February 15, 2018 § Leave a comment
In the next town over, there’s a purple house. And when I say purple, I mean PURple, but not just the front door as we see in the row house above, but also the siding, the trim, the doors, the shutters, and even the concrete foundation. The whole house is purple. (I would show you a photo of the house, but I don’t want to embarrass it.) The result is a house that draws everyone’s attention and not in a good way.
On the other hand, if your house is already an extrovert — one that has character and interesting features you want to show off in all their glory, then go ahead and use paint. This article from This Old House presents ideas for how to bring out the personality in your older home and shows not only colors that grab attention but also where to put them and which ones go beautifully together.
There are lots of ways to use color. This beachy turquoise, perfect for a cottage style home in a coastal community, uses one hue — a medium tone for the siding and a darker value for the shutters and door. White trim completes the cottagey look. The result is a house that displays its positive features without overdoing the palette. This strategy is especially good for a small house.
Dark colors are trending now, and this gray-brown ranch is a good example. But instead of keeping the whole house a quiet, conventional wallflower, the homeowner displays its cheerful personality with tangerine shutters, front door and striped awning. The white trim makes the colors “pop,” as we say, and you have a real looker!
Speaking of citrus, look how this bungalow shows off its architectural features with Juicy Fruit colors and — wait a minute — a lovely deep grape purple foundation. Now that works!
My favorite color combination, though, and perfect for this restored Italianate house, is terra cotta siding; a darker value for the window muntins, eave corbels, and column accents; a rich natural wood front door (and rocking chairs — nice touch); and cream gingerbread trim.
These are only a few ideas for how to embellish your older home with color. Spring outdoor projects are coming for many of us, and one of us at least has house color on her mind. Ha!
Think color, my Color Friends! And stay cozy.
April 27, 2016 § Leave a comment
You inherited your kitchen. We get it. No money for a costly re-do. We hear ya. But there are a few things you can do to lighten and brighten your dark, dated kitchen while you pour money into other fun things.
- Replace the door handles and drawer pulls. There are so many new metal options out there, and many of them are quite inexpensive. Some even come by the bagful. So there’s no excuse for keeping these.
- Paint the old golden oak cabinets. It may sound hard, but anything is better than the dated, dry and grainy orange beauties many of us were stuck with for awhile. Painting takes patience: in a nutshell, remove the doors, take off all the hardware, sand the cabinets and doors to give the surface “tooth,” prime everything with a really good primer and then paint the doors outside on a horizontal surface to prevent drips. I like to use a cabinet-grade enamel that holds up pretty well. Stay neutral for longevity although painted cabinets are all the rage. So pick a color you’ll love for a long time. Here’s what the Pros recommend for a really nice finish. http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20315665,00.html
- Switch out the overhead lighting. This is a really cheap, DIY project (remember to turn off the power first!!). There are so many options way more creative than the central overhead ceiling light or the yellowy brass candleabra over the kitchen table.
- Add under-cabinet lighting. This is a great way to add both task lighting to an old kitchen counter space and ambiance. If you don’t have a tile backsplash, make sure that area is freshly painted as it will show up now. Here’s a link for the many options and how-to’s. http://www.lowes.com/projects/kitchen-and-dining/under-cabinet-lighting-buying-guide/project
- And don’t forget to paint the walls. The easiest, cheapest, and quickest update to any room is a fresh paint job. If you need help with color, let’s work together.
Now, isn’t that easy? You will love pouring your morning coffee in your face-lifted new kitchen. Yes, you still have the old layout and probably none of the new gadgets currently available, but your kitchen will feel brand new. And think of the fun you can have with all your saved money! Enjoy.
(Photo: Brian Wilder for This Old House Magazine)
March 21, 2016 § Leave a comment
We all have them. TVs. They range in size from small in the kitchen to medium in the bedroom to large/X-large in the living or family room. It’s the piece of furniture we cannot live without, but it’s the piece of furniture that can totally dominate the room. What to do?
