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Lead with style: How to create clean, crisp curb appeal for your home's entry

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Posted: Monday, April 7, 2014 5:00 pm | Updated: 1:33 am, Tue Apr 15, 2014.

(BPT) - Whether you are building a new home, or want to refresh your existing home, choosing a contemporary style creates high-class curb appeal.

But, what goes into contemporary home styling?

Among the various ways architects and interior designers describe “contemporary,” two words come up again and again: “simple” and “sophisticated.”

For example, interior decorator Coral Nafie describes it as, “fundamentally, simplicity, subtle sophistication, texture and clean lines help to define contemporary style decorating. Interiors showcase space rather than things. By focusing on color, space, and shape, contemporary interiors are sleek and fresh.”

“Less is more: smooth profiles instead of ornamentation,” adds decorator Lisa Frederick.

As seen from the outside, the National Association of Realtors notes contemporary homes feature these design elements:

* Irregular, asymmetrical façade

* Strong, geometric shapes

* Distinctive roofline - sometimes flat, other times gabled - usually with a wide eave overhang

* Natural, often local, building materials

Your home might be a crisp marvel of modern architecture, a mid-century rambler or some other style. In any case, a simple way to create contemporary curb appeal is with a sophisticated front entry, starting at the door.

“Traditional front doors, as in Colonial homes, had a lot of decorative features,” says Brad Loveless, marketing and product development manager for Simpson Door Company. “Picture molding, raised panels, dentil shelves and elaborate knobs, knockers and hinges. Today, many homeowners, particularly those on the upper end, look for entry doors that are much more clean and crisp. Contemporary door styles have straight lines, flat panels and simple geometric shapes like squares, diamonds and rectangles.”

In keeping with the contemporary theme of using natural materials, wood and glass are popular in entry doors. You can select from dozens of readily available wood species and some manufacturers will make a door out of any species you choose. Glass options range from simple, clear glass, to textures that balance light and privacy.

With the thousands of permutations and combinations available in contemporary door designs, it can be difficult knowing where to start. Easy-to-use online tools provide a way to quickly compare options and to personalize your door to your unique tastes.

For example, Simpson’s website features “DOORmagination” tools that include a “Test Drive Your Door” tool that lets you upload a photo of your home and see how various doors will look on it. Such tools provide a fast way to compare dozens of options. Other design tools include a wood species selector allowing you to see doors in more than 20 wood types, and a “Glass Taste Test” to see how much privacy different glass textures provide.

To complete the look of your contemporary door, it is important to consider hardware. On today’s front doors, the hardware is usually understated – simple handle and locksets in satin metal finishes are popular – no lion’s head door knockers. Your local door dealer or hardware store can show you dozens of options.

As a final inspiration, remember that simple does not need to mean boring or cold. As Lisa Frederick sums up contemporary styling, “While it doesn’t have the overt warmth of older design styles, it won’t cast a chill either.” Architect John Hill’s take is, “contemporary architecture is of its time, therefore innovative and forward-looking.”

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