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Best Curb Appeal Before and Afters 2010

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

Hey, Good Lookin'

You've amazed us once again. When we asked you to submit your remodel projects for our third annual Reader Remodel Contest, more than 1,300 of you responded with renovations that showed just how talented and hardworking you all are. Here's a look at 12 of your top picks for curb appeal revamps chosen by TOH editors and your fellow readers.

After you've seen these out-of-this-world projects, you can see all the entries at Your Old House.

With An Artist's Eye: Before

Photo by Robin Martin

Who: Robin Martin

Where: Manchester, MA

When my husband, Chris, and I bought our house, the paint was peeling and cracking, and some clapboards had rotted. I wanted colors that would make the original gingerbread details pop while staying faithful to the home's history. So I researched Victorian-era paints and created a complementary scheme of pale olive and red with cream accents.

With An Artist's Eye: After

Photo by Robin Martin

Who: Robin Martin

Where: Manchester, MA

It took countless trips to the home center, two weeks off work during the summer, and a few do-overs to get all the corbels, columns, and posts to match—keeping track of all the parts' designated colors was a real challenge! Now that we're done, we receive so many compliments from passersby.

Who did the work: I did some of the work myself

Cost: $1,000 to $5,000

Soaking Up The Atmosphere: Before

Photo by Eric S.

Who: Eric S.

Where: New Orleans, LA

In June of 2002, my wife and I purchased half of an 1800s-era Victorian Camelback in the historic French Quarter of New Orleans. With an eye towards historical accuracy, we knew the front porch and facade were not in character with the property's heritage or the neighborhood. Then came Hurricane Katrina. Four years later we reignited the planning process. We interviewed contractors, sourced historically accurate materials and met numerous times with the Vieux Carre Commission (the city's regulatory agency for French Quarter). We were informed that we had to match the detail that had previously been on the house.

Soaking Up The Atmosphere: After

Photo by Eric S.

Who: Eric S.

Where: New Orleans, LA

To assist us, the commission provided a circa 1940s photo as the earliest documentation in their files. We had the plans redrawn, engaged contractors, got our permits and broke ground in early October 2009. As with any historic rehab, we encountered the usual setbacks: rotten wood, unstable foundations and a deteriorated sill, not to mention the weather. Six weeks later we were putting on the final finials, touching up the paint and sitting in our rockers soaking up the atmosphere of the French Quarter.

Who did the work: I did some of the work myself

Cost: $25,000 to $50,000

Colorful Colonial With New Porch: Before

Photo by Scott W.

Who: Scott W.

Where: Old Lyme, CT

In an effort to increase curb appeal and provide some useful outdoor living space, I decided to add a farm porch onto the front of my otherwise bland 1995 Colonial. This porch was constructed by myself (with the exception of the brick piers) and features construction materials such as Azek porch flooring and Azek trim.

Colorful Colonial With New Porch: After

Photo by Scott W.

Who: Scott W.

Where: Old Lyme, CT

The siding is a combination of HardiePlank fiber cement (above the roofline) and cedar clapboards (below the roofline). The ceiling is tongue and groove cedar finished with Australian Timber Oil. This porch is the first phase of a series of improvements I have embarked upon.

Who did the work: I did all the work myself

Cost: $10,000 to $25,000

Worst House In Best Neighborhood: Before

Photo by Rich M.

Who: Rich M.

Where: Seattle, WA

They say, "Buy the worst house in the best neighborhood." I managed to find that in a 1903 farmhouse in Seattle's historical Capitol Hill neighborhood. The house had split into a non-conforming duplex, and was in bad shape when I found it.

Worst House In Best Neighborhood: After

Photo by Rich M.

Who: Rich M.

Where: Seattle, WA

My friends thought I was nuts, but the new neighbors were very excited every time I started a new project. Now it holds it's own with the street.

Who did the work: I did some of the work myself

Cost: $50,000 to $100,000

One of a Kind in North Carolina: Before

Photo by Monty G.

Who: Monty G.

Where: Wilson, NC

You could hardly see this beautiful home from the curb. Needless to say, we missed it on our first drive by the house. The house itself was boarded up when we bought it.

One of a Kind in North Carolina: After

Photo by Monty G.

Who: Monty G.

Where: Wilson, NC

We cleared all of the massive overgrowth from around this 1917 home, landscaped the yard, repaired all of the rotted wood, and had it painted. Sounds really simple, but as you can tell from the pictures it was far from it. This home's second story cross gable supported by curved brackets is the only one of its kind in Wilson, NC.

Who did the work: I did some of the work myself

Cost: $50,000 to $100,000

Greek Revival Labor of Love: Before

Photo by Janine R.

Who: Janine R.

Where: Middleboro, MA

The renovation of our Greek Revival farmhouse was a labor of love. The exterior trim and siding needed repair and hid damage caused by time, pests and the elements. Rotten sills and water-damaged walls also needed repair.

