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.

Black Brings It

March 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

Who says black is not a house color? Certainly not me.  Black is to houses what a little black dress is to a stylish woman. A great way to show your stuff.

Black is both dramatic and neutral. It attracts attention and shies away from it. Black blends with almost any environment, yet it makes all other features stand out, like the crisp white windows on this house. Since the trim on the rest of the house is also black, the white windows and window trim take center stage. The natural cedar roof creates warmth and texture. And the bronze gutters look like jewelry.

Another feature that stands out is the rock wall. The backdrop of black allows the depth of color on the rock wall to come forward — much more effectively than if the house were another more typical earth tone.

The mix of siding materials adds an additional layer of texture. The tall board and batten siding on the high gabled section makes a tower of that end of the house. The shakes on the rest bring it on home.

Yes, black maintains its reputation as the color of sophistication. Even for siding.

Is Your House Comfortable in its Color?

March 18, 2013 § 4 Comments

LtGrShuttWherever I go I study house color, trim color, front doors, and overall curb appeal (it’s kind of an obsession). And this house (even with its imperfections) struck me today as a good example of a house that is comfortable in its skin.

The siding color is yellow but not too lemony and not too orange. Kind of pale but not too cream. Buttery but not too saturated. It’s just, in a word, perfect for this little house.

The trim is not white-white but an off-white without being too beige. A whiter white would look too crisp and a little too Cape Cod for this antique. Off-white gives the house an aged, relaxed, comfortable look. No face-lift needed here.

And the accent color, a soft weathered green with just a touch of blue is really not an accent color at all. Instead of interrupting the house color, like black shutters would, the green simply finishes the house like curtain panels finish a room.

The point is, these homeowners let their house speak to them when it was time to pick a house color palette and didn’t try to make the house into something it isn’t.

Do You Have Two Front Doors?

March 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

2doorMany of us have more than one entrance on the front of the house, and sometimes one is rarely used. How do you indicate which door you want visitors to enter? Do you paint both doors an accent color or just one?

If you use the main front door as your guest entrance — if you’re having a party, say,  and don’t want people traipsing through the kitchen — then paint that front door an accent color (red in this case) and all other doors a color that coordinates with your siding (maybe a shade or two darker or just the trim color). If you paint both front doors red, we are not only left with two focal points but we’re confused as to which door is preferable. Painting only one red door will announce which one is open for guests. In this photo example, the homeowners painted both doors red but distinguished the front door from the porch entrance with a wreath. Not quite as clear as using color, but it works.

Now here is where it gets tricky. If you NEVER want anyone to go to the front door, then paint that door a neutral color that coordinates with the siding and paint the porch door red. It’s okay. The same applies to all the various side doors, garage doors, and shed doors. Paint them all a coordinating color but not the same as your main door. That guest entrance is special.

Just a guideline if you’re struggling with too many doors and what to paint them.

Choosing a Siding Color to Coordinate with Brick

March 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

YellowwithbrickWhere a particular hue sits on the color wheel can make a world of difference when it comes to choosing house colors. Especially if you’re trying to coordinate the color with another material, like brick.

In this example, one yellow leans toward orange. The other one leans toward green.

brickyellow.thumbnail

I don’t think I need to say any more.

It’s the House Color, Not Your Dining Room Curtains

February 28, 2013 § 2 Comments

brownhouseSometimes the best house color is one you might skip right over in the fan deck. Like this one: most likely Ben Moore’s Livingston Gold HC-16, a dark mustard-like brown with a definite green undertone. The kind of color you don’t want to see if you’re feeling queazy.

Although you probably would not choose this color for an interior room (for the reasons mentioned above), what a great house color for this old farmhouse with attached garage in natural cedar shakes. The combo is terrific — earthy, aged, and plucked from nature’s rock and wood palette of colors.

I slammed on the brakes to take a photo.

Choosing a Color Palette for Your House: It’s a Natural

January 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

wall1Another drive-by sighting of some curb appeal. This time, the stone wall pops out partly because of its mix of natural stones (and not just one kind) but also because the house color is drawn from the wall’s palette of natural hues. Even the front steps coordinate nicely with the wall.

Any of the wall’s creams, beiges, browns, and grays would have worked for a paint color, but the builders chose a light creamy yellow for the siding with a beige shingle on the portico. White trim pulls the house together and the black door makes the dramatic statement.

It’s so easy to choose your house color from nature. You cannot make a mistake.

Two Rules for Choosing a Roof for your House

January 28, 2013 § 2 Comments

OCMaxDefThe roof — any roof — is a big-ticket item on the house so choosing it can be a little unsettling. There are so many colorful options available that it’s easy to get wowed by the prospect of something other than the traditional charcoal.

When choosing your roof, make sure you follow these two rules to insure a good result you can live with for, say, 40 years:

1) Get large samples of your roof options. Do not choose a roof from a photo on the computer or a little brochure. Make sure you hold the roof sample up against the side of your house to test for color coordination and to see how busy the two are when side-by-side. Stand back at the curb and take a good look. If possible, get the address of a home that has the roof already installed so you can see how the roof looks over a large area. Does it get lighter or darker? Good to know ahead of time.

2) Avoid the clash of the Maximum Definition shingles with the house. If your house is a busy colorful mixture of bricks or stones, avoid the busy “max def” roof as you will create a combination worthy of a major migraine. The photo above (from Owens Corning) is a good example of pairing a busy max def roof style (with its multiple colors) with a house siding that is neutral, painted brick and neutral siding. There is a good balance between the busy roof and the plain, calm siding materials. There’s no doubt that the roof takes center stage. Make sure it doesn’t fight with the siding “understudy.”

If you follow these two rules, you will narrow your options down to two or three reasonable choices and avoid any major, expensive roof mistakes.

Stone and Brick Reveal Your Exterior Color Palette

January 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

hamstoneYes, it’s winter and the roof in this photo is covered with snow, but now we can focus on the rest of the house, particularly the stone. What works on this house is the color palette that is taken directly from the numerous available hues in the stonework itself.

The bricks are a monochromatic rusty red color that complements the stone without competing with it — a challenge when you have multiple materials on the house. The siding is a gray neutral, also in the stone. The trim is pulled from some of the darker taupe stones. How easy is that? Job done.

If you are building a home with different materials, use the busy one with the most colors (stone or brick) to make the rest of your color decisions. That way, the whole house will come together in a harmonious cornucopia of color.

The alternative? Choosing a color that is not in the palette at all. The result? A disjointed effect that divides the house into sections and makes it seem smaller. Can be done, but it’s tricky and needs a professional colorist to pull off. Do yourself a favor and stick with the natural palette that presents itself to you from your building materials.

The Best and Worst House Colors for Cold Snowy Winters

January 24, 2013 § 1 Comment

hamyellow1As we get more and more snow this winter, I notice what house colors look good in snow and which ones look awful. I’ll start with the thumbs down. White. It either blends away completely except for any contrasting colored shutters or it looks downright dirty. It’s also cold-looking. If you have a white house and a long winter, make sure you have lots of greenery in the foundation plantings, trees in the yard, and a wreath with a big red bow on the front door.

My favorite color for long, cold, white winters is a sunny yellow. Wow, does that color look terrific against the white snow. Try Benjamin Moore’s Concord Ivory http://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/paint-color/concordivory. Paired with a black roof, black shutters, and white trim, you’ve got a knock-out house year round.

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