Entryway — published on October 23, 2008

Making an Entrance

COLOR, COMPOSITION AND CUSTOMIZATION

The integration of these three key concepts can ‘make or break’ the way that a home is perceived by visitors, upon entering from the outdoors to inside the home. Whether preparing an existing home for sale or anticipating the purchase of a home in the near future, explore the advantages that thoughtfully considered paint applications can provide with regard to re-energizing a home’s entrance.

With today’s emphasis on everything ‘natural’, shrubs, foliage and flowers assist with the creation of harmonious transitioning from the outdoors to inside of the home. Colorfully painted hanging flower baskets sharing an identical color scheme can be fashioned to stylishly mimic or contrast with the home’s exterior paint color. Generously mass the hanging baskets around the entire perimeter of a covered porch in order to lend fresh fragrance, an abundance of color and interesting texture beginning with the outdoor area and continuing onward to the entrance of the home’s interior. The same concept may easily be applied to a deck that wraps around the home. Simply substitute hanging flower baskets for window boxes that attach to the perimeter of the deck. Carry the natural theme inside the front entrance by greeting visitors with festively painted planters. (Dried or silk flowers and plants offer a practical alternative for homeowners lacking the time or inclination to maintain living flowers and plants.) Consider painting the planters using a color palette that reflects the wall covering colors that permeate the front entrance.

Nature’s colors can also reflect strong hues. If your home lacks an abundance of natural light, why not take advantage of one of today’s popular bold hues, creating a dramatic front entrance focal point that guests will not soon forget. Rich forest green, bronze gold and deep marine blue are a few of today’s hottest bold, earthy choices. Two oversized, painted planters that sport generously overflowing greenery can be placed symmetrically on either side of an entrance door, representing a harmonious natural focal point that graciously transitions the outdoors to indoors for family and guests entering the home.

Once inside the home, there is a multitude of ways that nature can display its presence, illuminating our natural environment as we enter and leave our home. Instead of overlooking the garage area, why not spotlight the space? Painting interior walls, ceiling and even floors in any of today’s contemporary neutral shades adds fresh, modern appeal to the space that is no longer used simply to park our cars! The door that leads from the garage into the home can be painted using a flattering tone reflecting two or three shades deeper than the adjacent walls to further demonstrate stylish use of color. Applying a decorative trim around the door, and painting the trim in a contrasting color draws viewer attention to the desired color palette and further personalizes the garage space. A palette of relaxing natural hues, such as muted moss green, subtle sandy brown, pale wheat or weathered gray provides a soothing escape upon entrance into the home, further accentuating the desired theme.

Providing a practical place to drop ‘things’ once inside the home, need not sacrifice style! Any entrance to the home can benefit from the addition of a compact table or shelf to place house keys, mail and other small daily necessities. When highlighted in an underutilized location that offers maximum impact, these decorative accessories offer an attractive point of interest (particularly when painted using a color palette that echoes the wall coverings, ceiling and floor covering belonging to the entranceway and surrounding area). Consider repeating a stenciled motif that has been used to frame the doorway on the face of the table or shelf for a truly custom appearance. Meandering vines and leaves represent fresh botanical stencil pattern options that harmoniously integrate the exterior facade with the home interior.

The visual perception of the natural world offers a serene environment that any homeowner would welcome at the end of a hectic day. Consider the many ways that nature’s beauty can be incorporated within the framework of your existing home, to seamlessly assimilate the exterior with the interior. Painted applications manipulate the use of color and materials, lending significance to the natural theme and uniquely personalizing any entrance to the home.

Driveway — published on October 17, 2008

Roadside Attraction

When people approach your house, your driveway is one of the first things they see. Here in Canada, where winters are severe, asphalt driveways tend to be popular because of the ease of snow removal and flexibility of the material when experiencing cracks from frost heaves. If you have an asphalt driveway that needs repairing and refreshing from time to time, follow the steps below to bring your driveway back to its original, smooth, black condition. 

Before you begin, check the weather forecast; you’ll need a few warm, dry days to complete the project. 

Sweep, power-wash or shop-vacuum to clean the driveway of debris. Check for oil stains, and clean them up using a specially formulated asphalt-cleaning solution — household detergent might even do the trick for smaller spots. 

Next, address holes. Dig out the bad asphalt, leaving a hole with fi rm edges, and remove the debris. Use a trowel to apply cold-patch, a compound available at most homeimprovement retailers. 

Apply the cold-patch in successive layers, compacting (“tamping”) each layer and letting it dry before adding the next, until the hole is filled. Once the hole is filled, you can compress the area by driving over it after covering it with a piece of plywood. 

Likewise, clean any cracks to make sure they’re free of debris. It’s a good idea to try to widen the base of cracks, a process known as undercutting — this way, the filler will be well anchored at the bottom and thus stronger at the top. Apply driveway crack filler, overfilling the crack and then smoothing over the surface with your trowel. 

Finally, seal your driveway’s surface, following the sealant manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Then step back to admire your “brand new” driveway!