Greek Revival Labor of Love: After

Photo by Janine R.

Who: Janine R.

Where: Middleboro, MA

We beefed-up the trim, repaired the entablature, and added pilasters and water-tables. We installed a standing seam solid copper roof over the rear bay window. Porches were completely reframed and the deck material was replaced with solid mahogany. We had the front professionally landscaped with an irrigation system.

Who did the work: I did all the work myself

Cost: $50,000 to $100,000

Come A Long Way: Before

Photo by Kodie K.

Who: Kodie K.

Where: Old Hickory, TN

I bought my first home, a 1918 Dutch Colonial, a little over 2 years ago. I moved in and promptly began remodeling. We repainted the exterior, replaced old shutters, made a Dutch door and repurposed the old front door as my new front porch swing!

Come A Long Way: After

Photo by Kodie K.

Who: Kodie K.

Where: Old Hickory, TN

I reworked the landscaping out front and am working my way around the sides and back of the house. Thanks to a big hailstorm last summer, my house also got a lovely new roof so it now looks just as I had pictured it when I first saw it.

Who did the work: I did some of the work myself

Cost: $1,000 to $5,000

$3,800 Exterior Remodel: Before

Photo by Amy H.

Who: Amy H.

Where: Franklin, IN

The exterior of our house was bland with no real distinguishing features. In fact, when looking for a home, it was so ugly on the outside that my husband didn't even want to stop to see it. Once we did, we fell in love with the potential on the inside of the house, and decided we could live with the outside.

$3,800 Exterior Remodel: After

Photo by Amy H.

Who: Amy H.

Where: Franklin, IN

We decided on a sage, purple, and cream combination. We used copper accents throughout, such as on the mailbox and house numbers, as well as the columns and the new light fixtures. Shutters were an afterthought but really make the house special. Now we have a "new" house for $3,800!

Who did the work: I did some of the work myself

Cost: $3,800

Based On Original Drawings: Before

Photo by Christene V.

Who: Christene V.

Where: Bele Plaine, IA

This 1905 Victorian had all of its original interior features, like hardwood floors, decorative trim, three grand pocket doors with original hardware and a staircase so beautiful it took my breath away. The exterior was another story. White aluminum siding covered every inch of the home, including three leaded glass windows on the third story. Luckily the home came with the original drawings!

Based On Original Drawings: After

Photo by Christene V.

Who: Christene V.

Where: Bele Plaine, IA

I set to work taking off the aluminum siding, praying with each pull that the home's original cedar lap siding would be salvageable. It was! We then replaced the first and second story screened-in porches with beautiful wood columns. We recreated a set of grand steps leading up to the front porch and converted a half bath back into a porch. For four weeks, sun-up till sundown, we scraped, sanded, repaired, primed and painted this lovely lady until she was back to her original splendor.

Who did the work: I did all the work myself

Cost: $1,000 to $5,000

We Saw Its Potential: Before

Photo by Robert and Terry H.

Who: Robert & Terry H.

Where: Williamsburg, VA

My wife and I moved to this 1968 Colonial house six years ago. Last year we decided to add a front porch and paint the brick. After looking at dozens of porches for inspiration, we designed this porch to fit the scale of the house.

We Saw Its Potential: After

Photo by Robert and Terry H.

Who: Robert & Terry H.

Where: Williamsburg, VA

My wife and I did all of the construction, with the exception of the brick piers and the standing seam metal roof. We used Ipe wood for the flooring and put up a beadboard ceiling. We completed the work in about eight months. Now the house has an inviting appeal and provides a whole new living space.

Who did the work: I did all the work myself

Cost: $10,000 to $25,000

Solo Project: Before

Photo by David D.

Who: David D.

Where: Luxemburg, WI

I removed the siding and replaced it with vinyl shakes—over ½-inch foam. I completely tore off the roof and replaced it with a standing seam steel roof. I also tore off the existing soffit/fascia and replaced them with a color coordinated, vented soffit and a one-piece fascia/drip edge.

Solo Project: After

Photo by David D.

Who: David D.

Where: Luxemburg, WI

I custom fabricated all of the fascia work. I replaced the front windows with a three-panel, nine-foot French inswing. I also replaced the rear patio slider with the same.

Who did the work: I did all the work myself

Cost $10,000 to $25,000

Patient Restoration: Before

Photo by Ron W.

Who: Ron W.

Where: Cohutta, GA

We purchased this fixer-upper, as they say, which may be a bit of an understatement. The house was in terrible condition and the yard was overgrown with wild roses, vines, and trees.

Patient Restoration: After

Photo by Ron W.

Who: Ron W.

Where: Cohutta, GA

We have been working patiently (for the most part) now for almost six years on restoring this wonderful old home. We have come a long way since 2004, but we still have several projects to complete.

Who did the work: I did some of the work myself

Cost: $50,000 to $100,000