How to Create Curb Appeal

Well, summer is here and it's a great time to take stock of your home's curb appeal. By now your landscaping should be well out of the winter doldrums and producing its finest. Whether you are there for the long haul or thinking about selling, curb appeal is extremely important. People really do read a book by its cover and first impressions are hard to dispel.

What are the elements which create maximum curb appeal?

The home in this photo covers all of the bases.

Exterior siding or cladding.

Is it chipping, peeling or fading? If so, it's time for a paint job but this time of year you're going to find your painting contractors already booked through the end of summer, possibly even Fall. If you're unsure about color, find a color consultant whose reviews show a person of skill and knowledge who knows how to listen to what you want and translate that into a color palette that works for you. Choose a color palette which enhances the beauty of your home, befits your style of architecture, melds with your neighborhood and is in line with any Home Owner Association rules. The color palette should be appropriate for your region of the country and whether you like neutrals, deep colors or classic white, the front door is a place to add an element of fun and whimsy, not the body of your house.
Curb appeal

Hudson NY                         Photo: Amy Krane

Even if you've missed the boat to find a painter in the next month you can still improve the look of your home by cleaning the facade of dirt and mold. The power washer will be your best friend here.

Hardscaping and curb appeal. Curb Appeal

Your hardscaping will contribute in a big way to your curb appeal. Do you have a path which clearly leads to your front door? Way finding is key and such a path is important and welcoming. Is it in good shape? Are there weeds between your bricks, pavers or stone? Moss or a low ground cover like creeping thyme adds old world charm to the look of a pathway and a plant which sends a waft of perfume towards you as you step on it is an added bonus. Front porches add loads of curb appeal. They come in a host of different layouts from the wrap around you find on Victorians to a more simple front with a deck, balustrades and posts. Remember your porch and post style should match the architectural style of your house.

Landscaping and curb appeal.

Can't say enough about it. Plants add the final touch. Consider them the garnish to the dish. Different styles of landscape design work best with different styles of houses. Got a modern glass, concrete and/or steel home? Think monoculture - one type of shrub or perennial in a swath. Have a natural shingle cottage? Think English, cottage style plantings with more colorful mixed beds with a variety of heights, textures and blooming seasons. Have a formal Federal or Georgian style home? These houses call for either very minimal foundation plantings or the use of a more formal shrub like sculpted boxwood. Remember seasonality is important. It's a vote to have some evergreens which give you some green throughout the winter if you live in Northern climates. And don't forget about the flower pots. It's easy to go crazy with them but one or two interesting planters which contain either a mix of plants  which complement your house color or a bunch of red geraniums adds cheer to any front door. Curb appeal  

 Lighting is often overlooked.

Exterior lights serve many functions. Most obviously they allow you to make it safely from your car to your front door. But lights are wonderful accessories which dress your home's facade and give it a finishing touch. They come in hundreds of styles and finishes from sleek and modern to old world, from oil rubbed bronze to brass.                

The Address Font

Every detail pitches in to create curb appeal. Don't forget the font you choose for your address. The home below has craftsman architectural details so the homeowner, a designer, chose an appropriate font for her home address. Do you want a numeric address or to spell the number? Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 6.19.59 PM         In the end you need to pay attention to all of the details as they each contribute to the overall look. Maximize each element for the best overall impression like the home for sale below.

How to Choose Interior & Exterior Paint Colors For Your Home

how to choose paint colors Are you about to redecorate, renovate or build? Learn how to choose paint colors. Many people want to make their own color decisions but end up stuck, staring at color chips pasted to their wall for months. Choosing colors is difficult but the right color makes the difference between a home that makes you feel great, reflecting who you are and one which leaves you cold and uninspired. Exterior house color is the number one factor affecting your home's curb appeal and therefore its value. Learn how to choose paint colors which reflect your individual stye, the ambience you want to create and the decor you have. Nationally recognized Architectural Color Consultant, Amy Krane is an professional colorist sought by media outlets like Elle Decor, Consumer Reports, Domino, Family Circle and more. She has been awarded "Best of Houzz 2017" after receiving the same award 4 years running. This presentation, filled with visual examples, will walk you through how to choose colors. You'll learn the basics of color theory, what's important when choosing color, what's on trend and what kinds of color support a healthy environment. The 75 minute talk will have a Q & A following. Germantown Library, February 12, 2017. 1pm- 3pm.

