Which Came First? The house color or the foundation plantings?

October 1, 2012 § 2 Comments

Image My guess? Neither. Take a close look at the roof, and the house color palette is revealed. The deep purples and greens of that slate roof present a palette the homeowners can use for their house: rich grape for the siding color tempered by a neutral cream trim and lime green for the accent color to highlight the Victorian embellishments.

But the homeowners did not stop there. To enhance the palette and spread the accent color out onto the landscape, they planted a gorgeous lime green Hydrangea coupled with other lime green plants, shrubs, and ground-cover species. Peeking out from under all that greenery is a purple flowering ground color pulling the whole look together.

Not to be matchy-matchy or anything, but this house rocks. There’s just enough contrast to keep our interest and show off the house detail without introducing new colors that might make the house too busy. Afterall, the house itself has so much detail that you wouldn’t want it to get lost in a rainbow of foundation plantings and annuals.

Spring Spruce-Up-Your-Front Door Campaign

March 1, 2012 § 3 Comments

ImageYour front door says more about you than you know. Who lives behind this front door?

Someone who appreciates simplicity (look at the actual door –besides the wreath, there is not one embellishment) and architectural drama (check out the Corinthian columns and the heavy layers of molding on the portico).

The person who lives here also has ties to culture (a Moravian star pendant hangs above the door) and a sense of humor (the three little silver starfish on the wreath are so cute!).

The homeowner’s color sensibilities are subtle and elegant (the understated cream siding blends effortlessly with the soft, light sage door color).

The overall impression is eye-popping as you drive by. This house is tiny (I assure you) but the entry speaks volumes.

What does your front door say about YOU?

Choosing House Colors: Bark Brown?

February 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Talk about fitting in! Dark, rich tree-bark brown is about as close to nature as you can get for a house color that will fit unapologetically into almost any landscape.

What I love about this brown house, however, is how creative the homeowners were when it came time to choose a new roof color. Instead of opting for a light brown, gray, or dark forest green (all great options, by the way), they chose a light sage dimensional roof that looks spectacular. Then they pulled the trim color from the lightest shingle tone and used that for trim around the dark brown windows (also a nice touch), the corner trim, and the garage doors.

The result? Something different! How refreshing! Are they locked into a green roof? Yes. But who cares…

Choosing House Colors: Gray-Blue?

January 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

You do not have to look very far in nature to find a palette of coordinating colors from which to pluck your house paint chips. This time we’re looking at a glassy pond reflecting the blue of the sky. This blue, however, is not a primary saturated hue but rather a complex shade that has grays and greens in it as well.

So going to the paint store, you’ll want to move toward the muddy gray part of the fan deck and find your blue there. Stay away from the clear Crayola blues or you will end up with a house color that may in fact glow in the dark.

Look carefully at the colors around the pond and you will find your accent colors. Autumn red for the door, dark woody brown for the front step treads, crisp cloud white for the trim, and pops of golden yellow for your flower pots.

With nature as your color palette, you cannot make a mistake.

Choosing House Colors: Gray-Green?

January 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Look all around your environment for color inspiration. Sometimes the most complex color palettes come from places we might least expect, like a kayaking trip, for example. Look at the different shades and tones in the water and sky. They evoke a calmness that’s relaxing to look at. Then the red kayak pops out of the photo — we know it doesn’t belong there but it grabs our attention.

What if we use this scenic palette for a house exterior! The gray-green of that water is not a color you would necessarily pick out of a paint store color chip lineup, but it’s a great house color. It’s muddy and dark and has a little bit of brown mixed with green and gray. Very complex — not a Crayola color, that’s for sure!!  But paired with cream trim, a brown roof and pops of red accents, the combination fits right into its environment just like the house was plucked from the shores of Maine.

Choosing House Colors: Lavender?

January 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

Looking for a versatile neutral? Ever considered lavender? There’s something really appealing about this color as long as it has gray undertones. In different lights, the color can go from blues to grays and paired with cream trim and dark brown wood accents, it has a richness that is refreshingly unexpected.

In Old San Juan, we see this color in, of all places, the blue tile bricks on the streets. But of course lavenders are found in nature in most climates so I would feel free to add lavender to your crayon box of house color possibilities. Just keep the shade subdued (nothing too purple) and like many other complex hues, lavender will be a head-turner in your neighborhood.

Who Says You Can’t Paint Your House Pink?

November 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Pink can be a tasteful house color for old Victorian homes and even new-construction homes with made-to-look-old character. Ranging from bubblegum to rose to petal pink and even lavendar, you name it — we’ve seen it.

Although some homeowners may go a little over the top with the pink, here’s a house that I find to be really well done. The soft ballet-pink hue is paired with creamy white trim and topped with a medium gray roof. What works so beautifully for this property is that the gray is carried over to the garage outbuilding that stands alone completely in both style and color. By limiting the pink to the house only, the homeowners have balanced what might be considered a soft feminine palette with a dose of solid, neutral dark gray — a touch of masculinity, if you will. The design principle of balance, the yin and yang, is evident here. And it works!

Sporting a Patriotic Color Scheme

November 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

With all due respect to my international bloggers, this house sings America the Beautiful to me every time I drive by. This time, I stopped to capture its beauty and share it with you.

What makes this red, white, and blue color scheme work so perfectly is the balance of color between the candy-apple-red siding and the creamy white trim. Notice on the flag hanging on the door that, for the most part, neither the red nor the white stripes dominate. Both colors balance each other. That same effect is evident on this house — the exceptionally wide trim painted a soft cream keeps the red from overpowering the house. Just like the flag, the house is balanced.

Navy blue accents the doors — just like the small block of navy blue in the upper lefthand corner of the flag provides a contrasting backdrop to the white stars.

If you have an old farmhouse or an outbuilding on your property that you would love to feature, consider painting it red with creamy white trim and navy blue doors. Hang the flag out front. You’ll attract attention but go ahead. Be proud!

Choosing Shutters and Trim for Historic Homes

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!


Bold, Beautiful and Blue Roof

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!!

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