Design Standards Committee

By Kelly Driscoll

Over the last year, several Lakeport design standards have been updated. Each of these started with a request to the Board and Design Standards Committee to allow something that was previously prohibited by the standards. For each significant change we’ve conducted online surveys to measure support for the proposed changes, and in general the results have shown that our neighborhood is usually open to making changes if they provide homeowners with more flexibility in their home improvement and maintenance projects.

Changes made this year include the following:

  • Front Doors – The new standard provides a variety of options instead of requiring that owners replace doors with the original design (which often requires a custom door).
  • Storm Doors – The old standard was abandoned to allow homeowners to install two-section self-storing storm doors at the front door, instead of just at a back door.
  • Roof/Shingles – The new standard specifies a higher quality architectural shingle (also referred to as dimensional shingles) in a single color for the whole neighborhood.

The most significant standard change was approved last year to allow HardiePlank to be installed on individual homes. Since then, we’ve learned that big changes like this will benefit from small, iterative improvements. As homeowners have begun projects to install HardiePlank on their homes, we’ve received feedback from those who are replacing their siding, from their adjacent neighbors, and from the Reston Design Review Board (DRB). With that in mind, the Board sent another survey to get feedback on some specific requirements related to HardiePlank installations. The goals of these changes are to provide flexibility, to reduce potential conflict related to party walls, and to establish clear guidance on HardiePlank colors so that standard colors can be used without incurring the additional cost of painting the HardiePlank, which also defeats one of its major advantages, namely, not having to be painted. 

1. Remove the requirement that the interior of party walls be included in a HardiePlank project. Instead the new language would leave it up to the two owners to work out if/when party walls would have HardiePlank installed, with the further stipulation that if two adjacent homes are sided with HardiePlank, the party wall between them must not be left as cedar. This should help minimize the impact to neighbors when homeowners install HardiePlank.

In the picture to the right, the highlighted wall is a party wall. Although most agree that the wall is most accurately viewed as the exterior wall of the house on the right, Reston considers it a shared responsibility of both neighbors. Our current standard actually classifies it as an interior party wall for the house on the LEFT and requires that if the homeowner on the left installs HardiePlank, that wall must be included in the project.

The stipulation has caused conflict between some neighbors considering HardiePlank installations and dissuaded others from undertaking their own projects, so we’re proposing to remove that requirement and allow the homeowners to determine whether to include the shared party wall in a project. 

2. Remove the current “on all elevations” language. A current stipulation states “that units replace the siding on all elevations … at the same time with the same material.” The reason for this proposed change is that the high cost of HardiePlank is a deterrent for owners who want to use HardiePlank but don’t want to spend the money to install it on their entire house when only one side needs to be replaced (the typical situation for our homes, which have one side facing the lake or the woods). 

3. Specify HardiePlank colors that can be used. Projects to install HardiePlank siding in Monterey Taupe and HardieTrim in Sailcloth have been approved by the DRB for two Lakeport homes assigned to color palette 1 and for two homes assigned to color palette 2. Three other applications have been submitted but not yet approved, and all plan to use these colors.

In order to be consistent with these DRB approvals, the board is proposing that all HardiePlank installations, regardless of color palette, use the same Monterey Taupe siding and Sailcloth trim. Although using the same Hardie siding and trim colors for both palettes is a departure from the existing color scheme, the Board believes this is the best choice to minimize the color differences between homes with existing cedar and new HardiePlank siding. Because projects have already been approved, the Board determined that though this may not be the ideal solution, all alternatives have more significant disadvantages.

For the sake of comparison, you can see homes with the Monterey Taupe siding and Sailcloth trim compared to both color palettes at these locations:

  • Palette 1 (Monterey Gray, Amber White): 1919 and 1923 Lakeport 
  • Palette 2 (Beachwood, Wheat): 1964 and 1971 Lakeport

A survey was sent to Lakeport owners on October 23 (with follow-ups on November 4 and 10), and results will be shared soon. The Board’s consensus is that these changes will be improvements for homeowners who are replacing their siding with HardiePlank and for their adjacent neighbors. 

If you have any questions about design standards, please email Kelly Driscoll (11100 Lakespray) at We are always open to recommendations on how the design standards can be improved. In addition, please be sure to consult Lakeport standards at and ards.html before doing any replacements or major repairs on your home—some require DRB approval.

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