November 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
Historic brick homes like this one, built in 1810, have an exterior look to maintain. Many are under the control of town boards that determine what changes can be made to the house. But even if you own an old home or are considering buying one that is not in an historic district, don’t even think about replacing the wood shutters with easy-maintenance vinyl or the wooden front door with fiberglass.
Exterior “upgrades” that only consider the time management issues of the homeowner are not upgrades at all. Instead, embrace your older home and its history. Preserve the look by choosing a paint trim color that is not too new-looking. A gray, beige, or grayed-white will give an aged look to the trim that is appropriate for the age of the house. Charcoal instead of black will give the shutters and door a faded-black look that freshens up the paint job without destroying the look of the house. Use wrought iron or brass for your metal instead of nickel (too contemporary). And use native plants for your landscaping instead of the current, most trendy flowering shrubs.
Buck the urge to over-improve with new man-made materials. Let’s preserve as much history as we can!
October 4, 2011 § 2 Comments
Sometimes a house looks a little too hot for the neighborhood. And for this orange brick house in a neighborhood of other orange brick houses, the matching orange roof took the house over the top (literally!).
The cool grays and whites in the trimwork could not balance the warmth of this overall orange color scheme. To give the eye a cool compress, we chose a gray roof that picks up the many gray tones in the brick trim around the windows and doors and contrasts nicely with the orange brick. The roof is Georgetown Gray by Certainteed. Now the palette of warm and cool colors distributed evenly makes the house look balanced and pulled together.
If you are choosing a new roof, remember that the roof color is as much a part of your home’s color scheme as the siding and trim colors. Even more so because you will not be changing the roof anytime soon. It is okay to choose a roof color from the same hue family as the siding color (a brown roof with a tan house, for example). But remember to create contrast somewhere, either with the trim color or the pop of color on the front door. If you have a brick house, choose a neutral color that is in your brick or choose a dark neutral that will allow your brick to take center stage. When in doubt, seek the help of a professional in your area or write to me. I’ll help you. A second set of eyes is critical before you make that big investment.
Driving up to your house should make you say, “Ahhhh, good to be home.”
October 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
Some houses whisper. Some houses shout. This house sings opera! What makes this house so melodic is perfectly obvious to everybody who drives by. It has the most incredible roof and door color: a rich sapphire blue like you’ve never seen before except maybe in the Mediterranean. We’re certainly not accustomed to seeing that color on a traditional burgundy brick colonial, usually relegated to browns and charcoals (not that there’s anything wrong with browns and charcoals — I love them too).
This house tosses conventional color schemes out the window yet manages to look both whimsical and classy at the same time. It peeks out from behind big shade trees making it even more alluring to passersby. Like a secret garden around the corner, the act of discovery is part of the thrill.
The door color alone would be quite a find, but the fact that the roof is the same rich blue makes this house an opera star I want to discover again and again. Big applause!!
June 21, 2011 § 3 Comments
The answer is yes! With the growing popularity of the spray-painting technique for painting houses (not just lawn furniture anymore), it is becoming easier to paint over rough, textured surfaces like brick and get a good result in a reasonable amount of time.
Check out HGTV.com for some great before-and-after brick house projects. In one show, “Curb Appeal: The Block,” the designer John Gidding takes a paint sprayer to an old ’60s ranch and brings it into the new millenium.
Check with your paint store first, of course. And you might want to hire a professional painter to avoid over-spraying into your neighbor’s driveway (not a good thing…). But if you have a brick house with a) zig-zag-patterned brick; b) really obnoxious brick colors; or c) just tired, run-down plain old red brick, then get inspired! Paint will give your house a fresh new look!
November 1, 2010 § Leave a comment
For those of you with historic brick homes, you cannot beat crisp white trim and charcoal black for your shutter color and roof. Forget about updating your shutters and installing a new multi-colored, dimensional roof. Basic black and white may seem blah, but honestly, good taste and traditional styling are never boring.
Express your own creativity in your landscaping. Keep the plantings symmetrical around the front door to coordinate with the symmetry of your formal house design, but add color and variety of shapes and sizes. Another tip: if you do not want to match all the window treatments on the inside of the house (even though it does look spectacular on a house like this), then at least have matching white lining on the curtains, white sheers, or plantation shutters. Mixing things up with a rainbow of window colors just ruins the formal look.
Living in a historic home is not for everybody. There’s a certain expectation — I’ll talk about informal living in another post… but for now, viva la tradition!
July 27, 2010 § 6 Comments
Brick is one of those design elements that people either love or hate. Well over half of the questions that come to me have to do with brick: How do we work with the brick? How do we pick a siding that goes with the brick? What about roof color and brick? Can I paint my brick? How can I possibly live with this brick?
Here is a photo of an early-last-century, Tudor-style home with the signature brick gabled entry and chimney. The brick is monochromatic (not a lot of contrast between individual bricks), and it is a very pleasant dark muted red color.
The new homeowners chose an olive green siding color which complements the brick and makes it stand out as a feature on the house. (That works great if you like the brick! I’ll address what to do if you hate your brick in another post.) The muted olive siding color balances the muted red of the brick so that the house elements are in harmony (a fancy way of saying “They just work!”). Even though the windows themselves are white, the homeowner chose cream for the trim color. Cream is much softer than white and is preferable to white on older homes or with earthy palettes. And see? You can use cream trim with white windows and not ruin the house.
As for the roof, obviously this is a new roof and the homeowners took advantage of the myriad choices available to them. The muted brown tones pick up on some of the browns in the brick and again pull a very visible element of this house — the roof — successfully into the palette.
Traditional wrought iron sconces and mailbox as well as period hardware on a solid wood door provide the perfect jewelry topped off by a real, not plastic, concrete urn on the front steps for summer flowers.
These homeowners took an old home and modernized it in a tasteful way that pays homage to the home’s original Tudor styling. The result is both fresh and historic. Perfect house synergy.
April 25, 2010 § Leave a comment
Blond brick and light-colored stone seem to pose challenges when it comes to picking coordinating paint colors for siding and trim. This house does it right. The taupe siding color comes right out of the aging blond brick, giving the house an updated look. Taupe allows the brick to show off its depth of color, including other shades of browns and peaches, without adding another hue to the mix. You cannot go wrong with neutrals, especially when you’re dealing with stone and brick.
White trim offers a crisp contrast between the siding and brick and ties in the white windows, also original to the house. The homeowners took what used to be a tired ordinary blond brick and made it look fresh and contemporary.
October 2, 2009 § 16 Comments
The color scheme on this brick house started with, alas, the bricks (one of our bloggers sent this in). From the variegation in the pile of burgundy bricks, the homeowners picked a medium charcoal roof color (it’s in there), a burgundy front door color (it’s definitely in there), a bright white for trim to optimize the contrast against the brick and accentuate the beautiful architectural features, a coordinating specimen tree for the entryway (very nice touch), brass metal for the front door (it picks up the grout color and adds depth) and wrought iron for the lights (the dressy jewelry of the house).
If you have a brick house and are stumped by what colors to use for the trim, roof, front door, and any other siding around the house, start with your brick color(s). If you pull the color scheme out of the bricks, the whole house will come together.
A note of caution: Since many brick styles have a variety of colors in them, you may start with quite a large palette of colors. In that case, I suggest sticking only to that palette. But if your brick is monochromatic (for example, all the bricks are exactly the same one color), then you can introduce one or two other coordinating colors into your palette and avoid looking too busy. Click on the If I Can Help You page if you need help and we’ll work together.