Wednesday, August 9, 2023

What Color Will the House Be?

 Hands down, this is the question we hear the most (followed by 'when will it be finished' 😂).  And the exterior color is not something we take lightly.  Choosing an exterior paint color is a big deal and will be a color we live with for a very long time. 

Often with an old house, you look back in history to see what colors it has been in the past.  We know from some early photos that it was both a very light color (possibly white) and also a dark color.  We also found some very old clapboards that have been buried on the interior of the house for 70-100 years that could give us hints. 

But honestly, I hate these colors!!!  This old color chart from Portland Paints shows two of these colors -Light Drab and Green Stone (what marketing guru would ever name a color drab!!!).  I just can't imagine painting our house either of those colors!  And since the house was built with scraps and leftovers from other houses, who knows if these color were original to our house - or came from some other nearby home that had extra materials that were added piecemeal to ours.

Photo courtesy: Scott Hanson, Restoring Your Historic House

So with that in mind, we will not be using a color from the house's past.  Instead, we will pick our own color.  Which is a good thing, because we want to use James Hardi siding - a cementitious siding that guarantees the color for 15 years (we used it on a house 14 years ago and it still looks great!).  It's available in a smooth finish, which many historic districts will accept for the appropriate old house look.  But it is limited to a set of color selections.

We are installing lots of nice white trim, including the original front porch, which we'd like to highlight. But I'm reluctant to choose a dark color, so I started looking for something off white or a creamy color, that would still allow the white trim to 'pop'.  When we recently visited our daughter, I fell in love with the house across the street.  They were kind enough to share a paint chip and I used that to pick a color.  I lined up the paint chip with all the Hardi siding colors in that palette, to make a decision.

And that's where it got interesting.  The color I like is 'Cobblestone' by James Hardi.  What I realized was I've used it twice in the past.  Am I in some sort of exterior color rut??  Obviously it's a color I like!!  

James Hardi 'Cobblestone' Smooth Lap Siding

James Hardi 'Cobblestone' Smooth Lap Siding

But I still drive by these houses all the time and I still really like the color.  So it's safe to choose it again!  Cobblestone clapboards will be coming soon!

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1 comment:

  1. I say “Choose it again!” It’s not a color rut, IMO. The color is timeless - that will enhance the beauty and classic design of the home. It’s a natural that allows you to perhaps paint the door any variety of different colors in the future when you need a pick-me-up. Also keeping in mind it’s a color that would allow any type of landscaping to shine forward. And this is coming from someone who absolutely LOVES color contrasts!!


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