How to Add Curb Appeal: Enhance Your Home’s Exterior with Columns

There are plenty of ways to boost the curb appeal of your home. One design element often overlooked is exterior columns. There are plenty of materials and styles to choose from – however, it’s important to choose wisely and match the character of your home. To guide you towards the best fit, here are some insights from Normandy Designer Jeremy Paris.

“Incorporating columns correctly can really enhance your exterior,” said Jeremy. “They are typically incorporated as part of a larger renovation, like a front porch or larger portico.”
When it comes to styles, they range from classical styles to simple posts. Round and fluted columns work well with certain style homes – like Colonial or Georgian. Tapered craftsman columns are very popular and work well in conjunction with masonry or stone bases. Simple square columns are also popular because they are so versatile.

“Whatever style column you choose, it’s important to get the spacing and proportion right. I also recommend going for fiberglass or composite type material. It’s your best option from a maintenance standpoint,” noted Jeremy.

So we’ve covered style and material, but it’s also important to note that there is more than one way to execute this type of project. You can choose between columns that are load-bearing. Or, columns wrapped around a structural post. Both of these can look great.

When done right, columns are a detail that will add to the charm of your home. When paired with a front porch, like this exterior renovation in Western Springs, you can also utilize your beautiful outdoor space to relax and socialize with neighbors.

Set up a time to talk with Jeremy about your next exterior project. Or, gather design ideas by visiting the Normandy photo gallery or by following Normandy Remodeling on Instagram and Facebook. You can also learn more about the home renovation process by registering to attend one of our upcoming workshops.

Smoked Bourbon Brisket Recipe

Normandy Designer John Ballack has many passions. We all know that one of them is architecture, another is BBQ. Here is one of his favorite fall recipes for you to try.

“I love using my smoker in the fall, it’s the perfect time for BBQ,” said John. “I highly recommend this brisket recipe. It will quickly become a family favorite.”

Smoked Bourbon Brisket with Peach-Bourbon BBQ Sauce Recipe

Buy a high-quality whole beef brisket or flat. Whole briskets are great for large groups. Flats are best for a smaller group.


1 cup tomato ketchup

3/4 cup peach preserves

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup Bourbon whiskey

2 tablespoons molasses

To prepare the sauce:

 Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent anything from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Cool and transfer to an airtight container or bottle.

Refrigerate for 24-hours (before use) to allow the flavors to meld.


1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup sweet Hungarian paprika

1/4 cup Kosher or sea salt

1 tablespoon ground chili pepper

2 tablespoons of ground Cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon of onion powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon dried basil


(Mix in a spray bottle…..)

4 parts apple juice

1 part Bourbon whiskey


Trim the fat off the brisket so there’s about a quarter-inch left all around. You need some fat to keep the meat moist. And leaving too much fat on will prevent the smoke from penetrating the meat which gives it that great flavor.

Rub 2 tablespoons of olive oil on all sides of the brisket.

Generously apply the spice rub on all sides of the brisket. This thick layer of spice eventually becomes “The Bark” which is critical for moist and tasty smoked meat!

Place the brisket in a food-safe plastic bag, tie up the bag, place it in a bowl (the bowl catches leaks), and put it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. This step will help break down the meat making it tender.


Preheat smoker to 225 degrees.

Use hickory, oak, or cherry wood chips for smoking brisket. You can mix them as well.

Place brisket (FAT SIDE UP) on the middle smoker rack (if you have a vertical smoker). Stick a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the brisket.-

Smoke for 1-1/2 hours per pound.

Halfway through, spray the brisket (lightly) with the basting sauce.

Baste again every hour or so after. But do NOT baste for the last hour.

Pull brisket off when the internal temperature reaches about 175 degrees. You will notice a thick black coating on the meat known as “The Bark”. Don’t panic…this is what you want!

Cover the brisket loosely with tin foil (known as a “Texas Tent”) and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes on the counter.

Place on a cutting board and slice the brisket (1/4 inch thick slices) with a sharp carving knife. Always slice across the grain which helps keep the juices locked inside.

Serve with a generous slather of the Peach-Bourbon BBQ sauce, your favorite sides, and a frosty cold beverage!  Life is good…!

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