It’s funny, but the second spring hits, the first thing on my mind is the outside. And what I mean by that is a home’s exterior.
And true to form, last year mid-April, I did a post about some of the best paint colors for exteriors.
But what if a home’s exterior is plain and boring or just plain ugly?
Well, who doesn’t love a really great before and after?
And I’ll always be grateful to the fabulous Nancy Keyes for sending me her old home in Atlanta to post that before and after home renovation that went viral on Pinterest! In blogging terms, that’s like your slot machine pouring out hundred-dollar bills. But, if you don’t remember the house or want to see it again, you can find it here.
So, what I’ve done is comb the internet for the best exterior home makeovers!
I also found some that looked better before; however, I’d rather focus on the exceptional than the fails.
But before we get into the spectacular exterior home renovations, let’s talk a little about what can go wrong in an exterior makeover.
- Not taking into consideration the basic architectural style of the home. In other words, it’s going to be very difficult to take a mid-century modern and turn it into a 19th century Victorian. Right?
- Not thinking about location. Or, the other homes in the neighborhood or area.
- Proportions. Really important. I saw one home where the second floor windows were considerably larger than the first floor windows and it looks strange.
These Exterior Home Makeovers are going to run the gamut. That is, from fairly simple, meaning mostly just paint, to extensive exterior renovations.
From the show, Fixer Upper via Chris Loves Julia
Well, they took a waif of a house and turned it into a country lass of high breeding!
And brilliant move, moving the door to the center. What’s interesting, is that they could’ve gone with a painted door. Red is a common one for a home of this style. And the railing could’ve been all wrought iron, but this is very lovely, I think.
I don’t always ask permission, but when it’s a graphic that someone made and especially their own home, I think it’s the right thing to do. The owner of this home, a darling young blogger, Amy gave me permission. Please check out her beautiful blog, The Blissful Bee where you can read all about how she did this beautiful transformation.
By the way, the bottom image was photo-shopped before she went ahead. And the real-life results look exactly the same!
But quite frankly, the before is so dark and foreboding, that lightening it up is like eating a large slice of banana cream pie immediately after a great massage.
I chose this one via BHG because it caused my eyes to pop out of my head. Hard to believe that it’s the same home.
Same here. It looks like it’s been this way for 200 years. Love the parged brick. You can read more about parged brick here. And the landscaping is divine! In fact, for a lot of these homes, it’s part of what makes the home so special.
This is another one by Magnolia Home. The only part I’m not totally crazy about is the front door, but I don’t hate it either. I think that it’s a little ersatz. We discussed ersatz country-French doors in this post. Although this is far more authentic looking. But, the rest of the house says neo-classical.
Still, I love the house and think they did an awesome job! My favorite part is the floor to ceiling windows. So glad they got rid of the arches. This solution is incredibly elegant.
But… I think I would’ve loved to have seen the balcony remain. I love this home below.
via The Potted Boxwood on Instagram
Fabulous balcony railing.
I think they turned that bow-wow of a house into a chic, sophisticated home.
And that takes a lot of talent and vision, in this case, especially.
I don’t get yellow and brown. I mean I get it, but in a doggie poo kind of way.
Love that they painted this New Orleans classic beauty all white. It’s like a freshly pressed linen shirt and pearls. But the gardens out front are killer!
Can I have this one, please? There is nothing I would change. This is my fantasy house– as long as it comes with a lot of help. :] There’s a better pic of the house in this post. (thank God for my search box. I never would’ve found it otherwise!)
This is Martha Stewart’s former home, Turkey Hill In Westport, CT over the years. Everything she touches she turns into pure magic. I’ve always thought so.
Her taking off the shutters inspired me to do the same for this antique home we did 18 years ago! It’s only about 3 miles from Martha’s Katonah home. Same school district.
A proper London Row house via House and Garden UK, that sorely lost its way. But they rescued it and brought it back to life! What really cracks me up is that they actually painted half of the pilaster in that gross dog-pee yellow.
