Design Week: The Exterior – Mixing Materials

After narrowing in on the look we were going for, we set out to finding the right materials to accomplish it. It turns out – we simply live on the wrong coast. Who knew?? Apparently the exact type of house we love is so popular on the other side of the continent that it’s coined it’s own style. A quick google search of ‘West Coast Modern” and you’ll know what I’m talking about. We found a ton of information on expressed joint panel systems, & cedar cladding materials in the Pacific North West, but we were hard-pressed to find building practices & materials for that style of home locally. Sadly, we no longer live in Pennsylvania, otherwise we would have called the best West Chester roofers in town! They do an excellent job but it was now up to us to try and replicate some of the fantastic work they have done in the past.

Panel Cladding

Many, MANY google searches, builder forums & manufacturer websites later, we found that we could use HardiePanel fibre-cement vertical siding to achieve the look. By simply installing it horizontally with a recess or express joint between the boards, the HardiePanel is transformed from traditional to modern.

Traditional installation of HardiePanel vertical siding via houzz
Traditional installation of HardiePanel vertical siding via houzz
Modern application of HardiePanel siding with EasyTrim via stormxconstruction
Modern HardiePanel siding with EasyTrim via stormxconstruction


With the panels sorted, we set out to source our siding. It didn’t take us long to figure out that as beautiful as cedar siding is, it was going to be cost prohibitive for us (not to mention the maintenance that would be required to keep it looking pretty year after year). As an alternative, we opted for HardiePlank fibre-cement lap siding.

HardiePlank lap siding via James Hardie
HardiePlank lap siding via James Hardie


Contemporary exterior with stone via
Contemporary exterior with stone via

There’s just something sexy about the right mix of materials. Sharp lines & industrial cladding, mixed the with earthy feel of stone somehow speaks to me. So to ground the whole exterior look, we’ll be including a hint of stone across the bottom third of the house. We haven’t quite made our final decision on our choice of stone veneer just yet but maybe we’ll put it to a vote in a later post.

Any suggestions on a stone product you’ve had good experiences with or one you think would work with our design? Let us know!

9 thoughts on “Design Week: The Exterior – Mixing Materials

  1. Our house is traditional, but our semi-detached neighbors went modern with their reno. They combined the red brick with cedar windows & doors and Ipe siding. The Ipe is maintenance free, but the cedar requires a lot of upkeep!

    1. Yea I love the look of the cedar, but for the amount of siding we would need it was CRAZY expensive! The upkeep was a huge issue for us also – especially since our roof lines go up like 30 ft. Ain’t nobody got time to climb up there!! Lol.

  2. I am fairly confident I am going to go over and hug your house when it is done. PS- the cedar and dark gray house from yesterday? Im fairly certain there is one in my old neighbourhood in North York! it was beautiful, but didnt fit in with the neighbourhood

    1. Lol, thanks Casey! We did have a few concerns about fitting in with the neighbourhood too. Our neighbourhood is very much in transition though and a lot of the older homes are either being renovated or demolished and rebuilt – so there really aren’t 2 houses that are alike on our street. Granted ours is the most different & definitely the most modern looking one, but we tried not to push the envelope TOO much with the design & colour choices so that it didn’t completely stick out like a sore thumb. I guess we’ll see when it’s all done. Either way we know we’ll love it – even if our neighbours don’t.

      As for wanting to hug it – there are days that I want to hug the house too! Then there are days when I resent it & want to punch it cause it’s taking so long to be done. We have words. It gets awkward…Lol

  3. Love this look! When we bought our new home they had Board and Batten( cedar), the plan was to originally either paint it or replace it all with the same material. But when we realized how much up keep it was going to be we too decided against it. Up where we live so many homes have this look and we really loved it! We also looked at the Hardieboard product but we are not sure if we want to spend that much money on it. We also looked into a newer vinyl siding that comes much wider than regular siding and we might go with that in a grey tone with stone on the bottom half of the house as well.

    Your house is going to look so freaking amazing when it’s done!!

    1. Thanks Danica! I’m excited to watch the progress on your #foreverhome as well! We did factor in the cost difference of the Hardie vs a high-end vinyl siding, but what it came down to for us was the durability & fire resistance of the product. Also if for some reason years down the road we decided we hate the colour, with Hardie we have the option to paint it.
      What stone product are you guys looking at?

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