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Shawna's Exterior

Hi Christine,

I love your work and I saw that you offer help with design decisions so here goes.
We would like to update the exterior of our home. The roof lines of our home are lovely.  The aluminum windows are a little busy with the amount of muntin bars, although I do like muntin bars (but less). There seems to be a lot of textures on our home so I'm leaning towards tone on tone and painting the brick with a transparent paint (same color as the body) to minimize the busyness of the windows etc. However I'm not sure how white windows would work with that. No idea what colors to choose. FYI , our roof is black with a slight blue undertone. Maybe (although costly) would be to purchase new windows and take off the Tudor lines then re stucco to make thicker nubby stucco, new trim, paint, and an iron window box on the middle upper window. In that case should we choose black windows with cream trim and a light color body or a tone on tone paint scheme and windows custom painted in the trim color? I'm tired and confused and my husband is right, I can't make a decision! Help!

We have renovated the inside and have leaned towards sort of a restoration hardware monchromatic beachy look.

Could you be so kind as to provide us with two choices:
1. quick fix, ie., Paint colors.
2. And an ideal more costly choice, new window color and paint colors for body and trim.

This pictures shows the color of the brick and a close up of the windows.

Thank you so very much for you time and expertise.


Hi Shawna, 

For a more contemporary, less busy, updated look, let me share with you a few changes.

1.  A less busy look, with paint changes only, will come with more subtle paint colors.  I would start with lightening the brick.  Until you do that, it is prematuire to select actual paint colors.  There are different ways to limewash.  Keep in mind that, for now, you have white windows.  Go for a finish on the brick that will look good with the white windows.  (Of course if you choose to replace windows- you can have more flexiblity.) After the brick is done, then select the paint colors.  Here, again to create a less busy feel- go for low contrast.  Look at the photo above- a lighter field color, with a slightly darker trim color, and coordinating, but light and subtle brick color.   



2.  If you go with a more expensive route, yes, removing the boards is a great start.  I would go with a more smooth stucco- not a more rough one.  I prefer the more sophisticated look of a smoother finish with your type of architecture.  


3.  if you replace the windows, I would go with black.  They look 100 times better with a light stucco than white windows.  


4.  Updated garage doors will be another great step.  



You Tube Channel

I started a little You Tube channel.  I was going to have 50 videos by Christmas.  It is now 5 months later, and I only have three.  Here they are though!  




Custom Rugs for Beth

Hi Christine! 

I love your blog, and I am in dire need of real world mom carpet design advice (not salesman!) for my 1st floor.  I have Ben Moore edgecomb gray paint on my 1st floor, and I need custom size rugs for my living room, dining and fam room bc they are all odd sized rooms.  I want neutral color rugs that all flow together since i am using pillows , wall art , plants etc for color.  I love Masland carpets too - but how do I choose what goes together / flows well?  Should I get 3 rugs all the same? 3 different patterns? How light /dark in color should I go?   What styles are more fam room vs living room appropriate?  In an ideal world, wool or nylon?  Any help would be much appreciated.
Looking forward to your practical yet always stylish advice!


Hi Beth, 

There are a lot of ways to approach this, but I will give you my "if it were me" answer.  I would use different rugs in each room.  You can do this and still keep them incredibly neutral, like you mentioned you were going for.  When I am combining three different rugs, I like them all to look great together, but they don't need to "match."  I like using a variety of textures.  Different 


here's an example: kenya Sisal in Nickel  (comes in custom sizes)


Moor Rug, by Capel- in Stone (comes in custom sizes)


Pebbles by Capel- (available in custom sizes)


I love Masland, but also consider Capel- they have a large selection of area rugs that you can have in custom sizes.


Melissa's Exterior

I need help chosing colors for my home.  I am considering painting the brick front...but no sure how it would look.  Any suggestions you can give are greatly appreciated.
Please see attachment below, which i hope include pictures :0)
Thanks in advance,
Hi Melissa, 
If it were me, I would not paint it.  Why?  (I know, sometimes I tell people to paint it, sometimes I tell them not to).  I use a couple of guidelines.  
1.  Is the brick helping or hurting the architectual balance of the home?  
In your case, it helps.  Your exterior is nicely balanced.
2.  Is the brick a good-looking brick?  
In your case, I'd say your brick looks great.  
So- I wouldn't change your brick, but I would change almost everything else.  ;-)   I would extend the front step area to be larger.  Make your entry more dominant.  Add a more welcoming front door., and improve landscaping leading to the door.    To further improve your curb appeal, I would replace garage doors and increase the "presence" of the small window over the garage. ( I find it to be a little awkwardly small.)  Increase the width with shutters, and the length with a window box.  I would consider shutters on your other windows as well.  If the expense of replacing the garage doors is not in the plans, perhaps you can simply replace the windows and add "carriage house style" hardware to your existing doors.
As far as colors go, you have a black roof, so repeat that in your front door and shutters.  You have white windows.  I'd repeat that in the trim.  As far as your field color goes, I would either lean beige, gray or more white.  From there, it's really more an issue of personal preference.  A couple to consider are SW7641 Collonade Gray, or SW7642 Pavestone.  I will say that there's nothing that I "don't like" about your existing color, but I do appreciate wanting a change, if that's what you're looking for.  I'd get sample quarts and make sure they look nice next to the brick.  
Thanks for writing in!



Black and White Cork Floors

Hi Christine, 

I am having difficulties deciding on how to proceed with my flooring.  I have a fairly small house and am planning on putting cork flooring in the living and dining rooms, which basically run along one side of the house.  I had thought to put a great black and white patterned tile in the front entryway and kitchen, which runs along the other side of the house.  The two flooring types would meet at the doorway between the dining and entry and also at the doorway between the living room and kitchen.  Would this be too busy, since the cork I want to choose is Wicander's Accent and has a lot of pattern to it?  Should I just go with the cork throughout the entire house to make it feel larger and more cohesive?




Hi Molly, 


I would say it depends on the size of your home, and the size of your transitions.  If you have a home that is under 2000 sf, (on a given level) I'd really try to keep it the same flooring.  If your home is larger, I'd be more likely to have multiple floor surfaces.  

I try to keep my floor transitions to the width of a doorway.  If you are referring to changing floors in a doorway, especially if there is actually a door, go ahead and change the surface if you'd like.  I am not a fan of large open floor transitions.  

Also be careful of height differences in materials that can create possible trip hazards.  Tile could be significantly higher than cork if you are on a raised foundation.

When I read your question, my first thought was to trasition a solid natural color cork with black and white cork.  This is a more organic transition, and would work well, even in a smaller home.  You can purchase cork in these colors, or if you are having your floor finished on site, they can be painted before the urethane goes down.  (the floor below is still cork)

You could also do a patterned stencil on your cork floors in certain areas if you like.  You could also transition in your areas you were considering tile to a more subtle two tone cork checkerboard pattern.  Or, you could use your natural cork color checkerboarded with just white or just black.


Good luck Molly- thanks for writing in!

- Christine