Curb Appeal Refresh: The Front Door

May 22, 2019 § Leave a comment

Some of you may remember when the fashion industry changed the skirt hem length every year — from maxi to mini to midi and then back to comfortably above the knee.

Front door color has followed a fashion trend of its own. A decade ago, red was all the rage — and for some it continues to be the most welcoming front door color. Black with a metal kick plate has always offered a sophisticated read on the front entry. But what has followed in more recent years has been a busting-out of traditional exterior curb appeal. Here’s what front door colors we were talking about just 3 years ago.

So it is time to update those door trends again. No more copycat door-painting just to be fashionable. We’re stepping out of the shade of the porch to a bold new entryway that will set each house apart from its neighbors.

But first, let’s talk about house colors. What has changed:

More white houses. It used to be that white fell to farmhouses and antique colonials. Not anymore. There is plenty of white new construction, which opens up a fan deck of front door options.

More gray houses. Always a neutral that fits into almost any environment, the gray interior trend moved to the outside and remains. Gray also opens up a fan deck of front door options, maybe just a few fewer than white.

More Crayola color and less safe beige. Dark and rich are replacing light and airy. Briarwood is moving to Hale Navy. Rich Cream is moving to Merlot Red. Even some developments are providing a rainbow of siding options instead of the light neutrals from years past. <<applause>> If you have a bold red house, you probably don’t need me to tell you what color to paint your front door (lol!), but I’ll offer suggestions anyway.

More midcentury renos, both contemporary and ranch style. With a surge in client interest for open-concept living (uh-oh to that trend, but that’s another story), people have realized that it is easier to update an already open midcentury home with the high vaulted ceilings and the great-room flow than it is to modify a boxy colonial. Big surprise there. So we are seeing a plethora of exterior colors (even black) as a result of these one-story re-dos.

Back to the front door. Here are some ideas for redoing your front door color to refresh your home.

Benjamin Moore Aura Color Stories (plus dove white and wood tone)

Teal and Turquoise — I cannot believe that I used to recommend turquoise only for tropical house locations or homes that at least had a pool. What used to be a quest to coordinate house colors with the local environment is now a challenge to ignore it. Where teal and turquoise work: on gray, white, black, yellow, red, okay almost every house color except blue. Where they do not work: on dirty or faded house siding (the bright color makes the house look worse) and on other blues like colonial blue.

Teal Door

Yellow and Orange — not everybody’s favorite colors but they are so happy. I love them on a front door. Where they work: on dark house colors like navy, green-browns, dark and light grays, neutral gray brick, and white. Where they do not work: Again, on any color that looks faded, aged, or dirty.

Lime Green — fresh and springy and a wonderful coordinating color for your landscape. Where it works: dark gray, navy blue, even red brick, chocolate brown, black. Where it does not work: any other green or dirty beige.

Photo: Koch Architects

Pink and Purple – always beautiful on a white house with coordinating landscape trees but also on a dark house for a real pop of warmth in the neighborhood. Where they work: white, gray, navy. Where they do not work: on yellow beiges and orange beiges because of the undertones and on anything that has a faded or dirty appearance.

Notting Hill
Designer: Roger Hazard

If the bright colors will not work with your house color, try natural or even white.

Natural Wood or wood-look – always a classic. Where it works: navy and red, for sure. And just about every other house color.

Natural Wood is a Classic

White — yes white! What white does is make the whole entry area look larger since it blends with the white trim color. It also creates a blank canvas for holiday decor — wreathes, flower pots, etc. There is nothing quite like white as a backdrop to a variety of color palettes around the entryway. Where it works: especially good on a house with a lot of color already and crisp white trim. Also works on neutrals when you want to maintain a soft neutral palette throughout — be sure to add textures though with lots of greenery and baskets or wicker furniture. White also works on aged or faded houses where the bright colors do not. Crisp white perks everything up.

White Calms the Palette

I hope these ideas dazzle your thinking and inspire you to head to the paint store. Happy painting, everybody!

Front Door Color –Refresh for Brick Homes

May 20, 2019 § 4 Comments

I wrote my first blog post about front door color back in 2012 when it seemed like red and black were the most common options for traditional homes. And shutters? Well black and then black again.

downingst010406_450×300.jpeg

But today I stumbled upon a couple of photos from Beacon Hill in Boston that blew my traditional color palette out of the fan deck, so to speak. It was love at first sight of that rich gorgeous blue — yet to be identified by name and brand.

Mary Rhoades House, 1912 Colonial Revival
Photo: @buildingsofnewengland

Just guessing here (I didn’t find anything in the Sherwin Williams paint line), but Benjamin Moore has Dark Royal Blue 2065-20 that comes pretty close for now until I can track this color down.

