A Little Before and After With Extra Curb Appeal

A Little Before and After With Extra Curb Appeal


disclosure:  This post is sponsored by National Hardware.

Don’t you love a pitiful before?

Especially one that has its picture taken on a dreary day when the sky is cloudy and the walls need power washing and the steps are sad and the door needs a little freshening up.

This is my office.

The gatehouse.

It’s seen one too many winter days.

Look at this sadness.

The columns need to be painted.

They actually need to be sanded and primed and then painted.

The white rail needs help too.

It needs to be sanded and primed and fixed.

Time to let a little sunshine in.

Time to freshen up.

Time for a little before and after curb appeal that looks like this.


So much better.

We started with a spring power wash to kick the spider webs to the curb.

It’s amazing how much dirt shows up over winter.

Then we painted the door and added brass accents.

I love how the brass makes everything pop.

We added a new brass door knocker and a new brass kick plate.  I bought mine locally, but here’s a link to a similar kick plate.

Here’s a close-up of the handle.

I love the brass against the black.

It’s so Downton Abbey.

If Downton Abbey were a gatehouse in Kentucky.

My husband built the planters for the front porch out of plywood.

We added these tiny brass accents to tie them into the new look.

I’m posting a tutorial on them next week and I’m thinking about adding brass door handles to the front, too.

We originally had black house numbers on the gatehouse.

To match the new look, I added these brass numbers instead.  These were purchased locally, but here’s a link to similar numbers from National Hardware.

They are mounted on a piece of plywood painted white and then hung on the siding.

We added a little more gravel to the front to even out the walkway.

I added flowers in these oversized metal urns.

The draping blooms are so pretty.

We also added plant hangers to the outside of the newly painted columns.

It adds a little color to the front.

And balances the urns below.

I’m so happy with how it turned out.

It took a little elbow grease to wash away winter, but it makes me smile every time I walk up these steps to work.

Especially when I have a friend to show me the way. 🙂

This post was sponsored by National Hardware.

All opinions are my own.

Please see my disclosure page for more information.

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  1. Teddee Grace :

    Love it! The cat too.

  2. Ooo…it looks soooo cute! Good job, KariAnne! And hubby, too! {high-five}

  3. How pretty! The brass does shine against the black! Love those urns too. So cool. Nothing like a Spring refresh to brighten things up. The kitty is a nice finishing touch. 😀

    Have a happy day!

  4. Uhhh…. amazing what a little soap and water and elbow grease can do. It’s lovely.

  5. Love it and the cat

  6. Deb Wostmann :

    Looks like heaven to me! I’d love to have my own little hideaway to work in and the kitty sure helps too!

  7. I love the refresh especially the door and brass accents!!

  8. so pretty! and inviting!

  9. Very pretty! I love the wreath. But my personal favorite is the cat!

  10. I’m with Deb. I’d love a little place like this to call my own. It’s perfect!

  11. Excellent! Our front door (which is usually out of sight/out of mind) desperately needs freshening up. I never would have thought of a brass kickplate – thanks for this inspiration. Will order!

  12. Looks great, and will look even better when the fushia buds open up with some pretty color! Beautiful kitty too!

  13. You both did a great job. It must make your heart sing every time you walk in. Good posing by your beautiful cat too. Love it all. 😻

  14. Wow. That is beautiful and inspiring!! Absolutely charming. 💕👍

  15. So welcoming!!!!!

  16. Loooookkkkin’ goooood!!!

  17. A beautiful update! And, love the kitty posing in the photo.

  18. It’s so cute! But now everyone will recognize it’s your place. Before, you might have fooled them. My house could use a little power washing. Sadly, I don’t see that happening too soon. But I will probably wash my windows today or tomorrow, inside and out. (Don’t you love the person that invented tilt in windows?). Does that count?
    The Other Marian

  19. Stunning! How is it that you can design and decorate indoor AND outdoor spaces so beautifully?! I am hopeless with outdoor stuff! (The kitty is my favorite “accessory.”) <3

  20. Looks fabulous! The brass looks so fresh against the black. Love the kitty too. 🙂

  21. I’m with Janet … I’m not too bad at indoor decorating but outdoors? Uh-uh. I love your Downton Abbey decorating (I’ve been working my way through the series this winter since my hubby purchased the set for me). Such a classic look. Especially with kitty cat. Happy day, KariAnne!

