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Readers Respond: Color This Mansard Mansion

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Please help us choose colors for our featured Second Empire style house. Should the trim color be a darker or lighter color than the body? What colors would you pick? The most interesting and most helpful color ideas will be posted on this page. Suggest color ideas

Choose colors second

Look at what works now. To do that it is best to look at the house in terms of Value. In color lingo value is the light to dark scale of color. The roof is dark so keeping the body dark makes them blend. The trim is so dark it makes the white replacement window jump off the house. So the trim should be lighter. Also using a lighter trim will make the details on the cornice more apparent. Once you visualize the home in terms of how the values blend, it is much easier to choose colors. Green? Find a green in the right value. After you see the values it is much easier to select colors (hues) that blend with each other.
—the_color_guy

My siding is a similar color, dark trim

My house is a Cape Cottage, but my color choice was inspired by a picture of a Maine fisherman's house. When we hired the painter he was supposed to paint samples first, but instead he brought us a Benjamin Moore picture of a Victorian house with the exact colors and then just started painting! What a DISASTER!!! We went with all oil - stain on the siding and paint on the trim. The house in the photo was under the canopy of trees, but ours is in full sun so the colors look completely different. The siding color is B.M. "Garden Path" but it actually looks just like the shade lighter "Antique Jade." The siding color looks great - a perfect backdrop to the Azalea and Rhododendron bushes in front of the house. My house is a combination of Board-and-Batten under the sloping roof (first floor), 10" reveal cedar shakes everywhere else, and 5" reveal cedar at the peaks (addition seen above sloping roof and dog house dormer). Trim details: The siding is "B.M.'s "Garden Path" and the trim is a dark burgundy and dark green. The burgundy was originally B.M.'s "Bordeaux" but it looked like circus clown purple on the house, so we had a custom color matched to our dark burgundy screen door. All the trim around the windows and doors and the fascia (just below roof) is burgundy. The corner boards, portico posts and portico trim below the fascia is dark green. The painter used "High Park" (based on the picture) for the dark green, but it is way too light, so I will be re-painting it in "Backwoods" which in full sun should look like "Cambridge Green." Also all the doors, including the garage doors are dark green. So the burgundy is used as a "frame" color that separates the siding from other elements (doors, windows, roof) and the dark green is for any trim between the siding (corners, ledger board), large masses (garage), and accents (mailbox, window boxes). The portico ceiling is sky blue. Hope this helps!
—Guest natschultz

Trim color

The house color is beautiful. I think you show flow with a darker trim because it brings detail to the style, character, and design of the home. This will bring people's eyes to the detail and character of the home.
—Guest Sandra

Colors for a 2nd Empire Home

If you like green for the body, go tan for the trim with 2 accents. If you like tan for the body, choose rusty red for the trim with dark brown for accents.
—Guest Daun

From Palliser, Architect of the Era

Paint clapboards light olive drab. Paint corner boards etc. Indian Red. Pick out all chamfers [beveled edges] and cut work in black. Paint window sashes Venetian red. Paint the Veranda ceilings ultramarine blue with rafters Indian Red.
—Guest S. Brodie

Depends on what you want to achieve

A dark color trim will make it more subdued, while a lighter color will stand out more and be a more bold statement. Personally, I like the house the way it looks in the picture. You have a beautiful home!
—Guest Amber

Choose Dark Trim

I believe that I am acquainted with your beautiful home. If it the one that I am thinking of, you sit above Grove Street in a town in The Quiet Corner. I have passed your home several times while walking my dog. I am also working on a Second Empire Victorian in Central Village and have decided on a light body color (medium drab), a dark trim (Rookwood Green) and Indian Red and Old Gold accents. The shutters will be the traditional shutter green. Going with the dark trim rather than the light trim is a very dramatic combination, but is also correct for the period. I finally just went with my own scheme, keeping with the period colors and combinations.
—Guest Brent

Gold, Maroon, and Green

I think a gold base color, with a maroon trim color and a third color, maybe a dark green, on the screen frames would be just beautiful! Be sure and send us a picture when it's done!
—Guest Cate

Gray and Maroon

I think that a gray base color would look nice with maroon or dark red shutters and windows.
—Guest Paige

Get Rid of the White

Hi. No matter what color you choose, get rid of the white window sash. A cream color like the trim is good, a dark (essex green - Benj Moore) or dark red would be best. The white stops your eyes from looking further - you lose that sense of depth. Good luck, Ken. oldhouseguy.com
—Guest Ken

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Color This Mansard Mansion

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