It’s Friday! Let’s get to another reader question from Satori’s Facebook page, shall we? Although our weather has dipped down again today (please, please let this be the end!), it’s time to start talking about freshening our exteriors with outdoor paint and adding more curb appeal. I received photos of two different houses with two very different looks asking many of the same design questions. Today I’m starting with Nicole’s two-story suburban home.
Desperately Need Curb Appeal!
Hello Shauna! I have a major design block. One of the things we want to work on this year is our (lack of) curb appeal. Specifically at the front door. We may buy a new one, we may just paint this one out, but…I cannot for the life of me pick out a color that works. It’s south facing, direct sun all day long. The door already gets incredibly hot so we don’t think black or super dark would be great. Plus fading issues?
I printed out a few pics of the house and cut out the front door. We stuck hundreds of paint chips behind it trying to see what would work. I really don’t want to match the trim color as that seems to be what everyone else in our neighborhood has done. Boring! So far the leading choice is in the purple family, but my hubby isn’t thrilled with it.
We would also like to add window boxes or jazz up the front garden. Any and all suggestions would be incredibly welcome!!
Huge fan, Nicole (Scrap Me Baby)
After emailing Nicole for a bit more information, I found out her style is fairly classic, but she isn’t afraid of color. Landscaping is very selective, with only one purple-toned tree in the front yard. Here are the photos she sent me (she reassures me the siding is cream, not light grey as it appears on my screen).
Before selecting a door color, I always suggest considering the other exterior elements first. Which way does the house face? What are the trim, siding and roof colors? Is there any stone or brick? What plant/flower or colors of nature are prominent in the growing season? What is the neighborhood like?
Next, I think about the style or era of the home. Is it classic? Modern? Victorian? Traditional? Craftsman? Each one lends itself to certain color palettes.
The final consideration is the homeowner’s preference for color. Which paint colors is he/she naturally drawn to and which ones are out of the question.
Although the siding on Nicole’s house is cream and the shingles are medium grey, the teal trim provides certain paint color limitations. In addition, the southern exposure means nothing extremely dark or bright (colors can get twice as bright when they go up). The only current landscape factor is the large purple-toned tree.
Considering these factors, there are three different door color scenarios I would suggest.
1. Deep Blue-grey
2. Muddied Down Yellow
Note: Because photos and computer screens change colors drastically, the specific colors I included in the above palettes may need to be modified. Colors should always be tested on site and viewed at different times of the day in varying intensities of sunshine for best results.
Option one, Flint (AF-560), is a classic paint color that is easily substituted when black is just too dark. Option two, Citrine AF-370, works well when you want a punch of liveliness without being too bright. Finally, the deep plum color, known as Chambourd AF-645, brings a sense of fun sophistication to the front door. Each color, although very different, will provide the contrast the door currently lacks. Take a look at what your front door color says about you for some insight and a little fun.
In addition to changing the door color, I suggest adding a few other touches, such as a coordinating larger-scaled outdoor mat and a seasonal wreath. A larger light fixture will also help pull they eye in that direction.
The final step will be softening the hardscape with more substantial plantings. For starters, fill in the area under the front bay window with shrubs or ornamental grasses at the back and perennials in front. Select something that can withstand the summer heat and stays fairly compact, and consider colors that complement the exterior house colors, such as purples, yellows and various shades of green foliage. Because the sidewalk seems to end abruptly, extend it by digging out the grass in a curved pattern and filling it in with mini bark, grey stone, or simply just plantings. This planting area will also help to camouflage your side window wells.
As for the window boxes mentioned in the question, I think the area may be too tight. Instead, consider an additional planting area incorporating the large tree, and possibly adding stone to the front of the house in the bay window area that ties in the grey color of your shingles. The nice thing about exterior projects is they can easily be broken up into stages as your budget allows from year to year.
Thanks for writing in, Nicole. I hope this helps. Be sure to keep us updated on your front door/yard progress!
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Have a great weekend!