They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, and the same goes for homes. The exterior of a house can hint at what’s on inside or offer a contrasting surprise–whether it’s a castle-inspired exterior with a fairy-tale interior or a historic outside with a contemporary inside. We’ve rounded up some of the most stunning home exteriors that’ll have you wanting to move in—and may even inspire you to up your own home’s curb appeal.
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This fairy-tale escape by Lisa Tharp and TMS Architects features a gray exterior with white and red accents. The wood and stone add to its nature-inspired charm.
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Previously destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, this New Jersey home got a helping hand from Joe Lucas. The shingled house, complete with a screened porch, looks out on the bay and the client’s 28-foot yacht.
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Andrew Howard made sure this Florida home still felt like a vacation, regardless of how many kids were running around. The clean and crisp exterior is reflected in the family-friendly interior design.
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Shingle-Style Beach House
The classic shingle-style exterior gives no hint at the contemporary interior of this Long Island beach house decorated by Rob Southern. Banks of windows and a second-floor balcony off the master suite have sweeping views of the bay.
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In Ellen Niven’s Long Island, New York house, classic French elegance was translated to Long Island’s Gold Coast by architect Moon Bros. and landscape architect Perry Guillot.
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Analisse Taft-Gersten, founder of the home goods store ALT for Living, has a Connecticut home that appears nestled into its landscape.
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Located in Twin Cities, this 1920’s colonial is packed with artwork and creative flair, crafted by designer Janet Gridley. The exterior features dark green shutters, an American flag, and perfectly-placed white seating.
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Justina Blakeney’s 1926 Spanish-style home in Los Angeles is modestly sized but packs a major punch. Burnt orange trim makes a statement from the street.
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Rainbow Cocoon House
Architect Nina Edwards Anker merged the ideas of a sustainable building and the color theory of painter William Turner when designing her vacation home. It’s nothing like the classic, New England shingle-style Hamptons homes that surround it.
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Elevated Lake Home
Situated on a 60-foot setback, Anne Hepfer’s L-shaped cottage features large windows, intricate stonework, and muted colors. The cottage feels like a giant tree house.
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To refresh this historic home, designer Juan Carretero added quintessential notes of English culture and tradition including cast-concrete ewes out front.
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White Brick Residence
To update and clarify a 1961 house in Houston, Ray Booth balanced the original aesthetic with a contemporary point of view. Booth tweaked the white brick facade with new vertical shutters and added a steel-gated front door and custom lantern.
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The entrance to this South Carolina “kitchen house”—now a guesthouse—opens onto a bluestone courtyard. An ivy-covered gate seals off the secluded space.
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Designer Michelle Prentice’s house in Beaufort, South Carolina seamlessly blends into its neighborhood of historic homes. The exterior features a beautiful, second story veranda.
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Near Seaside, Florida, a two-story beach-front cottage designed by Birmingham, Alabama-based architect James F. Carter has an old-fashioned tin roof and traditional stacked screened porches. Although the home echoes an older time, it features solar panels and eco-conscious materials.
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This stately 1860 London townhouse is a commanding presence in the fashionable South Kensington area of London. The clean-cut outside contrasts the bold reds and pinks that grace some of the walls inside.
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Pittsburgh Paints’s Citadel Blue brightens the exterior of this Lake Michigan house designed by Alexander Bogaerts. It almost blends in with the clouds and sky, offering an airy and welcoming presence.
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Towering cypresses are reminiscent of a Tuscan landscape in this house decorated by Barbara Barry. It’s located in Corona del Mar, California, and the surrounding plants give it an inviting presence.
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Shingle-Style Summer House
Designers John Knott and John Fondas’s Maine summer house features a restrained shingle-style exterior. At the entrance (on the left), Knott used salvaged columns from upstate New York.
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Designer Garrow Kedigian’s handsome Montreal weekend home was built in 1923 and has a unique L-shaped corner layout in a historic courtyard complex. The flowers give it in irresistible appeal.
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16th-Century French Estate
Conductor William Christie created eight symmetrical parterres and used garden elements to restore a sense of balance in his 16th-century French estate. The square planters, inspired by Chinese fretwork, were constructed by a local carpenter and painted in the blue-green color frequently seen in 17th-century garden prints.
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Designed by architect Douglas VanderHorn, this Greenwich, Connecticut, house is built of Connecticut fieldstone and cedar shingles. Its blue and white exterior matches its interior of the same colors.
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Architect Ralph Milman designed this Lake Forest, Illinois, French Provincial house in 1926. Inside, the home bursts with color in every room.
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The facade of this colonial revival house in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, commands a seaside bluff. It was designed by architect Robert Rich.
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Nicolette Horn’s house in Oslo, Norway is considered a local landmark. It was designed by Norwegian architect Arnstein Arneberg in 1912.
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This Bermuda-style house in Naples, Florida is painted pale salmon. “There are few places where you can have a pink house,” Jesse Carrier says of the house he designed with Mara Miller. “So why not?”
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Designer Stephen Shubel hung striped outdoor curtains across this California house’s back porch and the front of the pool house to unify the buildings, control the light, and evoke the south of France.
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