Colour Me Happy

When I wander about in London I’m always captivated by houses that have been painted in colours that are a bit more daring, a little different from the norm. Ok, some don’t quite hit the mark like the magenta house in Wimbledon or the BRIGHT yellow one in Battersea, but others attract attention in a good way and really make the most of a property. After my windows are replaced, I’ll be painting the exterior of the house too, so now is the time for me to decide what colour I’ll go for. It’s not an easy decision!

painted street front, Thaxted Essex

painted street front, Thaxted Essex

Clapham, London

Clapham, London

I have to admit that I love colour and right now my house is yellow, which is not my favourite. So how do I play this? Embrace colour and be bold – or choose a neutral and blend in with the rest of the street? As you know I’m much more interested in personality and individual style than that. But I’m struggling to decide if the move toward dark, moody colours should be an external expression or just reserved for interior drama. And there are practical considerations as well. A strong colour will need a better coverage and thus require more paint. The pigment in strong colours, will over time, fade with exposure to the elements. A neutral will be easier to touch up if there are any running repairs needing to be done after the painting is complete and will compliment many different accent colours if I want to change my door colour in a year or two.

neutral tones

Rye, East Sussex

Rye, East Sussex

Because my house is both pebble dashed and brick I have a combination of different surfaces to consider and as the previous owner painted the brickwork as well as the pebble, whatever paint I choose has to be suitable for both. Something with a heavier texture that can be applied with a roller over both surfaces is the type of preparation that will work best I think. I’ll pick out the window frames and woodwork in a different colour and then finish it off with the door colour. But this is where I get stuck, what palette do I go for? Right now I’m hankering after a rich aubergine colour, or a dark stormy grey. These deep tones will compliment my garden so well and it has to be said, after the Chelsea Flower Show and most recently the Hampton Court Flower Show, I love the relationship between the built environment and the natural world. The idea of living somewhere that enhances both is very appealing to me. It’s a bit like creating a picture, arranging the shot and getting the balance right, I know that every time I come home, I’ll be excited to see my little corner of the world. It will welcome me and I’ll feel happy to be there.

smart and imposing

smart and imposing

That’s a whimsical sentiment, I know, but I genuinely believe that we get back what we put into our homes because our satisfaction is raised with every effort we make to create a space that works for us. Of course there are people who wouldn’t look further than white for the exterior of their house, but as I create schemes for people every day that enhance their lives, I want to do the same for myself – and that doesn’t involve having a white exterior to my house. It has been suggested to me though that deep colours are not really for domestic use, they’re for commercial buildings. I hadn’t considered that and actually I’m not really sure I buy into that as a concept – I’m too taken by the creosote beach huts at Walberswick for that. Choosing a dark colour – and I haven’t completely decided that I will – is a bold choice and not everyone is adventurous with colour.

beach huts Walberswick, Suffolk

beach huts Walberswick, Suffolk

Deciding on the colour for the outside of your house is as much about what makes you happy as it is about presentation and ‘kerb appeal.’ It’s about defining your space to the outside world. This is an expression of confidence and a little taster of ‘who you are.’ As I’ve only been here three years (in September) I’m not planning on moving any time soon. I’m now a part of the ‘street,’ people know me and I’m feeling ready to make my mark on the place!

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