Before and After: A 1953 Cape-Cod’s Cheery Facelift Brings Major Curb Appeal

published Apr 23, 2021
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Credit: Teresa Abraham

Complete curb appeal makeovers can add both value and style to a house. Changing the exterior of your home (whether with paint, plants, or new purchases) has a major impact, but sometimes major impact can require a majorly big budget and major construction.

Michigan homeowner Teresa Abraham proves that’s not always the case, though. With the help of her family, she was able to breathe new life into the beige, Arbor vitae-covered exterior of her 1953 Cape Cod-style home, making small swaps with big payoff.

Credit: Teresa Abraham

“The first day at the house we started cutting down all the shrubs in the front of the house,” Teresa says. “One of the neighbors was furious and gave us a talking-to!” Luckily for Teresa, the de-shrubbing paid off — and even got compliments from the neighbors, who didn’t know there were actually charming flower boxes behind all the greenery. Doubly lucky for Teresa was that the previous owner of her Cape Cod-style abode was an avid gardener. With the help of her family, Teresa transplanted some existing, less-overwhelming plants from the back of the home to the front. 

Credit: Teresa Abraham

Next, Teresa tackled the entry. Spray painting the railing, mailbox, and light (found at Goodwill) made the three look meant-to-be and cohesive, and painting the door teal added just the right pop of color without detracting from the blue-gray color scheme of the rest of the exterior. “The front stoop that used to be uninviting is now a show stopper,” Teresa says.

Another one of Teresa’s favorite parts of her redo is the cedar shutters, which were handmade. If you look closely, you’ll notice another pop of cedar on the front of the home: the address. Homemade shutters, flowerboxes, and house numbers that you can actually see from the road all add value to a home, according to real estate agents, and Teresa’s curb appeal refresh checks all three boxes.

Credit: Teresa Abraham

Finally, to complete the look and add a dose of Cape Cod charm to the house, Teresa added a $36 steel compass to its gable.

Teresa says there’s not one thing she doesn’t like about the after. This is her fifth DIY project, and one of her takeaways is that out-of-the box swaps lead to pleasant surprises. “The old rules of ‘you have to do it this way; this is how it’s supposed to be done,’ are out the door,” she says.