A contemporary awakening takes hold of home exterior design

Transitional Tudor home by the Ginn Group featuring James Hardie siding

Transitional Tudor home by the Ginn Group, featuring Hardie Textured Panels.

As Millennial home buyers move away from traditional styles, AIA partner James Hardie looks at how three Northwest design/build firms used cladding to modernize classic styles.

Millennial homebuyers are craving fresh looks for their home exteriors, which is leading creative designers and builders to take advantage of innovative cladding products to deliver knockout style.

This trend is particularly visible in the Pacific Northwest, where it’s increasingly frequent to see modern and contemporary takes on more traditional styles dotting the streetscapes.

“We’re definitely going in a more contemporary direction, especially in the Northwest,” said Dave Spiekerman, director of design for the Ginn Group. “Our younger clients are fairly sophisticated with their tastes, and they aren’t interested in traditional. That look is not working for the market. We’ve shifted from traditional to much more contemporary.”

Here’s how three design/build firms infused modern and contemporary flair into recent projects.

Modernizing traditional form on a transitional Tudor

For this transitional Tudor home, which is also pictured above, the Ginn Group made specific exterior choices that enhanced the contemporary flavor of the entire elevation.

The home features Hardie Textured Panels, a new integrated exteriors solution of panels and trims that provides streamlined looks, architectural lines, and textures in a durable building material. The panels gave Spiekerman the ability to streamline the design by eliminating wrap around windows and bulky edge trim, while adding striking architectural lines throughout the elevation. The results are cleaner, smoother lines with a more angular look that pairs well with the familiar feel of the stone elements.

“The forms and the massing are very traditional,” Spiekerman said. “What we decided to clad the home with made a difference whether it was full-on traditional or something more transitional. We decided to take it in a more modern and contemporary look.”

The result is a home that not only looks beautiful, but adds value the neighborhood, said John Lance, director of construction for the Ginn Group. It sits in between a soon-to-be-built ultra-modern home and a traditional one that primarily features lap siding.

“It created a nice marriage in between the two spaces,” Lance said. “We’re moving away from traditional lines and looking for how we get more modern twists and flair to our designs — more monolithic in style and a cleaner slab look. The Hardie Textured Panels definitely help us get there.”

Reducing visual weight on a Scandinavian-inspired farmhouse

The final form of this project by Anlon Custom Homes looks nothing like the original plans, thanks to deliberate cladding choices by the design team and pointed direction from the homebuyers.

“The original home design had lap siding, but the homeowners were open to a more unique look,” said Scott Bowles, vice president of operations for Anlon Custom Homes. “The home design lent itself to this look, and the homeowners wanted a more modern feel.”

The style is akin to a modern farmhouse; however, Anlon chose to go sleeker and simpler with the exterior lines. It channels Scandinavian aesthetics, as opposed to the heavier features of the American farmhouse style.

“It’s more of a fresh look on what we’re seeing,” said Anlon Custom Homes President Michael Harn. “People definitely want something different. It’s been a common conversation that we’ve been having with clients.”

To achieve their vision, they used Hardie Textured Panels to reduce visual exterior weight, streamline the design, and add texture. They also incorporated a flat-roof extension to the front of the house to boost the contemporary feel.

“Where before you might have put board-and-batten above lap siding, you can use these panels to incorporate that look without making it look as heavy as board-and-batten does,” Bowles said. “It gives a different texture and feel to the house.”

He added: “The only thing we did differently was add trim around the windows. But then we went with no corners to create those clean lines everywhere.”

Highlighting texture with a monochrome palette

John Colgate, founder of Vancouver-based Affinity Homes, constantly searches for new techniques to push the creative and design envelope for homes in his region.

“Anything we do right now, it’s a hybrid of styles,” Colgate said. “Once we’ve defined the lines and architecture of the house, we start analyzing the cladding.”

However, the Pacific Northwest climate has limited Colgate’s options when it comes to exterior materials.

When Colgate was approached by clients who gravitated toward the Colonial house style and Southern architecture, he relied on exterior textures and a monochrome color scheme to realize the modern-fusion design they had in mind.

“There’s a lot going on outside of this house. It felt like if we did too much with the color that it would start to feel chaotic,” Colgate said. “We combined the Hardie Textured Panels with smooth trim pieces and were careful with the textures, lines, and how everything terminates together to create a feeling that you notice without realizing it. That’s the value of the builder and design team putting extra thought into how everything comes together.”

Discover the entire range of new Hardie Textured Panels by visiting jameshardie.com.

AIA does not sponsor or endorse any enterprise, whether public or private, operated for profit. Further, no AIA officer, director, committee member, or employee, or any of its component organizations in his or her official capacity, is permitted to approve, sponsor, endorse, or do anything that may be deemed or construed to be an approval, sponsorship, or endorsement of any material of construction or any method or manner of handling, using, distributing, or dealing in any material or product.

Image credits

Transitional Tudor home by the Ginn Group featuring James Hardie siding

James Hardie

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