The first selling point of a midcentury home is its curb appeal. Every homeowner wants to make a good first impression, so if you have a bare wall that is lacking that certain “oomph,” try taking things into your own hands! Here’s a weekend warrior DIY architectural screen that turned gave a Palm Springs home the extra pop of interest it needed to attract the attention of the whole neighborhood!
When Darren Manson of design management firm MODify Palm Springs came across this Alexander home, he knew it needed a curb update. The addition of the architectural screen was inspired by a similar room divider inside the home. “The front of the house was so plain it begged for some detail,” Darren says. So it was time to get to work on a project fit for any weekend warrior.
The process for creating the screen was pretty simple. First, Darren and his team built a small stem wall just to support the frame of the screen. This also provided a level surface so the pattern would be consistent. The stem wall itself was one row of concrete blocks with a cap stone sitting on a small footer. (The stem wall wasn’t supporting anything structural for the house—just the screen itself.)
The material Darren used to build the screen was simply kiln-dried 2x4s. On the stem wall, they laid a 2×4 horizontally so they could nail the vertical pieces to it. “This is were it starts to get a little tricky,” Darren warns. Since the house has a butterfly-style roof, every vertical piece was going to be a different length to match up with the roofline.
Once Darren and his team decided where the 2x4s coming down from the top and the 2x4s coming up from the bottom were going to meet, they ran a string line across the front for a measuring point. The vertical 2x4s from the bottom attached to the horizontal piece on the stem wall; the vertical pieces coming down for the top were just screwed into the overhanging soffit and fascia board.
To get that eye-catching pattern in the center of the screen, they had to get creative. The pattern is created when the vertical pieces meet in the middle, so to add a little more depth, Darren and his team alternated the length of the 2x4s coming down from the top and up from the bottom. For that final bit of interest, they alternated using both the front and sides of the 2x4s, creating an optical illusion from the street.
For that final touch, Darren wired up some lights between the screen and the wall of the house, highlighting the unique shapes of the finished project when the sun goes down!
For Darren Manson and his team at MODify, this screen was a bonus to an already amazing house. To see how else they made this Palm Springs Alexander home a shining gem once more, check out the rest of the story in the Atomic Ranch Renovation Guide, on sale now!