Big-Time Curb Appeal Tricks

Big-Time Curb Appeal Tricks

Everyone wants to own that home on the street that stops people in their tracks. No, that doesn’t mean it has to be a huge mansion with jaw-dropping over-the-top features, it means it just has that “thing” called curb appeal that makes it feel warm and inviting, and seems to beg neighbors and friends to come on in. Below are some of the most popular ways to create that home “eye-candy” we all dream of.

stunning modern farmhouse entry
Plan 101D-0050 on houseplansandmore.com

EXCITING ENTRIES

Gone are the days of cookie-cutter front porch entries. Today’s homeowners love showing off their personality and making front porches a precursor to what guests will find inside. These entrances often include statement lighting, custom doors, unique surrounding windows, luxurious plant holders, and even furniture. Homeowners are really trying to pull you in and they are making these spaces comfortable for outdoor relaxation, too. Front doors made of glass, or that feature iron and glass are becoming more popular. Fun, playful colors are also being introduced. If you’re building a European style home, then ornate iron and glass style doors are a beautiful option. For those building a Craftsman home, many front doors include glass windows in a variety of shapes and sizes traditional to the Arts & Crafts style movement. Another playful option is the Dutch door. A Dutch door allows half of the door to be open at anytime, whether it’s the top, or the bottom. It’s a great way to get some fresh air moving through your home on a nice day.

unique house numbers for curb appeal
Statement house numbers and bright accents make this home stand out. Photo courtesy of Platform, theplatformexperiment.com.

LITTLE EXTRAS = BIG IMPACT

Just like it’s being seen in interior design; statement lighting is also a current trend being made on the exterior, too. Statement house numbers are also the rage and people are getting super creative in how they’re displaying their home’s address numbers. Adhered to modern planters, custom painted in a unique font on the front door, or positioned in a clever place on the front facade, house numbers are actually adding style to a home’s exterior. No longer a necessity or eyesore, these numbers are enhancing the front of a home and are carefully taking homage to the home’s architectural style. A thoughtfully selected style and finish can greatly enhance the authenticity of your home’s architecture. Have fun, and be playful with it. It definitely allows you show off you and your home’s personality and style.

bold house colors
Playful Mid-Century Modern entry, Photo courtesy of Destination Eichler, LLC, destinationeichler.com

BRIGHT IS ALRIGHT

Bright colors on home exteriors if they fit with the architectural style are also popular. But, some styles like Craftsman, are still utilizing more neutral tones. Darker paint colors are also making a comeback on the exterior, and in complete contrast, off-white and white exteriors thanks to the Modern Farmhouse style are also growing in popularity just like white has made a major comeback in interior home décor.

custom craftsman door
Photo courtesy of House Beautiful Magazine

CUSTOM DOORS, NEED WE SAY MORE?

What used to be a pretty basic element to a home’s front facade, the front door was often just a plain solid door meant for security purposes only. The doors homeowners are selecting today are thoughtful, well planned exterior ornamentation. Once again, they carry through with the home’s architecture and often include many windows in unusual shapes, which add plenty of extra light to the interior. Take it one step further and paint the door (inside and out) in a vibrant color and add unique house numbers for the perfect expression that’s friendly and inviting.

Photo courtesy of homemydesign.com

THE VINTAGE ADVANTAGE

Vintage flair hasn’t waned, either. Offering a casual and inviting element to a covered front porch, fun vintage pieces like re-purposed benches, antique watering cans, or planters offer a kitschy element that’s fun, playful, and asks you to sit down and stay awhile. 

Plan 101D-0052 covered porch
Plan 101D-0052 from houseplansandmore.com, Damon Searles, photographer

NOSTALGIC FOR FRONT PORCHES

Years ago, the front porch was the gathering place where people would mingle and socialize with neighbors. It was one of the only ways to stay connected with those around them and it provided a space for enjoying the outdoors. This trend is reappearing as lot sizes are becoming smaller and homeowners are interested more than ever in outdoor living spaces. Often, the covered front porch is one of the only outdoor spaces and because of this, people are using this space to the fullest by adding furniture, lighting, and other elements that make it feel comfortable and warm. 

