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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Exterior Curb Appeal - Please Help with ideas

Jason OwensDecember 18, 2012
Historic neighborhood lends us to only painting the trim work. Need input on color options and what we can do to spruce up the place from our two neighbors. Thx!
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Chroma Design
For starters, power wash the paint off of the foundation and leave it natural as your neighbors have done. The continuity is nice and I simply think it looks better that way. Same for your stairway to the front door. Paint the basement half round window black to minimize its visual impact. Paint the hand rail black too, it is a classic look. Then be expressive with your trim work. You have great details to work with. You could go with 3 colors, but to keep from looking too gingerbread, make two of them the same color one darker than the other. The Ben Moore historical collection is a good starting point.
Good luck.
4 Likes    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 7:49AM
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English City House Exterior · More Info
I think this townhouse is just so fabulous. Simple color, the beautiful wood door… You have your wonderful place to work on. Have fun!
1 Like    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 7:59AM
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I do agree there is alot of blue. Not the correct blue, just blue. Take the suggestion about the black railing, it is right on. The doors should be refinished and given a nice top coat. leave them in a tone similar to what exists. The blue at the top of the roof line should be the same colour as the grey roof. Camoflouge the downspout to match bricks. You could use a 3 colour palette. Similar to the painted ladies in San Francisco. BUT, I think making a lesser statement would work here. I like the black idea maybe take it further to the trim. All foundation colour, bricks stairs has to go back to the original, sand blast this blue away.
I do like the picture I see here as well, what I am saying is minimal colour, whether black, tan, simple works.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 8:37AM
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Timeless neutral colors would be best, as the others are saying. What about a gray-ish olive and black as trim paint colors, then do your steps and foundation in a natural brick hue to make them look unpainted? Refinish your door in a beautiful warm medium stain with a red undertone and it will stand out with the olive toned and black trim.

trinity addition · More Info
    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 8:57AM
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I agree with the other posters. Another option for color trim is a very dark green, nearly black.

If that's a window box under the first story window, fill it with annuals or perennials. If it is not a growing season where you are, you can add pine boughs and tiny white lights. Use solar lights if there are no outlets nearby. Attach cords with cable ties to screw eyes to avoid potential "walking off" problems.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 8:59AM
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Sharon McLeod
If that blue was more of a steel blue it would look better.
Personally, I like the black trim look on traditional brick.
Brooklyn Heights Addition · More Info
I also love black shutters!
Green Basements & Remodeling - Exterior · More Info
    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:00AM
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Would want to be sure the historic neighborhood patrol has not developed an acceptable palette of colors you can't stray from before picking paint. Is there a neighborhood organization in control of such?
1 Like    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:21AM
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Jason Owens
OH YES! We can't sandblast any prior painted stone/brick or paint any unpainted surfaces, and yes we have to be careful with color choices. Lot's of guidelines to follow - but it helps to keep the neighborhood looking nice.
We've wanted to incorporate black with the iron on the windows and redo the stair banisters. So, glad to hear others think it is a good idea.
    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:30AM
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What? you are , by some wierd bylaw going to have to keep that blue painted bottom? That's just ridiculous. Can you paint over it>?
    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 5:53AM
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Jason Owens
fabia, we can paint it, just not blast the stone.
    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 6:06AM
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That is terrific news. I think with some of the suggestions here you will have a terrific transformation to the exterior of your home.
Do the windows have wrought iron decorative grills on them? Hard to see from the pictures.
You live in a gracious old lady, please do her justice. Not so much rouge and lipstick :)
    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 6:18AM
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Jason Owens
haha fabia. That's the goal! Yes, the windows on the first floor have wrought iron which should not be painted blue. I want those back to black! I somehow need to get a tree put in, but not sure what kind of tree is good so the roots won't grow and break up the sidewalk.
    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 7:17AM
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Olive greens, brick reds, ocher, browns, taupes and creams are all great late Victorian colors that could be used on your home.

