In the building business, a modern colonial home is called five over four and a door. The simple façade has five windows on the second floor and four windows on the first floor with a door in the center on a flat elevation. Many of these homes were built in the 1970s and ‘80s.
Brick or sided ranchers and cape cods, many built after WWII around the automobile, offered affordable housing financed through the GI Bill, also have simple facades and most are simple and offer little curb appeal.
As neighborhoods and homes age, according to Bill Frazier, Frazier Associates Architects, during Saturday’s “Chesterfield Empowering Neighborhoods Forum,” there are ways to spruce up your curb appeal adding long range neighborhood charm.
“One-third of the houses in Chesterfield were built before 1971,” said Mr. Frazier. “Fifty-two thousand are older than 30 years and 8,000 are under 1,500 square feet.”
According to a description on www.chesterfieldcommunities.com, where residents can pick up a copy of the guide, “It is essential to maintain the economic, social and physical health of Chesterfield County neighborhoods, particularly as they age. [The guide] is geared to homeowners, prospective purchasers of homes, neighborhood leaders, realtors, contractors, home improvement retailers, and others. Use this Guide to revitalize Chesterfield.”
About 60 Chesterfield residents, including many representatives of home owners associations (HOA) or community associations, attended taking notes to bring back to their members.
“Our homes are our biggest investment,” Mr. Frazier said. “Modernizing your home increases the value of your home and increases the county’s tax base.”
Frazier provided designs to upgrade older homes through “Chesterfield’s Home Modernization Guide,” a project of Chesterfield’s Sustain Our Communities Committee, (SOCC).
Approximately 1,500 pages in length, the guide, in part, provides options that are inexpensive and extravagant. It offers ideas for adding a room or two, and the addition of insulation upgrades providing better energy efficiency. Frazier said windows that have storm windows can be as efficient as double pain windows, so you may not need to buy replacement windows.
“How can we adapt these older homes and enhance curb appeal?” Frazier said. The guide book poses the question: “what is curb appeal? You only have one chance to make a first impression. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve looked at your house like a perspective homebuyer. Whether you’re looking to stay in your house or not, there are numerous low, medium and higher cost options to refresh the exterior appearance of your home. The next five chapters in the guide show makeovers of mid-century houses in the county that fit any budget. You can start small and build upon previous improvements as financial resources become available.”
The guide book lays out some of the improvements in four price levels:
Level 1: New hardware, new mailbox, lights, house numbers, new storm door, container plants, refreshed planting beds, foundation plants, painting existing shutters.
Level 2: Add new shutters, trim, add arbor or fence, new planting bed, new gutters/downspouts, stain steps/stoop, new railings and posts, enhance outdoor lighting or add window boxes.
Level 3: Add covered entry/portico, repair/resurface driveway, add or change walkway.
Level 4: Replace siding/trim, repaint, or add front porch or increase size of window openings.
Improvement of one home will add to the value of the neighborhood by the improvement affecting neighbors and they may also pay attention to their own curb appeal. The neighborhood wins.