Re-create Colonial Williamsburg Style

Authentic Colonial Upgrade
Photo: Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

Birmingham architect Bill Ingram gives his 1940s cottage some character-building TLC with materials chosen for their authentic looks and upkeep.

01 of 07

Authentic Colonial Upgrade

Authentic Colonial Upgrade
Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

Inspired by the architecture of Colonial Williamsburg, Bill gave his home the authenticity and substance it needed with a few elegant upgrades.

02 of 07

Before

Colonial Williamsburg Before

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.

03 of 07

Skipped the Lawn

Skipped the Lawn
Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

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."

04 of 07

Elevated the Materials

Elevated the Materials
Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

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."

05 of 07

Chose the Right Windows

Chose the Right Windows
Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

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.

06 of 07

Improved the Dormers

Improved the Dormers
Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

"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.

07 of 07

Get the Look

Get the Look: Colonial Williamsburg
Photo by Ralph Lee Anderson

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

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