building TLC with materials chosen for their authentic looks and upkeep. "The house was static before, but now it's more animated," he says. "The shadows and textures all enliven it."
Small & Smart Cottage Style
Designer P. Allen Smith loves a challenge. So when he built a guesthouse at his Moss Mountain Farm just outside Little Rock, he gave himself some limits: 1,650 square feet completed in 150 days for just $150,000. But that's not all. It would also feature the most up-to-date green construction principles, and its design would be inspired by vernacular precedent—the 19th-century Southern farmhouse.
Soulful Historic Home
Designer Mathew Bees' early-1900s home was built in a toned-down Lowcountry and Palladian style. Paneled shutters with original operable hardware offer a classic touch.
The charm of this 1790s North Carolina farmhouse is found in its simplicity. Though a porch was added in recent years, architect Ken Pursley was able to maintain the integrity of the original structure by being respectful of the original scale.
Timeless Southern Lake House
This house's balanced symmetry, one-story form, steeply pitched shake roof, and bookending chimneys were inspired by Early American Colonial architecture. From there, architect Bill Ingram tweaked the home to reflect his style with asymmetrical windows, swooping roof overhangs, and serpentine-shaped brackets.
Magnificent Miami Grand Approach
Driveways nearly always consist of utilitarian carpets of blinding-white concrete, but doing that would have been a crime in this yard. Instead, two tracks of cut stone were placed on the diagonal between straight courses of stone that were run from the street to the porte cochere and the parking area in back. Soft, green grass grows between the stones, reducing heat and glare. Fully functional and also beautiful, it creates a grand approach.
Cape Cod-Style Cottage
After designer Wendy Meredith and her husband, Cleve bought this 1930s Atlanta cottage, she called in Atlanta architect Brad Heppner, and the two immediately started working on curb appeal as their first project. “We made subtle but important changes to the front exterior,” says Brad, “such as painting the brick a warm light brown to help the house nestle into the surrounding trees.” Brad also added a cedar-shingled roof, a flared awning over the front door, and charming black shutters to the upstairs dormer windows, all giving the house more architectural definition.
Jewel Box Cottage
A previous renovation had confused the architecture of this 1920s Shingle-style cottage. Georgia-based architecture firm Historical Concepts took it back to its stylistic roots, emphasizing the distinctive gambrel roofline.
Quaint Coastal Cottage
Bayou Bend, our quaint coastal cottage in Covington, Louisiana, is rooted in the architectural traditions of the Deep South, but its open floor plan and vibrant interiors are fit for the modern family.
After carefully restoring her 200-year-old Federal-style farmhouse in Stanly County, North Carolina, the homeowner quickly realized she lacked a crucial country-living element: a spacious, covered outdoor space where she could entertain, relax, and enjoy the views. Charlotte-based architect Ken Pursley jumped in to design a screened porch addition that would afford the outdoor living she wanted and still uphold all the integrity of the beloved historic farmhouse.
Architect Ken Pursley looked to early American churches, barns, and the surrounding rural landscape when designing this timeless retreat on Maryland's Upper Eastern Shore.
Sited on a sleepy mountain road, this home has a vibrant color palette, a kaleidoscopic front garden, and all-American good looks that make you wish you were pulling into the circular front drive.
Surrounded by pine trees and nestled beside a lake, the east-facing back porch offers unrivaled views of the sunrise.
Previously, the home lacked curb appeal and felt a bit forgettable. Architect Stan Dixon gave the cottage a focal point with the front-facing gambrel roofline that houses an arched window, latticework railing, and black door. "Stan's proportions add a classic elegance," says Jessica Thuston. "The white-columned portico gives this simple cottage a stately feel."
Modern Update of a Classic Form
Architect Tim Cuppett designed a new farmhouse accented with imperfectly layered Texas limestone. The purposely rambling plan looks like it was added onto over time. A windowed entry connects two structures in the spirit of a Southern dogtrot, yet the floor-to-ceiling glass gives it an updated feel. "So many of the elements on this house are familiar—white clapboard, metal roof, stacked-stone chimney," says Executive Editor Jessica Thuston. "Yet the windows are the first clue that it has a modern spin."
