With respect to great flow and room design, elevations are why homes sell. More than a pretty face, curb appeal is your first chance to engage the buyer’s imagination. No matter how well your floor plan lives, they’ll never see it if you don’t get them to walk through the door.

Stay with me, because this is more than just a boola-boola cheer for good design. Recently, our firm did a survey about what men and women in all age groups wanted most in a house. Curb appeal was tops, right after a great kitchen and family living space. Also, curb appeal matters as much for men as for women, and it cuts across all age groups.


Too Much Garage Kills Curb Appeal:
With too much "forehead" (the Frankenstein effect), the garage dominates. The elevation doesn't look very welcoming, and that's a deterrent to buyers.
PHOTO:Anne Postle

A front-loaded garage can detract from curb appeal. Yet sometimes the garage must be built to project beyond the front of the house. With thought, this can be done well.

In the first rendering, there’s a vast space above the garage door. The garage overpowers. Reducing this effect is pretty simple. First, lower the plate height. This minimizes the “Frankenstein” effect and allows the porch to compete for attention. Next, add some detail to that big “forehead” with a vent and bracket in the gable end, and small, shuttered windows centered above the garage door.


Good Facelift:
By lowering the overall bearing height and by adding some detail, the vast space above the door was filled, improving upon the garage—and the entire elevation. The "forehead" effect is gone.
PHOTO: Anne Postle

To make the elevation even more solid, we beefed up the porch columns, adjusted the shutters so they fit the size of the window, and added a trim band above the brick on the lower half of the elevation. The garage has now been minimized, with more attention paid to the detailing of the elevation. Yes, these revisions are Band-Aid solutions to a garage dominant-house—but they’re a start. They tell buyers that the house is more than a place to store the car.