How to modernise your brick home without rendering
Hi, today I want to talk about how to modernise your brick home without rendering. So, before I get into that, I just want to introduce myself. I’m Jane Eyles-Bennett, and I’m an exterior and interior designer from Hotspace Consultants. I’m not an architect, but I specialise in exterior (particularly facade) renovations for people who don’t want to go to an architect and have some crazy wacko ideas thrown at them that they can’t afford.
So that’s what I do.

Talking about rendering brick or not rendering brick. What I see is that when someone is looking at modernising their brick home, the first thing they think of doing is rendering it. Now, I’m all for rendering the right sort of home, and it certainly can make a massive difference, but there are some downsides to it.

So, when you render a house and just render the brick but you don’t do anything else, you can tell. You can tell that it’s an old seventies house that’s got a new cardigan on and a new lick of paint. The reason is because it still has the same windows, it still has a lot of the same features, and although it looks better, it looks worse because it looks incomplete. I don’t know if you’ve seen houses like that around but I’ve seen a lot of them and they look dreadful.

I also think that rendering is the right thing to do in many situations, but what I want to talk to you about today is when you don’t have to render, and if you can’t afford to render or if you just don’t want to render. If you don’t like the idea of ongoing maintenance, you certainly can not render your home and make it look amazing.

I’ve done lots of designs for owners of brick homes who haven’t wanted to render but they’ve wanted to modernise. So we do things like, for instance, a client that we were working with a couple of weeks ago where around the garage door, we boxed that out and we clad it. We then added a sort of portico thing over the front pathway. We left the brick as it was, but we rendered the new structures, the non-structural structures if you know what I mean. By doing that, we’re offsetting the brick, we’re introducing a new element, we’re introducing some contrast and some depth, and that’s what makes a house look good.

So, if you go on to the internet and you have a look at brick houses – let’s say you look at some modern brick houses, new build brick houses – they often look really good, and the reason they look really good is because there is that contrast of materials. You know, maybe there’s some brick, maybe there’s some timber, maybe there’s some render. It’s not just all brick.
And I think that’s where people go wrong. They think they have to render the house, so they put a skin of render over the top, and they paint all that, and it still looks the same but just a different colour.

So my message today is if you are renovating a brick house, regardless of whether you are going to render it or not render it, make sure you think about those extra elements to give it some depth and some balance. Give it some visual balance and give it a focal point – the front entry door or something like that. One key, strong focal point on the front façade of the house and you don’t have to render to make it look amazing.

I hope that’s helpful, and if anybody needs a hand redesigning their facade, you can get in touch with me at Hotspace Consultants.

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