Modernizing Your Curb Appeal


With all of the recent gorgeous Summer weather, house exteriors are at the center of attention when we are spending almost all of our free time outdoors.  It’s a great time to increase your home’s curb appeal by updating your garden design, going bold with a new house color, or adding some great modern details to your home’s exterior.  During the mid-century, landscaping was meant to be an extension of and an accent to the architecture of the home, with the intention of blurring the lines between indoors and out.  Carefully sited and restrained plantings during the mid-century were a shift away from the wild and traditional garden styles of earlier decades that contained an overabundance of foliage and flowers, Following World War II, the growing appreciation of Japanese architecture influenced the design of the homes that were built during this time period, and Japanese garden design naturally gained in popularity.  These designs that included carefully shaped trees and shrubs perfectly matched the minimalist exteriors of these mid-century homes.


Just as the modern homes of today continue the principles of mid-century era home design, current landscape design is following suit in which landscaping and architecture blend harmoniously in terms of form, function, and materials. Ample use of various hardscape materials, such as slate, concrete, aggregate, gravel, and rockery will meld seamlessly together with lush, concise plantings that can include bamboo, various grasses, and succulents.  Water features, which can include fountains, waterfalls, and ponds, are often used to create a feeling of relaxation and zen that compliment the modern home’s exterior.  Unique art installations can also be found to reflect the owner’s interests using corten steel or aluminum.  Landscape materials can include corten steel to create edging and borders and raised beds. In order to create privacy, fencing and gates are now built with a modern twist using clean horizontal and vertical lines that are comprised of various woods such as Brazilian ipe, bamboo, and cedar coated with rich, dark stain variants.  You can now find dark, bold colors on house exteriors using variations of grey and black, and exterior doors that are painted in an array of bright colors.  Garage doors on average take up 40% of the facade of a home.  There are many garage door options now available that have contemporary, modern designs utilizing large windows, dark modern finishes, as well as aluminum and wood tones that will blend with the modern look of your home.

If you aren’t yet ready to tackle an entire exterior renovation, you can Increase your home’s curb appeal while appeasing your inner modernist in small ways with just an easy click of your computer mouse.  Check out the following ideas to modernize your home’s exterior:

Address Numbers: 

Install distinctive house numbers to put your house on the map!  There are a variety of address plaques and address numbers with modern fonts that come in a variety of sizes that will have your guests thanking you! Take a peek at the following companies that offer many modernist address number options and address plaques:

Modern House Numbers: 

Our purpose is to provide well-crafted, high quality,modern house number products that you will be proud to own. Our small, family business members are committed to providing you with the very best customer experience from start to finish. We custom make high quality address numbers, mailbox numbers & curb stencils for the modern dweller. Every month we sell hundreds of numbers to people just like you… from Australia to Canada, California to Germany and everywhere in between.We love well-designed, high quality products… and we know you do too. Great address numbers make a statement about your home and reflect your personality. Adding curb appeal and expressing your modern style is simple with a set of modern house numbers. (modernhousenumbers.com)

photo credit: Modern Nest

photo credit: Modern Nest

Modern Nest:

Luxello designs and manufacturers modern LED House Numbers and architectural LED sign solutions. A flexible and customizable illuminated address number sign systems that offer bright information visibility for the hotel, condominium and commercial market. The recessed LED lighting line provides state of the art ambient and functional illumination for hallways and staircases.(modernnest.com)


Proper exterior lighting is a must for any modern home and will accentuate the beauty of your home and exterior plantings while lighting your way at night.  Whether you are searching for a retro feel with a Sputnik light or a modern contemporary style fixture, the following options are where you can find retro reproductions and minimalist designs to suit the discerning taste of any modernist:


photo credit: Practical Props

Practical Props: 

Practical Props is a family business dedicated to the sale of high-quality new, vintage, and reproduction lighting. All of our sputniks and globe kits are made in-house at our retail store in North Hollywood, California. We offer a wide selection of styles, finishes, and light bulbs – whether you are restoring a mid-century home or simply looking for a new light in your life, Practical Props has a lamp for you!

We are dedicated to making lighting that is beautiful, yet affordable, and backed by an unmatched level of customer service. Our business is also known for building custom lighting for retail store, restaurants, and the film industry.

The owner, Ian Hardy, has been fascinated by decorative lighting as “functional art” since he first began working in the Hollywood film industry nearly thirty years ago. He saw how much of an impact lighting can have on a space and how it was used by Directors of Photography to enhance sets. When he set up his own lighting store and prop house in 1991, Ian dedicated himself to selling lighting that is not only beautiful, but also functional.(Practicalprops.com)

photo credit: Y Lighting

photo credit: Y Lighting

Y Lighting:  

The AJ 50 Outdoor LED Wall Light was launched to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the AJ family. One Arne Jacobsen’s design aspirations was to use the latest energy saving technology which is why the AJ 50 features an LED light source. This fixture produces direct downward light and the inside of the shade is painted white so that the light is distributed evenly.

