Tag Archives: curb appeal

First glance

Front entrance ideas

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Front entrance ideas

Exterior landscape design by Samantha Kleinknecht • Photos: Alex Lukey

Toronto, and pretty much all of Ontario for that matter, is a sellers’ market. Demand is high, housing stock is low, and competition is cut-throat – and that’s putting it mildly. If you’re selling your home, you have the upper hand, but you should still do what you can to increase your investment value – and your overall selling price.

Did you know? According to a recent survey by the Ontario Real Estate Association, only two per cent of homebuyers said a home’s exterior and landscaping didn’t factor into their buying decision. That’s a whopping 98 per cent of people who consider a home’s curb appeal when shopping the market. Interesting, right?

Curb appeal is all about creating a desirable and inviting exterior, to catch people’s eye and make that first positive impression from the curb. Decades ago, most home-hunters would pile into their car every Saturday and Sunday, from 1 to 4 p.m., and drive around looking for open houses. When something caught their eye, it was a must-see. That’s curb appeal. Today, curb appeal is more about attracting buyers online with great listings photos. Whether we’re talking in person or online, your home’s exterior is the first impression people get, and it will be a big factor in their decision to take a closer look or keep moving to the next, perhaps slightly nicer listing.

Here are some of my strategies to attract more buyers – and offers!

Paint

Depending on your home and its condition, this could be a big or a small job. but all things considered, it’s the most cost-effective way to freshen up your home. When it comes to choosing colours, don’t be too trendy. As we all know, trends come and go. Instead, opt for longevity and choose something in line with the neighbourhood aesthetic. Also, consider what’s happening next door. Avoid duplicating your neighbours’ colour schemes, which can make homes look odd side-by-side. Anything that’s peeling or appears discoloured will benefit from a fresh coat, including your front door and porch, shutters, window trim and garage.

Entrance area

Create an instant stylish welcome to the porch area with a new mailbox, light fixture and house numbers. make a seasonal vignette with planters flanking the door and walkway leading to the front door and porch.

Landscaping

When assessing your home’s curb appeal, don’t discount the importance of the yard. Outdoor space has become even more critical in the wake of the pandemic, which has prompted many homebuyers to look for homes with outdoor amenities. Manicured gardens, patios and decks have become huge selling features, especially in some inner-city neighbourhoods where access to green space is limited. Furthermore, landscaping is an upgrade that immediately increases your property value, and that value increases as your trees grow. During the warmer months, ensure the lawn is mowed, flowers planted, bushes and trees trimmed. Consider planting some hearty, cold-weather plants to bring life and detail to that bleak, wintery scene. Add outdoor lighting to highlight different areas and unique features.

Driveway

Admittedly, this upgrade is less sexy than the others, but it’s just as important. nothing ages a home at first glance like a cracked driveway, broken front steps or displaced patio stones. If the exterior is uncared for, potential buyers may assume interior elements have not been well maintained. Furthermore, don’t risk deterring buyers or tempting them to lower their offers in anticipation of repairs. Correct these issues before putting your home on the market. Curb appeal is a critical part of the home selling process, and paying a little attention to your home’s exterior can go a long way to attracting more interested buyers and higher offers. Especially now, with in-person showings limited and more house-hunting being conducted online or from the street, curb appeal can be just the thing to tip the scales in your favour.

Heather Hadden, Principal at Hadden Homes, notable top real estate professional in the GTA is focused on providing comprehensive full-service support for all new and existing homeowners.


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First impressions - From curb appeal to security, your front door matters

First impressions – From curb appeal to security, your front door matters

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First impressions – From curb appeal to security, your front door matters

Before owning a house, I didn’t think much about a home’s front door. But, during our home inspection, there were some slight concerns about the quality of the door. As renovations always seem to hurl you down a slippery slope and since we were planning on replacing our front tile, we decided we might as well simultaneously replace our front door.

The main reasons we chose to replace our front door:

  1. SECURITY. Due to it not being correctly installed, the latches were coming out from the frame, making it easier to be opened by a potential intruder.
  2. AESTHETICS. We didn’t like one significant non-changeable aspect of the door, specifically the oval glass with a decorative motif.
  3. EFFICIENCY. Because of the poor installation, it also meant it wasn’t efficient at keeping the cold air out (and who wants higher bills?). Not to mention it even let in rainwater!

BEFORE
BEFORE

AFTER
AFTER

Like any home decision that involves both function and style, this choice wasn’t so simple. The siding of our home is board and batten in a blue-grey shade (a colour we aren’t sure we’re keeping). With this in mind, we wanted to select a door that would work with the current colour, but also with our long term vision. Then there was the security and efficiency aspect. We both liked the look of a wood door, but during our research, we learned wood doors are not the most energy-efficient, are harder to maintain and tend to be quite expensive. The good news was a fibreglass door with a wood-grain effect would check off all our boxes in terms of efficiency and style.

