Astonishing Before and After Home Exterior Shots + News!

Hey Guys,

Some of you may have read yesterday when I sent out the HOT SALES that I have a surprise for you.

Guess where I am?

You only get one guess.

YES! You’re right. I’m in Boston!

It was a beautiful day for traveling, and the leaves are already turning their vivid colors on the drive. But, here in Boston, everything is still very green.

Backbay residences at sunset September 2020

And, yes, this was very spur of the moment. My darling son Cale said he was coming this weekend, and he also gave me a swift kick in the tuchus. (metaphorically speaking). That’s regarding my indecision about moving out of New York.

My parking spot was several blocks from the Airbnb, and so I stopped along Commonwealth Ave to take several images as the sun was beginning to set.


tall windows - Commonwealth Ave - Backbay - Boston - before and after home exterior

It was a sublimely, beautiful evening. Those windows!


me on Commonwealth Ave - Backbay - Boston

Me in front of an apartment I’m going to look at tomorrow. Sorry, no addresses, this time.

By the way, for you step-haters, I managed to book a FOURTH FLOOR walk-up. (20 steps per floor!)




And, I had to make two trips lugging up my stuff. THAT was a workout!


Time is shorter than usual for today’s post.


But, of course, there is a post, and although relatively short, I hope you’ll find it sweet.

The other day, I was having my hair done by my long-time hairstylist, Matthew Cucolo.

I promise this isn’t a post about my hair. However, Matt has been styling and coloring my hair since he was in diapers. Seriously, he was so yuuuuuuuung when I became his faithful client for the last 14+ years.

Also, he just happens to be movie-star handsome and built. Please forgive my blatant objectification.  As a matter of fact, some of you may remember him and his equally gorgeous wife, Ashley, on the hit TV show, The Amazing Race. (They weren’t married at that time)


Matt and Ashley - Amazing Race

Matt and Ashley (Gordon) Cucolo on The Amazing Race.


Yep, that’s the guy who’s been doing my hair since 2006. Lucky me, huh?

Well, Matt proposed to Ashley on the show, and they got married nearly five years ago. And, now they have the most adorable little boy who’s about to turn 3.

And, yes, Matt’s a bodybuilder and is passionate about it. Please follow Matt’s fabulous salon, Ave 145, on Instagram.


If have nothing better to do, you can scroll down about 3/4 of the way on the insta feed, you will see my hair as Matt had me model his beautiful work back in February 2017.



When I first started going to Matt, he worked for others, but a few years ago, he opened up his own salon, Avenue 145, in Mount Kisco, NY.  And, as I said, that’s where I was two days ago. So, yes, that’s two-day-old hair in my photo. And, believe me, I just quickly ran a comb through it. That’s just how fabulous Matt’s styling is.


Matt has confessed to me a few times his passion for interior design. And, he has proudly shown off the inside of his new home in Katonah, NY.


Ashley and Matt have done a fantastic job of updating and furnishing their home.

So, the other day, as he was finished throwing the color on my hair, he flashed me his killer smile, and said, “Hey, do ya wanna see the before and after pics of what we did to the outside of the house? I’m super-pleased with how it turned out.”

Of course, I want to see it!

In seconds, Matt returned with his phone and shared the before and after home exterior photos. And, I really couldn’t believe the transformation. Matt says that people are stopping all of the time to snap a photo of the house.


I asked Matt if I could put the before and after photos on the blog, and he didn’t waste one minute texting them to me. Please enjoy Matt’s home before and after home exterior shots.


Matt's house before - front view - before and after home exterior

Just your standard late 20th-century house.


And, get ready for the house after.



Matt's house - after - Benjamin Moore Super White - Before and After Home Exterior

I love this! It looks like a new house, not one from the 1980s.


back of house - Before and After Home Exterior

The back of the house, before


back of house - Before and After Home ExteriorAnd, after


Chic garage doors painted black - before and after home exterior

Here’s a closer look at the garage doors and trim painted black.


Matt says that people drive by and stop to snap pics of the house.


Laurel, what’s the beautiful white paint color?


Guys! Remember how we just discussed this issue with photos and paint colors?


But, it’s okay, this time. The shade of white is Benjamin Moore’s Super White.


And, yes, it is one of the 12 shades of white I chose for the Laurel Home Paint and Palette Collection.


superwhite living room bonus boardHere it is in a bonus board I made the year after the palette collection came out.


Best Shades of White Paint - Studio McGee

Studio McGee uses Super White in one of their interiors, too.


You can also read about it and many other wonderful shades of white paint here.


Matt's house before and after home exterior

A before and after home exterior graphic to pin to Pinterest

If you’d like to see more wonderful home makeovers, go here.

And, for 20 favorite home exteriors, go here.

This is a good post about dark colors for exteriors.

You might also enjoy this post about 20 favorite paint colors for doors and trim.

Okay, more to come, of course. I’m going to look at four apartments tomorrow. Two are in Backbay, and two are in Charlestown.

view from 116 Marborough St. 4th floor walkup

The view outside my Airbnb on Marlborough Street in Backbay, Boston.

I hope everyone is having a beautiful weekend!


PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES!


34 Responses

  1. Enjoy Boston. I went to school there (BU) and loved my 4 years in that amazing city. Still lots of friends there but haven’t been back in over 10 years! Your photos made me remember strolling down Comm Ave and Newbury Street. And the Back Bay. Good luck. You will find something amazing!

  2. Sorry Laurel, I usually enjoy what you have to share but this “transformation” is a big swing and a miss for me! (The house, your hair is fine ;-p)

  3. I like the after, but those upstairs windows would drive me nuts! They are too high. If they have the $$ they should add on a full front porch to balance it out. In the meantime, I would add solid flowerboxes under those windows to balance it out. Good luck on your real estate search!

