January 2, 2013 § Leave a comment
Just like the LBD (little black dress), black houses are popping up all over and with predictably dramatic effect. The trend seems to be particularly hot in Southern California although I’ve seen it in Massachusetts too. Why black? Well, why not.
-Black as a house color fits into any neighborhood and certainly stands out from the myriad white, yellow, and beige houses already out there.
-Black looks terrific in the winter if you have snow in your area. We all know how dirty white houses can look even after a fresh snowfall.
-Black can make a small, insignificant ranch look modern and even spacious. Add a pop of bright color to the door and you have a stand-out in the neighborhood instead of a ho-hum been-done-before.
-Black, like white, makes any color look good. Imagine the opportunities for vibrant landscape color along the foundation of a black house.
-Black is a color to consider if you plan to paint your red brick rambler. If you’re tired of the tract house vibe, why not make a major statement.
When does black on the house NOT work? When it starts to fade unevenly and make the house look like charred remains of a terrible event.
If you decide to paint your house black, you must prepare to keep the paint fresh, the lawn mowed, the weeds pulled, the clutter corralled, and the driveway plowed because your house will create quite a sensation on the block. Nobody will drive by without noticing. And that’s kind of fun.
Bored with beige yet? Consider black.
May 31, 2012 § 3 Comments
It’s time to repaint the cottage — it has been that shade of grassy olive green since about 1970 and I think we’re ready for a change especially since the cottage next door is also green, just a darker shade. You might think that choosing a color for my own place would be easy for me since I work with color all the time. But just like you struggle with paint color schemes, I have to go through that process too.
First of all, what colors are already in the neighborhood? We have dark green on one side, beige siding on the other, and brown and beige two doors away on either side. So that leaves quite a few options.
Next, what color is the roof? It’s a gray metal roof with a white fascia piece in front. The roof doesn’t show from the front, but it’s quite prominent on the sides so roof color is a consideration.
What color are the windows and other non-changing elements? The windows are all white vinyl (I know, but they’re easy maintenance for a cottage). We had the chimney removed (that had been the inspiration for the brick orange Adirondack chair).
So with fandeck in hand, I spun through the color possibilities. I eliminated yellow and white because they would take too many coats to cover the green. Red was thrown around as a possibility but I didn’t like the idea of red next to the dark green. Not summery enough. Orange is a great accent color but our cottage is not interesting enough architecturally to draw that much attention from a wild paint color. That brought me to gray and blue.
I tried some grays, both dark and light, on the Sherwin-Williams paint site and liked several with the gray roof. My reservation was that the cottage would need color added somewhere — otherwise it would look kind of blah. (Note: I LOVE the Nantucket weathered cedar look, but you need salt air to pull that off.)
Finally, I tried blue. Hmmm… not a bad idea. I ended up with a WoodScapes opaque stain in a color called Chesapeake (SW3051) with a cool white trim (Rhinestone– it’s on the blue side of white) and my Adirondack chair color for the accent. I like a dark blue cottage color — it speaks to the lake water in the background and does not attract too much attention from passersby. I also like the contrast with the windows especially for a summer cottage. I used the Adirondack chair color (a custom red-orange) for the doors including the big garage door facing the road. Now it’s easy to find the party.
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.
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.
January 10, 2012 § 3 Comments
When selecting the palette of colors for your exterior, use natural materials in the environment as your inspiration. This stonework has all the colors you need for your entire house, from the dark charcoal of the roof to the taupey gray siding and even the orangey brick walkway.
Tying your house color in with its surroundings “grounds” the house — it looks like it belongs there. A house that strays too far from the natural palette looks more like a spaceship that has landed on a foreign planet. Don’t do that to your neighborhood. Save your taste-specific color applications for inside the house.