Thursday, March 10, 2011

Espresso Beans and Broadway, Polished

You’ve heard the advice…hardscape and structure…that’s the basis for a successful garden. Those plants that we all obsess over? Well they are purely icing on the cake, the jewelry, the finishing touch. What is the largest structure in most of our gardens? Our house. For 5 years and 8 months my garden has been grounded by this: (I chose the worst places to photograph…it’s not all that bad!)

No more!!! We are going to the dark side…and I couldn’t be more excited. Espresso Beans, Broadway and Polished are the names of our new house colors. Espresso Beans a gorgeous chocolate brown is the primary color. The foundation, which unfortunately has been painted (I would have preferred a naked cement) will be repainted Broadway, a deep rich charcoal, and the trim will be Polished…a basic white (the storm windows and the rain gutters dictated, and besides I am a fan of white trim…inside, and out). Of course taking pictures is pointless, my camera lies, and so does your monitor. Here’s the color range I got taking several shots one after the other (and yes it was raining, and no the paint is not a gloss finish). We finally had a little dry weather earlier in the week so I could paint test swatches. I was a little nervous. A lot went into choosing these colors, what if I hated them? Or worse what if I loved them and the husband hated them? Well I painted and stepped back and literally squealed with joy. Then I held my breath. The husband came home from work…and loved the colors almost as much as I do! This whole scheme is all the more shocking when taken in context, we live in a sherbet neighborhood….vanilla, butter crème, mint, cocoa, orange sherbet, robin’s egg blue…all soft and fluffy. As if we didn’t already stand out with no lawn and all gravel in the front garden now we’ll be the Adams family with our dark house! (this photo below seems to be the most realistic of the bunch when it comes to color representation) I am so very excited to see how this transforms the garden. After all just painting one side of the neighbor’s garage last spring had a huge effect on the look of the back garden, see that transformation here. Now comes the real work…scraping and painting. And painting. And painting. I was not looking forward to it but after seeing the small swatches I am SO READY! If only the rain would stop…


  1. Ooooh! Love it! And your plants are going to look SO amazing against that backdrop! You should hope your husband does what my boyfriend did... I went to a conference, and came back to discover the house completely painted! Best surprise ever!

  2. painting yourself?! in spring?! perhaps the busiest gardening season!

    I admire your determination to do it yourself. Personally I hate painting, and house painting is even worse.

  3. I could NOT be more excited for you
    AND your plants
    AND your shade pavillion!!!
    It is sooooo important to think about how your plants will look with the house as a backdrop!!! I often take paint chips over to client's houses and offer color consults. Afterall, it is a whole picture and all aspects must be considered. Just think about how awesome the orange will look with your 'new' house! Congrats! I'm totally impressed that you got it right on the first (?) try too, that is amazing!

  4. I love it! I'm a big fan of deep, rich colors for houses (inside and out). I think darker colors are especially striking as a backdrop for plants...I bet this will look amazing! Our house is painted a horrendous blue-gray...which I hate. No matter how nice plants look, I have to be careful when photographing them, as the insipid house color just makes everything look so bland. I wish you luck in the painting...I know I'd be a nervous wreck about plants getting trampled and, I'm a bit too neurotic!

  5. Join the club! Painting is the never-ending project here too. And what a coinkie-dink, we're painting over a dark chocolate brown. Loved the color, but it faded terribly in the hot sun. Probably not a problem for you. So we've gone much lighter, caramelly. Food is such inspiration, isn't it?

  6. Congrats on your newest endeavor. It will be fun to see how it transforms your garden. I'll pray for sunshine. :)

  7. I can't wait to see how it turns out! I bet those colors will be a lovely backdrop for your plants.

  8. Man, you have good taste! I am soooo painting my house chocolate brown when we have our own place. I even cleared it with the fiance. :)

  9. Greensparrow, OMG...I wish. But he's the one with the stressful job and I am the unemployed one. Not a chance of that happening for me. And yes, the plants played a BIG part in color choice.

    Ryan, we got quotes and we thought about hiring it out but those guys just want so much money! Truth be told we are hiring help...but we'll also be working right alongside them.

    Lauren, thank you! You know what I am most worried about? (since we are the same age you will get this)...A&W...I feel like I our house with the shade pavilion will be a 70's A&W remix. I appreciate your enthusiasm...and yes, this was the first time. I selected 5 colors that I liked and then we chose from that. This was the first try. God I hope we are right!!! The roof was the biggest question mark, since it's a bit lighter but I think it will work.

    scott, first off I have been trying to frame shots for years to keep the house out of them (or at least minimize its impact) so I totally understand! Secondly OMG...the plants! I am doing all of the ground work. Nobody is allowed to step near the plants, I will place the ladder and they better watch out....if any damage happens...well, you know.

    Denise, really? Wow...I never would have imagined but that is good food (ha!) for thought. Really only the south side of the house will be in danger and it is the most easily repainted should it fade.

    Grace...thank you, I think we'll need all the sunshine wishes we can get.

    Pam, god I hope so!

    RFG, well are already 1/2 way there! It;s taken me years to steer him over to the dark side.

  10. The espresso looks really tasty on the house. Few things change a house like paint. When we selected a dark color for my studio behind the house we ended chickening out and only painting parts of three sides with it. But I think your house will look great. I'll send you some surplus sun so that you can make good progress on the project...

  11. How exciting for you! I wish weather could be traded. You can have my sun and I'll take your rain. I wonder why Broadway is charcoal colored though. I thought it would be a brighter color.

  12. These seem to be the colors "du jour". Our old house (which we are still trying to rent out) is surrounded by warehouses. More and more of them are going for these dark colors, and as they do, the sophistication factor goes up and up. I think your neighborhood will begin to fall in line as they realize how classy the look can be.

  13. Espresso Beans looks darker than your "test" painting garage project, at least on my monitor. I think this color group will be wonderful on your house! I really like the darker colors and find myself drawn to a darker color for our house (which we STILL haven't painted...)

  14. James, send the sun!!! Please. So why did you chicken out?

    Bom, I wonder if the name Broadway is because the paint is asphalt colored? Like the wanted to pick a glamour street name?

    ricki, yikes! You mean I am being trendy?

    Jane, you are correct these colors are darker than the neighbors garage. While I still really like that color it ended up being too light for the house...primarily because of the gravel in the front garden. We needed to step up the contrast.


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