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Improving Our Curb Appeal

Houses can be like wedding dresses - when you find the right one, you just 'know'. We searched for our current house for over a year, first casually dropping into open houses that caught our eye, and then more earnestly watching the market and targeting specific neighbourhoods. But out of the dozen upon dozens of houses we visited, none of them felt quite right until this one.

This house captured me with it's sense of nostalgia. With it's siding on top and brick on the bottom exterior,  it reminded me so much of my childhood home:

Similar, right? I loved growing up in that house. But while I love the retro appeal of our new home, I don't want my house to look like it's straight out of the 1970's! Time to make some exterior changes and improve our curb appeal.

It's surprising how costly changes to the exterior can be. Windows, doors, garages, walkways and gardens - these large, structural elements need to be hard wearing and long lasting and can be a significant investment. So I'm looking at the exterior as a long-term project... let's call it slow renovating... but even though we can't make all these changes in the immediate future, I think its helpful to have a grand vision and at least think about the extensive dream list.

Front Entry:

Our entryway isn't that unattractive, but it lacks presence. To me, a front door should be commanding yet welcoming but I find this door blends into the background. The red paint colour is too similar to the brick and the storm door obscures the front door. I'm debating whether we need the storm door at all: the covered porch does a good job of protecting us from the elements, and I don't like leaving the front door open anyway so we don't need the storm door for that purpose.

A few decorative changes will have this area looking like new. Replacing the small side lights with traditional lanterns will bring Colonial style to the facade. I'm also on the search for a new mailbox in a matte black finish. Speaking of black, I'm a bit tired of the black urn planters. A more modern planter would contrast nicely against the traditional brick. Add a larger welcome mat and this entryway would be much improved.


The porch is spacious and wide but the jut out is a bit peculiar. I wouldn't really place any furniture in that area but visually I need to fill it up. Replacing the two metal chairs with a bench will help. Perhaps I should add an outdoor rug too? This area will be great for seasonal displays though. I can already picture it dressed up for the holidays!


The walkway is in good condition and the plants add needed colour but I'd love some formality. To bring more definition and structure, we could replace the grasses with a row of boxwoods. It will help to disguise the concrete pad as well. A few of the shrubs and one of the Japanese Maples didn't survive the winter and need to be replaced but I think, for this summer, we might maintain things as they are until we define a more elaborate garden plan.

Garage Door:

To make a big impact on the exterior, we'll be replacing the garage door. It will make a huge difference! Garage doors can account for almost 40% of your home's facade so I'm expecting this one change to have the most dramatic effect. These doors are over 20 years old and very poorly insulated. That might not be a big issue to some people, but I have a husband who works in the garage pretty much year-round. Sean couldn't even wait for spring and was out in the garage in chilly February, organizing the room and building storage.

I'm excited to say we'll be working with Garaga on this home improvement. They offer a wide variety of garage door styles, all designed to take on Canadian winters. Knowing nothing about garage doors, it was quite an educational process to select the one that combined the aesthetics and features we were looking for. Coming up, I'll share my mood board for some of the exterior updates. The garage doors are a carriage style and will go a long way in bringing updated traditional style to this old house. Can't wait to show you!

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