“Every house has a story of how it evolved over time,” says renovation expert Mark Zweig, who has a passion for purchasing dilapidated homes and thoughtfully restoring them with a nod to the past mixed with present-day innovations.
Such was the case at his own home in Fayetteville, which he shares with his wife, Katie, a landscape designer, and their four-year-old daughter, Olive. The house began in turn of the 20th-century Victorian style, when it was a mere four-room cottage. It was added onto in the 1930s with a porch and garage, gaining a dose of Arts and Crafts detailing, followed by occasional upgrades over the next several decades. By the time the Zweigs purchased it, the look was “pure hodge-podge,” says Mark, prompting the couple to devise a cohesive, historically-inspired design plan for the home’s restoration and a family-friendly addition.
Cedar clapboard siding and shingles were chosen as key materials, with the siding painted a cottage-style buttery yellow and the shingles stained an Arts and Crafts evocative deep brown. Windows were upgraded for energy efficiency, with multi-paned wood models selected for their historical integrity. Functional shutters were built on-site, featuring an evergreen motif “to add a bit of personality,” says Mark, and painted a deep green that became an accent color. Dormer windows were added to increase natural light inside and accentuate the pitched roofline outside, and the home’s original front door was restored.
The sagging front porch required complete rebuilding, and in doing so the Zweigs added a beadboard ceiling, stone floor, enlarged stone and wood columns, as well as copper gutters and downspouts. Alongside the porch, a new chimney made from locally quarried stone created a focal point. “My goal is to fit the vernacular of the area, and to use materials and colors that blend a house within its setting,” says Mark.
One of the elements that had originally enticed the couple to buy the house was its large lot, which allowed the Zweigs to add on 1,500 square feet of living space with enough room left over for a new patio surrounded by gardens and play areas. Adhering to the design scheme created for the original parts of the home, a mix of clapboard siding, shingles and stone form the exterior. “It’s consistent, and it looks like a house that has been added onto over time, with a cottage style façade in front transitioning to an enlarged house in the back,” says Mark.
Katie surrounded the refurbished home with curved garden beds filled with informal plantings of azaleas, perennials and evergreens that “fit the historical style,” she says, “and give us different colors or blooms in each season.” She divided the remaining rectangular backyard into three design features—a playground, a gazebo with a nearby water fountain, and a vegetable garden—as an enticing retreat for each member of the family. “We can all be out there together, relaxing, playing or gardening,” says Katie. With the gazebo sporting the yellow paint color and cedar shingles of the main house and the garden rimmed in stone, Mark notes that they tied all the elements together. “You can add new spaces and ideas,” he says, “and still be cohesive.”
Professional Advice from Mark and Katie Zweig
Taking design cues from your site is critical. For home exteriors, base your colors on elements you can’t change—such as complementing existing stonework or brick. For gardens, getting to know the nuances of sun, shade and drainage on your lot are the key to creating a maintainable landscape.
Tips from renovation expert Mark Zweig and landscape designer Katie Zweig
1. Think of your home as one cohesive whole, trasitioning seamlessly from indoors to out. Be consistent with colors and design elements, like the scale of the exterior and interior trim.
2. Always think about storage and build in enough to accommodate current and future needs. This applies to interior spaces as well as garden sheds and garages.
3. If you renovate before you move into the home, be sure to spend time in the house and on the grounds to get a sense of place and truly understand what needs to be addressed. During renovation, spend time on site and get a feeling for the issues encountered and the way the home and other structures are evolving.
4. In beginning your garden, pay attention to which plants thrive and which ones always perform poorly. Create a list of the best species for your site, and you’ll know what to use when you need to replace a plant or add new beds.
5. Remember that this is your time to make the choices you want and plan to live with for years—prioritize and make sure you’re achieving your dream.
Project development Mark Zweig, Inc., Fayetteville
Landscape Design Katie Zweig, ASLA, Fayetteville
Landscape installation Northwest Arkansas Lawns, Bethel Heights
Doors, siding, windows Meek’s, Fayetteville
Fountain Westwood Gardens, Fayetteville
Garden growing medium Nitron Industries, Johnson
Gutter system Sheet Metal Plus, Fayetteville
Irrigation system Kenneth Roberson, Goshen
Paint Sherwin-Williams, Fayetteville
Painter Miguel Contreras, Springdale
Paving Kenny Price, Springdale
Roofing Pickett Construction, Fayetteville
Shutters, window boxes, rail systems Mark Zweig, Inc., Fayetteville
Stonework Jody Skaggs, Goshen