This achievable exterior makeover proves a basic suburban home with dated aluminium windows can have street appeal with a few simple updates
Turning a plain, dated home into the smartest on the street
This house could be in any suburban street in New Zealand. It’s neat and tidy, looks in solid condition and it’s probably almost identical to dozens of others in the area. However, in this original state it wasn’t going to turn heads or win any design awards. On a $6000 budget, this home was turned into one of the smartest on the street.
What the house looked like before its makeover
There were several dated elements, probably a mishmash of features added over the years, that let the facade down. These included the brown aluminium window frames, the ‘Corinthian’ porch columns, the rusty wrought-iron railing, the mesh security door and the bare concrete pavers that ran straight up the middle of the front lawn. An integral part of the makeover would be restoring a degree of uniformity, so the first step was to strip away these elements. The porch columns were removed, so were the railings, the screen door and the concrete pavers. The narrow steps were also demolished.
The makeover plan of attack
The rescue remedy for the beige colour scheme was a modern two-tone grey for the roof, guttering, downpipes, weatherboards, brick base and side fences. White trims for the aluminium windows and front door were added. This new scheme pulled together the various finishes that were making the facade look dated.
How to update aluminium windows
Even painted, those aluminium window frames looked flimsy and cheap, as they lacked the bulk and scale of more traditional timber frames. The solution was to add just that: a new border of kwila timber, which transformed the windows. The home owners’ decision to replace the lounge-room curtain with Venetian shutters was a bonus that has lifted the home’s appearance.
Creating an appealing entryway
Every front facade needs a clear sense of entry. Continuing the warm timber theme, kwila decking was used to create centred timber steps which now line up with the front door, providing symmetry and balance. Matching timber posts on either side of the steps replaced the old white columns.
Exterior planting plan
New garden beds constructed from pine sleepers and planted with a mix of hardy native grasses, topped with woodchips, soften the home’s exterior. They also cleverly conceal the lower bricks of the house. A dose of lawn fertiliser is all that’s needed to complete this budget transformation!
The budget breakdown
Sand, solid and garden supplies: $375
Plants, letterbox, kwila and hardware: $2836
Garden sleepers: $338
Carpentry costs: $1104
Landscaping labour: $523
Total = $6338