When we bought our house — 20 years ago this month — it had just been freshly painted yellow to increase its curb appeal. If the house had been covered with yellow aluminum siding instead of clapboards, we would not have bought it. We are the type of gardeners who want our house to fade into the background so the garden can shine. Yellow paint doesn't do that.
When it was finally time to repaint, we picked a Sherwin Williams paint called 'Seal Beach Green." We kept a file of all the paint brands and names we had used, thinking we'd just redo the house the same way when it finally came time to paint it yet again. And that's exactly what we did.
But this time we hired someone else to do the job so Mark could concentrate on the tea house and other garden projects. It proved to be a wonderful idea and a great experience because we found the perfect craftsman for the job.
Our painter, Troy Guglielmina, was meticulous in prep as well as painting. He pointed out various sections of wood that needed replacing and let Mark decide if he wanted to do that job or let Troy do it. He was extremely careful around all of our plants that were near the house. Troy was quiet, pleasant to be around and greeted us every morning with a smile. He and his family only live a couple of blocks down our street and we were all on the same page politically as well. A bonus which made conversation easy!
Mark is a hard worker and very meticulous himself but he said a number of times that Troy was doing a much better and more thorough job than he would have done if he'd painted the house himself. I said it felt like we were on vacation to not have to do this huge job ourselves.
That knowledge was put to good use because we did a couple of things differently this time. We decided to paint the foundation along the front of the house the same color as the body of the house. Years ago our friend, garden designer and blogger Julie Siegel, suggested we do this so the front garden had a solid backdrop for viewing. She was absolutely correct.
The other big change we made was the color of the front door. Our house is a split level ranch or raised ranch, not really sure what they call this design. But what it means is that our front entrance gets lost and needed to be made more visible from the street and driveway. Color seemed the obvious solution.
As you probably guessed, I had a big file of house color ideas for both inside and out. We narrowed it down to two concepts, one using purple and an acid green and one relying on red. The building below is a store called Wa, located in P-town, Mass. Jim Charlier of the Art of Gardening blog wrote about it on Friday, Aug. 28, 2009. I printed out a photo of it a month later and squirrelled it away for future reference because our house is such a similar dark color.
It took two tries but we're happy with our color choice: Sherwin Williams "Pompeii Red." Unlike our previous paint job, we went with one color for the door, the surround and and the window trim.
However, our old bench doesn't quite go with the new colors. And painting it means we'd need to keep re-painting it, so we haven't decided its fate. But it is great for setting groceries on when unlocking the front door etc. so I hate to give it up altogether.
A new color, of course, meant a new plant to put by the entrance. I picked up a bunch of Rainbow chard plants at an end of season sale and added a pot of ferns with red stems.
Next summer I think I will pot up a big clump of Japanese painted ferns to put by the door. Their pale color will draw your eye in and their red/green color combo will reflect the paint colors in a much more subtle way.