Before and After: Home Exteriors

Maximize curb appeal with an exterior makeover. See how these 21 facades went from ordinary to unforgettable.

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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.

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.

Before: Not-So-Classic

    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.

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.

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.

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.

Before: Run-Down Rowhouse

    This classic Victorian rowhouse was in serious need of a rescue with its decaying exterior, old windows, and overgrown landscaping.

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.

Before: Ordinary Exterior

    Odd window configurations, plain clapboard siding, and a nondescript porch gave the front exterior of this 1920s cottage very little personality.

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.

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.

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.

Before: Run-Down Cottage

    This neglected and not-so-attractive home, built in 1933, needed a dramatic makeover to become livable again.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.