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Update my brown home!

deborahwatson1
July 18, 2017
last modified: July 19, 2017

I'm looking for a little design help! I'd like to update my home's exterior. Was thinking to remove the shutters entirely , paint the trim white and possibly change the front door. Any suggestions?


Comments (43)

  • mocreidhl
    Here is a mock up without shutters. ?? Garage door and gutter downspouts should be painted a color to blend in with your brick. TO me it looks like your trim is already white?and I can't really see the door.

    deborahwatson1 thanked mocreidhl
  • Denita

    I think your home looks better with shutters - however, the style of shutters you have is very informal and not suited to the style of your home. IMO your home would look better with darker panel type shutters with hardware. You have a very formal exterior with brick and hip roof and formal-style landscaping. Your current shutters are board & batten which are informal. Your current shutters appear to be sized right, but it is difficult to tell from this distance. Consider panel shutters in black, blue/black or even very dark green, almost black.

    It would help to have a closer view of your home that shows the front door too.

    Before you decide to remove or change shutters, limb up your trees and trim the landscaping. I think that would help clear the front so you can see your best options.

    Benvenuti and Stein · More Info
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  • Red Silver

    I love your home. It looks beautiful. I think the Brown Out you are tired of, is the problem with the roof. Roofs' really need to be a part of the sky of your home...not the ground. I think a nice soft gray, cream, brown shingle pattern would give your home a lift, when you are ready to replace your roof. They have some really pretty asphalt shingles now that almost mimic the tones of a varied tile roof, in the soft way the bring together, creams, greys and browns, so that is one thing.......... If you do paint your trim 'white', do find a shade that is very rich and classy, not chalky looking or cheap I suppose. Yes, your shutters could be in a different style, but with the pretty fretwork on your overhangs, it is something to consider. Colonial style shutters could be nice. I wonder if something in a dusty shade of shade of green or grey would be pretty?<http://www.cottages-gardens.com/Connecticut-Cottages-Gardens/May-2012/A-Dream-Home-Built-for-a-Family-Image-Gallery/>  I notice you have exterior quions ... Some folks are doing a faux stone over them now, to bring some stone to an all brick exterior.<https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/asphalt-shingles-a-showcase-of-roofing-styles-colors-and-options-1791?bv=sm#.WXQAO-mQw2w>; Your home has such graceful styling, it is hard to say if making them more noticeable would be an accent, but it does appear in this first top link, stone has a place in a colonial overhang accent? And in the 2nd link, I rather like the calm of the smooth corner quions, which would be a faux finish in a lighter shade or close to the pigment value of the trim you prefer, to update possibly over yours? Using that future roof, as the end goal, you might enjoy finding a faux stone for the front offset corners of your home that brings in a dusty gray, cream, brown/gray effect. That could open your ideas into restyled shutters, and using a tone of dusty green/gray/or similar for your front door, if you do not decide to strip it and have it stained a shade that you appreciate most? Note, too, the garage door should not be an accent prominate. It would look nice to see it painted in a color that diminishes it into your brick wall tone, not to stand out as the white does. However, whichever tone you use for your cornice/overhang, could be the same pigment tone of the trim, around the garage door. Some places are encouraging home trim to be a darker pigment than say, your brick? I think it depends on getting to a tone of roof, that take the monotone from your home exterior and brings some dappled over pigment values such as the gray family gently into the Brown, of your home, and use that as the base for where you want your trim and than your front door to be. Explore some of the multi tones of shingles available in your area when you have the need to replace your roof, or to help you with repainting the trim and front door for now, and the quions, if you think the smooth stone effect in my link is appealing, or other. One thing you do not want to do, is make your home a dark and dull place. Some are doing that with the new brick homes making them almost monotone dark brown and black and brown windows too! I think a dusty shades and a few lighter tones is much more friendly and welcoming.


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  • nidnay
    Agree with Denita...your home looks better with shutters.
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  • danmedj3
    I definitely wld agree with Denita 's comment that your house looks better with the shutters. The problem seems to me to be that they are not expressive enough and so get lost in the overall silhouette of the house. One way of remedying that could definitely be through color AND texture. Your facade will come away enhanced n with more character.

    Daniel M. (architect, Moscow).
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  • Willsway

    I believe your exterior should reflect your interior. If you have straight line furniture, contemporary, then leave the shutters off. If you have more formal furniture include shutters. To do else wise your are confusing your guests.

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  • krkyria

    I would switch the shutters out to a navy blue, it will definitely tone down the monochromatic look. Then when you are ready for a new roof, get gray shingles.

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  • TC Hudson

    Good suggestions. I definitely agree you need the shutters even if you change their style! Also, adding color into your landscaping will really help brighten things up.

