A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

Archive for home designs

Marching Along: Columns on a Home

The graceful columns of Greek Temples found their way into our residences in the Renaissance. We no longer adhere to the Greek orders, but I noticed that there are so many variations of this simple design feature of a home. When inspecting a small apartment complex, I saw that the porch was held up with a metal pole, visually unappealing. It occurred to me that a more dramatic column feature could be built around these poles to create a nicer exterior. With that thought, I realized that a homeowner could change out their columns to change the look of a home, or they could add a feature to make the column arrangement stand out more.

Driving through my neighborhood, I saw these variations on columns. The basic version seen on most homes is a circular type. In the first photo, you will see that this is not a simple tube. The Greeks discovered that a slight widening was needed to make the column more appealing.A straight forward round column

You could easily build a square column over this type. Here we can see that some lines were routed out of the face of the column for an interesting effect.The next house down uses a square column for a more formal appearance

A simple project that could be done with plywood, but I would use poplar is creating these slight curves from column to column at the top. I think that provides an elegant effect for the eye.These arches were added by the homeowner

In this case, the owner used arches to replace the columns. I think that
I would have added more of a design element with the brick work.
Columns replaced by arches

You could add elements to your columns for visual appeal. Trim work at the base and top could be simple to add while giving visual appeal. This trim may not be seen from the street, but visitors will be drawn to these elements. Your trim is probably plain, but looking at different trim pieces in the hardware store that are meant for interiors, I see some good options for these columns.

Your Houston home inspector,

Frank Schulte-Ladbeck