Exterior Painting

August 29th, 2008

I’ve been fantasizing about painting the exterior of the Brick House.

I love the look of this house – form that Martha Stewart article – and really want to copy it.

After 3 trips to Lowes for paint samples and 16 colors…

I’ve got 16 failures.

This is so disappointing. I really suck at picking exterior colors. Now I don’t even know if this is the direction I want to go in…any recommendations for mind blowing exterior color combos for this house?

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  1. Lisa on 08/29/2008:

    I think your inspiration picture is gorgeous!

    As for picking colours, it seems as though the yellow samples you’ve tried have a slightly cool or green undertone, maybe try something saturated with a little warmer hue?

    With the main house colour, the samples you painted directly on the brick immediately next to the white background look like they could work nicely.

    It’s hard to comment on colours you can only see on a computer monitor, but those were my first impressions. I think you’re on the right track and it will look lovely with your roof once you finish.

  2. Amy on 08/29/2008:

    I’m struggling with the same thing. I put my swatches on pieces of scrap lumber so I could move them around the house and check out different combos together under different lighting. Also, have you looked at the Sherwin-Williams Suburban Modern paint collection?

  3. Jennifer on 08/29/2008:

    Try a browner/orangier yellow. The ones you have are too washed out and lean towards green.

    I would go with a rich creamy white for the main body of the house, too… not a grey.

  4. troy. on 08/29/2008:

    I agree with the comments above about going warmer with your yellowish color.

    Here’s a online color chart that may prove helpful. I have it linked directly to Lowes’ paints, but you can “back out” of that to any store/brand of paint you’d like.

    Of course, these are computer screen shots that you’ll have to verify w/ samples, but hopefully it’ll help you get closer. I really like that inspiration shot as well, esp. w/ the style of your house.

  5. Why S? on 08/29/2008:

    Are you also planning to paint the porch area? If not, I’d be careful with the yellow tone on the door. But I like the idea of the grays on the brick. Hard to tell from here but I’d like to see more of that darker gray at the top/middle of your palette.

  6. Stacy on 08/29/2008:

    I just painted my trim two shades of gray and my door yellow. The gray didn’t turn out quite as I’d hoped, but I love the way my door turned out. I used “Quilt Gold” by Sherwin Williams and highly recommend it. It has just enough black in it to deepen the color a bit.

  7. Punky Bruise-ster on 09/01/2008:

    I think if you are trying to approximate the Blueprint example, you should go with the lightest of your greys or a white for the brick. The other greys appear too similar to the current color of your brick. Then you can go with a deeper grey for your trimwork.

  8. "E" from LaLand Blog on 09/02/2008:

    I actually like the organic look of the grey cinderblock…it reminds me of Frank Lloyd Wright’s concrete style…or the Japanese architect Tadao Ando. Perhaps just accent colors for window trim and some colorful landscaping would do the trick. Not too sure what would grow well out there in the heat but perhaps a combination of jade plants, cactus or whatever else is drought tolerant would be nice.

    Just my 2c.

    Kick ass furniture BTW!

  9. Anonymous on 09/07/2009:

    hi again brick house, anonarchitect here!

    I completely agree with E from LaLand, above, that the cinderblock on its own is actually awesome, if you take a minute to embrace it. It's actually a really good strong neutral color, and resonates well with the gray asphalt (?) roof-covering: all that pale silvery gray everywhere is beautiful, with a great patina on its surface.

    I would suggest something very architecty, which would be to NOT paint the cinderblock at all, but instead to paint all the trim and wood, including the window and doorframes (maybe even the doors), and the gutters/soffits along the roof eaves, a beautiful pale dove gray that EXACTLY matches the cinderblock as is. This adds a delicacy and a sort of monolithic feeling to the building that is very sympathetic to the midcentury inspiration for your work on this house.

    I think also, philosophically, as a modernist, that it's a good thing, if you can, to celebrate and preserve the inherent beauty of a material, like the grey cinderblock. Those concrete bricks have a kind of strength and style that (unlike the unpleasant weird brick of your fireplace inside) doesn't need covering up with color and paint.

    Plus: MUCH cheaper and LOW maintenance! …Thinking about the exterior in this way makes a real virtue out of something you'd otherwise feel stuck with. Okay, that's my two cents!

    Thanks again for sharing this great project.

    (PS: speaking of the exterior, I'll plan to email you a suggestion drawing for the front porch and entry!)

  10. THE BRICK HOUSE on 09/08/2009:

    anon – I know, we suck – we already primed the house. http://trickmybrick.blogspot.com/search/label/exterior

    I loved the gray cement too, but there were some issues that led us to do it. There were already large patches of paint everywhere from where someone did a horrible sloppy job painting rain gutters that were removed before we bought the place, so there were all these ghost gutter outlines all over the house. Then we had to do a bunch of mortar repair that looked awful, and the biggest problem – none of the concrete was sealed in any way. Water would weep in through the cement and pop the plaster of the wall. There is no lathe, just plaster applied directly on the interior of the concrete bricks. Our whole guest bedroom has to be redone from water damage on the plaster. A whole wall is missing!

    Thats why we fixed the mortar and sealed all the bricks. It stopped the plaster from popping off all over the place, but now all the lovely bricks are primed. We were thinking of painting everything (trim, walls, ect.) a monochromatic lighter dove gray or deep charcoal…it all depends on my mood.

    Then we were going to do slat horizontal wood planks from floor to ceiling to close in the front porch. I think the warmth of the wood, the neutral gray and some sculptural and interesting native plantings will all come together well. I hope.

    I'd love to see your suggestions!

  11. THE BRICK HOUSE on 09/08/2009:

    I do tend to lean philosophically modernist. I like to simplify and use materials as they are.

    Its to bad that in the 60 years this house has been around that its seven previous owners didn't tend to agree with me. Fixing other peoples mistakes is so frustrating. You should see where the ripped out the enclosed breezeway on the back patio. What a mess.

    It was nice to, no one else in this town had a gray cement house…we stood out. Now its all white waiting to get painted gray again. And our roof is crappy and needs new flashing and edging.

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