Transforming the exterior of a 1930s terrace

There are lots of 30s houses that have interesting features, pretty shapes, beautiful brickwork or quirky windows. However, our house has none of those; it is a pebble dash square box with uPVC windows. Therefore, the white paint we are using is intended to create a very plain backdrop that I can layer with pretty plants and additions that will be the focus of attention rather than the house itself.

This may sound funny but I want to transform this small 30s terrace to look more like a cottage! I don’t want to try to make it look smart or modern as I think this would end up in a horrid mess and highlight the ugliness of the house rather than disguising it. I want to add softness and prettiness that will work well with white walls and use touches of black for contrast as we have a black side access gate (a new addition that our neighbour organised) and the bottom band of the house will be painted black. Basically, I don’t want the house to look too newly decorated or ‘done up’ – I want it to look as unassuming as possible.

Scalloped Antique Rose Plant Pot | Blackened bronze door numbers | Swan neck light

Eventually we will add a new wooden front door that will be a lovely bright colour and the only other colour will come from flowers. I would like a climbing rose around the door and some very muted tiles leading to the door – something with a period feel but nothing too flashy or attention grabbing. I haven’t sourced any of these things yet as we don’t plan to do it yet as we focus on the back garden. I also don’t have it clear in my mind what type of fence we should have at the front but Jules would really like to build a large planter behind it into which we can put our wisteria arch (it’s currently in two separate horrible silver planters) and add flowers and plants that will be seen above the fence to grab the attention rather than the large uPCV window at the front of the house. Our wonderful wisteria arch already does a good job of drawing attention away from the house.

This is my general vision that I hope will work out in the future. Getting the house painted is the most important piece of the puzzle so that is going to be a great motivator to transform the exterior over the coming months. Do you think I will be able to make it look more cottage than pebble dash terrace?!

Katy x



  1. 7th May 2020 / 8:57 am

    Ahhh I’m so excited for you!! Honestly doing the front of our house was one of the best things we did and still people ask about who rendered it, the windows etc. I just love coming home and feeling like from the outside I’m walking into a house I love. Our neighbours found an aerial photo from years ago when the houses still had front gardens and paths instead of drives and I’d love to put a bit of a garden in and grow something around the house but it’s not a priority at the moment xx

  2. Georgina
    7th May 2020 / 9:32 am

    Looking forward to seeing the transformation! I do think replacing the front door will make a huge difference once you have the opportunity. Not only to the exterior but (in my experience of doing something similar) by letting more light into the hall.

  3. Farah
    7th May 2020 / 6:27 pm

    I am genuinely a fan of a 1930’s door. Sounds like it will look fabulous! Can’t wait to see it.

  4. Rusty
    7th May 2020 / 9:43 pm

    I think replacing the door would immediately brighten the house front, without doing anything to the path or garden, but that if you do the path and garden first brightening the front of house would not work. What about painting the existing door as an interim measure?

  5. Anna
    11th May 2020 / 10:53 pm

    We had a 1930s house and changing the front made such a difference. However, despite it looking very pretty at certain times of year, we decided to get of of the clematis arch that was over the front door. When it rained it was like walking through a cold, unpleasent waterfall to enter or leave the house. We always got drenched. A rose by the front door was much more controlabel. We decided to grow a climber through the front fence instead which still softened up the frontage. While there were still some summer flowering plants, I focussed on planting shrubs and plants with winter scent and interest as the front garden is often the only part of the garden you regularly use in winter.You have some really exciting plans – I’m looking forward to seeing more as you progress.

    • John C
      12th May 2020 / 9:25 pm

      Do you have any pictures Anna?

  6. 12th June 2020 / 11:53 am

    These designs looks fabulous. Great inspiration for my own house

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