By Jane Smith
When you want to repaint your coastal home, how do you go about choosing a color?
Do you collect pages from home magazines that show pictures of houses painted in colors you adore? Pick out colors based on a favorite artwork? Or go through your wardrobe to see what colors you favor when clothes shopping?
Do you then buy several different paint colors that are applied to the walls in a checkerboard style? And then, after several attempts you might select one you can live with.
There is an easier and less costly method of selecting paint colors to give your home curb appeal. It involves the services of a color consultant who knows paint colors and how they are influenced by light.
A good one will help select a color palette to create a color flow that forms a harmonious home.
“That’s very important,” said Veronica Bower, a certified color consultant with Benjamin Moore stores in Boca Raton and West Palm Beach. “When you walk through the front door, you want to see the same color in the foyer.” She tries to keep the colors inside balanced by selecting pastels with pastels and bolds with bolds.
For the interior of a home, she suggests that clients decide on the furnishings and artwork first, and then the paint color.
“Paint should be the last thing chosen,” said Bower. If the paint is selected first, you are “tied down to that specific color — your choices are limited by the paint color for furniture and hard goods.”
Two South County coastal women who recently hired Bower to help pick paint colors rave about her color knowledge.
“She has a fresh eye, knows her colors and is pleasant to be around,” said a Boca Raton homeowner who lives along the Intracoastal Waterway.
Her Key West-style home needed to be repainted because of its waterfront location. Years of salt-water breezes took their toll on home. Andover Management Co., whose judgment the home owner trusted, suggested Bower.
Bower drove out to the Intracoastal house to do the in-person consultation.
“She spent hours and hours because my husband and I have different tastes,” the wife said. “She asked us what colors we liked. I told her I didn’t have any preferences, but knew what I didn’t like. My husband wanted something bright.”
Bower came up with a color palette for the home’s exterior that pleased both husband and wife. It was repainted in May.
For that exterior paint job, with its body originally painted in bright aqua, trim in white and accent color in off-white, Bower selected a fresh palette. The colors selected were: Hawthorne Yellow for the body, Serenity for the accent color and White Dove for the trim.
She suggests three colors for the exterior, likening that selection to the outfit a person might wear: shirt, pants and a scarf or vest to set the outfit.
The body of house color is very important because it is the largest area, she said. Trim paint colors go on soffit, fascia, window sills and sometimes the garage door. The accent color goes on the front door and shutters.
For coastal homes, which often have stucco surfaces, she recommends a satin sheen for the exterior. Flat paints will soak in and absorb quickly, making the exterior surface feel chalky and causing the color to fade quickly. “Think of it as a little bit of sunscreen for your exterior,” she said.
Bower got her start with Benjamin Moore paint colors in 1997 when she lived in North Carolina. She also studied paint colors through in-person seminars and online until she had the hours to become certified.
After moving to Florida, she began working in 2008 at the Boca Raton Benjamin Moore store. She does color consulting there 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Mondays and Wednesdays, she is at the West Palm Beach store during the same hours. The in-store consultations are free. For an in-home consult, she charges an hourly fee, which varies depending on distance and the day.
Pictures on a smartphone or from a magazine don’t provide the true color resolution of a paint color, she said. “You really need a paint color chip.”
In addition, the way the paint colors looks on walls inside a home or on its exterior can vary by the quality and quantity of the light available.
“A paint color is 50 percent natural and artificial light and 50 percent the paint color,” Bower said.
Time of day also influences a color because of the position of the sun and the direction a home faces.
Benjamin Moore color consultant Veronica Bower helped the owner of this Delray Beach condominium choose a soft neutral paint color with butter and cream tones that create a cozier feel than before (below). Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star
The Delray Beach oceanfront condo owner heard about Bower from a Boca Raton cousin. That woman had talked with Bower about paint colors for a bathroom project.
The condo owner wanted a calm but peaceful color she could be comfortable looking at, plus one that would look good with the water view.
Bower selected Philadelphia Cream for the living room, described as “a very soft neutral with a little cream and butter mixed in together to create coziness.”
The other Benjamin Moore colors selected for the condo are: White Sand in the kitchen and hallways, Burlap in the master bedroom and bath, Edgecomb Gray in the powder room with the ceilings and trim in white dove.
The condo’s interior was repainted in June.
The owner recently raved about how the paint colors transformed her condo.
“In some ways, it looks like a new apartment,” she said. “The colors chosen make certain things pop out that previously were hidden. I am very happy with it.”