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  • Writer's pictureMarni Jameson

Does Your Home Say Welcome? It’s All in the Approach


A few weeks ago, I told you how my offer to host a patio party triggered a major backyard refresh. What I didn’t tell you was that I didn’t stop there. In that Pandora’s-box way that happens when one home project detonates another, my backyard effort caused me to take a good look around the rest of the house. (I was sorry I did.)


I’d let a few maintenance jobs slide out front. The paint on the front door was blistering and peeling. The door handle, new six years ago, had measles. Cobwebs and insect debris clung in the corners. The once glossy black mailbox was mottled and faded. The black paint on the front gate had worn off from handling and looked like camouflage.


If I were a person passing by, I would say, “These people don’t even try!”


As I assessed my home’s facade, I had the same thought that crosses my mind when I look in the mirror and see another sprig of gray, or a new wrinkle: When did that happen!? Although you can’t stop time, you can at least try to keep up. Maintaining a home is like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. The job never stops.


Now that I was in spring clean-up mode, I capitalized on my momentum. I made a project checklist starting at the curb. Ugg, that mailbox. A while back my neighbor had texted me the name of her handyman who had recently repainted her mailbox “in case I was interested.” (Hint. Hint.) I called him up. He could fix that and take care of the front gate, too. Check, Check.


Meanwhile, I had the house pressure washed, which feels like a juice cleanse, fluffed up the flower beds, and called my painter about the front door. He had painted the formerly wood-grain door deep orange (Sherwin-Williams Jalapeno) when we moved in six years ago. The East facing wood door takes the full Florida so looks five times its age. “It’s time,” he gently said. While he picked up a quart of exterior acrylic latex gloss, I got a new handle and lockset, which his guys replaced when they repainted.


Afterward, I took a step back to admire the sum of these small fixes. I heard the Happy Yellow House whisper, “Thank you.”


“You’re welcome,” I whispered back.


Even though I rail at you about cutting clutter, as if that were the most important factor in maintaining your home’s appearance, even more important is how your home looks outside.


Spring is a great time to spruce up the face your home shows the world. To take your home’s entrance from “I don’t care” to “please come in,” run through this 10-point checklist:


1. Walls and windows. Do a dirt check. If cobwebs, pollen, leaves, dead insects, and other debris have taken up residence, give your exterior a good pressure wash. While you’re at it, consider whether it needs repainting.

2. Mailbox. This is not some private container just between you and the mailperson. Your mailbox is on display every day. Wash it, paint it, or replace it as needed.

3. Walk up. Whether a gate needs painting, or a walkway needs tending, make sure the path to your door looks tidy and cared for, and is lit.

4. Doormat. These largely ignored service items take a beating. A new one, generously sized, can make a welcome difference.

5. Door. Perhaps no single feature on a home’s façade matters more than the front door, yet these often look weathered and worn. Refreshing or replacing your front door can make a huge difference for a relatively small investment.

6. Handle. A home’s front doorhandle is its handshake. You want the finish to look new and the grip to feel good, not flimsy, in your hand. If yours needs replacing like mine did, replace it with the same brand. (Common ones are Kwikset, Schlage and Baldwin.) This way all the holes will align. Make sure the finish you choose matches or gets along with nearby metals on light fixtures and hinges.

7. Doorbell. Does it even work? Is the button chipped and yellow? Doorbells are easy to refresh, or maybe you want to upgrade to a security doorbell camera, like the Ring system.

8. Light fixtures. If these are the same exterior light fixtures your production-home builder stuck on, they are probably inexpensive and underwhelming. Consider updating them. Or, if you like them, give them a good cleaning. Remove dead bugs, replace burned out bulbs, and wash the glass.

9. Landscape. Spring is a good time to fertilize the lawn, re-mulch planter beds, and plant annual color.

10. Accessories. Finish the job. If your home has a big porch, add or refresh the furniture. Consider putting container planters by the door and hanging a seasonal wreath. Now say, “Come on over.”


CAPTION: Facelift —A fresh coat of paint on the door, gate and mailbox, a new door handle and fresh flowers in the planter beds all say, “I care,” and, more important, “You’re welcome here.” Photo courtesy of Marni Jameson.


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