This casual Hill Country cottage pours on the Southern charm with its familiar farmhouse form, picture-perfect proportions, and inviting front porch nestled beneath a curtain of large oak trees. The stone facade and metal roofing nod back to Fredericksburg's original German-style architecture. We'd love to kick up our feet and wind down our week in this soulful country home.
Classic Colonial Cottage
“It was the sort of house you might drive by without noticing,” says homeowner Caroline Little. “It had great bones but felt very outdated.” Little knew the secret to the exterior makeover’s success would be staying true to her home’s existing 1941 structure. She carefully selected a team, architect Corbett Scott and landscape architect Paul Lell, who focused on enhancing the Birmingham home’s original Colonial charm. The collaboration between Scott and Lell was vital. “You want the landscaping and the architecture to harmonize,” explains Lell. With upgrades that included new windows and bluestone pavers, this home received a face-lift that has all the neighbors green with envy.
A New Farmhouse
Architect Bethany Puopolo pulled from the influences of American barn construction and her Swedish heritage for a new take on the classic farmhouse. Bethany based her clapboard farmhouse on the style's basics—two stories with a gable roof and lots of porches—but she gave it her own signature. "Farmhouses always have porches, but I added even more. Half the home's 2,400 total square footage is devoted to breezeways and porches where we can see the animals, take breaks from gardening, or have a meal and watch the sunset."
"Instead of duplicating the compartmentalized way rooms are laid out in old farmhouses, I employed post-and-beam barn construction to open up the inside and get a more modern floor plan"
Patricia and Geordie Cole chose to reintroduce the dogtrot floor plan, originally developed centuries ago to accommodate the heat and humidity of the South, in their newly constructed South Carolina home. Modest in scale and rooted in the history of the Lowcountry, this home has an architectural style that reflects the quiet lifestyle the homeowners envisioned for themselves in South Carolina. It’s a classic design, updated with all the provisions for modern-day living. Large folding doors replace a traditional front entry to completely open the central hallway.
Charleston Single House
Olivia and Walker Brock looked at dozens of Charleston's iconic one-room-wide Single Houses before they finally found one with their coveted "Three Ps"—porch, privacy, and parking. With the multi-storied porches restored, the couple replaced the existing fence and gate with welcoming wooden ones. Clapboard siding was painted a light green with cream trim, and the fixtures were backdated with reproductions. Not least, the front door was painted a classic navy.
Classic Georgia Bungalow
Strategically placed American boxwoods in a sweep of pachysandra anchor the corners. A stewartia tree adds height as well as four seasons of interest, while period-appropriate nandina graces the garden with berries in fall and winter. A manicured 'Zeon' zoysia lawn provides a place for the eye to rest while taking it all in. Vintage camellias and paper bush brighten up the borders in winter. 'Thalia' daffodils and moss pinks tucked into the beds welcome spring, and ox-eye daisies on the front embankment flower into autumn. These ever-changing elements keep the landscape vibrant in all seasons.
“This is an updated take on typical rural Southern farmhouses,” explains Rosney Co. “Rather than white clapboard, we used taupe- and orange-toned stone quarried in West Virginia. This helps connect the house to its location in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.” Earthy details like the charcoal standing-seam metal roof, green shutters, and putty-colored trim (Worldly Gray; sherwin-williams.com) muffle the house’s newness. Most of the main areas connect to outdoor areas, and dormer windows create a lot of space without much height. “Lower houses fit better with the land,” says Rosney Co.
This 1 1/2-story house is flanked by two chimneys.
“I wanted to design a house that feels fresh right now but will still be relevant in 100 years,” says Architect Ken Pursley. Using time-tested, durable materials with crisp lines, such as James Hardie board-and-batten siding, plank-style shutters, and a standing-seam metal roof, creates a simple silhouette that won’t tire over time. The location of this home in Palmetto Bluff is both suburban and waterfront, giving Ken the opportunity to create almost two homes in one. Street side, he designed a more humble facade with a covered storage area and parking pad running perpendicular to the main mass.
Charming White Farmhouse
HomeownersJon and Beverly Winter wanted their new home on her parents farm in Matthews, Alabama to look as though it had been on the family property for years, even though it was a new constuction home. Architect Bill Ingram and the contractor worked with salvaged materials, made windows the old-fashioned way (by securing the glass panes with putty), and selected a tin roof, another nod to age-old building practices. The screened porch was built to look as if it had been added on at a later time.