Four exterior home design trends to watch for in 2020?quality=70&width=1500

Four exterior home design trends to watch for in 2020

By Bevin Theodore / 3/11/2020

Residential architectural styles are limited only by the imaginations of homeowners and architects. While certain designs can have a regional association — Spanish colonials in California, rambling front porches in the South, cozy Cape Cods in the Northeast — there are some exterior design trends that are popular regardless of location.

There’s no denying the past few years have seen the rise of the modern farmhouse. And while designers and builders are still getting requests for this style, they are starting to see a shift toward transitional housing.

Clean Lines, Simple Designs Reign

Victoria Hawes, certified green professional and certified graduate builder with Jamestown Estate Homes in Houston, finds clients want simple designs that are contemporary, resulting in the growing popularity of modern Tudors.

“It’s more of a shift toward clean lines and large windows, good integration between indoors and outdoors,” she says. “People are less looking for the French country style that was so very popular … with the stucco and stone and shutters.”

Todd Wilson, principal of Wilson Design & Construction in Valdosta, Georgia, says the transitional style lends itself nicely to blending exterior materials.

“Transitional design takes its cues from traditional architecture and then blends it with more modern or contemporary design elements including materials,” he notes. “When done well, these modern elements come together in new and exciting ways.”

Exterior Design Features are Ever-Evolving

Today’s transitional design trends, Wilson says, are “living styles” that are more fluid than traditional designs, allowing designers the opportunity to integrate exterior details in creative ways.

“We love to incorporate mitered corners in our siding, a detail we’ve been using with the Aspyre Collection by James Hardie. And we’re excited to be using the Artisan Shiplap siding on our new design center,” Hawes says. “People also like to have a little bit of variety even if the color is the same. It just creates visual interest.”

Wilson says what were once considered Southern trends are spilling over to other parts of the country. Whether in magazines or on Pinterest or Instagram, he is seeing more people drawn to “large porches and other architectural elements that are so prevalent in the South.”

“I’m struck by how special our Southern style remains when I see it added to so much new design, including in areas of the country where this style is not necessarily part of a region’s traditional vernacular,” he says.

A Focus on Sustainability and Durability

Hawes says homeowners are becoming more efficient with home sizes and materials.

“Sustainability is a huge thing, and people are trying to be more efficient with how they spend their money and what they want their footprint on the earth to be,” she says.

Hawes says customers are drawn to James Hardie products because they are built to last and perform in all geographic regions. For example, in Houston, where small city lots and humid conditions can be prohibitive to some traditional materials. She also has a client who wants a modern look but is against stucco, so she will use the Reveal Panel System, part of The Aspyre Collection by James Hardie, to achieve the design.

Wilson also uses Aspyre products often because the profile allows him to create special details.

“Aspyre lends itself to so many different styles from transitional to mountain cottage,” he said. “And we all know it’s perfect for the modern farmhouse.”

Modern Farmhouse is Here to Stay

Wilson, who licensed his “Whiteside Farm” design to Southern Living magazine and was named its custom builder of the year in 2018, is seeing more clients who are interested in a modern farmhouse but that want to incorporate additional details such as gabled dormers, porch railings, and white windows rather than black.

“I personally think that the farmhouse style, or modern farmhouse style, is here to stay,” he says. “But I do think we’re going to see folks get more creative.”

Hawes likes that modern farmhouse, while rooted in traditional design, allows for pushing limits.

“Modern farmhouse is appealing because, frankly, it doesn’t mean anything,” she says. “When you talk about a Craftsman home or a modern home or any traditional style of architecture, there are rules that you have to follow. And the farmhouse trend is amazing because it’s evolving, and there aren’t rules, and it’s kind of one of those things where you know it’s right when you see it.”

Modern farmhouse also works with all budgets.

“The farmhouse style really appeals to all price points, whether it’s your entry market all the way up to multi-million-dollar homes,” Hawes says.

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