Renovating the facade of a two-storey home is entirely different to renovating the facade of a one-storey home. Use these top tips to make sure your two-storey home reno looks the best it possibly can…
Create a visual anchor
If you were to stand on the road and look along the driveway towards your house, you should be able to get an idea of how your property presents, and how much ‘visual anchoring’ it needs. To visually anchor a property is to give it a sense that the house is anchored in place. It is quite a subtle thing but when done well, it makes an enormous difference to the overall aesthetic of the entire property.
If you are having difficulty grasping the concept of visual anchors, imagine the difference between a house with brick on the bottom and timber on the top. This style of house looks more anchored than a house with timber on the bottom and brick on the top.
A great and easy way to visually anchor a house is to use landscaping and/or pot plants.
• Choose dark coloured plants with thick, heavy leaves.
• Plant densely and aim for a solid effect.
• Steer away from dainty plants like roses.
• Mondo grass is a bit too delicate but can be used if blended with heavier plants.
• If planting is not an option, use planter boxes and large pot plants around the base of the house.
Update the balustrade
• Many older style houses have illegal balustrades and/or handrails. Update these to not only to modernise the house but also ensure it is legally compliant.
• Ensure your balustrade matches the ‘visual weight’ of the house. For example, if you have a brick home, ensure your balustrade is also made from a visually heavy looking material (ie chunky or substantial style that ‘holds its own’ against the brick).
• Contrast the colour so the balustrade doesn’t fade into the background of the house (unless this is your objective – which it could be)
• Tension wire and other lightweight materials often don’t work with brick houses as they are visually too light.
• Lightweight materials like timber (fine designs), some powder coated metal or tension wire will work on timber houses
• Mix and match to create the right effect. Try a metal balustrade with a timber handrail or vice versa.
• Ensure you choose a balustrade design that works with the architectural style of your house.
Breaking up the plane
If the façade of your double-storey house is all on one plane, the house can look flat and uninteresting. Many double-storeys with the front facing windows all on the same face have this problem because there is nothing to break the tedium of the block-like surface.
• Add a portico to create a defined entrance, create shape, interrupt uniformity and give front-to-back depth. Pay attention to the architecture of your house when choosing materials and style.
• If a new portico is not in the budget, consider adding awnings to break up the regularity of the facade. Choose from canvas, timber or corrugated iron. Ensure the materials match the style of your house. Cool and funky, or sedate and traditional? Again, let the style of your house be your guide.
A front fence or prominent boundary can go a long way towards improving your house. It frames, defines and demarcates the property.
• Make sure the style works with your house.
• Match the visual weight of the house by choosing materials that are of similar visual weight.
• If you don’t want a fence, consider a hedge, a low wall, or even a small garden in line with the letterbox.
These concepts of visual weight, anchoring and cohesion may sound foreign to you, but they are critical for a well designed home. They’re the difference between a designer looking house and a DIY hail-mary (pray that it looks alright when it’s done!) design, so definitely worth getting right.