Need paint suggestions for 1892 house (2 photos)

April774March 26, 2011

Assuming this house passes inspection - it will be mine! It is in desperate need of paint inside and out (exterior is currently dirty white and brown).. Any suggestions?? It was built in 1892..I'm thinking green with off-white trim and garnet accents (door, etc).. but then I also think about going bold with multiple colors (mustard, green, etc)... ? Any opinions would be appreciated. Thanks!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Photo link

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If it were my home, I would remover the porch and replace it with a design in keeping with the Victorian core of the structure. The existing porch is a bungalow style that is not in keeping with the core, but worse yet, the jarring roofline fights the building's lines.
A paint job won't cure its split personality.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 5:06PM
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"Assuming this house passes inspection "

"passes inspection"?

What does that mean?

It is a few hundred years old.

When it was built there was probably NO building code.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 7:17PM
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How exciting for you, April. You sound enthusiastic and like you've fallen in love with this house! Hope you get it. I'm no paint expert (people would probably think the paint scheme on my house is "wrong"). But, I did want to say "Welcome" to the forum.

Peering closely at the pictures, it looks like the house is brick. Is that right? And, as Casey said, the porch was definitely added. I think the brick arches above the windows are visible above the porch roof. It would be interesting to work on new porch more in keeping with the house. I love the fish scale shingles in the gables!

I'd suggest doing a search on this forum for other threads about painting victorians. I typed in "paint victorian" and a number of good discussions came up. There was a good one recently.

Also, the book Victorian Exterior Decoration by Roger Moss and Gail Winkler is often recommended here.

Good luck! I hope you get more suggestions here.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 9:07PM
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Welcome April--nice little house--except for the awful porch. It is totally wrong, should be a shed-type roof with turned columns and some gingerbread. Since the porch isn't raised high, a railing is optional, even for the period.

As for colors, the Moss book is a must for advice. Since there are two different patterns of shingles in your gables, you have a choice of painting them all the same color, or different colors for each type. As for the brick, I'd try to paint it a brick color, leaving the trim and gables to give the house it's true expression. When it comes to painting the windows--the proper color for the sashes was normally black or a dark green, with a dark red running a close third--window sashes were meant to look more recessed than the rest of the house, hence the dark colors for them.

White trim I don't think would work with that house--in the period you are talking about, dark trim was more common...and by all means stay away from pastels! :)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 12:25AM
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Thanks everyone! Yes I agree the porch is pretty bad.. Its on my To Do List but at this point its pretty far down. And what I mean by "passes inspection" is that its not falling down and "the bones" are ok.. Im excited to fix everything else. :)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 8:47PM
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    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 1:11PM
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Those colours strike me as being way too dull and dead for Victorian in general and for this house in particular. I think the tip about going with dark trim instead of light is right on, especially if you don't plan to change the porch right away - and I can imagine there would be other priorities.

I saw a really pretty house in my neighbourhood today (all Victorians) that was a light sort of pistachio green, with dark purple trim, and white as the subsidiary trim colour. The third trim is around the windows, lightening them up.

I think this house of yours really needs similarly pretty colours.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 1:35AM
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Ok so inspection was yesterday and we found some major issues... sewer line needs to be replaced, galvanized water pipe needs to be replaced throughout, and a proper structural wall needs to be added back in.. Someone removed it and replaced with a not so good wood wall. The house is sooo cheap (foreclosure) so even with these repairs - Im getting it a good deal.. plus its downtown of a major city so good location.. but it all scares me!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 9:50AM
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April, if it's still a good deal, and you can afford the changes, I'd say go for it. By the way, why does the galvanized water piping need replacing? Everyone pusshes copper, but these days, there are other options which are easier and require fewer joints. Is there evidence that the galvanized pipes are clogged or leaking? My own house has it's main line in galvanized, and there are no problems--where a few parts have been replaced with copper--those are where I've had problems.
Regarding the sewer line--it can be cleared of roots and other things by a plumber using an auger-type device. Since you are in a city, I doubt the line is very long. Also, rather than replace the line, it can be relined at a lower cost than digging up the old one and replacing it.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 4:19AM
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columbusguy is right in that you need to know why the sewer pipe needs replacing and not just cleaning out. Did the inspector scope the line?

We have a galvanized pipe as the main line and no problems with it either. Did the inspector say why it needs replacing? You need an inspector that specializes in old houses and a structural engineer to look at the foundation so that you really know what you are considering buying.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 4:37PM
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First, good luck and congratulations on the exciting new endeavor! Second, I am no good with suggesting colors. For our house we literally went to the Sherwin Williams website and played around with their color-combo recommendations until we happened upon one we liked.

Third a warning: will change your perception of porches (and other important old home aesthetics) forever, LOL! This is such a great site for specifics on how to accurately reproduce and not *try* to recreate the look of an old house! I only wish I had seen it before we had our back porch done last year...

Good luck and keep us posted! This site is a fantastic resource and wealth of knowledgeable people (myself not necessarily included, lol).

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 10:54AM
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I agree about the colors being to dull. For that age and style of house, a medium body color, a darker trim color, and lighter gable color would be most appropriate...although I'd still tear off the porch, and use the current foundation as a Piazza in the meantime. Add a few urns on the ledge with some will make all the difference. I'ld probably use a brick color for the body of the house, since it was brick, and use a medium olive for the trim color, a lighter olive green in the gable, and black or dark brown window sashes.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 12:19PM
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