Some Before & After Fun - The Exterior Colors Edition


We're having a major blizzard here in New England. My color consulting appointments for the day have been cancelled, my dog is curled up at my feet under my desk, there is soup on the stove and I thought it would be a fun reminder of exterior painting season (warmer weather!) to take a look at some of my favorite exterior transformations from the past couple years.

The home above belongs to a single dad with two young kids. His goal was to bring some cheer to their home, both inside and out. I was inspired by how bold he was willing to with a color that feels very much like Pantone's Color of the Year, Greenery. I think it is a terrific color scheme for this Massachusetts Colonial!  Here's where we started...


I love the way the new color sets off the roof color so well. And the newer, more vibrant red just says Welcome Home. Perfect for a such a sweet family!  

Our next home is a bungalow in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Northampton, MA. Not sure what the thought behind this color scheme was, but this beauty really needed pulling together. When different colors are used to create variety, often what happens is the house becomes visually disjointed. My goal is always to bring the house into a cohesive whole. One of my Decorating Mantras is:

"Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should" 


I think it's safe to say that's true for the teal trim. It sure is fun, bit a bit too "creative" for my clients. They were struggling with grays and finding that most of their picks made the house look and feel like a battleship. When they tried to correct it, they veered too far toward brown, which wasn't floating their boat either.  The painter was ready to start, the pressure was on and their builder suggested they give me a call.   

Together, we chose some friendlier grays, with a little green dropped in for warmth and to help settle the house into its surroundings. We used a slightly darker color on top, since darker colors recede, in order to bring the upper and lower facades into balance.  


Normally, I would never specify such a bold color for garage doors, especially if they're visible from the street, but this garage, hidden around the back was the perfect candidate for the gorgeous red used on the front door!


Next up is this lovely country estate in Western Massachusetts with a natural wood shake roof. When I think about color and design, I want to establish a hierarchy for what matters most, and in this case, it was the roof. My main goal was to really make it look terrific and the soft beige, while not offensive, was doing it no favors.


My client sent me this inspiration photo, thinking her house would look much better with a darker color

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I think she was on the right track, but I had something a little bolder in mind!

In the inspiration photo, the barn-style garage was separate and set way back, so using red made sense.  My concern for this project was that a red garage would overpower the main house and leave the covered porch area feeling orphaned. Even though it's a cute idea for some houses, I knew it just wouldn't work here.  Luckily, my client trusted me on that....and on a bolder color! 

With a little bit of prodding, a few rounds of testing and some encouraging phone conversations, she let go of the mid-tone taupe she was after and embraced this deep green-gray.  Look at how great the roof looks now! The darker field color (that's color-pro-speak for the main color) brightens the roof and enhances the natural texture and variations. We chose a creamy trim color to keep the warm and welcoming feeling. See how we stuck to that idea of creating a cohesive whole? My client said "stunning" and I'd have to agree!


Notice how this deep red on the doors, which I chose from the darkest tones in the brick, enhances the brick rather than fighting it. That's what it's all about...making the natural materials look their absolute best, while making sure we honor the architecture.



P.S. I'd never seen this house in person before I went to take the after photos. My client was in a huge rush, painter at the ready, and my schedule for on-site consults was full. So we did this work virtually. I do virtual color consulting with clients all over the country.
It can be done!  




And, if you missed my blog pot from last fall, about how we handled this roof....which is green and in great condition not to be replaced anytime soon, you can jump over to that post right here.


We made lots of changes--think shutters, foundation, color for the porch ceilings--you won't believe the difference! And, I hear the neighbors are just thrilled.


If you're thinking about painting your exterior this spring, I suggest you call around to contractors now. The season here in New England, and in much of the country, is limited and the best painters are already starting to book their summer work. And if you need help with color, please let me know. It's always a good idea to call me before the painter shows up. Another of my Decorating Mantras:  No one ever makes a mistake taking their time.