Before-and-After Small-Home Exterior Makeovers

cape cod home
See how eight small homes gain serious character with creative exterior makeovers starring color, landscaping, and more.

Before: Could-Be Beauty

Lifeless and gray, this front porch served as merely a pass-through to the front door. Though the porch was structurally sound and offered ample space, it needed a few creative touches to turn heads.


After: Pretty Porch

First impressions are key to traffic-stopping appeal, and nothing says "come on in!" like a gracious front porch. Instead of a traditional rail, the homeowners opted for a geometric design that spoke to the bungalow's architectural style. Replacing the screens with stylish curtain panels boosted the porch's privacy. Low, colorful plantings frame the front of the house with greenery.

Before: Boxy and Blah

A lack of architectural features made this home a real square. Wrapped in dingy yellow siding trimmed in brown, this bungalow was as ho-hum as they come until an extensive addition to the back of the house provided the perfect opportunity to jolt the front out of its doldrums.

After: Flat No More

The gabled peak of the second-story addition now springs from the existing roofline, and an expanded portico with columns transforms the front door into a welcoming entrance. New steps and a wider walkway made from concrete stamped to resemble cobblestones graciously usher guests to the electric-red door. Enlarging the windows and adding an awning make the cottage look gracious and inviting.

A non-descript ranch home gets a complete overhaul thanks to creative changes that worked with the existing facade, while giving the home a personality all its own and a major boost in curb appeal.

Ranch Revival

See how a bland ranch home became a midcentury modern masterpiece thanks to a curb appeal makeover that brought the wow.

Before: Too Peachy

A dated color scheme kept much of the character of this small home obscured until a few simple but thoughtful changes allowed the charming exterior to shine.

After: Color Cleanup

A lightened-up exterior brings this small cottage into modern times without sacrificing character. A simple color scheme of gray and white with black accents makes the home appear larger, and custom touches like a new front door and window box boost appeal.

Before: Devoid of Character

This 1960s ranch just couldn't provide the space or style its family needed.

After: Quintessential Cape Cod

This former ranch's loving renovation was inspired by the nearby ocean and Cape Cod's vernacular architecture. The redesign included the addition of a widow's walk that offers views of Cape Cod Bay, accessible from a pull-down ladder above the upper-level landing.

Before: Hidden Away

A dull paint job and overgrown, unkempt bushes shielded this could-be charmer from second glances, but the dilapidated exterior couldn't hide its potential.

After: Country Haven

This home steps into view thanks to a color makeover, new front door, and shaped-up hedges. 

Before: Buried Charms

White paint, a boxy porch, and zero landscaping touches -- this unadorned exterior was builder-boring at best.

After: Breezy Style

The new design adds an upper level with sleeping niches, plus another bathroom and bedroom on the main level, all with a similar square footage as its cinder-block ancestor. A screen porch and dormers fit old island style, but the open-air communal space where the family can cook, eat, and hang is totally modern. Traditional elements trim it out -- plank walls, reclaimed weathered-oak beams, slate tile flooring. 

Before: Lackluster Landscape

Dull landscaping and discordant colors kept this Cape Cod home from finding its charisma.


After: Center Stage

A fresh paint job and simple structural changes such as a new portico brought the home into the spotlight, but the second phase of the makeover -- landscaping the sloped front yard -- really helped the home look stunning on its property.

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