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.

Color Your Home Happy

January 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

ImageWhether you live in a deluxe villa or a double-wide, you deserve a happy home. And the place to start is by adding color. Numerous studies have shown that color influences the way we feel and can even be used to describe our emotions (“I’m in a blue mood”).* But what may influence us the most is a lack of color.

The study found that people with depression associated their mood with the color gray. And you don’t have to paint your walls gray to have a gray aura in your home. Take a look around your house, in the corners and shadowed areas and particularly the ceiling. Do you see gray? Do you feel blah? Well then… time for color.

Start by painting your ceiling either a bright white or a tint of your wall color. That will either maximize the light reflection in the room (and bolster your mood) or make the room feel bigger and more open. Either way, you’ll feel better.

Next, if you’re timid about your color-selecting skills and afraid to make a mistake with the wall color, then start small. Add some colorful accessories to the room — pillows, artwork, other changeable items. Doing that will help you create a palette of colors you like without making a big investment or paying a painter to repaint two or three times.

When you’re ready to take the plunge and add color to your walls, try an accent wall first. Pick the wall that you see when you enter the room (the focal wall) and paint that a color you like. Add accents to the room in the same color to pull the room together. Keeping three walls neutral with pops of color on an accent wall and accessories here and there will help you step into the world of color without any Crayola catastrophes.

Note: There is nothing wrong with neutrals and whites in the home. To many people, neutral means calm. But if you are somebody who likes to wear color and you are drawn to color yet your home does not reflect that love of color, then it’s time to add color. That’s what I’m talking about.

*http://www.livescience.com/6084-colors-describe-happiness-depression.html

Coordinating Brick House, Siding, and Roof Colors

January 9, 2013 § 651 Comments

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In this brick house example, the dark sandy grout color was used as a siding color, and it coordinates beautifully with the earthy shades in the brick. Even the roof is tied in although black would have worked just as well. Contrast that with the pink brick and lemon yellow siding example below right. Yikes.

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Sometimes there’s just no way around ugly brick except to paint it. And the results can be stunning. Not only have you made your house bigger visually by blending in the brick with the siding color, but also you have added texture to the house without the busy look that highly variegated brickwork can create. A great compromise and an updated house.

Making Sense of Color Trends

January 8, 2013 § 1 Comment

ImageIs anybody else’s head spinning as you look at the color trends for 2013 or is it just me?

When we look at the Benjamin Moore Color forecast, we clearly see pastels — a look refreshingly optimistic every few years after we finish huddling in our dark, cozy dens and want out. Here we see a pale yellow added tastefully to warm gray walls — a really soft, uplifting combo. (Lemon Sorbet 2019-60 is the Ben Moore paint color of the year if you haven’t already heard.)

The other color combos from Ben Moore introduce Dusty Mauve (2174-40) back into the mix (been a few years, like 30), in combination with Golden Straw (2152-50) and a soft navy (Evening Dove (2128-30). The other trends from Ben Moore show us more Coastal blues and greens (never out of fashion in my book), and more taupes and grays, a trend we have been in for a few years now. Here is a link to the Ben Moore colors and combos: http://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/for-your-home/trends-2013

And then there’s Sherwin-Williams. Talk about something for everybody…I’ll say. I wouldn’t call this a color trend. It’s more like a smorgasbord. Image

We have the Vintage Moxie Collection, an Easter basket of colors to choose from including Radiant Lilac (SW0074) and Aloe (SW6464, the Sherwin-Williams Color of the Year).

http://www.sherwin-williams.com/architects-specifiers-designers/inspiration/color-forecast/2013-color-forecast/vintage-moxie/

Then if you’re still in a chalky-earthy color mood, there’s the Honed Vitality Collection including all colors we’ve been using already like Unusual Gray (SW7059) and Roycroft Suede (SW2842), both terrific exterior colors. http://www.sherwin-williams.com/architects-specifiers-designers/inspiration/color-forecast/2013-color-forecast/honed-vitality/

Sherwin-Williams went Peter Max with its High Voltage collection — Electric Lime (SW6921) and Feverish Pink (SW6859) are colors I would reserve for a pillow or a picture frame. Maybe a front door color if you’re so inclined. Yikes! http://www.sherwin-williams.com/architects-specifiers-designers/inspiration/color-forecast/2013-color-forecast/high-voltage/

Finally Sherwin-Williams offers the dark, moody, masculine colors for anybody who’s left. The Olde World Gold (SW7700) and Plum Brown (SW6272) are both terrific exterior colors as are most of this Midnight Mystery collection. http://www.sherwin-williams.com/architects-specifiers-designers/inspiration/color-forecast/2013-color-forecast/midnight-mystery/

What Sherwin-Williams has shown us with their lack of consensus when it comes to color trends for 2013 is that we are more diverse in our color likes and personalities than ever before. Pretty much anything goes. So paint what you love. If you are caught up in color trends, then stick to whites and neutrals for your walls and add pops of trendy colors in things like pillows, accessories of all kinds, and even front door colors. Things you can switch out easily when the next hot new trend comes along because who knows what the color experts will throw at us next year.

