Architects Have Great Tools - Exterior Color Studies

At Ron Brenner Architects we have been working on a series of color studies for a client of ours.
I have included a number of the studies below.  The client has selected a medium gray for the base body color; however I also did a couple of non-gray variations.  The black roof is a given on all schemes.  Which one would you choose?
scheme 1 - all white horizontal clapboard siding

scheme 2 - gray board and batten siding, rusty corrugated metal inside porch and in 'link" area

scheme 3 - dark gray board and batten body color with white clapboard inside the porch and in link area

scheme 4 - gray board and batten body color with dark plum inside the porch and in the link area

scheme 5 - gray board and batten body color with white clapboard inside the porch and in the link area

scheme 6 - gray board and batten body color with dark gray shakes inside the porch and  in the link area

scheme 7 - gray board and batten body color with white shakes inside the porch and in the link area

Warm Air Rises

I received a question the other day pertaining to the image below.
"How much does it cost to heat a space like this?"
Great room view looking across dining, kitchen and living room.  The house plan can be purchased through Simply Elegant Home Designs at Hudson Simple Cottage House Plan   

Unfortunately there is no good way to answer this question.  There are simply too many variables involved; however I can give you one big generality.  Warm Air Rises and Cool Air Sinks - In the image above warm air will tend to rise towards the peak of the vaulted space.  Therefore, in warm climate regions high ceilings tend to be sought after because you don't want the heat near your body.  Conversely, in cold climate regions ceilings tend to be lower where you want to contain as much of the warmth as possible.

Warm Air Rises - Is one of the basic rules you should consider when designing an energy efficient house.  To me energy efficiency is the most important aspect to Green Design.  For more of my Green Design thoughts you might check out the following:
keep it simple 
top 10 green things to do


happy thanksgiving
from simply elegant home designs

cape cod with diamond shingles

I had an inquiry yesterday about the pattern shown in the upper portion of the gables in this house.  This home is a cape cod inspired design by ron brenner architects.

The entire house is clad in cedar shingles.  We used a semi-solid wood stain made by Cabot.  Sorry - I don't remember the specific color.  The grey shingles are contrasted with the linen colored trim and columns.

The diamond pattern is also created from cedar shingles with a custom cut.  This is a bit labor intensive, but provides a large design impact.  You can create many types of patterns using this technique, but I believe the diamond weave is elegant while remaining understated.  Note that I also projected the upper gable outwards to create a shadow line and provide a protective overhang for the windows.
This house plan is available for purchase at

Houzz on Fire!

I was recently at the "Capture, Communicate, Create" event at the W Hotel in Minneapolis where Liza Hausman from Houzz was the featured guest.  If you have never heard of Houzz you should probably check it out.

Houzz is quickly becoming a leading destination site for home design enthusiasts.  It features over 200,000 high quality interior and exterior photos that have been uploaded by the original designers.  This makes Houzz the Internet's largest database of design and decorating ideas.

Houzz has a number of features for homeowners, but I think the coolest is that you can create your own ideabooks.  It's the modern day version of the old "cut and paste scrapbook" from magazines. Preparing to build a new home or take on a major remodeling?  Create an ideabook and share it with your Architect. In my own practice I love ideabooks because it helps me to understand my clients tastes and preferences. With this information I can design something new and fresh, but in a vein I know my client will love.

So do check it out.  You can view the Ron Brenner Architects Houzz page at  

And please don't forget to like us!

traditional yet contemporary home design

Over at ron brenner architects I am doing some design work for new clients of mine.  They are looking for a home that blends the contemporary with the traditional; something that is both yesterday and today.  I presented the following three concepts.

A double gable scheme.  This form being familiar without being common.  

Shed on shed scheme.  Here I utilized a classic saltbox colonial roof form; blended with a more contemporary arrangement of windows and use of color.

Gable on saltbox scheme.  The full front gable is an unusual variation.  Side bumpout and "link" between house and garage is clad with metal

My clients were very happy with the alternatives.  In my next article I'll show you which scheme they chose; along with the developments we have made since then.

Which scheme do you prefer?