November 15, 2015 § Leave a comment
In honor of my beloved Paris, let’s talk about shutters. In my humble opinion, nobody does shutters better than the French. Classic, elegant, tasteful and actually quite functional as opposed to our (often) vinyl interpretations on our side of the pond.
That said… shutters do not have to be functional, and it’s okay if they’re vinyl. But how can we make our vinyl, nonfunctional, imitation shutters look more authentic? Size. Yes, when it comes to shutters, size matters.
Shutters that are too narrow or too short for the window size look like an afterthought, at best. They add color and dress the bare windows, but they don’t fool anybody. Make sure 1) there is enough room on either side of the windows for properly sized shutters; 2) the width of the shutters fits the scale of the window — they could actually function; and 3) the length is appropriate — if shut, the shutters will cover the window completely and not leave a little hem showing.
Thank you, Paris, for educating me on shutters during my trip in 2010. And my sincere sympathies to you and your people.
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 18, 2013 § 4 Comments
Wherever 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.
January 10, 2013 § 6 Comments
One approach to choosing an accent color for your stone or brick home is to let the stone or brickwork dictate the color. How easy is that. The stonework on this house and walkway revealed a whole palette of dusty blue-gray greens from which the shutter paint was then custom-mixed to a perfectly coordinated color.
In the brick example, this Old Town red brick contains a lot more colors than just red. Purple is what pops out and that gorgeous shade was the inspiration for a dark purple shutter color: Ben Moore’s Caponata AF-650. Dark purple shutters are a wonderful option for other homes as well, not just red brick.
Natural wood tones always work for shutters, especially on stone or brick and especially if the shutters are actually wood and not vinyl. Old World wonderful.
When selecting a shutter color, take your color cues from your house. Chances are pretty good that if you have a stone or brick house, you have quite a palette of colors to choose from already.
November 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
Historic brick homes like this one, built in 1810, have an exterior look to maintain. Many are under the control of town boards that determine what changes can be made to the house. But even if you own an old home or are considering buying one that is not in an historic district, don’t even think about replacing the wood shutters with easy-maintenance vinyl or the wooden front door with fiberglass.
Exterior “upgrades” that only consider the time management issues of the homeowner are not upgrades at all. Instead, embrace your older home and its history. Preserve the look by choosing a paint trim color that is not too new-looking. A gray, beige, or grayed-white will give an aged look to the trim that is appropriate for the age of the house. Charcoal instead of black will give the shutters and door a faded-black look that freshens up the paint job without destroying the look of the house. Use wrought iron or brass for your metal instead of nickel (too contemporary). And use native plants for your landscaping instead of the current, most trendy flowering shrubs.
Buck the urge to over-improve with new man-made materials. Let’s preserve as much history as we can!
April 7, 2010 § 2 Comments
The unexpected color combination on this historic home (now a B&B in Sackets Harbor, NY) really pops off the street. Whether it’s the hint of green in the gold siding, the Jamaican rum-like warmth of the shutters, or simply the combination, I’m not sure. But coupled with cream trim and accents of black, this combination is a winner.
The house color looks like Ben Moore’s Marblehead Gold (HC-11), and the shutters look like a slightly darker version of Copper Kettle (1218). I should have rung the doorbell to ask (I’ve been known to do that).
The stone steps unfold seamlessly from the foundation right onto the sidewalk and the delicate scrollwork in the iron railing ties in beautifully with the sign and even the shutter “dogs.” And for those of you who have asked about using cream window trim with white windows, here’s a great example of how nicely it works.