Curb Appeal: Updating a 50’s custom home

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Residential Exterior

The owner of this 1950’s custom home wanted to create a great view of his house from the street. True, the house is in a commanding position at the upper crest of a hill on a corner lot where two streets meet. It’s almost like a punctuation point, since the house is visible as soon as you round the corner.

Originally white with mauve trim, the house is surrounded with homes for the most part “colonial” with taupe, brown, or beige siding.

<p>View from the street</p>

View from the street - click to expand image

The owner’s goal
The owner wanted to make his home a showplace without it standing out too much. In other words, Stand Out as  unique while serving as a focal point and complement to the neighborhood.

<p>Unique home need new colors - detail view</p>

Note: existing vertical siding  on two sections.
Each of these two areas in the updated home will have new horizontal trim band to separate it from the lower portion. Also: new shutters will be made and all windows re-glazed. Old stone of chimney is an eyesore against the white background.

At our first  meeting

The owner expressed his interest in making the house ‘stand out – but in a good way” – among the more traditional “colonials” of taupe, tan, cream, and brown. His father had built the house and he was interested in respecting the “bones” of the house and the quality of it’s construction.

It was also of primary importance to him that his home have an aesthetically pleasing view from the street since it is on a corner with an expansive front lawn. In the winter, of course the yard is not so beautiful and he  wanted the house to look great even when the yard did not look its best due to the winter weather.

At this time, he showed me his ‘favorite’ paint colors that he’d selected. It’s always good to know what people like, yet it’s essential to not be bound by their preferences. He was open minded and detail-oriented, which I enjoyed, and which helped the process.

Next, back to the studio, where I printed out the many photos I’d taken at our meeting. When use my initial digital photos expanded in larger black-and-white images, I can work with them to visualize the new color palettes. I can also sketch on the photos as much as I have to, to develop the paint palette.

Our next meeting

The objective of our second meeting was to  review the colors and distribution of a couple of the palette options I’d developed based on our first meeting and a few calls and emails between meetings to confirm the direction.  Meanwhile, he’d had a chance to look at all the color ideas on his own. At this meeting I also brought a number of larger paint sheets with me and we finalized the selections.

Then, back at the studio

I created a digital ‘color sketch’ based on our palette selections. This digital imaging is often a good way to communicate the paint scheme before actually doing the work.

Finally, the painting was started…and efficiently completed!

He’d had the carpentry work done, to trim the vertical siding edges and install the horizontal trim, and also have custom shutters made and painted the new color.

<p>New colors for this unique home.</p>
New colors for this unique home.

The owner emphasized his interest in creating a coordinated “look” between the exterior and the interior, which he had previously painted.  His enthusiastic comment: “When you’re inside, you see the outside. People have commented on the great blend and relationship of colors inside and out.”

<p>Interior view, existing colors</p>

Interior view, existing colors

<p>Detail view</p>
Detail view


<p>Alternate view from the street.</p>

Alternate view from the street. Owner states that now, the roof color works well with the rest of the house. Same with the chimney color.

The owner’s question—and his responses
His question: “Color is the first impression someone has. Does it fit?” And he answers: “It’s Spectacular! Really, Really, REALLY came out great! It’s not the same house at all. It’s that dramatic !”


Owner: "The bay windows look twice the size as before – the colors highlight each bay even from a distance."

He continues, “the house is ‘one of a kind,’ and now it looks it. I tried numerous times to pick colors but it was never really right. Anyone could have painted the house but not just anybody could have picked the colors like this.”

“The colors you picked are Perfect!”

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8 Responses to “Curb Appeal: Updating a 50’s custom home”

  1. Ellen Kennon

    What a fabulous job of nestling the house into the landscape yet making it look its absolute best! Love the flow marrying the inside to the outside!

  2. Carol

    Absolutely fantastic…I came across this while researching 1950’s paint colors for our ranch.

  3. Kelly, Arte Styling

    Nicely done! The home looks really great. Thank you for taking us through the process.

    • bjacobs

      Thank you Kelly, I appreciate your comment. I plan to introduce a few other tales of color transformations in the near future.

  4. Amy Bly

    When I looked at the first photos with the original colors, I pictured a dark gray with cream shutters and vertical siding, or a combination of an olive green/gray, but I love this too! Very pretty! Loved reading your description of how you arrive at the palettes.

    • bjacobs

      HI Amy, thanks for your comment. There’s always more than one way to get a great result. I enjoyed hearing about your idea, also.


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