Front Door Color: Need Opinions!

organic_smallhomeAugust 12, 2006

Hi all. We are having the front door replaced on our small 1938 cape. Presently, the shutters and front door are painted Benjamin Moore Black Forest Green. I really love the color, but friends and neighbors have (kindly) indicated that our house is bland and boring. So I'm thinking of painting the door another color. Color is hard for me. I'd like to leave the shutters as they are and paint the door a nice muted red, maybe Georgian Brick (historic color, BM). But, then I though a light green--maybe another historic color--would look nice, too. Also, the new storm door will have full-length glass, rather than half-glass, as it is now. What do you think? All opinions welcome!

Please excuse trash and recycling out front--:)

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Hi organic I love your house. My favorite would be gloss black and shutters too. And if you are gonna have a full length glass door I'd do a brass kickplate on your hard door and a beautiful brass knocker also.

I did some mock ups for you to give you a basic idea of some color variations

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 7:12AM
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Pamela Church

I like the red. It picks up the red tones in the brickwork and ties it to the house.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 7:34AM
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Are you going to remove the screen door? I like the red also, but it seems everyone is doing the same and want to do something a bit different. My house is painted exactly the same colors/trim and had a red door when moved in, but replaced it and am also looking at what color would work.

I really like the sugggestion of a kickplate.

Looking at your house, have question about shutters. Mine are slightly shorter than the window trim and see yours are too. Looking at other houses around, it appears shutters vary as to their length of application. I have this need to add a trim at top and bottom to exand their length thinking it would make the windows appear larger. Does anyone know what the actual sizing should be?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 8:05AM
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I like the red, but I would chooses a deeper red, almost with a brown undertone. I chose BM "Cottage Red" after seeing it on a GW'ers house. BTW, our front door used to be red (another red),currently it's black, so I'm going back to red. I think a color like Cottage Red would tie in nicely with your brick, and give your lovely house a lift. And I don't think it's bland or boring at all. I just think it needs a little color. emagineer asked if you were going to change/remove the screen door. I would ask the same question. We have a 'full-light' storm/screen door, which has a full length screen for the summer and a full-length storm glass for the colder months. It really lets the beauty of the door show through...almost like having no door with the benefit of having air and light when needed. And when you're finished painting the door, how about adding two colorful planters on either side ;o) I think that would showcase it beautifully.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 9:36AM
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Of course, these days shutters are treated as a trim element, but working shutters are not the same length as the window trim, because they are meant to cover the windows themselves when closed (there are still many old houses here in New England with the original hinged shutters).

I agree that adding some color to your front door would help, and a deeper red would be nice. But you also have some other opportunities to add some color trim: that wonderful corbel door surround and the window trim. Even the ridge trim on the dormers. Play a little with adding a third color in small amounts and see what you think.

Contrary to what a lot of people think, white is NOT a traditional color for Cape Cods or other New England style houses. That really came in during the depression years, to save money. There is a real movement now to go back to more traditional colors, and it is a joy to see. When you are ready to repaint your house, you might look into what other colors would look good on your house.

And a final suggestion: get thee over to the Cottage Garden forum, girl! Your house just cries out for a cottage style garden! That by itself would send bland for a walk.

Dayle Ann

Here is a link that might be useful: Cottage Garden Forum

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 10:25AM
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Thanks to each of you for the fabulous ideas!

ranaeluvstexas: Thank you SO much for the mock ups: how did you DO that??? I thought gloss black and shutters with brass hardware would be pretty, too, but for some reason, dh absolutely HATES brass! So, I was thinking to have black shutters, a red door and black hardware to pick up the shutters. Or, possibly antique brass hardware, as a compromise with dh--oy. BTW: Austin is my hometown!

emagineer and mrsmarv: yes, we are replacing the storm door with a full light screen door to showcase the door. We need the storm door to protect the door during winter, since we have no covered porch. Our contractor said that since the storm door will cover the bottom of the door, there's really no point in putting a kickplate on it. About the shutters: these were on the house when we bought it: they are not wood, but vinyl (yuck). The planters are a great idea, though! I don't know much about shutters, so I can't answer your question about what the sizing should be, but I imagine I will be looking into that myself when we re-side the house. About the red: I was thinking of using either BM "Cottage Red" or "Georgian Brick": I, too, like the idea of a muted red.