Plan 101D-0059 sidewalk design
Plan 101D-0059 from houseplansandmore.com, photo courtesy of Diggles Creative, Warren Diggles, photographer

SIDEWALK TALK

With all of the thought that goes into every little detail of your home’s design, you would think by the time the landscaping and hardscapes have to be determined you can finally relax and not worry so much about the aesthetics of these elements. But, that truly isn’t so! Sidewalk design is being carried through with a home’s architectural style and color palette as it offers the initial welcome to guests. Don’t get lazy when it comes to your sidewalk. You will see that a carefully designed walkway will pave the way for a major curb appeal moment. Today’s homeowners are opting for pavers, stone, or other materials for their home’s main entrance. And, due to the efficiency and affordability of LED light bulbs, lining those paths and walkways with light adds curb appeal at night for a very low cost.

Plan 065S-0034
Plan 065S-0034 from houseplansandmore.com

SENSING A PATTERN

Driveways, much like sidewalks can offer little or no added style to a home if you choose not to take them into account. But, homeowners today love the look of patterned driveways that either match the sidewalk or complement it. Have fun using textures and materials that complement your home’s exterior and it will positively impact curb appeal.

Plan 013S-0014
Plan 013S-0014 from houseplansandmore.com

FLORA FOREVER

Flowers and plants are more popular than ever for surrounding your home’s facade and adding softness. Landscape designers of today are thoughtful in their plant choices. Native landscaping is the way to go. Selecting plants that naturally grow in your region allows for less watering and fertilization, which is better for the environment. Choosing native plants also goes in line with the trend that homeowners are pairing down their ecological footprint. Native plants require less water than what is already received in rainfall. Plus, less sprinkler time means lower water bills, less water waste, and all around happier plants.

Plan 011S-0003 native landscape
Plan 011S-0003 from houseplansandmore.com

LIGHTER LANDSCAPING

Being paired down to reflect the less cluttered style of homes being designed today, landscaping especially in the front of a home is much less fussy than in previous years. Today, new homeowners are choosing not to over plant shrubs and trees. Think clean, well-manicured lawns, carefully selected bushes, and tree options that are well suited with the home’s architecture. By reducing the amount of landscaping a yard has, homeowners are staying eco-friendly creating less erosion issues, too. 

So, by using less, your choices are now more important in order to make an impact. Choose plants that complement the color scheme of your home. If your home is gray, then offset it with pinks and reds. Or, if you’ve chosen a dark blue or slate, then white and yellow can provide that pop of color, or brighten the exterior. Another fun option is to select edible landscape such as colorful pepper plants and herbs and suddenly your landscaping is working twice as hard as your own organic garden, too. This is especially a great idea if you lack backyard space, or the position of the front of your home has more sunlight, making it more suitable to successful gardening.

unique pot adds curb appeal
Photo courtesy of Tongue & groove, design-build by Mark Watson, tongue-and-groove.com

MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY POT

The planters on the market today have really come a long way. These vessels that used to just hold flowers can now often upstage their contents. Uniquely shaped, and often in a style that complements a home’s architecture, a well chosen and placed planter can add immense curb appeal. 

Plan 101D-0056 transom windows
Plan 101D-0056 from houseplansandmore.com, photo courtesy of Diggles creative, Warren Diggles, photographer

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Transom windows are being added to the front exterior and around the entire perimeter of a home for several reasons. They add character to the facade in a clean, uncomplicated way that is in line with Craftsman and Mid-Century modern style, that is quite popular right now. They have a less formal feel than an arched window design. And, they add additional light to the interior, which is a feature currently popular in interior home design. Open airy interiors are dictating home design, so the addition of larger windows makes an interior feel more open especially in homes with smaller square footages. Also, large picture windows are being seen in every style of home from Craftsman to Mid-Century Modern, plus everything in between.

Exterior lighting adds drama once the sky goes dark. Even a solar light placed strategically on a unique ornamental tree can enhance your exterior and draw eyes to want to see more. Or, take it a step further and create a facade lit with soffit lighting, or light the bottom corners of the home for intensified drama. Many of these lighting systems can now be controlled right from your smart phone making it easy to use and creating added security when you’re away.

THE FINISH LINE

Depending on how luxurious the home is, those with larger budgets are using copper gutters to add curb appeal and style that truly stands out. Another interesting addition can be a unique fence that features an artistic pattern that basically becomes a work of art. Choosing a fence style with a similar architectural feel will make your home seem thoughtfully planned.

