These remodels turn a more attractive, better-functioning face to the world

Real estate agents call it curb appeal–your first impression of a house as you see it from the street. When a house has lots of curb appeal, it’s both welcoming and intriguing. But you don’t have to put your house on the market to give it extra charm. These modest houses were once exposed to the street, with unadorned yards. With the addition of simple architectural features and new landscaping, they have achieved privacy, grace, and better-defined entryways that benefit the neighborhood as well as the homeowner.

Layering is the key. The hard-edged, geometric forms of these houses are softened by layers of plants, fences, gates, freestanding arbors, or trellises and porches attached to the front walls. Interacting harmoniously, these features create sheltered transitional zones that lead to clearly articulated entries.