House beautiful: Books detail what makes for 'curb appeal'

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 4, 2007

By Rebecca Hyde

Rowan Public Library

It may start with a compliment: “Your house is so attractive painted that way” or “We always look forward to seeing the bulbs in bloom.” You then know that your house has what Realtors call “curb appeal.” It’s a credit to the neighborhood and could attract buyers.

Do you want to add to your home’s appeal? Here are a few books that can help define it and enhance it.

In “Design Ideas for Curb Appeal,” Megan Connelly describes a house with curb appeal as “welcoming, and well-maintained,” having “presence” in terms of creativity, innovation and charm.

The house gets attention for the right reasons: exterior color scheme, architectural character, decorative details, landscaping, lighting. Most important is integrity: The house may be a local attraction, but its exterior style still suits the neighborhood.

What is your home’s curb appeal quotient? Connelly tells you to “remove your rose-colored glasses” and ask yourself, a friend or a Realtor these questions: Is the appearance dated (fad colors and style)? Has the house been “misimproved”? Is the fa├žade tired (damaged)? Is the front yard a mess? Is the entry uninviting?

Keeping up appearances is the most reliable way, and could be the least expensive, in maintaining curb appeal. So remove the clutter and dead plants. Do something about sloppy window treatments seen from the outside. And take care of those mature trees. As for spending money, a new paint job may cost a lot, but the effect is even greater.

Connelly offers help in choosing paint colors, which can be overwhelming for some people. Remember that exposure and sunlight will affect color intensity. And remember the neighborhood: You want the house color to stand out by blending, not sticking out like a sore thumb.

Entryway ideas range from painting or replacing the front door, changing house numbers and the mailbox, to restoring or adding a front porch. Connelly is enthusiastic about a front porch: It keeps you and visitors dry and may add extra living space. One reminder: Always check with local building departments about permits and codes.

Complementing Connelly’s book is the “Curb Appeal Idea Book” by Mary Ellen Polson. It’s full of photos and tips for all areas from the curb to the front door, from simple (add a container planting) to more elaborate (architectural lighting).

Both books show that even small touches make a house stand out.

Children’s programs: February through April, programs for children are scheduled as follows: Baby Time — Wednesday, 11 a.m., headquarters; Toddlers and Twos — Tuesday, 10 and 11 a.m., headquarters; Wednesday, 11:30 a.m., South; Three to Fives — Thursday, 10:30 a.m., headquarters; Monday, 10:30 a.m., South; Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., East. Two to Fives — Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., East. Noodlehead — Thursday, 4 p.m., headquarters; Monday, 4 p.m., South. School Age Adventure — second Tuesday each month, 4 p.m., South.

Library program: Let’s Talk About It!, a reading and discussion program, will focus on “Tar Heel Fiction: A Second Look” at headquarters library on Thursdays at 7 p.m. Feb. 8 and 22 and March 8 and 22. Books will be provided. Call 704-216-8228 for more information.

Computer classes: Headquarters, all 9:15-10:45 a.m. — N.C. Live, Feb. 8; Basic Word, Feb. 15; Intermediate Word, Feb. 22. South, Intermediate Excel, Feb. 13, 7-8:30 p.m.; Digital Photography, Feb. 22, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Displays: Headquarters — turtles by Linda Patterson Pridgen and a display by Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. East — Piggy Banks by Faye Hill. South — tea set by Tammy Foster.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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