Paint Can and Brush

Tips for Selecting Exterior Paint

Selecting exterior paint color is complicated. The advice below can help you from making a costly mistake. Take your time! Selecting the best paint color for your exteriors is not something to rush into. It is a process. Choosing the wrong color can be an expensive mistake and one you will have to live with for years.


Explore your options! Sure, you can choose to repaint your home its current color, but why not take this opportunity to make a change? Drive through your neighborhood or other new construction to see what exterior colors you favor or are trending. Identify those homes that are similar to your own. If you have a brick home look for a home with the same brick. If you have a stucco home, find one with similar architectural detail. What do you like or not like about the color choices? What might you do differently?


Bonus tip: I had a client who loved the exterior paint of a home similar to her’s in her neighborhood, but not in the immediate vicinity. She contacted the neighbor who was more than happy to discuss her paint selections, the process and reasoning behind her choices and even contractor recommendations. Valuable information gained in that conversation helped my client by giving her a starting point, and also shortened her decision time.


Consider your hardscapes…those home elements you will not be changing but will impact your color selections. Examples may be brick, stone, roof color, etc. Determining the undertones in these elements will help narrow down your choices and give you a starting point if you look for paint with the same undertones. Having a paint deck from your preferred brand will be an invaluable tool when trying to identify subtle undertones. For example, grey is simply not just gray. The color gray has either a blue, purple, or green undertone. Unless you are a color expert these undertones are difficult to identify when they are standing alone. Painting samples next to each other will also help identify the undertones because they will stand out more clearly.


Consider what architectural elements you would like highlighted or camouflaged, and let your color choices do the work. One way to add dimension to a façade is by choosing an accent color in the same tone as the main house color, only 1, or 2 shades darker. This technique can


be used successfully on door and window trim and is subtle, kind of like shading in a drawing Conversely, using a bold accent color will draw attention and to areas where it is used. An entry door is a great place to use a bold accent color.


Narrow down a few possible color options. Purchase paint samples and apply them in patches around your exterior and view them over the course of several days. The color may appear different on a cloudy day as it does in the light of the sun. The pictures below are the same samples, but photos were taken on different days. Repeat this process until you zone in on the perfect color. Sometimes hand-mixing multiple samples will yield the perfect color. Should this happen to you, simply dip a paint stick into your home blend and let it dry. Bring that stick with you to the paint store to have a color match made from it.


Choose wisely, not just the paint color, but the professional who will be doing the painting. The person you hire to do the job should be qualified and come with several references. Make sure to discuss the preparation they will do before painting, whether the estimate includes the paint and what type of paint will be used, how many colors and coats of paint will be painted, the estimated time the job will take and the scope of the job…what specifically will be painted. It is also a good idea to have your finalized paint selections ready to discuss so you won’t feel rushed if the painter is ready to start right away.


Finalize and record your selection. Once you have made the final selection record the color, finish, brand and the store you purchased your samples. Keep a hard copy for your records and give a copy to your painter. I find it helpful to keep the paint swatches handy as well. Having these records will minimize error and provide an easy to reference if your home needs repair down the road. Also be on hand to supervise as the painters are working and don’t be afraid to speak up if you have concerns.


Follow these tips and don’t be surprised when a neighbor rings the doorbell to inquire about your home’s exterior color.

Image by Heather McKean
Image by Aaron Huber


For most of us, the perfect pantry is elusive. Many of today’s houses are built with more living square footage, but with much less pantry space. The dream of super-organized shelves, pull out bins for produce, and lovely glass jars with neat labels is frankly not a reality for the majority of us. In this post, we’ll show you how a relatively small remodel will spell out HUGE new possibilities!


We have a large family (5 kids, mom and dad, and grandma), and our house is above-average size at 4,000 square feet. Our pantry was laughable at best – 50" wide by 27" deep with only 5 shelves! We were having to utilize garage space in order to store excess food, which just doesn’t work. Since a huge remodel is completely out of the budget, we tried to think of ways to do a mini remodel at an affordable cost – we were shooting for $300 or less. The best thing we could think of was moving our refrigerator to the opposite wall, and making the pantry wider by almost twice.


After removing the door and existing shelves, the first thing we had to do was remove the current pantry walls. The new width of the pantry will be 90′′ (inside), so the door will have to be relocated. Our plan was to buy another of these doors, and make them open like French doors. This will give us a wide access point for all our new shelving! Taking down both walls to the left gave us a completely open space to work with. We were VERY careful to preserve as many studs as we could, as well as the sides of the door frame to be reused in the new design.It’s always interesting to see what you find when you open a wall...this time we found a roll of toilet paper. A friend of ours found a gallon jug of yellow liquid (don’t even WANT to guess what it was!), and in our last house we found a beer bottle in the frame of our jetted tub! I always wonder if it’s a running joke with these guys, or what.


