Creating “Place” in Neighborhood Design

Part 1: Come on in to Charter Homes!

“To really understand Charter Homes, you have to visit our neighborhoods”.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – there’s something about that moment when you step into a Charter Homes neighborhood that makes you say, “wow”. When you get there, you know – there’s something different, unique and special about our neighborhoods. Today, we’ll share some of the key pieces of our homes’ exterior design that make our neighborhoods so special.

Say Hello to Your Neighbors

Who doesn’t love a beautiful front porch? For our homebuyers who opt for a porch, we build our front porches larger and deeper than many other builders, ensuring that there’s enough room to stretch out and say hello to your neighbors. When we build a porch for a home, we want it to be more than just decorative. To us, a front porch isn’t a front porch unless there’s room for a few rocking chairs, some plants, and, hey, for you. Don’t miss our full take on front porch design in this blog post: The Perfect Front Porch.


It's hard not to love this beautiful front porch design at MillCreek - so open and relaxing!


The mix of front porches with other entryway styles at Veranda creates a streetscape as visually engaging as it is welcoming.

The Snout House is Out

Forgive the rhyming! When someone describes a beautiful home, you rarely hear them speak about the beauty of its garage doors. While well-designed garage doors can finish out a home nicely, many builders simply pop a garage onto the front of the home, making it stick out like a “snout” from the rest of the elevation. Rather than build “snout houses”, we address the garage in a few different ways.

First, in many of our neighborhoods, we place the garage in the back of the home. The back? Yep, it’s true – putting the garage in back allows the rest of the front elevation of the home to really shine. Just take a look at how putting the garages in back makes our Florin Hill neighborhood feel more homey and warm:


Look how striking the exterior of this home at Florin Hill becomes with the garage tucked in back!

Also, placing the garage in back pulls traffic off the street into the garage “alleys”, minimizing traffic on the main roads in the neighborhood (more about this in a later post).  When putting the garage in back isn’t a good fit, we pull the garage back so it doesn’t stick out as much from the home, making it more unified with the rest of the home’s exterior.

Welcome to a Friendly Space

When we build neighborhoods, we want to encourage neighborhood interaction – even in the small details. Many of our homes have an available “friend’s entrance” option – creating an additional welcoming space for the home.

Often, the front entrance to a home is a more formal space, meant to give a striking “first impression” of the home. Instead of just having a “mud room” as you come in from the garage, we’ve added another option – an outside entrance for kids coming in from the snow, next-door neighbors stopping by for a chat, and countless other uses. Rather than squeezing visitors past your cars or making them walk around to the front door from your driveway, the “friends’ entrance” provides an informal, warm space to welcome guests, take off shoes and coats, and step into your home.

Our Veranda Parade of Homes entry features a side “friends’ entrance” with its own porch that was a hit with visitors. Take a tour of this home and find out more about the design inspiration behind the interior here: Why So Blue?! Design Inspiration for our Veranda Parade Home.


Veranda Parade of Homes Friends' Entrance

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more essential elements of Charter Homes’ take on neighborhood design!