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Making a good first impression

Homeowners want curb appeal and Realtors crave it. If your property lacks it, read on.

This book reveals scores of partial- and full-frontal makeovers -- some more extreme than others: houses and gardens in wide-ranging styles transformed from plain to attractive, homely to homey, ugly duckling to swan.

The opening section, “First Impressions,” documents each makeover with inspiring before-and-after snapshots and gives advice on design, color and creating unity between architecture and landscape. Inviting entries, decorative details, secluded surprises and flights of fancy are encouraged.

A “Makeover Workbook” follows with the finer points on working with professionals, as well as with doors, siding, windows, walkways, lighting and the landscape. Fifteen makeover projects -- painting trim, building fences, gates and arbors, laying pavers and planting borders -- are integrated into this section.

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Though its brilliant photographs and simplified instructions are intended for energetic homeowners, this idea-rich paperback wisely defines which jobs may be too big for an amateur.

-- Lili Singer


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