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Posts tagged ‘curb appeal’

Historic Curb Apeal: Taking Care of Your Tudor

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Tall gabled roofs, charming round top doors, leaded and beveled glass windows…. a Tudor style home is just bursting with inviting charm and curb appeal. The eclectic asymmetrical facades often feature brick or stucco and have winding approaches to their front doors that evoke the English country homes that inspire the style.

What does a Tudor home need to keep looking its best?

Here are 5 tips from Arciform Senior Designer Anne De Wolf for sprucing up your Tudor.


1. Safeguard your Stucco. The shallow overhangs and stucco exterior of many Tudors can lead to opportunities for the northwest’s rain to seep behind your facade. Keep a close eye out for weather damage on the stucco portions of your exterior and tackle any problems quickly before they get out of hand.

The good news: stucco can be repaired in small sections without needing to resurface your entire facade, making regular maintenance more affordable on Tudor homes.

copper awning

2.  Mix in Some Metal. Updating the entryway of a Tudor can be tricky- the style tends towards very small entry spaces with unusually shaped doors and very little covering from the elements. In order to add a bit of shelter without marring the traditional style, consider adding copper awnings over your doors and ground floor windows.



Wrought iron railings, sconces, lamp posts and edging can add additional design elements that will fit with the gothic inspirations of the Tudor style.

wrought iron


3. Dormer Delights. The high gabled roof of a Tudor home was originally designed to encourage the snow to slide off in northern climates. In the temperate northwest they have another advantage: plenty of space to add a dormer bedroom or office.

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Just two things to be aware of before you contemplate a dormer addition:

  • Your floor joists may be twisted. Because Tudors are often built as a series of small compartmentalized spaces, you may discover that the orientation of the floor joists can change from from floor to floor. The direction of the joists has a big impact on how the house will carry the weight of a new addition, so it is important to be sure you know which direction they run before your dormer addition is designed.
  • Framing designed for a ceiling may not be strong enough for a floor. Many Tudors have tall vaulted ceilings in their living rooms, with plenty of attic space above. However, ceiling joists are usually not built to withstand the same load as a floor, so creating a dormer above that vaulted living room may require more structural updates than your budget will allow.

Your designer will work with a structural engineer to be sure that the design of your new addition will take these important structural considerations into account.


4. Many Lites Make Lovely Windows. Thin, unusually shaped windows with many small panes of glass (called lites) are a hallmark feature of Tudor style. Beveled or leaded glass and diamond patterns are common.

What should you do when one of these iconic windows starts to leak or fail?

Our colleagues at Versatile Wood Products, a company that specializes in the restoration and historically accurate replacement of traditional windows and doors, recommend that you have a window expert do a site evaluation before you make any decisions about restoration or replacement. Options for restoration can include repairing broken lead elements, replacing rotting wood sash elements with new sash, or replacing the entire window with an exact replica. In some cases, adding an exterior custom storm window can lengthen the life of the window and increase its insulation value.

Be sure to explore all your options before you decide to rip out and replace with a modern window. A Tudor’s unusual window shapes can be a major factor in its curb appeal and resale value.


4. Instead of a Porch, Consider a Pavilion.

The shallow overhangs and high roof lines of a Tudor home don’t create many opportunities for integrated indoor/outdoor spaces like porches. Instead, consider creating a detached carport or pavilion that can double as an entertaining space when the weather is nice. A detached pavilion allows you a bit of flexibility on design to coordinate with the home without needing to exactly match design details. Just keep the framing simple and rustic to fit with the english country style of the home.

Want more good ideas for making your classic home the envy of the neighborhood?

Join us July 16th for a Historic Home How To Workshop at Old Portland and Architectural. Get the details and RSVP here.

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5 Steps to a Welcoming Entry

Halloween has come and gone and Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching.

Were your adorable pint-sized neighbors be delightfully spooked by the cobwebs that you artfully draped on your porch?

Or freaked out by the peeling, warped woodwork and the dripping awning you haven’t quite gotten around to repairing?


And has it occurred to you that your mother-in-law will be climbing your entry stairs come November with her arms full of holiday groceries and a laser-eye focused on your less-than-level front stoop?

Don’t they deserve a warmer welcome?

Here are 5 easy updates our Carpenter on Call Team can tackle for you to refresh your home’s entry:

1. Ditch the Drafty Door. Is your door sticking? Whistling? Warping? Tuning up the operation of your entry door can make a huge difference to your family’s comfort and the first impression your guests receive.

Easy Update: Replace your front door hardware and adjust your hinges to eliminate any sticking, squeaking or drafts.


While you are updating, why don’t you choose some period appropriate reproduction hardware to both improve function and add a bit of style?


Wow Factor: For a real facelift, replace your old door with a new custom entry system from Arciform’s sister company, Versatile Wood Products.

Arciform owner/designer Anne De Wolf recommends converting to a dutch door to let those elusive Portland summer breezes in (without letting the dogs out).


While you are updating, why not add a transom window above the door?


Or some sidelites to add  a bit of style?


2. Keep it Cozy. A comfortable guest is a happy guest.

How can you add to their comfort before they even make it through the door?


A simple built-in bench can add charm and provide a comfortable resting spot.


Have a bit more of a budget to spend? Protect your guests while they wait at your door by adding an awning over your entry.

3. Safety Check. An untimely slip on a wet front stoop can really wreck your family’s holiday spirit.

Now’s the time to make a few essential safety improvements.

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Repair and repaint iffy railings and steps to make them level, sturdy and slip resistant.

4. Pretty-Up Your Post. Make your postman smile every time they drop off the mail by matching your mail system to the style and era of your home.


A vintage mail slot cover could be just the thing…


Don’t have a mail slot? Arciform designer Kristyn Bester recommends adding a handsome wall-mounted mail box.


5. Accessorize. When you are at a party, the right accessory can really help you stand out from the crowd. The same is true of your entry. Here are a few sleek finishing touches to help your house stand out on the block.

Sparkling New House Numbers


A Charming Vintage Door Bell


A Flag Pole


Or follow the lead of one pair of recent Arciform clients who commissioned a custom-fabricated door knocker with their family name engraved on it…


But whatever you do, make it personal. Your entryway should reflect who you are and what you value.

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Arciform client Nancy Ranchel wants every guest to feel like they have arrived at a tropical island. Bright colors and clever integration of salvage materials put her guests into a festive frame of mind before they ever walk through the door.

However you choose to create a more welcoming first impression, Arciform’s Carpenter on Call Team will be happy to handle all the technical details . Email to get started on your own entry update and Happy Holidays from all of us at Arciform!

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