Dear Debbie: We have a two-car garage attached to our house and would like to know about painting and color so that it adds some character to the front of the house. Should it match the front door? We have columns flanking our entranceway. - Thomas
Dear Thomas: The space that a garage door takes up at the front of a house is often large, and yet we don't think much about how it looks. Instead, we focus on the front door. While the entryway is a key feature, the entire front face of the house should be taken into consideration when planning exterior decor. It should all look welcoming and connected.
Often the garage is positioned forward of the entrance, making it a major focal point. One solution is to add some architectural detailing to the garage face. You can frame it with weather-resistant urethane molding or PVC trim. Choose details that match the home's architecture to fill out a unified picture. Pilasters that stand vertically to frame the front door can be added to the garage entranceway. Or run a crosshead along the top of the garage with a keystone decorative element placed in the center - also a good place for the house number, as it is visible from the street.
Shown here over the garage door is a trellis system by Fypon, www.fypon.com. It creates a visually pleasing frame that enhances the exterior view. Both urethane and PVC trims are resistant to moisture, insects and rotting, peeling and crumbling, making them a long-lasting, low-maintenance choice.
Plan exterior lighting choices that relate to the building's architecture.
Lanterns flanking the garage, along the pathway and beside the front door are essential for safety, and also project a cohesive image that is traditional and inviting.
For those with a home that could use added detail, why not try window shutters? They can be painted in a contrasting color, along with trimwork. You also can add a fresh color and texture when the roof requires replacing. Look for the newest roofing materials that have long-lasting appeal.
The front door itself can be transformed with new hardware, or replaced with a door that has inset windows or raised panels. A mix of materials has been used on the home shown here, with stone surrounding the front entrance.
The land in front of the house is also an essential part of the view. Whether you opt for a lawn or garden or a low-maintenance ground cover, make sure that you can keep it up. Flowers and greenery planted in an urn don't need weeding, a true time-saver. A stone pathway lined with wildflowers or a low hedge is magical, and draws the eye toward the entrance.
House to Home is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.