dayleann: the suggestion of trim colors is a wonderful idea, but--unfortunately, the entire house (including the corbel door surround and the window trim) is covered in vinyl siding (again, yuck). We plan on re-siding the house with cedar clapboard in a couple of years, though. When we were looking for a house, we told ourselves that we would not even THINK about purchasing a house with vinyl siding, but in these parts--New England--vinyl siding is very, very common, since the weather can be harsh on exterior paint jobs and people want to cut down on maintenance--*sigh*. At the time we purchased--five years ago--the market was crazy and we really had little choice within our budget, so we opted for a vinyl-covered house in a very good neighborhood. To give you an idea: we offered $10,000 over the asking price and our offer was not even the highest! I think we got the house only because we had a pre-approval letter from the bank, as well. This is why we have not yet re-sided: we spent so much purchasing the house that we haven't been in a position yet, financially, to do so! We are hoping, though, as I said, to do so in a couple of years. When we do, I will definitely think of adding a second color to highlight the trim. Do you happen to have any links with information about traditional colors for Cape Cods? That would be great!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 12:08PM
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Hi Organic, I have a capecod with black shudders. We have burgandy trim and a burgandy door with a fullview screen door.( Which you can't see because it is hidden there at the side. It all looks good to me & DH. Good Luck with what ever you choose.
Ranaeluvstexas, good job picking & showing the different colors.

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    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 1:36PM
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Lousit: your house is adorable--nice choice of color!!! I love the "country" decorations in the front, as well.

mrsmarv: would it be possible for you to post a pic of your front door in Cottage Red? I visited your homepage: you've done a fantastic job both on the interior of your home as well as in your garden!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 2:54PM
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Organics you are welcome just call me RaNae btw I live in DFW. I love your home I thought you were up in the NE like CT or Maine lol.I agree with DayleAnne that your home would be perfect for a cottage garden it's soo cool that you are in Austin.
I did the mock ups with my photo editer their is a paint feature under the touchup tab check yours you might have one too. Anyways the colors are just basic choices for a feel of things I didn't tab the colors off of paint chips just the editor program.

I really like your idea of the red door and black hardware- I would suggest you Get a black framed Glass door if your gonna do that- here is another mock up

my husband saw me doing this last mock up and he asked who's house it was I told him he said lucky she's got a basement... do you have a basement?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 2:57PM
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Hi. You were right: I am in New England (Boston). Austin is my hometown, but I haven't lived there in almost 25 years!

Yes, we do have a basement! Most homes in this area do.

I just purchased the online version of Benjamin Moore's Personal Color Viewer so I could upload digital pics of my house and try out colors. But the icon won't open! :(

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 3:30PM
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organic ~ thank you for your compliments about our house. Aw, shucks, it always gives me the warm fuzzies when someone says they like what I've done :o) The front door is still black, but I'm hoping to paint it before the end of the month. Right now we're in a painting frenzy at our rental cottage. The new tenants are moving in at the end of the month, so everything has to be spic 'n span within the next two weeks! I've been cleaning all week, so now it's paint time. I got the cupboards and lower cabinets painted today, and tomorrow we start the walls and trim. By the time it's all said and done, I hope I still have enough ambition (not to mention energy LOL) for painting our front door. So stay tuned...I'll post pics when I'm through.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 4:32PM
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Hi Organic - Your house looks so neat and cared for. If you love the color of your door and shutters why change them? To add interest to your house or entry way, why not paint your mailbox a bright and fun color, add a wreath or welcome placque to the other side of the door, and add a pretty planter or wooden planting box to the corner of the landing?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2006 at 7:35AM
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Dayle Ann...I too was wondering about the beautiful trim around the door. These wonderful cottoge styles houses have so much opportunity to stand out without having to spend a fortune. Think I remember a DIY show that had trimmed out with different colors and looked great. They matched the windows with same paint. It takes some "out of the box" action on my part to consider though.

And thanks for the "shutter" info. I realized the reasoning, but when I see the ones that go to the edges of window trim, the affect works well in making windows look larger and better balance to the houses. Since my house is also all white with black shutters, am enjoying hearing all the comments.

Was also going to change paint colors on mine as the entire house is also "white", but have done so much the last couple of months am out of cash to consider another big job. Plus, the exterior paint is fairly new and not an emergency to change. I mentioned on another thread that while driving around the neighborhood looking for ideas, there was a small house that the owners had made to look like a carriage house. One of the things done was putting large black hinges on the garage doors. My camera is now up and running again, will try and find that place and post some pics.

I like the idea of a cottage garden in front too. Our small houses have so many opportunites, tis the patience I don't do well with. Probably a good lesson for here someplace.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2006 at 8:21AM
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Oooo, I really like the red door! Much better than the one you have now. Your neighbors will be jealous :)

Lousit - I love your little house. I see you have a goose to dress up. My mother has one too and that goose has an entire wardrobe. My mother is a teacher and the goose has a cheerleading outfit, graduation robe and a prom dress. Oh, and a yellow poka dot bikini for summer. Too funny!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2006 at 12:51PM
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Eggplant/Deep Purple Color would be different.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2006 at 5:12PM
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Hey Organic...

That's funny, I saw the pic of your house and saw the neighborhood set up and thought that looked like the Boston area...Melrose, specifically.

I used to live up there.

Miss it much.

