Curb Appeal

Every homeowner wants it—but it can be elusive. What curb appeal is and how to get it.

There are some homes that just hold your gaze. Whether palaces or cottages, new or old, some houses just ooze with appeal before you set foot on the property. Here, a panel of local experts analyzes five “come hither” beauties from the curb.

The Experts

Paul DiMeo

TV host, Building Wild, National Geographic Channel

Allison Knizek

Residential interior designer/builder, Prescott Properties

Russ Diamond

President, Snyder Diamond (kitchen, bath, fine hardware)


Traditional | studio City

Allison: Bold contrasts are what make this so eye-catching. The coffee-colored shingles make the house look aged—in a good way. The freshness of the crisp, white trim and fascia boards give it a current feel. The stacked stone pilasters have a stately vibe. In contrast, the soft birch trees and loose landscaping of shrubs and flowers suggest something a little freer–again, juxtapositions that pique interest. 

Russ: Great shingled, cottage-style house that fits well into its environment. Well-defined entrance from the street to the yard. Great use of stacked stone and hardscaping. Seasonal color at sidewalk entrance is another nice touch.

Paul: This is where cedar shake works. Love the birch trees. Two stories allow for larger trees flanking the home. They have stayed true to the New England style, which is nice. Love the untrimmed white flowers at the entry columns. The stacked stone works with an untrimmed landscape. No need to clean the hedges here. Perfect. 


Traditional | Toluca Lake

Russ: This home has a warm cottage feel and welcoming environment. Great use of architectural elements to offset the mass and scale of the house. The well-designed gates and columns are complementary too.

Allison: This home, with its grey clapboard, suggests a serene stay at a gently weathered New England inn. The jet-black shutters and white crown molding that gracefully cap every door and window add to the tranquility. 

Paul: Roses take time and care; they are in-dicative of how the owners have treated this property. The opening in the gate and fence match that of the window lights and garage door. The cornice plays into the rain gutters, and though personally I don’t care for the cedar shake that’s used in the gables, it is a nice detail, as are the shutters. 


Spanish Colonial Revival | Sherman Oaks

Paul: All the colors make it so inviting: the green of the grass, the tan of the stucco, the brown of the window casing against the blue/purple tones of the sky. Very warm. Simplicity at its best. In the hills, in the Valley, this works anywhere. 

Allison: A glowing Spanish villa. Palm trees, banana leafs and bougainvillea evoke the feeling of “vintage Valley” and hint at our breathtaking summer nights. Pulling up to a “vacation in paradise” is remarkably appealing.

Russ: Great use of tropical landscaping that accentuates and highlights the Mediterranean style. And judicious use of architectural elements to enhance the style and overall feel of the home.


Remodeled Ranch | Sherman Oaks

Paul: As if the trees were framing this home out. Love it! This was probably a rancher built in the late ‘50s that has undergone a mid-century modern remodel. It works because it is a simple exterior facelift. From the red apple at the curb to the low-lying hedges against the house, it all works. 

Allison: A classic, Valley ranch—straightforward and utilitarian. Growing up amidst my grandparents’ modern furniture business, I have a deep love for mid-century teak and walnut furniture. The warm, autumnal tones of the siding are reminiscent of that. Along with the rough, rock facade, it conjures up nostalgia. 

Russ: Nice updated interpretation of a classic ‘50s California ranch. The use of the redwood siding helps define the horizontal lines of the house. Great front door that says, “Welcome home.”


Traditional | Encino

Allison: Love the symmetry. It has an elegant balance that is punctuated by the round window above the front door. The repetitive rooflines with natural shingles add to the harmony. Equal proportions draw the eye in and toward the welcoming, side-lit, red door.

Paul: You are drawn right to the front door. Just walk up the fieldstone walkway, and you’re funneled in—green grass to the left, the grey driveway to the right.

Russ: This classic, traditional New England style speaks to home and family. The well-selected paint palette and landscaping enhance the look. The random cut flagstone steps add character.