Curb Appeal

One of the greatest transformations on our 1940 colonial which we bought just under a year ago (and moved into one week before my second son was born, mind you) is the view from the street:

Great curb appeal ideas |
I believe that first impressions are important, don’t you?  I want my home to be a place people want to enter.  If you are a brick purist, you may hate it… but I love it. We could tell when we first saw the house that it had promise:
front angle before
But I didn’t love the pink brick.  I also didn’t love the poor paint job on the trim.  Or the shutters.  Or the fact that when we pulled the shutters off, there was evidence that someone had spray painted them in place… Good thing we weren’t planning to keep the natural brick!  Also, the grout was just dirty and not in the best shape in places, a fact you can’t really see in the pictures. Plus, I feel I should add, our neighborhood is full of historic homes, many of which are painted brick… So we weren’t bucking the feel of the neighborhood at all by covering over our natural materials.  The yard was hurting, too:
front exterior before
The bed around the tree (which contained three things: dirt, fire ants, and rocks) had to go.  And the hedges, while alive at least, were a bit too traditional (and leggy in places) for us.  We actually chose a fairly traditional approach ourselves, for two reasons: 1) we like to stay in character with the age and design of the home and 2) the circle drive takes up most of the front yard, limiting our options for bed shape.  You can see our three tiers – with varying colors and textures – (plus our accent pieces near the steps) here:
Great curb appeal ideas |
And you can’t miss our lions who greet all who enter here – one of my favorite details.  The hedges across the front certainly have some filling out to do before they make a major impact on the facade, but I still think the variety is beautiful.  We also laid new grass around the tree (Mr. Pax had a grand ol’ time cleaning out the fire ant bed) and cut a new bed that swoops along the back edge of our center grass.  The small dwarf yaupon holly follow an S curve behind the tree and hug a group of irises to balance it out.  I love the simplicity and slightly asymmetrical feel.
Great curb appeal ideas |
Needless to say, none of these jobs were small… but all were well worth it.  Here’s what we’ve checked off the list:
  1. add exterior sconces (which we did when rewiring the house… another story for another time)
  2. repaint outside (Ellie Gray by Sherwin Williams with Extra White and True Black details)
  3. new gutters (the old system was a mess)
  4. new front beds
  5. sprinkler system
  6. electric gate for driveway (merely added motor to existing manual gate to save $$)
Always looking ahead, here is what we’d like to do eventually:
  1. remove some or all of the circle drive to reclaim some yard space (it’s not in great shape anyway)
  2. replace the two tropical looking small trees flanking the house with something more traditional
  3. retile the front porch with something a little tougher (it’s chipping now)
  4. replace front door with something more appropriate to the character of the home
  5. Add cool molding and railings (maybe like Kelly’s front porch at Eclectically Vintage – isn’t it gorgeous?!):
Eclectically Vintage Front Porch
Front Porch at Eclectically Vintage
Like all things at Maison de Pax, our curb appeal is still a work in progress…  But I consider progress to be the key word here!
Great curb appeal ideas |
How about you?  Are you taking one step at a time?

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  1. Oh My Gosh! What a huge difference. You made some great choices! :)


  2. I was just going to say Oh my gosh I love it! Noticed that the first comment said the same. It really is a oh my gosh reaction. I don’t think I would have dared paint the brick but it is so much more inviting. Of course, no one around here paints brick so I don’t think I would have even thought of it. Great job!

  3. I love it what a transformation. you must be so proud of how it has turned out? Congratulations!


  4. I think it looks fantastic! I love painted brick. Here in Italy we have lots of pretty new tempura tints for coloring the brick. I think it lets the brick breath. The first photo I thought your front door was a dark red color, which would look great with the blue gray color, Plus I like the door you have now because the reflection of glass makes the house glow.


