Inside the Innovation House

We pulled out all the stops to bring the latest home tech features to our Innovation Home. See the 16 coolest things from the home and be amazed by how smart one home can be.

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Bathroom Countertop Ideas

Good-looking countertops -- whether made of marble, limestone, or concrete -- create high-functioning bathrooms that spill over with style. These popular countertop materials are sure to inspire a bathroom remodel.

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Find Your Dream Backyard

Whether you dream of sunning by a state-of-the-art pool or strolling through a simple cottage garden, there's an outdoor oasis with your name written all over it. Take this quiz to find out where you really belong.

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DIY Patio Ideas

Want to boost the beauty and usefulness of your outdoor spaces? Put one of these inspiring DIY patio ideas to work in your landscape.

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Easy Fireplace Upgrades

Does your fireplace need a facelift? Check out these 20 ideas for updating your fireplace with easy-to-apply embellishments and simple-to-make constructions.

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8 Cutting-Edge Exterior Features

The wow-factor of the Innovation Home starts with great curb appeal. See the eight things that make the home's exterior stand out.

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Budget Curb Appeal

Be the best home on the block for less. These budget curb appeal updates will show you how.

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Entryway Makeovers

Look through this collection of before-and-after home exteriors to find entryway designs that add curb appeal and welcome guests.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Choose a Whole New Style

      Before: Tiny windows and a nondescript color scheme stripped all personality from this small home.

      After: Post-renovation, the curbside facade of this home is brighter and more welcoming, thanks to a single large gable -- which replaced tiny dormers -- and an extended portico, which draws attention to the front entry. In addition, a revamped, simplified color scheme -- white accented by muted gray -- and more sophisticated landscaping, with low trimmed shrubs and distinguished, overize pavers, gives this mid-20th century home a decidedly contemporary feel.

    • Expand Streetside Windows

      Before: This homely bungalow felt hidden by overgrown trees and a carelessly chosen front stoop.

      After: It’s hard to believe the before and after views of this home. For starters, the homeowners took charge of the approach to the front door, removing overgrown trees and adding a paved sidewalk lined with pretty flowers. In place of boring, inoperable square windows, they added oversize multipane versions that flood the interior with light. A small arched covering signals the front door, and a bump-out gives new height to the small home.

    • Remake the Landscape to Match the Architecture

      Before: A boring swath of ordinary lawn didn’t match the elegance and grace of this home’s architecture.

      After: For the most part, this brick home’s facade details worked well together. Removal of first-floor shutters as well as new front windows and redone brick details on the second story helped to better tie the two floors together. More important though, were changes made to the landscape. A wide, stone front walkway gives a feeling of discovery and importance to the home, and a formal collection of boxwood shrubs adds a touch of graciousness to the yard.

    • Draw Attention to an Entry

      Before: A lack of architectural features left the front door feeling lost and floating in the home’s facade.

      After: This home demonstrates that even the smallest details can make a big difference when it comes to improving curb appeal. Pre-renovation, the front door felt lost, with no overhang or stoop. Now, a small arch above the space offers a visual key. In addition, bright white trim around the windows and at the roofline give subtle, but necessary contrast to the warm gray color scheme.

    • Boost Curb Appeal

      Give your front door a quick facelift with these easy ideas.

    • Move a Front Entry

      Before: Hidden under a deep extended roofline, a front door was lost, and old-fashioned colors and materials made the home feel nondescript.

      After: New shake shingles and bright white trim around windows and doors transform the home’s front facade from blah and boring to cheery and charming. An extended entry gives presence to the front door, and large concrete blocks—spaced generously thanks to grass borders—play up the almost organic feel of the new color scheme.

    • Banish a Slope

      Before: A tricky slope took over where a sidewalk should have been, and an odd patterning of brick felt distracting on the home’s facade.

      After: Sometimes a slope prevents a homeowner from enjoying outdoor spaces as they should. That was certainly the case with this front yard, where the steep angle had also presented a conundrum for the side yard walkway. Instead of abandoning the area, the homeowners embraced it, adding a short retaining wall and an elegant wrought-iron fence to establish firm borders. Overgrown trees and shrubs were tamed, too, replaced by small-stature shrubs and airy trees that enhanced the traditional shape of the home. A new neutral color scheme covered up the unsightly brick, helping to unify the exterior.

    • Tame a Landscape

      Before: Overgrown and ill-placed shrubs distracted from the home's exterior, and dated accents gave it a tired, unkempt look.

      After: The first steps in this home's exterior renovation were removing old wood siding and redoing the exterior material palette, including the roof. A pretty pattern of stone on the lower half coordinates with a new front landscaping bed as well as revamped fireplace chimneys. Stucco provides a light-color balance to the charcoal gray trim and roof. A line of newly planted trees also helps to divide public from private areas in the front yard.

    • Abandon Original Details

      Before: A dearth of millwork, color, and distinguishing features left this home’s exterior trapped in a time warp.

      After: This home’s curb appeal upgrade is a great example of what you can accomplish even without the benefit of an addition or major structural upgrade. Worn-out siding was replaced, with a stone pattern on the first floor and warm neutral on the second floor. Muted red shutters offer a pop of color, and cheery flowers replaced a row of boring front yard shrubs. A covered landing provides a pretty signal for the previously unadorned front door, and a dormer offers height and visual interest at the roofline.

