Architectural Inspiration: Guest Parking

Over the last couple of weeks we've covered a variety of exterior architectural elements: the porte cochere, the portico, the wing wall, and the courtyard.  All of which we are considering as additions to our front facade, in order to boost curb appeal and add a touch of European charm to our home. 

Just when you think we couldn't possibly add anything else to the mix, we've come up with another idea: a guest parking forecourt. You see, we have the straight shot driveway. Inevitably, someone will stop by and park right in the middle of the driveway, essentially trapping any other cars from coming or going. Obviously, this is pretty low on the scale in terms of issues, but it's something we'd like to why not now?

Surprisingly, I haven't been able to find a lot of solutions for smaller scale homes, but I have found quite a few options on the other end of the spectrum. 

Did you see the double drive with the grand parking forecourt in the first image? Now that's a problem solver if you've got space to spare, which we don't. Moving right along.

I could see a modified version of the above image, scaled down to fit a smaller lot. I like how the parking spots are defined and separated from the walkway, allowing the walkway to maintain it's own presence.

This option tucks the guest parking to the side of the house. I love the mix of materials, gravel and pavers. I also like how it looks like an extension of the driveway, like you could pull in to park or keep driving on to the garage. That would fit our needs perfectly. 

Here we are again with the side parking connected to the front walkway. It definitely works, but seems like a lot of driveway. I'd like to see a mix of materials to break it up a bit. 

One idea I came across during my research was the use of Turfstone, essentially a concrete grid that can be filled with dirt and planted with grass or ground cover. 

Now that's a cool looking driveway and would be a great option for a seldom used guest parking spot.

Another thought would be to add a wider apron to the base of the driveway to incorporate guest parking. It's not a forecourt, per say, but does have a certain presence and feel of grandeur similar to a standard forecourt.

Well, I may have gone a little off course with this, but you get the idea. We need guest parking and we need an idea of where to put it. Anyone else in the same boat? I'd love to hear your ideas and/or solutions.

until next time,

Architectural Inspiration: The Courtyard

Have you ever had one of those ideas that just kinda happens and you have no idea how or why, but as soon as the thought hits your head and/or leaves your mouth, you become obsessed. Well, that's what happened to me the other day when I was brainstorming ideas to add more European charm to our slightly French inspired home here in Charlotte. 

Right around the time we started discussing wing walls, I was walking through the dining room and it came to me…what if we swapped out the floor-to-ceiling windows for doors that exited onto a courtyard, which would be nestled behind the new, future wing wall. 
Doesn't that sounds so charming? Or as a landscape designer I recently chatted with said…sexy.

Naturally, I turned to Pinterest and Houzz to see what I could find in terms of inspiration and there was a lot to look at…
Like these white painted French doors, that lead out to a brick floored, ivy covered walled courtyard garden.

Or this little number complete with a bistro table for intimate dining.

While seating is a must, I think I prefer this lounge style seating over the bistro table. An intimate courtyard just off the dining area screams after dinner drinks…not another meal. Yes, lounge seating it is. And while I'm at it, let's make sure to throw in that ivy covered wall.

Looking back through the images I've compiled on my Pinterest board, I'm noticing a reoccurring theme: the water feature. Clearly, it's a sign and we must incorporate water into our future courtyard oasis. I mean, what is an oasis without water? 

I told you I've become obsessed. Finding ways to incorporate more charm and interest into the exterior of our home is starting to take over my life. Not really. But kind of. 

until next time,

Architectural Inspiration: Wing Wall

We're back in Charlotte, after a two day travel-a-thon home from the midwest earlier this week, and I'm back to brainstorming more architectural details that could be incorporated into our home.
So far we've covered the portico and the porte cochere and today, we're talking about wing walls. 

Otherwise known as those little accent side walls on the exterior of your home. Like this fine example, which also houses the sweetest paneled door. Such a small detail, but so much charm. 

This is a much simpler style, but still a beautiful finishing touch. 

Wing walls can span up or down, I prefer down. Another little gate tucked into the wall. So cute. Clearly a reoccurring theme.

I'm not sure if this is technically a wing wall, more of an accent wall, but I just love the greenery lattice adorning the wall. I had to include it.

This last image in one of my favorites and segues beautifully into my next architectural inspiration post all about courtyards. Coming your way soon. In the meantime, I hope you are feeling the wing wall love.

until next time,

Architectural Inspiration : The Porte Cochere

As long as I'm dreaming about exterior updates on our home, I mind as well go big. Right? And by big I mean adding on a Porte Cochere. 

What? You don't know what a porte cochere is? 

Definition of PORTE COCHERE
:  a passageway through a building or screen wall designed to let vehicles pass from the street to an interior courtyard
:  a roofed structure extending from the entrance of a building over an adjacent driveway and sheltering those getting in or out of vehicles

I didn't either, until I started researching this architectural detail.   Before that I referred to it as a "drive thru thing-y", which as you might suspect, is a very technical term. And one our architect might have snickered at - whoops

The image above is a quintessential porte cochere, oozing with European charm. I love everything about it, including the massive tree smack dab in the middle of said passageway. 

But, around these parts, they tend to look a little more like this. Still beautiful, no doubt, but lacking a little compared to the Euro-charm-oozer.

Perhaps a little ivy covering the entry will help achieve the charming look I'm after. 

Or maybe it's more about the vaulted ceiling within?

Any way you look at it, it's safe to say I am smitten with the Porte Cochere and would love to add a similar architectural detail to our home. A girl can always dream…

until next time,

Architectural Inspiration: The Portico

Happy Monday, all! I may be stuck in Chicago's blizzard, but my mind is spinning with upcoming home projects back in Charlotte. This year, it's all about the front of the house.

Our stucco peach dream, has a bit of a French vibe already, but we'd like to amp it up by adding a new portico and loosing the black awning over the front door. I'd also like to loose the plastic shutters, repaint the house, change the walkway and rework the landscaping … but that's so not going to happen. We're taking baby steps. But, since a girl can always dream, here's an inspiration shot of what peachy keen could look like after we are done with her. 

Beautiful, right? First things first though, so let's take a look at some porticos.
Porticos come in all shapes and sizes, here are a couple that have been speaking to me lately:

An understated, but elegant small copper roof with scroll metal supports.

A larger copper roof with detailed fretwork supports. This doesn't really scream French to me, but I still love the fretwork and I'm sure we could tweak it to work for us.

I love this image, but sadly can't really figure out how you could make something like this work on our home - good thing we are calling in the professionals.

So, do tell - which do you prefer for our house?

Stay safe and warm out there, be thinking of me and my attempts to return to the South later today. 

until next time,