  4. Welcome to Boston! I relocated from Buffalo, NY (great people, great food, not the best job prospects at the time) to Boston in 1981 and have loved this city — and its suburbs, where I now live — ever since. Enjoy!

  5. Thank you Laurel for you sharing interior/exterior design and also your personal life. You make me smile and laugh.
    The after of the home seems like a good start. What I think it needs, but way too expensive to do, is the roofline needs to be a higher pitch like a 12 12 pitch. It could look rather European. The home is quite large and the roof comes on as wrong size for the body.
    Wish you you well on your home hunt.

  6. Colleen, I had the same thought, the green and brick looked more inviting to me but I’m old and stark seems popular now.

  7. Laurel, you are especially gorgeous in this selfie! So radiant and confident, I’d suggest you use it as your new blog photo. Keep adventuring, and the right home will find you! best wishes, ali (and I love their update too)

  8. Hi. After living in Chicago for my first 50 years of life, I moved to Brookline and it has been wonderful transition. I highly encourage you to look at it in your exploration. It has turned out to be a very easy place to meet people and become involved in community activity. Good Luck

  9. What is the lip color/lipstick you are wearing? It is gorgeous on you! and we have similar coloring – I’d like to try it.

  10. You and your hair look fabulous! Matt is truly an artist. I found your gorgeous hair on his IG, too :] Matt and Ashley did a wonderful job updating their home! Looks very on trend, and I’m sure they will enjoy it for many years!

  11. I love this house makeover. One question how did they make the grids in the window black. We have a white house and white grids. We’re adding more black but I have no idea how to make the grids black. The grids are sandwiched between the glass.

  12. Oh, to go to even a broken down, hag looking hair stylist would be a treat in these times. Still going the bathroom beautician route…so I’ll just ogle your perfect hair for now.

    Too bad Buffalo is a little too far away from your son. Amazing architecture (yes, really…in Buffalo, believe it or not), very value priced, and despite the bad rep, a cool place to live. The local saying is “Keep Buffalo a Secret” haha.

    Boston is a great city! Hope you strike gold in your search!

  13. You look fantastic standing in front of, what (I hope/predict), will be your new home. 😉 Bonne chance!! What an exciting time!

  14. I can relate! I also got a metaphorical swift kick in the tuchus from my son, about moving. He helped me set a timeline during one of his visits home, but by the week before his next visit I had taken nada, zip, zero steps. It gave me a push! I searched & found my lovely little home & I’ve completely redone, & been here ever since. Not all my kid’s advice has been great (“It’s easy, Mom, just file your own taxes!”), but I do pay attention when it is.

  15. Paint is a miracle worker! The house looks so much better (and bigger) all one color. Home stagers say “Paint is money in a can” because of how it can increase the value of a house. While this new look might not appeal to is very on trend and would appeal to young families (like the home owners).
    Good luck with your house hunt…the perfect place is out there!!

  16. 💙 Boston!!! I’d still live there if I hadn’t met Mr Wonderful at The Sevens in Beacon Hill and moved to Milwaukee :). I lived in Back Bay, worked in Beacon Hill, visited Charlestown many times- all have their unique features and are fantastic choices for a new beginning! Lucky you, have fun and enjoy!

  17. How wonderful your son is such a joy to you ! I have 3 grown daughters and everyday I feel so blessed. With all the craziness of 2020 they always make me smile.

  18. You look radiant! Don’t you love that just been styled bounce? Good luck house hunting! I love the fresh painted brick. What do you think of some shutters on those windows?

  19. I sure wish you’d returned to Boston before mine sold, just so you could have seen it in person. You would have loved the building and location. Right up your alley. Best of luck to you finding something you love. I’ll be interested to see what you end up with.

  20. Hi Laurel, I like what they did. That took a lot of courage. The roof looks darker, did they re-roof?
    Charleston is lovely and there is always something to do. If you don’t mind a hurricane evacuation once a year. It’s much, much safer than Boston. Check the crime rates out in

  21. I am so excited for you that you are moving to Boston! I am a long time Bostonian. I don’t recommend Charlestown. I think you would be happier in the city. Charlestown is out of the way, and it is difficult to get in and out of. It has some areas that look and feel like Back Bay, but it is not the same. That said, I know people who live there and love it! So, have a look. Welcome!

  22. Oh..Hmm..sorry..I also like the “before” photo. Now it just looks stark and sterile and just doesn’t look inviting to me. . I do not like painted brick either ( if that’s what they did) and especially on the chimney . I don’t think they will enjoy it either in a few years when it starts to peel.

  23. Gosh, Laurel, your young friends did a fabulous job taking a disjointed, mixed materials house and giving it some elegance and sophistication! Bravo to them….they’ve turned a house into an inviting home – the highest compliment.

  24. Sorry Laurel, but this time I don’t agree about the white painted house. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but wow this white painted house now looks so very poor. Especially the front now appears to be a dull community office. More a kind of, don’t worry, always good, very fast modern white and black treatment. Way too much houses have undergone this simple treatment. The easy way to change but oh dear it may not cost too much (it shouts : with cheap paint from wholesaler !). Moreover it does not blend in its natural environment. The seventies look was not that bad at all….

  25. Hi Laurel, Love your blog I am also in the process of moving to Massachusetts. My daughter is also a musician and works in Cambridge,she lives in the Assembly Row area of Sommerville. I love visiting her, Assembly Row is a fabulous area.I live in Northern New Jersey and have decided to move to Longmeadowwe lived there in the 70’s when my husband was in law school. I neverwanted to leave but jobs and family called us back to New York.I was hoping you would move to Northampton o we could be friends,lol. I am following your as you look for your special spot, such an exciting time for both of us. Best regards,barbara

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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