Celebrating Authentically

November 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

wreathAfter years of using fake greenery around and on my front door in a futile attempt to make holiday decorating easy and inexpensive (true confessions — you’ve heard of the cobbler’s children having no shoes?), well my big, beautifully-adorned-with-more-fakery wreath fell apart onto the closet floor.

That single event made quite an impact, literally and figuratively, of course. I am SO fed up with fake everything: plastic wreaths, plastic lights, plastic balls, plastic blow-up Santas, plastic reindeer in the yard. For me this year, after quite a year, I am settling down to a visually simple, quiet, authentic holiday season.

I don’t mind others’ decorations at all — the lights, the colors, the flashing sleigh on the roof, and everything else that makes children’s jaws drop in sheer delight — don’t get me wrong. But I guess with the kids all out of the house, I don’t feel the need to create a spectacle. And it’s okay.

For those of you who share my desire for a simpler holiday, I’m here to say that it’s okay. A few special ornaments or treasures from past years displayed among some fresh greens on the dining room table or mantle can provide the essence of the season without the hassle and the clean-up on January 2. For those who adore the season of color and lights, go for it. The rest of us will appreciate all you do to make our neighborhoods sparkly and special.

ribbonedSo today I am going out to buy a big plain evergreen bough wreath. Then, I’ll tie a big light blue floral ribbon on it and hang it on the front door. Then I’ll snip some pine from the backyard and stick the branches in my big blue pot on the front porch. Maybe even put a spotlight on the door so the house looks welcoming at night. And with that done, I can focus on making the holiday special and memorable for my family and … for me.

(wreath: LLBean)

Making a House Color Splash

March 15, 2016 § Leave a comment

I have driven past this house for years and every time, I do a double take. Situated next toIMG_4763 a busy roadway, there is nowhere to stop, get out of the car, and snap a decent photo. But that does not deter me.

The red brick wall is not part of the yard. And who cares about it anyway. It is the roof color and the coordinating front door in a spectacular (guessing here) Starry Night Blue (BM 2067-20) that grabs our attention. The rest of the trim is a quiet brown taken right from the brick. We don’t even notice the window trim at all, and that’s the point.

starrynightblue

The roof looks like Vermont Mottled Purple slate, but honestly I have no idea. All I can say is that this house creates, in its traditional neighborhood, a huge House Color Splash. Kudos! And I cannot wait to drive by again.

Don’t forget about the roof color when you are planning your exterior color scheme. It is absolutely fine to keep it neutral, but if you have the personality to withstand the gawking passersby if you decide to add color to the roof, then go for it. Just remember to tie it into the rest of the house with shutters and/or front door to match. I will thank you.

 

 

 

 

Change Your Front Door Color

February 8, 2016 § 2 Comments

IMG_3604Driving through a little town recently, I glanced around as usual, admiring architecture, making a mental note about what color combinations to try and which ones really do not work, and generally looking for color and design inspiration. One house called out to me as I cruised by — quickly I made a U-turn and headed back for a closer look. Like a beacon of happiness, the bright, sunny, yellow door popped off the crisp, white house with black roof and shutters. What a stunning house to drive home to every day.

February seems to bring thoughts of Spring and those quick and easy, yet big-bang-for-the-buck house projects. And the front door color is one of them. If you’re tired of black or red for the front door, and particularly if you have a white house, there is no reason to keep the status quo. Shake it up. What is your favorite color? What color are your spring flowering shrubs? What color does your front door want to be? (Okay, that last one may be a bit weird, but you get it.)

Guidelines for choosing a new front door color:

  1. Make sure that new color shows up at least two other places in the front yard, for example, in the landscape plants, flower pots, patio umbrella, or other accessories.
  2. Consider a brighter sheen for a softer paint color. That will add life and a little pizzazz to a color that doesn’t stand out too much on its own.
  3. Realize that if your front door is under a porch overhang, the color of the door will darken. Go a bit brighter unless, of course, you get full afternoon sun shining on the door. In that case, go a bit darker.
  4. Give yourself choices. Try three different colors and look at them at different times of the day and in different weather conditions. Don’t rush the decision.