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  • deborahwatson1

    Thank you all for the comments and suggestions. A special thanks to @mocreidhl for taking the time to do a mock up sans shutters! I've added a few more photos of the door and shutters from close up.

  • krichter3320
    If you truly dislike your shutters, you could replace them with canvas awnings above the windows. I see you have burgundy plants in your landscape, so you could bring that color in with the awnings. Blue is also another complimentary color to pair with the otherwise brown exterior. I'd avoid more brown or grey.
  • deborahwatson1

    Here are some pictures of BM Wythe Blue and BM Wrought Iron. Would you paint shutters and door the same color or go with black on shutters and blue on door? Or another (more expensive) option - replace the doors altogether for dramatic double arched doors?


  • Alan Kitty

    First of all, the tree obscures most of your house. If you want to hide it, you have succeeded. If you like the shade, add a deck to the front of the house and change the landscaping. The house is over landscaped anyway. As for shutters, by all means change them rather than eliminating them. Suggest off-white or slate (opposites, because again I don't know if your preferences lean to upscale drama or calm) for everything that isn't brick except the roof, which blends with the brick. Can't see the door, and don't know your neighborhood or your light preferences, but consider adding light to the entryway with partial glass doors. I would want the door to roughly match the exterior you end up with. Select the door style after you have made all the other decisions.

    deborahwatson1 thanked Alan Kitty
  • Lynn G

    I rather prefer the look of your home without the shutters. I think it works better as a more contemporary design. However, I will say the close up of your shutters has them better looking than most shutters.

    The challenge with red brick is that it's hard to make it look much of any different than what it is. Nice to be carefree, but a challenge when you want it to look updated, or light and bright.

    I think adding some color would be good. If you want to be a bit more eccentric, try turquoise blue or lime green for the shutters and front door. If wanting something more conservative go with Navy or periwinkle - lots of great shades. Go white with your trim. Here's a few ideas...

    https://search.aol.com/aol/image?q=red+brick+houses+with+painted+doors&v_t=webmail-searchbox

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  • ital mover

    Another vote to keep shutters for that house! I personally am a fiend for shutters that are functional, so that would be my guide.

    Something else I would do is bring the ornamental bushes jammed up against the house much further forward. Try a white pebble mulch, European-style, around the base of the house.

    I agree with the comment that if you can afford to re-roof, going with a dark roof would be my choice. Also, I would emphasize the "quoins" , accent them. I would probably paint the house a light shade and the "quoins" a lighter or darker shade -- not sure.

    In general, I wouldn't be looking to "update" as much as bring out its classic European features. I'd be thinking French chateau or French country house, and googling for pictures that combined quoins & shutters.

    But bring more of the plantings away from the house!

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  • PRO
    Spallina Interiors

    Your shutters and roof look faded. I like the traditional black louvered shutters with a gray roof and more color in the landscaping.

    [houzz=https://www.houzz.com/photos/9266640/Georgian-revival-traditional-landscape-chicago]

    [houzz=https://www.houzz.com/photos/9266648/Georgian-revival-traditional-exterior-chicago]

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  • ritasj
    I also think removing the shutters does the most to update the look of your home...one thing that is hard to see is the vertical brick pattern at the corners of your home..this may be a spot to add a little subtle solid color to bring an interesting and unexpected aspect to the curb appeal and break up the huge brick impact...perhaps a light gray or light taupe that coordinates with the brick...
    Another thing to make it more interesting with the shutters removed ....would be to remove or lower the plantings that are infringing on the windows...and add taller ...narrower ...trees ..in the spaces between the windows...something with and interesting silhouette ...as a final argument ...the shutters really lock you into a look that is everywhere ...and too expected...your own first thought is right on track to remove them...
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  • Betty Rader
    Paint the brick with three coats of pealing brick paint
    deborahwatson1 thanked Betty Rader
  • Betty Rader
    New roof in red tiles
  • Betty Rader
    Cold house use blown in insulation
  • PRO
    Attaway Homes

    I agree that the shutters should stay but be updated. To add curb appeal, more contrasting colors need to be considered. I also agree that the trees and greenery need sculpting as they are hiding a large portion of the house instead of highlighting its beauty.

    deborahwatson1 thanked Attaway Homes
  • hbtyhbty3456

    I think your house is beautiful! I would suggest painting the existing shutters a dark brown, painting the front door blue and adding color to your landscaping. I've done a quick modification to help with the vision.

