Todd Hallett, AIA, President of TK Design & Associates, Inc. ( has been designing award winning homes for over 20 years. He spent 15 of those years working for a $50 million production building company. Todd designed all of their homes but also worked in every other aspect of the company including purchasing, development, land acquisition, product development, and operations, and was President of the company for three years. Equipped with his vast building experience and fueled by his love for architecture he left to form an architecture firm that is second to none in working cohesively with Builders. Todd specializes in Lean Design and works, alongside Scott Sedam of TrueNorth Development, in the trenches with builders, suppliers, and trade contractors. His Lean Design blog appears weekly at Todd welcomes your feedback at or 248.446.1960.

The Lean Design Blog: 3 simple ways to spice up your elevations

December 13, 2011

Designing a new elevation series is a lot of fun. It is an opportunity to define your brand and create homes that will speak to buyers emotionally. Here are three things to look out for when your elevations are in the sketch phase:

  1. Massing and fenestration - Make sure that your windows and doors relate well to the area of the home they are tied to. Too many times I have seen small windows lost in a large wall, or the opposite effect, windows that are far too large relative to the wall space they occupy. How many times have you seen shutters almost hanging off the edge of a wall?
  2. Shutters - Visually imagine your shutters closing in to protect the window. Do the shutters fit the opening? Many that I have seen do not. A very common mistake is to put 12" shutters on a 36" wide window. They look too small to cover the window and immediately lose any semblance of authenticity. THE SHUTTERS MUST FIT TO BE LEGIT! I must be up too early this Monday morning because I think I am channeling Johnny Cochran.
  3. Roof Pitch - The roof pitch must fit the style of home. When designing a home that reflects a period or style one of the most important elements is the roof pitch. This is an example of a Tuscan elevation. The homes in Tuscany are characterized by low pitch hip or gable roofs that create a look that is low, expansive and horizontal in nature. To put a steep pitch on this home would not be appropriate to the style.

Curb appeal is critical to sales. When designing elevations verify that the detailing is correct and the massing is appropriate. Lastly, PLEASE make sure the shutters are the right size! It is quick and easy to check and it goes a long way to making your elevations authentic and aesthetically appealing.

Overlay Init