As homeowners tastes change, so do their ideas of what the ideal architectural style truly is. As their need for less complicated living, free of clutter and visual distractions becomes more important, the popular architectural styles reflect that. If they’re craving a need to feel one with nature, then their desired style of home will turn to architecture that allows nature to be honored and respected. These constant shifts in tastes and trends in society are what make the landscape around us so colorful and interesting with glimpses of the past, present, and future found all around us in any given city or neighborhood. Whatever style of architecture you choose, remember these curb appeal tips for optimizing the exterior style to the fullest and making your personality and home shine wherever it is that you live.

To views all of the house plans highlighted throughout this article, please visit houseplansandmore.com and search by plan number.

Tips for Creating a Functional Home Office

Tips for Creating a Functional Home Office

In these unprecedented times of uncertainty, one thing we all can be certain of is that the way in which we work may never be quite the same. As more and more people have already been working from home in recent years, the trend is definitely shifting in favor of a home office environment over a community style “central” office location. Add with the threat that COVID-19 has quickly presented suddenly working remotely from home has even become the norm for many who never thought their profession would go in that direction. But, as most of us have found out, it’s important that a home office can provide an environment that encourages communication, function and efficiency.  

Here are some ideas for creating a functional and inviting home office space that provides everything you need to conduct “business as usual.”

Find a True Designated Place – Rather than just creating a makeshift spot for working, truly determine a good location within your home that will promote a productive work environment. That means the space should have ample light as well as a quiet location within your home for being able to easily concentrate on the tasks at hand. Shy away from being too close to the kitchen or great room where you may be tempted to turn on the TV, or join the action if others are at home. 

corner desk
Photo courtesy of Savoir Faire Home – savoirefairehome.com

And, don’t be afraid to use a small nook or mud room desk to create a place to work. A home office doesn’t need to be a grand or large space with a fancy desk and towering bookcases. With the small size of laptops and most printers, you can easily carve out a functional office space just about anywhere.

file tote
Photo courtesy of fresh finds.com

Consider using file boxes that you can take out of a closet instead of a filing cabinet that takes up more space. Some great locations include a larger mud room, a second-floor loft area, a formal dining room that never gets used, or even an oversized walk-in closet.

small office spot
Photo courtesy of Sarah Barnard Design, Chas Metivier, photographer.

Have the Essentials – If you already have a home office in place, then be sure your existing desk and chair provide the space and comfort you need to complete your tasks. If you’re looking to buy new furniture for a home office, be sure to list all of the items you will need to have on your desk before your go furniture shopping. You may fall in love with a sleek table style desk, but if you are constantly needing to look at files and other documents, then choosing a desk without drawers will leave you overloaded with paperwork that no doubt will end up piled on your desk. A comfortable chair is a must. You will spend countless hours sitting in it and although it can be tempting to select a chair that’s super stylish, make sure it as comfortable as it is attractive.

sleek home office desk
Photo courtesy of Callahan Interiors – callahaninterior.com, Dustin Halleck, photographer

Don’t Skimp on Style – A home office can often be solely designed for function, but consider making the space a reflection of your style and taste and it will become a place you want to spend time in. Paint the walls a color you love, choose artwork and decorative pieces that make you happy and will inspire you.

sunny home office
Photo courtesy of fabulouslydisheveled.com

Arrange the desk so you have plenty of natural light to encourage a happy mood, but also have lamps and overhead lighting so you can adjust the light. Have a throw over the back of your chair in the winter and open a window for a fresh breeze in the Spring. The beauty of a home office is that you have the liberty to add comfort and coziness to the space as well as enjoy a lovely breeze when the weather permits thanks to operable windows. Most office buildings lack the ability to get fresh air, so it’s a huge bonus. 

chic home office details
Photo courtesy of thefancythings.com

Also, a home office allows you to decorate with items you may cherish where many may not want to leave a beloved photo or painting in their office in a public building. It also allows you to keep you plant watered, so adding some greenery can boost your mood all year long. And, because it’s your own personal space, go ahead and choose fun notebooks, colorful pens and paperclips. Why not make your space happy and fun? 

chic home office
Photo courtesy of thefancythings.com

Stay Organized – Right from the start, organize the space to include all of your basic office needs. Paper, a stapler, a phone, high speed internet with wifi, a surge protector, a printer, scanner or fax machine may also help you with your work. What you don’t want to do is have to search the house for a pen or notepad when having a conference call. Make sure the pens, paper, stapler and other items you need stay in the space and don’t travel to other spaces in your home.

