Listen! I have a secret to share. Not every transformation we undertake is in extreme contrast to the ‘before’ state. Sometimes, we are really just making a seemingly minor adjustment. But the results can be just as dramatic as when we make a night-and-day type of change!
Case in point: An exterior paint project we recently consulted on, for a ca. 1890 Colonial Revival home in a historic district in one of Boston’s oldest western suburban towns.
This is what it looked like last fall…
[I was captivated by this original door hardware – but not the plain Jane white front door color!]
The before is not bad at all! Truly. But our client was not a fan of the color. Her preference was for more of a neutral house, or possibly a slate blue (which nearly everyone in New England – present company not excluded – seems to love). She also envisioned a somewhat darker color – which I thought was a good idea, given the visual weight of the roof, which I felt was a little too predominant. Since it was time to paint the house anyway, from a condition perspective, she called me and we got to work developing a few different color schemes!
The biggest challenge with this particular house, aside from the restrictions that come with the territory of living within the bounds of a historic district, was finding a main paint color for the body that worked with both the brown roof and the beautiful stone work on the chimneys. I did some research and found an earlier photograph of the house that showed it in a very similar color, but with its original wood shingle roof.
This helped so much to put the current asphalt shingle roof into context. I can see that the color was likely chosen to mimic the look of ‘younger’ wood shingles as much as possible, and may have, in fact, been what it took to get the material change approved by the local historic commission.
We presented three different color schemes, and here is the winner (and the ‘AFTER’)!
The ochre front door is everything! I love how this color provides some zing, and also relates to the yellow tones of the roof. Note how we only paint the door, and not the side lites, the color. The door should stand out!
The biggest difference to be noted here is not with the color – after all, we basically went from a light green to a mid-tone gray green. But by using a slightly darker color-nuanced neutral, rather than the actual color, what we have now is a far more natural looking combination of materials. This was the problem solver that brought the roof and chimney stonework into harmony. I also think the color helps the entire house relate really well to its environment. Everything is in much better balance now.
The front porch could not be more inviting and adorable, and already had the perfectly light and airy (my preference!) haint blue ceiling.
We also specified a softer off-white for the trim to further reduce the contrast (while maintaining the same ‘white trim’ look), but the client opted to hold off on trim painting for now, since it was overall in pretty good condition – and it will be an expensive endeavor.
I think this is proof positive that you don’t need to make a BIG change to see BIG results. Simply by adjusting color or the idea of the color, we can achieve a major transformation. Have you ever done this in your own home? I’d love to hear what small changes you made that made a big difference – with paint/color, or otherwise!
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