Each week, Mansion Global tackles a topic with an elite group of designers from around the world who work on luxury properties. This week, we look at how to create some serious curb appeal.
No matter how spectacular your home is on the inside, if the outside doesn’t match up, it can take away some of that wow factor. Not to mention, if your house is on the market, potential buyers might walk right by. “As the saying goes, ‘you only get one chance to make a first impression,” said Joe Berkowitz, founder of JAB Design Group, in Philadelphia. “Whether it’s your family and friends visiting or potential buyers, the exterior of a house is the imagemaker. Like the forward in a book, it tells the story of your style and sets the standard of what to expect within,” he said.
For tips on sprucing up the exterior to set an inspired tone for your home, follow these tips from the design pros.
Set an Inspired Tone
“Curb appeal is of the utmost importance, whether you’re planning on selling or not, because it sets the tone for the interior of the home. If the first thing that someone sees is a beautiful exterior, then they assume that the inside is going to be just as great.
“I always think that it’s best to stick with neutral, classic colors—whites, tans, blacks and grays—when it comes to exterior paint. Don’t use just one color on the whole house either, instead mix in darker shades to create contrast.
“Making a statement with your front door really draws the eye and attracts you to the rest of the home. This doesn’t mean you have to go crazy and paint your front door bright red or pink. I recommend painting your door a darker or contrasting color to the rest of the exterior, and, to finish it off, add beautiful greenery and planters on each side to make it an inviting focal point.
“Add stones or a border to make it feel more polished and thoughtful. Otherwise, a good pressure wash and concrete stain will help liven it back up. Also, ditch the basic address numbers and add something more inviting, like a custom sign or illuminated house numbers.
“Keep it symmetrical with the exterior details. For example, if you have three windows, then add uplighting in between, making it two total.
“Of course, always make sure that your landscape is up to date and any worn out or dead plants are replaced with fresh, lively ones. I personally love to use 75% greenery and 25% florals that aren’t too over the top. Deutzias and hydrangeas are both great options that everyone loves.
— Sara Barney, owner and principal designer of Austin, Texas-based BANDD DESIGN
Look at the Whole Picture
“There are many layers to consider on the exterior—windows, doors, walls, roof, trim, gutters, lighting, landscaping and hardscaping. Once you begin to develop a design concept and color palette, you can treat them all differently for drama or combine some together to simplify the look. In either case, create a cohesive feeling and synergy between surfaces and materials. Even a Victorian home with multiple colors and architectural details can have a fluidity about it.
“The front door can be a unique centerpiece of any home. From cherry red paint and high-gloss walnut to leaded glass or custom iron, like the perfect lipstick or tie, it often grounds or sets the style for the rest of the structure.
“Driveways do not have to be fancy or overdone. The simplest improvement is a new black coating. It shows you care and adds a crisp line to your lawn. To improve on that, you can add a Belgium block or brick apron at the entrance to your drive up. I love a herringbone apron with stone walls and iron gates.
“Light is like the stroke of a paint brush. It needs other colors and space to give it depth, or the result can feel flat. Intersperse your lights to illuminate the bushes and trees or accent the house itself. ”
— Joe Berkowitz, founder of JAB Design Group in Philadelphia
Look to Lighting
“A good impression will deliver a warm welcome, whether it’s your lights, decorations or your front door color. It sets the stage for an overall feeling of quality for the entire structure.
“Low-voltage lighting is a very effective and easy way to dramatically improve the ambiance of your curb appeal. Lighting control is one of the easiest ways to maintain a consistent aesthetic without having to fuss with it every day. I use the Legrand Smart Outdoor Switch with GFCI to ensure my lighting is exactly how I like it, no matter the time or place. This WiFi connected device allows homeowners to seamlessly manage their light displays. You can control your lights with an app and set up certain schedules to your desired on and off times, keeping curb appeal top of mind. This is one of those projects that is completely DIY but simple to get pro results.”
— Chip Wade, HGTV star and professional contractor based in Atlanta
Perfect the Picture
“Curb appeal is so important because people make assumptions before they go into a home. Potential buyers want to know if a house has been well cared for or if repairs have been kept up to date. You can tell a lot by the landscaping, if the trim is freshly painted, and to a lesser extent, what is on the front porch or stoop.
“I always recommend a fresh coat of paint on the interior and exterior if needed. It is definitely an investment that has a large return. People love a contrasting front door color, but don’t go too wild.
“If you have a beautiful, old tree or something that is substantial, uplighting gives a nice look but most buyers won’t see it unless they view the house at night. Additionally, shrubbery around the front of the house is mandatory. No one ever wants to see the foundation.”
— Anne Carr of Anne Carr Design in Los Angeles
Article Source: Mansion Global