Recently, there have been some amazing transformations on our Portland street. Not major renovations, mind you, but simple, impactful upgrades made primarily with fresh coats of paint. Exhibit A: Our friends’ bungalow (above), previously known to all as “the pink house,” is now a handsome inky gray with bright-white trim, brackets, and exposed rafter tails that pop against the dark background color. Up the road, “the yellow house” looks newly sophisticated in tone-on-tone fog shades. And the Cape with the dated, rust-and-green façade now stands out in a modern black, white, and gray palette. Not content to simply admire these updates, I asked my neighbors to provide some background on their homes and explain why and how they decided to change things up. Here’s what they had to say:
Katie and Jamie’s Bungalow
Our house was built in 1940 and we purchased it in 2009. Although we didn’t particularly want to go with our real estate agent to see the house (it was pink with teal soffits, after all!), we acquiesced. After seeing the large backyard and well-crafted interior, we realized the house was right for us. We talked about painting the exterior right away, but couldn’t justify it given that the pink aluminum siding (added over wooden shingles) was holding up pretty well. The wood trim was not in as good shape but it was not bad enough to warrant the work. So we focused on the inside, remodeling the kitchen in 2010 and later doing some major landscaping in the backyard.
By the time 2017 rolled around, we had a leaky roof and the trim was really falling apart. When we redid the roof, we had to wrap the underlayment up the sides of the dormers to create a weather-tight seal. This meant we had to remove the siding on the dormers. Aluminum siding does not come off easily and, when it does, it gets bent. So we resided the dormers with Boral — a composite product with a slightly wider profile than the aluminum. We also needed to completely replace the exposed rafter tails on the dormers as they had rotted. The new paint color was inspired by a house we love in Vermont. I painted a large sample to compare with various trim samples to get the balance of colors just right. Lots of work later and we think the exterior is looking pretty good. The only bummer is we can’t see it when we’re inside!
Their Benjamin Moore Paint Picks:
Soffits: Deep Silver
Trim: Brilliant White
Jasmine and Christian’s Cottage
We purchased our 1946 home four years ago. We love the layout and the charm and craftsmanship of an older house, seen in details like the built-in cabinetry. One of the first things we did to make the exterior more welcoming was enlarge the two front gardens and plant more wildflowers. We also removed the walkway to a side door we rarely use to simplify the plan. Our next project will be taking out the cement walkway that leads to the street.
Choosing exterior paint colors was definitely a challenge. We wanted to modernize the appearance while remaining in tune with the neighboring homes. We played around with bolder and higher-contrast colors, but ended up agreeing to stay tonal with deep and medium grays and white trim to keep the house from seeming too dark. We chose the yellow door to add a pop of color without being overpowering.
Their Sherwin-Williams Paint Picks:
Body: Classic French Gray
Shutters & Flower Boxes: Grizzle Gray
Door: Rustic City
Kristin and Nathan’s Cape
Style was not a priority when we bought our 1951 Cape in 2007. We were more focused on finding a house in this neighborhood that had enough space for our three young children and us. The home needed much updating and we decided to work from the inside out, painting and redoing the bedrooms and living room and renovating the kitchen and dining room last year. After this latest project, we looked at the exterior of our home and realized we wanted it to reflect the contemporary style we had embraced inside.
The house had red brick on one side of a green front door, shutters in the same green, and light-gray vinyl siding — a palette we felt was outdated and not in keeping with the neutral hues we chose for the interior. We figured black, gray, and white would make a more modern statement. Leaving the siding intact, we removed the shutters and storm door, reframed the picture window in white trim to make it stand out more, and painted the brick section white. We then painted the front door and brick chimney black. Larger house numbers and a new sconce complete the look. We feel that these relatively small updates made a dramatic difference in the overall appearance of our quaint home.
Their Behr Paint Picks:
Brick Façade & Window Trim: Ultra Pure White
Door & Chimney: Black Black
Have you recently completed an interior or exterior home makeover? Maine Homes is looking for reader projects to highlight. Upload your before and after pictures here for a chance to be featured!
And, hey, what do you think of these exterior transformations? Please share your thoughts in the comments.