Many of the details that go into designing a project aren’t that noticeable but are very important. I can almost always tell when an architect was involved in a project just by looking at a few simple things. These aren’t trade secrets but for one reason or another, not everyone knows about them. As a favor to the world, I am going to start a new series titled
Residential Architecture 101
I am going to cover a few different
mistakes things that I see over and over again. You may not agree with my opinion as to the nastiness of these conditions – please keep your uninformed opinions to yourself or get your own blog. This is low-hanging fruit people and as such, not open for debate. Today I am going to talk about transitioning materials. Yes, I know “transitioning” is a fancy word but in this case, it is the perfect word. Without making things too complicated, you should never change building materials on an outside corner.
Yikes! That’s nasty. This is at the second floor right above the porch so this is a condition I saw this from the street (not some sneaky hidden away view where I had to scale a portable building to find this view). Always make your material changes at an inside corner. When you do change materials on an outside corner, you visually take away any sense of massing – reducing the material to wallpaper (*note* I didn’t say colors, I said materials. Changing colors on an outside corner is okay – not great but not necessarily bad either).
Ughh … this make my face hurt. Do you think this decision was made in a cost-saving effort to save $183.47? It would have been incredibly easy to return the brick around the corner and have it terminate into the roof and avoid having siding altogether.
This make my face hurt and there is glass block involved, another of my favorites. How much do you want to bet that there is a shower behind that window? Oh, and FYI … that window is on the upper level of a house abutting the street. That means no neighbor 10 feet away. Did you have to use glass block? I can assure you that they aren’t French – the only people who seem to know how to use glass block without it sucking.
This is actually a nice house but it kills me that this Texas Chalk limestone and the stucco meet at an outside corner. This is the sort of detail that makes me cringe because it would have been so very easy to resolve. Sadness and pain … in my design face.
This is a total Dallas builder detail. It’s almost as though they are subscribing to the mentality of putting your money in the lobby. I actually like brick better than this chalk limestone that we see so much of here in Texas vernacular architecture. (Good luck to your dry cleaner should you brush up against chalky limestone, you will be covered in white dust.) This house is not better because there is stone on the front – not to mention it has the dreaded ‘tabs’ turning the corner as if that were any cleaner looking.
All of these conditions could have been avoided – easily, and the result would have been perceivable to almost everyone. While I know it is true that I notice things like materials changes at the corner whereas others may not, that doesn’t matter. These are the type of details that can make a regular project from being a great one. All these little gestures and details add up and it part of the reason the houses I design sell for a lot more than their builder home counterparts. Nuances matter.
When I was driving around looking for this condition, it was very easy to find. I did wonder if someone would call the cops on the guy slowly cruising the neighborhood and taking pictures of houses in the middle of the day – ’cause that seems like a totally normal I’m-casing-your-house-for-later type thing to do. I also am suffering a little bit of guilt for using pictures when it is possible that someone who reads this blog will recognize one of these homes – sorry, but at least I have already shown the faults of my own house, it was time to pick on someone else.
If you have any ideas or want to send along any topics you think would be appropriate for Residential Architecture 101, feel free to send me an email or leave word in the comment section below. Cheers.
PS – for more entries in the Residential Architecture 101 series, click here