Exterior Home Design in Hershey, PA: The Before

One of our favorite things about the work we do is receiving actual exterior home design ‘after’ photos from our clients. Here’s a stripped down version of how our virtual exterior design service works: Our clients send us a ‘before’ photo of their home’s exterior along with the goals they have for their home’s exterior design. We use this information to create a rendering that incorporates all of the design elements we recommend for our clients’ homes — the ‘after.’ But, as anyone who’s done any home renovating knows, that’s just the beginning of the process.

Marybeth Lavery in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is one of those clients who made our day when she sent us the actual after photo of her home’s exterior curb appeal. She shared the story of her brick&batten experience with us. And she was kind enough to allow us to share it with you.

This is the first in a three-part blog series we’re doing on Marybeth’s home. This week, we’re going to introduce you to her home before she worked with brick&batten. Check back next week for insight into the process our designers undertook while designing her home’s exterior, and the following week for Marybeth’s renovation process and photos of what her home looks like today, after implementing her design.

We’ve partnered with thousands of homeowners on helping them make their curb appeal dreams a reality. Worked with us and interested in sharing your story? Contact us here. New to brick&batten and wanting to learn more? Take a deeper dive into how our virtual exterior design service works here.


Exterior home design case study before, side porch, a brick Cape Cod home

The starting point

Marybeth’s home is a brick Cape Cod built in 1947. It’s located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, near the town center. The small town of Hershey has an interesting history — it was built by Milton S. Hershey for his workers. Marybeth loves her town and its history, as well as the location of her home, on a street lined with sycamore trees. She and her husband bought the home recently, downsizing to a home with a good location and “good bones.”

“We love the neighborhood, which is an older neighborhood with sidewalks and great walkability to restaurants, theatre, grocery store, etc.,” says Marybeth. 

The homes on Marybeth’s street are close together, as is common near the center of town. She notes that several homes nearby are being purchased, torn down, and newly built. But that wasn’t what Marybeth wanted to do.

“We love the sweet Cape Cod look,” she says. “We really wanted to keep the original home and just give it some much needed attention.”


Why brick&batten?

“When my husband and I decided we needed assistance in figuring out a few things we wanted to do to improve our newly purchased home,” says Marybeth, “we found brick&batten, which seemed to be a perfect match for our needs.”

She remembers googling “curb appeal” to find us.

The information on the brick&batten website was so professional,” she says, “and the photos of the before and afters really got us interested in inquiring further.”


Exterior home design case study before, back deck and patio, a brick Cape Cod home

Goals for the exterior home design

Marybeth refers to what their house needed as a “perk-me-up.” In her words:

It had good bones but was on the shabby side. We love brick, but ours was in poor condition. There are two large, beautiful picture windows in front of the house on the left and right of the front door. However, the windows had no room for shutters to accent them. We were hoping for suggestions on that. Also, we wanted to add a front door portico and didn’t think we could do that because the center of the house (front door area) is the most protruding part of the house. So we didn’t think it would be possible to add a portico without it looking like it would protrude even more.

Basically, we asked for any suggestions on curb appeal and possibility of adding a portico. It was important for us to update our home, but still have it fit in with the other homes on the block.  

In addition to sending a few images of her home’s front façade, Marybeth also sent us photos of her home’s side porch and back deck. Note: Even if you’re partnering with us on a one-side exterior design, we encourage you to send in photos of fixed elements on other parts of your home that you want us to consider in the design.


Clicking ‘submit’

We asked Marybeth how she felt after she clicked ‘submit’ on her order.

She says she and her husband felt excited, “but we figured we would just get a few ideas that we could take or leave to get us started. We had no idea we would use the photo and try to match it as closely as possible.”


Exterior home design case study before, front facade, a brick Cape Cod home

Up next: The Process

Next week, we’re going to talk with Allison Vaccaro, one of our co-founders and the designer who worked on Marybeth’s home, about her design process. We’ll also share the after rendering and the deliverable Marybeth received as part of her order.

Does Marybeth’s story sound familiar? Are you ready to upgrade your home’s curb appeal? Get started on making your home exterior dreams a reality today with our simple survey.