The moment our realtor pulled up to this house, I forgot all about its promising two washrooms and three bedrooms. All I could see were the peeling teal bricks and green door. "The first thing we're doing is painting," I vowed.
Three years later, a guy from College Pro knocked on the same green front door and offered a free estimate. Sold. All we had to do was decide on colours. Simple, right?
Full confession: I love design but I'm not a designer. So while I can choose verbs, I cannot pick paint colours. (Just ask my husband about the neon yellow that I convinced him looked soft and buttery on the paint chip.) My first stop: Smithers.
Style maven Stacey Smithers and I go way back, so I strolled over with a photo and my wish list. For the bricks, I wanted a dirty, greyed off-white that would always look a bit roughed up. Not too pristine and not too taupe. I wanted the door colour to shout, "Hey, come on in!" No contest: it had to be red.
Stacey rifled through the paint deck and picked Benjamin Moore's Gray Mist (CC-80) from the Designer Classics collection. It looked perfect: not too brown, not too grey. For the door, she suggested Lyon's Red (CC-68). As I walked out, she gave me the same advice I've been reading (and ignoring) for years: "Make sure you try before you buy."
For the first time, I did. And it's a good thing: The Gray Mist that looked beautiful on the chip was too white on my exterior. And lovely Lyon's looked a little too cerise for my fella: "I'm not living in a house with a pink door." Right. Next?
For the door, I tried one shade deeper Rapture (CC-66). It was rich, warm, inviting ... and not pink. Done. On the bricks, Natural Linen (CC-90) was also a full shade darker, but still looked too white.
Our painter would be using Sherwin Williams paints, so I headed to the nearest shop to look for more options. I loved Analytical Gray (SW 7051), but worried it was too dark. The guy at the counter suggested we hold back some of the tint. Test patch #3: gorgeous colour but still too light. So we added more tint. Fourth time lucky! I can't tell you how happy it makes me to come home to a crisp new exterior that broadcasts a casual, friendly welcome.
If you're like most H&H readers, you probably love making your house feel more like home. Now's your chance to share the results as we launch our new and improved Design Contest. No pros allowed: these awards are just for readers. Take a few snaps, tell us what you've done and enter today. Six lucky winners will take home these great prizes and — the real prize — see their rooms in House & Home. Check out some winning entries from the past few years in this photo gallery.
Now that the painting is done, it's time for new porch furniture. Just give me a few more years!
In the meantime, I'm getting inspired with our patio furniture photo galleries.