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Restoring an Exterior: A Lesson in Connecting the Dots

Posted by Emily Lauderback on

This exterior is in the process of being transformed! With an old house like this, the finish carpentry detail is what gives it so much character and authenticity. Through intentional placement of accent colors and using all of the relationships to accentuate the architectural detail, we bring out the multi-dimensional depth and spirit of our older and cherished dwellings.

Making the most of repairing water damage to the upper deck on a newer addition at the rear of the house, this homeowner foresaw the value of creating the color design now to inform and finish the repairs. She is not thinking about painting the rest of the house until late summer, but the color design has even influenced how the carpentry on the repairs has been designed. When new carpentry does not match the old, the color makes it obvious. This kind of planning and thinking ahead is right on as far as we're concerned.

As is always our process, rather interior or exterior, we begin with what we have to work with. Some of the original windows have been replaced by white vinyl windows. Therefore, we know that all of the exterior window sashes throughout the home will be specified in Benjamin Moore's OC-68 distant gray, which we have found to be the exact match for most white vinyl windows.

The next element with which we begin is the porch and deck floor color since the contractors doing the repair work have already applied the entire finish. In working with a true sample of their product, which they called Adobe, I found the best Benjamin Moore color to flow with it to be HC-87 ashley gray.

"What are those two colors going to be?" you ask? I don't know yet. This is the process. I just start with the dots--the givens--and build from there. I don't know where we are going to end up yet.

Okay, so at this point I have a very stark white in OC-68 distant gray and one of my most tried and true, beautiful, warm grays in HC-87 ashley gray. The homeowner has told me that she would like a dark blue-green color. I end up with 2135-20 stonecutter. Gorgeous!

The next dot to connect is the trim color that will be surrounding all of the very white window sashes. The goal is to minimize the contrast between the richness of the body color and the window sashes. By minimizing the contrast, we allow all of the colors to energetically flow so that they begin to work together rather than fight each other. While this color is often the most uninteresting, it has one of the most important roles and could be considered the glue of the design. To best flow with the colors already determined in this design, the main trim color is Benjamin Moore's 2143-50 old prairie. This will wrap all of the windows and doors and will be the porch pillars and railings. However, all other architectural detail will be in HC-87 ashley gray and 2112-30 stone brown with some small and vivid accents for the doors, shutters, porch ceiling, and crown to give it just the perfect balance of whimsy!

It may be months before we can post the finished product! Stay tuned...

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