Posts Tagged ‘color’

is there a hi-fi way?

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

… as opposed to my remedial colored-pencil approach to trying different colors on the exterior of our house? Of course there are other ways. There are a number of software choices out there, but not all of them are good and they’re not all designed for the basic homeowner.

The one that seemed to have the best reviews was Benjamin Moore’s Personal Color Viewer (PCV3), available for Mac or PC….



At $10, it seemed like something worth trying, so I did. It’s Adobe-based software so it’s not particularly stupid-proof if you’re new to Adobe. Out of curiosity, I tried it out a couple of different ways.

First, I uploaded an architectural rendering and played with that…

Benjamin Moore Personal Color Viewer: using an architectural rendering










Hard to tell what’s going on by looking at a rendering, it turns out.

So then I uploaded a photo and played with that, too. Here’s one somewhat sloppy example…

Benjamin Moore Personal Color Viewer: using a photo












The software comes loaded with BM’s color palettes, but it’s laborious to experiment with colors — I tried to find the right gold-green but it literally takes FOREVER to change what you’ve done. The navigation is horrendous. I say this as someone who’s in the business of helping to make things online more user friendly.

I do like being able to see what colors on the exterior look like in the context of the houses around ours. But overall, I think my results were hardly worth the time I had to spend trying to compare different shades on the areas I masked out.

Bottom line on the Personal Color Viewer: If you have hours and hours to waste, go for it.

If you’re in a hurry, whip out the colored pencils.

drumroll plz… the color choices

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Well, the day is here — the day we commit to colors. Here’s how it went down.

David decided that once he finishes adding insulation to the outside of the house there won’t be enough of our existing redwood to go around the enlarged envelope, so he ordered cedar. How will we deal with the natural color differences in two kinds of wood on a single house? Easy. The existing redwood will get pulled from all the inset areas and get used on the main envelope. The new cedar will go on the insets.

And how will that look? Well, I went back to my initial color exploration and got out the colored pencils.

How lo-fi.

And approximate.

Some of you liked the bold color approach, so I tried this… Grey on the outside and a plant-inspired gold-green on the inside. Would take some courage but I kinda dig it…

grey and color












Not a neon green but a green with a Dijon-y tone to it. Along these lines…

goldy green paint swatches




















Grey on the outside and brown (natural wood color) on the inside. Safer but not loving it…

grey and brown












I always pictured the house as grey, but another option was brown (natural wood color) on the outside and dark, dark grey on the inside. I liked this better…

brown and grey












Bix, of course, lobbied for his choice…

yellow and red candy-striped












At this point we thought we might want to see the grain of the redwood through whatever shade we chose for the main body. So David planed the paint off a few of the boards that were removed from the deck-end of the house to see what shape the wood is in…

paint removal




















Then off we went to Adler’s paint department with 40-year-old redwood and new cedar in hand to try out stains. Here’s what the first color tests looked like…

color tests on redwood and cedar




















New cedar on the left. Original redwood on the right. The dark grey at the bottom is too dark for the exterior. We don’t want to live in a black box. The lighter grey is okay. But how about the way that clear stain really brings out the richness and character of the redwood? Why hide that?

Sidetrack… Just for yucks I tried the gold-green against the wood color to see if that might still work for the insets…

wood and gold green


Okay, my sweater’s way too bright in the sun but you get the idea. David, however, was not convinced. So gold-green was eliminated. (I’ll be resurrecting some version of it as an interior paint color.)

There’s a modern house on my running route that’s a decent example of a real wood-look exterior…

another modern in providence












Don’t love the off-white as a contrast choice for us but what about dark, steely grey or even black? It’s a little more dramatic without being show-offy…

Walden Residence by House + House Architects |

Walden Residence by House + House Architects |


Once you add grey/black, white works nicely (perhaps for our foundation if we can’t figure out how to take it back to its original concrete-grey)…

Casa Ro by Elias Rizo Arquitectos |

Casa Ro by Elias Rizo Arquitectos |


So I guess that’s it then.

On the main body, glorious redwood — stained clear to show its awesomeness.

A dark, almost black stain on the insets.

And white at the base assuming (and it’s a pretty good assumption) that we can’t bring it back to a bare concrete state.



Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

The snow is blowing sideways at about 35 mph right now. They’re calling it Snowpocalypse, but I think they’re overestimating this little winter blast. Still, it’s a good excuse for a quick dose of color therapy.

vintage pluto

Orange makes me happy. Thanks, Pluto! And hey… sorry Goofy got clothes and a voice and you just get to be a regular dog.