Decorating & Design

March 19, 2013

Exterior Inspiration: Little Grey Houses

I blame Arren Williams. While working on our special Makeovers issue, which hits newsstands in Canada on March 25th and in the U.S. on April 3rd, I was very inspired by the before and after transformation of his downtown Toronto house, which is featured in the issue. Thanks to Arren, I’ve become preoccupied with the idea of painting the red brick of our Toronto bungalow. GASP! (I know, many people recoil in horror at the idea of painted brick). But I’m gathering evidence and inspiration and who knows, maybe by the time the weather warms up I’ll be ready to do it.

Here’s a sneak peek at Arren’s transformation. Pick up the Makeovers issue to get all the details on how he achieved this cool modern look.

My house doesn’t look anything like Arren’s but it’s very similar to this one. I drive by this place often so one day I pulled over and snapped a picture through my car window to add to my inspiration file. I think this is the shade of grey I’ll go for — just a bit lighter than Arren’s. By the way, both Arren and the homeowners above own cars in coordinating charcoal grey metallic. It’s a detail that makes a difference in Toronto, since in both cases the car is parked directly in front of the house on a parking pad. Love it! Mr. A and I have a white car and a black one respectively. I think both will work with my new scheme.

I see this house almost every day when I walk the dog. It’s siding and not brick and the pale grey isn’t quite what I want, but I still think it’s totally adorable. It’s very California beach bungalow by way of Scarborough, Ontario (it’s just minutes from Lake Ontario).

I found this one after doing some Pinterest searching. My roof is also brown, so I was glad to see this example of how the brown roof works with the grey house. Roof colour must always be taken into account when choosing exterior paint colours or whenever you’re having a roof replacement. Black roofs are best because they go with everything. So if you are replacing your roof or having some roofing repairs, keep that in mind when you speak with your roofing contractor.

I know what you’re thinking. Not many of these are actually painted brick. But here’s one I snapped in Greensboro, N.C., when I was in town for the High Point Furniture Market a couple of years ago. This home was surrounded by grand stone or red brick Georgians. I like the how the homeowners spiffed this one up to fit in without overdoing it.

Most of the houses above have contrasting trim, but I think I’d like to go with the same grey on the brick and all the trim. I think it will make the house look a bit larger and more modern. This pretty house in the coastal town of Ludington, Michigan has just the look I’m going for.

Now, the next question is, if I paint the house grey, what colour should I paint the front door? I’m thinking green, but which green?

See our Front Yards With Curb Appeal for more exterior inspiration.

Photo credits:
1. Angus Fergusson
2-3, 5. Margot Austin
4. The Mulberry Tree blog
6. Vreeland Road blog, photography by Jennifer Schoenberger