Before and After: Home Exteriors
Maximize curb appeal with an exterior makeover. See how these 24 facades went from ordinary to unforgettable.
Everything In This Slideshow
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Before: Dreary Ranch
A hodgepodge of brick and crumbling concrete gave this ranch a dated appearance that buried its potential.
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After: Warmer Welcome
Painting the exterior a warm white and coating the shutters in khaki, just a few shades darker than the house, was a budget-friendly move with big impact. Blue slate steps and stacked stone risers carve a clear path to the entrance, where new a portico defines the entry and creates a transition between the inside and out.
Before and After: Cape Cod Charmer
Underneath overgrown landscape and dull colors, this Cape Cod home was a stunner waiting to happen. Watch and see how it was transformed into an inviting facade.
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Before: Easily Overlooked
Surrounded by rose-filled lanes, historical architecture, and picturesque harbors, this vacation cottage in Nova Scotia has enjoyed scenic views since 1875 -- but along the way, the house itself lost some of its charm.
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After: Village Charmer
Without sacrificing historical character, gray-blue paint and cream-color trim offer a sophisticated palette for the Gothic Revival-style home. A pediment and brackets lend architectural presence to the front door, while new benches and planters enhance the home's welcoming atmosphere.
Before and After: Ranch Redo
See how a humble ranch received a major boost in the curb appeal department.
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Before: Rundown Cottage
A quirky facade with cottage charm had deteriorated over the years, leaving the home in shambles. Boarded up windows, a crumbling front stoop, and a barren yard signaled a cry for help.
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After: Star Attraction
Even with a new paint job, portico, and a few changes to the floor plan, the 1907 home looks virtually unaltered. New garden beds enhance the property's cottage charm and welcome guests to step in through the front door.
Why Your Exterior Needs Better Character
See how these homes gained style and character with a few exterior upgrades.
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Before: Scrunched Living Space
The only eye-catching feature of this split-level home was its jarring combination of blue-painted siding and Santa-red brick. The entry was scrunched into a cramped alcove and upstaged by the garage.
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After: Splendid Split-Level
A sophisticated Prairie-style makeover took this split-level from blah to beautiful. Stucco replaced cedar siding and the brickwork below was painted to match. The entry was pulled from the shadows and centered in a tall, gabled bump-out. Sidelights and a three-part transom dramatize the door. Pedestals were added to the revamped stoop, which leads into a colored-concrete walkway. Raised stucco trim surrounds new casement windows on the upper level. A band of slate tile strengthens horizontal lines, while a period light fixture adds a finishing touch.
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This small Cape Cod home presented a less-than-friendly facade. The cedar-shingle siding had been blackened by pollution and oxidation. The dormers looked puny and out of place and the white garage door detracted from the rest of the home's architecture.
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After: Classic Cape Cod
An arched portico above a new brick stoop and an adjoining pergola-topped porch give this Cape Cod home a more welcoming entry. A new, rich-looking cedar garage door harmonizes with the cedar siding and it's surrounded by arched trim to echo the portico's arch. Additional upgrades include a larger front window, bigger dormers, fresh roofing, and a gracious front walk.
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Before: Out of Place
With a mismatch of materials and awkward facade, this odd-looking 1950s Colonial became a romantic chateau drawn straight from the French countryside.
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After: French Twist
A neighborhood misfit turned old-world charmer, this country French-styled home is now a visual masterpiece. Rough stucco slathered over pinkish brick added several inches in thickness to the walls. A new slate roof received a gentle sweep on the ends. Lower windows were swapped for slender French doors with arched tops, paneled bottoms, and iron hardware. The main entry now features an arched, solid-wood door flanked by sidelights that continue its curve. A rustic stone arch crowns the entry. A cut-stone terrace across the front of the house, a rustic flagstone walk, and a low stucco wall add to the French-country romance.
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Before: Run-Down Rowhouse
This classic Victorian rowhouse was in serious need of a rescue with its decaying exterior, old windows, and overgrown landscaping.
