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At Home with Marni Jameson: Does this bracelet boost my curb appeal?

To giving your house jewelry an affordable makeover, a product marketing manager offers hardware refresh tips
By Marni Jameson Published: August 16, 2014
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My friend, a former fashion writer, came over last week to talk about her new job. We got right down to the important stuff.

“Did you get a bunch of new clothes?” I asked.

“Of course!” She said. “But mostly I got new jewelry and a nice handbag.”

Now, I am arguably the only person in the world in whom this conversation would trip thoughts of curb appeal. But it did.

Accessories, as my fashion-forward friend knows, are what people notice first. Whether on a house or a person, the earrings and outdoor wall lamps, the necklaces and door knockers, the watches and handles, the handbags and mail boxes are what make that critical first impression.

Taken together they either say, “Buttoned up with act together,” or “Meep, meep! Alert! We need a makeover! Stat!”

Thus, I was intrigued recently when I learned that for as little as $100 — or $300 if you go all out — you could greatly bolster your home’s curb appeal with a few pieces of hardware.

Knowing this made me want to start an intervention program right on my own street.

Now, we’ve been over the importance of the entryway. We’ve also covered the significance of details. Today, however, we’re taking this dialogue to the upper division — to entryway details, fine points many homeowners let slide.

You know the homefronts I’m talking about. Their address numbers are rusted, with one or two swinging sadly off kilter. Their door handles and knockers saw their prime during the Nixon administration. And their mail slots creak hauntingly and look as if they came straight from the auto salvage yard.

You know I’m all for vintage, but the difference between original and decrepit is like the difference between aging well and aging at warp speed.

“Handles, door knockers, and address numbers often reveal a home’s age, but not in the best sense,” said Jonathan Begg, product marketing manager for National Hardware, of Lake Forest, Calif.

When worn, tired and rusty, they say, “Stopped caring,” which is a shame because they are easy and inexpensive to replace.

“It was simple,” said my friend of her updated career look. “A few pieces of statement jewelry did the trick, and it was a lot less than buying a bunch of clothes.”

Sold.

To giving your house jewelry an affordable makeover, Begg offers these hardware refresh tips:

• Pick a finish. Just because your builder chose polished brass for your house when it was built in 1978 doesn’t mean you have to stick with that finish. Satin nickel and oil-rubbed bronze, once considered alternative finishes, are mainstream today, Begg said. However, polished brass, antique brass, antique bronze, pewter, and plain black are also popular.

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