I'm partial to red for your door, but the eggplant would look good also, I think.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 11:30AM
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I think the foundation and sidewall of the steps up to the front door should be a deeper color. The light grey topped by the white house makes the house seem too high and floaty from the side walk. I think it would look better "grounded" with a darker color. Also, hanging a planter box from the wrought iron would give it some weight and lower it visually. I think I yellow door with brass touches in the hardware and full view storm door with dark green shutters and dark green foundation would be quite jazzy.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 4:51PM
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Your house is adorable as it is. I wouldn't touch a thing. But what I would consider is re-doing the landscaping and put in some color with flowers and shrubs and walkways. After the plants are done consider some subtle lightening to show it all off at night. This will brighten up your home and make your neighbors ooohhh at the beautiful job you did :)Your home would now be the most interesting on the block.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 5:07PM
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Well, red is my favorite color, so I have to vote for that. ;) I really like the look of that red with your home though. What about doing a brushed nickel hardware? I agree about painting the concrete a darker color. Window boxes would be darling, but I don't know if they're historically accurate for your home (if you care about such things).

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 11:10AM
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Windowboxes definitely work on Capes.

and though you could paint hte concrete a darker color, I think planting would solve that problem.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 11:15AM
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Just thought of something that became a "color" problem in my last home. The front door was blue and opened into the living room. My interior didn't work with the blue and decided to paint it a color/shade with would look right when the door was open as well as giving the exterior needed detail.

Just a thought...


    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 11:31AM
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Thanks so much again to everybody for your wonderful suggestions. We, too, thought about painting the foundation a different, darker color, but decided against it because, as gammy and Lauren have pointed out, we realized that we would be re-landscaping eventually and it would be covered up, for the most part.

As for the door color: we decided to stay with the black forest green and just punch up with color around the door (as per many suggestions here: windowboxes, pretty color mailbox). I had not, believe it or not, even thought of planters on the front railing! But I think it's a fabulous idea. We decided against a red door because the guy at the paint store said red fades pretty quickly on a south-facing door (which ours is), and we're better off with either a lighter color or a very dark green or black. DH wouldn't even consider a lighter color (although I was certainly open to it), so again, looks like we're keeping the black forest green with antique brass hardware.

Again, thanks very much to all of you sweet folks who took the time to offer your thoughts. It's been a big help and I appreciate it. :)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 1:58PM
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I agree with gammy, leave as is but add the color with flowers and shrubs. It is gorgeous. I love it.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 8:47PM
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The red is so welcoming.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 10:09AM
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I hope your going to come back and show us what you did when it's done :)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 1:57AM
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I remember hearing that red is the color of hospitality. I like the red photos best.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 11:18AM
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I'm glad you're leaving it the way it is since you love it. Sure it would look good with a punch of color on the door but it looks very nice as is. And I agree, once you get more landscaping in and some window boxes, you'll be seeing your home a lot differently and so will those who let you know it was "bland and boring."

Maybe homemaker will come along and "do" the outside of your house with her software. I think she uses a very inexpensive program but it gives great visual inspiration. Do a search and you'll probably come up with some of her threads.

I'll be looking forward to more pics of your sweet home. : )


    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 5:43PM
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Thanks again to you all for the generous advice and kind comments. I will certainly post a pic of it when it's finished--but maybe not until next spring, when some landscaping has been done, as well--lol!!! xo

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 7:03PM
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I'm brand new on the Home forum, just wandered in from the Garden, so hope you won't mind me adding my two cents' worth.

According to the Feng Shui book I have, the best colors for a south-facing door are bright green, dark green, blue, purple or black ... so your forest green sounds like a good choice from that perspective (so was the eggplant suggestion).

One word of caution, though: Check the warranty on the door carefully. When I wanted to stain our new front door (also south-facing) a deep brown our contractor pointed out that a dark finish, whether painted or stained, would void the warranty on this solid wood door, as it absorbs so much heat. After several years of a plain white door (not bad on a house with dark brown natural cedar shakes, but it just didn't feel "right") I painted it a soft sage green and added a brass kickplate and love it. The sage blends with the entry foyer, living room and dining room and is a perfect backdrop for the various wreaths throughout the seasons; a brass kickplate really does dress it up unbelievably.

Your house is classic, adorable and so well-kept; it's going to look charming when you get your plantings finished, but don't rush it ... are houses and gardens ever really "done"? Ours are still evolving after 29 years. I'd agree that softening the foundation and adding window boxes, hanging planters, and cottage-style gardens would be lovely, as long as they are in keeping with your preferences and lifestyle.

Enjoy the process! Looking forward to seeing your "after" photos next spring.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 10:16PM
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Organic, you have a lovely home. I, too, like the idea of the red door.

I'd like to suggest some plantings close to the home. I think it would really add to the overall appearance. I'm wondering if that is what is bothering your friends and family, not the color, but the lack of softness close to the foundation.

Just my 2 cents. (Don't know where you live, so I really can't suggest anything.)


    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 10:24AM
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