Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Update by Aging a Home

Our daughter and son-in-law recently completed a make over of the exterior of their home. Wood rot on their home's face and deteriorating gutters dictated major repairs and a paint job. My daughter had been "pinning" favorite home exteriors for years. She had contacted architects to get advice on paint colors and products to achieve an old world feel. In essence, they wanted to update their home by aging it. 

Here are some before and after photos. Prior to the renovation, the house was a bit disjointed with a stucco section and several brick sections. Because the bricks were dark red and the stucco was beige the house had a checkerboard appearance.

Rachel began by researching how to achieve an aged appearance. She found that you can whitewash brick by mixing water with paint. A second option is to smear morter over the existing brick. The third option is to lime wash the brick.

Rachel settled on the lime wash. She found a product called ROMA. Unlike paint, lime wash was used historically on brick because rather than chipping, it weathers by slowly washing off over the years. It also is more translucent than paint and yet can be tinted any color. No wonder this is the technique they have used in Europe for centuries.

In deciding what color to tint the lime, Rachel again looked at historic European homes for inspiration. The beige/brown trim color on their home was replaced by the more "au courant" gray which actually has been popular in the Netherlands, England, France and Belgium for centuries.

When deciding on paint color, architects and colorists tell you to try large samples in your geographic location. How right they are. A color that looks wonderful in the south, like Lamb's Wool by Pratt & Lambert, looked too earthy in the midwestern light.

After trying dozens of shades on her house, on every side, and at different times of the day, Rachel chose Early Morning Mist by Benjamin Moore as the color for the ROMA product to be used on the brick and for the paint to be used on the stucco. The trim color, Intellectual Gray by Benjamin Moore, was picked to blend with the shingle roof.

The picture below was taken part way through the facelift. You can see how the freshly painted stucco now blends nicely with the freshly lime washed brick. Also notice how the red brick side looks new, while the left side of the house looks more aged and mellow.
Rachel and Curt made another dramatic change to the center front of their home. The undersized lanterns were removed...
and replaced by more appropriately-sized gas lanterns. Again, Rachel did her homework. First, she got a number of bids on running the gas line to the front door.  Next, she researched gas lanterns. The Bevelo company headquartered in New Orleans won her loyalty for their handcrafted lanterns and their customer service. Finally, she made mock ups of the lanterns she liked and taped them to the house. This helped her to get the right-sized lanterns. 

Electricity is a wonderful modern invention for interior lighting, but there is something alluring about the flickering light of the gas lanterns. I'd say the old out shines the new in this case.

The dramatically updated aging is most apparent at the back of the house. Here is the before with the 1980's beige color scheme,

and here is back of the house with the new, but old gray. What an improvement. It is hard to believe it is the same house! The stucco is painted Early Morning Mist by Benjamin Moore, and the wood is painted Sherman Williams' Intellectual Gray.

Below are some side-by-side, before/after photos.

Isn't it amazing what a coat of paint and some lime wash will do?  By aging their home, they took years off its appearance.


  1. That is an amazing makeover. I hope she is very proud of herself for the outcome.