Saturday, December 15, 2012

Renovation Diary: Choosing a Color for Exterior Shutters
Choosing exterior shutter paint is a challenge. 

Aside from durability, the homeowner must consider every aspect of the decor: shingles, house color/texture, door color; lighting.
Do I want the shutters to make a statement or do I want the house to work with the landscape? 
photo credit: Houzz
The process of choosing colors can cause a syndrome called "I-Can't-Decide-itis," a which is characterized by disagreeable symptoms: nail biting, insomnia, indecisiveness,
agitation, and even tears.
Oh, why should paint be such a Gollumy hobgoblin?
Why won't a paint chip color actually resemble itself after it goes on your walls or shutters? Why is interior design fraught with potential landmines and expensive errors?

As we all know, shade and sunlight love to play tricks on an un-decorator like myself. Now, with the dark days of winter closing in, it's time to wrap up the exterior makeover and move to the kitchen.
This means that I need to choose a shutter style and color. 

reprinted with permission via

photo credit:
Many styles are available, and I like all of them; but I'll probably stick with a traditional louvered design and simple shutter dogs.
source: Rattlebridge Farm
Since the roof is gray, and the front door is a dark, blackish gray, I'd planned to stick with this palette. 
But my heart sped up when I saw blue-green shutters at Houzz. 
  However, I've been down this path before. I'll see a photo in a magazine; then I'll spend hours and dollars at the paint store, doubling and quartering formulas. I don't have the sort of "eye" that can look at a photo and go straight to a paint chip. So I was hoping Houzz would have the answer.
Unfortunately, the architect of the inspiration house didn't know the paint color. Several Houzz members suggested Benjamin Moore's Wythe Blue and Stratton Blue.
I pulled out my fan deck.
Here's a virtual sample of Stratton Blue:

Stratton Blue looks close, doesn't it?
Here's a photo on a sunny day.
photo courtesy of Houzz.
Then I investigated Wythe Blue, BM's "2012 color of the year."
If a color is going out, or "so over," naturally it attracts me.
It's a pretty color.
Houzz features a front door that was painted Wythe Blue. It's lighter and slightly greener than Stratton Blue.
Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue

The inspiration house's shutter color is darker than Wythe;
it might be darker than Stratton.
"I-Can't-Decide-itis might be setting in, because I found myself looking at Benjamin Moore's Covington Blue. It's a little greener.
Another look at the shutters. 

Here, beneath a muddy blue sky,
the shutters on the inspiration house look darker.

Stratton Blue looks like a good jumping-off point; Wythe will probably be too light. But Covington could be just right. 
I'll paint the old shutters, prop them against the house, 
and see which one works with the house.
Naturally the Rattlebridge men will have a say.

The bricks at Rattlebridge were painted SW's Tennessee Limestone, and the color changes throughout the day. On a sunny morning, the house looks white. When the sun shifts, the house still looks gray-white, but creamier.

 At this angle (the porch trim hasn't been painted yet),
the exterior looks taupe. But it's a trick, thanks to the lighting and my camera.
In mid-afternoon sun, the bricks look pale gray.

I haven't forgotten about the gray paint.
Traditional homes always look elegant with a cream
and gray palette.

I opened the fan deck and found the color of my front door.
Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze
What about going two shades lighter for the shutters?

Intellectual Gray by Sherwin Willaims

 Another classic home from Houzz.

Here's a cool blue shade that would be lovely with gray: 
A little digging turned up a potential color:
Drizzle Blue by Sherwin Williams

The choices:
1. Gray shutters
2. Blue-green shutters
3. Cool, French blue shutters
4. Keep looking--"I-Can't-Decide-itis" is in full swing.

Update: I chose something completely on a whim--
SW Griffin, a brown-gray.

Coming Soon:
 A New Kitchen Window
Appliances for Cooks
Update on Exterior Lighting
Foodie Friday   12/21/12
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  1. get a pint of your top 3...find a few scrap boards and paint one with each color..and live with them propped up somewhere for a week so you can see them at different times of the day etc...

    good luck!


