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:
- 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.
- Rev up the vinyl siding with Vinyl Renu to give the color a fresh look.
- 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.
- Add coordinating accessories like porch lighting and a mailbox.
- 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.
November 15, 2015 § Leave a comment
In honor of my beloved Paris, let’s talk about shutters. In my humble opinion, nobody does shutters better than the French. Classic, elegant, tasteful and actually quite functional as opposed to our (often) vinyl interpretations on our side of the pond.
That said… shutters do not have to be functional, and it’s okay if they’re vinyl. But how can we make our vinyl, nonfunctional, imitation shutters look more authentic? Size. Yes, when it comes to shutters, size matters.
Shutters that are too narrow or too short for the window size look like an afterthought, at best. They add color and dress the bare windows, but they don’t fool anybody. Make sure 1) there is enough room on either side of the windows for properly sized shutters; 2) the width of the shutters fits the scale of the window — they could actually function; and 3) the length is appropriate — if shut, the shutters will cover the window completely and not leave a little hem showing.
Thank you, Paris, for educating me on shutters during my trip in 2010. And my sincere sympathies to you and your people.
September 6, 2012 § Leave a comment
Decorating a teen’s room is way different from decorating a young child’s room, and I’m not just talking about the comforter and the curtains. When you’re decorating a little girl’s room for the first time (when they’re really little), there’s not much push-back from her. She loves flowers, polka dots, pinks and purples. But as she grows older, she develops her own style and wants to do things her own way. As a decorator, we have to take that into account when we’re called upon to work on a young teen’s room. How to take her very strong requirements for her room and mesh them with the aesthetic sensibilities of mom and dad.
This project is a prime example. The Before Photo shows a bedroom of many colors, stripes and dots in a fairly white room. As you can see from the swaths of color that she painted next to her bed, the teen living there was pretty much done with white walls. So that’s where we started. She picked a cool, vibrant blue-green that was a reflection of her personality (not her mom’s). From there, we found cornflower blue bedding (Pottery Barn) as well as some accent pillows and accessories to pull the colors together.
My major role in this project? To prevent color overload. The remedy? Adding white to the room to offer some visual relief from the intense hues. I found white tone-on-tone polka dot fabric for the window panels (custom-made), a white lamp with a lamp shade that pulled all the colors together (Pottery Barn), and a white fuzzy pillow for the bed (Pier 1). I also added the floral light fixture on the ceiling (Lamps Plus) — a great find for a teen room. The result was a room that all three of us (teen, mom, and decorator) could love.
November 4, 2011 § Leave a comment
Although it’s a commitment, there’s a growing trend in windows to replace white with color — like these beautiful blue mullioned picture windows shown as a backdrop to outdoor furniture from the Ballard Designs catalogue (www.ballarddesigns.com). Red is another great window accent color as is the ever-present forest green.
When choosing a window color, decide whether you want your windows to stand out (white windows already do) or blend into the siding color. Choosing a color that is not in your house palette already except for maybe the front door will pop your windows right off the front of the house. Picking a window color that is already in the palette of your house (taupe, for example, to match stonework) will blend the windows. Particularly nice if you have a lot of little tiny windows and prefer a less busy look for the house.
As with all color selection, contrast or the lack of it will determine the end result. But don’t pick white just to be safe. Think color!