Teakwood received The Curb Appeal award in the Town of Colonie Community Beautification Achievement Awards for our renovation on the Bowen & Parker Brothers Funeral Home in 2012. Tasked with reviving the structure’s historical character, warmth, and accessibility, we were excited to take on this project, as we knew our passion for detail would bring to life this old yet significant building.
When the owner of Bowen & Parker Brothers Funeral Home came to us, he spoke of this lack of curb appeal. “When people drive by, it just looks like an old building,” he shared. The age of the structure was covering up its deep, historic beauty and distinctive details. Along with enhancing the aesthetics of the place, the owner expressed the need to update the facade, which lacked a weatherproof entryway, safe drop-off zone and easy accessibility.
So soon after, the Teakwood team got to work. The team immediately noticed the building easily supported a front porch and while they were giving the place a face-lift, they took a look at the landscape out front, and knew to make this place catch the eye of a passerby—they needed to restore… beyond the door.
A few weeks later, Teakwood teamed with Tim Gallagher of Architex, a Latham based design firm, to produce the architectural drawings. Tim’s knowledge of commercial spaces and design expertise in site planning added landscape improvements including site lighting, radiant heat ice melt, and curved stone walls with circular drop off zones constructed from cobble stone pavers. The before and after shots below showcase the enhancements to the landscape.
Then, the “crown jewel” of the project was uncovered. When the building was documented for reproduction in auto cad (our software for 2D and 3D design and drafting), we noticed that the peak of the main hip roof had a flat area rather than a point. This indicated that there once was a widow’s walk!
A widow’s walk, or widow’s watch, is a railed rooftop platform that was very popular in the design of North American coastal houses in the 19th-century. The myth was that the platform was used to observe vessels at sea, so the wives of mariners would stand on the platform, watching for their spouses’ return. The myth shares that all too often, the ocean would take their lives, and these women on the watch would become widows.
Whether or not this was the use of these rooftop platforms, Widow’s walks were a very popular decorative element to the exterior of the home at this time. So in our effort to expose the historic, distinctive details of the funeral home and to further enhance its curbside appeal, we reproduced the design of the widow’s walk railing system. In the before and after shots below, you’ll notice the widow’s walk is now significantly more apparent to the eye of passerby than it was previously.
What is Curb Appeal?
In today’s neighborhoods filled with beautiful homes, catching the eye of a passerby takes a lot of thoughtful design and unique detail. We asked Jim Sasko, the owner of Teakwood to share his thoughts around one exterior improvement that people should consider when looking to enhance their home’s curb appeal.
“A front porch is one of the nicest features you can add to a home. It adds a “wow” feature, bringing the attention to the main entry of the home. If the front entry is bland, your eyes can wander. If you bring an element of a front porch, it’s more welcoming. It creates an interest and a focal point of the house. It has to be done right, though. Height, depth and distance from the windows—these factors can really make or break that “wow,” said Jim.
It is our hope that when people drive by Bowen & Parker Brothers Funeral Home today, they’ll no longer see it as an old building, but a beautiful, historical and peaceful place.
To see other home exteriors and entries Teakwood has enhanced, check out the Exterior and Entry section of our portfolio. Interested in joining in the conversation around design and detail? “Like” us on Facebook!