When it comes to exteriors, St. Louis is a traditional town. Its landscape is steeped in historic brick buildings, including the city's professional baseball stadium and its iconic brewery.
“Homes with full brick exteriors used to be quite popular in this region,” said Laura Dalba, Home Center Design Consultant for Fischer & Frichtel, a leading home builder in St. Louis since 1945. “But, that has changed.”
"Many of our elevations are brick and stone heavy, with siding on the sides and rear of the house," Dalba said. "That has been the prevailing trend for us. About 5 or 6 years ago, when James Hardie introduced its new color palette, we were excited to begin incorporating the darker, bolder colors."
To update the traditional look, enhance the region's rich design heritage and focus on quality, Fischer & Frichtel has been using the following methods:
1. Incorporating Vertical Siding
In some cases Fischer & Frichtel has started using vertical siding on front porches and above garages. The blend of the vertical siding with traditional brick results in a unique character which adds an element of the unusual, yet still preserves the traditional aesthetic. “So we still have that fundamental masonry element, but less of it,” says Dalba.
2. Creating Texture with Shingle Siding
Shingle siding has helped bring more visual texture to Fischer & Frichtel’s designs. They have used both staggered and straight-edge shingle siding on gables, peaks, and porch pediments. The irregularly shaped shakes are a natural pairing for variegated brick, and it results in what Dalba calls “an urban farmhouse” effect.
3. Expanding the Color Palette
Earth tones — such as James Hardie’s Cobble Stone, Khaki Brown, and Monterey Taupe — have been popular accent and siding colors on rehab projects in St. Louis, partly because they pair so well with the red-orange tones of beautifully worn brick. These natural colors have also been popular with St. Louisans who have chosen to build new homes. However, some homeowners have been drawn to dark blue, dark gray, and dark brown shades as well, which has increased the capacity for creative design. Fischer & Frichtel has also created unique designs using gray, taupe, and white lime-washed brick, paired with Deep Ocean siding accents. “The James Hardie® siding colors are the driving force,” Dalba said.
4. Customizing Classic Designs with Modern Flare
“We pride ourselves on our classic, timeless elevations,” Dalba said. But recently, Fischer & Frichtel’s clients have been interested in merging the area’s more traditional look with Craftsman revival and farmhouse design. “We incorporate adjustments into our elevations, a lot of which comes from client feedback.” Recent additions to the classic profile include porches with columns on stone bases, larger covered porches, and seamed metal roofing instead of asphalt shingles.
5. Embracing Natural Elements
Fischer & Frichtel often introduces another kind of exterior element into home design— the natural world. More and more of its customers like the idea of bringing the outdoors into their interior living spaces. The company has been leveraging natural light through the use of larger windows, walls of windows, skylights, and accordion window doors.
Whether brick, stone or fiber cement, Fischer & Frichtel’s goal is to provide its clients with a low-maintenance exterior and a timeless design that will endure. Each one of its homes is built by the company’s team of highly skilled and experienced, on-staff carpenters, whose focus on quality is an element that will never go out of style.
"We want that to shine through, above everything else," Dalba said.