So this year, while you’re skimming through seed catalogues and planning your Spring garden colors, choose a new front door color too. You’ll love how it brightens your spirits.

 

What Color to Paint Your Big House

February 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

Building a new house or a large addition but beginning to worry that it might look too big in your neighborhood? Maybe a lot of people don’t worry about their neighbors, but some people do. If you think your house might appear overly large-scaled, then avoid painting it white. The contrast against the setting makes white stand out even more than other light colors.

To bring the house down to scale and accent the architecture at the same time, consider a dark color like a dark charcoal or dark green for the siding. Dark trim, of course, will camouflage the house even more, whereas white trim will highlight windows, doors, and roof trim.

Your choice — but becoming the McMansion in the modest neighborhood will not endear yourself to your neighbors. And my how they talk…

Fair warning.

Front Door Personality

August 28, 2013 § 6 Comments

FrontDoorAfterAs much as I love eggplant, both as a vegetable and a paint color, it just didn’t work on my house. With the eave creating a shadow, the beautiful, rich purple color only lit up in the late afternoon when the sun hit it just right. For those few moments, the Caponata (Ben Moore AF-650) looked spectacular. Then it went back to black.FrontDoorBefore

So… inspired by some fabric I saw awhile ago with golds and light blues, I ventured into a rarely seen color combination — hey, why not, it’s just paint! The new door and bench are Yarmouth Blue (Ben Moore HC- 150) and although the neighbors have not commented yet, I love it. The house color is Richmond Gold (HC-41) and the trim is Cameo White. I may paint the trim a less-yellow hue in the spring, but for now, it’s fine.

If your front door is in the shadow of a porch or a big tree in the front yard, consider a light front door color, something even (dare I say?) pastel. You may be really pleased with how the lighter door color can change the personality of the house from stodgy traditional to young and perky. See what you think!

Enough about Neutral–I’m Craving Color

May 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

Who says accent walls are so last decade? Not me. I love how a carefully chosen wall or piece of architectural interest can be highlighted dramatically by color.

Here we see how bold color creates a defined outside eating area with all the drama of an interior dining room. Why not! It’s okay to use accent color on the outside of the house to warm up a patio, jazz up a porch wall, or provide a colorful backdrop to a garden. It’s spring. Get out there and do some color!

Is Your Home Ready for its Close-Up Shot?

May 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

finaldooryellow3In real estate, a picture is worth a hundred home visits — at least to many potential buyers who cast off rejects as fast as they can hit the Next button.

If you’re preparing your home for the market (or if your home is already on and just sitting), here’s a tip that might get your home ready for its close-up shot and looking good on the big screen (or at least the laptop):

Take photos of your house from the street and then take a shot of every room from the doorway. Then put them on the computer and take a look at what the public is seeing online.

Ask yourselves:

1) Does the photo of the house from the street show that the house is kept up? Is there stuff in the yard? Are there weeds in the garden? Is there peeling paint anywhere? (You can see the to-do list forming, can’t you…)

2) In the photo from the front door, can you see into other parts of the house or is the foyer closed off and dark? Is there old carpeting on the floor or is it tile or hardwood?

3) Inside, are any rooms dark? Do the curtains cover the windows? Is your furniture in sad shape or is there too much of it in a room? (These are the areas to address)

4) And lastly, is there something in the photo that immediately grabs your eye — and not in a good way? It could be a crooked picture or a sloppy bed. That is what the public remembers from that photo.

With to-do list in hand, fix those items that are keeping your house from getting a personal visit from potential buyers. Selling a house is far more than just listing it with an agency and sticking a sign in the front yard. Make sure you value the importance of photos that show your home to its best advantage.

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