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Home at the Howards :: Exterior Finish Inspiration

When I first moved into my home I was set on painting it all a fabulous dark color like a warm black or graphite gray. The lighter brick around the base would bring the perfect contrast and look beautifully modern to embrace the 1960's split level we purchased. Then, after living in our home for nearly three quarters of a year I felt like I wanted something different. I realized elements I wanted to incorporate that were more traditional and so I set off to find inspiration for a design direction that was more unique and intriguing to make my home my own.

I love a mix of both modern and traditional design and in a sea of modern farmhouse white and black houses I decided I wanted something different, something a little more rooted in history and timeless appeal. I've always been drawn to English Architecture and historical homes of the past. At first, I thought I couldn't bring that style to my own home but once I opened my mind to the potential it all started to click and I figured out how I could embrace the modern architecture of my home while adding the traditional sense of history I love.


Whenever searching for inspiration myself or with clients there are always themes that emerge. The more images I saved, the more I saw what I was drawn to and begin formulating a design plan for my exterior to bring those ideas together. Here are some of my favorite homes that served as inspiration for the color palette and design direction of my home.

Pursley Dixon Architecture (This entire home is incredible inside and out!)

New England Home Mag :: John Bessler Photography (This right here sold me on the color for my exterior! Its warm and inviting and yet classy and cool)

Laura Rugh :: Rugh Design (I love how the copper is such a showstopper against the light grey)

Sean Anderson :: Photo: Alyssa Rosenheck (This home is the perfect mix of modern lines in a softer grey with white windows and a touch of copper)

Nancy Duffey Interiors :: J. Ryan Duffey Architect (I love the shape of this beam and the tone on tone finishes)

via Becky Owens (the grey brick is lovely)

Lynn Morgan (So charming!)

Notice design elements on repeat in these exteriors:

  • Warm grey and tans mixed with copper

  • The subtle contrast of white windows against a mid-toned backdrop

  • The overall tone on tone feel without high contrasting trim

  • I love the large curved corbels and beams as well (I have ideas still brewing with how to incorporate some of these too!)

  • Textured exterior materials like brick and shakes all painted the same color as the other material types


Once I determined that I wanted my overall home to be an inviting warm grey I wanted contrast that in some way. If you've been following me for long you'll know I love contrast! We have a sunroom addition with a different sloped roof, clearly defined separations between the original home and the addition. By contrasting that space in a darker color from the rest of the home it helps tell the story of my home. Old and new, traditional and modern, the perfect mix.

Here are some homes that inspired me with the same story.

Jean Stoffer Design (The copper gutters beautifully transition from light to dark)

Jean Stoffer Design (Gorgeous home all light except this beautiful sunroom with copper gutters)

Studio Mcgee Exterior (I'll forever love this black mud room portion on the Mcgee's home. Such a moment!)

IdaHomeRealestate (Love the copper against the black!)


Here's just a peek at how I'm implementing the new color scheme for my home so far!

I can hardly describe how much joy I feel seeing my vision come to life as I update both the interior and exterior of my home. It's been so fun and every week we get a step closer! Thank you so much for being here and taking part in the journey. And let me just say, my home is going to be the prettiest on the block! Be sure to subscribe to my design diaries and follow me on instagram @hillareehowarddesign so you can see it evolve too!

All the best,


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