on why knocking on a stranger’s door can be very awesome

Jun 23, 2010 | Home + Studio Tours

my mom always told me that when it came time to paint the exterior of a house, that i should drive around, find a house i loved, and knock on their door and ask for their paint colors. she’s been telling me this since i was a teenager and it’s exactly how she’s found her house colors throughout the years.

when it came time to paint our little bungalow we were considering my mom’s advice. when i told our contractor that we would be driving around looking at house colors, he suggested going to the wealthiest part of town and looking at those house colors. his reasoning? the people living in the wealthiest of neighborhoods could afford designers with good color sense.
my intuition told me otherwise. so instead, we headed straight for the artsy neighborhoods (belomont, alberta, hawthorne) which are NOT the wealthiest of neighborhoods. one thing i’ve always loved about portland is the variety of home colors here. it’s absolutely not unusual to see bright green houses, pink houses, purple houses and so on. they’re tastefully done and it’s a great way to brighten up a city where it rains all of the time.
and so, we drove around and we eventually stopped at this house. we thought it was charming – even with it’s weathered porch and paint. we loved the color. and so, i got up my courage and knocked on the door and guess what? the sweetest littlest oldest lady ever answered the door. she was in her housecoat. i introduced myself, told her we loved her home colors and did she know what they were. she did not, but she sweetly offered some paint chips that had fallen to the ground (like i said, it wasn’t the best paint job but it was the color that we loved). we chatted for awhile and i have a feeling that my unexpected visit was a good start to her morning and she was SO FLATTERED that we wanted her exact colors.

and so off we went to Benjamin Moore paint to find a color match with those little paint chips she let us gather from the ground. and then i showed them to our contractor who threw his hands up in the air. and then the house got painted. and then we beamed. and jumped for joy. and our neighbors came over to tell us how much they love it too. but even if our neighbors didn’t love it (and i’m sure they don’t ALL love it), we love it. it makes us smile wide. it’s a happy house. and following our own beat and intuition, against all fancy designer house color advice, is the only way to go. the only way.

we still have quite a bit of trim/foundation painting to do, but you get the general idea. i love how the green of the grass works with the teal. i love how the color of the roof matches the color of the door and how it has a fun artsy coastal beachy feel. for those of you who want to know, these are the colors:
benjamin moore mill springs blue (main house)
benjamin moore dove white (trim)
benjamin moore iron mountain (accent color – it’s like a dark charcoal brown)

Sending much love,

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I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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