What’s the best way to improve a home’s curb appeal? That’s the number one question Patrick is asked during his regular video segments. In reality, there isn’t one best way to elevate a residence from the street. A combination of elements work in tandem to communicate a home’s character, style and theme. By considering each of these elements and upgrading them over time, a homeowner can significantly impact their home’s presentation.
When designed correctly, exterior lighting not only highlights and complements a home’s unique architecture, it also helps visitors safely navigate their way from the drive to the front door. To add unmistakable character, we suggest replacing basic outdoor lighting with appropriately scaled freestanding coach lights on the walkway as well as lanterns flanking the entryway, garage, and deck areas (a pendant light also works well at the front door). One of our favorite sources for authentic, artisan-crafted lighting is Lamplighter Corner on Martha’s Vineyard — they offer an excellent selection of historic wall and post-mounted models in copper and solid brass. Another outstanding lighting resource is Patti Bros., Inc. in Sudbury, Massachusetts.
Shutters are another exterior feature that introduce immediate warmth and character to a home. As a time-honored accent, shutters with proper pins and holdbacks in forged iron effectively add another layer of information to the home’s façade. For historical accuracy, we suggest using operable shutters in place of builder-grade and sizing them to match the window frame’s vertical dimensions. Companies like Timberlane and Atlantic Premium Shutters offer beautiful customized shutters that are historically accurate and expertly crafted.
Without major work or expense, window boxes deliver immediate charm to a building’s exterior and, when scaled properly, effectively complement the architecture and finish the look of the home. Introducing window boxes to a home’s exterior allows for a variety of accent blooms and colors year round and can soften architectural lines. The color of our window boxes is most often specified to match that of a house’s shutters.
Storm Doors & House Numbers
In New England, storm doors are a necessity, and they can be both functional and attractive. We recommend upgrading builder-grade storm doors to a combination wooden storm and screen door (from Brosco for example) with oil rubbed bronze hardware for a classic look that will add instant charm to the entryway. Interchangeable screen and storm door panels make seasonal changeovers easy and the customized wooden design complements the tone and character of the home’s architecture. Additionally, adding a unique door knocker and replacing flimsy, hard to read house numbers with classic bronze hardware will ensure a handsome finishing touch.
Carriage House Garage Doors
Another impactful exterior upgrade is replacing basic grade garage doors with carriage-style doors. The two-door design of carriage-style doors (sometimes called “barn doors”) that open outwards pays homage to the original use of the carriage house—the building that once housed horse-drawn wagons and equestrian gear on wealthy estates. The traditional architectural details of these doors like upper glass mullion panels and traditional strapping hardware adds customized character to a home’s exterior.
Proper fencing has the power to delineate public vs. semi-private or fully private spaces on a property, and ensuring that an existing fence is freshly painted and in good working condition can catapult a home’s curb appeal. Fences and often accompanying pergolas enrich a home with a sense of procession and character. If your residence does not feature a fence, consider adding one to elevate the front facade.
When it comes to walkways, materials and maintenance impact a home’s presentation. We often use bluestone or brick on a front walk, edged in cobblestone when budget permits and style fits. If your home currently features a bluestone or brick walkway, ensure that unsightly weeds haven’t appeared and that individual stones have not cracked. At times root systems from mature trees can cause a walkway to buckle. In these cases, consider re-routing and re-leveling the walkway to preserve nature’s canopy.
The driveway is yet another opportunity for detail and communication of a home’s character. Depending on location and theme of a residence we may consider cobblestone, pea stone, crushed shell, or brick ribbon drives beyond the traditional asphalt. For a home that may feature an existing asphalt drive in very good condition, adding a band of cobble just before the street or edging the drive in cobblestone can greatly enhance curb appeal.
With a little attention and care, addressing each of these elements can help your home make a dynamic impact from the street. If this discussion of curb appeal has you reconsidering your residence, contact us to learn how we might approach the project. In the interim we invite you to find meaningful inspiration in our portfolio.