Choosing a Metal Roof Color

January 7, 2013 § 4 Comments

Just a pet peeve of mine, but I really do not care for a bright red metal roof on an old historic stone house. I know that some of my bias is regional–I’m sorry if I’ve offended anybody’s taste. But what I much prefer is a color that comes from the stone itself. What that does is blend the roof with the house and not call it out like a big old stop sign on a dirt road.

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This photo shows a neutral option for a metal roof color. Perfect actually for the little stone house above.

If you are choosing a metal roof color for your home and you do NOT want to feature the roof as the focal point of the neighborhood, choose a color that blends or approximates a traditional roof color (grays, bronze, brown, charcoal, black). On the other hand, if you need people to find your house in a snowstorm, then choose a bright Crayola color and love it. Fair warning.

Everybody’s Favorite Neutral: Revere Pewter

January 4, 2013 § 2 Comments

As our design aesthetic moved steadily from beige to gray over the past several years, one warm gray popped up as the perfect transitional color. Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter HC-172 is currently the number one  all-around neutral as it is not too light, not too dark, not too yellow, not too green, not an ounce of pink, and even not too gray. Perfect with all kinds of complementary colors including this luscious Persimmon 2088-40 on the ceiling.
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I like Revere Pewter in public areas like the dining room as it looks spectacular with warm golds and crystal. In the kitchen, it highlights the stainless steel appliances. In the hallway, it even makes a golden oak bannister look terrific.

As one fan describes it, the color “calms and restores, like driftwood found on the beach.” Yup. Kind of makes me want to dunk the whole house in it.

Black: Sophisticated, Modern, House Color?

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.

 

Brick House Trim Colors

December 26, 2012 § 338 Comments

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Creamy white trim with black shutters (and door) give brick houses like these on historic Nantucket Island in Massachusetts a classic traditional look that is timeless.  But for a more contemporary look, use the brick itself for your trim color inspiration. Choose a color that you see in the brick or the grout– tan or taupe or another earthen color. If you select a color from the brick, it will blend with the brick and provide less contrast than the white. The overall effect will be soothing and contemporary but it will call less attention to the architectural details. The Boston building below is hardly contemporary, but the color scheme is taken from the brick and grout and is one example of using coordinating trim colors instead of contrasting trim.

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Neutral but Never Boring

December 10, 2012 § 2 Comments

Does your home scream 1972 when you enter the front door? Are you stuck with metallic wallpaper on the ceiling in the guest bath, orange shag carpet in the basement, or an avocado bathtub? Then maybe it’s time to update. But this time, instead of hopping on the latest hot new trend (I could name a few here, but I’ll resist), how about giving your home a classic re-do. Something that will stand the test of time, or at least a decade or two, without branding your home with a particular year. For that kind of longevity, we turn to a neutral palette, but neutral does not have to mean beige and it’s hardly ever boring.

-The key to a neutral palette is texture. You could have an all-white living room but if that white includes fuzzy white pillows, a shiny white marble table top, and some warm white chenille upholstery, then the room will have plenty of interest.

-Neutral does not have to mean just one color either. In this room, the walls are a latte color, the sofa is dark brown leather, and there is plenty of color in the books and objects on the white bookshelves. What makes this room work so well is that the stonework on the fireplace is a feature and because the other furnishings do not stomp all over the subtle colors in the stones, the room’s palette includes peaches and golds and grays and tans and taupes — more than enough colors.

-Neutral allows you to bring in color in the art, pillows, and other more temporary furnishings and accessories without clashing with a strong wall color and a brightly colored sofa.

-Neutral allows you to change your accessories with the seasons and the holidays without overpowering the existing color palette or the holiday decorations.

-And when you’re selling your house, neutral allows potential buyers to see themselves in your home and that is critical for a successful sale.

So as you choose tile and furnishings and paint for your newly updated space, consider neutral because neutral does not have to be boring.

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