  2. get a pint of your top 3 choices..and paint a few scraps of wood... and try them out for a week or 2 to help you decide...

    good luck


  3. Oh my - Glad I am not having to make those big decisions. I can't make up my mind on a color for one room. :/
    What ever you decide, your home will be beautiful! I always look forward to the updates.
    Hope you are enjoying your weekend.

  4. I think you will probably just have to sample the ones you love and see which one looks the best. My home is a similar color brick and now I want to paint my dark shutters a new color after seeing all your inspiration photos! I think they are all great colors and would look beautiful. Merry Christmas!
    Miss Bloomers

  5. My favorite is the last, the light blue. Your house is gorgeous no matter what, but I like a bit of color. :) Can't wait to see the finished product!!

  6. Stratton blue for the win.

    All great choices, but that is a colour that would be my choice.

  7. Love all of the blues, but Covington would be my choice - I don't have to live with it though!!

  8. After forty something years of remodeling and redecorating various houses, I still can't wrap my mind around certain color groups. The blues are one of the groups that seem to scramble my mind and keep me in a constant state of confusion.

    All of your choices looks fabulous to my eye. "Bonne chance" as the French would say.

  9. I'm such a minimalist, so I don't go with a lot of color. However; I do love a "pop" of color now and again.

    I would go with the Stratton blue. It is Earthy and soft, yet warm and welcoming. Just lovely...


  10. Love the Stratton blue.

  11. Love the Stratton blue. What ever you decide will be lovely.
    Good luck

  12. Love the stratton blue. Can' t wait to see what you decide on. They are all lovely.

  13. So many decisions to be made! I agree with Susan. Try out your top three on sample boards and look at them at various times of light conditions during the day. It might help with the decision. ;-)
    Good luck! ~ Sarah

  14. I am dealing with this very same dilemma right now, shutter colours....I am sooo undecided I have postponed the decision till the new garage doors are installed...I drive by a house every day with the front door painted Wyeth, it is stunning! I think blues are difficult colours on the wheel, paint a few louvred shutters in the colours you are leaning towards and give it some time...N.xo

  15. I like black the best..classic and stately.

  16. So many colors... not enough houses!!! Couldn't you just go crazy!!!! You are headed in the right direction... I love every color you are considering! Your house color is FABULOUS! Very classic!

  17. Nice blog... thanks for sharing with us..

  18. I love the direction you are moving in. I particularly like the house color with the blue shutters. Good luck!

  19. Michael Lee, I just want to warn you about Covington Blue. It is a beautiful color, but it's pretty strong when it goes up. It has a bit of a turquoise look to it. It's even strong in Florida light. I helped a friend pick it for her living room, and it was gorgeous. But it might be more than you bargained for in Tennessee. I love what you did with the doors, and I voted for that color. If you end up with a blue, think lighter. I haven't seen Wyeth in person, but it might be more of the look you desire. I love the idea of blue shutters.

    Sheila (Mrs. Magpie) who sailed in to see what you decided on the doors. Hope you feel batter and hope you had a Merry Christmas. Ours is today!)

  20. I really like your choices. Any will make the shutters pop and add depth to your home. It will take longer, but you may want to paint a pair for one opening before painting the entire lot. We would love to work with you if you are still in the market for high quality exterior shutters.

  21. Oh, yes, that sickness called “I-Can’t-Decide-This” is very popular among homeowners. It makes us lose sleep and causes headaches! Haha! Anyway, which shutter color did you choose? You have a wonderful gray roof, and I think a darker shade of that or black shutters would look good with it.

    Scarlet Weingarten

  22. It is amazing how color can really change your house. The use of shutters and custom blinds is a brilliant idea to upgrade the architecture and design of your house. These tips are really helpful because with the hundreds of colors available, it is really hard to make a decision.