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Exterior thinking

Building or Renovating? Here are five key things to think about when it comes to the exterior of your home.


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It’s What’s on the Outside That Counts

Poring over potential designs for your new home? While many of us focus on how a house will look on the inside, getting things right externally is every bit as important.

So what are some of the factors you need to consider before signing off on a plan? My Family Home Experts principal Rebekah Hurworth shares her checklist.

Pretty AND practical

Aesthetically pleasing or functional? Look around and you’ll see plenty of examples of homes that are just one or the other. Shoot for a design that achieves both, Hurworth advises.

“The attractiveness of your house at the front really impacts resale value and I’ve seen amazing dwellings severely devalued because they don’t present prettily to the street,” she says.

Her top tip for ensuring your new dwelling is more than a comfortable box: “Make sure there are bits that step in and step out across the front – a flat front wall is hard to make pretty!”

You can achieve this using a variety of facade materials to make your home look more unique. Experiment with textures and colours, for example, Scyon™ Stria™ cladding offset with plywood timber, or Scyon Matrix™ used alongside a rendered surface.

Timber was used to offset Scyon™ Stria™ cladding and bring a modern look to this Queensland home.

Windows and doors

The size, shape and placement of openings has an enormous impact on a home’s external appearance. Consider the façade as a whole and at a distance, Hurworth counsels: “You don’t want to be the house that looks like a smiley face, with two windows and a garage door below!”

Making windows and doors count may mean resisting the urge to choose the cheapest option in favour of something with a little more oomph.

“There are some different shapes available in the standard range that don’t add a lot to the total build cost but which can really change the look of a home for the better,” Hurworth says.

Windows can be used to highlight the look of the home. For example, this rounded window is a key feature of the Hamptons look and ties in with the Linea weatherboard cladding.

Make windows count. Find out this home owner added 146 windows to her home


After windows and doors, choice of cladding has the next greatest effect on a home’s exterior appeal and it pays to put some thought into the materials you’ll use.

“Cladding can make an awful house look better instantly, or make a great place look ordinary if you select a product that’s not in keeping with your design,” Hurworth says.

“If you’re going for an ultra-modern look, products like Scyon Matrix™ work well and look classy, whereas for a traditional, Hamptons inspired design, Scyon Linea™ is a better fit. And if you want to be deliberately ambiguous about style, my favourite is Scyon Stria™."

Scyon Matrix and Scyon Stria are known for their modern look. Clean, strong lines provide a contemporary appeal that can be enhanced with bold colours.

Under the eaves

Determining the appropriate roof overhang is hardly a glamorous design choice but from a long term comfort perspective, it pays to get it right.

“Ideally you want your overhang to keep out summer sun but let the winter sun in,” Hurworth says. “600mm is the most common eave used and I rarely go smaller than this, unless I’m looking to match a modern extension with an old character home.”

Consider the surroundings

So caught up in designing your dream home that you’ve forgotten to consider what’s going on in the vicinity? Common mistake, Hurworth says.

“Think about where the neighbours and the views are and whether there are areas that you want to open out or make private,” she says.

“Is there lovely bushland behind your home that you’d like to look out on, or an ugly building next door that you don’t want to see?

“The house won’t sit in isolation so you need to think about what’s going on around it and how that may impact on your design choices – whether that means smaller windows in some spots and bigger ones in others, or screening for areas that are exposed to neighbours.”

Feeling inspired? See more design ideas,  tips and advice from Scyon.