Available in Black, White, or Painted Aluminum with a powder-coated texture. Features a die cast aluminum shade and round backplate with a frosted glass LED enclosure. Mounts directly to a 4″ octagonal junction box. UL Listed for wet locations. Shown in White. Price: $1108.00


Flanking your front door with modern planters will draw the eye and add interest to your front door. There is no better way to create a welcoming vibe than having flowers displayed at your entryway, and set within a modern and uniquely designed planter.  As a bonus, the following planters can also be interchangeably displayed indoors as well!


photo credit: Hip Haven

Hip Haven: 

The Retro Bullet Planter™ is a stylish addition to any space. Use it for plants, as an ice bucket, or to hold odds and ends. Our planter is an authentic reproduction of the vintage originals, in shape, size, and the distinctive texture of molded fiberglass. Bowls measure 15.75 inches across the top. Planters will tolerate covered outdoor conditions.(Hiphaven.com)

photo credit: Modernica

photo credit: Modernica


Modernica’s Case Study Large Cylinder w/ Stand is clean and elegant in form. The stoneware planter comes in 3 matte colors: charcoal, pebble, and white. The stand is available in Brazilian walnut. Modernica’s Case Study Planter Program connects architectural form with functional vessels. The ceramic stoneware is offered in multiple shapes, sizes, and glazes, allowing one to mix-and-match; your choices will determine the style and personality of your planter. All shapes and stands can be used outside and inside, letting one carry the aesthetic from exterior to the interior and vice-versa.(Modernica.com)

Entry Door:

The Entry Door is the first glimpse of your individual style and gives someone a notion of the interior design that lies behind it.  Create visual interest from the curb with an entry door that has unique glass cutouts or a bright pop of color.  The following options are a great start:

photo credit: Frank The Door Store

photo credit: Frank The Door Store


Frank The Door Store: 

Frank Lumber has been doing business in the North City area of Seattle for over 60 years. We began as a local lumber and hardware store, supplying materials to build and remodel homes and businesses in our community.

About 30 years ago, Frank Lumber became Frank Lumber, “The Door Store”TM, specialists in doors and related products. By supplying doors to contractors and homeowners throughout Western Washington, we evolved into who we are today, a leader in the door industry. We are proud to serve all of the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific Rim. The Frank Lumber team strives every day to deserve the trust of our valued customers – we still earn it just like Walt Frank did, by honest hard work.(franklumber.com)

ETO Doors:  Established in 2002, ETO Doors manufactures and sells entryways for residential and commercial spaces. With more than a million doors sold to customers with a wide range of budgets, ETO knows how to deliver the door perfect for your needs and taste. Our catalog of interior and exterior doors, garage doors, sidelites, transoms, and hardware come to consumers at unbeatable prices.

To keep the people important to you safe at home or in the workspace, ETO carries fire and impact rated doors in a range of options and styles. Our promise of greener living means we also carry Energy Star rated doors, and we’re also certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, making us one of only a handful of door manufacturers that guarantees accountability in managing where we source our wood.(Etodoors.com)

Mailbox:  Donate your current tired and standard mailbox and replace it with one that has bright colors and a bold, unique and modern design.  Who wouldn’t want to send and receive their correspondence with these great styles? There are many retro inspired mailboxes as well as new contemporary and modern designs out there that will have your neighbors envious and passersby smiling:

photo credit: Mod Box USA

photo credit: Mod Box USA


As a mid-century modern enthusiast, I was frustrated when I couldn’t find a mailbox that complemented the mid-century aesthetic of our recently renovated home. In the fall 2013 issue of Atomic Ranch, a reader asked: “Do you know of a good source of ’50s period mailboxes?” The editor replied: “…the retro market seems to be wide open.”

That was my aha moment!

With an entrepreneurial spirit (from starting a coffeehouse to renovating homes), a background in finance, and a love for good design, I started modbox USA.  The result? I’ve designed a retro mid-century modern mailbox inspired by mailboxes produced during the 1950s and 60s!(modboxusa.com)

photo credit: Deus Modern

photo credit: Deus Modern


Deus Modern:

Waldo Mailbox:

The perfect mailbox design to accent any home.

  • Made in the USA by local artists
  • Post-mounted modern mailbox
  • Durable non-rusting shell and hardware
  • custom laser cut numbers, both sides
  • USPS approved regulation size C2 (deusmodern.com)





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