Exterior design is challenging for me.  It’s definitely takes me out of my comfort zone. I know that I want my house to have a cottage look and for the attached garage to have a barn look, but I’m not sure how to achieve that. I’ve enlisted the help of my friend Mike, a talented architect who will take my vague direction and turn it into something fabulous.

Here are two inspiration photos from Houzz that I’ve shared with Mike…

Exterior Inspiration: Farmhouse, Barn Garage, Traditional Color Scheme (by Charles Vincent George Architects) | Angie Builds a House
Photo by Charles Vincent George Architects, Inc.


This layout is actually quite similar to my house plan, though the main house will be only one story and the windows will be a lot less grand. But it’s the same general idea: a main house with a breezeway connected to an attached garage. In my house, the breezeway will actually be the laundry room, which will join the house and garage.

I really like the siding and color choices in this inspiration photo. The use of board & batten style siding on the garage helps give it that barn look and distinguishes it from the rest of the house. The gray/white/red color scheme looks great too. It’s a traditional color combo that will look just as good in 10 years as it does today.

Here’s another inspiration photo that has a similar vibe. I love the cupola and weather vane on the garage!

Exterior Design Inspiration from Connor Homes on Houzz | Angie Builds a House
Photo by Connor Homes


My preference for siding is fiber cement / Hardie board. It looks a lot more like wood siding than vinyl and is still very low maintenance. It’s also paintable, so it’s possible to change the look of the house down the road. Fiber cement siding is quite a bit more expensive than vinyl, however, so I’m not sure my budget will have room. There will be a lot of trade-offs along the way and there are other things I’ll prioritize over fiber cement siding (i.e. quartz countertops, shiplap, solid wood doors, etc.).

But anyway, let’s get back to the fun stuff… Color!

I’m torn between traditional color palettes like the ones in the first two inspiration photos, and something more vibrant and colorful. Check out these teal barns… They really make me want to have a teal garage!

Teal Barn - Exterior Inspiration | Angie Builds a House


Teal Barn Print from Etsy - Exterior Inspiration | Angie Builds a House


Teal Barn - Exterior Inspiration | Angie Builds a House


Also, a friend of mine who owns a painting business with her husband just painted their camper teal and white and I LOVE it. It’s so fun and cheerful, which makes me want my house to look fun and cheerful too!

Retro Camper, Teal Camper | Angie Builds a House


Going in yet another possible direction, I also recently came across this fiber cement siding that appears to have a pretty convincing wood-look:

Fiber Cement Siding, Wood-look, Rosewood | Angie Builds a House


Fiber Cement siding, wood-look, aspen ridge | Angie Builds a House


Fiber cement siding, wood-look, river rock | Angie Builds a House


These options would give the cottage a more rustic, woodsy look. That could result in a house that looks more like a cabin than a cottage, which is not what I’m going for. But I think I can keep the cottage look through the color choices for the shutters and trim.

To sum it up, I’m basically looking at three different styles and color schemes:

  • Traditional Farmhouse
  • Cheerful Cottage
  • Rustic Cottage

I can probably achieve some version of the first two options with either vinyl siding or fiber cement siding. The third option – Rustic Cottage – is probably only doable with fiber cement, which is budget dependent. The nice thing about the rustic option is that it has the potential to incorporate either traditional or more modern / cheerful elements.

I’ve made this handy color chart to help me make this decision when the time comes:


Exterior Design - Cottage Design - Cottage Curb Appeal | Angie Builds a House


What style and color combo do you like best?