Schlage | Schlage.com
Schlage | Schlage.com

To fully complete the transformation, we also decided to replace the door’s casing and needed to select a new handle. Thanks to Pinterest, we found a door we loved and a casing to match. Our pick? A craftsman-style door with a six-lite window pane and modern craftsman casing. This was a project we knew required a professional, so we asked for recommendations and went with Mario’s Windows & Doors.

Before we could get a quote, owner and installer Mario Lambert needed to come by to measure and assess. The bad news was the door wasn’t just poorly installed in the frame, it was set too far forward by a foot, causing the door to scrape along the side every time it opened and closed. Such a major change in positioning was another reason why the door needed to be installed before the tiles.

Mastergrain | Mastergrain.com
Mastergrain | Mastergrain.com

We shared our visual references from Pinterest, and he came back with pricing, wood-grain colours and handle options. In the end, we selected a fibreglass door from MasterGrain, with a Douglas Fir grain effect in the shade called Early American. For the handles, we went more transitional (traditional/contemporary) with Addison on the exterior and Pemberly on the interior, both in matte black and by Schlage. The casing also went from wood (that happened to be rotting) to durable PVC.

Overall we can’t believe what an impact the door makes on our home’s exterior. It not only looks much better, but it opens and closes smoothly. There are still a lot of things we want to do with our exterior (including take out the second-floor door and do a wrap-around balcony), but for now, we think we’ve boosted our home’s first impression in the neighbourhood.

A writer and editor for more than a decade, Stephanie Gray has covered everything from luxury travel to modern parenting challenges.

Her work has been featured in publications including Glamour, Elle Canada and Best Health.

She recently bought a century-old home north of Toronto, in need of updates, which she’s taking on with her husband (and toddler in tow).


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Exterior home improvement tips for the fall

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Exterior home improvement tips for the fall

When you think of home improvement projects, it’s easy to get caught up in the interior ideas. Renovating your kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms make home life more comfortable and give the house an aesthetic appeal. Yet, to overlook the exterior of the property would be a mistake.

The exterior of the home is one of the first things people see when visiting your property. It helps to provide a first impression and, therefore, should be invested in on occasion. The exterior is also what provides you shelter from various elements of weather. If you don’t take care of it, your home loses its efficiency and causes expensive problems.

Fall is the perfect time to get started on home improvement projects. The weather is perfect and it’s just before winter when an ill-prepared home can become pretty unsafe. If you’re looking for great ideas to make your home more efficient and aesthetically appealing this fall, consider these exterior home improvement tips below:

Maintain the roofing system

The roof is one of the most essential parts of the home’s structure yet homeowners commonly forget to keep it maintained. Missing or damaged shingles on the roof, however, can cause significant structural damage. Not to mention, clogged gutters can cause flooding, pests, and other issues for the home. Though some people feel safe using a ladder and working on the roof, it is often best to leave this to the pros so no one gets hurt. Have a roofer inspect the roof make any necessary repairs, and clean the gutters so you’re ready for the winter.

Check for pests

Insects and pests are looking for a warm place to stay as the weather gets colder. Since they make their way into your home from the outside, it is a good idea to inspect the perimeter of your home to see if there are any ants, spiders, or other insects. You should also check parts of the property made from wood to see if there are any termites present. If you find signs of pests around your home, contact pest control services like Moxie Pest Control to come treat your lawn and home’s exterior so you’re safe.

Power wash siding and pavement

You may not see the dirt that has accumulated in your house and walkways, but it’s there. You’d be surprised at how much is exposed when you use a power washer. These powerful cleaning devices can wash away dirt and give your home a clean appearance.

Paint windows and doors

Another way to improve the exterior of your home for the fall is to update your windows and doors. If they are old and inefficient, you should invest in more secure ones. However, if they’re just a bit worn down or you’re just looking to change the appearance of your home, you can always apply paint. Use a complementary color to make the rest of the house. For example, if you have a blue house, a red door would really make it stand out. A gray house would look very modern with white windows and trim. If you have a garage door, painting them the same color as your windows and doors is also recommended.

Spruce up the yard

You can’t improve the curb appeal of your property without taking some time to care for your lawn. Start with basic chores like cutting the grass, pulling weeds, and trimming trees and shrubs. You can do this yourself or hire a landscaper and an arborist to assist you. Then, work on improving the look of your front yard. You can put down pavers, install landscape lighting, plant some seasonal flowers, and add some planters.

