Four Steps to More Curb Appeal
Columnist Kathy McCleary talks to design experts to find out how to makeover her home exterior and landscaping without spending a bundle.
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Downplay or Dress Up the Driveway
Berstler says that for many newer homes the driveway is often the first thing you see. "Is that the most welcoming thing for someone coming up to your home? Not really. It might be the most welcoming thing for your SUV." Because the driveway is the largest hard area near the house, the material and look of the driveway and garage have a huge impact on curb appeal. "It's probably the number one thing I'm asked to deal with," says Berstler. "It's either, `How do I make this look better?' or `How do I direct people's attention away from the driveway and toward the front door?'"
Berstler's first choice is to reorient visitors away from the driveway by creating a path to the front door, either from the street or from the driveway. She also looks at the driveway itself. "A big old gray concrete driveway is pretty unattractive," she says. "But stain it and make it look more like stone, or apply one of these brush-on coatings that gives it a dimension like stone or even paint it with a sealer and a pigment in the sealer."
Riley and partner Keith Chinn once coated an old driveway with a thin coat of brick-design concrete to complement the brick chimney and porch. It wasn't inexpensive, "but you don't have to rip out all the old and put down a new driveway," Riley says, "and it was a great way to make a bunch of different surfaces match."
Pay Attention to Details
Curb appeal is also "the whole package," as Riley says, which means the small details are as important as the big picture. "The finishing details are what really pulls it together," says Riley, who once inserted small, colorful ceramic tiles into brick steps to carry through a color scheme.
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