Love Haight Victorian Color

Love Haight Victorian Color

Last summer, the summer of 2011 that is,  I was called upon to assist some very bright Clients  in assembling a color palette for their Victorian near Haight Street, in San Francisco.

The building had a lighter (creamy-white) body, with darker (pale greeny-blue) trim, and the Client wanted to reverse the value  (lights and darks) emphasis…and perhaps create a value-added proposition in the process.

The house boasts a variety of architectural details, and the two porch “roofs” or overhangs provided a particular color placement challenge.

Once we had determined that the house body would become darker in value, and the trim lighter (a more common approach in the area), the next step was to choose the body or field color, which would go pretty much everywhere on the house, except for its multitude of trim, decorative detailing, doors and roof.

I looked at a number of houses suggested by the Client, and we narrowed the body color down to three hues in the green to gray range. The Client’s painter put them up, I.E., painted out large sample swatches on the house’s exterior siding surface, which made the final choice much easier!

Extension ladders were used to reach the high-up areas. Wow. That’s high. Intrepid painter.  Better he then me!

Many details and textural surfaces up at the very top! We needed to take each of these into careful consideration when creating the color design, as the Clients wanted to both highlight the details through accent colors, and unify, integrate and streamline the building’s total look, at the same time.

In order to minimize the detail and make it more visually subtle, and the color design, building and architecture more elegant and streamlined, an interlocking palette of closely related colors from both the Benjamin Moore, and Sherwin Williams pantheons was chosen for the trim and accent colors.

Benjamin Moore HC (Historical Colors palette) 108, “Sandy Hook Gray” was selected for the house body color. Its gray-green hue has a dimension of warmth, and a quiet complexity, suited to the feeling the Clients wanted to create. Sherwin Williams “Shoji White”  (SW7042) in semi-gloss (?) was chosen for the multitude of trim, as its undertone works well with the body color.

The porch overhangs were done in the body color, at 50% formula. The same ratio of tints were used, but in half the amount, creating a barely perceptible shift in value and intensity. The overhangs are also in shadow, not being exposed to direct light, thus making them read slightly darker.

SW7046, Sherwin Williams  “Anonymous”   in a satin sheen was used on the window sashes “outlining”, or highlighting the windows),  as well as on the garage door, the inside of and around the decorative , detail-filled triangles  on either side of the top of the house, and the central cross detail just below the roof’s tip.

The service door tot he right of the entry stairs was done in : Benjamin Moore HC 107, “Gettysburg Gray”, in a satin sheen, while the same spec in eggshell adorns a high-up “stripe” (architectural detail running horizontally across the upper part of the facade).

To add a touch of elegance, and “punch”, Sherwin Williams “Urbane Bronze’ SW7048 in a semi-gloss sheen was painted on the front door, leading the eye to this main entry, and providing a nice contrast to both the garage and service doors.

The deep color of the front door picks up on the dark bronze hue of the overhanging entry light fixture, packing the visual “punch”.

As a final detail, Modern Masters ME238 “Blackened Bronze” metallic paint (and accompanying varnish)  was added to the ball ornaments, and carved ornamental details within the smaller,  lower triangles.

The result is a color scheme which unifies the structure, and adds elegance and dignity to the home, while still celebrating the fun and fancy of its multitude of Victorian details, while taking every visual aspect of its front exterior into consideration.

The Clients, a bright couple with a fine eye for detail and  design, participated fully in our color collaboration, and, with their two young daughters, will hopefully enjoy their carefully colored, harmoniously hued home, for many years to come.

What color joys and challenges have YOU had lately?

If you feel so inclined, please share about them with us here.

We love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all coloring in our Lives  in this world, together.

Happy Hue to You!

