I’ll get in on that…

So this morning over on Young House Love (aka, best blog ever), John and Sherry posted photos of a reader’s home who was asking for advice on updating the curb appeal of her house. Sherry had some great input that you can read about here (check out the comments for other reader ideas too!), but since they opened it up for contributions, and I love Photoshopping home updates, I thought I’d get in on the fun myself. :)

Here is the original house. Wendy, the homeowner, said that the brick is an orangy color that is really tripping here up. Also, they can’t go too crazy with color or changes because of their HOA rules.


First off, I think the home is just dreamy! What great structure and presence! I do see though, how the cream siding/trim is making the orange really loud. So here is what me and my friend Photoshop came up with to update the house.


Because of their strict HOA, I kept the color scheme very neutral – gray, black and white, with just a pop of blue for fun on the door.

As for the changes, if I was in charge here (muahaha) I would definitely go pure white with the trim, then paint the siding a medium-dark warm gray to emphasize the trim work and balance out those black shutters on the left side of the house (my left as I’m looking at the photo, btw). Right now, they make that side really heavy, while the beautiful bay windows on the right almost disappear.

I would also use black as an accent all over the place! In the house numbers, porch lights, door hardware and trim, and even the soffit color. This would highlight the dental molding and add that bold contrast across the whole exterior, keeping your eye moving around instead of drawing attention to just one space. I’d also paint the front of the steps black rather than red. Highlighting the entry and the elevated porch would really give it a grand and grounded feeling, instead of letting it blend into the brick, which causes a sort of weird floating door effect.

Then I would paint the door robin-egg blue to compliment the orange hues in the brick, and add a softer blue to the porch ceiling as well. Orange and blue are complimentary colors, so placing them next to each other works well to tone down the harshness of the orange. See how that blue door with black trim instantly makes the black shutters look gorgeous and intentional too?

A few other changes I would make would be to line the sidewalk with brick to bring that warm color down to the base and ground the whole house. This would not only add to the grandness of the entrance, but, again, would de-emphasize the orangeness, because it keeps the house from looking like a sudden orange box sitting on top of a neutral landscape. I’d also add some large planters on the porch to break up the bare brick, and change out the brick-colored planting bed retainer with gray stone to balance the new gray siding on the right of the house, since there is no other gray on that left side. I’ve also added some modern details in the house numbers, new light fixtures, and planters. Wendy mentioned that they don’t particularly like too traditional a style, so I think a few small changes like that could add a lot of personality, without competing with the home’s style.

Some small changes, mostly just painting, and it would be so so beautiful!! What do you think? Do you like my updates, or would you do something different?



  • Designer

    I actually think with the house the original picture is much better than the photoshopped. For one when u start painting brick it can look cheap. Second the photo shopped picture just doesn’t go with the age of this home. And keeping the homes style . This is more of a Coloinal Estate House. The photo shopped colors are more Bungalow or Row house even country n cottage. The secret to updating an older home is to keep with the style while updating the colors to present day . You can’t make a modern home country or a country home modern there are ways to update a home modern n by modern I mean up to date colors not modern structure . But remember when you buy a colonial style home it was because you like that style. Same with a Spanish or log style home. So when updating research colors for whatever style home you have that are being used currently. Also don’t be to trendy because trendy is just that a trend that doesn’t last long. But always keep a home original in its style and just update the colors to present day. You have to keep with the style of a home but one can update the house to feel as if it was a new build by keeping with the style of the home while incorporating elements of present day built house . Any design pro will tell you this. In design school we learn to update while keeping the originality of any home. If anything change the shutter colors. You don’t want DIY on a home like this. It has to look grand not cheap. Those colors you picked are more cottage. What this home needs is white trim. A nice brown shutter but not just brown. Considering the age of this home. A nice medium brown to balance the orangish brick. Then a cool white will help tone down the warmer orange brick. Where a warm white would only warm up the brick. Then for the door a nice rustic red would help balance n tie everything together. But other than shutter and door colors nothing else needs to be done. The nice greenery n the flower beds help tone down the warm organgey brick. The photo shopped colors aren’t bad just not the right colors for this style house.

    • Jessica

      With the rustic red door and a medium tone brown shutters , which alll have red-orange undertones, and a nice cool white trim will help balance out the orange colored brick. And make the house have a softer presence while keeping the Colonial style of the homes originality will give the house a more up to date feel.

    • Dawn Sailors

      Thank you for the comment! It’s great to get a professional’s opinion on ideas for updating the house. :)

      • Designer

        You are very welcome. It’s your home your house so enjoy it. And add your touch to the home. And don’t be scared of color at all. Color is a great thing. I even think leaving the shutters black and trim the same white and just painting the door a fun cheery cool yellow will tone down the brick. Even a monochromatic color scheme will look amazing and stylish on the house. Pick three colors from the same color pallete. Say there are six colors on the color swatch you have chosen. Use any 3 colors in a row and pick one to be the dominate color for the trim. The second for the shutters and the third for the door for a look that’s timeless, calming and classic. I even think if it’s in the budget to replace the siding if it’s vinyl to a dark brown or if the siding is painted wood then sanding and re painting a dark brown while using a khaki on the shutters and a nice red on the door will keep in the homes style. The possibilities are endless but the main thing is you choose something you love and will enjoy. Have fun and if u do change the colors any please share a photo. I built a craftsman style home with a antique red brick that’s not fully cleaned with a long porch that has gray blue siding along the front. Brick on the sides. Black shutters. Stark white trim and a nice fire red door. I also incorporated espresso stained wood in the design in the arched main entrance that’s on the side of the house. So you don’t have to have brick n vinyl siding. You can incorporate wood stained siding. The front porch isn’t covered all except a copper roof that stretches 12 feet above the doors that’s held up by wrought iron. I took French Tudor and colonial with a touch of ranch and created a home that’s for me and that’s what anyone can do. Anything is in as long as you like it so have fun!!!

      • Designer

        Oh I apologize. I just remembered that this is your friends house. Well please share any updates I’d love to see how she expressed her style with this lovely home. Great blog by the way.

      • Designer

        I do appreciate your professionalism as well. Every designer has a different eye for design. The main thing is the customer is happy. Happy blogging and happy holidays to you and yours.


What do you think? Leave a comment below.