The next time you drive through an upscale neighborhood in your community, take the time to admire a few particular homes that seem to stand out from the crowd. Though you may not recognize it at the time, there’s often a common reason why these properties catch your eye. More than likely, the homes incorporate exterior materials and designs that embrace the natural environment, creating a look that is a harmonious blend of architecture and nature.
Most realtors call this eye-catching aspect “curb appeal,” and it easily influences the home’s value. So what is the best way to improve your home’s curb appeal? According to recent surveys, renovating the home’s exterior with upscale features provides the best financial return on investment. On average, homeowners can expect to recoup 103 percent of the siding construction cost when it comes time to sell—higher than most other home projects.
So when moving forward with renovations, consider blending your home’s exterior architecture with its natural surroundings. Take the time to do some thoughtful planning, and creative thinking will pay off in a big way:
Upgrade Your Siding
The exterior body of a home is the face it presents to the world, defines the mood and character of the home and reflects the image desired by its owners. Choosing the proper siding material is a crucial step when updating the exterior.
While a number of alternative wood products have hit the market in recent years, all-natural Western Red Cedar is a popular choice as an upscale exterior siding due to its exceptional beauty, versatility and durability. Cedar brings an all-natural warmth and character to exteriors that will last for years to come.
Plus, advancements in cedar manufacturing mean you can spend time relaxing and enjoying your home’s exterior, rather than maintaining it. Today, many manufacturers offer cedar siding pre-finished on all sides. This modern finishing technology ensures the highest lquality finish, increasing consistent coating, longevity and overall resistance to moisture; allowing you to choose the preferred finishing color and simply install. Properly finished, Western Red Cedar siding will offer decades of low-maintenance protection.
Even better, Western Red Cedar siding is a good choice for its thermal conductivity that helps keep the home cool in summer while reducing heating costs in winter. In addition to low thermal conductivity, its low density makes Western Red Cedar a great acoustical barrier as well.
Real cedar siding is available in a wide variety of standard and custom profiles, and by mixing these styles with other natural materials such as stone or river rock, your home will blend naturally with the surrounding environment.
Also, incorporating cedar landscape structures like pergolas and trellises can add to the home’s character and further integrates nature with the overall look and feel. For instance, a decorative overhead cedar trellis beam blends nicely with exterior dentil accents of similar shape, thus melding style with nature. This type of cohesiveness really creates a harmonious blend towards increased curb appeal.
Decorative Accents Add Value
Exterior accent details are the finishing touches on a home of distinction; they help set the home apart and are actually quite affordable. Give your home that elegant appeal of handcrafted beauty with decorative accents like shutters, gables, cedar soffits or dentil mouldings. These upgrades all provide an affordable, yet beautiful complement to your home’s design and give it some individuality. Even better, ornamental accents at the peaks of dormers or gables give traditional charm—especially when these decorative accents are finished differently from the siding. This two-tone palette emphasizes the visual details and gives the base of the house a pedestal-like quality.
“Exterior decorative accents offer homeowners a choice in their home’s appearance so they feel like their home is not only unique to them on the inside, but on the outside as well,” says Peter Lang, general manager of the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association. “They customize the home so when you drive through the community the house doesn’t look like everyone else’s on the block.”
Additionally, integrating cedar into soffit areas is an appealing look. Soffits are the exposed underside of any building’s overhead component, such as the roof line, balcony or porch; and upgrading soffits with stylish tongue-and-groove cedar bestows richness where these areas almost become an extension of the interior—yet blend nicely with the exterior siding and natural surroundings for a cohesive look.