• Exterior Pieces & Parts

    When thinking about the outside of your home, you must look at the intrinsic elements that create its overall appearance and character. These “pieces and parts” are very easy to define and spot once you begin to understand their inherent qualities. They include:

    1. Gables – The Faces That Are Present In Every Home. The vast majority of homes in America have what is called a “gable,” which is simply a centered triangle that forms the end of a roof with a central peak. Most homes built in America in the last 100 years have more than one gable. For example, homes with “doghouse dormers” are simply mini-gables that sprout through the main roof’s angled shape. These gables present a perfect opportunity to create the look you are seeking by creatively applying and blending various colors, lines (e.g., special trim) and textures that serve to reinforce this focal point.
    2. Trim. Trim is often used to “band” elements of a house by wrapping horizontal lines all the way around the house. Trim spans across the joints between siding and windows and doors, as well as finishing off the ends of roof framing to form eaves. The most common “band” is the “water table” that sits at the bottom of the siding of many Colonial homes. “Banding” is only limited by your imagination! By applying different siding types (and possibly color) above and below the trim, you can create an appearance that is both expressive and eye-catching.

      When “banding” is complemented by vertical lines of trim, architects like to call it “gridding.” “Gridding” creates panels of siding that can then display different colors, textures or other expressive reinforcements. Victorian houses often use trim to tie together the wildly divergent elements. You can also see “gridding” and “banding” in many Prairie houses and Ranch houses. When used as a linear element, trim allows you to literally wrap your home with a ribbon of expressive connection.
    3. The Field – The Dominant Surface of Your Home. When considering gables, trim, windows, doors and other elements of a house, the essential ingredient from which all variations and expressions flow is the basic siding material used for the majority of your home’s exterior surfaces, “field.” It often makes sense to celebrate the horizontal lines of a Ranch home with clapboards that have heavy shadow lines so that the counterpoints of windows, doors, trim, and, perhaps, gable siding, seem all the more activated and zesty. In homes that have horizontal and vertical elements, a neutral siding material (smaller, narrower exposure clapboards of tight shingle coursing) can allow the larger elements of the home to “pop” using reinforcing trim and the “banding” or “gridding” described earlier.
    4. Entries. The entry should be the “jewel in the crown” of the first impression of your home. By utilizing a creative blend of colors, lines and textures to your entry way that complement the rest of your home, you can create a home that is both visually appealing as well as unique to your style.
    5. Windows. Windows are often dramatically undervalued when people think about their home’s exterior. By the use of color contrast between the sashes and the window frames, the type of trim used around the window and the potential use of shutters or flowerboxes, windows can become the second most important sustainer of interest in your home beyond the entry. When embraced by the various trim and siding elements mentioned earlier, windows can become the final complementary embellishment to the outside presence of your home.

    By: Duo Dickinson, AIA