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Varieties of Verdigris

Varieties of Verdigris

The word “verdigris” comes from the Middle English vertegrez, from the Old French verte grez, an alteration of vert-de-Grèce, or “green of Greece”.  The modern French spelling  is vert-de-gris. What a  romantic and poetic linguistic lineage.
Verdigris is  the natural patina which forms on the surface of  copper, bronze, or brass as it is exposed to air and water, wind and weather over time.  In essence, it is the weathering, or tarnishing of these metals, and shows itself in a variety of green hues.  As a faux finisher, and decorative painter, the “look” can be achieved through the controlled (or not) application of chemicals to these metals, which form a blueish green “deposit’, or pigment.   Indeed, verdigris was used as a pigment to create greens in paintings and other art objects.  Until the 19th century, verdigris was the most vibrant green pigment (paint colorant) available.  It’s earliest known use was in the 14th Century.

The other way of creating a verdigris finish. i.e., the look of verdigris, is by the simple or not so simple, application of green and other-hued paints manipulated over a base coat. This method, to my way of thinking, is by far the more fun, as  a virtual universe of verdigris can be created.  The effect of painted verdigris is by and large controllable, a claim which cannot always be made for chemical reactions.

The vibrant, yet natural-looking verdigris finish above and below  was created by manipulating one custom-mixed hue of green over an exterior latex base coat: Benjamin Moore’s “Pueblo Brown 2102-30”.  The “verdigris” color is one part Benjamin Moore “Pear Green 2028-40” and three parts “Blue Spa 2052-40 “, drybrushed over a completely dry surface.

The verdigris color is wiped off is some areas, leaving a strie effect, and accentuating the texture of the base coated metal.  The surface textures, shifts of plane, and interplay between base and top colors offer enough variety to make the treatment visually interesting, and believable enough for passers-by to comment on the “copper“!

A verdigris treatment is often associated with copper, but as discussed above, also works with both bronze and brass.  On the door above and below, the client wanted a loose  (“messy” as she termed it!) look, that nonetheless complimented the charming building, and worked with the teal shutters and trim detail.  As the kick plate, address numbers, door knob, and mailboxes are a bronze hue, (as well as details of the light fixture), Benjamin Moore “Aged Bronze 231” was used as a base coat, with three blue to green hues dry-brushed over it to create the effect.

The bright golden-bronze hue provides a nice contrast to the cooler yet still warm greenish-blue flat exterior latex paints layered and manipulated over the darker base.  The textures  as well as the colors had to work in tandem to create a complete, coherent picture, “messiness’ not withstanding!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The rails above were base painted in a deep blackish green, Benjamin Moore “Black Forest Green (Exterior ready-made)” latex, then four more colors were applied consecutively over  the base painted surface. First, the coppery-toned Benjamin Moore “Suntan Bronze 1217” was dry-brushed sparingly, then “Cypress Green 509”, followed by “Garden Oasis 699” were stippled,. (All Benjamin Moore exterior latex colors.) Finally, a touch of the custom “Blue Spa 2018-40” and “Pear Green 2052-40” mix mentioned above was added as a subtle accent. The application and layering of five colors in total adds depth and detail to the final finish.

As the balcony railings are partially obscured by trees, and the Clients were less concerned about their appearance,  we opted to use only the two softer greens, “Cypress Green – 509” followed by “Garden Oasis 699” stippled over the same ready-made “Forest Green” base coat.  Because three of the five colors in the steps railings are the same, the color impression looks the same from a distance, an effect we wanted to achieve.

It’s interesting that verdigris, an actual effect of tarnishing and oxidation processes, can result is such  vivid green, teal, and even turquoise colors, as well as beautiful, variegated textures and patina.  It begs the issue of the value, aesthetic or otherwise, of antiquing, aging, even decay.  For what better purpose can we create art, decor and deign, then to both uplift, and deepen the human spirit by raising questions  of beauty and mortality, and the possible connections between the two?

What effect, finish, treatment or application, verdigris or otherwise has touched you with its beauty or other wise lately?  What has caused you to contemplate aesthetics…or, life’s big questions?  How about the relationship between the two?

If you feel so inspired, please share it with us here.  We love to hear from you.  Remember, we are all traveling through this thing called Life, together. Here’s to beauty…in all it’s forms.