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Updating An Older Exterior

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New siding and a coat of paint refresh an old exterior, giving it a new, personalized look.

Q. My husband and I hate everything about the exterior of our house, especially the large holes woodpeckers dig out of the cedar siding each fall! My husband wants to replace the cedar with siding (yuck!). We are also discussing painting the cedar or re-facing the whole house with stucco. We are totally stumped about how to improve the house but in the meantime we've chosen a potential new trim colour (Dusty Laurel 3A60-4 from Behr) to at least replace the existing electric green trim. Any suggestions regarding design or colour would be appreciated.

A. Your house has an interesting shape, and painting it all the same colour might help unify the façade. We agree with you that changing the existing green trim colour would be an improvement and painting the existing surfaces would provide a pulled together, uniform look.

Woodpeckers might not be discouraged by paint, and if they are a real problem you might want to consider siding or a plaster (stucco) finish to solve that problem. First check to make sure that some of the boards aren't rotten, as woodpeckers seem to enjoy the bugs that live in rotten wood. Some of your cedar might need replacing.

If you want to try painting first — depending on the look you are trying to achieve, you could go with a country feel and paint the entire surface, including the garage door, Cottage Red E-22 from Benjamin Moore. Add contrast with a warm off-white for your trim and shutters, such as Benjamin Moore's Lancaster White HC-174. Your house has a lovely barn-style shape and painting it red would look charming.

If you're looking for a more subdued, classic look, try painting the house Benjamin Moore's Richmond Bisque E-54 and use a lighter off-white for all the trim, like Navajo White 947 (Benjamin Moore) for a brighter, more monochromatic feel. If you do go with the neutral scheme, think about painting your inside front door the Cottage Red for a welcoming, warm entrance.

Removing the existing iron railing and building steps or a porch towards the front lawn will create a more welcoming feel to the house. Adding a stone walk path would make the entrance more inviting, and consider installing a second lantern on the other side of the driveway, if possible, for symmetry.

Photographer: 

Michael Graydon

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