“Color and Painting for the Arts & Crafts Home” by Barbara Pierce and C.J. Hurley
This is the third in a three part blog on the lectures I attended, sponsored by Historic Seattle on 14 September on the Arts & Crafts movement. The first was on the business practices of Gustav Stickley, Part 2 was on E.E. Green and the Arts & Crafts movement in Seattle.
Remember this E. E. Green home–the Bloss House? We are going to use it as our case study of principles related to the exterior (and a little about the interior) of an Arts & Crafts home.
1. What are your goals? Preservation, restoration, or just colors that go with your lifestyle and which fit with the hosue? The owner needs to think about this first as it sets the tone and approach for selection at the very beginning. For example if you were trying to restore your home to it’s 1920’s look, your palatte of colors may differ than if your goal was a compatible color for the house.
2. Analyze the exterior of the house
a. Start with the foundation: is it painted or unpainted now. Is it stone or brick? concrete?
comment: If the foundation isn’t painted, do not paint it. Work with it. The on-going maintenance of painted brick/stone is not worth it. Sometimes there isn’t an exposed foundation but the lowest level building materials change to create the look of one. Both of these, whether real or created, are called the water table, as it is the area that projects and protects the house from water intrusion or appears to do so.
b. the base of the house
comment: there is no rule of thumb here but often this is the most natural of the colors selected and the darkest. If the base of the house has different materials, it might be possible to paint the different treatments a related but not the same color.
c. the upper portion of the house, often the gable ends
comment: this could be another color
comment: All trim is painted the same color, usually a light color–always.
comment: The casing of the window itself, can be a different color from the trim color noted in d. above.
comments: if you are thinking about reroofing your house, consider its color while you are picking your paint colors for the house. If that’s not possible, go dark.
These rules still leave open the color under the eaves, the porch floor, finials or little punctuation marks that are on the house, etc. The lecturers didn’t recommend using the color templates found at the store and for many purposes that is correct. On the other hand, I did, and my neighbor liked the color scheme so well they painted their house the same colors!
There seemed to be fewer principles for the painting of the interiors but that made it more difficult to get the color right. Personal taste, unless it is a restoration, comes into the mix. Certain rooms can use stenciling to highlight ceilings or surrounds of fireplaces. If you have natural wood, don’t paint it.
And our little bungalow? Well, don’t paint the bottom brick. All trim is one color. The the base could be one color and the gable end another. (That is not what this owner did. The base and the gable ends are the same color.) Small “punctuation marks” on the house, the porch, under the eaves etc. all could be a different color. In fact, the color of the steps and the porch floor are red.
Hope you learned something, I know I did.