Once Upon a Time

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Doug Petersen Photography

A good fairytale takes us on an adventure of the imagination, from its characters and locations to the castles they call home. Clients may not be building atop a mountain or deep in the forest, but they want to capture that elusive ‘happily ever after’ appeal.

The character-filled homes of children’s stories have architectural accents that make them quaint and memorable. They come with curved corbels and crafted flower boxes, creative doorways, and fanciful shutters. High-pitched roofs and gable detailing are common features to create a unique look.

Naturally, there is a fine balance of using detailing. In houses as in stories, details need to support – and not overwhelm – the theme.

Here are a few ideas to add some storybook style to any design:

Corbels. These detailed structural supports add beauty without necessarily adding excessive cost. Check with your local supplier for inexpensive pre-milled units.

Shutters. Shutters can be made by the siding company or finish carpenter with inexpensive materials. Add basic brackets or hardware to any typical shutter for extra charm.

Doug Petersen Photography

Chimneys. These can be a great way to bring something different to the table. While a true chimney is unnecessary with today’s advanced building practices, it will certainly bring a classic element and character into your design.

Roof pitches and lines. The higher the pitch, the more classic it becomes. Adding stacked or larger fascia boards can also give it an additional flare. Try using gable ends that hide the use of an enclosed soffit .

Doug Petersen Photography

Windows. Adding gridding to the glass is a very inexpensive feature that gives character. If the budget is really tight, just add it to the front of the home where guests see it most. Also, try using arched windows in accented areas flanked by a set of louvered shutters.

Doug Petersen Photography

Lighting.  Both inside and outside,  lighting should be coordinated to add that final touch to bring everything together. Use adequate proportions and be consistent in your selections.

Turning the page

Of course, the story you start telling on the exterior of the home must continue with interior finishes that create a cohesive theme. Buyers are enchanted by thought-out spaces and details; these spaces will also be the most memorable.

Look for unique spaces in your designs to create nooks and small playrooms that would otherwise be four walls and carpet. Grand entryways with tiered chandeliers and sconce-lined hallways bring these children’s books to life.

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Millwork details and layers of lighting throughout the main gathering areas of the home are a great way to add that storybook feel. Ceiling details are very popular today with vaults layered with shiplap or beams.

Doug Petersen Photography

The original article, written by Dan and Emily Clark, was published in the Fall 2017 issue of Best in American Living.

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