July 13, 2024


Interior Of The Road

‘Curb Appeal Xtreme’ Reveals a Shockingly Valuable Castoff That May Be Hiding in Your House

On “Curb Appeal Xtreme,” designer John Gidding, horticulturist Jamie Durie, and carpenter Rachel Taylor know that a home’s exterior needs as much attention as the interior. And on the latest episode, they reveal how to imbue the outside of a home with one of the most popular styles of all: midcentury modern.

In “Meeting at Midcentury,” this team meets with Ann and Tony Richardson to upgrade the exterior of their Madison, TN, home. While the two love much about their house, they admit that the front addition looks a little odd and their back deck feels unsteady underfoot. These two are willing to invest $60,000 to make their home look right.

“Midcentury homes are so popular, but if you want to give it that authentic rehab, they demand a ton of money to get it right,” Durie says.

It’s up to Gidding, Durie, and Taylor to fix up this mismatched exterior and upgrade the back and front yards. Find out how they add some midcentury style, and get some tips on how to pull it off around your own abode.

Make additions look like part of the original house

This addition looked very ’90s.


Gidding, Durie, and Taylor agree that this house has tons of potential. Still, they know one of their biggest challenges is going to be making the ’90s addition blend with the original midcentury home.


Watch: Inside Christina Haack’s Brand-New $10.3M O.C. Mansion


“It’s up to us to make it tie together, and the key way of doing that is by making a clear visual link between the old architecture and the new,” Gidding says.

updated house addition
With the brick, this addition seems less like an afterthought.


They plan to add brick to the facade to help tie it in with the midcentury look.

To add extra visual interest, they put planters below the windows, giving the home an extra touch of greenery so that the exterior is “elevated beyond just doors on a flat facade,” Durie explains. It adds a ton of curb appeal and helps the whole house look cohesive.

This house and its addition now look cohesive.


Turn wood storage into a fun design element

This shed is used for miscellaneous storage, but it was a bit of an eyesore.


With the front of the home looking much better, the trio turn their attention to the shed beside the house. Ann and Tony say they use this for storage, but they also point out a bunch of firewood they keep around the outside of the house. Between the shed and the wood, the exterior is cluttered, so the team comes up with a way to make Ann and Tony’s storage seem more like an actual design feature.

wood shed
The team creates this brilliant solution for storing wood outside the shed.


“Given all that firewood and the fact that there is a storage structure, we’re thinking let’s embrace this by welding and attaching a frame that will thicken the facade of the original structure,” Gidding says.

This metal structure holds firewood perfectly, giving the shed a fun, woodsy look. Plus, the wood fits under the roof overhang so it’ll stay dry.

Deck stain can be unpredictable

The team hadn’t budgeted to replace the entire deck.



While the team finds a lot of work to be done on the front of the house, they also need to focus on the back. Ann and Tony have a large deck, but they admit that they never invite guests out there because the deck feels unstable.

Taylor soon finds the culprit—rotting wood—and realizes the entire deck has to go. They bring in pressure-treated lumber, which should better withstand the elements. Yet even then, they encounter another problem when they try to stain the wood: The stain doesn’t take as expected.

blue deck
The stain turned out a lot bluer than expected.


“Picking a color or a stain to go onto pressure-treated lumber is almost like playing Russian roulette, with what might come out in the end as not exactly what you had planned,” Durie says.

They don’t have the time or budget to stain the deck again, so they decide to paint it light brown, a color Gidding knows is a safe option.

When the painting is done, Gidding, Durie, and Taylor are all relieved with the result.

“Luckily the light brown color that we picked was such an improvement and goes great with the colors of the house,” Gidding says. Even better, the now-sturdy deck means Ann and Tony can invite guests out here without worrying it will collapse under their feet.

The light brown color looks much better.


Live-edge wood is a surprisingly valuable castoff

The live-edge wood makes a perfect accent to this backyard bar.


With the unexpected cost of rebuilding the deck, the team is nervous about the budget. So there’s excitement when the team finds some old live-edge planks of walnut stored on the property.

“Walnut is probably one of the most precious of all of the hardwoods,” says Taylor, who estimates the planks are worth at least $2,000. “It mills up so beautifully. They’ve got blonds and reds, all of these rich, warm colors, and we’re putting it front and center where everybody’s going to love it.”

live edge bar
The team was lucky to find these walnut slabs on the property.


This trio decides to use this windfall wood as the bar on the deck. The live edge adds a natural element, and the color looks incredible against the surrounding foliage.

Low windows bring attention to the landscaping

This spooky shed didn’t seem like a place anyone would want to hang out.


To finish this backyard, Taylor and Durie focus their attention on a small storage shed, hoping to turn it into a beautiful yoga space. They build a small deck around the shed, and install some windows to bring in lots of light. However, these aren’t typical windows; they are much lower to the ground.

“The Japanese used to do these garden windows,” Durie tells Rachel, “and they would force your gaze down at the garden instead of outward at the neighbors.”

Adding windows makes this shed seem much more welcoming.


These windows make for a great addition to the shed, especially after Durie plants beautiful green plants around it.

“It feels airy,” Taylor says approvingly. “It’s the connection to nature just like we wanted.”

These windows keep the focus on the beautiful greenery.


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