These before-and-after exterior makeovers will give you all the inspiration you need to spruce up your curb appeal.
Spruce up your curb appeal with a little help from our collection of before-and-after exterior makeovers. Whether your home is a cozy cottage or a two-story brick Georgian, you'll find plenty of inspiration to help you along the way.
When a young couple bought this stately brick house, they knew it had great bones and wouldn't require too much work. Their
only concern was that it felt dark and dowdy—a problem Birmingham-based architects Paul Bates and Jeremy Corkern of Cockern
Studio easily remedied.
"The house was already charming, but the brick was hard and it was lacking something," says Jeremy. "It needed some depth and lightness to reflect the homeowners' lifestyle."
"Everything was done to give the house some height because the homes on either side loom over it," says Jeremy. "We tried
to pick it up a bit." Paul and Jeremy created an oversize but not imposing 9-foot-tall limestone entryway. Light spills into
the foyer through the 7-foot French doors and leaded-glass transom. A pair of Palladian-style shutters adds a single punch
of color (Pratt & Lambert's Artichoke). A bell-shaped front lawn furthers the illusion of more height.
Flimsy materials diluted the charm of this 1,400-square-foot cottage, but architect Bill Ingram couldn't overlook its pleasing proportions. He was also drawn to its ideal location—tucked away from traffic but only a stone's throw from shops and restaurants.
Inspired by the architecture of Colonial Williamsburg, Bill gave his home the authenticity and substance it needed with a
few elegant upgrades.
Bill first got rid of the lifeless siding, asphalt roof, mismatched windows, and flat, nonfunctioning shutters. He opted to cover the exterior walls and roof with more tactile cedar shakes. "The house was static before, but now it's more animated," he says. "The shadows and textures all enliven it."
Bill put every inch of his small front yard to good use by forgoing grass for a more impactful garden. He replaced the unruly vines, sloppy shrubs, and front walk with a tailored parterre of boxwoods and paths of antique bricks.
The Cape Cod-style house Wendy Meredith and her husband, Cleve, bought several years ago had been built in the 1930s and was
more or less in its original state, so the interior designer had a clean slate for incorporating her best ideas. “Before we
bought the house, I would pass by it while walking my dogs, and I could just tell it had so much character,” Wendy says. “But
it definitely needed to be freshened up.”
Wendy called in Atlanta architect Brad Heppner, and the two immediately started working on curb appeal as their first project.
“We made subtle but important changes to the front exterior,” says Brad, “such as painting the brick a warm light brown to
help the house nestle into the surrounding trees.” Brad also added a cedar-shingled roof, a flared awning over the front door,
and charming black shutters to the upstairs dormer windows, all giving the house more architectural definition.
Montgomery, Alabama-based designer Ashley Gilbreath worked through years of neglect to restore her 1910 craftsman-style home that’s just doors down from where Zelda Fitzgerald once lived. Intent on preserving her home’s architectural details and character, Ashley wanted to salvage and restore. “I reused what I could and replicated anything new to be as close to the original as possible,” she says. “If I’d wanted a brand-new house, I would have bought one.”
While many of the porches' floorboards and railings had rotted and needed to be replaced, the front door (including sidelights)
and all of the front windows and siding needed only cosmetic maintenance. The ebony door was restained, windows reglazed,
and siding repainted with Sherwin-Williams' Palais White.
Using old photos as inspiration, Ashley had skilled carpenters copy the home's original second-story porch.
Landscape designer James Farmer helped Ashley complement her home with a low-key front garden of iconic Southern plants and casual pea-gravel paths.
The potential for this 1920s Shingle-style cottage was evident before the renovation. It had great scale and was sited nicely with rear water views. Georgia-based architecture firm Historical Concepts brought back the original charm of a jewel box cottage.
Historical Concepts took it back to its stylistic roots, emphasizing the distinctive gambrel roofline.
"The new design made simple, effective changes—a second entry, similar in size and detailing to the original, was added to balance the facade," says Betty Dowling, Professor Emerita at the Georgia Tech College of Architecture and guest judge of the 2013 Southern Living Home Awards. Then, new matching, equally spaced windows gave the exterior a more cohesive and pleasing look.