Hey, neighbor, can I have your paint?

bpathomeMarch 10, 2014

We will have the house painted this year, and I'm looking for a new color. Several houses in the neighborhood have the same brick as ours, and only one has a paint color that I like with it, but I don't know the owners. In another neighborhood, a similar house has a totally different color that I like, too. But I don't want to fiddle around with shades and tints, I want one of those two exact colors.

Now, some sources have suggested that one could knock on the door and say "hey neighbor, what's that paint ya got there?" Have you ever done that? Has anyone done that to you? Were the police involved?

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I would have no problem knocking on a strangers door and asking what color their house is painted. I do stuff like that all the time usually it is about a plant. My kids think I am crazy but I often leave with a cutting.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 10:44PM
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Sure, you can do that. But I'd sooner leave a friendly note in the mailbox with your address and phone or email.

Front doors are like appendices anymore; no one needs them. With cell phones and text and email, who comes unannounced anymore? In many places people do not answer front doors. I learned this campaigning door to door for a candidate. I'm sure it varies by area; i wasn't campaigning locally but I was not campaigning in a tough area, either.

Or you could snap a photo and try to color match!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 10:45PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We have had a lot of people stop by and ask to see our house...we typically show them around. We had one guy who was delivering a dumpster while we were building, peeked in the window and contacted us the next day wanting to know the paint color in our library as he wanted it in his house. We've had people stop and ask us about what roof we put on too.

I figure we worked hard and learned a lot building this place and if we can save someone else some time and effort, we're happy to help.

And no, no police were ever involved.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 10:45PM
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We've had people appear at our office, which is a century old Queen Anne house, with paint charts, trying to figure out the paint colors. We're flattered and are happy to provide the names of the colors. A house, though, is a bit different and I agree with mtnrdredux that a note, with your name and number, in a mailbox would be the best way to make a request.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 10:52PM
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But I'd sooner leave a friendly note in the mailbox with your address and phone or email.

Heaven forbid, don't go the mailbox route. Years and years ago, my roommate left a payment to our landlord in his mailbox and he went on a tirade about how mailboxes are technically government property and he could have us prosecuted for interfering with the mail. He was a mail carrier, BTW. A very zealous mail carrier. You've been warned ;-)

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 10:58PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Yes, come to think of it, someone did the mailbox thing with us as well...but as Mmmbeeer says, it isn't proper to put it in the mailbox...stick it in their screen door instead.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 11:04PM
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After I painted our house I had 3 people stop by to tell me how much they loved the colors and wanted to know the brand and color names. I had no problem sharing that information. I was actually quite flattered. These people all knocked on my door. I'm in a neighborhood where many people walk. It seems like I started a mini neighborhood spruce up which it sorely needed. What a difference!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 7:54AM
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I'd be flattered if someone knocked on my door to ask the color of my house trim. Worst they can do is tell you to buzz off, and then you know to not go near them again. Best you can do is come to know a new neighbor and get the color you want! People like being complimented. Go ahead and ask them.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 8:12AM
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When we built our home we drove by many neighborhoods and we found one we loved, my husbands stopped the couple were working in their yard and I said " excuse me this may sound strange but we are looking for colors for our new home and we really like yours, do you by chance know your colors? Lady said matter of fact I do and said not strange at all Ill go get them ,Ive written them down and viola she handed me the paper and I said wow thanks so much your home is beautiful!! She said thank you very much and she made our day! Very easy go for it don't be shy!!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 8:29AM
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Knocking on the door is an in person version of what we do here. When we see a paint color or chair or whatever that we love in a picture someone posts and we do a shout out post to them asking for specifics. I think it would be the rare person who would not be flattered and willing to share but of course that's always possible. Go for it - you have nothing to lose.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 8:58AM
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I saw a house in my sister's neighborhood and loved the colors. She left a note and got a call-they actually became friends after that. We've had people stop by to ask for our colors and it tickles me when I see it on a house in our town.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 9:20AM
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Wow, I think I'd better steel myself up for this, then. I'm a bit shy! I figure the people down the street are probably connected through the school and we'll at least recognize each other's names, and maybe even the people in the other neighborhood, ya never know. That one, though, I'd have to drive up to, and I don't think I can park on that street so I'd have to actually pull into the driveway. That would make me feel too aggressive. Sso maybe I'll just leave a note, maybe with a SASE or our phone #?