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  • michprac
    Wow! You will be busy reading all of these helpful comments! I have a similar situation with my home. We don't have shutters currently and sometimes I feel like I live in a big beige box. However, you are one step ahead, your trim is already white which gives you so many options. If cost isn't a huge consideration I would change the roof colour to a more medium pewter tone, paint the front door black and maybe add some brass hardware or replace it with a light wood tone fibreglass door, remove all of the shutters but replace only the main floor ones (not necessary to have them on all windows top and bottom), paint your garage door to blend in a little more in whatever colour you choose for the shutters-a tone from the roof perhaps, and add some floral interest like white Annabelle hydrangeas-very hearty perennial. All the best, I'm sure any updates will make your home feel refreshed.
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  • kelkinney123
    Our Past Design Work · More Info

    I'm gonna go against the grain and say take 1 shutter set off and paint the inside of window black/dark bronze color to give a more modern look to see if you like it. I'd paint the brick a creamy white or soft tan. I'm a big fan of painted brick but it keeps the home classic. Your home is beautiful and your front door is spectacular. I think the color on the front door lends itself to the color of the inset of the windows. Hope you show a picture of what you finally decide on. Above is an example from Houzz of my thoughts.

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  • noelinaz

    I don't know why so many people are suggesting "updates" to change the classic, traditional character of this lovely house. This is not a house for turquoise or lime green, and it makes no sense to try to make something so classic trendy. Your home is gorgeous. ( And I am a person who i drawn to eclectic, rustic spaces unlike this, but I certainly appreciate the beauty of your home. ) I do like the black shutters some have posted as well as the black panes or trim in the post above. When its time for a new roof, some contrast would be nice, too, depending on your color preferences. I can't imagine painting and then maintaining the painted brick, when your brick is already lovely. I'm not an expert by any means, but I think your house is beautiful, though it is a bit too monochromatic.



    deborahwatson1 thanked noelinaz
  • gailboppe

    I think your home is lovely, but in need of an update for sure. I don't know the budget, but if it allows, I would definitely paint the brick a creamy white or do a mortar wash/white wash on the brick with black or navy shutters. I don't find the need for new shutters. The ones you have are in great condition and align with the style of the home. The front door would look great painted the above color of a seafoam green. The garage door needs black hardware to set it off. You can find that at the local hardware store. When the roof needs replaced I would go with a gray shingle for some contrast on the white. The tree out front hides your home and needs a major pruning. I would take out some of the hearty shrubs and put in ornamental grass to lighten the formality of the home. Landscaping is not my strong point, but the shrubs are too heavy and formal. I would definitely get some black mulch in there to set things off. and do flower planter boxes or metal ones with nice flowers to bring in color. The landscaping can use some color as well. All I see is green. Good luck!

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  • johncloona
    remove the shutters for a start its just to modern for this type of look then think about a band across the middle of the house
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  • clemenza2

    I haven't read all the comments so forgive me if I'm repeating something.......it looks like the front of the house extends a bit from the rest of it.....would you consider painting just that, as an accent? I agree that the shutters don't really match, and maybe should be a bit more formal with a fresh color......I think the best thing to do is go to Benjamin Moore and look at their suggested exterior color combos......some of the historical colors can actually look quite contemporary. And while I would never opt to cut down a beautiful tree, could the one that's kind of blocking the entry be moved? I think your house is lovely but it's always nice to give it a really fresh look and these ideas might help that happen. Good luck with your project!

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  • tereza55
    This is what I did! I got rid of my very dark green shatters and same color door.
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  • Terrie B.

    We just updated our house. It is stucco, with clay roof and baby poop brown shutters and door. Not my choice but here when we moved in. Had the shutters painted a deep teal. We added added a glass metal insert to the door and painted the remaining bit of door the same teal. I just LOVE it. We used about 10 paint samples from different companies and 10 8x10 large poster board pieces. We looked at the paint samples in sun/ shade/ morning and evening to find the right one. Your house is stunning and my ideal. I would try blues for your shutters and door, or black shutters and blue door. For what it is worth when we built out previous house - we had the builder remove the shutters - maintenance nightmare - and did not regret. I noticed a few years later a neighbor did the same thing. However yours look lovely and I would keep.

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  • Terrie B.

    Your door is perfect. I can so see that in the Bythe Blue and the Wrought Iron shutters.

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  • patrickup

    50% of what you see of your house is roof. And your roof is a dull flat brown. You need a roof with more texture, more interest.

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  • Barbara
    Your home a beautiful! I think painting your brick a creamy white, painting current shutters black and possibly cut a detail in the middle, such as a fleur de Lisa pattern, add some wrought iron details, possibly window boxes, adding black hardware to your garage doors will make the house stand out among the dark green and shade your beautiful yard affords. Would love to see what you end up deciding.
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  • johjoy

    Your home and large front yard is beautiful. I would paint the shutters a slightly darker brown and the trim and especially the eaves troughs need to be repainted white to freshen them up. I would paint the front door and garage doors The same shade of brown but leave the trim white. I would never paint the brick! A brick house is a classic compared to all the fake brick they use now.