A Look to 2017: 10 Design Trends

design trends

Photo: Mike Baker

While it's been a tumultuous year politically, design trends spotted in 2016 and even before, continue to manifest. Warm metals like copper and brass abound, pinks of all types continue to appear as sophisticated wall color choices and dark tones are showing up everywhere. Live edge wood used in everything from tabletops and shelving to bed frames continues to be featured in shelter magazines and homes alike.
Amanda & Chris Air BnB

Amanda & Chris's Air BnB


A deep jewel purple, Shadow is Benjamin Moore's 2017 Color of the Year. Mid-toned violets like PPG's Violet Verbena and Olympic's Cloudberry made the top list as well. Perhaps purple's association with mystery will help transport us to another, more pleasant time, if only emotionally. Purple has got appeal for many applications. A room with lots of natural light will help it sing. design trends 2017

Bleached Wood Floors

The choice of bleached, pickled or gray washed floors continues to dominate wood floor tones. Used in conjunction with deeply pigmented walls the combination is irresistible. Note 3 of the 4 photos above show the trend. Even wood floors laid in herringbone or parquet patterns are going this route. It's a more, rustic, unfinished look borrowed from influences like Scandinavian design and the Boho look, prevalent last year.

design trends 2017 bleached wood floors Wallpaper

It's true wallpaper eased back into use a while ago but it's here full tilt now. Used in powder rooms and bedrooms before, it's beginning to appear in hallways and foyers, living rooms and restaurants. Pattern continues to engage and delight the senses as one of the coming year's most exciting design trends. Last year we saw a real uptick in the use of patterned cement floor tiles. While that trend continues, pattern is everywhere on the walls now.

design trends wallpaperThe Modern Farmhouse

If I've heard it once I've heard it a thousand times this year. Many people who own single family residences are looking for the modern farmhouse look. What exactly is it? It's shiplap, (horizontal paneling), predominantly white or light Scandinavian cool colors on the walls, painted built-ins in the pantry and mudroom, shaker or inset kitchen cabinets and drawers, an airy modern clean feel with warm touches from rustic beams and organic materials like wood floors.
design trends modern farmhouse


design trends modern farmhouseTone on Tone

One of the first things one learns training in the field of color is to vary up the contrast, LRV (light reflectance value) and color temperature when choosing hues for a room. This tone on tone look defies good visual ergonomics and healthy color practice but it's out there and catching on as one of the newest design trends. The look is monotone and therefore (seemingly) soothing and sophisticated. Too much time in a room like this can cause eye fatigue from the monotony but there is certainly a contingent that finds it glamorous and au courant.

design trends 2017 tone on toneThe Camel Leather Sofa

From moderately priced purveyors like West Elm to Room and Board, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and beyond, everyone is selling it. It's clubby without being stuffy, informal and sexy. While leather often appears masculine it's being used in rooms with a more feminine twist as well. The more aged, scuffed and worked in like an old pair of boots, the better. design trends Camel Leather sofa Dark(er than the walls) Trim Colonial homes were often decorated this way and it's back. Generally less applicable for modern or contemporary homes, in more historic venues with wide and decorative trim it's becoming more common. design trends colored trim

High Gloss Painted Ceiling

For a few years now we've seen designers creating glamorous rooms in homes, clubs and restaurants using high gloss paint on all 4 walls. This kind of paint finish creates a highly reflective space which can be uncomfortable and it requires perfect walls as the gloss shows off every bump. This year we have started to see gloss on the ceilings with matte walls. Depending on how much natural light in the room, the kind of artificial light, the amount of hard surfaces in the room, how the floor is treated and the color of the walls and ceilings, it may or may not work.

design trends high gloss ceilingsBlue, Green and all in between

While neutrals continue to be the most commonly employed colors for dwelling interiors, and purple is the new "it" color per the paint companies, there is no doubt that blues, greens and the hues in between are making a splash. Pantone hit the nail on the head with "Greenery" as their new color of the year. You can't pick up a shelter mag or take a peak at Pinterest without noting the interest in these colors. Known as soothing and/or refreshing their application is appropriate for any decorating style. As people have moved away from the all white kitchen and even the grey kitchen, we're noting a prevalence of cabinets in deep greens, mid blues and teals. This year's bleached wood floors, camel leather sofas and even modern farmhouse vibe all work with this palette.

design trend Tealdesign trends blue and greenDesign Trends : Black Accents

Let's face it, black is sophisticated. But it's easy to go overboard so the key is to use it as an accent. Make sure to add touches of warm colors to the space so it doesn't come off sterile. Incorporating black into a room adds instant contrast and a graphic quality to the decor. It's showing up as kitchen cabinetry, on millwork throughout the house and on interior doors and window mullions. Black window sashes and mullions help the eye move beyond to the outdoors, bringing the outside in. design trends 2017 Black accentsWell there you have it! 10 emerging and developing design trends for 2017. At Amy Krane Color we're looking forward to exploring the home design world with you next year!