Neighborhood Paint Ideas

by Josh on May 2, 2008 · 6 comments

in Journal

It was such a beautiful day yesterday that I persuaded my oldest son to walk the mile from our house to his preschool while I pushed the toddler in the stroller. Along the way, I snapped some pictures of other bungalows in the neighborhood.

Minneapolis Bungalow Collage 1

I was primarily looking for color ideas. The paint on my house is peeling in a number of places and I know I will need to start painting the exterior this summer. Any trip to a paint store will show you that there is a universe of color possibilities for any house, but I’m working with three basic ideas for the exterior colors:

  1. Historic Restoration Palate From looking at the layers of exterior paint, I have a pretty good idea what the original colors for my house were. The trim and timbering were dark brown with pale yellow accents at the brackets. Although I like this idea conceptually, the houses next door and directly across the street both have dark brown trim on off-white stucco. I would prefer the house blend with, but not match, its neighbors.
  2. Current Palate The current forest green trim looks stylistically appropriate and it already blends well with the neighbors, too. I could do much worse than leaving most of the color the same and just adding or adjusting some color accents.
  3. New Bungalow Palate The third alternative is to pick the colors that I want. I wouldn’t paint the stucco, so, whatever I choose, the house will still be mostly off-white. I would also constrain my color options to earthy, bungalow appropriate colors. Because I also won’t be changing the green shingles, any new colors would need to coordinate well with the existing roof color.

Currently, I’m leaning toward a palate that incorporates all three ideas. (Is it cheating to list three options and pick “all of the above?”) I could bring back the pale yellow accent color from the original palate and keep the trim in the green spectrum, but with a color tweak and possibly an additional accent color that I would choose. I’ll show some palate ideas in a future post.

Minneapolis Bungalow Collage 3

In the meantime, I have found it helpful to just look at what some of my neighbors have done with the colors on their bungalows. Additional pictures from my stroll through the neighborhood can be found in the Around Town collection on the Photos page.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandy May 2, 2008 at 4:13 pm

I’m partial to the forest green, but “all of the above” might work!

So glad you stopped by my spot — poor kitty.


Jennifer May 2, 2008 at 9:39 pm

It’s funny… if you were a new house, I would totally tell you to stand out and do what you want…

but as an older house, I totally get why you want to blend it! Funny how that is. I think your idea of (d) all of the above is the best…


Josh May 2, 2008 at 11:33 pm

Thanks for the color feedback. There will be more to react to when I post some specific color ideas. I’m going to try to photoshop some new colors into a photo of the house to make the comparisons easier. Stay tuned!


fred@opc May 3, 2008 at 8:16 pm

Love the pictures. It’s great to live in a place where you have some options. Our HOA won’t let us change any of the colors on the house.

I definitely think doing something that you really like but also blending is a good move. You can “stand out” in the neighborhood by just having a wonderful paint job and a good mix of colors, even if they’re similar to everything else around.


Stephanie May 7, 2008 at 9:22 pm

Photoshop is a great idea! I have an architectural color consulting business and I use Photoshop for my clients when they are having trouble envisioning the colors I recommend. It’s a great way of exploring your options without having to purchase a drop of paint.

Speaking of recommendations, I’m sure you’ve flipped through it already, but Robert Schweitzer’s “Bungalow Colors” is a pretty handy reference book:



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