Create curb appeal with the most zeal

By: Sherri Kolade | C&G Newspapers | Published July 1, 2014

 Penny Persiani and Richard Persiani, of Birmingham, create curb appeal by primping their lawn and greenery and keeping their windows and roof clean.

Penny Persiani and Richard Persiani, of Birmingham, create curb appeal by primping their lawn and greenery and keeping their windows and roof clean.

Photo provided by Kathi Jones-Cutler

Once or twice a week in the morning, before the birds sing, 68-year-old Birmingham resident Penny Persiani — surrounded by lush landscapes and greenery  — is in her element while pruning and preening her flower beds and gardens at her home on Argyle Street.

“I’m a morning person. The soil is moist, the sun is starting to come up, and I love it. It is my favorite time of the day,” Persiani said.

When Persiani is outside, she pulls weeds, cuts flowers to bring inside, and takes it all in.

“That is just what I love to do,” she said. “We kind of say there are house people and nonhouse people. We love working on our house, and we love living in it. We enjoy it.”

Persiani and her husband, Richard, 67, have been devoted to sprucing up their home, which is on the market, since living there for the past 23 years.

Having the right curb appeal to your front porch and beyond takes just a dash of effort, a pinch of passion, and the likes of Birmingham-based Kathi Jones-Cutler, Realtor, designer and author, who spruced up the Persiani home and offered tips for the outside, too.

“What makes a home have great curb appeal is the attention to detail and making sure that it has the polished and manicured appearance,” Jones-Cutler said.

Jones-Cutler said her tips for staging a home in preparation for a sale can even help those who are staying put improve their outdoor spaces.

She said if one has a lawn, it should be groomed, free of debris and weeds, and freshly cut. Bushes and shrubbery should be trimmed, and mulch can be added to contrast with the landscape. Potted plants, whether faux water-resistant plastic ones or real, can help a home’s look, and wreaths can take you a long way. If there is space on the porch, outdoor furniture is an option.

“A simple but nice arrangement … helps draw the eye in as you drive by a property,” Jones-Cutler said. “It makes it stand out, and it sends a message that, ‘We really love our home and we care about it. We are proud owners.’”

At the Persiani house, dark green shutters make the white-framed windows pop, while large trees frame the house and its white porch.

The couple hopes to move to Bingham Farms by the end of the summer. To them, what makes a home have great curb appeal is clearing away the clutter and making statement pieces shine.

“A house that has got toys in the yard and out in front is the first thing you see,” Rick Persiani said, adding that a fresh coat of paint and keeping windows and roofs clean is important.

“When our daughter was younger, we always tried to make it a point to not have clutter out on the yard; everything kind of sparkles,” he said.

His wife agreed.

“You can achieve the whole look on a modest budget,” she said. “A little bit can be done to (your home) every year. You enjoy it and add to it the next year.”

Clarkston-based Mr. Clean Power Washing owner Randy Solmen said creating curb appeal starts with decks.

As a brick paver and stamp concrete restorer for nearly 30 years, Solmen said his business strips decks and makes them look like new. His business also removes moss and debris from bricks through power washing, and adding a matte finish makes them twinkle.

“What we do lasts for multiple years,” he said.

He said if bricks are not cleaned, they could shift over time and cause problems.

Also, when it comes to decks, a deck should never be painted with a solid color.

“If someone has made that mistake, we sand the decks,” he said.

Jones-Cutler said it doesn’t take much to make your home have great curb appeal, especially if you are on the move.

“It starts online,” she said. “Everybody sees (your home) when you are marketing it for sale. It really starts there when you are on the computer. Wherever the buyer’s eyes land, it is the beginning or the end of a sale.”

She added that even those with not a lot of time on their hands could have curb appeal on the go.

“Having something that will add appeal and warmth to the property is just as important,” Jones-Cutler said. “I just get my grass spikes and stick them in the ground and put a little bit of mulch around them. I don’t have time to weed, maintain and water.”

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