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After: Restored Rowhouse
The rowhouse revival began with the replacement of every window, a new coat of gray paint on the siding, cream on the trim, and darker green on the accents. New wooden railings and balustrades ascend the concrete and terrazzo steps and two new sets of columns support the portico. To perk up the lower level, a new garage was installed as well as an attractive garage door -- featuring inset panels and arch-top windows that echo the curve of the classic bay windows. Overgrown bushes were removed and stacked-stone retaining walls keep the new yard tidy.
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Before: Ordinary Exterior
Odd window configurations, plain clapboard siding, and a nondescript porch gave the front exterior of this 1920s cottage very little personality.
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After: Crafty Revival
A renovation that boasts strong Arts and Crafts design elements gives this home plenty of personality. A new pitched-roof portico echoes the roofline of the main gable and two striking pairs of square columns support the portico's pleasing arch. A custom mahogany door and leaded-glass sidelights draw the eye in.
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Before: Shy and Subtle
Once upon a time -- 1927, to be exact -- this Nashville home exuded English Tudor style. Then the gables disappeared in an attempt to give the architecture a French twist.
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After: Undeniably Tudor
The first order of business was restoring the stone-clad entry gable, a hallmark of Tudor style. New double doors enhance the drama: Framed by a stone arch the heavy wood doors complete a curve when closed. Restoring the peak of the large cross-gable and adding a matching roof dormer and decorative half-timbering provides another layer of Tudor style. Fresh paint, pale gray roofing, and fine details -- from window boxes to salvaged copper lanterns -- round out the list of improvements.
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Before: Run-Down Cottage
This neglected and not-so-attractive home, built in 1933, needed a dramatic makeover to become livable again.
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After: Restored Beauty
A new door, siding, and windows plus extensive landscaping made this cottage livable and lovely. For a focal point, the new entry features a portico supported by triple Tuscan-style columns and built-in benches. Wide orchard-stone steps and a charcoal-dyed driveway give it an upscale touch.
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Before: Unflattering Facade
This small 1940s Cape Cod was almost overtaken by shrubs that crowded the home and encroached the front steps. The uninviting entry offered zero dimension and little character.
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After: From Flat to Fabulous
Clearing out the overgrowth of shrubs and building an entryway bump-out with a peaking portico over the front door gave this home much needed dimension and personality. Low rock walls flank wide steps accented with stone, beefing up the front door's presence. New shingle siding in a soft gray hue and low-to-the-ground shade plants give the exterior a soft, carefree look.
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Before: Bland Brick Home
The wooded lot, solid foundation, and full basement attracted the homeowners to this ordinary 1950s three-bedroom brick ranch, and they were willing to put the work into a home exterior worth noticing.
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After: Captivating Conversion
An upper-level addition creates more living space and a spectacular new face. Architectural elements, including two gables and a shed dormer, add visual interest to the front exterior. The shed dormer breaks up the roofline and fills the home with natural sunlight. The home's brick, originally a patchwork of colors, is painted historical gray to match the shingles on the facade of the new upper floor, and white trim draws attention to the handsome divided windows.
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Before: Not-So-Cute Cottage
The off-center front door threw off the balance of the otherwise symmetrical facade, and a covered porch spanning the home's front blocked natural light. Striped awnings on the upper windows made the upstairs equally dark and dreary.
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After: Happy Home
Removing the slope-roofed porch, then centering the front door and surrounding it with a smaller, flat-roofed porch with side panels and pillars gives this home a happier exterior. Low-maintenance vinyl siding in ocean blue contrasts nicely with the wood door and white trim.
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Before: Cramped Cape Cod
With a new baby on the way, the homeowners had an excuse to add on to this one-bedroom 1922 cottage and improve the less-than-friendly exterior.
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After: Cape Cod Charmer
A new upper floor with dormers, a gable over the front entry, and a main-level bay window that brings symmetry to the entry, create a distinct Cape Cod style. Cedar shakes and white trim make the addition look seamless.
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Before: Cold and Uninviting
Diagonal cedar siding gave the home a dated look, while a solarium over the entry made the facade feel cold, closed-off, and uninviting.
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After: Warm and Welcoming
Removing the solarium makes room for a pretty porch with custom-built columns that improved the entry's function and provide the curb appeal this lakeside home needed. A handsome wooden door with sidelights serves as a focal point. New cedar shake siding gives the exterior a traditional look.
