My house is painted! The outside at least. After much agonizing over what color to go with, it all happened in a flurry of decisions that culminated in the entire exterior getting painted while we were out of town on vacation. WHAT? How did a classic control freak like you let that happen, Dina? I know..I know. But it just happened that timing wise the painting crew was available and it was either take advantage and decide or wait some unknown amount of time for them to be available again. All in all I love the result but there are some definite regrets/whoops decisions that I thought I’d share with you.
If you recall from my last post (which was over a month ago? world’s worst blogger award goes to…), I was floundering on my original idea of going with a white house/black window combination. Really I knew in my heart that I wanted a white house but I got very conflicted once I saw the house in that beautiful weathered cedar shingle. The texture and tones of the wood were just killer and not something I’d ever be able to replicate with paint. The coastal New England white cedar shake lover in me so wanted the house to stay that way but that gray tone you see above is just a primer on a red cedar shingle. Left in that natural state it would weather to a dark brown – not the look I was going for.
If you’ve ever picked a white paint color you know how frustrating and difficult it can be. It sounds so easy right? White…duh. But there are warm whites, cool whites, grayish whites, blueish whites AND THEN add in the factor of putting those colors in natural sunlight on one side of the house but constant shade on the porch and I seriously don’t think I slept for 2 nights straight stressing about this. I started out thinking I wanted a warmer white…not like a stark cool white. And I threw in one grayer color (which I think would actually have looked pretty much white once the whole house was done in it).
I was leaning toward Swiss Coffee from the swatch testing above because it was bright but still warm. After another marathon session with my paint decks and Houzz, I panicked and worried that the “warmth” I saw in the sunlight would turn into dingy-ish yellow in overcast light (read: approx. 6 months out of the year in Boston). So at the last minute I went back and tried 3 more colors – Classic Gray (again very white despite the name), White Dove (a favorite interior color of mine) and White Heron. I stood in front of these swatches and did that incredibly annoying thing where you dissect every nuance of the color to anyone who will listen but of course as I look at them below, 4 of them look almost identical to me.
In the end I came down to White Dove and Swiss Coffee and just went with my gut and chose White Dove. It felt cleaner and a true white without being stark (which White Heron was). To be totally honest, if I had left on vacation and they had messed up and painted it Swiss Coffee I’m not entirely sure I would have known the difference. Just #realtalk here.
Here’s how it looked when I rolled back into town after my vacation.
Immediate reaction: L-O-V-E The white is exactly what I was hoping for and it looks so great with the windows.
On the right below is a brand new window with black trim from the factory. On the left is one of our original windows that we kept. There are several of these stationary stained glass windows throughout the house and I adore them but they were in seriously rough shape. They had to be entirely re-putty’d and then painted to match the new windows. I will say that close up they don’t look amazing. I mean, they’re 100 years old. It’s ok not to look brand new when you’re 100 years old, right? (at least that’s what I’m telling myself as I stare down my 40th birthday next year!)
Here’s the back of the house.
Ok so here’s where this happy story starts to fall apart a bit. The new back entrance to the house has a little covered porch that is essentially a mini version of the front farmer’s porch – shingled side walls, columns, tongue & groove ceiling, etc. As soon as the new ceiling went up I was OBSESSED with the texture and tone of the wood and I knew it would be the perfect counterpoint to the crisp painted surface of the house. I wanted it to stay natural so I opted to just have it clear coated instead of stained or painted. Coupled with the wood on the new deck flooring, it’s just awesome.
I went around and around on what to do about the front porch ceiling. Somewhere along the 100 years of existence someone decided it would be a good idea to stain the porch ceiling a very, very dark brown. Coupled with the old battleship gray color of the house pre-renovation, it was downright oppressive out there. It just felt like that ceiling was on top of you. I so desperately wanted to strip the wood and bring it back to something even close to resembling the new back porch ceiling but was advised that that would be pretty much impossible (getting the stain out of all those grooves?!). So it was either rip the entire ceiling down and put up a new ceiling like what we’d just installed out back, install new tongue & groove OVER top of the existing (which would require some reworking of the trim around the windows and perimeter) or just take the easy way out and paint it.
So what did I do when faced with these options and costs? I took the easy way out and had it painted. I knew deep down…I just KNEW that what was going to look best was a natural wood but I figured I’d try the paint first and hoped it would work. Sadly I can report my gamble did not pay off. It’s just too much paint I think. The house sits up a bit from the street so you can really see the entire porch ceiling plane when you look at it from the street and it just feels very washed out to me.
The additional complication here was that Mr. H+F really wanted to paint the front door a light Carolina blue shade. And honestly, he’s asked for so little in this whole process, I was not going to fight him on this. So off to the paint store I went with my UNC sweatshirt to be color matched! If I am being truly honest, I was worried about how the whole blue porch ceiling was going to play with the light blue door. Like…that’s a whole lotta blue.
So to compensate for the light blue door matchy/matchy ceiling issue I choose a shade for the ceiling that was waaaaay lighter than I normally would have picked (remember when I painted my porch ceiling in NC?) It’s just a hair shy of white but not enough of a contrast. I tried to correct for this by keeping the porch floor and hand rails natural but again, it gets a little lost…the floor is largely hidden and because of the angle the porch ceiling is not.
So here’s where we are today. In the end, Mr H+F doesn’t love the door color (I know, right?!?! I kinda love it but he wants something brighter which I can of course get behind) He is officially out of votes and I will be selecting the new color 🙂
The options on the table are:
- change the door color to something bolder like cobalt or bright yellow or something…TBD and then use the deeper blue on the ceiling. Basically repaint the ceiling and the door. That’s like a $400 fix. Tempting because it’s not a huge financial committment OR
- change the door color and bite the bullet and redo the ceiling the way I originally wanted to. This requires the existing ceiling to be pulled down, the existing trim to be removed, new tongue & grove boards to be installed & finished and then all the trim to be fixed, prepped and painted. A whole lot of UGH! This is a $4000 fix.
I don’t want to take the easy way out again only to be looking at a bluer ceiling that is still not right but man…it’s hard not to with that kind of cost difference. Especially at the tail end of our project when my appetite for spending money on stuff like this is very low. I’ve also debated just trying to sand the existing ceiling down but again I’m going to be left with these white stripes in the groves and that doesn’t feel right either. What do I do?
I. DON’T . KNOW!!