Split Level House – A design innovation that arose in the late 1950s, split-level homes remained popular through the 1970s.
By placing living rooms and kitchens on the main level with the bedrooms and bathrooms a few steps above and playroom a few steps below, split-levels offered flexible space for a growing family and were often built on sloping lots. However, the exterior of many split-levels lacked appeal, with boxy shapes, top-heavy proportions and unimaginative building materials. With a careful approach to renovation, existing split-level homes can be made beautiful and functional.
How to Decorate Split Level House
Improve the entry path by replacing a straight-edged, concrete walkway with a pleasantly curving path of fieldstone or another natural material. When you’re planning the foundation plantings, give the house some breathing room. Move the shrubs and small trees away from the foundation, creating a space between the plants and the house to use as a front patio. Artfully curving the placement of these small trees and shrubs make the house look as if it’s sitting in a forest glen. And for split level house built on a sloping lot, ensure that your retaining walls, drainage systems and ground cover plantings are adequate to prevent poor drainage, flooding and erosion.
Porches and Porticos
Split-levels typically were built without a front porch, often simply using the overhanging living space to shelter the front door, which resulted in an uninviting entry inadequately protected from the elements. Adding a porch or portico to create a more spacious, sheltered entry is an effective enhancement to the split-level’s curb appeal. A simple covered walkway along one side of the house leading to the front door is another approach to add curb appeal. Update the lighting to provide a welcoming atmosphere after dark.
Split-level homes were often originally clad in unimaginative materials such as horizontal siding or incongruous combinations such as siding and brick. Changing the exterior to an updated material transforms the look of the Split Level House. Consider a rich earthy color such as deep brown wood or engineered wood paneling, or go industrial with durable corrugated steel. Another option is to clad the lower level in an earthy material such as stone veneer and use siding for the remainder of the house.
When planning additions to a split-level home, consider adding architectural features that will increase functionality and provide a more pleasing exterior appearance with better proportions. You can enlarge the windows and add shutters, for example. Constructing dormers adds interest to a severely rectangular roofline, while also increasing the useful space in the upper level. Decks can expand the outdoor living space and allow for an elevated entryway that opens into the main interior living area.