House Makeovers and How to Get the Look

So you’re interested in house makeovers and how to get the look… We are asked time and time again about our house makeovers and how to get the magazine look at home… What color paint is that?  Where can I get those lights?  Do you recommend a metal awning over my porch?  What’s the deal with shutters?  What paint do you suggest for brick?  Should I replace my door or just paint it? What type of windows are on that house?  It’s easy to see why… the transformations are amazing and many of them just require simple changes that a handyman can accomplish! Easy. 

Our brick&batten designers are ready to partner with you on your home exterior design.  Maybe you have a lot of ideas and just need to SEE before you commit.  Or maybe you just need a second opinion to be sure you’re on the right track.  There are also some that have no idea and want our designers to make all the decisions regarding design… after all, that’s what they’re trained to do!  


In any case, I’ve found a recent home we designed and I’m taking you back stage to learn some Pro Tips and find out more about this house makeover and how to GET THE LOOK!

This client wasn’t happy with his curb appeal saying he loves the interior but the exterior is “ugly.”   Siding needs replaced and he wanted a charcoal color with horizontal orientation.  Also, due to building codes, he can’t add a wrap around porch; however, he can add some kind of decking with a stone wall.  He also realizes that a door is needed to best use the porch.  Armed with that information and recognizing a slight New England vibe, our designers went to work.

Before Image
Before Image

After Image
After Image

No. 1// Remove:

Remove the shutters.  They are too small and don’t even appear to fit the window.  Architecturally, your eye knows something is wrong when looking at the house but maybe can’t place what. Incorrectly sized shutters creates this problem.  Pro Tip… Even if your shutters aren’t real, they should look to close over the window every time.

No. 2//  Siding:

Vertical siding in the gable needs to be removed for horizontal siding as asked for by the client. The siding was replaced with new James Hardie lap siding called Shou Sugi Ban.  It’s a charcoal color with a brown undertone.  We love James Hardie fiber cement siding because of its sustainability, color selection, and style options.

James Hardie Shou Sugi Ban

No. 3//  Front Porch:

There is no front porch so we created something beautiful to add curb appeal and function.  After all, front porches are a THING! We chose a crab orchard flagstone with grays, blues, and browns.  You can buy the flagstone mosaic style, cut, or stacked.  Pro Tip…A variety, in the same color palette, adds interest.  

No. 4//  Trim:

There is no trim which creates an unfinished look.  Pro Tip… Trim is needed when siding changes or cladding meets the ground.  Adding trim in the gables is a game changer!  The trim color doesn’t need to be stark white.  Sometimes an off-white looks more custom.  We chose a warm white called Seapearl by Benjamin Moore.

No. 5//  French Doors:

There is a large wall with a small window under the gable.  Balance is off because the wall is large and window is small.  Honestly, that corner and window are the first places I see when I look at the house.  It needs to be stunning!  That said, our designers added beautiful French doors to match the front door design.  French doors balance the area and aesthetically can’t be beat! 

French Doors

No. 6//  Wood Accents:

We decided on natural wood to frame the front entryway.  Natural wood is always gorgeous and always in style! There are so many stains for wood.  Stains appears differently on different types of wood, how it’s primed, the environment the wood is placed in, who is doing the painting, and the transparency of the paint used.  That said, I personally prefer semi-transparent in a lighter natural cedar color, a darker shade of walnut or dark walnut.  Stay away from reds.  

No. 7//  Lighting:

Lightning is essential in any house makeover!  Pro Tip…Your lights should be ⅓ to ¼ the size of the door.  On most homes, lights are way too small.   Aged copper Bevolo lanterns are the gold standard in lighting!  They work well with wood accents and the dark bronze gutters. If you can do one thing… or two things… I’d say paint or replace your door and replace your lighting. 

Bevolo Lights

No.8//  Metal Awning:

The front porch area is gorgeous with the flagstone and the French doors are beautiful!  Framing the doors with wide trim to place the lights and topping the doors with a metal awning was essential.  Metal awnings update a look, add dimension to a plain wall, and offer protection as you’re walking in and out the door.  

Seamed Metal Awning

No. 9//  Roof:

This is a New England style roof made by DiVinci.  The dark brown/ charcoal color, called Mountain, blends with the natural wood accents. Finally, choosing the composite shake, as opposed to a normal shingle, lends itself to the architectural style of the home.


No. 10//  Garage:

I’ve done a lot of research on types of garages and what works best on different types of homes.  Luckily, this home doesn’t have a huge front loader that takes up space; however, that doesn’t mean your garage should be ignored.  These are Clopay doors in the Canyon Ridge series.  These days, garages can essentially be custom made choosing the design option, window style, and even choosing the type of glass.  Pro Tip… Adding garage hardware adds interest and creates the look of real carriage garage doors.

Clopay Garage

No. 11//  Gutters and Downspouts:

Gutters are hugely important for every home.  I recently wrote a blog with advice on gutters and gutter guards and did a lot of research on the benefits of gutters.  If you don’t have them, you need them! That said, gutters don’t have to just direct water away from your home.  Because they are all over your house, they can and should be nice to look at! Now, with a variety of colors, styles, and gutter heads, there are no excuses!  These are round downspouts in a dark bronze color.  Pro Tip… Your current gutters can be easily painted so you’re only replacing downspouts if needed.  

No. 12//  House Numbers:

Don’t forget house numbers!  They are often overlooked and can add character to any design.  This address is by Modern House Numbers in SoCal style.  I love this website because you can actually put your numbers in and see how different fonts look.  Keep in mind, they need to be visible from the street for police, ambulance, fire department, etc. in case of an emergency.  Check with your home’s jurisdiction, believe it or not, sometimes there are regulations and laws for house numbers size and reflection! 

before and after

Overall, a lot of thought, experience, and listening to the needs of our clients goes into every single house design.  We don’t deliver a house we wouldn’t live in ourselves! Getting a virtual exterior design, arms you with the knowledge to move forward on your home makeover.  It gives you the vision and makes you an expert when talking with your handyman or contractor!  

In conclusion, we love the push to fix up old homes instead of tearing them down. Many times curb appeal can be accomplished with a vision and simple changes!  We are asked time and time again about different houses and how to get the look. Partner with us on your home’s new look — get started today