Photo courtesy of thespuce.com – design by CDK Architects

Create Structure – When you physically drive to an office typically you maintain consistent office hours that provide structure and a framework for your entire day. When working from home, it can be easy to get off track and start working later in the morning and continuing later into the evening. For balance and a good work-life balance, it’s a good idea to try to maintain a similar work schedule from day to day. Start at the same time every day, take small breaks at consistent times and stop to eat lunch around the same time each day. It’s healthier to create a schedule and will most likely keep you on track with your regular daily diet.  

bay window desk space
Photo courtesy of the spruce.com from Pause Design

When nothing in the world appears to have structure or certainty, find comfort in the fact that you have a safe, sheltered place to still conduct business. Designing your home office to include all the things you need as well as the things you love will make your remote office a place of serenity, which no doubt will increase productivity.

modern farmhouse

What is a Modern Farmhouse?

Gone are the days of the cookie-cutter ranch homes of the 1960s, today’s homeowners are looking for a unique, uncluttered and simple approach to
residential architecture that pairs down the floor plan to include only the bare necessities, and relies on texture rather than color to create its iconic style. These concepts are the heart and soul of the Modern Farmhouse.

Many architects and designers alike blame home and garden, and fixer upper television shows  for the advent of this unique residential style, but no matter who you credit for its creation, the Modern Farmhouse is a sensation sweeping the nation, and everyone looking to build a new home is falling in love with its style and undeniable personality. But, before you just select a Modern Farmhouse plan, do you know what makes a Modern Farmhouse truly what it is? There are several key characteristics that make a Modern Farmhouse all its own.

modern farmhouse

EXTERIOR

Gables & Roof Pitches
Modern Farmhouse style uses a gable roof in a steeper pitch than a typical home built in the last two or three decades. Perhaps it’s a popular feature because of its ability to create higher, more dramatic vaulted ceilings, in turn, opening up the interior spaces and making them feel larger. When steep gables aren’t being used, then a flat roof is often added to the mix.

Exterior Finishes
Although simple in overall design, subtle texture really takes a prominent role in the look and feel of a modern farmhouse. Board and batten (also called clapboard siding), vertical and horizontal siding, a steel roof, and even a small amount of brick or stone combine to create a modern farmhouse that feels fresh and new, yet still feels like a modern-day version of its former timeless self. 

Color
Most often white is the color of choice for the exterior, but gray and other neutral colors are also popular for both interior and exterior. Black and natural wood also have a role in the finished look. Color takes a supporting role to all of the texture provided by the various siding styles being used. 

Unique Exterior Footprint
Farmhouses of the past were usually rectangular in shape and built simply in order to quickly create a dwelling for a family ready to work their land. Construction had to be done around the growing cycles, so the design was modest and straightforward. Today’s Modern Farmhouses still have a common simplicity similar to their past counterparts, yet many have varied roof lines, an L-shape, or the look of multiple buildings, which promotes additional natural light in the interior because there is more exterior wall space for extra windows and doors. 

large covered front porch

Large Porches
Often referred to as “outdoor living spaces,” large front and back covered porches are common and an important feature offering additional living space for dining, entertaining, or relaxing. Add a sleek porch swing, or updated rocking chair in black, or a vibrant color and these porches are less “Grandma’s house,” and more current with the time. 

windows with black frames

Windows
As discussed, windows are an important design element. Typically, double-hung and seen with black framing that stands out against the stark white exterior and interior finishes, windows play an important role in keeping the home bright, friendly and open. Traditional double-hung style keep the design grounded to its original roots.

INTERIOR

Simple & Minimal
A modern farmhouse has a laid-back personality that’s bright and inviting, and promotes a simple lifestyle. Homeowners want their homes to be a refuge from their cluttered daily lives. Between traffic, email, social media, and other constant distractions, a Modern farmhouse is meant to be a peaceful, inviting retreat, somewhat like a sanctuary that shelters from the outside noise. Even the floor plans are designed to maintain a sense of openness with generally very few walls. Larger windows for added natural light, and larger spaces for effortless daily living like spacious mud and laundry rooms are quite popular. Think clean and functional.

white color palette in great room

Color Palette
Neutral by nature, the interior of the modern farmhouse mimics the exterior by sticking to a neutral color palette that’s bright and airy. In addition to the most popular color, which is white; soft gray, beige and blue is often used to promote a sense of calmness.

