Going into this new house build, I knew I wanted a very traditional white house. Like the most traditional, classic house I could picture. Father of the Bride traditional. I think this house has been in the back of my head for a long time. Ideally I would have liked to have built it when my kids were growing up, but we don’t always get the whole dream, do we? So I’ve adapted some aspects of the dream house to suit the life stage we’re in now. For example, if my kids were still young I would have wanted the master bedroom on the 2nd floor with them. For protection, for middle of the night illnesses, for just general mothering, I always slept better knowing I was nearby if needed. But since they’ve all grown up and mostly moved out, I’m putting our bedroom on the first floor, which I think will be a nice change. But, anyway, back to the exterior.
I slowly pulled together images that speak to that classic house vibe. In the above house by Timothy Winters I love the low brick wall that defines the driveway, which passes in front of the house. I love the color of the brick, sort of a creamy white. I also like that there’s just one window on either side of the front door. When builders do this sort of “colonial” house in our area they often seem to cram two windows in that space, and it always looks kind of crowded. These windows have room to breathe.
I found this house by Peter Zimmerman when we were looking at a piece of land where the street was a higher elevation than the house would be. I was having a hard time picturing the driveway going downhill as it approaches the house. This driveway graciously deals with that situation, and I love how intimate the front door is with the driveway, rather than being several steps up. I also love that the parking area is set off from the rest of the yard with these low walls. This house is well documented on Houzz and it’s incredibly beautiful, inside and out. It has a particularly beautiful circular staircase that’s in a little alcove to the right of the front door. But, since we didn’t end up buying that land my focus shifted elsewhere. I tried to use a similar staircase in our plan, but it posed too many problems and had to be thrown out, something that happened frequently in this process.
What I like so much about this house is, again, the single windows on either side of the front door, but also how substantial the columns are and the almost flat porch roof. We ended up designing a similar porch on our house, and were also inspired by the trim.
At this point in the process, we had actually found a piece of land that we liked. Three plus acres along a back road, not too far out of town. It was part of a larger parcel of land that had a house on it, at the end of a long driveway. The large parcel was being subdivided, and the driveway would become a private road to 7 houses. The lot we chose sat at the front of the parcel, and our house would face the main road, but we also wanted the side that faced the new private road to be a secondary front to the house. So when I found this house by Peter Zimmerman on Houzz it seemed to be the perfect inspiration. It has a definite front, shown above, but the side of the house (below) has a lot of curb appeal also. I immediately envisioned an L shaped house that would face the main road, and the side road, and protect the backyard from exposure to both. Another thing I liked about this house is it looked like it had been added on to over time, even though it was a new build. That aspect served as an inspiration as well.
And the final house that impacted the exterior of our house was the below house by Andrew Skurman. With this find I realized that I preferred the clean look of white shutters (and I love that they’re fully operational), and it also allowed me to see a close up of siding with a beaded edge, which I realized I liked.
So, a collection of inspiration houses led me to a design that has white siding, classic Georgian lines, looks like it’s been added to over time, driveway passing in front of the house, visually substantial front porch columns, beaded siding, and white shutters. I also decided I wanted black window sashes, but more on that in another post.