This timeworn two-storey detached home in Toronto's desirable Leslieville neighbourhood is starting to show its age. We asked Scott McGillivray of HGTV's Income Property for his top five tips on how to freshen up the home's façade and boost its curb appeal.
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Scott McGillivray, "Income Property," HGTV
1. Shed the shakes
According to McGillivray, there's no sense in trying to salvage the weathered cedar shakes that cover the second storey. "They're very old-fashioned and not in keeping with the style of the home – or the neighbourhood, for that matter," he says, noting that camouflaging them with a lick of paint would only delay their inevitable demise. "I'd really like to bring that brick back," he says, but warns that the stripping job is a delicate procedure best left for the pros. Depending on the installation method, the brick underneath could have been damaged when the shakes were mounted. In that worst-case scenario, McGillivray recommends swapping the cedar for a gorgeous grey stucco treatment.
2. Seize the second-storey potential
There's something about the windows on the upper floor that doesn't sit well with McGillivray. "It feels like the house is cross-eyed," he says. "They just don't balance well at all." Budget permitting, he'd love to see the homeowner replace the left-hand window with a door that leads to a Juliette balcony, complete with a railing that matches the black iron on the porch below. Not only would this make the most of the space afforded by the peaked roof but it would also help balance the visual weight of the top and bottom floors.
3. Pick a palette
From the bright white window flashing to the blue house numbers, the patchwork colour scheme suggests a home that's suffering from an identity crisis. "It looks like the past five homeowners did their own thing and never took the whole house into consideration," says McGillivray. "I want to strip the home down to one character, and that means taking colour cues from the strongest feature: the brick." His no-fail palette matches red brick with stately black and gunsmoke grey, and beefs up the black door and porch railing with similarly hued eaves, flashing and house numbers.
Paint in Deep Onyx 00NN 07/000, dulux.ca
4. Shine a little light
The lone sconce to the left of the front door could benefit from a new fixture in a black finish – as well a companion. "The current light illuminates the house numbers, but it doesn't help when you're trying to put your key into the dead bolt," McGillivray says. "I would add another outdoor light in the same style, but hanging from the peak above the door."
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Outdoor lantern, $40, dvcanada.com
5. Tame the garden
The fire hydrant smack in the middle of the front garden might be an eyesore, but McGillivray sees the silver lining. "At least no one can park in front of your house," he says. Nevertheless, there's a fair bit of pruning to do before this patch is up to "Income Property" standards. "This garden is completely overgrown," he laments, suggesting the homeowner ditch the dense foliage (including that massive bush obscuring the front window) in favour of handsome hardscaping. "I'd redo the pathway up to the front steps using interlocking stone, and then continue it around the side of the house for access to the backyard."
Make sure your backyard looks as great as your front this summer. Check out what's in right now with our five great summer trends for your deck. While enjoying your yard make sure you're sitting pretty with our favourite 10 great pieces of outdoor seating.