Porch decor

Fall is one of the best times of year to add some decor to your porch. There are so many decorative pieces you can add to the porch to make it look more appealing. You can invest in outdoor furniture such as a few chairs and a table. You can make jack-o-lanterns with your family, a scarecrow, or add some decorative pieces like a festive wreath, wind chimes, and window decals.

Making improvements to your home’s interior is essential, but don’t overlook the importance of keeping up with the exterior. It’s the first impression people get of your home and also the most exposed part of your property. To improve curb appeal and to keep you safe, it is important to complete home improvement projects such as those listed above.

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The National Home Show 2019

4 tips to make the most of your small balcony – from National Home Show experts

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4 tips to make the most of your small balcony – from National Home Show experts

Having a backyard or even a balcony (no matter how big or small) is a luxury these days for most people, especially the closer you live to the city. And, with square footage getting smaller and more expensive, maximizing the potential of every inch of your space, including your balcony, is crucial. It’s time to start thinking of your exterior as an extension of your home. You can create a slice of paradise even in the smallest of spaces with just the right touches, and National Home Show experts are here to prove it.

Here are four ways to make the most of your small outdoor space:

1. Look for space saving furniture

Just because your balcony may be compact, doesn’t mean it needs to feel cramped, or that you have to sacrifice luxury for space. Look for furniture that is comfortable, without be bulky. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t fit a table and chairs. Folding furniture for a small space can be just as pretty as stationary counterparts these days, and retailers such as Andrew Richard Designs are offering double-duty options in sleek designs that don’t add bulk to your space. Think chairs with armrests that double as a side table and space dividers that are also storage bins.

Also, don’t forget to organize and optimize your available space and consider exterior walls and railings as part of your canvas – perhaps lights along your railings to illuminate your balcony and help keep the floor area free of clutter, freeing up more space for essential furniture.

2. Decor makes all the difference

Cold, bare concrete walls and floors wouldn’t make your condo feel homey, so why would they your balcony? Inexpensive wood deck tiles or simply stencil painting a pattern onto the concrete can add instant warmth to your balcony. Incorporate small outdoor area rugs or throw cushions instead of heavy furniture to add texture, comfort and personality, as well as make your area appear bigger. And don’t be afraid to add bright colours to your petite space. Your outdoor area should represent your style, just as much as your interior choices.

3. Take your garden to vertical heights

Starting from the ground up, AstroTurf is an easy way to replicate that suburban yard feel on your city balcony that won’t frustrate condo management. Don’t be afraid to get your green thumb on, even in a small way, by scattering tiny potted herbs around your outdoor space, but remember to hang them vertically to avoid taking up valued floor space. Placing plants at various heights will also help add major interest and height to your space, and don’t hesitate to be creative, says Peter Bonanno of Curb Appeal. Think about perching some planters on balcony railings or investing in a sleek and possible portable privacy screen for added seclusion. But, be sure to fill platers with outdoor, seasonal flowers that can withstand the elements and ever-changing weather conditions.

4. Lighten the mood

Whether it’s with lights or a little fire, light it up and set the mood in the process. Even if you can’t swing railing lights, outdoor lanterns and even simple mason jars filled with sand and a candle are perfect to light up a summer night on your balcony. If heat and ambiance is what you’re after, mini portable tabletop heaters come in a variety of finishes and colours. Not only will these help you extend your outdoor time on cooler, shorter days, but they’ll also keep away pesky mosquitos. Just be sure not to light things up too much, as you wouldn’t want to ruin the view of a perfect starlit night sky.

If you’re looking for even more inspiring home, condo and garden ideas, and want to see these tips come to life, visit the Outdoor Living Feature at the National Home Show presented by ReMax and co-located with Canada Blooms from March 8 to 17 at The Enercare Centre in the Exhibition Place in Toronto.

For further information on the National Home Show or Canada Blooms, at the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place, visit the website.

nationalhomeshow.com


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DESIGN/BUILD EXPERT: A Tight Fade

DESIGN/BUILD EXPERT: A Tight Fade

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DESIGN/BUILD EXPERT: A Tight Fade

by Brendan Charters

Great at the barber, catastrophic at home

Sometime since the dawn of civilization, we became obsessed with curb appeal. Emotional creatures to the core, what started as a basic need, shelter has evolved as an avenue of self-expression. The exterior materials, architectural details, combination and orientation of finishes tell a story to the world about who we are, what we may value and how uptight we might be about the state of our affairs. Like it or not, the face our homes show to the world is a reflection of ourselves. Since the absence of personal time seems to be the norm, and very few people enjoy allocating their time or their hard-earned money toward regular maintenance, we will explore the finishes and colours that provide long-term value for your next exterior renovation project.

