Nothing adds more to the curbside appeal of your home than a graceful, welcoming front entry front patio renovation
Design objectives for a front patio renovation
“Many homes lack a front porch that gives visitors a sense of arrival, and front doors are often too narrow, recessed into the facade or pushed up against the garage,” says Bozeman, Montana Designer and Remodeling Contractor Peter Brown. “There is only a vague sense of place.”
His late mother’s home on Bozeman Avenue (a three-bedroom, 1400 square foot Ranch Style house built in the 1950s) featured a drive-through carport and, while it had an adequate porch, the effect was not particularly welcoming. Peter and his mother Nancy had often talked about a front patio renovation that would take the house from average to outstanding. Shortly after her passing, Peter implemented the design they had discussed, as a memorial to her.
“What makes a house exceptional is how it greets people in an experiential way,” says Brown. “Since most guests arrive by car, curbside appeal is critical. Next, consider how visitors transition from the car to the front door via a walk or pathway. Have you ever stepped out of your car and wondered where to go next? More often than you’d think, home designs fail to create intuitive connections at this point.”
Attention to Detail
Brown wanted the graceful curves of the new front walk to create a flow that would naturally guide guests through the pilasters to the front patio renovation. He paid careful attention to mortising, joinery and myriad other architectural details. “Even the joint in the sidewalk—where and how that joint was placed—contributes to the desired effect,” he says.
The new steps are wider than the walkway, avoiding bottlenecks and allowing beautiful potted plants to flank the entry, beckoning visitors as if a red carpet has been rolled out just for them. This front patio renovation has cozy, craftsman-style concrete bench seating that invite conversation and relaxation with neighbors—and it gives the home’s facade a friendlier look and feel.
Nancy’s passion was her garden beds, so Peter incorporated a container garden into the design. It adds contrast and color, and the planting visually anchors the home. Ambient pathway lighting and attractive light fixtures further highlight the entry after dark.
Brown’s front patio renovation emphasizes clean lines, overlays, and simple profiles. This includes structural steel elements that are not only functional, but add style and interest to the home’s exterior curb appeal. The exposed wood frame of the front patio renovation is a visual highlight that can be seen from the sidewalk. The oversized fir posts, ceiling joists, and structural beams are clear-coated as a natural contrast to the painted exterior walls. The structural steel components tying the wood frame together double as a central artistic feature. Custom II in Four Corners fabricated the steel elements.
“I really enjoyed working with that group on this front patio renovation,” says Brown. “They have a ‘can do’ attitude and their dedication to craftsmanship was a priority. When I have the opportunity to collaborate with quality subcontractors who care about their work, I go out of my way to honor that.”
According to Brown, giving visitors a ‘sense of arrival’ is heavily dependent on the combined impact of porch and front door. He points to the symmetrical compositions of stylish sconce light fixtures, siding details, and symmetrically placed windows as comprising the winning combination of comfort and beauty realized in this front patio renovation. The roof accents the visibility of new glass doorway while sheltering the porch. A new window on the left side lightens the house’s hallway and adds character.
About the Designer
“That hallway used to be no man’s land—now it’s a beautiful part of the house,” says Brown, who graduated from Bozeman High in 1975 and considered architecture at MSU before moving to Carmel, California in the early 1980’s.
During his 18-year career as a General Contractor on the central California coast, Peter was profoundly inspired by the area’s rich architectural style, as well as by the natural beauty of the region. The high-end residential construction culture left an impression on his work ethic and aesthetic standards.
“The business climate in Carmel was always about ‘how good’ and ‘how nice,’ not ‘how cheap.’ That will always be my perspective.”
In 2005 Brown returned to Bozeman, where he has continued to establish business relationships based on trust, service and a track record of successfully completed construction and remodeling projects.
“My construction methods have always been about efficiency and orderliness,” says Brown, who began the Bozeman Avenue front patio renovation last May and finished it in early July. “I put so much thought into this particular design, and built the project hundreds of times in my mind that the actual construction process was almost Zen-like.”
“I’ve always had a strong sense of design, Brown says. “My strength as a builder is a good eye for aesthetics. I’m very pleased with the way this project turned out.”
In Honor of His Mother
Nancy Brown was proud of her son’s career, and would no doubt be delighted with the result of this front patio renovation.
“She was always thrilled when I’d take the time to step away from my business and focus my efforts on her house. She spent a lot of time on the front porch; it was cramped, but it was her favorite place to hang out. I wish she could enjoy it now. She would love it.”