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How to modernize a split level home exterior

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A split level house remodel, specifically the exterior, is one of the best investments you can make. Today I’m sharing our plan how to modernize a split level home exterior with white board and batten siding, black windows and enlarging the front door opening. Modernizing a split level home exterior can be achieved in 4 simple steps and black windows are a key component.

Whether you are remodeling a split level (or bi-level exterior), ranch or any exterior, these exterior ideas that I am going to share can be used on any style home. 

Split Level Exterior Remodel

Split level house Foxboro Ma brown siding

The picture above shows the cute split level house with the old white windows and old siding. Wait until you see the exterior siding featuring white board and batten!

There is a significant amount of split level renovations and remodels going on right now in our area and many seem to be jumping on the white exterior with black windows trend. Updated split level homes are on the rise!

Don’t worry though, you can still achieve a updated modern exterior look if you prefer white windows. 

Split level house plans are fairly typical with closed off rooms and a cookie cutter layout. We decided to change the inside floor plan a bit and remove walls and ceilings to create an open concept.

So far this split level house inside has been completely gutted in the kitchen and living space. The kitchen wall has been removed and the new engineered beam has been installed to support the load bearing wall. 

If you haven’t taken a tour of the inside of this split level home before the remodel started, take one now! 

Bi Level House Exterior Ideas

The first step to making this a modern split level house was to address the exterior siding and windows.

Exterior siding, windows, doors and a roofing material are the key components to to updating a 1960s or 1970’s home.

brown split level home with no windows

We started by removing all the existing windows and removing any rotted sills. 

The existing windows were drafty and very inefficient.

The house was built in the late 1960’s and I’m not sure if they had ever been replaced. 


split level house window opening made larger to fit new window

Once the windows were removed, Jim and his crew enlarged the window opening with a sawzall to increase the height to accommodate the new black windows.  

The correct nails for installing a window will depend on your vinyl frame size. 

installing black windows with 1 1/2 inch nails

We used 1 1/2 inch framing nails.

black weatherstrip window tape along black window

The new window frames were all lined with black weather tape to help keep moisture out.

The black window and door tape is so sticky!

Do Black Windows Cost More?

We decided to go with Simonton vinyl black windows and each window was about $125 more than a typical standard white window.

The overall cost increase was about $1000 so in the end, that’s not a lot considering the modern farmhouse look we are going for. 

We have also used the (affiliate link) Jeldwen black windows as well but they are more expensive than the Simonton. Depending on your budget, both are great options. 

brown split level home with no windows

I can’t wait for the new white board and batten siding to be installed and the new modern view of this home!

front bay black window being installed split level house

Can you visually see how gorgeous this split level home is going to be once the new white siding, black windows and front door are installed?

Jim was very diligent about making sure each window was level before completely nailing it to the window frame. 

1970 Split Level Exterior Remodel

How do you increase curb appeal at a split-level house?

  1. Enlarge window openings to fit taller and wider windows
  2. Replace old siding with modern vinyl siding
  3. Enlarge the front entrance (click through this post, how to enlarge your front entryway)
  4. Install a craftsman style or full view front door with sidelights and transom
  5. Replace roof
  6. Add a front porch or portico over the front door

During the 1960s and 1970s, the windows were much smaller so if enlarging the window size fits in your budget, do it!

checking black window is level on brown siding

There was a bit of extra work due to enlarging the existing window opening but in the end, the larger sized windows will add a lot of curb appeal and architectural interest to the front of the house. 

split level house exterior with black windows

You can see above the black windows are installed and the front door opening as also been cut out to fit the new front door.

WAIT until you see the new door from Horner Millwork and Masonite. It’s gorgeous!

This cute home is on it’s way to a modern transformation!

We picked the Masonite Heritage Craftsman Series with sidelights and a 12″ inch transom.

The transom and sidelights will have black grills as well.

Masonite Heritage Craftsman front door with sidelights and transom

Split Level Exterior Before & After

Our split level exterior makeover featuring a black and white color scheme helped us achieve the modern farmhouse design.

Here is the house before we removed the old siding.

brown 1970 split level home with white door

Here is the after with the new white siding and black windows.

white board and batten split level with black windows
split level house with white board and batten siding black windows and brown front door

Click through this post, “best split level exterior remodel before and after” to see the final reveal plus the 2 car “barn style” garage that Jim built on the property. 

Updating your home exterior with siding, windows, doors and a new roof adds tremendous value to any home. An updated modern split level exterior before is typically drastic as the home designs from the 1960’s and 1970’s was very bland and the idea of adding board and batten siding with black windows back then was unheard of! 

Did you see the new kitchen layout post with the center wall torn down inside and new skylights?

Be sure to hop over and start from the beginning of this remodel series by clicking each link below. 

You can see them all here by clicking each link –> (1) Split Level House Tour (before), (2) opening a load bearing wall between kitchen and living room , (3) Adding a beam to a load bearing wall , (4) Installing shiplap on vaulted ceiling , (5) Quality Wolf kitchen cabinet review and installation, (6) Why we love the vinyl plank flooring basement makeover, (7) why we picked prehung solid core interior doors by Masonite, (8) Split level exterior remodel before and after , (9) Split Level Kitchen Remodel before and after


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  1. Jane M Leydon says:

    I cannot wait for the final results. It is looking great!

  2. Gonna be beautiful! I love the black windows. Can’t wait to see the final results!

  3. I’m curious will you be adding a front porch onto your home. We have a split level and I want to add a porch, but hard to find pictures so maybe it’s hard to add one?

    1. Hi, no we won’t be adding a front porch – just a small overhang over the front door.

    2. We added a front portico to our split-entry last year. We ended up bumping out the entryway 3ft so we could also add a small closet just inside the front door. In conjunction with removing the closet at the top of the stairs, it has transformed both the look outside and inside the home.

      1. It’s amazing what a front portico adds for curb appeal right? You must love the change in your home!! πŸ™‚

  4. Can you please share a link to a picture of the completed project? I think you mentioned adding white board and batten siding. I can’t seem to find link. Thanks!