laundry room with barn style door

Architectural Interest
With the popularity of using reclaimed wood and other architectural elements from buildings of the past, it makes perfect sense that Modern Farmhouse style incorporates these unique features. From rustic timber beams and rafters, to the current favorite wall paneling affectionately called “Ship Lap,” although the overall color palette may be white or neutral, rustic elements can be found for architectural interest. Even steel and polished concrete have found a place in this style because of their industrial look and durability.

modern farmhouse kitchen

Kitchen Design
A modern farmhouse kitchen is the heart of the home. It is a
place where family will eat, socialize and relax. Typically, these kitchens are open to the surrounding living spaces, have a neutral color palette, which of course is usually white. They incorporate several windows, Shaker-style cabinets, white marble or quartz countertops, subway tile, Industrial-style light fixtures, a large island for cooking and casual dining, and open shelving with almost-Utilitarian dishes and glassware. Think uncomplicated, and less “your grandmother’s flowery china pattern.”

Home Decor
Home accessories are not matching, more complementary, but with character. Modern Farmhouse décor uses carefully placed, thoughtful accessories that add personality to a space. The decor mixes sleek, modern accessories with timeless ones. Artwork may be the one thing that adds a special pop of color. The majority of the texture comes from throw rugs, and the fabrics used on the sofas and chairs. Bold light fixtures, and natural wood floors are a must, and if you’re looking for a sleeker vibe, then steel, wrought iron, and other metals can be added to create a more Industrial feel.  

bedroom with barn door into bathroom

Barn Doors
Besides being a stylish space-saving option, barn-style doors are a rustic addition when using natural wood, or paint it white and add black hardware for a cleaner look. Either way, “barn doors” are a staple in Modern Farmhouses and offer plenty of character while taking up less space.

rustic barn doors

If you’re enthralled with Modern Farmhouse style, you are not alone. This style is the darling of residential architecture today and it’s easy to see why. It combines so many wonderful features to create something so utterly simple and effortless. Thoughtful, subdued, smart, and functional all meet their match with the invention of the Modern Farmhouse, and we think it was about time. 

finished dresser

Tips For Painting Furniture

Our guest bedroom had some furniture that was my mom’s when she was a little girl. In fact, the furniture pieces were made in 1953 according to the information on the back. I’m the sentimental type, so instead of just discarding it to buy new, I thought it would be a good idea to repaint it, so it has a more modern feel, while still keeping it in the family.

The original furniture set was painted white with an apple green accent trim like you see here on the matching dresser. Read more

kitchen cabinets with new pulls and knobs

How To Easily Add Hardware To Cabinets

 

Adding hardware to the cabinets in both the kitchen and the bathrooms seems to really take a home to the next level when it comes to style. It gives that finishing touch that makes a home have the feeling that all of the tiniest details have been accounted for. After moving in, we decided to add the hardware ourselves.

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Stylish Dog Gates and Enclosures

wood geometric dog gate
Photo courtesy of SubZero-Wolf

There are so many details that need to be considered when building or moving into a new home, but it’s funny how sometimes some of the most obvious things that could potentially make life a lot easier are often overlooked, or are often realized literally moments after you needed to know about them. Take for instance, the dog gate. It is literally something my husband and I struggle with every single day. If we’re not tripping over it with our hands full, then we’re wincing at the sound of it crashing down and hitting the wood floor as hard as it possibly can. Read more

build a home with a vaulted ceiling from the start

Must-Have Options When Building A Home

 

One of the first things that we wanted to do once we moved into our new home was work on the some of the extras that we decided to wait “to do” until we moved in. Some of these can really start to add up when building a new home and trying to determine what features you want the builder to include. After all, moving into a new home is expensive from start to finish, and you have to draw the line somewhere! Read more

house plan with a guest house

Great Floor Plans for Entertaining & Guests

Most of the year, we entertain smaller groups of family or friends, so Craftsman house plans like ours in a fairly modest size do the job just fine. But, now that the holidays are quickly approaching, we realize the good and bad things about a smaller-sized home and what type of floor plans are best suited for those with frequent guests and those who entertain many people often.

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patio step railing

Adding a Railing To Patio Steps

Like mentioned before, we have one deep lot house plans, but we still had some space for a spacious patio, which we added in mid-summer. But, right from the start, the grade of our backyard was quite a bit lower than where the breakfast room patio doors opened. So, when the patio was put in, several stairs had to be constructed in order to get to the patio level below.

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