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Reader dilemma

Angela sent us an email with a dilemma that I'm hoping you all can help her with: "I have recently purchased a small red brick home that was built in 1930 - I love it and cannot wait to get my hands on it. Currently the house is red brick with a heinous John Deere Green trim that I am dying to paint but I have yet to stumble across some really great inspiration or references. It has natural shingles so there are technically three fields of area that need color, red brick being the majority. I love the idea of something slightly eccentric but still classy - like the grey house with the lime green door. I would appreciate if you could point me in the right direction." Having never had the opportunity to be able to paint the exterior of a house, I am sort of at a loss as to suggestions for Angela, which is why I thought I'd open it up to all of you. Her house is absolutely ADORABLE as you'll see below, so getting rid of the awful green will make a huge difference and make her home even more fantastic with great curb appeal. Leave your ideas in the comments!


Reader Comments (25)

Congrats on your new house! As for colours I absolutely adore soft green colours on houses and I googled and found this picture for inspiration. Enjoy and good luck! (http://images.younghouselove.com.s3.amazonaws.com/2009/06/curb-appeal-green-house.jpg)

16 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGabbi

What an adorable house! I love red brick with a combination of grey and white... You could leave the beautiful shake natural in the peaks, paint the peak facia and braces a light neutral grey like Pelican ICI 30YY 72/018 that will read as white, the horizontal trim and wall caps a warm grey like plateau grey ICI 40YY 20/081 and punch the door with Yellow Barn ICI 40YY 65/263. The most important thing is to test the colors outside (in sun and shade)... try painting some boards and moving them around the house.. step back and look at them from the street. To finish it off you could add black house numbers, lighting and mailbox if you have them. Good Luck!

16 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMika

hey! congrats on your new house - for inspiration you would probably enjoy seeing what Sarah did over at Sarah's house...
there was an amazing dye that could be applied to brick changing it to whatever colour you like - in her case, a lovely dark bluey grey and planted some lovely plants around to create amazing 'curb appeal'
agree on the grey theme :)

16 Apr 2010 | Unregistered Commenternat

Great house. Love the brick and the shakes, but you're right about the green - it's got to go. I could see the trim in an off white to bring out the red brick colour and compliment the natural shakes. It's a very eclectic house, so I don't think that you'll want to go with anything to bright or too dark. Good luck! Can't wait to see the finished product.

16 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThea

On my computer screen, the "John Deere" (ha!) green reads as teal, and my first thought was ... love! Have you considered teal?

16 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVal

Congratulations, it is a lovely house. I would suggest as a first step to cover that ugly green but leave the brick and shakes as they are. After changing the green color, you would see if shakes need color also, but I dont think so. I think that a safe color to cover the green would be a pewter grey or terra cotta. Something to unite the wood and red brick. Let us see what you decide to do!

16 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLoulou

The only color I would change is on the trim - to black. Classic and will go with any other color changes that you make.

16 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

I think the shakes would look great in a warm taupe/grey color with creamy white on the trim. Keep the brick natural is a must and maybe a nice dark door to draw the eye. Best of luck! Older homes are always great projects!

16 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristina @ greige

I love the house- the brick and shakes are fantastic and I wouldn't change them for the world. Are there similiar bungalows in the area that you can look at for inspiration?

I would paint the trim a dark forrest green OR a creamy white color. The green reads as teal on my monitor too, but teal or JD Green that has to go!

16 Apr 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlojo

I would paint the whole house, including the brick (personal taste). There are plenty of historic precedents on painted brick, plus, it will give the house a very fresh / new look! I think all the trim and siding should be on the light cream colors with a strong accent (window muntins, front door).




16 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRtmorfin

I'm with RT, paint the whole thing, a light colour like off white or thick smokey grey. It'll look fresh and updated but still charming. What a gorgeous place!

16 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSam

Congratulations -- what a great house! First, don't paint the brick. Second, I recommend that you take a look at this book:


And I'll share 2 personal observations with you:

1) Many historic homes that you see today are not painted in a manner that would be consistent with the style of their original design. Over the last century, we've gotten pretty boring with paint colors. If you do some research into historic bungalow paint schemes, you'll find that the historic schemes are usually much more adventurous and interesting that what you see on the street now. The last 5 or 6 decades have brought a lot of white paint with bland single color trim. Don't assume you have to do something 'modern' to be interesting.

2) It is more important to choose colors that will enhance the elements of YOUR home (architectural details, brick, roof, landscaping, etc.), than to choose interesting colors for the sake of interesting colors. From what I've seen, modern colors (like chartreuse green) look best on bungalows that incorporate some contemporary modernist design elements -- or used as small accents in the garden or landscape.

My neighbors painted their 1920s Spanish revival style house a deep maroon. The color is gorgeous, and yet it does NOTHING for the house. In fact, it obscures all of the lovely historic flourishes that make the property special. By contrast, my other neighbor painted her garage door (which sits behind the house) a stunning cobalt blue (she took lobelia flowers to the paint store and had them match it). It looks amazing. She didn't paint her house or trim blue. The garage door is not visible from the street, so it is a lovely and unexpected treat as you enter her back garden.