Dark Royal Blue
Benjamin Moore 2065-20

What I love about this color for the front door (and shutters for that matter) is that it’s dark enough be traditionally tasteful and even replace black on many houses like the 1912 Colonial above, but it has hue enough to excite the senses and certainly stand out from the crowd of traditional black and Charleston Green doors and shutters (not that there’s anything wrong with traditional!).

And I’m just talking about brick homes — because door colors on painted houses and more contemporary homes have gone right through the color palette. More updates on that later.

In the meantime I’m going to appreciate that stunning blue on the brick Rhoades House and open my fan deck to more brick home door color ideas.

What Color Brings You Joy?

January 23, 2019 § Leave a comment

As I type the title into this blog post, I am struck by how nearly impossible that question is to answer for somebody like me who loves almost all hues. How would I ever pick a favorite? But some people have no problem.

In the latest House Beautiful (Jan/Feb 2019 issue) amidst the usual articles about paint color trends and new wallpaper patterns, a spread jumped out of the magazine when I turned the page. Designer Kristen McCory and editor Emma Bazilian lay out a color palette that I would not expect to see in a Connecticut home.

There in a high-gloss fuchsia fiesta was a fireplace surround and mantel popping out of the living room wall. And there was more! A hot pink antique secretary and a raspberry velvet settee left no doubt as to the intentions of the designer. The homeowner wanted Pink. (That’s Benjamin Moore’s Gypsy Pink on the mantel.)

housebeautiful.com (Photo: Chris Delaney)

But the story gets so sweet when we discover that the pink is a tribute to the homeowner’s 99-year-old grandmother whose favorite lipstick was Revlon’s Parisian Pink. And that is what brings me to ask “What color brings YOU joy?”

For me? I guess I’m kind of in a Pink frame of mind these days — it’s bitter cold outside and that warm pink hue brings joy to my heart when I stare at it long enough. Witness my Facebook page yesterday —>

Fuchsia Peony

But by Spring I know I will have put all the warm colors into the closets and brought out blues to cool the house down and bring me newfound joy. I’m not sure what it is about turquoise, teal, and aqua that I love so much but maybe it’s what those colors represent to me: in this case, last year’s vacation with my precious sister! When I see ocean blues now, I think of her and it brings me joy.

The Reefs, Bermuda

Whatever color brings you joy (always or maybe just right now) … embrace it. Wear it, decorate with it, and share it with others. Don’t worry about keeping up with trends that make others happy. When clients tell me they want a color for their kitchen that is the same color as their best friend’s kitchen, I always push back a little. It never fails. What looks good in somebody else’s house is inevitably a big fail somewhere else. Don’t pick a yellow front door because your neighbor has one. As we say so often these days… You Do You.

What Color Brings YOU Joy?

Going Big-Art Big

January 10, 2019 § Leave a comment

grandinroad.com

“Little stuff reads Clutter — big stuff reads Drama.”

That is the mantra of a home stager, but the staging principle (what shows up best on camera) translates nicely into home decorating. That is not to say that you can’t have collections of treasures and portraits of the family scattered around your home, but going big successfully draws the eye and establishes the personality for the room.

frontgate.com

Of course color does help! I’m enjoying the oranges and reds this cold winter morning, but contrast is all you need for major dramatic impact.

grandinroad.com

Go ahead. Make a statement!

etsy.co

Or create a serene backdrop for pared-down furnishings.

AD. Design: Grant Gibson. Photo: Kathryn MacDonald

Or go for a wall mural — yes, big is back!

Artist: Mike Centioli, muralsyourway.com

One caveat. Keep the furnishings in front of the art relatively simple for maximum effect. I’m about to install a piece of art that’s 60″ tall — can’t wait to show you the end result in my client’s family room.

Happy 2019 Everybody! I’ll be back with more color talk soon!

The World’s Favorite Color? Where Have I Been?

February 22, 2018 § Leave a comment

Late to the party here, but better late than never. At least that’s what I said to myself yesterday when I scrolled onto THIS beautiful hue and found out that it was crowned The World’s Favourite Colour.  No great surprise since it represents some of the world’s most exquisitely beautiful treasures like Bali — an island so gorgeous its name alone sounds relaxing.

Last summer there was a questionnaire sent out — ’round the globe, as it were — to find out which color appealed to the most people. (I totally missed it! Arrrgh!)

marrs-green

“The competition organised by Hull 2017 UK City of Culture and paper merchant GF Smith invited people to select their favourite shade online by hovering over an infinite palette of shades with their mouse until they landed on the colour they found most appealing.” 

The winner was this rich teal that nature inspires and artists incorporate to capture the beauty that surrounds us. 

The closest paint color approximation I could find was a Duron Paints shade, Sea Sphinx. Sea Sphinx

But there were others:

There are plenty of other ways to introduce the color into your decor — window treatments, accessories, and more art, of course.

