Friday, June 23, 2017

Asymmetrical Angled Ceilings: A Simple Solution Using Color

Color contrast highlights an awkward slanted ceiling.
Many homes have asymmetrical angled ceilings, some by design and some as a result of the practical need to accommodate functional items like closets, framing or duct work. Sometimes the entire room is like this and sometimes it's just one or two walls, but either way the result can be awkward and discordant. When it comes to painting these rooms, where you put color will either call attention to the problem or help to minimize it.

Look at this bedroom ceiling. All of it is angled, but in several places there are additional sloped sections to accommodate a closet or lead to an adjoining room. Because of high contrast, the white ceiling and dark brown walls not only made the room look uncomfortably unbalanced, it undermined the beauty of the wood beam in the center of the peak because the pure white didn't flatter the wood.

This room is another example of a common automatic pilot color decision - painting the ceiling plain white. That's what you're supposed to do, isn't it? (No.) Adding to the problem, the baseboards, doors and windows were white with very bad brown glazing that looked splotchy and dirty. The small adjoining bathroom had the same issues with odd angles and bad glazing that didn't work with the stone counter top and tub surround. 

It was time for a new approach to help this master suite live up to its potential. 

After: awkward angles are less noticeable.

Fortunately there's a very simple solution for bringing unity and harmony to rooms with angled ceilings: paint the ceiling and walls the same color. When you do this your eye sees the room as a harmonious whole instead of components, and it enlarges the space while minimizing the impact of all those angles. 

After: one color on ceiling, walls and baseboards.
In the "after" pictures you'll see that we chose a serene blue-green for the ceiling, walls and baseboards. It made the room feel more open and spacious, made the angles in the ceiling less noticeable and made the beam a more attractive feature. The doors and windows were painted in the same warm off-white that was used in the rest of the house.

This project is a perfect illustration of smart color selection combined with strategic color placement to solve a design problem and create a beautiful, coordinated master suite. 

If your house has design challenges (interior or exterior), we can show you ways to use paint colors strategically to help resolve them. Call me for a painting estimate at 828-692-4355. If we do the painting, my help choosing colors is a free service.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Camouflage or Feature? Strategies for Exterior Painting

No matter what you're doing, how you treat the details really matters and getting them wrong will trip you up every time. When you're painting the exterior of your house, you need to anaylze seemingly unimportant or small things and have a plan for how you'll deal with them. If you don't, they'll become distractions at best or eyesores at worst, and ruin the overall look. 

Since exterior painting is an investment, it makes sense to not lose these no-cost opportunities to enhance the best features of your house and camouflage the ones that are functional or unattractive.

Exterior Details to Hide, When Possible

To camouflage something, paint it the color of the surface it's on, usually the wall. In the case of downspouts, sometimes they cross the roof or fascia as in this picture, and in that case, the part along the fascia should be painted that color. Note the cabinet where the meters live has been painted the wall color. 

Here are some more candidates for the camouflage treatment:
  • Most construction banding boards (They're usually there as joinery, not as decoration!).
  • Garage doors, if they can be painted. Read your door warranty first as painting some doors could void the warranty.
  • Utility boxes, wires and pipes.
  • Air conditioning unit surround.
  • Gutter exteriors, if they can be painted, and especially when the colors don't work with the roof or the paint colors.
  • Deck undercarriages and support posts, in some situations.
  • Lattice under a porch or deck. 
  • Roof jacks and vents.
  • Foundation.
  • Small vents in gables.
  • Small scale trim pieces used to create outlines.
  • Miscellanous doors and windows in awkward locations. 
  • Unpaintable items like white vinyl windows and doors. They can ruin the look of your house if
    Coordinated vinyl and window trim colors.
    there is high contrast between the trim and wall colors and the windows. Camouflage them by painting the trim the same color so that the windows look like a single unit as you can see in this picture, and by choosing a low contrast color for the walls. 

Before you start your painting project, take the time to study your house and make a plan.

Exterior Details to Feature

  • The front door. Paint it a special color coordinated with the wall and trim colors, and with the flowering plants in your landscape. Don't use that color anywhere else.
  • Decorative details.
As you see, this list of things to showcase is much shorter than the list of things to hide. That's because simplicity is usually best because it supports the architectural integrity of your house.

When it's time to paint your house again, pay attention to these details. You'll be amazed at what a difference it will make to have a smart strategy for them.