  5. Your house looks beautiful! I love the color and will add it to my list that I’m considering for our house! Thank you for sharing with us at Give Me The Goods Party! Going to explore your blog some more :-)

  6. Your home looks great…luv the new color. Please be sure to add my party name with a link on your post:)


  7. Wow, this is wonderful! Love the color you chose and the front doors are spectacular! I like your foundation plantings too- great job!

  8. OMG, your sharing this post is heaven sent! I have been dying to repaint our brick exterior and have been chicken about it! But nowou , I am more inspired to do it! Just a few quick questions pleas..1) Did you do this yourself or you had it done? If so, how long did it take ? 2) How much did it cost? Thank you so much for your help and this inspiration. I’m looking to painting our home white with black trims all around. :-)

    • I’m so glad it could inspire you!! Here are the answers to your questions; if you have any more, feel free to email me. :)
      1) We hired someone to do it. He’s a great guy who actually painted the exterior of our previous home, too. He’s very meticulous (and works alone), and therefore not very fast… but he’s a joy to work with. From start to finish it took almost three weeks. Thankfully, since he was working outside, it wasn’t inconvenient at all for us to have him here.
      2) I think we paid $3150. All paint (super paint from SW) included. I think it was a pretty fabulous deal considering the size of our house (3000+ sf and two story). He cleaned, filled cracks, scraped trim where needed, primed, and painted everything.

      I hope this gives you some kind of reference! And if, by chance, you’re in the Houston area, let me know and I’ll pass on his info. :)

  9. What a wonderful transformation! It looks beautiful!

    Thanks for sharing at Give Me the Goods Monday!

    ~Chelsea @ Married Filing Jointly

  10. I love the changes! That was just what the house needed to wake it up a bit! Very beautiful!

    Jenny from

  11. Looks great! Our neighborhood is almost all brick front colonials….someone just painted one of them (the only one that’s painted, I think), and it made me really want to paint mine, too. Maybe someday….

    • Thanks for stopping by, Gretchen! And I am all for painted brick. It’s tough, I know, because there’s really no going back… but I think you can retain the stateliness of brick while gaining the flexibility (and opportunity to freshen up when needed) of a painted facade. Let me know if you ever decide to paint it – I’d love to see it!

  12. Rachel, your home is gorgeous now and it was before, too! I love the gray/blue as it stands out in a terrific way. Hmm, dare I ask, have you painted the interior fireplace yet? (Guessing it might be brick!) It only took a mere 18 years to convince my husband that it could be done! Back to your setting…I love the approach with that circular driveway, the lion/or lions, and the landscaping. Oh, I had almost forgotten about the fire ants in Houston. I think your painter will be very busy for a long time. Great price and wonderful changes. Thanks for sharing. Helen

    • Thank you so much, Helen! We actually have tile and molding around the fireplaces inside, so no brick needing paint… but I would definitely do it if we did. :) And good for you for 18 years of persistence! 😉

  13. Oh my goodness! The after is just stunning! We have brick and want to paint! I think this color would be perfect! Pinning! And a new follower! Lovin your blog! So glad you linked up with us at Give Me The Goods Monday! Can’t wait to see what you bring next week!

    Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof

    • Thank you so much, Jenna! I am SO honored to have you following Maison de Pax!! Thanks for hosting your weekly party, and go for it on the brick – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. :) And, of course, if you do, I can’t wait to see pictures!!


  14. Hi Rachel, I’m a new follower. Your home is beautiful! and your blog is too! I love the gray with the black shutters. The plants you choose look amazing in front of the window. I’ve been trying to figure out what to do in our front garden and this gives me some great ideas. Thanks for sharing. :)

  15. We love your transformation. We are thinking about doing the sale thing however worried about how often would it required to be painted over. It is truly a beautiful transformation. Hope we may decide to over come our fears and do ours.

    • Rachel Paxton says:

      I understand the fear; painted brick is certainly not as maintenance free as unpainted, but we’ve loved the result! So glad you like it, and good luck making your decision! :)


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