Hide it. This shuttered cabinet completely engulfs the black box so it exits the visual space when not in use. This idea is perfect for a formal living room that happens to house the media components. It’s an open and shut case. (Available through http://www.ballardesigns.com)
Frame it. Literally. Put a picture frame around the TV screen. (Available through http://www.wayfair.com, but I can imagine this as a DIY project, can’t you?) The idea is that when guests come over, you simply turn on the TV and run a slide show or pause the TV on a pleasing pastoral scene. Black box problem solved.
Make it go away. This cabinet, though not inexpensive, lowers the TV down into an enclosed piece of furniture at the end of the bed or across a crowded room. Nobody will ever know there’s a TV hiding beneath the cabinet surface. Brilliant, but the TV size is limited by the size of the cabinet. (Available through http://www.touchstonehomeproducts.com)
Embrace it. If watching the Super Bowl on an 80″ TV is non-negotiable, then you simply must embrace the huge black box at the end of the room. But never fear. To camouflage it and keep the room from leaning too far visually in that direction, balance the black by adding more of it in the room. For example, opposite the TV, add a black shelving unit (available through http://www.ikea.com). The tall black unit will balance the huge black TV and actually make everything else in the room (the items that are NOT black) stand out. It’s like hiding the TV in plain sight. How cool is that!
It goes without saying that we rely on our TVs for entertainment: news, sports, movies, binge-watching, kid shows, soap operas, game shows, and concerts. Although some people have chosen a TV-free path, most of us haven’t. And TVs are getting bigger, not smaller. I hope these ideas have given your design muscles a much-needed energy boost. Now go deal with that TV!
March 15, 2016 § Leave a comment
I have driven past this house for years and every time, I do a double take. Situated next to 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.
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.
February 12, 2014 § Leave a comment
Classic but always with a modern twist, white is trending now as a house color on new construction. Whether we’re craving our grandparents’ old homestead, or we like a crisp, uncomplicated look, white is in. White siding with white trim. But the surprise element lies in the accessories. Fresh options include silver for the metal color (not the traditional black), white or pastel door colors (nolonger black or red), medium-toned metal roof colors (not just charcoal shingle anymore), mismatched out-buildings (that old classic farm look is coming back in a big way), and even (gasp!) white shutters on a white house.
The beauty of white is that it really is timeless. Not only that, but it shows off your colorful flowers and the greenery of your landscaping, the orange patio umbrella and Adirondack chairs, and the turquoise of your backyard pool (okay maybe I’m going a little overboard).
See if a fresh pop of white brings out the character in your house.
March 25, 2013 § 4 Comments
I’ll be blunt. The first thing a prospective buyer will notice upon entering your home is … (drumroll please)… the smell. If any peculiar odor is detected, it can kill a deal in the first minute. Or at least knock thousands off the price. So if you have carpets and plan to keep them and if you have pets, here’s my Number 1 tip:
Hire a professional carpet and floor cleaner. It will make a huge difference. Not only will it rid your house of much of the odor, it will make one of the biggest selling features (your floors) look ready for buyers. Some other important tips:
Don’t burn fragrant candles or use air fresheners. A dead giveaway that you’re trying to mask some mysterious odors in the house. The best way to combat the smell is to clean from top to bottom and inside out, freshen the rooms with paint, and remove old carpets if possible.
Dehumidify your basement. Unless you have a completely dry basement with windows and doors that walk out into the yard, your basement will smell musty. Even if you’re not featuring a Man Cave, the basement needs to show itself to best advantage. Make sure it smells neutral.
Find a pet sitter for your animals. Whether it’s a litter box or a giant dog crate, the animal equipment detracts from the selling features of the house. And some people are actually allergic to cats. (Pet owners will not like this tip — but I’m just telling it like it is.) Move the animals to a friend’s house while you’re on the market — or at least for the Open House and the week following it.
Get rid of the dirty old furniture. This is a tough one for realtors as homeowners can take offense. But listen. Would you buy a house with a living room full of ragged recliners and tray tables? No. Remove the old furniture and let a home stager set up your living room to attract the most number of buyers. Your house will sell quicker if you stage it properly.
Tough love means a quick sale. You heard it here.