As much as I wanted to paint our art studio building as soon as we moved in a year ago, it was worthwhile taking the time to consider my color options as we gutted and repaired this cool old place.
Here's a quick look at my process for choosing paint colors for any building, and how it helped me arrive at the perfect color for us.
Our studio is on a corner lot facing an open view of rolling hills
Consider the set things:
Style of the building - fairly small non-descript building with a funny combination of mismatched window sizes, a simple modern shape, and scalloped eve siding.
Location - on the edge of town overlooking rolling hills spotted with oak trees. The views are amazing and change dramatically with the season.
We don't have too many neighbors but they do drive by our corner lot every day
The grasses around us range from blazing orange to bright green depending on the season.
What do you want to create?:
Something that feels traditional but fresh. Most homes around here are white, tan, or green. Lovely colors, but I want to rev things up a bit.
I want our house to be a different color than the studio, so I need colors that will look great (not distracting) together.
Something that makes the building feel unified and clean. The entire building has to be one color.
Narrow down your options:
Immediately I went to our newest fandeck, THE Historic COLOR SET, with our beautiful collection of traditional colors. This step alone narrows my options from 1,721 colors to a 110 hues with a proven past.
I set aside the white and green colors of the deck aside. (remember I wanted something a little different) This brought my color options down to about 50.
Consider the colors that stand out to you:
As I walked around the building in different light at different times of day, I was drawn to the blues. Stieglitz Fog HLS4227 is one of the darkest blues in THE Historic COLOR SET, and it felt amazing against the oak trees, the yellow hills across the street, the sky... It has a soft warmth that enhances the warm plant colors around it.
I know that darker colors seem to recede, which in this case is perfect. Why? As much as I want a gorgeous paint color, I really want our oak trees and natural landscape to be the focus.
I ordered an 8 1/2 x 11 COLOR Swatch in Steiglitz Fog and a few other colors taping them to several areas on the building so I could step back and take a good look.
Steiglitz fog felt the best, so when my painter was ready to start, he brought a COLOR sample quart tinted to this color so we could get a really good look.
My general rule for placing color is that I only paint elements like trim and doors in a different color from the body if they're beautiful pieces of architectural.
In my case, painting the trim would've highlighted the mismatched windows and awkward scale of the overhang. So I chose to paint everything blue except the new metal flashing at the top and utility boxes on the back in their natural metal color for an industrial touch.
Taking the time to consider the style and details of your house, the landscape and surroundings, and how you want to feel when you pull up to it every day will help you narrow down your options to the perfect color for you.