Level up your home's kerb appeal with a few of these façade-deep refreshes. 

 Snug Architects exterior renovation Bruce Hemming Photography - grand designs

Image: Snug Architects used standing seam zinc on the exterior renovation of this property. Photo: Bruce Hemming

From the outside, your home may be far from your dream Grand Design, but it may not requires major renovations or self building your own home to reach your exterior goals. Whether it's simple repairs and refreshes, or quick changes to elevate your home with a new look, both the front and back of your house can benefit from a little careful thought and planning. 

Bear in mind that external works may call for planning consent. If it’s a listed building you will have to work under Listed Building Consent, or if you are in a conservation area you will need a discretionary grant from your local planning authority to carry out external works. If you are uncertain of the requirements, speak to your local council, as projects carried out without the proper permissions can be subject to enforcement notices compelling you to correct unauthorised works.


cdms architects rear property bricks in need of repointing - grand designs

Image: Brickwork should last between 70 and 100 years before needing repointing again. Photo: CDMS Architects 

Period brickwork can use a beauty treatment to tackle wear, dirt and water-damage every so often to conserve its heritage good looks. Professional chemical cleaning will return bricks to their original splendour, and repointing (replacing the cement between the bricks) can improve the look of walls and make them more resistant to damp and leaks.


studio 30 architects painted wall

Image: Alongside a striking bi-fold kitchen window and new side return extension by Studio 30 Architects, re-painting the original brickwork at the back of the property has helped to refresh the rear elevation of this family home in Shepherd's Bush. 

A new coat of exterior paint is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to revamp a facade. Colour adds character and will instantly make a big difference to the overall look of the property. Use experienced exterior decorators, as the skills, materials and processes are specialist, and poor quality painting will deteriorate after just one winter.


BACK TO FRONT exterior design house with new render - grand designs - home improvements

Image: This once uninspiring and dated home was transformed by Back To Front Exterior Design with new windows, brickwork, render, cedar cladding, a zinc roof and a new extension. 

Pebble-dashing made the whole idea of render particularly unfashionable, but smooth render is making a comeback. Some new versions come pre-painted and only require a wash down to clean.  


paul cashin modern cottage build in countryside with timber cladding - grand designs

Image: After a series of unfortunate renovations made in the past, Paul Cashin architects reintroduced natural materials to this 200-year-old cottage

Options include wood cladding, available in a choice of timbers, including larch and Western red cedar, and metals such as zinc. Contemporary cladding can be teamed with period exteriors and there’s no need to clad an entire property.

Take time to consider materials and how they will impact your project. Tackle the front and rear elevations as separate entities, as it’s sometimes easier to be more adventurous at the rear of a property than at the front.

Replacement doors and windows

zetland house manchester passivhaus renovation - grand designs

Image: As part of the Passiv Haus Plus renovation of Zetland House in Manchester, 1980s pvc windows were replaced for timber-frame, triple glazed designs. 

Replacing windows and doors does not always require expensive and time-consuming structural changes. Opting for a bespoke design made to fit the width of an existing opening may actually save money in the long run. 

Try to retain or reinstate period details where possible. Though expensive, installing reproduction-timber sash windows with double-glazed units, for instance, adds value and improves thermal efficiency.

Green spaces 

A beautiful, well-kept garden can add up to 20 per cent to the value of a property, but it’s important to be realistic about the level of maintenance you can manage, and choose plants accordingly, otherwise you may find it quickly falling into a state which does nothing to improve your home's kerb appeal.  


Are you planning an extension to a period home? Let us know by tweeting us @granddesigns or posting a comment on our Facebook page



10 clever ways to renovate a period property

Buyer's guide to homes with period features

How to pay for a home extension

Kevins Column

Grand Designs Live: Ask an Expert Weekend 22-23 May 2021

Discover free home project advice and product recommendations from the comfort of your own home. Register now to express your interest.
Home Improvements

Infrared heated desks for home working

Home working is a fact of life for many of us – but how do you keep yourself warm when the rest of the house...
Home Improvements

Medical grade air purifiers: breathe easy and protect your family

Protect your family and ensure the air quality in your home is free of harmful viruses, bacteria and other contaminants with a medical grade air...
Home Improvements

8 stylish solar garden lights 2021

Check out this 2021 round up of the most stylish solar garden lights
Home Improvements

How sliding doors and windows resurrected this London home

How sliding doors and windows transformed a Victorian semi in London into a light-filled delight.
Home Improvements

How to choose the best driveway material

Choose the best driveway material for your home, from crunchy gravel to smooth paving, with this in-depth guide