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Best Curb Appeal Before and Afters 2011

You showed us your amazing curb appeal transformations. Now see which ones were finalists in our Reader Remodel Contest, as picked by you and the editors of This Old House

Picture Perfect

Painting, pruning, mowing, manicuring: A lot goes into upgrading the exterior of your house, and you seem to have done it all. When we asked you to submit your remodel projects for our fourth annual Reader Remodel Contest, you responded with renovations that showed just how talented and hardworking you all are. Here's a look at your top picks for curb appeal revamps chosen by TOH editors and your fellow readers.

After you've browsed these amazing examples of curb appeal, you can see all the entries at Your Old House.

Fixing Up a Fire-Damaged Cottage: Before

Who: Brian and Julie W.

Where: Oxford, MD.

Brian and I always dreamed of fixing up an old house, but we waited until our three sons, Branden, Sean, and Evan, were old enough to help out. When we bought this house, in 2008, many of the clapboards were rotted or ruined as a result of a fire, and overgrown holly trees obscured the facade.

Fixing Up a Fire-Damaged Cottage: After

Who: Brian and Julie W.

Where: Oxford, MD.

We worked on it for two years; our aim was to make the exterior historically accurate and to reuse original materials wherever possible. Brian is handy and has taught us all DIY skills, but this house involved many projects none of us had ever tackled. We replaced clapboards where needed and freshened up the original yellow color. We found a secondhand double-tombstone front door for only $75, which Brian cut to size. He also fixed the original window boxes, filling in damaged wood with new profiles he routed. Together we built soffits and fascia, replaced corrugated metal gutters with half-round ones, and erected a brick chimney.

Who did the work: I did most of the work myself.

Cost: More than $100,000

A Completely New Look: Before

Who: Bill R.

Where: Pittsford, NY.

Despite its hodgepodge of styles from Colonial to contemporary to Southwestern, a solid structure and a beautiful lot, as well as its remodeling potential, sold us on this house. My goal was to restore the Colonial nature of the house while improving its design and balance, as well as solving some structural and damage issues. And a little more space along the way wouldn't hurt, either.

A Completely New Look: After

Who: Bill R.

Where: Pittsford, NY.

I did the design work using old 3D Architect software and Photoshop. Exterior changes included adding a front porch and a rear screen porch, building a garage/workshop/loft addition, replacing shingles with new HardiPlank siding, adding a paver patio off the side walkout basement, replacing concrete walkways with brick and bluestone, and removing overgrown bushes and trees. The wood front door was rebuilt, and I built the new wooden carriage-house garage doors. Most demolished building materials were reused, recycled, or donated to minimize waste. Much to my wife's dismay, the house will never be "finished," as I love to build.

Who did the work: I did most of the work myself.

Cost: $50,000 to $100,000

A Dream Project: Before

Who: Christina D.

Where: Denville, NJ.

Over the last six years my husband, Craig, and I gutted and remodeled a home that has been in the family since the '20s. Then we finally got to our dream project, renovating the exterior.

A Dream Project: After

Who: Christina D.

Where: Denville, NJ.

We re-sided, and added a front porch, stone walkways, plant walls, and landscaping. We love walking up to our house now. The porch is an extension of our living space, complete with a lovely swing. We also created a focal point where there was none by adding a fir Craftsman front door. We did everything on our own, with the exception of the second level of siding, and are very proud of the result.

Who did the work: I did most of the work myself.

Cost: $10,000 to $25,000

No Longer "Worst on the Street": Before

Who: John F.

Where: Rockport, Mass.

This beach-area Cape Cod desperately needed curb appeal. I bought the worst house on the best street.

No Longer "Worst on the Street": After

Who: John F.

Where: Rockport, Mass.

In addition to increasing the living space in the living room and upstairs bedroom, I added a fabulous wraparound front porch and spruced up everything surrounding it.

Who did the work: I did some of the work myself, but a contractor did most of it.

Cost: $50,000 to $100,000

Walkways That Wow: Before

Who: Larry P.

Where: Sterling, Mass.

Our old slate walkway from the driveway was boring.

Walkways That Wow: After

Who: Larry P.

Where: Sterling, Mass.

I installed new walkways (we used the old slate as bar counters in our backyard), installed new granite steps for the front and side doors (the old cast-concrete steps were reused as a bocce-ball court), and landscaped to bring more color to the front yard.

Who did the work: I did all the work myself.

Cost: $5,000 to $10,000

What a Little Paint Can Do: Before

Who: Leslie H.

Where: Carmel, Calif.

This was our previous home, in Cannon Beach, Oregon. When we bought it, it was the least expensive home in an upscale town and there was a reason for that—it was a wreck! The least of our problems was the curb appeal, actually, but we still decided to take it on.

What a Little Paint Can Do: After

Who: Leslie H.

Where: Carmel, Calif.

We ditched the pink paint with poo-brown trim and added a lovely entryway to bring the house out of the '80s. We also got rid of the world's shortest circular driveway and put in a great little yard with a darling fence. New windows, trim, details, roof, and colors and—Voila! It's a totally new house.

Who did the work: I did some of the work myself, but a contractor did most of it.

Cost: $50,000 to $100,000

Country Cottage: Before

Who: Sandy B.

Where: Keego Harbor, Mich.

We bought this little "cottage" about 4 years ago. Surrounded by lakes, the area of Keego Harbor was once a place the Detroit population had their summer cottages, in the 1930s and '40s. Our home was built as a cottage originally, in the 1920s, but it had many little add-ons as the years went by.

Country Cottage: After

Who: Sandy B.

Where: Keego Harbor, Mich.

We have totally enhanced the curb appeal by adding on a very cute porch, changing the roofline, and moving the front door and the windows.

Who did the work: I did most of the work myself.

Cost: $10,000 to $25,000