On an accent wall of Marrs Green, this art pops!

And so does this one!

Though I have blogged about “teal” before, I guess there’s a reason. It appeals to vast numbers of people worldwide. It is a little bit blue, yet a little bit green. It’s the warmest ocean color and a color that appears in natural gems and plant life. It is rejuvenating in all its forms.

It looks great with the full green/blue spectrum and all its values, and it forms a calm backdrop to pops of heat. Marrs Green — The World’s Favorite Color.

 

Is Your House an EXtrovert? Paint It

February 15, 2018 § Leave a comment

In the next town over, there’s a purple house. And when I say purple, I mean PURple, but not just the front door as we see in the row house above, but also the siding, the trim, the doors, the shutters, and even the concrete foundation. The whole house is purple. (I would show you a photo of the house, but I don’t want to embarrass it.) The result is a house that draws everyone’s attention and not in a good way.

On the other hand, if your house is already an extrovert — one that has character and interesting features you want to show off in all their glory, then go ahead and use paint. This article from This Old House presents ideas for how to bring out the personality in your older home and shows not only colors that grab attention but also where to put them and which ones go beautifully together.

There are lots of ways to use color. This beachy turquoise, perfect for a cottage style home in a coastal community, uses one hue — a medium tone for the siding and a darker value for the shutters and door. White trim completes the cottagey look. The result is a house that displays its positive features without overdoing the palette. This strategy is especially good for a small house.

Dark colors are trending now, and this gray-brown ranch is a good example. But instead of keeping the whole house a quiet, conventional wallflower, the homeowner displays its cheerful personality with tangerine shutters, front door and striped awning. The white trim makes the colors “pop,” as we say, and you have a real looker!

Speaking of citrus, look how this bungalow shows off its architectural features with Juicy Fruit colors and — wait a minute — a lovely deep grape purple foundation. Now that works!

My favorite color combination, though, and perfect for this restored Italianate house, is terra cotta siding; a darker value for the window muntins, eave corbels, and column accents; a rich natural wood front door (and rocking chairs — nice touch); and cream gingerbread trim.

These are only a few ideas for how to embellish your older home with color. Spring outdoor projects are coming for many of us, and one of us at least has house color on her mind. Ha!

Think color, my Color Friends! And stay cozy.

 

 

 

Pink Doors and Why They Work

February 5, 2018 § Leave a comment

pinkdoor

Pink — a trend we’ve been watching for the past couple of years — is no longer labeled, as my mother used to say, SS&G (sweet, simple, and “girlish”). On the contrary. The color keeps popping up with some staying power, and where it has grabbed my attention the most is at the front door.

This Pleasant Pink by Benjamin Moore is a comfortably sophisticated hue that blends rose with peach and a touch of gray undertone that keeps it from looking too bubble-gummy or baby’s room. Antique brass metal hardware (as on the London door above) will give the color an aged quality that keeps it from looking too trendy.

Why does pink work so well as a door color? Because it compliments many exterior house colors and coordinates with pinks and whites and purples in the landscape plantings. Here are a few ideas:

Behr’s Road Less Traveled from the 2018 palette is a soft mushroomy gray brown that coordinates nicely with stone walls and wooded environs and looks fabulous with white trim and a pink door. And although cherry blossoms do not last very long, for a few weeks out of the year your house will have traffic slowing down to take photos.

Another house color that looks great with a pink door is gray– it’s a classic combination. This gray, Benjamin Moore’s Stormy Monday, paired with pink creates a quiet traditional combo whose matched undertones make the marriage work. Pink perennials in the yard draw your eye to the coordinating front door.

Three other colors paired with pink create quite the wow factor and a stunning bush of pink lilacs ties the whole look together.

Charcoal Bluea Sherwin Williams color, offers the most drama. Not for everyone, but a dark navy house can be very striking, and the softness of the pink door creates a balanced look paired with silver-toned metal door accessories.

Farrow & Ball’s Slipper Satin is a gorgeous color to paint both siding and trim. Paired with a pink door and a dark brown porch deck and oil-rubbed bronze accessories, you’ve got your drama.

Finally, we have a dark charcoal, Glidden’s Flagstone Grey, that also coordinates well with stonework and contrasts beautifully with pink.

pleasantpinkBM

As you contemplate freshening up your home’s exterior this Spring, see if a glossy pink door with fresh hardware might be the answer to enhanced curb appeal. If you change out the door hardware, don’t forget to match the porch light– an inexpensive upgrade that can make a huge difference. Add a fresh door mat and pot of pink annuals on the porch step and brace yourself for compliments.

Happy Thinking-About-Spring Day, Everybody.

 

But I Love Grandma’s Furniture

January 20, 2018 § Leave a comment

Furniture that has been in the family for generations (or as long as you can remember, at least) carries memories of sitting around Grandma’s dining room table during holiday dinners and enjoying family and food and all that goes with that. So of course you accept Grandma’s dining room set when presented. Okay, now what.

