September 1, 2023
The sole purpose of house numbers used to be to convey whether you were in the right place. These days, they’re doing much heavier lifting, reports The Washington Post.
In some neighborhoods, a particular typography signals that a house has been flipped. In other cases, address signs alter an exterior’s overall vibe—sleek copper numbers on a reclaimed wood background can signal “modern farmhouse” even if they’re attached to a traditional Colonial revival.
As other parts of our homes have been HGTV-ified—and terms like “curb appeal” have seeped into the lexicon of average homeowners—house numbers have become almost as loaded with meaning as the white-picket fence.
Interior designer Betsy Burnham, principal of Burnham Design in Los Angeles, says house numbers never used to be part of her conversations with clients. But now it’s common to carve out time at the end of a job to pick the perfect ones. This attention to a previously overlooked detail, she speculates, is simply part of a larger cultural shift over the past two decades toward appreciating design: “We’re conscious of it; we’re inundated with it.”
“These older neighborhoods are being revamped and redeveloped, and one of the first things that you notice is that these modern house numbers are going up,” says Will Zhang, director of Design and Product Innovation at Emtek, a decorative hardware company.
Enough developers have slapped Neutraface (or a look-alike) onto their builder-grade flips that designers who work on higher-end projects are seeking alternatives. Vaccaro says her company has slightly adjusted which typography it uses.
“You can do a whole landscape positioning and up-lighting onto a number that’s been placed on a wall,” Vaccaro says. “That’s how big house numbers are getting. It’s not just that they don’t live on the mailbox anymore, they sometimes have their own wall.”
Research contact: @washingtonpost