They should’ve at least painted the door frame/pilaster the same as the neighbor’s. The window trim is white, so what gives? Maybe they were drunk? That must be it. But the exterior restoration is gorgeous and the bay window had to have always been there? But it wasn’t, apparently.
And I love this gorgeous coastal home. The before, I would’ve driven right past it, but the after is as fresh as an ocean breeze can be.
Hope that you guys enjoyed this.
***Just a reminder, there are only five more days to get the new blogging guide at the current promo price. After that the price is going up. I just posted some early reviews, if you’d like to read them. (please click on the link)***
Oh, and the bedroom reno is under way!!! More about that soon. Could someone give me a hand with my white paint color? Just kidding.
Seeing these pics and the ones on the Martha Stewart Katonah link, begs a question for me: Can any home be painted all white? Seeing the different styles and periods here makes me think it’s quite possible. I’ve seen lots of painted brick over the years but the painted stone as in the ‘fabulous balcony’ photo above is different,though beautifully done. Depending on the surrounding landscape, if there were large, mature trees and lots of shrubbery, a yearly pressure wash may be necessary to keep the white paint looking clean (southern CA) with seasonal winds, wildfires and the occasional, torrential rain – ha.
Hope your reno is going well! Can’t wait to see it.
Thanks so much Marcy. Believe me, things get plenty dirty here too.
I love exterior makeovers and that is something we don’t get as much of as from other parts of the house.
I really loved this post! Hope you can have the time to deliver some more.
We always comment at home how wonderfully landscaped and finished are all Magnolia homes. They really do have a special touch for them. And the detail of planting a Magnolia tree in each one of their projects is something I love.
There are some other companies that pay little or no attention to landscaping, maybe the owners don’t care that much? What is true, is that the WOW effect when you are showing a renovation the way the Gaines do, this makes the whole experience way better.
I wish my cookie-cutter neighborhood allowed us redoing our facades -_-
Love you for sharing such priceless posts and advice for us to enjoy.
Oh, and I want to copy our Amy, I’d grab a plane just to go and give you a hand if needed. Trust me, I would love to!
I really appreciate that Carmen. I can picture it now… My 800 sq. foot apartment abuzz with giddy girlfriends helping me primp and fluff. And maybe mop the floor. :]
If I lived in NY I’d give you a hand.
Oh, that is so sweet Amy! xo
Oh my, the second one, from Chris meets Julia – I hate to think what it cost to adjust the roof so it gabled across the front and not at the ends! Maybe it’s in the perfect location? Whatever, it looks so lovely, I think everyone should just do that with their fugly thrubungs (our pet name for generic 3-bedroom bungalows).
Question, if you’ve got a spare flicker of a second, Laurel: have you ever covered archways in your blog? I’ve tried searching (which is sooo hard, as I get helplessly distracted, while learning lots, of course) …
I want to close back in a wall between a dining room and its slip room that was hacked out to make a gaping opening, and I’d like it to become a graciously curved arched opening so it looks meant, not like an afterthought created with a chainsaw and a six-pack. Victorian stone farmhouse, if that helps …
Many thanks! And by the way, your British English is perfect. 😉
My powers of visualization based on descriptions is very dim. It sounds like you might need an architect, particularly for an old house. But again, I really don’t know.
Thank you for the compliment. My wasband is from South Africa and very articulate, so I picked up a lot!
THANK YOU LAUREL!!! have to say, my favorite post. my business is landscaping design but always with an eye of “what can we do to help this house too?” not all mind you, but many. we will draw a “3D” artist rendering of what can be with both home & landscape, They SHOULD blend!
your examples renewed my energy for projects to come, LOVE!
speaking of love, I’m gobsmacked about my ‘blogging guide’ everyone that blogs “this is a must have!”
Thqnks so much Debra! I’m very proud of the guide and am grateful for the years of experience I have now. It wasn’t always like that.
