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Creating a Timeless Exterior That Never Goes Out of Style

When you think about the classics, your mind may conjure up an old movie or a favorite song-things that have never gone out of style. The same is true with your home. Simple exterior designs can be timeless. A combination of the right details, colors and architecture can help ensure timeless home exteriors. If you're ready to move or remodel your forever home, there are several things you can do to ensure your investment lasts for the long haul.

What is a timeless home exterior?

Architectural home styles that have maintained appeal for decades-even centuries-are classified as timeless home exteriors. However, classic style truly depends on the region of the country. What is timeless in Seattle isn't always a classic design in New England.

Adam Clarke, owner of A. Clarke Construction, Inc., recommends visiting your local historic district for guidance on classic home construction. “When I think of timeless, I picture a classic saltbox with a 12 over 12 roof pitch and a chimney in the middle. You’re not going to find that anywhere else. It’s quintessential New England,” says Clarke. Clarke recently finished remodeling a classic Colonial in the historic district in Sussex, Connecticut. Similar to the saltbox, Colonial-style architecture is practical and simple, featuring symmetrical windows and a centered front door. 

In Omaha, Nebraska, Jason Mollak, owner of JPM Construction, says Victorian construction is most prevalent in the downtown historic district. Victorian designs are among America’s most favorite architecture, and properly accentuating its design features safeguards an aesthetic that will be appreciated for a long time. 

What building products help make a home timeless?

Design and architectural elements that you would find on a historic home are there because they are timeless-they are not part of a trend that will be soon cast aside. What are timeless elements? "To me, timeless style is lap siding," says Mollak. "While I'm installing lap siding in wider widths, laps in 4- and 8-inch widths."

"On a Colonial home, we will build out the corner boards to make the house look like it's been there for 200 years," said Clarke. "Corner boards come in 4- and 6-inch sizes, but we create a focal point on the house by building 14-inch corner boards and shadow box them all the way up to the second floor. Other timeless features are big front porches with rocking chairs out front and large tapered columns integrated into the porch," says Clarke.

What type of siding is low maintenance?

Choosing a low maintenance siding helps ensure your home’s appearance will be maintained and stay attractive over the years. Engineered wood products, like LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding, can require less annual painting and sealing, depending on geography. 

LP SmartSide Lap Siding is available in cedar texture and smooth finish, both providing a timeless and classic aesthetic. Another idea for low maintenance siding is cedar shake siding. Whether you own a classic Cape Cod or Craftsman, cedars and shakes in straight or staggered edges provide a timeless look.

Are exterior shutters outdated? It all depends on where the home is located. Shutters were originally used to protect windows from severe storms and hurricanes. Since houses in Nebraska don't require that sort of protection, Mollak says it's rare to associate a timeless aesthetic with shutters. Instead, a classic look in Nebraska is to trim out the windows in 4- or 6-inch LP SmartSide trim.

Are red doors timeless? Again, location is key. "Brown and tan front doors are most popular here in Nebraska," says Mollak. In most all other areas of the U.S., a red door is a spectacular and classic look on nearly any home.

What colors have staying power?

If you want your home to feel cohesive, choose a color scheme that is consistent with the architectural style of the home. "Here in the Northeast, everyone likes traditional white siding with white corner boards with black windows that pop," says Clarke. "Other timeless colors are darker browns like taupe and even sage with white trim."

Clarke also recalls a Seattle contractor's visit to New England. The contractor couldn't get over all the bright white houses. In the Northwest, white houses are rare. Muted silvers, grays and blues have classic staying power, reaffirming that the region makes a difference.

For a durable house siding, look for a strong warranty that stands behind the product. LP® SmartSide® ExpertFinish® Trim & Siding comes in 16 versatile colors featuring durability built to last. In fact, it’s backed by an industry-leading warranty—a 5-year full labor and materials warranty, a 15-year limited warranty on the finish, and a 50-year substrate limited warranty.

Want to know which colors will make your classic home the envy of the neighborhood? Visit our Colors & Inspiration page.

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