  22. Amazing! Gorgeous! Love the look!! The brass on black is perfection! Love the cat…he is the frosting on the cake.

  23. Your office looks so cute on the outside. If you have time, could you please tell me how you power washed the house? I can’t tell for sure but your house looks like it may be made of wood. My house has aluminum siding on it and it really needs to be thoroughly scrubbed. I want to treat it as gently as possible because it’s 64 years old and I don’t want the aluminum siding to come off. I have tried washing it with soap and water and it made no change at all.

  24. Oh, I could live perfectly happy
    in that dreamy little gatehouse!!
    It’s absolutely adorable!! Love!! : )

  25. Looks great! Kitty approves! 😉

  26. Hey Karianne! I think as much as anything else I love the look of brass hardware you chose! That, I believe, is my favorite look of all. That REALLY brings character and elegance to your studio! I have always loved brass and have many Baldwin brass candlesticks. Unfortunately, I think they are now out of business as I can’t find any any longer.
    Enjoy creating and hope to see some new inspirations as a result of this “Spring Cleaning”… Love Ya, Friend

  27. This is just beautiful!!!!

    I love the combo of brass and black. So elegant looking.

  28. What a great refresher. It just looks ready for summer and water balloon fights and catching fireflies.



    Your Gate House looks lovely! Love all the changes you have made! The flowers are so pretty and your little kitty is so happy to be a part of it all! Enjoy!


  30. The before photo had a lot of character and promise, but when I came to the after photo..? Ooohhh my!!I drew in a sharp breath! So beautiful. ..I love it!!!Well done..

  31. A very nice “refresher”. The brass on the door looks so good! And aren’t you lucky to have a kitty friend to accompany you to work!

  32. Such a lovely before and after…perfect for spring!

  33. Here kitty, kitty. Sweet!

  34. Beautiful!!…It’s all about the bling and the details.

  35. Julie Briones :

    Just lovely, Karianne!

  36. That gatehouse never disappoints!! It’s like a life sized playhouse…oh! I mean office! Hahaha love the before and after photos!

  37. It’s beautiful! And your friend there is adorable! 😉

  38. Gorgeous!! What color of black did you use on the door?

  39. Teresa Gonzales :

    So beautiful! Love the fushias!!!

  40. I am curious why there is no black tread on the bottom step?? Or is that a painted piece of wood that goes in the seam where the stairs meet???
    Another stellar performance. You sure can wake up the snoozing spaces! The kitty is the perfect accessory, too!

  41. Why is it that chippy paint is fabulous inside, but requires sanding, priming, and 3 coats of fresh paint outside? Sigh!
    Do you use oil based paint outside? It all looks wonderful.

  42. Lanita Anderson :

    It looks amazing….what a wonderful transformation! I can only imagine how wonderful it must be to go to work each day! 🙂 Thanks for sharing….

  43. Maggie Nelson :

    It looks amazing.!! Love the contrast with the black doors.

  44. Kathleen Hall :

    Beautiful, beautiful!! Looking all Downton Abby…is well perfect! Love the hanging plants and new pots etc. And the cat…well that just sets it all off with the perfect touch!!

  45. Cyndee Jones :

    So very pretty Karianne! Love the black door, the contrast between the black and your beautiful plants bring everything together! And…I’m glad you have a companion to “walk” to work with!!

  46. “It’s so Downton Abbey. If Downton Abbey were a gatehouse in Kentucky.” KariAnne, your posts always put a smile on my face! And your gatehouse makeover is beautiful!

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