The caller was interested in an historic Sears-Roebuck Catalogue house I have listed in North White Plains, but he wanted to make sure that it was not “purple” as he said it appeared to him online. “If it’s purple, I’m not interested,” he said, “because to me, purple means ‘death!’”
“It’s a very nice blue-grey, and not purple, I can assure you,” I affirmed.
“It sure looks purple in the photograph,” he persisted.
Okay, this is not going to be a phone call based on objectivity, I thought, so why not go along with it and give the guy the kind of playful discourse he was obviously seeking. I continued the discussion by pointing out that some people consider purple the color of royalty, and I told him about a celebrated house in my hometown of Yorktown painted totally in shades of purple which is owned by a retired couple who are very lively indeed.
For years I’ve been wanting to get the inside story about the place, but the owners whom I see almost every day when I get my coffee at Panera Bread – the wife always dressed totally in lilac and lavender, including all her accessories, even her eyeglass frames – have always declined my request, saying they prefer enjoying their distinctive taste in private.
Again I thought of exterior colors for houses when I noted online a survey done by Sears Weatherbeater Paints that surprisingly revealed that 40 percent of those polled prefer white as an exterior house color. What? How could that be, I pondered, unless the survey were conducted in 1890? Either that, or it was skewed toward the deep South or the West Coast! Certainly, around here, that couldn’t be the case.
I confirmed my hunch with Miracle Home Improvements in Croton-on-Hudson which specializes in siding with vinyl and fiber cement products. Owner Mary Sniffen told me, “The most popular exterior colors trending for siding now are the deeper browns like a shade called Timber Bark and the grey blues. Very rarely has anyone asked for white. In fact, I can remember only one case in recent memory where white was chosen.”
The same goes for house painting. I called my painter Joe Pascarelli who estimates that he’s painted 25 house exteriors over the past year and not a single homeowner has asked for white. “There are two colors from Benjamin Moore I’ve been recommending lately that my clients really like,” he said. “A lighter color called Brandy Cream is a sort of tan and a deeper color is Charcoal Slate which I combine with a white trim called Chantilly Lace. It makes a terrific combination.”
The strongest impression this year for outdoor painting overall seems to be blue, chosen in a recent survey by House Beautiful as the favorite color of 29 percent of those polled by the magazine.
Interestingly 77 percent of the magazine’s readers say that they have are now painting, have just finished painting or are planning to paint something in the next six months. This makes sense considering that a paint job is the best fixer-upper project for the least amount of money.
The “gurus” of real estate like me recommend thinking one way about exterior house paint if you plan to “stay put” and another way if you plan to market your home for sale. If you want to make a bold statement with a rich, deep color like red or plum, which might be quite daring if you’re in an Arts and Crafts or Victorian house, it is fine to express your individuality to your heart’s content. But such a strong statement can thwart your chances at attracting a buyer who may be put off with so personalized a statement.
It is recommended that your color choice be more neutral when it’s time to paint for resale with lighter tones of tan, clay, cream, gray or beige, with shades of white best used on the trim. You can incorporate a splash of color by painting the door a contrasting, deeper tone, like red or deep blue.
Some years ago, I made a proclamation that every front door should be painted red for its feng shui benefits, even going so far as to recommend a particular color, Benjamin Moore Burgundy. Since then, I’ve received the most flattering feedback from readers who have followed my advice. And many times when I am called to list a house and find that its front door has been painted red, I know that I’ve found a true believer like me.
For more information about vinyl or fiber cement siding, ask for Mary Sniffen at Miracle Home Improvement at (914) 271-9119. For information about house painting, call Joe Pascarelli at (914) 330-3889.
Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest running public relations agency in Westchester (www.PrimaveraPR.com). His real estate site is www.PrimaveraRealEstate.com, and his blog is www.TheHomeGuru.com. To engage the services of The Home Guru and his team to market your home for sale, call (914) 522-2076.