I feel so much better knowing that people actually do this!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 9:36AM
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Yes, in fact my DD an I did it three times last week, one person was the painter and the other two owners were doing yard work. The owners were flattered. DD is in the process of picking exterior colors for an entire new neighborhood. You think picking one color for a house is hard :-O She is picking body color, shutter color & trim color for each house and that is just to start. I say go for it.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 9:40AM
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I would leave a note at the door or if you see them outside...I would not knock on their door.

It sounds like most people are flattered and happy to share, but you just might find someone who doesnt want to share "their" color and not want the house down the street painted the same color as their house.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 9:58AM
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Obviously the easiest way to do it is to wait until you happen to see them outside, so then you don't have to knock on a stranger's door! We have had that happen to us twice at our beach house -- people have asked us the color and because they're prefinished cedar shingles, I didn't have a color name, but both times I went into the garage and gave them an extra shingle so they could try to match it.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 11:01AM
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I'm surprised so many people are afraid to ring someone's doorbell or so quickly assume the homeowners will freak out if someone comes to their door.

I've done this plenty of times and even been invited into the homes to see the floor plan or remodeling. If someone doesn't want to share their colors then they can simply say they don't have that information. Not everyone is like the posters here who spent time choosing a color and always remember the name! If people don't know the color I have asked permission to come back with a fan deck to try to match it up and no one has ever said no.

Parking on someone's driveway to stop to ask them a question isn't an aggressive act!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 11:08AM
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Holly- Kay

Your actual location would influence how you feel about someone coming to your front door. In our primary home I freak out when someone comes to the door as our home is back a long drive surrounded by trees and not visible from the road. In our suburban setting home we have many people that walk and I don't mind a drop in call in the least. I do think however that it is a good idea to leave both a phone number and an email address. I loathe talking on the phone as I am on the phone at my business a good part of the day. I would absolutely answer via email but would procrastinate if I had to make a phone call.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 11:35AM
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This is a little off-topic, but speaks to communicating with a neighbor that we don't know. I noticed that the outside lights of my neighbor had been on 24/7 for over a week. I tried ringing the doorbell, but either they weren't home or they didn't answer. I left them a note taped to their trash bin. It was trash pick-up day so the bin was on the curb. I received a return note with their thanks taped to my mail box. I still haven't met them, but the lights were extinguished...LOL!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 12:21PM
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Holly, if your house isn't visible from the road then it would be strange if they stopped to ask for the outside color! An electric gate at the end of your drive with intercom would completely eliminate the problem of surprise visits.

Most homes aren't completely hidden and the examples here are assuming people can walk/drive by and can see the house. If you are going to knock on someone's door I suggest you do it on a day that you are nicely dressed/groomed and not after working out when you are all sweaty!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 12:47PM
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I once called a local couple and asked if we could tour their house. I'm so not kidding. We were going to build and our potential builder at the time built their house. I knew they customized theirs and we wanted to make certain changes with ours, and I was having trouble visualizing. Looked them up, explained who I was and the situation and asked if we could view their home - I don't remember my exact words. Can't believe I freaking did that as it's completely out of character for me. Of course I caught them totally off guard. They agreed and we went over (it sunk it what I did and I felt SO STUPID at first), but they were flattered and it was a great visit. They busted out floor plans and all.
We did send them a hand written thank you card and a gift card to a restaurant.

At the time I called, I was frustrated and figured the worst that would happen is they would say no and I just acted instead of mauling it over.

I don't know if I could do that again, but I believe I would ask about paint. Go for it!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 12:53PM
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Unless it was in some crime-infested area or there were pit bulls swarming in the yard, I would have no problem ringing anyone's door to ask about their paint color. I live in a generally friendly neighborhood and most people are happy to make small talk with folks walking by that they don't know very well. We ask who did their front yard, or the tile guy whose truck was out front. Personally, I'm flattered when someone tells me they like an element of my house enough to want something like it.

I'm greatly relieved that whoever rang the bell isn't trying to sell me something or convert me.

In my neighborhood sometimes people leave notes in my front screen door. I usually go in and out of my house through the garage so I can miss notes for days. I don't think notes in the mailbox is a good idea. What is the carrier to do when they find it? It's probably gonna get lost in the junk mail anyway.