Designer Stephanie Lees shows us how to marry traditional (whether inherited or acquired some other way) and modern styling. Yes, the two can co-exist nicely together.

Color is the most obvious creative solution. The navy grasscloth walls in that dining room contrast elegantly with the traditional white wainscoting beneath the chair rail. Camouflaged there is a white lacquer cabinet that showcases more family treasures that frame out the modern artwork above.

The green curtain panels in an unfussy simple treatment dress the windows with a pop of color that is carried over to the back of the traditional wingback chair.  Wingbacks –whether old or new — are classic. But the modern fabric placement takes what might have been a studious, grownup, wingback chair and made it playful. Those bamboo side chairs — if not your grandmother’s then just like them — can be recovered very DIY with new coordinating fabric by unscrewing the seats, stapling fabric onto the seat bottoms, and screwing the seats back onto the chair. Instant update.

Another key update that sets a modern tone to the room is the contemporary rug, again keeping with the blue & white palette but staying clear of any traditional rug design. Random color placement in the rug keeps the room from looking too formal, and it is key to pulling off this style marriage.

But just short of replacing whatever shiny, old, yellow-brass light fixture might have hung from the ceiling before with a new contemporary brushed nickel version (gasp!), the designer opted for a vintage Italian chandelier in crystal. Dramatic, classic, and oh so stylish.

You’ve given us lots to think about, Stephanie, as we incorporate inherited pieces into our own homes. Thanks for the inspiration!

@StyleatHome, @YourColorCoach, stephanieleesdesign

 

 

 

Escape from the Blues

January 4, 2018 § Leave a comment

HorseshoeBayBermuda

Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda

This is a perfect January day in New England. We are completely snowed in, and nothing is more relaxing than hunkering down in a cozy house as the wind howls outside and the snow banks pile up around us. I love winter!

But that doesn’t mean I like the wintery gray, the limited daylight, and the bitter cold that comes with it. The longer winter goes, the more I yearn for an escape to somewhere warm — even if it’s only in my imagination.

Enter the Sherwin Williams Color of the Year for 2018.

It is an opulent teal that conjures up the ocean and all the warmth of summer at the beach. If a midwinter break in Bermuda is not on your calendar, there are other ways to escape the winter cold — visually. Here are some:

Plan Your Spring Projects. It’s never too early to think about Spring projects, and painting your front door is a doable one. Remember to tie the color in with other accessories and furniture around the yard.

Paint the Fifth Wall. Don’t overlook the ceiling when you’re adding color. Since cool colors recede visually, painting the ceiling a medium teal blue will raise it — like rolling a Utah sky onto your porch.

Splash Color Under Foot. Now I’m making it too easy. Add a gorgeous rug and transform your space instantly. There’s something about the combination of blues and greens that soothes and comforts us all. And a rug adds not just color but texture.

Dive into the Pool. Ceramics, art, dishes, pillows, collectibles, throws, lamps… the options for accessories are endless. Be sure when you add a color to your room that you put it in at least three locations to move the eye around the room and create flow.

Enjoy your staycation! With some daydreaming, a little shopping, and a tad bit of rearranging there at home, you can lift your spirits toward Spring and feel warm and cozy at the same time.

Thanks for stopping by!

Orange Twist to the Red Revival

September 18, 2017 § 2 Comments

Apples, pumpkins, falling leaves — there’s something about Autumn in New England that, despite our recent warm temperatures, makes us cozy up to the changing seasons. Maybe that’s why some of us live here.

My newest door color obsession is a revival of the orangey red of another decade, and that may signal the end of the light, neutral, blue and even light lemon yellow door color trend I’ve focused on for the past several years. This red, Million Dollar Red (Benjamin Moore 2003-10) is as perfect on a traditional white colonial as it is on a black modern home. There is no mistaking where the door is — it screams Welcome!

What I love most about it is its “orangeyness.” Orange is a happy color no matter what. So a red on the orange side (versus pink) says this is a happy home. The color also has an updated, contemporary feel as opposed to the more traditional burgundy red (also great, of course, but more serious and refined).

Adding an orangey red as an accent color on the interior is also a great way to torque up the energy. Try it on the back of a white bookshelf, or on a pouf ottoman in the family room, or even on a focal wall in the front entry. A little bit of red warms up a room a lot. So before painting an entire room red, make sure you want to amp up the temperature in there. Using red on items that can be removed in the hot summer makes sense to me: pillows, bedding, throws, and art. Then I look forward to my seasonal exchange when I swap out the cool blue accessories for red.

Enjoy Autumn… whatever it means to you and wherever you are. And love how the color orangey red makes you feel. Warm and Happy.

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