Six local businesses offer ways to make the front of your house shine.

by Meredith Farahmand

1 » Establish the Right Foundation Planting

Curb appeal is nearly impossible to achieve without starting with the appropriate foundation planting. As explained by Matt Ernst, owner of Mike Stacy Landscaping, that means “right plant, right place.” For example, Ernst says that hydrangeas do best in sheltered locations benefiting from sunny mornings, shady afternoons, high organic matter, and plenty of water. He also says that evergreen shrubs, such as dwarf conifers, complemented by colorful plants, like goldflame spirea and fine wine weigela, look best around doorways. 

To fill in the hardscapes, Ernst recommends adding thoughtfully curated planters. He likes to mix petunia, sweet alyssum, nemesia, and creeping jenny flowers with edible and aromatic herbs like basil, thyme, chives, and rosemary.

Mike Stacy Landscaping, 44 Upper County Road, Dennis Port, 


Rodrigo Ereno Photography

2 » Add a Fresh Coat of Paint

To make an impressive impact quickly, Andrew Philbrook of Philbrook Construction Services Group recommends painting not just your doors, shutters, and sidewall, but also your trim and gutters. “I hate to say it because it is economical and easy,” he laughs, “but you can really make some strong contrast from a street view.” His favorite color scheme? Gray sidewall, white trim, black windows, and black gutters with a colorful front or garage door. “You can throw in a blue or a green or even a red,” he says. 

To make even more of an impact, Philbrook suggests investing in new windows with updated grill patterns. “People are certainly changing grill patterns up from just basic colonial to what I would call six-over-one or short fractional,” he says, adding that four-over-one and two-over-two grill patterns can also be used to showcase a “cleaner” window look. 

Philbrook Construction Services Group, Inc. 125 Wianno Road, Yarmouth,



3 » Define the Entry

Architect Leslie Schneeberger of SV Design, Siemasko + Verbridge emphasizes the importance of defining your home’s entry sequence as a welcoming approach with clear wayfinding. To do so, she recommends first considering what the color of the front door conveys. “It might not be a bright, fun color,” she says. “It might be that I want you to think that this is a very sophisticated home.” 

Schneeberger also recommends adding casing around the front door, and, if possible, an overhang above it, which she explains, “is a really nice and important layer that says, ‘I’m not quite indoors, but I’m almost.’” If an actual roof is out of reach due to cost or zoning limitations, she suggests installing a simple pergola as an overhang.

SV Design, Siemasko + Verbridge, 693 Main Street, Chatham,




Photo Dan Cutrona

4 » Consider All Points of View

With hundreds of miles of coastline, many of the homes on the Cape and islands have multiple entries—some face the street and others are on the water. Realtor Stewart Young of Landvest, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, advises clients to show off their homes not just from the front, but also the back and sides. “Whether the curb is granite or sand, it’s all about the lifestyle,” he says. 

To spruce up your beach or dock, Young recommends positioning a few beach chairs with an umbrella as well as any boats, like kayaks and beach toys. And, if you are in the majority who do not have a beach or a dock, you can still bring the coastal lifestyle to your backyard by stringing lights above a patio or around a fire pit for instant charm.

Landvest, an Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, 97 Water Street, Woods Hole



5 » Layer Some Doormats

A welcoming front porch is not just defined by what is above your head, but also by what is under your feet, according to Simone Pereira, co-owner of the home décor store, Elburne. “If you have the space by your front door to play around, add a patterned rug beneath your doormat,” she says. “It can be a great way to infuse color into your entryway and impress your guests.” 

For the bottom layer, Pereira recommends a three by five-foot, weather-resistant area rug. For the top layer, she suggests a traditional-sized doormat. “The best thing about these outdoor rugs is that you can clean them with a hose and swap it seasonally throughout the year,” she says. “You’ll have an elevated entryway that requires no upkeep at all.”

Elburne, 744 Main Street (Route 6A), Dennis,




6 » Light It Up

“Lighting is the last piece of jewelry,” says Kelly Berardi of the Nauset Lantern Shop. “The warmth of a light is that exact piece which every home needs.” To ensure your home is both beautiful and safe from day into night and from summer into winter, she recommends investing in artistic yet durable outdoor lights. Berardi’s shop, which she runs with her husband Chris, offers copper, brass, and pewter lanterns that can hang from a ceiling or attach to a post. “These lights are not one click away,” she says. “They are a labor of love.” The Lantern Shop’s lights are handcrafted and built to not only withstand but embrace the region’s salty breezes. 

The Nauset Lantern Shop, 52 Route 6A, Orleans, 





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