I would probably not walk down a long drive to a house set back from the street...unless I saw someone outside and I could hail them from afar.

I had my house painted in 2000. Whoa! It still looks fabulous (I owe it all to Kelly Moore and the staying power of gray paint) but I'm thinking I should get it repainted before it looks like it needs it. I will probably go with the same colors because I love them and my house seems to like being gray. The same year I had mine painted the folks across the street had theirs (two-story) done as well. She asked me if I would mind if they used the same colors I did. Of course I didn't mind. I like it on my house and I like it on theirs which I see more than mine anyway.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 1:20PM
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Our local newspaper featured a home in our neighborhood in an article about remodeling. I'd been watching the transformation for weeks and was thrilled to finally see some photos of the interior.

I wrote a note to the homeowner and thanked her for allowing her home to be photographed. I included a stamped return envelope and asked if she would share the exterior paint and stain colors. I also included my phone number and email. She was thrilled and gladly shared the information.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 3:04PM
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It's all good...unless it is a house on the same road in the same neighborhood. Then it is rude in my opinion.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 3:59PM
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But jterrilynn, how long does the road have to be or how big the neighborhood before it might be ok? What if the house style is completely different, different roof color, different trim, etc.?

No harm in asking and if they don't want to give you the color they won't. The alternative might be that your neighbor paints their house Pepto-Bismol-pink and then you'll be looking at that nightmare every day for years to come ...

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 4:14PM
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My neighborhood has around two hundred homes and five or six curving roads. I would not want someone asking for my house color within a ten house or so radius in either direction. I used to mix my own house color just so my neighbors wouldn't copy. They still tried though and got close.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 4:26PM
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I have had many people ask for my house colors over time, and my favorites were the ones who sent me the request in an envelope addressed to 'occupant' and my address. They included a phone number or email address so I could contact them.

My house is a custom color, and I can tell them where I had it mixed and what it's under in the computer. I do ask where their house is, as like some others above, I'd prefer not to see my colors on a house on the next street over.

My least favorite was the family who descended upon my driveway with many color charts, holding them up to my house and were so insistent on getting the exact colors that while I was trying to get my lawn tractor out of the garage, I had to ask them twice to move. They didn't ASK me what the colors were, just decided to try to match them themselves, after pulling up to the garage and unloading the parents and two kids. :-(

Its always nice to get a pleasant note in the mail from a stranger asking about your colors, but I might not want to answer the door to a stranger, not knowing what they want.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 5:14PM
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Our neighbor 3 doors down didn't ask us what our house color was, but about a year after we painted ours, they painted theirs almost the same exact color. Same trim, too. And the houses on our street do not vary much in style -- most are center entrance colonials, some with brick on the bottom, some without. Ours happens to be 1/2 brick and theirs is not, and that's the only reason our two houses don't look identical now! I did find it mildly annoying but didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it. I just thought, really, out of all the colors in the world, they had to use this same one?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 6:16PM
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I'm with chispa. I don't mind someone having the same colors as mine, and it's way better than some of the hideous paint jobs I've seen a few blocks away. Seriously, nice colors aren't any more expensive than clown colors.

Maybe it's because I live on a circle where there are about 5 different house models. There are at least 6 identical to mine. There isn't a whole lot one can do to unique them up. As luck would have it, I have a larger front yard (hence a smaller one in back) which is bermed with cool plants. It looks different. Beyond my circle, there are cookie cutter houses in neighborhood clusters of a few blocks each. Nothing's high end, but everything's well tended and pride of ownership is evident. Gray, beige, yellow, green: take your pick.

If I didn't want anyone to have my color formula I would politely decline sharing it. Or even easier, say you can't remember. Simple. It's a little like sharing recipes. I always do, but I've encountered a few who won't. But I've never wanted a recipe I couldn't find online. Hah!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 6:28PM
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The house kitty corner from us had the same brick and my desired paint colors, very similar to the house down the street. I didn't ask for the colors because the houses are so close together. Then they moved and the new owners painted whole house, brick and all, grey. The house next door to them, across from us, is also grey (a similar but prettier shade). Aapparently some people don't mind imitating lol!