The one thing we didn’t bargain on was the depth of the back wall being different. We have support column for the second level behind the pantry, so there was no way (at least for us amateurs!) to adjust the framing along the back. We decided to just leave this the way it was, which means that the old part of the pantry will be 3.5" deeper than the rest.


It looks kinda weird now, but this got me to brainstorming about a solution. I have always wanted pull out drawers for my potatoes and onions, so the best thing I could think of was to build a “tower” in the center that would cover up the depth difference. My husband and I both are carpenters, so building a unit like this is a piece of cake! By Making the right side 3.5" deeper than the left, and making the back piece straight across, no one will ever really know the depth difference!


Anyway, once the new walls were up, my husband framed in the expanded header and moved the door frame to the left about 10". This allowed us to center the two doors, with relatively little fuss. Since we were using the old door, we didn’t have the luxury of buying a pre-hung door. We had to make sure the doors would hang properly before adding drywall to the new sides. My husband is pretty much my hero, so he was able to use the old side frames, a couple of shims, and a new .5" top frame and voila – French doors!!


After ensuring the doors would work well, it was now time to move on to adding drywall to the new sides and header. Now that the drywall was complete, it was time to add the fancy corner rounder piece, and add the tape and joint compound. Any home improvement project requires planning, and I am definitely a planner. With any woodworking project I do, I often make design plans and cut lists.


For this project, I wanted to make sure to utilize as much space as I could, while also covering the different depth issue. As you can see, my plans are pretty extensive! In a project like this, I like to have a front view and a view from the top. By planning things out this way, we were able to make changes on paper without making costly mistakes. I had desperately wanted a divider for my cookie sheets and such, but by looking at the design on paper, we were able to see that the header would be in the way. Boo.


Utilize multifunctional furniture

Nesting tables are one of my favorite pieces of furniture. They provide extra surface space when entertaining and look fantastic when stacked one underneath the other. Arteriors Home Knight Nesting Tables are stunning and are available in both a large and small size. A console table placed behind a sofa can be utilized in a variety of ways. One of my favorite ways to utilize a console table is to create a bar area when entertaining. Wine, liquor, glasses, and bar accessories can be stored in the console for easy set up. And if you love Irish whiskey you must try Old Tom Horan Irish Whiskey! This whiskey is so delicious that is it often sold out. You can find it at Spec’s. Tom Horan is a Houston Icon and a dear friend of mine.


Make the most of the vertical space

Lofts are known for their open floor plan and high ceilings. Bookcases are ideal for providing storage and places to display favorite pieces of art or accessories. Select bookcases that can be stacked, hung on the wall, or serve as a room divider. IKEA has many affordable options. There is no end to the way they can be arranged! Ikea Hack is a popular search engine that provides abundant ideas as to how to utilize their bookcases. I have used the Billy Shelving as a room divider to separate my son’s desk/study area from his bedroom. It allowed for the space to stay visually connected while providing a place for books and trophies to be displayed. Ann P. Brennan Interior Design utilized the Billy Shelving in a Houston lawyers office to provide places for books and personal memorabilia. We also used the same shelving as planters in the office. With a wide variety of options, finishes, and conservative price point you just can’t go wrong with shelving from IKEA to make the most of the vertical space.


Soften the surroundings

With an abundance of hard services (cement floors, brick walls, quartz countertops, windows, etc.) lofts need to add another element to the mix. Curtain panels are an ideal solution. Curtain panels will not only visually soften the space but will help absorb the echoes of the hard surfaces. Stationary panels are all that is needed and are more cost effective than ones that can be drawn closed. Most home stores carry curtain panels in the standard 84” and 95” lengths. West Elm has a huge selection. Check out their Belgium Flax panels. This style comes in a variety of colors and lengths. What’s most impressive is that they offer panels up to 124” in height, which is rare for pre-made panels. 


If you have a high ceiling you need to consider having them custom made. With a variety of fabrics on the market, you can select the color, texture, and pattern that works best with your style. 


Curtain panels not only help to absorb sound they also cause the eye to take note of the height of the room and add a bit of dimension to any space. For added drama, softness, and sound absorption consider installing curtain panels in your loft.


A well thought out approach to decorating your loft is a must for aesthetics and functionality. Select multifunctional furniture, make the most of the vertical space and add curtain panels to add softness to the space.


Need assistance with decorating your loft? Call or text Ann Schamberger at 713-703-8258. We would be thrilled to team up with you to create a modern loft with style and function.