Front of the house dilemmas (Part 1)
Do you have front of house dilemmas which you constantly think about? I know I did when we built our house. And we had the benefit of being a battle-axe block. To help you along your journey, I thought I’d write up some of the things you may think are a dilemma and some possible options in which to solve them. Depending on your budget you may not solve them all but at least you can consider which ones to prioritise and to focus your hard earned money on.
By default the project home will have a ‘standard’ façade. This is usually a face brick façade with no fancy trims or windows. Chances are it will be sliding windows and a plain door garage (no remote!) and a hip roof. The builders offer a choice of façade in most cases which you can choose from and they often are quite fancy. Some are set combinations whilst other builders will let you mix and match the façade to match your taste and style. It’s often easier just to select from their options and then customise it with colours and somewhat the materials. Façades can be as little as a $3000 upgrade to anything in the $30,000 range or more! It’s often said that houses are sold on their street appeal and if that matters to you then an upgrade could well be worth it.
Part of the facade is often the finish. Will you be rendering the front? Bagging? Or using a feature brick? Weatherboard is a great option and some of my favourite houses have this in all different forms. Or maybe your local council or community has mandated mixed materials and you will need to choose a special cladding material. In Australia the houses by most project builders are brick veneer and if your house is being clad, it’s clad over the brick. (If you are building a house to spec it’s unlikely this will be the case… )
Windows in the front of the house are a huge dilemma. Of course you want them to look great from the street. You also want to be able to see out from the inside. The problem is most suburban houses look out to a street and a footpath… which means people can look into your home. Window treatments such as curtains and blinds obviously help. You can also look to getting a tint added to your windows.
Decisions on colours of your windows is also critical to complement the colours of the exterior and the interior. It’s no wonder why there is a trend towards neutral colours! In addition to the colour is the style of the windows. The facade we mentioned above will often dictate the window style, but have you considered some sort of glazing bar for your windows? What about multiple windows? Horizontal or vertically arranged? Some homes are now adding corner windows which can look great in some styles of homes.
It’s been said that windows are like the eyes for a home. And provide insight into the soul of the house. It’s important to get the windows right. But we can’t talk about the front of the house without talking about the front door!
If the windows are the eyes, the front door is often the “mouth” and can speak of what is to come in the house. As a new home builder you will need to decide on the size of the door, the material and colour of the door. Do you want a single wide door — a pivot door can be amazing but will be significantly more expensive than say a double door of the same width opening. Timber doors are amazing and again can eat into your budget. If you do decide to go with a standard finished door, you then need to decide on the exact style (you should get a few choices) and the colour.
A door often has side lights and these have their own decisions to be made.
Door hardware is also important to the look of the house as well as the usability. The display homes usually have amazing handles with a hidden lever — again they look amazing but do think whether or not you have to educate everyone who comes to your home before trying to open it how to open the door… I doubt you want a sign like they have at display homes.
One other thing to consider is a flyscreen. In Australia, traditionally front doors are accompanied by a fly screen or security screen. If you are considering one, how will that affect your aesthetics. And if you are considering to NOT put one in, are you going to get the airflow through the house you were expecting to?
The last dilemma we’ll cover in this article is balconies. A two storey design often has a facade option with a balcony looking out onto the front yard. In brochures and in terms of street appeal these can look amazing. However do consider the cost and be pragmatic. Rarely do I see people on their front balconies… except for when they need to clean them. Maybe a window will be enough or opt to put a balcony on the rear of the house to look onto the backyard.
Again, similar to windows, consider the privacy aspect of a balcony. At times a balcony can help the privacy providing some horizontal and vertical ‘screening’ for a room on the first floor. This works best on a non-transparent material selection for the balcony.
In part 2, we’ll discuss the dilemmas of the Driveway, Garage, Fences and Gates and even Bedrooms!