One of the houses whose color I like is two blocks away, straight street but a bit of a hill and plenty of landscaping in between, so you can't really see. The other is in a whole 'nother neighborhood, so it shouldn't be an issue.

So, if it ever stops snowing around here grr, I'll get back to walking and will try to catch the nearby folks outside. If they're still hibernating I'll drop a note.

Wait, what if they share their color, but I choose the OTHER house's color? Will they be hurt and egg my house? Oh, wait, it's not Justin Bieber.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 8:11PM
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About 10 years ago we decided to paint our garage, trim and window shutters and had found something we loved, after a lengthy search for the right color and shade. Well, my mother passed the night before we were going to paint and we had to leave town. Imagine my disappointment when we returned a week later and saw that our neighbor, four doors down, had just painted their house with pretty much the identical color!

I was tempted to go over and explain that we had actually picked out the paint color almost 2 weeks prior, as I didn't want them to think we were simply copying their choice. But we finally decided to choose something we liked less, as we obviously weren't about to send out explanatory flyers, and everyone would just think it was pretty tacky of us to use the same color that our neighbors had chosen. Unfortunately, our homes were also the same model, which made it impossible to keep the color we loved and not look like a clone of our neighbor's house.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 8:14PM
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We also on one of houses had a man come up to our house with a paint chip deck and try to match our color. And our last acreage home I custom chose the paint and stone, elevation, finishes..... and it was the only home in any acreage subdivision within 30 mins in any direction like it.. Within the next two years of our home being built, I saw about eight new homes with the exact same exterior colors and finishes in our area, two in our own subdivision even.

We had many people drive up our very long driveway and peek into our home to see inside, drove me crazy, lol. All claiming to love our home and "Just had to see it". The worst was when I was home alone and decided to run out to the kitchen for a quick drink in my T-shirt and underwear and was scared to death by an older couple peeking in my windows, I screamed, and they scurried away down the driveway.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 11:33PM
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Write a "letter". You have their house number. I would be upset if someone left a "note" on or around my mailbox.

However, if they mailed me one with postage in a nice envelope which appeared to be personal and not a circular, I would be more than happy to accommodate.

Just send it "resident 242 Iamafraidtoknock drive, scarytown USA," with a SASE requesting the paint color. Why does this have to become brain surgery.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 12:21AM
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I would have no problem knocking on a strangers door and asking what color their house is painted. I do stuff like that all the time usually it is about a plant. My kids think I am crazy but I often leave with a cutting.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 8:46PM
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I once knocked on a door and asked if the owner knew the name of the brick, so no, I don't have a problem with it. If no one had been home, I was going to write a letter. The problem with letters is that most people will just chunk it.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 9:32PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Parking on someone's driveway to stop to ask them a question isn't an aggressive act!

No, but it does depend on the length of the driveway and the general privacy of the house.
I live up a dead end road with only several other houses here, and those are an acre or two apart. Our house is not visible from this private street (not that anyone knows it's private) and we have a longish driveway with a slight hill.
So, when someone comes to the front door, I feel startled and a little alarmed.
I had an enunciater for awhile to let me know when someone entered the driveway, but the birds and wind/branches kept setting it off. I don't want a gate.
( I also hate when cars leave oil drips on the driveway, btw)

There is a huge drip in front of our mailbox from the mailtruck but it's on the road. Still annoys me.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 10:09PM
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I live in a very middle middle-class neighborhood and I would not answer the door if I did not recognize the person in the door's window. There was a time I would have done that, but no longer.

I don't toss mail which does not appear to be a circular or solicitation, s'il vous plait. I open mail with return addresses, especially within my neighborhood as it is probably a well wishing card, an invitation, etc. I think most people possess the same amount of common sense not to throw something away that appears congenial and my personal notes do. So, I would opt to send a note with a SASE. That tells the recipient that I have no ill will.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 1:34AM
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The police in my town strongly recommend you do not ignore someone knocking at the door. You don't have to open it, but at least holler through it that now's not a good time. This may prevent a potential burglar from breaking into your 'empty' home and possibly harming you when they panic at your presence.

Some people might begrudge you some paint advise, but most people will be flattered. Don't let a few curmudgeons determine how you live! Better to give the world the benefit if the doubt.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 10:44AM
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