There are subtle ways of respecting the neighborhood while securing your property value and being as original as your heart desires.
Respecting the neighborhood does not mean you have to copy everything about your neighbors' houses. It may mean you introduce a new style and new materials, but the proportions are similar to your neighbors.
It's like Kurt Cobain said, "Wanting to be someone else is a waste of who you are." This house could only be traditional if the home mostly rebuilt. That roofline will never say "traditional" and that is an expensive decision. Where the poor remodel decisions didn't live up to the soul of its modern roots, the proposal sketch shows some remedies that are true to what this home is. Not only is this a well sized home near a park and close to a walk-able main street, the mid-century style fits the eclecticism of an older part of a small town.
Enthusiastically embracing the original style pays off.
The original 1930 cottage style was embraced and enhanced, but the color choice and very modern landscape vault this property into the 21st century. Your property, however, ages back to 1986 if you park a sun-faded, red Camero out front, though.
An investment property needs to strike a balance between being easily maintained and attracting long-term tenants. Installing heavy landscape edging, defining linear plant beds, and using mulches such as large rocks all keep the landscape maintenance straight-forward while playing up the mid-century lines of the building. With only the exterior addition of entry overhangs, new paint, and period-specific aluminum posts, the once boring rental becomes playful and boldly reclaims its mid-century modern title. The entry color, limbing up the front yard's trees, and the addition of unit numbers and porch lights all enhance the safety of the rental property as well.
Only in the last few decades have we reconnected the suburbs to greenspace and connected to schools and shops, but we don't talk about architecture like we own it anymore. It's no longer part of our dialogue even though it underlies the decisions made about how wide your street is, the type of trim a developer puts on your new house, and the style in which the bank down the street is being built.
What does this have to do with your problem property?
An architect can take generations of architectural history and help you determine if that porch rail you pick up in Home Depot is actually appropriate for the style of your house. Buying cheap redwood on sale at your hardware store may backfire and cheapen your entire property. Not kidding.