Friday, December 9, 2011

Exterior Dreaming

As the year is winding down we're gifting ourselves with a little bit of downtime in regards to projects. Naww, we are far from stopping any kind of work but the jobs are smaller, more decorative and contained while we're spending a bigger chunk of our time curled up with a good book, snuggling together watching a movie and just plain enjoying the season (as much as work allows).

It's been 10 1/2 months since we closed on our "Ugly Duckling" and 6 months since we moved in and it's been a whirlwind of home improvement projects ever since. A teeny bit of downtime sure is in order, isn't it?

While we're kind of stationary on the couch, we're happy and eager to plan next year's projects. The biggest one on our list is giving our Ugly Duckling an exterior facelift. It needs it baaaad. The last paint job is failing bad and our house is starting to look like that creepy haunted house at the end of the road. Not to mention we're not too overly crazy about the current depressive blue-grey paint job and dingy blue trim. And the windows need some loving too.

Poking around for inspiration on the 'net, I stumbled across the Sherwin-Williams' color visualizer. Best. new. toy. ever! This fun online tool allows you to upload a picture, define areas to be painted and with the click of your mouse and a drag and a drop you get to "paint" your place in whatever color you dare (and then some)!

You can find the color visualizer here . You need to register first but since that comes with the gift of a $10 off your next purchase coupon, it's worth it. Plus, you get to play with the color visualizer. 'nuff said!

Once you're registered and logged in, you're ready to roll. You can either use a scene provided by Sherwin-Williams or upload your own interior or exterior photo. You then need to "mask" or define the areas you want to paint using a masking tool you might recognize from using Photoshop.

What's really cool is that not only do you get to use -all- of the paint colors by Sherwin-Williams but that they have it neatly organized for you. There are collections by color as well as a collection of historical colors sorted, again, by time period. That's really nifty for us Old House lovers!

Color Collections to choose from

A glimpse of the historical color collections

Here's the Ugly Duckling in its ...ahem, current state (more or less: we have removed the weird handle bar in the middle of the steps, the ugly old awning is gone, mailbox and porch lights have changed and the downstairs window frames were tentatively painted white, just to see what it'd look like)

Our Ugly Duckling is considered a "Vernacular" style house meaning it looks like a typical house of the time and place it was built without following too much of any particular architectural style such as Foursquare, Colonial, Queen Anne, Victorian, etc. It was built in 1914 or 1915 and if you ask me ,it shows a bit of Bungalow flavor with its low-pitched roof and the somewhat prominent eaves. I masked these characteristics to emphasize the architecture through paint. Kind of like putting on make-up.

Playing with the colors from the historical collection, the colors of the Craftman era always seem to work best with their down-to-earth beauty and simplicity.

[Grey doesn't have to look dreary. This is actually pretty sharp looking,

thanks to the crisp contrast of trim to body color]

I especially like it when the front gable is painted a different color than the body. Here I tried some different warm shades of grey and crisp white trim. Yum! Looking so much better!

Don't you love how the color visualizer makes the color change look so natural and real? It's amazing how light and shade are still visible and no detail gets lost. Since you're not using bucket of paints, spending endless hours rolling, brushing or spraying on paint, you can go stir crazy in your color choices to boot!

Here's the Ugly Duckling in daring red and a touch of grey

Sweet and modest in yellow with a bit of brown

Or airy and peaceful in turquoise

Best. Toy. Ever!

So far, I like the turquoise look best on our house but then again I'm usually drawn to blues and greens (case in point: turquoise dining room, teal bedroom, blue-grey bathroom ... you get the idea). What do you think?

We're still in the very very early planning stages of this project. It's going to be a bear of a project - our house is not all that little and has two stories as well and the old paint job is abysmal. I've picked up a couple of DIY books on this topic from the library that make it sound doable even at two-stories, and we're following up on a couple of painter's recommendation from the neighborhood for an estimate to find out just how much we value our sanity.

Pretty-fying the Ugly Duckling on the outside is something I -really- want to do. I want it so much, I'd even consider scaling a ladder taller than my step stool. No kidding.


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  2. Three good options......

    Red is the most unique in the neighborhood.
    Yellow isn't common, but still present.
    Blue/gray, I think, is pretty common around here, which obviously means it has wide spread appeal.

    Can't go wrong, imo.

  3. Hello Bill!

    Thank you for the compliment! I really enjoyed (safely) experimenting with the exterior colors. Isn't it amazing how the look of a house changes with a different paint job on the outside? I tend toward the Craftsman style era colors for our house; they seem to fit the best. Wha kind of house is yours?

  4. Just stumbled upon this post from a google image search. We just bought an old foursquare colonial, which will need to be painted this spring/summer. Thanks for the tip on the color visualizer tool...I can't wait to try it out for our house!


    PS: I like the yellow or turquoise best on your house. :)

  5. Hello Shannon!
    Glad I could help! I think it's a great tool if you need some help visualizing, especially for such a big project like the exterior of a house. What a lovely house you bought! I can't wait to follow your adventures :o)

  6. The turquoise is stunning; by far!!!!