Color scheme for small victorian cottage
May 12, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I need a color scheme for this 800 sq ft victorian cottage (circa 1910) which is a foreclosure rehab. The best features of this house are its overall charming look and the outdoor space. The house has a 40x200 foot lot, with a deck and patio off the kitchen in the back and the arbor leads to a back area about 100 feet deep. Interior is light bluish-gray with white painted woodwork and natural maple and oak flooring

The fake shutters have been removed and won't be replaced. Unfortunately, the main floor windows are all modern replacements and the trimwork doesn't look right. The attic window still has the original crown molding hood but all others have had the trim removed. Budget is very limited, so replacing major trimwork or redoing the windows or siding for the kitchen area (open porch filled in with windows and T111 siding) is a project for the next owner.

I'm thinking of using a pale to midtone greenish gray on the body of the house but I'm undecided about the trim color. Most houses around here are done with lighter trim, but I am not sure that dark trim wouldn't be a better choice as the trimwork isn't a good feature. Sashes are white vinyl, so that won't be changing. Also, debating whether to use a mid tone gray shingle for the roof or a darker charcoal gray.

Any suggestions?
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Gray-green happens to be a favorite of mine, so I think the siding would look nice with that color. I also think a dark color would be best for the trim to make it recede.

Regarding the roof, how hot does it get in the summer? Is there shade from trees on the roof in the summer? If it is very sunny and hot, a dark roof will absorb a lot of heat.
May 12, 2013 at 3:24pm   
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Linda, if you look at these two houses, you'll see that the color is the greenish gray you talked about, with a light to medium gray roof, and crisp white trim. I think they look very good! I personally wouldn't go dark with the trim.
[houzz=Front View]
[houzz=Architecture Walk: Exterior Styles and Palettes]
May 12, 2013 at 3:28pm     
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Margaret B
What a beauty, so much potential. My vote would be to keep it simple, like the idea of greenish gray on the siding and a dark charcoal roof. Sounds as if your trim color is limited to white due to the vinyl. Depending on the age of the vinyl I would go with a creamy white trim or just white. A few classic perennials, coneflower, salvia, and catamint in the front garden and this is going to be a wonderful home.
May 12, 2013 at 3:28pm     
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Bobbi - thanks for the photos...I'm noticing that there isn't much contrast between the roof and the walls in the photos, but I think it will look OK since I have wider eaves and a simpler roof line

I lost my phone recently, so don't have the photo showing the front of the house with the bulbs out - tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, violets and the lilac bushes are leafed out now too...the flowers were gorgeous. The soil is great too as previous owners were major league gardeners

I'm not a fan of white, white trim on an older house so I would probably be looking at more of an ivory color if I go with light trim.
May 12, 2013 at 3:50pm     
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Linda - what a cute house, I love it. As much as I hate the fake shutter look, I think they give the house some character, be interested to see it without them. I painted my fence in a eucalyptus colour a sort of blue/green/grey shade that always looks lovely. It is a lovely backdrop for my garden and there is just enough blue in it to give it a lift and I have often thought it a nice colour for a house. I really like the first house Bobbi posted, I don't think you need a huge contast for the roof. Could you paint the trim the same colour as the roof so it really disappears.
May 12, 2013 at 4:55pm   
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roo - Eucalyptus is a great description of the color I want to use. I like ambiguous colors which seem to have different appearances based on the other colors around them; leaves lots of options for future trim updates and decorating changes
May 12, 2013 at 5:45pm     
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Linda - yes I like colours that have people (and hopefully prospective buyers) think "I wouldn't have thought of that but WOW"!!
May 12, 2013 at 5:52pm   
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Rare Bird
such a pretty house I love it
May 12, 2013 at 5:57pm     
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Hey, Linda, happy to see one of your projects. How about a tone on tone?

May 12, 2013 at 5:59pm     
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BM Smokestack Gray is a beautiful blue/green gray. Keep the trim white, and paint the shutters a darker shade of gray or something bold like BM Teal, which is rich and dark.
May 12, 2013 at 6:04pm   
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Linda, go for Revere Pewter! The color changes with the light. You can use any color trim you'd like, you can't go wrong!
May 12, 2013 at 6:09pm   
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bobbi, are you trying to sell Linda some leftover paint?
May 12, 2013 at 6:24pm     
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Judy! Shhhh......
May 12, 2013 at 6:25pm     
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Will someone please blow up every can of Revere Pewter paint!!!!
May 12, 2013 at 6:34pm     
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Em Bee
Well you'll have quite a project as the old finish has to be scraped off and sanded. This is where you find if you have real friends or not, LOL!
Colours: In order to be true to this era of house style you should choose the colours it in the way these little charming houses were back then: I think paint the house a soft yellow (but will look vastly improved with it freshly done in todays good paints) with Colonial blue shutters, white trim and a black roof. See if you can add a trellis to the sunny side of the house to which you could plant pink climbing roses. I love your deck area and the transom over the garden doors! So charming and happy looking!! See if you can find some outdoor furniture like a table, chairs and umbrella at garage sales and thrift shops and paint them white too or put a "wanted" ad online. Sometimes people just give away outdoor stuff when they move to an apartment. I would stain the deck a grey colour and the spindles white. Things will all come together in time. Good for you to be a new homeowner!
May 12, 2013 at 6:43pm     
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Lovely property! You are going to have a lot of fun doing it up even though it will do your head in!! I like your suggestion of a green/grey for the house colour but I think I would keep the trim a lighter shade. There seems to be a lot of cool older homes in the States :-)
June 2, 2013 at 6:22pm   
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Benjamin Moore featherbed is a light, bright ivory color. Would be beautiful with eucalyptus color on house. Would not look bad with white sashes. I would go for a gray that is as close to slate color as possible, not too dark or too light.
June 2, 2013 at 6:29pm   
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Since your vinyl elements are white, I would keep the trim white. I think the pale green/gray would look enhanced with a charcoal roof color for contrast.
June 2, 2013 at 6:40pm   
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