Designers’ Favorite Exterior Details
Vaccaro, Luce, and Sharff each discussed the importance of translating this modern look for a variety of architectural styles by selecting high-quality exterior materials that offer versatility, variety, and simplicity:
Versatility: “Styles are all influenced by history,” says Luce. “When you use vertical boards, or board and batten, almost any style feels modern.”
Variety: “One of the things we’re trying to explore with clients is using a variety of materials on the facade,” says Sharff. “In addition to roof line and fenestration patterns, we’re also changing materials.” For a recent project, Sharff selected white clapboard for the main home, and a weathered-looking gray siding for the garage.
Simplicity: “When people want very clean, very simple, streamlined design, everything should have a function,” says Vaccaro. “You shouldn’t have shutters unless they work and actually cover the window.”
Customers’ Favorite Exterior Details
Homeowners have been requesting exterior materials that not only have modern style but also align with their lifestyle—including saving time on home maintenance, embracing their individuality, and spending more time outdoors:
Low maintenance: “A lot of people are asking for low-maintenance materials that perform aesthetically and come as close as possible to looking like real wood,” Sharff says, citing fiber cement siding as a customer favorite. James Hardie’s Artisan® siding and trim, for example, elevate the aesthetic of traditional wood siding to bring authenticity to any home with lower maintenance.
Individuality: Luce says that his recent residential clients “don’t want to live in a community that’s all vanilla. They want more diversity in the style, color, and playfulness of the overall design.” Even in neighborhoods that spec a common exterior material, such as siding, designers can leverage a variety of colors and profiles so that homes are unique—but also tasteful and upscale. Including a reverse board and batten effect with Artisan Square Channel siding by James Hardie allows architects like Luce to craft one-of-a-kind homes by integrating contrasting elements and installation techniques.
Features that bring the outdoors in: “People want to get back to nature,” says Vaccaro. For Brick & Batten’s homeowners, that has meant deeper front porches, bigger windows, and large sliding glass doors.
As for where design trends are headed next, the designers we spoke to predict that exteriors will continue to get simpler—and there will be more focus on quality:
“It’s hard to predict, but I think [exteriors] will continue to get more and more simple—and away from all the extras,” says Vaccaro.
“A more modern approach, and a more modern vocabulary, is starting to emerge,” says Sharff.
“Trends all pull from history,” says Luce. In the end, a style’s lasting power “comes down to the technology and production—how much a product is worth.”