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Curb Appeal: Little Changes Make a Big Difference

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By Jan Kaye and Doug Wells

RISMEDIA, November 29, 2010—(MCT)—We recently consulted on a formerly white Cape Cod-style home in the Kansas City, Mo., suburb of Westwood that had just been painted in a pale gray. The owners have already ordered replacement windows. They wanted to know what else they could do to improve their home’s curb appeal. We’re sharing how a few simple additions can make a big difference.

Often when we do in-home design consultations, clients ask us to help them with their home’s exterior as well. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of adding shrubbery and/or trees, or perhaps removing them when there’s an overgrowth that detracts from the overall appearance.

Sometimes the scale of the outdoor lighting fixtures needs to be adjusted. Or window treatments need to be replaced to give a coordinated appearance to the front of the house.

We always strive to achieve balance among the different shapes and colors that make up a home. Think of these shapes as the geometrics that form the house: the squares and rectangles of the house itself, such as doors and windows, plus the cones and rounded forms of surrounding shrubbery and trees. All need to work together to create a harmonious and dramatic impression.

In looking at the Westwood house, the first thing we noticed is that it appeared plain. Black shutters and a white pediment to accent the front door and trim made a world of difference. Also, potted plants on either side of the door give a shot of color to the neutral scheme and lend a sense of presence to the entrance.

Other changes to consider include painting the downspouts gray like the body of the house. Leaving them white calls too much attention to them. They can be prepared so that the new paint color will adhere, or new downspouts that are pre-finished in a similar gray could be installed.

Since the front porch step is sunken on the right, replacing it with a different hardscape material, such as brick laid in an interesting herringbone pattern, would add further appeal. The brick pattern could continue down the walkway. The mailbox can be updated if the bottom trim on the storm door and the door knocker are changed (currently they’re all brass).

While the shrubbery creates a good balance with the home, creating a side porch that can be used during the nice weather can be achieved by adding liriope or neatly trimmed boxwood.

(c) 2010, The Kansas City Star.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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