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Due to the Corona virus, the Surface Design workshop has been postponed until this summer. The new date for it will be announced when the Art House re-opens.


I'll be teaching this one-day workshop on March 14, 2020 at the Art House! Learn to design your own unique papers and other materials for collage, card making, scrap booking, journal making etc. I supply all the materials. All you need to bring is a sack lunch and a beverage. Hours are 10-4; fee is $90 per person. Register online at or call 678-543-5777. Act now! Seating is limited!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Five Easy Ways to Add Curb Appeal

Those of you who've been following this blog know that besides art, my other passions are home improvement and real estate. My fascination with houses comes from my mother, who has always had an amazing knack for turning ho-hum homes into showplaces, doing all the work herself while raising five kids. She was the only woman I ever knew who could repaint her kitchen cabinets while simultaneously bottle feeding a baby.

One thing I've learned from having been weaned on wallpaper paste and latex paint: you don't have to be a credentialed design pro to make a house look good. A little effort can go a long way when sprucing up a home's exterior. It's what visitors see first, and its appearance sets the stage for what they'll find inside. Often, a simple change such as changing a color can work wonders.

Here's an example of how making just a few changes to a house with a bland exterior can up its curb appeal:

Typical of 1950s architecture, this home's exterior is plain and nondescript. Photo ©Christopher Maloney
Photo ©2016 Christopher Maloney
So here we have your basic red brick box -- a blank canvas, if you will. It's ripe for some attention. But before proceeding further, the first thing to address is safety. The lack of a handrail on these steps poses a hazard to anyone using the entry. Therefore, the first order of business is to install a handrail before someone takes a tumble.

With the exception of the garage, which juts out a few feet from the front of the house, the rest of the front is just one long, flat plane. Short of building on an addition there's nothing that can be done to change that. However, there are numerous ways to add visual interest. Here, adding shutters to the windows instantly improves their appearance, while providing visual relief from the expanse of brick.

The issue of choosing colors is an important one. In this case, strong contrast is needed to play up the home's architectural features.Choosing a mid-tone hue such as a dusty green would do little to achieve that. Mid-tones go unnoticed all too easily. On this home, jet black shutters provide the strong contrast needed to liven up all that brick.

But it doesn't stop there. Black is repeated on the wrought iron handrail as well as on the new mailbox and new porch light, shown below:

Adding black accents gives the front porch a whole new look. Photo © 2016 Christopher Maloney
Now the porch has acquired a more welcoming look, and calls more attention to the home's entrance.

On the garage door, black carriage style accents have been added to provide some additional pizazz. You can see the difference they've made in this photo, below:

Carriage style accents add some interest to the white garage door. Photo ©2016 Christopher Maloney

So let's recap:

This home's curb appeal has been enhanced by adding or replacing just five items:
1. Adding a wrought iron handrail
2. Adding shutters
3. Replacing the original light fixture
4. Replacing the original mailbox
4. Adding "carriage style" accents to the garage door.

Again, here's the "before":

©2016 Christopher Maloney

 And here's the "after":

©2016 Barbara Goodwin Homes

If this were my home, I would go on to add landscaping and I would paint the front door an eye-catching color, perhaps a playful, warm olive green. I'd also place pots filled with brightly colored flowers on the porch to provide bright pops of color. Then I'd place a small bench just to the right of the door with pillows on it that repeated the color of the flowers.

But these last improvements currently exist only in my imagination. As it is, this sweet little home, newly renovated throughout, is located in Oklahoma City and has just been listed for sale. I hope whoever buys it will enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed watching its transformation take place under my brother's craftsmanship. As I said earlier, a love of home improvement runs in the family. (Thanks, Mom!)

Maybe whoever buys this home will add the features I envision for it. Maybe they'll come up with some ideas that are even better. Either way, my artist's soul would be delighted. All homes, like all works of art, deserve both loving care and to look their very best.

Text ©2016 Lynn Edwards     Images ©2016 Christopher Maloney and Barbara Goodwin Homes

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