What to Do with a Severely Plain House-front - Adding a Porch - A Pergola - Improving

Ugly Windows - Casements - French Windows - Verandahs

"There are few houses which cannot be improved, either in convenience or appearance, or both. Although there may be but little inducement to the tenant on a yearly or three-year agreement to spend money for the ultimate benefit of the landlord, in certain cases it may be worth while to lay out a moderate sum for the immediate benefits to be derived therefrom, particularly when one has secured a house lowly rented on account of some obvious shortcomings. When the house is owned by the occupant the question takes on a different aspect. Every improvement that can be made is worth making, not only because it tends to greater comfort or better appearance, but also because it increases the value of the house for letting or selling, if occasion for either should arise.

Fig. 1. A small house of unattractive exterior, yet capable of considerable improvement in appearance at moderate cost

Fig. 1. A small house of unattractive exterior, yet capable of considerable improvement in appearance at moderate cost

Each particular house presents its own set of problems, and any effort to effect improvements will arise out of some existing features or the absence of them.

One not infrequently finds an admirably planned house, replete with every convenience one could desire, wedded to a most unattractive exterior. The plain brick or, possibly, cemented front is unrelieved by any projecting structure, and cries aloud for better treatment.

On the other hand, the fault may arise from errors in taste on the part of the architect or builder, taking the form of tawdry ornament.

In the latter of these two cases the tenant, if not also the owner, will probably elect to leave bad alone, unless he can induce the landlord to co-operate with him in removing the offending features.

The severely plain house-front is the more hopeful problem.

At quite moderate cost a pretty porch may be added, and that alone will go a long way to redeem the commonplace character of the elevation.

A further expenditure of a few pounds will provide a bay window in place of those two uninteresting oblong windows that light the front room.

A coat of "rough-cast" will complete the transformation.

The example illustrated shows at a glance the value of these suggestions applied to a house of moderate size, such as one finds in some suburban districts. The total cost of the additions would probably not reach

50Should so large an expenditure be considered undesirable, then there are still ways and means of effecting an improvement. The porch may be a less pretentious structure of lattice framed in woodwork, with a shingle, heather thatch, or oak weather-boarding roof.

A small house

Fig. 2. A coat of rough cast, the addition of a porch, and a bay window will entirely redeem the commonplace character of

Fig. 2. A coat of rough-cast, the addition of a porch, and a bay window will entirely redeem the commonplace character of

On such a porch, costing some two or three pounds if made and erected by the local carpenter, and less if constructed by a neat-handed amateur, a climbing rose or other flowering plant may be grown with good effect, as may be seen in rural districts.

The Sense of Privacy

Again, anything which tends to give a sense of privacy about the entrance is welcome. A simple suggestion may be afforded by an idea recently carried out by the writer. It consists of a square enclosure formed by hedging - say privet or box - ultimately to be trained into arches at the points where the three breaks are shown. The small enclosed rectangle is gravelled. Apart from the privacy of this arrangement, the presence of the evergreens about the front entrance has at all seasons a cheery effect as seen from the roadway.

Another plan is to make a pergola of rough unbarked timber spanning the entrance path and joining the porch, if the latter exists. In the absence of a porch, the pergola becomes a fitting substitute.

Moreover, one must not overlook the decorative value of climbing plants. Many an ugly house is beautified by an overcoat of ivy, Virginia creeper, or other rambling growth, and, incidentally, is rendered drier and warmer; for, be it understood, in spite of popular belief to the contrary, these climbing plants do not retain the damp. A little observation will show that the leaves all stand at such an angle that the rain is thrown off in a direction away from the wall.

Houses which rise bare and bleak from an expanse of gravel may be greatly improved by growing flowering shrubs and tall, hardy flowers along the base of the front wall, thereby concealing the angle between the wall and the ground, and blending house and garden together.

Sometimes it occurs that an otherwise excellent house - front is marred by ugly windows.

The ordinary sash windows , when glazed with large panes, are cold and cheerless. Some improvement may be effected by substituting plate glass, but even then the window is devoid of any special attractions when seen from outside.

Formed by hedging, and the enclosed rectangle thus formed is gravelled. The

Fig. 3. How privacy of approach may be secured

Fig. 3. How privacy of approach may be secured. A square enclosure is evergreens can be trained into arches at the three breaks, if desired

The householder, at quite moderate cost, however, may have the sashes provided with additional glazing bars, so as to subdivide the glazing into smaller squares in some such pattern as indicated in the illustration.