Monday, November 19, 2012

Color Scheming

Paint is such an easy fix, and often an inexpensive way to sprucing things up, giving old things a new lease on live.
True dat!
I'm not afraid to try new colors, to whip out the spray paint like a triggerhappy Gringo, but when it comes to this one project, I'm a real 'fraidy cat hiding underneath the covers and thinking ...and thinking ...and thinking ...

It's not like you can just repaint the whole exterior of your house if you decide you don't like the colors you picked after all. Well, technically you could, but who - right in their mind - would??

Fact is, the Ugly Duckling needs a fresh coat of exterior paint. A blessing and a curse wrapped into one neat bundle is that there are no requirements, no rules to follow in determining the color scheme on your house in our historic district. None. Nada. Some general guidance - yeah, but no hard and fast help, historic examples, etc. If you want to paint your house Barney purple or Pepto Bismol pink - so be it. Fancy a house with a John Deere color scheme? Have at it! Feel like channeling your inner Rainbow Brite? Rock on!

And if you area historically inclined traditionalist like me, you have some research carved out for you. Thanks to the evergrowing internet this is now easier than it was decades ago. Just a quick little googling provided me with color palettes from 1910-1920 giving me a general idea of which colors were hip back when our Ugly Duckling was built.

This small color palette from 1916 is expecially neat since it gives you suggestions for color combinations (trim and body).

Here is another palette from 1918 (I believe) with more color choices. Hurra!

After browsing a bit online, learning that a proper historic color scheme consists of at least three and sometimes as many as a dozen colors, picking up every available exterior paint pamphlet from the box stores and wrecking our brains just what colors to pick, we also learned that you should consider the houses surrounding your house.
Heh ... now things get really interesting.

You see, our neighbor's house is bright apple green. Bright, happy, glow in the dark green
Anything looks sad and drab right now to it, really, especially our little grey Duckling house with its dark blue-grey on blue-grey color scheme.
The remaining houses on our block are more in keeping with the Craftmanstyle sense of color: earthy browns, brick, sage greens and moody blues.
Then, one day, I came across this particular two-story Bungalow-style influenced house on "The Daily Bungalow.
Cue: angels sing.

It is so so SO pretty! And stylewise, it's related to our Ugly Duckling with its strong horizontal lines, the one over one sash windows, the full front porch and the gable with its sturdy brackets. And the color scheme makes my knees go weak, even though I'm not really a fan of cream colored trim.

I count four colors: a sage green for the body of the house, a light cream for the trim, and two accent colors: a darker cream - ochre on the barckets, possibly the rafter tails and details on the columns and a terracotta color for the porch floor, steps and sashes.


The husband and I are still debating whether to use a sage green as the body color for our Ugly Duckling or to go with our first idea of choosing a muted blue-green instead to bridge the color gap between our happy green neighbor on one side and the chocolate and moody blue bungalows on the other.

This is what our block breakdown would look like with the new color scheme applied. It seems to pull the overall street color scheme together really well, doesn' it?

So, we've been busy testing paints traying to nail down that perfect that not-turquoise, not-teal , but perfect shade of blue green we have on our minds.

It's not as easy as it sounds although I do believe we have a really really promising candidate in Valspar's "Sea Port." In order to find the right kind of cream color to go with it though, I think I'll hop over to the paint store and have them color match paints to the Bungalow picture. Maybe we should try a sage green for the body color. Just for kicks and giggles, you know? We have until next spring before having to  startg on this project, one side of the house at a time, and we really want to be sure we pick colors that we will love and that work for the house. Once it's painted, that's it. I don't think I will have any desire to paint it a second time for a couple of years afterward.

1 comment:

  1. I love your choices! If you are still looking, Benjamin Moore's Wythe Blue is another pretty blue green.