The blue could work for now if some of the cream areas on the bottom and the bottom sills were painted a chocolate brown type color, maybe with some subdued orange red or red brown highlights, and the stonework on the base either painted a stonelike color to blend in, but not matched to the neighboring houses (it will never match and a close match can be more jarring than a noticable difference) perhaps two shades darker than the neighbors, or also painted darker. It would require some finessing, but I think the hard-to-reach hood over the attic window could stay as is if you choose to go conservative for now, and save the big change for when you can do window repair and proper surface preparation.

Here is are examples of some nicely painted trimwork, some a little brighter probably than originals but still nice, and a palette of 1880s trim colors, with the blues being used only sparingly as an accent because they faded quickly.
    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 8:46AM
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Sand blasting typically damages the original surface, especially brick, hence the code. Consider other methods for removing the paint... strippers, bead blasting, etc. Your local masonry suppliers could probably help advise. Then present a plan to your preservation board that respects the spirit of the code. All said because restoring the natural stone is the best first step you could take. If not, at least paint it to mimic the stone color.
    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 5:28PM
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To bring out the richness of the brick , which I love, I would paint all blue areas in a rich khaki. My house actually had the blue trim and changing it made my house look new.
    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 5:36PM
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To bring out the richness of the brick , which I love, I would paint all blue areas in a rich khaki. My house actually had the blue trim and changing it made my house look new.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 5:37PM
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Travis Robert Renovations
We agree with choosing a neutral timeless color... How about adding some copper elements to your home such as gutters and or flashings... This will look great as it begins to patina.
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 5:39PM
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Can you put window boxes on the middle two windows? Something in black ironwork would be nice. Some stained glass would be pretty. I love the very top windows. Maybe some curtains with a vintage look would set them off. Maybe a topiary in a black urn between the rail and the window...
    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 9:01PM
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I like the idea of the darkest grey, blue or black on all of the trim now blue. Pick out a two other colors from the group posted by victorianbungalowranch to use to highlight the other surfaces. Try to rmove the paint from the stone.

The front door looks like it need TLC. I would restain it and seal it from the weather.
    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 9:12PM
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Of course painting the door is an option as well, and can look great if done well.

Here is a web site from England with a lot of good information on Victorian brick and stonework and row (terrace) housing. http://www.bricksandbrass.co.uk/diy_materials/stone/maintenance_of_stone.php

You may have a water problem under the left window--it is discolored--possibly an old leak from the window sill.

Nation Park Service Technical Preservation Briefs:

http://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs.htm (lots of paint and masonry info)

Window repair and removing old paint with steam:

John Leeke http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/index.htm

Sandblasting is generally considered OK for stone if you are going to repoint, but not for brick or concrete. You might be able to remove some or even all of the paint with steam, chemicals or a heat gun, (do not use a heat gun near glass!( and finish it off with gentle sandblasting, if you protect the brick. Sandblasting and too harsh of chemical cleaning can remove the surface layer of old brick, revealing the soft inner layer, which will start to crack and sprall (flake off) every winter, which is a total mess to repair. There is a new Lead-Out paint stripper that encapsulates the lead if you use chemicals.

You must mask off the area and protect the ground and vacuum up and dispose of the debris properly, and being so close to the sidewalk, you may be required to erect scaffolding to cordon off the area from pedestrialns.

I would check the neighbor's stone to make sure it is cut stone, not cast stone (which was being made then actually--sort of like concrete) before proceeding. Although sandblasting is much more gentle than its heyday in the 1970s, it is really a last resort technique.
    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 12:47AM
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Jason Owens
Thanks everybody for all your help and ideas. Surely moving towards an improved curbside appeal. :)
I like the ideas of khaki, olive, and black (iron). Will sand and refinish the vestibule doors in a rich natural color and possibly paint the next door in a rich red?
    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 6:31AM
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I think for trim you should go with HC-101 Hampshire Gray(flat), and Satin Black (Gloss)for the wrought iron. HG is part of the Benjamin Moore Historic collection. It looks almost olive, but has more taupe/gray look as well. It looks great on red brick.
    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 5:23AM
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btw, my red brick has the same blue trim, which I am changing to this combination. here is a picture of what this looks like.
    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 5:26AM
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