Curb appeal: brick&batten offers exterior home design


After photo of a house in Atlanta. (Submitted photo)

By Heather Collins

For Carmel resident Cassie McDowell, it’s what’s on the outside that counts.

Growing up, McDowell and her sister, Allison Vaccaro, would flip through vintage issues of Architectural Digest, Home and Garden and Coastal Living and travel across the nation in a Jeep Wagoneer with their parents to view the exteriors of beautiful homes. Throughout their childhood, their parents fixed and flipped a variety of properties from Indiana to Florida. McDowell said her father drew up house plans like most dads read the newspaper.

In 2012, McDowell and Vaccaro focused their passion for properties into the web-based exterior home design business, brick&batten. McDowell, Vaccaro and business partner Shannon Gallimore offer innovative ways for homeowners to easily improve their home’s exterior.

“We’re like an interior designer for the exterior of your home,” McDowell said.

McDowell said the return on investment for exterior design is nearly 141 percent.

“It’s just as expensive to paint your house the wrong color as it is the right color,” McDowell said.

The business offers clients a package that includes photoshopped renderings of the home with the desired design elements for the exterior and landscape and a clickable shopping list including paint, columns, awnings, shutters, window trim, porch furniture, planters and lighting.

McDowell said a majority of the renovations can be done by the client or a local handyman.

“I think working with us makes the client the expert and gives them the confidence to execute the design,” McDowell said.

The team has helped transform houses across the nation. A former school teacher, McDowell has lived in Carmel with her husband, Dale, and three grown children since 2000. Vaccaro and Gallimore are based in Atlanta.

For information, visit


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