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      Embrace a Neighborly Feel

      Before: An abrupt transition from the street to the front door made this Colonial-style home feel awkwardly placed, and the too-small front door felt lost.

      After: Many people naturally place outdoor living spaces to the back of a home, but there's a certain charm and value in adding them to the front landscape. This Colonial broke up its static front with an elegant pergola and paved area that leads from front door to garage, enabling the homeowners to become a part of the life in their neighborhood. Narrow plantings also soften the view, and a front door with side window panels gives more presence to the entryway.

    • Easy Ideas for Landscape Design
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      Watch: More Ideas for Easy Landscape Design

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      Enhance Hidden Features

      Before: Worn-out materials, a skimpy front porch, and an awkward step-up to the front door made this bungalow a pass-by home on the street.

      After: Ever doubt the power of design to remake a home’s curb appeal? Take one look at this superstar bungalow, which bears little if any resemblance to its previous incarnation. A wider overhang shelters a remade front porch, with gracious columns sheathed in paint and brick. Multipane windows with wide trim replaced the old versions, and a new stained front door and a charming picket fence announce both entry and border to passersby. Black details provide balance and grounding to the mostly neutral color scheme.

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      Re-create Lost Details

      Before: Insensitive remodeling projects and an insignificant front yard trapped this home in a bad remodeling nightmare.

      After: Through the years, many of the details that distinguished this home’s charming facade had been lost or covered up. To recapture their charm, the homeowner first focused on a muted color scheme—a pastel blue gray, muted white, and tiny hints of gray here and there. Multilayered millwork at the roofline and around windows was re-created, and the jarring brick wall that separates the street from the minuscule front yard was painted white, too. In place of an elevated front outdoor space, the area behind the short wall was dug out, allowing for pavers in place of a porch and a few welcoming benches, too.

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      Create Proportion

      Before: An overbearing, uninteresting facade, too-small windows, and lack of details prevented this home from creating any sense of style or exterior appeal.

      After: “Where to go?” might have been the number one question that visitors to this home asked; the front door was tucked out of sight and the shrub line created a physical separation between home and walkway. The homeowners relocated the entryway, giving it presence and style with an arched window and columns. Windows were enlarged, too, to give them a sense of proportion with the expansive home’s size. In place of an unbroken walkway, pavers and curved borders create a sense of movement to the front door.

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      Add Bright Spots of Color

      Before: A bland front door and overgrown landscape did this small brick home no design-worthy favors.

      After: There are several key low-cost ways that you can give your home's curb appeal a boost. Start with color: This brick home made its front door the superstar, with a coat of pretty chartreuse that's picked up in the light fixture and on the front door. New house numbers can give your home better street presence, too, as can a collection of pretty containers and flowers that pick up on key colors in the facade's material palette.

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      Capitalize on History

      Before: With no finished upper level and awkward straight-angle brickwork, this house lacked historic appeal.

      After: To gain more family space, the homeowners of this circa-1934 brick Tudor added a finished upper level, which also gave them more room to flex their design muscles on the exteriors. A new bumped-out entrance follows the elegant curve of the door, and a muted base color—a gray green—keeps the expansive exterior facade from feeling too overwhelming. Small pops of muted red add visual interest and continuity.

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      Invest Time in TLC

      Before: Poor maintenance and an overgrown front yard put a poor design foot forward for this modest home.

      After: Sometimes all a home needs to boost its curb appeal is a little TLC. That was certainly the case with this charming two-story home. Lack of care over the years had left it looking tired and worn. By fixing the siding, tearing out overgrown shrubs, and giving it a fresh coat of paint, the homeowners gave it a fresh face. Bright white trim contrasts with the pretty forest green base color.

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      Focus on a Cohesive Exterior

      Before: Pre-renovation, an oversize gambrel roofline on the garage disrupted the sight line, creating awkward views in the connection between house and garage.

      After: As is the case with many exterior redos, it was an interior renovation that required an exterior redo. In this case, the need for a master suite pushed the homeowners to look above the garage. That design choice allowed them to shorten the sloping roof over the garage to match the roofline above the front entry; the result is a streamlined exterior. In addition, a short awning over the front entry mimics the same architectural element over the garage door.

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      Enhance an Existing Style

      Before: A lack of attention to detail and an overgrown landscape kept this historically minded home from shining.

      After: The homeowners took inspiration from interior improvements to reshape the exterior. A new bonnet-top front door adds a simple decorative element to the stately architectural features of the 1922  Colonial-style home. Simple limestone-edge brick steps also echo the curve in the French doors.

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      Align Home Style with Exterior Materials

      Before: Barnlike siding and the lack of windows in a few spots gave this home's facade a dark, faintly scary feel.

      After: Dark brown and slightly foreboding, the siding material and color felt out of step with the coastal location of this expansive home. New shake shingling helped to solve that, as did perfect placement of white accents, including posts on the wide front porch. In addition, a major structural upgrade on the second floor brought the bump-outs in line with each other, and added windows gave the facade a gracious feeling of near-symmetry.

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      Next Slideshow Before and After: Home Exteriors

      Before and After: Home Exteriors

      Maximize curb appeal with an exterior makeover. See how these 24 facades went from ordinary to unforgettable.
      Begin Slideshow »



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