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Before: A Simple Cape

For the past couple of years, Mark DiGiovanni has been slowly upgrading the exterior of his 1956 Cape Cod, in Wilmington, Massachusetts. "But even with new siding and windows, it still looks unfinished," he says. To help him, we asked architect Thaddeus Siemasko, of Beverly, Massachusetts, for ideas about enhancing its curb appeal.

After: Perky Charm

Illustration by Howard Digital

"A simple, cottage-like house such as Mark's doesn't need radical changes," says Siemasko. "Adding detail to the facade and making the entry a stronger focal point will boost its look substantially." His proposed entry features a gable roof with an exposed truss, supported by columns resting on shingle-sided walls that flank a painted wood landing. Wider trim around the doors and windows, along with corner boards, frieze boards, and water-table trim above the foundation, offers crisp definition. Flower boxes serve to visually lengthen the windows, which seem a bit short. Mark's ready to jump in and make these changes. "I never thought about adding trimwork, but it really does help make my house look complete—finally!"

Welcoming Walkway

Illustration by Howard Digital

A wider front walkway makes the house appear more approachable and welcoming.

Beefed-Up Entry

Illustration by Howard Digital

A more substantial main entry, with a gable roof held up by half columns, is now the house's handsome focal point.

Flanking Walls

Illustration by Howard Digital

Shingled walls that flank the entry help this little landing spot look tied into the rest of the structure.

Window Trim

Illustration by Howard Digital

Beefier trim helps the windows stand out, and flower boxes serve to visually lengthen them, as they appear a bit short for the house.

Side Entry

Illustration by Howard Digital

The side door has larger glass panes than the main door, befitting a more casual entry.

Plants With a Purpose

Illustration by Howard Digital

Foundation plantings add color and texture, and disguise the bare concrete foundation.

Crisp Corners

Illustration by Howard Digital

Corner boards, frieze boards, and water-table trim above the foundation give the house a tailored look, adding crispness and definition.

Finishing Touches

Classic accents add warmth, texture, and visual variety to a gray-and-white palette.

Column: The tapered shape of this fiberglass option suits the entry's small scale. HB&G; from about $425.

Finishing Touches: Entry Doors

Rich walnut complements the gray-stained cedar siding and adds warmth. Simpson; from about $700

Finishing Touches: Door Handle

A sturdy thumb-latch entry set in oil-rubbed bronze is a handsome upgrade to any door. Weslock; about $100.

Finishing Touches: Window Box

Constructed of PVC, this one will weather any climate and offers an easy-to-access spot for colorful annuals. Hooks & Lattice; from about $100