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First Impressions ABOVE: LED path lights provide an inviting glow. Photo courtesy of i-lighting.co.

BELOW: An outdoor rug, furniture, planters and sculptural elements make porches more welcoming. Photo courtesy of Joshua’s Native Plants.

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS TO INCREASE YOUR HOME’S CURB APPEAL B Y H O L LY B E R E T TO

Of course your love your home’s charm and design. But now, you realize it’s time to sell, maybe buy something that fits your lifestyle better now that the kids have gone off to college or because you need more space. When putting your home on the market, how your home looks from the outside is just as important as all its other amenities. That curb appeal is your home’s first impression to the outside world, so consider the picture you’re painting with your home’s front yard. How does the landscaping look? Are their chips in the glass on the front door? Broken lights or sprinkler heads? Discolored concrete? All of those details matter. WORTHWHILE TOUCH UPS

Leslie King, owner of Greymark Construction and a past president of the Remodelers Council of Greater Houston, says focusing on curb appeal is the best way to make a quick improvement.

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Symmetrical elements—such as the llighting sconces on either side of the front door and raised plantings—are simple and appealing. Photo courtesy of Lonestar Building and the Remodelers Council of the Greater Houston Builders Association.

New house address numbers and a coordinating mailbox add distinctive flair. Photo courtesy of C&D Hardware.

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“It’s an affordable way to add value to a home,” she says. Gregg Gotlieb, of G&G Concrete Coatings suggests taking a look at what’s underfoot. “Many people think about the concrete in front of their home as an afterthought,” he says. “But if it has stains or there are missing pieces in your stonework, it can turn off a buyer.” Gotlieb and his team specialize in concrete overlays, a veneer that comes in a variety of colors and styles that can offer a quick and economic fix to your walkways and slab space. He’ll come out himself to look at your property and talk about what you want, and what makes the most sense, whether it looks like brick or flagstone, or having the masonry filled in here and there. “We also do a process called staining,” he explains. “We can clean and re-seal and re-stain your concrete for you. Concrete can fade and wear, so we can go ahead and make those improvements.” Another improvement that isn’t a huge time investment but can provide big payoffs is fixing your doors. Steve Wilson of Art Glass By Wells handles assessing and repairing the glass fixtures in your doors and entries.

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A brightly hued assortment of potted plants and repainted front door creates visual interest from the street. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore & Co.

“Your glass might be outdated or damaged,” he explains. “We’ll come in to fix that for you. It’s a great way to get your home in shape for selling.” Wilson says a typical repair job can run just a couple of hours, and he’ll have someone out to your property within three days of scheduling your appointment. He encourages potential clients to come into his offices and take a look at the window and door work they do, to get a conversation going about what the best options might be. “That could be lead glass in the front doors or a larger window panel,” he says. A REAL TURN ON

When it comes to any home improvement, big or small, our experts emphasize that ability to work with—and trust—the person doing the improvements. Dan Keim recently struck out on his own after a quarter century in construction and sub-contracting. His company, Moonlight Outdoor Lighting Services, specializes in outdoor lighting, and he advises homeowners that it’s just as important as neatly cut grass and a great paint job.

Revamping or replacing the front walkway and adding a sculptural element, such as a fountain, creates an enchanting approach. Photo courtesy of Windswept Landscape Studios.

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Keep it secure: This aluminum fence from Great Fence allows your landscaping to be seen while allowing potential home buyers to feel safe.

“The right lighting effect can transform your house at night,” he says. “It can add texture and drama to your front yard.” Keim can do everything from installing up-lighting under your trees or planters to walkway lights or even spotlights. Working with 12-volt, low-wattage lights, he says he looks to cast that warm glow you see during a full moon, a design element he says is an excellent way to add depth and detail. He and his team will come out to your home and appraise your space, and work to draw up the right plan for you. He says the installation process usually takes a couple of days, and his pricing is inclusive of all the lights and labor.

LEFT: An easy upgrade to any home’s entrance is a new mail box. C&D Hardware features dozens of styles to suit any home’s exterior.

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Replacing the front door and adjacent matching sidelights creates a sense of continuity. Photo courtesy of Art Glass by Wells.

There are even some things you might consider doing yourself. Theresa Clement, whose “My Fix It Up Life” radio show airs online and throughout the U.S. offers suggestions like putting new house numbers on your home, using a new font and a new color to make them stand out, or replacing the pillows and rugs on outside furnishings and your porch, opting for bright colors that provide a satisfying “pop.” “Your front entrance says a lot,” says Wilson. “And that first impression can really make a statement.”

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Photo courtesy of Kronberg’s Flags and Flagpoles.

WAVE OF PATRIOTISM

Metal roofs: Metal Depots, 877.828.1327, www.metaldepots.com

With Memorial Day and the 4th of July coming up, it’s important to brush up on the proper way to fly the U.S. and Texas flags. Rules for both banners are the same. We asked Ron Kronberg of Kronberg’s Flags & Flagpoles for some pointers. “When displaying the flag, whether on a ground-set flagpole or a wall-mounted porch kit, one has to be careful that the flag can fly freely no matter what direction the wind is blowing from.,” says Kronberg. “You don’t want your flag to snag or touch other objects such as tree branches or any freestanding objects. If the flag can touch other objects other than the flagpole and snag on them it will wear out much faster.” Kronberg also warns that leaving your flag up 24 hours a day in all weather conditions will decrease its lifespan, too. “UV rays from the sun and the constant popping in the wind are the flags worst enemies.” Says Kronberg. “Make sure that your flag is bone dry when you take it down so that you avoid any mildew build-up or colored dye bleeding. All of our flags include free fly-end mending when they start to tatter. We trim off the end up to where it is torn and re-hem the fly end. You can usually get one or two re-hems in before it is time to replace the flag if you do not let the flag get too tattered.” U.S. or Texas flags flown at night must be illuminated and it should be flown in an untattered condition. “In other words, fly your flags with respect, dignity and in a patriotic manner,” says Kronberg. “Proper disposal is done by discreet burning or by cutting the flag up into small enough pieces so that it can no longer be identified as a U. S. flag and then discarding the pieces,” says Kronberg. “As an option, we also provide a free disposal service for our flags.”

Landscape: Windswept Landscape Studios, 713.263.7771, Windsweptlandscape.com

FEATURED RESOURCES REMODELING:

Remodelers Council of Greater Houston Builders Association, www.ghba.org/remodelers-council.html

Joshua’s Native Plants, 713.862.7444 www.joshuasnativeplants.com Mailboxes/porch furnishings: C&D Hardware, 713.861.3551 Door repair: Restore Your Door, 713.861.2081, www.restoreyour door.com Wood Door Refinishers, 832.358.1601 Rick’s Front Door Refinishing and Repair, 713.427.2487, www.apretty door.com Concrete:American Concrete, 713.443.0421 Discount Concrete Leveling Service, 713.568.9456 Innovative Surfaces of Texas Inc., 832.607.2998, www.istexas.net Lighting: Nitelites of Houston, 281.684.1994

CONCRETE:

Painting: Adrian’s Painting, 281.935.4153, www.adrainspainting.info

GLASS DOORS:

Flags and Flagpoles:

Gregg Gotlieb, G&G Concrete Coatings, 281.330.3356 Steve Wilson, Art Glass By Wells, 713.729.3699, www.artlgassbywells.com

FLAGS & FLAGPOLES:

Kronberg’s Flags & Flagpoles713.661-9222

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Additional Resources

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Moneymakers 713.461.1153

Hhh 0513 curbappeal  

May 2013 Houston House & Home: Curb Appeal

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