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Ask A Designer: Fresh Façade

House Home Photo Exterior Ask A Designer Fresh Façade

Cameron MacNeil's curb appeal tips.

Q. The façade of our house is unbalanced, or maybe just too plain on top. We're thinking of adding shutters to the middle set of windows. Do you think that would help? Should we match the shutters to the door or use another colour? We're grateful for any advice!

— M.K., via email (To submit your own question, see our Ask A Designer™ page.)

A. Give it balance and contrast.

I agree the scale of your façade is off — your windows are too short and wide, and they don't fit with the more traditional features. I don't think you need shutters, but new double-hung windows with a more substantial frame, like the ProLine from Pella (shown), will even out the proportions (check out the houses in our Inspiration shot). While new windows require some construction and cost, they'll make a huge difference. If you're not able to replace all your windows now, start with those on the main level.

The current colours of your siding and closed porch are too different. Keep the siding as is and paint the porch to match it — Visibility (6J2-4) by Beauti-Tone (shown) looks quite close. Add contrast with the stairs, as in the Inspiration shot: paint the treads a medium grey, like Irony (6L1-6) by Beauti-Tone (shown), and the railings and banisters in Visibility (6J2-4). (If you have plans to reroof, go with black shingles. They'll work well with the new colours.)

Add polish with finishing touches.

With the strong lines of the new windows, your current door, with its small fanlight, will look out of place. Replace it with a classic, paintable door with a large, mullioned window, like the Belleville Smooth from Masonite (shown), and paint it a shade like Beauti-Tone's Shadow Lands (5Q3-7, shown).

Centre the Brookside wall lantern (shown) from Progress Lighting above the door, and install a set of simple but graphic house numbers (shown) from Lowe's to give your entrance a cleaner look. Lastly, plant sculptural boxwood (shown) under the front window to add a soft layer of greenery.

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1. Brookside lantern, Progress Lighting. 2. Paint: Irony (6L1-6, top), Shadow Lands (5Q3-7, bottom left), Visibility (6J2-4), Beauti-Tone. 3. Door, Masonite. 4. Boxwood, Sheridan Nurseries. 5. House numbers, Lowe's. 6. Window, Pella.


Cameron MacNeil


John Cullen (paint); James Hardie Building Products (inspiration shot); Pella (window); Floridus (boxwood).

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