A month ago, I was in Seattle waiting for my husband’s meeting to end so we could return to Yakima. It happened to be the first day of Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order. At that point, I never envisioned it would come to include closing businesses and schools, not to mention the most important aspect, “social distancing.” I suddenly realized this was not the time to invade someone’s house for our June article!

Then it came to me that perhaps a story on “Creating Curb Appeal” for your home might be fun and informative without intruding into someone’s private space at a time when we all should be mindfully keeping our distance.

That settled, I thought about our own house in the Barge Chestnut neighborhood. We’ve lived in it for 30 years and have made some additions like adding a family room that opens off the kitchen. However, when it comes to “Curb Appeal,” our improvements involved replacing the simple wooden overhang above the front door with a copper topped eyebrow portico held up by columns. We also installed a new herringbone pattern in our brick walkway. Then we spruced up the exterior windows with black shutters and placed copper window boxes beneath them.

All this didn’t happen overnight, but when the project was completed it really beautified the front entrance to our home.

When I started researching a curb appeal piece, I began an online scan of home and garden websites to get ideas. I also had photos taken of five great examples of doorways in Yakima that represent interesting style and allure. I tried to showcase old and new homes, so there’s something for everyone’s taste.

One piece of advice that I saw repeated many times was, “A home’s entry is the focal point of the house and should reflect the style of its interior.” When we moved into our residence, our wooden front door looked clearly like a survivor of rain, sleet, snow and heat waves! It’s the home’s original Dutch door, so we didn’t want to replace it. Instead we had a professional sand and refurbish it with a natural stain, bringing it back to its original glory.

Should your door seem beyond help and you think it doesn’t really match the design of your house, you might be surprised at the huge collection of new doors you can purchase these days online, or at your local hardware store.

If you still can’t part with your old door, another option that’s become popular is giving it a second life by painting it! But before you do, take a drive around Yakima’s residential neighborhoods and you’ll see front doors that homeowners have painted a variety of colors. Some favorite shades are turquoise, scarlet red, periwinkle blue, mint green — the sky’s the limit.

A sampling of other front porch enhancements includes replacing an old mailbox or porch light with something that reflects the style of your house. We did this with a new copper mailbox and a lantern-style light, reminiscent of our years living in the South Carolina. As it turns out, online catalogues offer a limitless number of porch lighting fixtures and the search to find the one perfect for your home can be great fun!

Some other interesting suggestions I found are planting a garden along the front walkway, installing awnings above the windows, and illuminating the walk with outdoor lights. If you have a perfect garden spot near the home’s entrance, a fountain can be a beautiful addition to your abode’s exterior.

Since summer is finally here, this is a great time to contemplate home projects beyond cleaning the garage. Instead, take a look at your front entryway and embark on the rewards of enhancing your home’s curb appeal.