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Before: Reason to Remodel
An infestation of mold -- which led to the removal of all windows, stucco, sheeting, and insulation -- created an exciting opportunity for the owners of this mid-1990s home: a chance to transform their plain, contemporary exterior.
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After: Classic Conversion
A new portico, wood-shingle siding, crisp arched details, larger grid windows, and stunning stonework take this once-contemporary home from boring to traditionally charming.
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Before: Less Than Charming
The interior of this 1893 Victorian was full of details, but the exterior had lost these classic touches when the porch was removed because of rotting wood and the house was re-sided.
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After: Wrapped in Charm
The homeowners have restored their Victorian's original grandeur by adding half-round decorative panels on the highest parts of the facade and white trim, which provides a crisp contrast to the red-painted vinyl siding. A porch addition softens the entry and creates an inviting outdoor living space.
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Before: Generic Two-Story Home
With a bland exterior, sparse landscaping, and a blank white garage door, this vacation home was as bland as its lakeside setting was beautiful.
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After: Enviable Vacation Home
With new rooflines, natural cedar siding, and accents of rough-hewn stone, this weekend retreat gets the Arts and Crafts character it was lacking. A cross-gable roof extension, supported by a post-and-beam scissor truss perched atop two hefty stone pillars, gives the entry a whole new status.
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Before: Dreary Ranch
Basic siding and heavy overhangs left this 1957 ranch looking dated and dark.
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After: Glowing Update
Pergolas over the front door and garage add architectural interest, and carriage-style garage doors replace the generic ones to create a Craftsman look. New horizontal-bevel cedar siding spruces up the facade, and a new color scheme gives the exterior a much-needed pop of color. Removed brick was reused for porch columns and planters in the front of the home.
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Before: Brand-New but Boring
This Georgian-style home failed to inspire and lacked the character of its namesake architectural style. The brand-new home needed an exterior boost to keep it from blending in with the rest of the homes in the development.
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After: Noteworthy New Home
The addition of a front porch, dormers, and several styles of trim combine to create a custom appearance that brings the home to life. Low-maintenance fiberglass columns and molded polymer millwork, along with charming white rocking chairs, frame the new entrance. A sunroom addition visually balances the garage.
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Before: Boxy and Boring
A beach home should be bright and breezy but that wasn't the case with this 1960s beach home. The overall appearance was weighed down by the two black-hole carports, topped by a screen porch. The porch's screens, which blocked sunlight from entering the home, reiterated the boxy shape of the space below, creating an unappealing stacked effect.
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After: Better Beach Home
To give the beach home a lighter appearance, the exterior was painted a pale yellow with crisp white trim. The porch was transformed into an open-air retreat enclosed only by horizontal white railings. French doors along the back wall of the porch allow more light to enter into the living room. Swinging pressure-treated louvered pine panels painted an olive green camouflage the parking spaces below.
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Before: Stuck in 1950s
Tiny windows, a small and uninteresting entry, and no front porch left the homeowners of this 1950s ranch feeling trapped in the past.
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After: Fanciful Country Cottage
The new double-gabled entry -- its combination of two-tone brick cladding and cedar siding -- serves as a focal point and frames the enlarged foyer of the revived ranch. Stone forms the walks and stairs, and larger windows supply cottage charm.
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After: East Meets West
The porch was replaced with a more traditional Arts and Crafts-style entry that stayed true to the home's Asian roots. The lantern, door, wood posts, and shape of the roof -- constructed of a lightweight slate-look rubber-and-fiberglass material -- complement the home's style. Overgrown bushes and trees were removed and the yard was razed to allow for an expanse of concrete pavers. Tidy trees and plantings were planted along the home's foundation.
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Before: In Need of Repair
Yellow-beige paint with brown trim, too-small windows, and a low concrete-block wall that cordoned off the front yard left this bungalow in need of a serious facelift.
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After: Better Bungalow
Because the house was located in a historical district, rules required that the front windows, doors, and facade remain the same. Despite these limitations, the homeowner successfully improved the home's function and appeal. The home's stucco was redone in a natural color, the trim was painted white, and wide stone steps replaced the narrow concrete stairs.