Two sisters are helping homeowners transform their current house into the home of their dreams with digital exterior makeovers.
Sisters Allison Vaccaro and Cassie McDowell leveraged their lifelong passion for design by starting brick&batten, an exterior design firm that helps homeowners see the “after” of their project “before” the transformation takes place using digital technology and a knack for creating instant curb appeal. Everyone loves a good “before-and-after” home transformation, and these two are masters of the home makeover.
It works like this: customers send in a photo of their existing house or a copy of the blueprint for their future home. Next, they fill out a survey which pulls together and clarifies the preferences and aspirations of their upcoming project. Based on the survey, the designers at brick&batten create a realistic Photoshop rendering of the façade in all its reimagined glory. They also include a detailed shopping list of the building materials needed to execute the plan, including windows and doors.
“At brick&batten, we believe everyone deserves a beautiful home,” McDowell says. “Our exterior virtual design package can help people visualize the look they’ve been dreaming about before they take the plunge.”
“Our brick&batten clients are looking for cost effective solutions that increase curb appeal,” Vaccaro says. “Improving windows and doors can have a huge positive impact and can be a great way to maximize return on investment.”
In addition to enhancing the aesthetics, windows and doors can improve the way homeowners interact with their home. Creating larger window openings floods interior spaces with healthy light and improves the connection to the outdoors. Adding transoms and sidelights around the front door establishes a warm and welcoming entryway experience.
When choosing new windows, even a seemingly small architectural element like a divided light pattern can have a significant effect on the overall character of a home’s façade.
“Your architectural style will usually determine which grille pattern to use,” McDowell says. “For example: on a traditional Colonial it’s common to see a Double hung window with a busier grille pattern that has nine panes on both the upper and lower sash. Windows on a craftsman or bungalow may have a grille pattern on the top sash while the bottom sash is clear. Many mid-century modern homes have huge glass windows with very little in terms of divided lights. When in doubt, go simple.”
Sometimes, simply changing the color of windows and doors can have an enormous overall effect. In the past, homeowners often had two color choices—white or beige—but that’s certainly not the case now. The Marvin Ultimate line of windows and doors has 19 low maintenance exterior colors to choose from and has custom color options to match any design plan. And, any given door or window doesn’t even need to be the same color. Mixing and matching finishes has become a popular design trend.
The size, shape, color, and how a window interacts with the other design elements of a home are all important factors, but choosing the form of a window cannot be made without considering how it functions.
“When we include a window in our designs, we think about how it’s going to work for the client,” Vaccaro says. “If capturing a breeze is important, casement windows may be the best choice. If a window opens onto a patio or walkway where someone might bump into it, then a glider might make more sense. The fact that it’s easy to clean both sides of the glass on a double hung window could be a deciding feature when choosing windows for a two- or three-story home.”
Whenever possible Vaccaro, McDowell and the other designers at brick&batten prefer to spec Marvin products.
“Marvin’s window selection is unmatched,” McDowell says. “You can essentially create any type of window, for any purpose, in any environment, not to mention the options for interior and exterior finishes, the material the window is made from, and the different hardware and glass choices, all at different price points. The options are limitless!”
Photos courtesy brick&batten.