We received the following email recently from Sean:
I live in central United States, Iowa, to be exact. I bought a home built in 1955 with some very cool 1950’s charm. I am completely stumped on what to do with the exterior of the home. I don’t want to do massive renovation and remove the 1950’s charm that attracted me, however, I do want to give it a sophisticated and updated look. Is it possible for me to send you a photo? Perhaps readers would want to weigh in on what should be done to give this home new life. I believe it has modest potential. I am lost on how to draw that out. I’m mostly looking for paint and landscaping ideas, however, I am very open to any suggestions. No matter how invasive. It is early Spring here ,so, a great time to get to work cleaning this property up and giving it new life. 

It is such a great house! Here are a couple more photos of it…

Here’s my 2 cents, and I have basically zero experience with an exterior renovation, aside from a complete overhaul of my current home’s landcaping so I really hope our readers will help out with some suggestions too because I’m sure you’ll have better ideas than mine.
Because that fabulous porch overhang darkens the front door area I’d be tempted to paint all the siding white. Or something very light. Very light grey even? And then black trim (or dark grey) along the roofline, front door (or maybe a fun colour for the front door if Sean is feeling adventurous) and windows. I’d be tempted to get a new garage door – one with some frosted glass inserts so that whole section isn’t so solid. If not in the budget paint it black. I’d put tall planters on either side of the garage with something tall in it. (This means house numbers would have to move). And just about anything could go in terms of landscaping but I’d start with something tall/bushy under that narrow window on the right because it’s looking a little awkward.
I had a tough time time finding some decent inspirational photos to go along with this but here’s what I came up with…

A before and after of a house that was a brown/beige and went white and black

Brie Williams via this post

How a shrub/hedge in front of an awkwardly high window results in it making visual sense


When making the exterior a bit lighter really brightens up a house, and with some basic landscaping added the result is really impactful. A sweet before and after…


Another before and after where the landscaping made all the difference

This Old House

Please leave comments below if anyone has some ideas and tips for Sean. Hopefully he’ll send us photos when he’s done 🙂

When colour brings life to a home that was in need of someone’s special touch. In 2018, Blyth-Collinson Interiors was engaged by a London couple to update a Capability Brown designed house in Oxfordshire which had recently been unoccupied and sadly, somewhat neglected. Saskia and her team provided a much needed boost of energy to the tired interiors; enlivening each room with colour and warmth to show-case the clients’ eclectic antique and art collections, which reflect their unique interests and their international lives and travels. Specialist paint techniques were employed so that every room tells a distinctive story. Sumptuous soft furnishings combine with wonderful carpets, art, beautifully bound books and sculpture to invigorate this lovely home with flair and a certain sophisticated, bohemian aesthetic.

I had to share another project designed by Mandy Graham because I am officially smitten. This one is a wonderful example of how to highlight a quirky art collection without providing distractions. And another example of her magical ways with kitchen design.

Photos: Jasper Carlberg

When a designer is willing to concern themselves wholeheartedly with the details, no matter how simplistic or ornate, I am going to pay close attention. I came across the 1920’s Palos Verdes, California Spanish cottage of designer Mandy Graham and quickly became an admirer of her work. The arched doorways throughout and the kitchen are blowing my mind. The diversity of her projects share a design philosophy that defines a cohesive balance of texture, light and form. The use of such restraint communicates an aesthetic that is both timeless and sophisticated. Respect.

Photos: Jasper Carlberg

A modern tree house

Posted on Mon, 5 Apr 2021 by KiM

I may be obsessed as of late with centuries old homes but on the other, completely opposing hand a simple, modern home with a black exterior and concrete floors is something I will always be drawn to. This home is giving me life and is GORGEOUS inside and out. For cityhomeCOLLECTIVE owner Cody’s Derrick’s personal residence, we worked with Sparano & Mooney Architecture and builders Sausage Space to create a “best of both worlds” concept: the goal was to bridge the gap between condo/loft living and a ground-level home that included yard space and room to grow. As lead designer on the project, Cody worked collaboratively with Sparano & Mooney to ensure that a simple but imaginative layout served as the blueprint for a plethora of natural materials and a focus on the elements (water being the feature at the center of the home’s footprint). Local craftsmen were hired wherever possible (in this case, for railings, cabinets, kitchen island, custom dining table, custom pigmented concrete, etc). For the interior design, we focused on a layered approach–from salvaged chandeliers and chairs to plants, books, art, etc.–that would add to the warmth of the open space and balance the newness of the project.