Making a House Color Splash

March 15, 2016 § Leave a comment

I have driven past this house for years and every time, I do a double take. Situated next toIMG_4763 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.

starrynightblue

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

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.

Choosing a Paint Color for the Cottage

May 31, 2012 § 1 Comment

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 changImagee 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.

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: Pine-Green?

February 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Dark blue-green pine needles and rich cedar mulch present a warm house color palette perfect for homes that want to sit quietly in a wooded environment or at least conjure up the same.

Although much of the leafy countryside in many landscapes is a mixture of greens, notice that most have a yellow undertone. But not pine green. It leans more toward blue and for that reason can really stand out in a grove of maple trees.

To warm up the cool green shade, add brown and no better place than the roof (a gray roof is fine too but it will keep the house cool). Creamy trim provides contrast between the two darker shades and serves to outline the architectural detail (dark trim will get lost but use it if you are seeking camouflage).

For the front door, why not splurge and get solid wood stained a darker version of the roof color or choose a similar paint hue like Maple Syrup (Ben Moore 1105). Black wrought iron is the best metal for hardware, lighting and accessories.

Once again, nature’s palette does all the work.

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: Taupe?

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.

Choosing a House Paint Color: Look at your roof first

October 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

The dark blue and white color scheme on this house (below right) created a contrast that brought out the less-than-attractive features: the stained roof (not being replaced), the dirty garage doors, and the foundation latticework originally designed to camouflage, not stand out.

With the roof in mind, we chose a color that would blend instead of highlight. Although the homeowners would have preferred any number of brighter, lighter colors, the green-gray of Benjamin Moore’s Duxbury Gray HC-163 accomplished the task of incorporating the roof and the other features into a unified whole. We kept the slightly off-white trim the same as well as the shutters. But the finished look is very different. The house now appears bigger and cleaner. And the white trim highlights the windows, doors, and porch. And that’s it. The homeowners can now add colorful landscaping, pots of flowers, and other seasonal decorations.

What I tell homeowners is when you are selecting a color for your house, you really have to determine what the house wants to be. It sounds strange, but you need to look at the entire house: the roof color, the foundation color, the garden, the stonework, and yes, even the neighbors’ homes. If you simply paint the house your favorite color, you will end up with a complete disaster and an expensive mistake to fix.

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