Some many elements of our homes today are not real. Fake, faux, pretend. It’s a big illusion to make homes today look like the real McCoy of yesteryear. Why have shutters that actually function or balconies that can fit a human when we have pretend little versions of the real thing for cheap.
These faux houses have driven me crazy enough that I decided it was time to lay out the five things that absolutely drive me nuts about these fake homes struggling to make themselves look like the real deal.
If I see one more shutter glued to the side of a house that is too small for the window it’s meant for I may loose it. That means that my next trip to the suburbs will likely be fraught with freak outs.
Let me make it simple. Shutters must do only two things:
- Open and close
- Fit the window
If you can’t manage to install shutters that accomplish those two things then you are missing the point of having shutters and shouldn’t buy any. For more of my shutter angst check out this post!
#2 Balconies & Porches
What’s the purpose of a balcony or porch? No, it’s not to dress up and adorn the outside of your house. Tell me, if you have a balcony that can’t fit a single person is it really a balcony at all? How about a porch that doesn’t provide enough space for people to gather?
Architecturally speaking there is a general rule that a porch should be at a bare minimum 6′ deep, but actually 8′ deep or more is what makes it truly functional. Once you put furniture on these faux porches that are 4, 5, or even 6′ deep the space is completely consumed and leaves no room for anything else like, say…I don’t know…people!
Do us a favor builders and residential architects, leave room for us people on our porches.
#3 Voids & Masses
This is an architectural term for the way buildings are laid out on the exterior. Walls are masses and windows and doors are voids. The voids serve to break up the visual monotony of the mass of the structure and create visual interest.
Sadly most builders have forgotten this and only add voids to serve the interior needs of the floor plan which has no relationship to the exterior design. The fronts of most suburban homes are proportioned decently enough but the sides and back are usually as awful as architectural design gets.
#4 Gable Vents
This silly little thing drives me nuts. Gable vents were installed in older homes to allow ventilation into the attic. It allows air to pass in one gable end and out the other, thus keeping the attic cooler.
Most homes today use roof vents combined with soffit vents to ventilate the attic and these gable vents have fallen out of use. So, what do builders do to break up the massing of the gable ends? They slap a fake gable vent on the wall. Nice. Nothing better than spending time and money on a peel and stick vent.
Where do I even start about the myriad of replacement aka “fake” windows on the market today? Some work some don’t. Some are expensive some are cheap. But all are ugly!
If you have original windows save them! If you are building new construction then at least use high quality windows that have some dimension and depth to them instead of the two-dimensional cheap builder grade pieces of junk most homes get as an after thought.
Hint: If your muntins are peel and stick or little pieces of plastic between the glass then I’m talking about you.
Founder & Senior Editor
I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.