The brick house with the arched windows – I loved the BEFORE picture – the after is fine too but I would not have changed it, guess it’s a matter of taste but I don’t see anything wrong with the arched windows and I hate to see decent brick painted or whitewashed – additionally doesn’t that mean continued maintenance that would not be necessary with brick. To each his own and of course some people have money to burn.
Well, it would be a boring world indeed, if everyone liked everything the same!
Good morning, Laurel. Love the post and of course always love the “mention”. I connected with a cousin I didn’t know recently and she asked “Are you “that” Nancy Keyes on Laurel’s blog?” XO
hahahaha! There can only be ONE!
Thank you Laurel. Those houses were waiting to be pretty again and not be torn down. That makes me crazy! The landscaping matters too, like icing on a cake.
Yes, like icing or hair and makeup on a woman!
Here’s the thing: I’m prit-tee prit-tee sure we’re related or the universe has tied us together, because your posts almost always eerily line up with some project I’ve been thinking (stewing) about!
Here at the House of McGizzles, we are having a portico quoted and contemplating cedar shake (the real, p.i.t.a. kind), and our heads are spinning.
So glad to get this post in my inbox this morning. Love to you!
I would be proud to be your sister (or mother is more like it) in any manner! xoxo
Love these exterior transformations! The painting of terrace houses in the UK often has half of a feature like a pillar or porch painted different colours half way down the dividing line between two properties. It looked strange to me when I first moved the the UK, but it can look good with a higher contrast terrace of more brightly coloured houses. Less so if it’s white vs. cream. And as you point out, that yellow is not nice. I love how crisp the white looks against the mellow brick.
Thank you so much for that info. And your note reminds me that I must get my GDPR eggs in order. And if you don’t know what that means, count yourself blessed. It has to do with subscribers coming from the UK. There are a lot of hoops we have to go through to prove that we’re not misleading people. Actually, nothing would make me happier than if the powers that be truly started cracking down on spam emails. (bulk unwanted email that one never signed up for)
There once was an ugly duckling ! Great article, Laurel ! love the transformations of
these Cinderella homes..
Just one caveat..I do rather like the ‘before’ of the charming tumbledown one in the first
‘photo. I am increasingly fascinated by decay & the peeling back of ageing layers, it
seems. ( & thats just when I look in the mirror ).
Still, it must be remembered too, that a lot of these renovators are actually
saving such buildings so hats off to them !
I like decay too, (especially significant for an American lass-lol) but that place looks just on the other side of habitable from a safety standpoint. And it looks like they were mindful to save the charm inherent in the original.
Love before and after posts. So much inspiration. Am I only one sad to see the white-washing of all that lovely brick? I absolutely LOVE what Amy did with her house – it was definitely too dark! How do you do that with two babies? But, sorry Chip and Joanna, the loss of the brick and balcony on that beauty made me want to cry. My grand parents lived in a big old brick house on the St Lawrence River. The whole village was brick and I just loved it as a kid. So I guess I’m partial due to fond memories.
I think it’s wonderful when people have a love for something and fond memories.
I agree that the balcony shouldn’t have been taken out. And I liked the original door configuration better too.
Laurel, could you write about 7 ft ceilings ones again? and moldings guide, that’s so important. Your favorite molding sources. Maybe New book? Just saying:) Please Please Please
There are a lot of posts about mouldings. If you click this link, it’ll take you to every post that they are mentioned. Some moreso, than others, of course.
This is a link for low ceilings.
Hope that helps!
Laurel- I agree that getting rid of the arches in that one home improved its appearance. However if they were doing for authenticity they should have also removed the shutters on the row of windows. Thanks for the idea that since we are getting ready to paint our brick it’s a good time to tear out arches!
It looks like they added the shutters. I don’t mind them since it balances out the gray roof over the door. I guess one could say that it’s “in the manner of” a few different things including contemporary farmhouse. haha. Over-all, though, I think it’s a vast improvement over the original home.
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