Colonial Home Exterior Design Features

By Todd Fratzel on Design, House Plans

Colonial Home Design

Recently a friend of ours shared a photo he took of our home last fall. I wanted to share it here and point out some of the design features of our colonial home. When it comes to two story homes the colonial style is by far the most cost effective type of home to build. Having said that, some people stray away because they feel the colonial style homes are too boxy. However, I think that if you spend some time on the details you can have a very attractive colonial style home. The following are some of the design features from our colonial home plans.

Farmers Porch

Farmers PorchThe farmers porch is probably the biggest design element that makes our home stand out from a typical “boxy” colonial house.  From the very beginning of the design process we included the farmers porch as a main architectural feature. Our new porch features Cambara decking, vinyl railings and posts, vinyl beadboard ceilings, and a PVC lattice porch skirt. We especially like sitting on the porch on a warm summer night in our rocking chairs while the kids play on the front lawn.

Read more about porch railings and how they can add some serious curb appeal to your front porch.


Copper Cupola with FinialThe cupola on our garage was something that I’ve seen before on houses that another builder did as his signature and we really liked how it looked. Cupolas have become very popular again and it’s understandable why. Our cupola was constructed out of cedar and copper. The lower portion is constructed from cedar and painted to match the house while the roof and finial are made from copper. Today the copper is a dark green, almost black color and it’s the perfect “topper” for our beautiful home.

Gable Eye Brows

Another architectural feature that we used to dress up the house were gable eye brows on the main roof and farmers porch roof. The eye brow gables didn’t add much cost to the project because they were just over-builds on top of the structural trusses. However, as you can see they really help break up the roof lines and add to the overall appearance nicely.

Mixing Siding Types

Vinyl Siding on Colonial GarageAnother detail that we incorporated was mixing two different siding types into the house design. As you can see in this photo the gables of the house have vinyl shake siding while the remainder of the house uses vinyl lap siding. The use of different textures and styles really helped add character to our home and also some architectural features that have been lost over the years. One of the best compliments we’ve ever received about the house is several folks didn’t realize our house has vinyl siding products. The reality is you can do a VERY nice job with vinyl if you buy good quality products and nice details.

Exterior Trim Details

The final detail that I’d like to mention are the exterior trim details. Many people today throw up houses as cheap as possible without considering the architectural appeal of the home. Obviously the budget is an important factor but spending a little on some nice trim details can set your home apart from your neighbors.

As  you can see in the photos we chose to install several details that seem to be lost in today’s construction. We included a water table at the bottom of the walls, frieze boards along the gables and side walls, wide corners and nice trim around the windows and doors. These details are another reason that folks don’t seem to recognize that our home has vinyl siding.

Final Thoughts

We really enjoyed designing our own home and building it. If you take the time to carefully consider the exterior details of your new home there’s no doubt that you’ll end up with a beautiful home too! I hope this article will help some of you with some nice details for your new colonial style home.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. This is such a beautiful home. It’s elegant and still simple and inviting.

    We visited Mt. Vernon and surrounding areas a few years ago (before building our last house) and I just fell in love with colonial style and the georgian version, too. And I love cupolas. I’ve even blogged about them. :) Can’t figure out how to include one on a craftsman home, but maybe I can throw one on a gazebo or something.

  2. Nicole says:

    What a beautiful home! It’s refreshing to see old-world charm survive AND thrive in modern construction.

  3. Bob says:

    Your home looks great. I found this while searching for different ways to trim our colonial-type home. I am about to replace the windows and am choosing to do a full tear-out, rather than pocket replacement. Since I have to remove some vinyl siding I am taking the time to trim out as much of the front of the exterior as possible.

    For the corners, did you use standard vinyl corner pieces with integrated j-channel or another method?

    • Todd says:

      Bob – Thanks for the compliment. The corners are a large white vinyl colonial corner with integrated j-channel. The windows and doors all have PVC trim with integrated j-channel.

  4. Carol says:

    You have a beautiful home! I especially like the colors you have chosen. Would you mind sharing the color names and manufacture?

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Carol – The house is actually vinyl siding. It’s CertainTeed Monogram 46 siding, I’m not sure they make the color anymore. The trim is all white, and I honestly have no idea what the red on the doors is as we don’t have the paint anymore. Good luck!

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