Creating Colorful Curb Appeal

January 23, 2018 § 2 Comments

Need curb appeal?? Well, this remarkable ranch re-do will show you how some strategic changes to the front of a rather ho-hum house can make a huge impact, and if you’re planning on selling anytime soon, pay attention. There are some quick easy fixes that may apply to you.

Here is the Before shot: faded vinyl siding, old aluminum windows, dated storm door, dirty white shutters, old iron stair railing, and tree overgrowth. Have you seen a million houses like this one? Yup. Me too. Not exactly a head-turner.

Laurel LaBauve at SoPo Cottage addressed the front facade with a new porch portico. Adding dimension to the front face of the ranch made a huge difference and created a cottage style instantly. She could have stopped there, but onward to new windows (fresh, white, two-over-two) that brought more light into the house and gave it a cute, vintage, styled look. Excellent choice!

Next up? The vinyl siding. Why does the after vinyl look so terrific? Laurel revealed her secret: something called Vinyl Renu, a product that, Laurel reports, brings new life to the color and sheen and is supposed to last 10 years! I’m in! What a difference. If your house has vinyl siding and it needs a refresh, here’s the stuff.

Switching the shutters to black board-and-batten was another great cottagey move. If they’re vinyl, you fooled me. Note: Leaving the brand new windows bare with no shutters would not have been a bad thing. A little more contemporary. But the contrast of the black with the light blue siding and white trim is sharp, and the house looks finished.

Then there’s the front door color. Yellow. One of my faves as it sings Happy House as you walk up the front steps. And the coordinating flowers in the new window boxes (also a cottage style fun-to-have) pull the whole look together. (If you need color help, let me know!)

Even if there is no budget for major changes, here are a few easy fixes that will still make a big difference in your home’s curb appeal. Take-aways for home sellers:

  1. Trim the trees back so that the house is free of branches and there’s a clear view of the house from the approach. Pay attention to the landscaping, weeding, and overgrown bushes. It’s amazing what a little green thumb elbow grease will do.
  2. Rev up the vinyl siding with Vinyl Renu to give the color a fresh look.
  3. Add shutters if there’s room and particularly if the house is a light color. Black will give the house a dressed-up and polished curb appeal.
  4. Add coordinating accessories like porch lighting and a mailbox.
  5. Paint the front door a warm contrasting color and tie in the landscape (annuals, flowering shrubs) and any outdoor accessories like Adirondack chairs or deck furniture.

Click here to see how the INside was transformed. Bravo! Laurel, you are quite an inspiration.

Escape from the Blues

January 4, 2018 § Leave a comment

HorseshoeBayBermuda

Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda

This is a perfect January day in New England. We are completely snowed in, and nothing is more relaxing than hunkering down in a cozy house as the wind howls outside and the snow banks pile up around us. I love winter!

But that doesn’t mean I like the wintery gray, the limited daylight, and the bitter cold that comes with it. The longer winter goes, the more I yearn for an escape to somewhere warm — even if it’s only in my imagination.

Enter the Sherwin Williams Color of the Year for 2018.

It is an opulent teal that conjures up the ocean and all the warmth of summer at the beach. If a midwinter break in Bermuda is not on your calendar, there are other ways to escape the winter cold — visually. Here are some:

Plan Your Spring Projects. It’s never too early to think about Spring projects, and painting your front door is a doable one. Remember to tie the color in with other accessories and furniture around the yard.

Paint the Fifth Wall. Don’t overlook the ceiling when you’re adding color. Since cool colors recede visually, painting the ceiling a medium teal blue will raise it — like rolling a Utah sky onto your porch.

Splash Color Under Foot. Now I’m making it too easy. Add a gorgeous rug and transform your space instantly. There’s something about the combination of blues and greens that soothes and comforts us all. And a rug adds not just color but texture.

Dive into the Pool. Ceramics, art, dishes, pillows, collectibles, throws, lamps… the options for accessories are endless. Be sure when you add a color to your room that you put it in at least three locations to move the eye around the room and create flow.

Enjoy your staycation! With some daydreaming, a little shopping, and a tad bit of rearranging there at home, you can lift your spirits toward Spring and feel warm and cozy at the same time.

Thanks for stopping by!

Orange Twist to the Red Revival

September 18, 2017 § 2 Comments

Apples, pumpkins, falling leaves — there’s something about Autumn in New England that, despite our recent warm temperatures, makes us cozy up to the changing seasons. Maybe that’s why some of us live here.