It is sort of like buying a dress for yourself. Just because the color is gorgeous doesn't mean it will look gorgeous on you. There are some beautiful colors that I won't wear because they don't look fabulous on me. Instead, I'll get a purse or a pair of shoes in those colors. Or some fun socks. You're not buying clothes because you love the color; you're investing in clothes that make you look great. Same thing with your house.

16 Apr 2010 | Unregistered Commenterarroyo

I think you should keep the red brick as is and look for a warm, natural colour to complement the red brick. It could be a spring green, or you could go for a more conservative, but stylish not too dark bottle green. You could also try a red or orange colour that kind of blends in with the brick if you don't want the trim to stand out so much. Just keep the window frames light! Good luck!

16 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Great House and congratulations.

My two cents: I'd be thinking of painting the barge boards, the two small stocco pillasters, guttering and eaves on the roof and porch black. It will make them look less heavy, or "finer". Paint the window frames, door frames, the porch lintel, the base line that goes all round the house and all the brackets white, it will accentuate them, or make them "pop", and finally the window lintels beneath each window, and the capping on the porch Ballustrade as well as the bit of capping at the bottom of the stucco pilasters primary yellow. Maybe also the front door and screen in the primary yellow as well??

I'm a fan of black against skyline hence the gutters and bargeboards.

16 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTony

There is nothing classier than black and white. Just ask our leading ladies! Bricks left as they are, heavy on black (for a more modern take, go a bit glossy) the eaves and front columns white, of course, windows surrounds black, with the interior trim white. Steps and porch floor glossy black -- well, that would be a fun place to mix the two --- a design to match the age of the house? A flowing art deco design, perhaps something Erte-ish, or a large, modified fleur de whatever. White on black, of course. And FABULOUS urns!

Gargoyles are always tasteful. Just my opinion.

16 Apr 2010 | Unregistered Commenteroregonbird

Resene is NZ's leading paint house with fabulous paletes such a Whites and Neutrals, the Range fashion collection and of course the effortlessly cool Karen Walker collection of designer muted slightly retro hues. They have a great tool on their site - Resene Ezy Paint. You can either use the online version or download your own copy. Either upload a picture of your own home or choose the one online that looks similar. Honestly - the hardest part is chosing your colours!


Personally - black, white, wood and brick as per oregonbird or try a dirty duck egg blue with white and natural wood. Good luck!

16 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSammy

Working in a company that sells paint and woodcare, I see a lot of pictures of houses all the time. And I know that in Denmark the wood would be painted white with a litlle splash of redness. There are so many great details on this house, so white would ad some ease to the appirence of the house.
Good work :-)
, Wally

17 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWally

Being from Australia, I immediately thought of Sydney's Federation houses. Although they were built about 30 years earlier than Angela's, they have similar characteristics in terms of shingles, brick and trims requiring different colour treatment. Here's a link to a website with images of Federation houses which may give you some ideas. http://federation-house.wikispaces.com/Appian+Way%2C+Burwood
Natalie Singh

17 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

Amazing house, so beautiful.
I think that the idea of having grey with a pop of color would be amazing. Lime or a blue midtone would be nice.

17 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEva

I'd go for black/dark gray trim. Classic and you can contrast with a bright door, and you can change that a million times and it will always work with black. I'd leave the cedar and brick alone. Painting them will just create more maintenence. Maybe add an interesting light fixture and some nice potted plants on that great porch. Also are the steps concrete or painted? You'd might change that with the new look.

Good luck, it's a darling house!

18 Apr 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlindsay

your shakes look new-
to age them to the silver gray color, wash with a solution of water and baking soda and allow to sit for a few hours. (test a patch first)

18 Apr 2010 | Unregistered Commenterj.

I have a very similar bungalow in Atlanta/U.S. We used a warm brown on window sashes, ivory on trim (columns, double freize board), and warm taupe on shingles. It was a little too conservative for me so I painted the door a historic Ben Moore robin's egg blue. Makes me smile every time I see it and the blue draws attention to our verdigris lantern on the front porch. Our shingles are a cementitious product and needed to be painted. The natural gray of weathered cedar is a lovely color too.

19 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I'd also go with the black and white theme. I'd paint all the trims black (except the large board above the porch), the stucco pillars and window surrounds. Paint all the rest white, not the shingles though because those will be a pretty shade of grey eventually.

And paint the porch ceiling and front door, perhaps robbin egg blue or a very intense turquoise though more blue than green, or apple green or lemon yellow or even bright candy apple red. Or whatever you feel like, as long as it isn't Halloween Orange or beige.

Good luck with that and congrats on the pretty house ! May you be happy there :)

19 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStepanka

Do something poppy like pink against the red brick. Or maybe some surly black...

24 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKTH

There's a house near mine that has recently been touched by someone with cute style. I walk by it all of the time and think how cute it looks. It's mostly white and gray (which you could make work, with gray on the shakes and white trim)...and then just the risers of the stairs are painted an amazing muted chartreuse (with lots of gray in it). Totally modern, but not garish. I love it.

28 Apr 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

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