    What your house also really needs is a change in landscaping. It is lush now but needs trimming back. The trees, especially the one on the left, need to be really trimmed As well, too much "green". Need to add some variegated greens like variegated dogwoods (although I don't particularly like dogwoods). Also it needs lots of bright flowers, flowers, flowers in pots, beds etc to brighten up the look. A landscaper is a real asset here to choose the shrubs and flowers that bloom at various times and much less expensive than replacing your roof.

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  • yvesun

    You have a beautiful stately home. I do believe though, that the trees and shrubs need a little love. Adding more colour to the garden will bring out the brick (like cream hydrangeas). I have to say, I'm not a fan of shutters, unless they are on beach or country cottages. I like kelkinney123's idea of taking off the shutters and painting the inside frames black or midnight-blue and paint the front door the same to add a richness of cohesiveness.

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  • Cindy Paley Leinbach

    I agree that your shutters are sized right, but are too informal for your beautifully detailed brick. I wouldn't paint the brick, I see no reason to increase the amount of care for your exterior! Attached are photos of the home I sold last year. The front door is not unusual, a Behr burgundy-red, but it's brighter than it's original walnut-oak. The paint isn't recent, but perhaps it can show a different perspective with shutters. Colors were SW, two shades of taupe, with no white on the exterior. Lighting dramatically changed the colors of the paint which had just enough brown to soften the grey of the grout and tie-in the brown roof. I think if you change the style of your shutters and lighten the color, you'd eliminate the heaviness of brown you currently have. You're home and landscaping is much more elegant and beautiful. Please let us know what you decide!

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  • RosemaryR

    Please check out mariakillam.com for help and inspiration. I follow her and she is spot on, check out her info on brick homes, Maria is a color expert. You cannot go wrong with her advice. Keep us posted.

    deborahwatson1 thanked RosemaryR
  • Sharon

    Your home is so elegant and beautiful and ripe with potential. I would ask you what drew you to the home? Write down everything you love about it........ whether it be the shade from the tree outside of your window, the fact that it provides you with a viewing platform for birdlife, the gracious lines of your home and things that stir your love for your home. The above suggestions are just that...... suggestions....... but they must be yours! Then write down any aspects that you yourself do not like, other than the current shutter color. Inherently, I believe you have a perfect vision for your home.... you just need to access it by spending time with it. Another idea I would like to offer is to view your home through the lens of love at different times of the day to get an overall, full impression of what really works and what does not. Add joy and fun to the process and listen to your own inner voice of creativity,

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  • lroselrose27

    Looks fine to me!

  • robinvms

    Paint the brick! We did it, and it totally changed the character of the house for the better! Light French Grey by SW and shutters are Iron Ore by SW.

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  • Victoria Koenig

    if your budget was sky is the limit then you could do a darker roof like almost black and then paint the paint brick a white or a super light gray or an off white and then do black shutter then you could go all out with the landscaping and add beautiful topiaries by the door and manicured plants leading up the walkway to your front door (i see you already have plants leading up but i mean the little small round bushes), i don't know what your style is but you could do a navy color with white shutters or a dark gray paint for the brick and white shutters, or you could a white paint for the brick with navy shutters

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  • Red Silver

    Painting brick? IDK. Locally someone painted over a custom mix of brick paid for by a local very wealthy family, in the late 60's. It was awesome. It was one of a kind. I LOVED it! They painted it............WHITE????????OMG OMG OMG! The now deceased owners would be HORRIFIED, they must be rolling over in their graves. AND now, less than 6 months after they painted it??? the beautiful brick planter boxes on the gorgeous corner porch, it is a real L shaped, single story home....the mortar is turning the white paint BLACK. Moldy Mildewy....OMG.. I am still crying over the horror of it all. LOL. Your brick is perfect. Update to some richer pigment trim, and add some landscape color possibly....but if you can find some roofing asphalt shingles that mimic SLATE....not TILE(as I stated way earlier in this thread..TILE is an inverted u shape...not that 'tile'....) but the asphalt that mimics a multi colored slate blend, which is complimentary to your brick tones of course, and than, pick a tone you like, ...a 'dusty color' is most timeless, truly, get a professional to help but if they start steering you to dark and dim, find another one LOL...you are looking for the colors that are most complimentary to your homestyle, not trendy, not LOUD, but classy, classic, and very well thought out. If the change is not in those categories, you will be miserable, likely.

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  • crystal

    Paint shutters dark brown/ black and get a landscaper to do your trees. House is beautiful!

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