The Caplan’s house in Rosemont has a lot more curb appeal now thanks to the efforts of Yvette Piaggio, designer and owner of Piaggio’s Loft. She, and a host of others, worked with the couple for the past six months as part of HGTV’s “Curb Appeal” television show.
“We did our first shoot April 6 and have had many more shoots since then. There’s a lot that goes into it,” Piaggio said.
What started out as a plain, white Federal-style house is now a fresh, crisp Nantucket-style house.
“I had this vision of what I wanted and when I drew it up for the homeowners, they loved it,” Piaggio said.
The Caplans appreciated the outside perspective Piaggio brought to the project.
“It was very good working with Yvette,” said Janelle Caplan. “It was fun, she had different ideas and we were skeptical at first, but we embraced it. A lot of things changed as we went along.”
Michael Caplan emphasized the cooperation between everyone involved.
“It was a group effort,” he said. “She [Yvette] had ideas and we had ideas and we balanced them out. We did a lot of work on our own, coming up with ideas.”
As part of the plan, the couple embarked on a series of projects, installing Hardy Plank siding; putting on a new door and hardware; pouring a new driveway; putting in a new walkway with stone and creating a portico. The yard was landscaped by a designer.
Throughout the process, Piaggio would be called to come over to do a quick comment about the installation of the siding or be filmed during a shopping trip to Annapolis. One of the shoots was done at her design house in Old Town, and includes a cameo appearance by Mozart, her dog.
Much of Piaggio’s energy was dedicated to the side porch. This neglected room had not been used much by the couple because it was plain and drab. She created outdoor textiles for the room, designing draperies, pillows and cushions. Using three different fabrics — a stripe, check and a textured pattern — she created a nice, cozy feeling with outdoor textiles, which are soft, but durable enough to withstand the elements. The Caplans then added carpeting and outdoor furniture.
“We created an additional living space for them,” Piaggio said.
Janelle Caplan said that they were still waiting for some of the furniture but knows that they’ll use the room a lot.
WHILE HGTV provides a small allowance, the Caplans were responsible for most of the costs and their original budget more than tripled. Some of the companies they worked with did provide a discount in exchange for the exposure of being on the show. Janelle Caplan said that she wasn’t aware of the specifics when she signed up and at first thought that the renovations were paid for. She wasn’t quite sure exactly what she had gotten into until she got an e-mail from HGTV explaining the terms of the project. They decided to go ahead with it because a car had recently hit their house, tearing up the yard, taking out a tree and knocking out a column.
She thought the show would be a good opportunity to get input from others outside of the situation.
“It’s sort of like a domino effect when you’re doing any kind of home project,” she said. “For example, when we did the siding, we then decided that we needed a new portico.”
Work on the portico was done by Dan Stone, who Janelle Caplan said was “just amazing.” Marcus Silva from Capital Roofing, USA, did the roof; Dave Turner the driveway; Accokeek Fencing the fence; and Paul Grano, from Betty’s Azalea Ranch, oversaw the landscaping.
The Caplans especially like working with Steve Ginsberg from Preferred Siding. He was responsible for installing their James Hardy and Janelle Caplan said that he was most generous with his pricing. Michael Caplan said that as a thank-you gift, they gave Ginsberg a copy of “The Fountainhead,” by Ayn Rand, because of its metaphorical basis in architecture.
One of the final shoots shows the Caplans transforming an old trunk into a Nantucket-style coffee table that will be used on the porch. There will be one more shoot when the furniture arrives. Janelle Caplan was surprised at the amount of filming that was done, and estimates that there is about 40 hours of footage — all this for a half-hour show.
“Michael and I are going to miss the cameras following us around,” she said.
Michael Caplan said that he plans to invite all his co-workers over for a viewing party when the show airs. The couple is very happy with the results.
“I love it," Janelle Caplan said. "I feel like I’m driving up to a whole new house when I come home.”