Geralyne Circle Exterior


The exhibit we developed to display our company at home and remodeling shows has a distinctive Art and Crafts feel to it, and it draws a lot of attention particularly with people who appreciate that style. While at an event, after mulling around it for several minutes a couple with young children approached the exhibit. They acknowledged our apparent understanding of the vernacular and asked if we worked on homes of that style as well. We chatted, looked at pictures of our work, and came back to the table.

Misses asked, “have you ever noticed those real estate signs with the rider on top that say I’m beautiful inside? They’re usually in front of real dogs; that’s our house”. She went on to say that they moved from a new construction home in the northern suburbs to their present location to be in an older home with more character. They had already done extensive remodeling of the interior which included just about every room in the house before they moved in to it. The problem as they saw it was that the outside did not reflect the Craftsman style design influence they adopted on the inside. We agreed to meet at the house.

When we pulled up to the house for the meeting it was apparent that the house was anything but a craftsman style home. It was long like a Ranch, it had a Mansard roof, the attached garage faced the street with the garage doors appearing as a repeat of the first floor windows, and the entry was recessed into the house. The house looked long and flat with the exception of a series of unusual dormers that poked out of the front of the roof, it had no dimensional quality. For lack of a specific style, you could call it more French Colonial than anything else.

We took a tour of the interior and they explained all of the remodeling they had done. They were correct, virtually every room on the first and second floor had some degree of remodeling or redecorating done and it did have a Craftsman style influence. The exterior and the interior were quite juxtaposed as a result.


Because of the orientation of the house, everyone comes to the front door. There was no “porch” as they described it, an area of shelter, and the entry doors were painted steel that seemed commercial and unwelcoming to them. The dormers were in disrepair and the trim and windows in need of extensive repair and painting. They felt that if they were going to have to invest again into maintaining what existed on the outside, it was worth exploring what options would be available to give the exterior a facelift and re-styling in some fashion that was more in sync with their taste and reflected the interior work.

Maintenance was expressed as a big priority. Having to repair rotted wood, re-glazing and painting windows and trim continually was a sticking point. A more durable, maintenance free exterior was a principal consideration for him. She wanted to have more depth, the texture of natural materials, and colors other than the white on white trim with the brick. Additionally, a clearly defined, welcoming, front entrance that expressed style and quality to draw you to the inside was a priority in conjunction with “nice”, wood garage doors.

During the consultation, we asked how much design latitude and the level of investment they were willing to extend to us. This was met with the reply that we really don’t know; the extent of what you design and how much we like it will determine that. We asked if taking the roof off would be allowed as a consideration. That was too much for them, but they would be willing to consider something with the dormers. A design agreement was entered into.

It’s hard to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Without a clearly defined budget we had to focus our attention on specifically addressing their wants, the limitations of what we were allowed to do, and how we could somehow make visual sense out of it all.


The concept of approaching this from a Craftsman Style was difficult considering the Mansard roof. It would never be truly craftsman style with the limitations imposed, but certainly the capability to have an influence in the design with certain element existed. We started with the front entry and worked from that point.

The entry doors are wood Arts and Crafts style, leaded glass, Mahogany stained, double French doors with hand hammered oil rubbed bronze hardware. The exterior lights on the facade are aged copper with end of day glass. A low sloped, hip style roof projects from the front of the house providing definition of the entry with a porch presence. The underside of this roof is bead board with recessed lighting to illuminate the slate tile that was installed over the existing cement stoop. The support columns for the roof are structural fiberglass with cellular PVC trim accents that were applied for custom detail. They cannot and won’t rot.

Initially, we specifeid simulated divided light windows for their architectural impact and designed the dormers to be wider with deeper overhangs along with their hip roofs. However, because of the effect on the interior of the house, and now the impact to the costs, this idea was rejected. Although the overall design concept met with great enthusiasm, the cost of it was not. We were instructed that including the painting, driveway and sidewalk, and initial landscaping, the budget they set in their mind was not to exceed $100,000.00.

In order to pare down the construction and remodeling costs, and to eliminate the impact of the interior work, (beyond the trim), the dormers the windows were changed. In lieu of PELLA Architect Series, simulated divided light windows, we selected PELLA ProLine windows with removable Prairie Style, interior wood grilles. To achieve a stronger and broader presence for the dormers, they were built out a bit wider from the outside instead, without any interior modifications.

To add the dimension to the first floor, while remaining in the width of the existing openings, the windows were designed to project as box bays rather than being flush with the exterior. This provided minimal impact on the interior work resulting in just finishing the drywall returns surrounding the openings and new trim. The carriage style garage doors are wood with taller rectangular windows to mimic the height of the windows on the house and to meet with the owner’s preference.

All of the existing trim and the new trim is AZEK, cellular PVC. It will hold paint longer and eliminate the need for future replacement from rot. Some of the new profiles of the trim detail were custom milled on site to achieve the design intended. To add more to the feel of natural materials, the “flat” surfaces of the dormer walls, the sides to the entry, and the recessed panels of the box bays were treated with fiber cement, textured stucco board. The rear shed style dormer was resided with fiber cement lap siding and all of the gutters and downspouts replaced in a color that more closely matches the metal finish of the exterior light fixtures.