Photography: Andrew Snow
Photography: Andrew Snow

NATURE’S FORCE

All good things must come to an end. Rain, wind and sunshine erode mountains into prairies and valleys. Volcanoes are transformed into beaches. Some would argue none of those changes are bad things, but when Mother Nature applies her weathering ways to the face of your homestead, a bleached-out and battered esthetic is almost never a desired outcome. As such, when designing and installing your home’s exterior finishes, work from the following basic principles for lasting success.

1. Natural materials weather best: Fight Mother Nature with Mother Nature!

  • REAL STONE
  • WOOD rot-resistant or heat-treated woods, which are neither painted nor stained
  • BRICK
  • METAL such as zinc and weathering (corten), steel which is naturally self-sealing upon initial rusting.
  • avoid man-made materials with topically applied colouring.
Photography: Will Fournier
Photography: Will Fournier

2. Integrated colouring: These are products with colour that is within or part of the makeup, rather than applied

  • NATURAL STONE
  • BRICK
  • METAL
  • STUCCO with paint infusion (rather than painted after application)
  • EXTRUDED MATERIALS (such as PVC’s)
Photography: Valerie Wilcox
Photography: Valerie Wilcox

3. Factory-applied finishes: Controlled environment with baking process to cure finishes to substrates

  • search out flexible vinyl wraps, paints and stains that can expand and contract with the substrate, as all materials move based on their environmental exposure.
  • Warranty of finish is a massively important piece, as is stability of company manufacturing and honouring it.
  • Composite wood, Cement-fibre siding, aluminum siding all great examples of this.

4. Light to Dark: Dark colours attract sun and heat while light colours show dust and dirt more easily.

  • dark will dry more easily after rains but will oxidize and fade faster and more visibly.
  • light will pick up road wash and garden splash back, muddying the appearance.
  • lighter colours fade less and less quickly.
Photography: Andrew Snow
Photography: Andrew Snow

5. Moisture control: trapping moisture is never a good thing in a home, and it will always impact colours through bubbling, peeling and cracking.

  • design a method of moisture escape
  • understand the wall system as a whole, not just the exterior-applied finish as it works as a system.

When planning your own addition, renovation, or custom home, remember there is real value in working with a professional to design and build the space. The process is as important as the final product here, not just the price. We recommend you start your search at the relevant professional associations to explore your options, including the OAA (Architects), AATO (Architecture Technologists), ARIDO (Interior Designers) and RenoMark, the home of the professional builder and renovator, to find the true industry professionals to help guide you to success.

Brendan Charters is Partner at Toronto Design-Build Firm Eurodale Developments Inc. – 2017 OHBA Renovator of the Year.

eurodale.ca

@eurodalehomes

(416) 782-5690


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Lasting Impression………

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Lasting Impression………

by Linda Mazur

When renovating, often the focus and dollars are given to achieving that “designer look” for the interior of our homes.  We forget that the first impressions are made by the exterior of the house.  We’ve all heard of “curb appeal”, especially when getting ready to sell your home.  However, curb appeal should not be just for resale purposes as it can set the tone for the overall aesthetic of your home.

Making the exterior of your home beautiful and welcoming actually goes beyond just pretty landscaping.  Maintenance is critical to curb appeal and nothing to me can make a greater impact to the exterior of your home than beautiful garage doors.

Tired, worn garage doors with peeling paint can overshadow any lovely landscaping you have done.  Due to the sheer size and sometimes location of your garage doors, they are often the first thing noticed on the front of your home.  So why not look to a company like Garaga to help create a first impression worth remembering.  They offer high quality products, a range of accessories and options such as insulated energy efficient doors; as well as having a wide selection of beautiful garage doors to fit any style.  Whether it’s traditional, contemporary or carriage house that best suits your home you’re sure to find the right fit to give the exterior of your home a grand look that says, “welcome to my home”.

Here are a few tips to help when selecting garage doors:

  1. If the first thing you see on the front of your house is the garage than make that a focal point.  Select a door that stands out whether with colour or style to make your home noticeable.
  2. Colour should always complement the exterior finish of your home (the brick/siding/stone).  You don’t need to match the colour but you should be working in the same tones.
  3. Considering adding lighting to the soffits above your garage doors to highlight them, much like you would a piece of art on the interior of your home.
  4. Make your garage doors more prominent by adding moulding details around them.
  5. Remember bold, bright colours can sometimes appear too distracting on such large surfaces, your goal is to create curb appeal and define your house from the others on the street not make your neighbours cringe.

Linda Mazur is a nationally publicized designer and Principal of Linda Mazur Design Group.

With almost two decades of experience this in demand multi-disciplinary design firm is known for creating relaxed stylish spaces and full-scale design builds within Toronto, the GTA and throughout Canada.

lindamazurdesign.com

@LindaMazurGroup



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