I recently read that the COVID-19 shutdown has spurred a significant boost in home improvement projects. I guess that there’s always a silver lining if you look hard enough. Thankfully the home improvement giants like Home Depot and Lowe’s, and other smaller hardware stores, have been open to support the demand. Nothing better than fixing up your home when you’re seeing lots more of your “four walls” than you ever imagined. I’ve also noticed an amazing uptick in my website’s traffic directly related to my blog posts that discuss choosing paint colors and give general color advice. Thanks for checking out my prior blog posts in this area – it’s much appreciated.
Paint colors are a fundamental decorating issue, and one of the biggest decisions most of my clients make when they purchase a home is choosing their exterior paint color. It's a huge decision - and one that you want to get right. Along those lines, here’s a story I came across on how a family from Portland, Oregon decided on a paint color for their exterior – they let their neighbors, and then the whole internet, decide. Wow, that is way more than “second opinion!”
I’ve included a link to the original article below, but here’s a summary just in case the link disappears at some future point in time:
Oregon Family's Public Vote for New House Color Goes Viral
(by reporter Janiane Puhak of Fox News; 26 May 2020):
“There’s no place like home, so it all should be just right.
One Oregon family is dazed that a public vote for the new paint color of their house went viral on social media, with more than 2,000 entries from over 20 countries pouring in overnight.
The Landreth family of Portland recently combined a home improvement project with a learning moment for middle schooler Grace, who was tasked with completing a school project about documenting data, KOIN reports. To bring the lesson to life, the family painted five colors on the side of their house and created a QR code for passersby to scan with their smartphones, leading to a Google Doc to vote for a favorite choice for the fresh paint.
The poll exploded in popularity when neighbor Michal Naka tweeted out a photo of the project on Monday, which has since gone viral with nearly 13,000 likes and 6,300 shares.
“We went to bed last night and had about 60 people walking by, and we’re like, ’60, that’s crazy!'” Brian Landreth, Grace’s father, told KOIN on May 25. “Currently, there’s more than 2,000 entries.”
Now, through the magic of the Internet, the dad and daughter say they’ve received responses from over 20 countries around the world. Participants can rank five shades: a muted “Rocky Mountain” brown, “Wild Orchid” purple,” an “In Good Taste” slate blue,” the turquoise “Blessed Blue,” and “It’s Well” sky blue.
“Please help us decide by ranking the following colors for our house,” the survey says of the numeric grading scale. “1 being amazing and 5 being ‘I seriously can't look at that color every day.’”
Twitter commenters seem partial to the turquoise blue hue.”
My Take on the Color Options
Hmmmm….how to say this diplomatically….I’m afraid I wouldn’t choose any of the colors presented. My initial take was that the colors are all way too vivid, too “saturated” to be pleasing on the exterior of a home. Even the brown is too vivid. But I wouldn’t necessarily suggest a dark brown exterior in the suburban setting that I can discern from the photo. I must admit I’m influenced by the fact that I grew up in dark brown home in the suburbs, and I never really liked the color. When my parents changed to a pleasing white siding (when I was a teenager), it was a happy day!
For the Langreth family, if I had to choose 1 of the 5 colors that they considered, I would choose #3, the gray-blue color, but I wouldn’t have chosen that particular shade. It’s ironic that the color (from Miller Paints) is called “In Good Taste Slate Blue.”
So what’s wrong with the colors options that the Langreth family presented?
In my opinion, this is a perfect example of when you look at a small color chip, and admire a color like #4 - the turquoise “Blessed Blue,” and then you mentally extrapolate that it would be just as pleasing on the 2,000 square feet of siding on your home. Unfortunately when it covers that much surface area the color might end up being a tad too much in the end. Now, turquoise and teal are my favorite colors, so I’m a fan of this hue. But…you can see from the small patch of the exterior, that it’s too bright. Such a color needs to be very grayed down. Actually, I rarely recommend green, teal, or turquoise for the exterior of a home, but it depends on the landscape. Wooded, green grass, beach, desert, modern, urban? Too many variables for a “one size fits all” analysis of green here. Suffice to say, I would strike #4 and #5 from my list.
I remember when my husband and I were living in Colorado Springs (our first home years ago), our backyard neighbors painted their home a vivid blue. They weren’t home the day the new color went up, and of course we didn’t say anything to them. Then, about a week later, we noticed the painter came back and repainted the entire house with a more “grayed down” version. Sigh of relief…thank you, good neighbors.
What Color Did the Langreth Family Pick?
What color did the Langreth family finally choose? A week later an article from KPTV reported that “more than 150K votes from around the world” chose #4 - Blessed Blue.
Yes, the bright turquoise. Oh my! The family seems happy, and after all, they turned it into a democratic vote, very gracious.
You can get the updated story from Miller Paint's Facebook page:
As one of my on-going projects I am quite fortunate to have a client who asked for my help furnishing and decorating her historic home; located about 10 miles west of Boston. My client’s project is super unique in that her home used to be the town’s school house. Years ago the building had been divided into a duplex configuration, with her home being the right side of the old “school house.”
I just love old houses with their attendant millwork, charm, and even their very “non-square” and “non-level” idiosyncrasies. In fact, ten years ago I did quite a bit of historical decorating work at the famed Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, and I still enjoy unique opportunities such as this current project to saunter down the historical path, so to speak.
To give you a feel of the progress that my client and I have made using an “incremental” design and decorating process, here are some “in progress” photos of the charming school house renovation showing our gradual addition of lighting, window treatments, and furniture.
We're still working on the finishing touches. I must say that, prior to my introduction to this project, my client did a wonderful job directing the renovation of her house in a manner that preserves the very best of the features of the home, while infusing it with a current warmth and comfort factor for her family – which includes teenage sons. (click on any photo to start the slideshow):
I love what I do – and I routinely give thanks to all of my wonderful clients who allow me to explore and celebrate your homes with you.
Barbara Phillips, interior designer and owner of Center Stage Interior Designs, has delivered impeccable window treatments and design services to both residential and commercial clients in Massachusetts since 2001.