My newest door color obsession is a revival of the orangey red of another decade, and that may signal the end of the light, neutral, blue and even light lemon yellow door color trend I’ve focused on for the past several years. This red, Million Dollar Red (Benjamin Moore 2003-10) is as perfect on a traditional white colonial as it is on a black modern home. There is no mistaking where the door is — it screams Welcome!

What I love most about it is its “orangeyness.” Orange is a happy color no matter what. So a red on the orange side (versus pink) says this is a happy home. The color also has an updated, contemporary feel as opposed to the more traditional burgundy red (also great, of course, but more serious and refined).

Adding an orangey red as an accent color on the interior is also a great way to torque up the energy. Try it on the back of a white bookshelf, or on a pouf ottoman in the family room, or even on a focal wall in the front entry. A little bit of red warms up a room a lot. So before painting an entire room red, make sure you want to amp up the temperature in there. Using red on items that can be removed in the hot summer makes sense to me: pillows, bedding, throws, and art. Then I look forward to my seasonal exchange when I swap out the cool blue accessories for red.

Enjoy Autumn… whatever it means to you and wherever you are. And love how the color orangey red makes you feel. Warm and Happy.

From Grays to Happy

May 2, 2017 § 1 Comment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gray has been the wall color of choice for public spaces in the home for a number of years now, and don’t get me wrong, gray is a wonderful neutral to replace the beiges of the previous trend. But you have to admit, gray is not for everybody. And if you live in a dark home with small windows and low ceilings, painting the walls gray might have been a real downer.

Never fear! Color to the rescue! Here are a few ways to make sure your gray room escapes the wrath of a couple of gallons of primer and a roller:

-Make all trim white. That is the best way to keep the gray clear and crisp.

-Make the ceiling bright ultra white. That will reflect the maximum amount of light back into the room.

-Add bright clear color. Bedding, accessories, a rug, and accent furniture (for example, as we see above in the room from Williams Sonoma Home) will help the gray perform its duty as a neutral backdrop instead of becoming the storm cloud in the room.

Add sparkle. Whether it’s a silver lamp, a crystal chandelier, or some new gold in a brass picture frame, adding metal and glass will provide the finishing touch to the room. Reflective finishes bounce light — like jewelry!

So if your gray walls are bringing you down, don’t despair. Add Color. (You knew I’d say that.)

 

 

 

Quick Old-Kitchen Updates

April 27, 2016 § Leave a comment

paintedcabinetsYou inherited your kitchen. We get it. No money for a costly re-do. We hear ya. But there are a few things you can do to lighten and brighten your dark, dated kitchen while you pour money into other fun things.

  • Replace the door handles and drawer pulls. There are so many new metal options out there, and many of them are quite inexpensive. Some even come by the bagful. So there’s no excuse for keeping these. uglyhardware
  • Paint the old golden oak cabinets. It may sound hard, but anything is better than the dated, dry and grainy orange beauties many of us were stuck with for awhile. Painting takes patience: in a nutshell, remove the doors, take off all the hardware, sand the cabinets and doors to give the surface “tooth,” prime everything with a really good primer and then paint the doors outside on a horizontal surface to prevent drips. I like to use a cabinet-grade enamel that holds up pretty well. Stay neutral for longevity although painted cabinets are all the rage. So pick a color you’ll love for a long time. Here’s what the Pros recommend for a really nice finish. http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20315665,00.html
  •  Switch out the overhead lighting. This is a really cheap, DIY project (remember to turn off the power first!!). There are so many options way more creative than the central overhead ceiling light or the yellowy brass candleabra over the kitchen table.
  • Add under-cabinet lighting. This is a great way to add both task lighting to an old kitchen counter space and ambiance. If you don’t have a tile backsplash, make sure that area is freshly painted as it will show up now. Here’s a link for the many options and how-to’s. http://www.lowes.com/projects/kitchen-and-dining/under-cabinet-lighting-buying-guide/project
  • And don’t forget to paint the walls. The easiest, cheapest, and quickest update to any room is a fresh paint job. If you need help with color, let’s work together.

Now, isn’t that easy? You will love pouring your morning coffee in your face-lifted new kitchen. Yes, you still have the old layout and probably none of the new gadgets currently available, but your kitchen will feel brand new. And think of the fun you can have with all your saved money! Enjoy.

(Photo: Brian Wilder for This Old House Magazine)

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