Let’s say your last remodel (or four) have all been interior rehabs. And that’s great because it’s where you live, love and retreat. But next time, give the front of your home a little TLC by paying attention to the front door, windows, porch and landscape.
Read on to learn how area businesses and creative teams are approaching front-of-home exterior remodels.
home: North Appleton
remodel: Walkway and landscape design
Five years ago, Tina Stumpf of Stumpf Creative Landscapes, Inc., got a call from Appleton homeowners looking to give their front yard a makeover.
This design project adds equal amounts of character and curb appeal. “The front door is now the main act to the house,” says Stumpf. “Garage doors have become the front door in the last decade. Front doors need to be used!”
When it comes to landscaping remodels, Stumpf works to find balance between the plants and the colors of the home. “Because of our winter months, to see some kind of green is important,” she explains, recommending evergreens.
The steps leading up to this home were made from bush hammered concrete and Lannon stone was used to create dimension for the landscape area. She also incorporated out-cropping rock (in front of garage) to give the yard a more dimension.
Offsetting the deep coloring of the brick house with light concrete and green planters, the remodel succeeds at sprucing the house up from the curb up!
home: Combined Locks
remodel: Exterior updates and rehabbed front entry
When it came to deciding to remodel or rebuild, the DeBruins, who love the location of their Combined Locks home, chose to stay put. But the house, built in the early 1970s, needed major updates. “It needed modern and functional repairs,” says Patti DeBruin, who, with her husband Bill, looked to Tod Raehl Construction, Inc. “They saved the integrity of the house.”
While the the remodel involved partial new construction and other interior remodels, the front exterior of the house received a well-deserved update.
Originally, the front entry was dark and tunnel-like and the house was dressed with dark cedar siding and stone, which was removed and salvaged for reuse. Raehl and his team stained the stone to complement the light colored stucco.
Today, the 12’ high entry tower acts as a front-of-home focal point. “[The DeBruins] wanted to have the exterior walkway stepping into the covered porch area, but they also wanted to show off the door system (window and lights),” explains Tod Raehl.
The couple also requested that the new walkway have an incline to accommodate an aging family member. “Not only is it modern and efficient, but it meets our needs,” Patti adds. “You would never be able to tell from the exterior that it’s handicap-friendly.”
remodel: Front of home exterior, garage, porch, walkway
In this situation, a 35-year-old house was in need of updates to achieve curb appeal and accommodate the homeowners.
“The owner wanted access to his basement from his garage and needed space for his bike hobby,” says Paul Welhouse of Welhouse Construction. “We added 15 feet on from the original.”
Outdated masonic siding was replaced with vinyl cedar shake siding, which appeals to homeowners because it portrays the natural look of traditional cedar but is maintenance-free.
A new stamped concrete walkway leads to the front door. Welhouse explains that stamped concrete is less likely to crack because of underground rods. The stamping can be made to look like stone or brick, or even incorporate a personalized design.
“In my opinion, curb appeal is personal taste,” says Welhouse. “Remodeling the front of a home to look more modern and incorporating maintenance-free materials is a huge benefit if you have to sell in the future.”
remodel: Front door, including hardware
Scott and Kim Tennessen had finished landscaping their front yard when they suddenly had a “one of these things just doesn’t belong” moment. From the curb they could see the plainly painted front door didn’t do much for their home, which was built in 2001.
“We wanted to tie it all in and make the front of the home more inviting,” Kim explains.
Trusting in Tri City Glass and Door, of Appleton, the Tennessens chose a mahogany-grained fiber glass entry door with leaded oval glass. Although it’s fiber glass, the mahogany-grain is meant to look like wood. “This dressed it up quite a bit. You can tell the difference from the curb,” says Robin Adamski, of Tri City.
He explains that if a door is in good shape, the existing window can be changed or a new window can be cut (unless it’s a steel door, which was the case with the Tennessens).
“Doors can be a low-budget type fix,” he says. “They are of high quality and come with a 100 percent warranty.”
remodel Front door
After moving, Marty Bohl realized that her new residence didn’t offer enough natural light for her to do watercolor paintings. Spoiled by the natural light her previous home provided (which had French doors to boot), she contemplated the best way to light up her new Kimberly condo and decided to remodel the front door. What she ended up with is a piece of art.
She called on Tri City Glass and Door to complete the project. After flipping through catalogues and visiting the warehouse, she found a design that radiated possibility. Bohl’s old door was replaced with a mahogany-grained fiber glass entry door with leaded rectangular glass. The glass consumes two-thirds of the door.
“It’s more beautiful than I imagined,” Bohl says. “When the street light comes in at night, it’s gorgeous.”
—By Alison Fiebig