Sheltering in place has us looking outside!

Spring is here, the birds are singing and the grass is greening up……and what are we doing? We are sheltering in place……wait….WHAT?! We are all doing our part for the good of the whole, but if you are tired of looking at the confines of your interior space, take a step outside and reassess the exterior of your home. Could your house benefit from a fresh coat of paint, new shutters, a snappy new color for your front door? It doesn’t have to cost a lot and it could very well enhance the aesthetic of your neighborhood, which would make YOU & your neighbors happy. All good!

My husband and I, along with our dog Tank, have been cruising our Florida coastal neighborhood each night since the Shelter in Place rules went into effect. Here are my handsome boys!

During these evening drives, I have been noticing the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY of home exteriors in the area. Please don’t be offended if you recognize your home as one of the “uglies” in this post. I don’t mean to say “ugly” per se, it’s just that you, or more than likely, the PREVIOUS homeowner, (yeahhh, that’s right, the previous owner!), didn’t know or just didn’t care about having a cohesive exterior color palette. And that’s perfectly o.k., I guess…….., but as a certified color consultant, I feel it’s MY DUTY to help folks create beautiful interior & exterior color palettes for their homes. My motto should be, “helping beautify the neighborhood one house at a time!” Yep, that’s going to now be my personal quest!

The 2 photos below are of my friend Shelley’s coastal home. The home’s front hurricane shutters are functional so she didn’t want them removed. But they were bland and did nothing for the front facade of her house. Shelley had already painted her front door and storage room door a fun, vibrant coral color. Her exterior transformation was made complete when she painted the hurricane shutters in the same pretty coral color! You can see how those same utilitarian shutters have now become an accessory for her home. Kind of like a necklace that was needed to complete the dress. You are immediately drawn to the symmetrical windows which act like the “eyes” of the house. The homes’ long, coral lashes saying, “look at me!” It’s adorable!

Before: Utilitarian Hurricane shutters are just “ho-hum” and did nothing for the front facade of the home…….
After: Pops of Coral color make this coastal home stand out yet it is in keeping with the aesthetic of the neighborhood
She even coordinated her mailbox to match the house accents!

Just keep in mind the character of the house, perhaps its’ era or historical style, as well as how it “flows” with the rest of the the neighborhood. Shelley did all of that!

Now let me switch gears and talk about what Vancouver, BC Color Consultant Maria Killam drives home on her blog, “Colour me Happy” as well as at all of her Specify Colour with Confidence workshops around the country. It’s the issue of “Clean & Dirty” colors. There’s no better way to describe the clean & dirty concept than to show you.

Take for example the coastal home below.

“Clean” /bright blue color is painted on the top deck, while the “Dirty”/muted gray/blue is painted on the mezzanine below. This is a prime example of clean & dirty not getting along!

Above example shows “dirty” pink/beige paired with clean teal. Just say “NO”!

Here’s an example that involves a brilliantly, “clean” colored Oleander bush. By placing it in front of the “dirty” green stairwell and muted salmon colored home, the brilliance of the pink Oleander plant falls flat! Put this same bush in front of a white picket fence and it would POP!
Or this…….again, the bright red of the hibiscus flower conflicts with the dirty red brick & vice versa

Now let’s shift gears and see how clean & dirty can be done in harmony on a home exterior

Below is a great example of 2 clean colors paired and presenting themselves to the neighborhood in a pleasing and perfect palette for a coastal home.

Clean blue with crisp/clean white.

Below is an example of 2 “dirty” or muted colors working in harmony. You have a muted green sided house with a muted/dirty beige railing. It is soft & understated. These 2 “dirty” colors compliment each other! See?…..dirty isn’t a DIRTY word!!

Dirty with dirty

This cute bungalow below shows off it’s clean colors. Bright yellows, turquoise, pinks and corals coexist and show off some local charm.

Clean with clean makes this bungalow work!
This is my house in 2 colors: Beige & White. (I’m so glad creams & whites are “back trending”) What color do you feel my front door should be? I am allowed one ACCENT COLOR. Would it be GREEN, NAVY, CORAL or something else? I’m leaning toward green to relate it to the surrounding natural landscape of the palms.

I hope this was helpful. Again, with your home exteriors, keep in mind a few key things:

1). Select colors that are appropriate to the character of the neighborhood, the property & the house itself.

2). Watch out when mixing clean & dirty color schemes. Know & identify your undertones. Do you want a warm or a cool color palette? Here in Florida, many of the color palettes we use are cool. Up north in Montana, the opposite is true. Folks there opt for warmer palettes.

3). Know that exterior color will be 3-4X brighter and lighter in full sunlight. Choose colors that won’t get “washed away” if you have a lot of on sun. Conversely, if you have a lot of shade & trees around your home, you may want to choose a paint color that is a few shades lighter to achieve the appearance of the color you actually want.

4). Identify and play off of the FIXED elements of your home. Things such as the roof, siding or stone facade that aren’t going anywhere or being replaced anytime soon. Just launch your color scheme off of the colors you find in those fixed elements.

5). Remember the Three-Color Method: Field Color which will cover the bulk of the house, Trim color for railings, gabling, decks and other trim, and Accent color for doors & shutters. Any more than the 3-color rule and you get a disjointed, busy look very quickly.

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