There’s a lot of snow outside, and even more filling up the driveway of the Apple House. Mark and I drove past it while on Christmas vacation, and the city snow plows had given us a seasonal gift of a 4 foot high wall of compacted snow and ice. No one is clearing off the path to the front door either, although some hard core postal worker is still trudging up to the front door to leave fliers. Poor bastard… also, poor us, because we are in for a nightmare of a workout. Thank the LORD I go to the gym.
Despite the fact that it’s the season for hot drinks, mountains of blankets, roaring fireplaces and movie marathons, I think both Mark and I are a bit obsessed with thoughts of spring and the exterior of the house. We were at the house because it had warmed up unexpectedly and snow was melting, and we wanted to know if the snow on the very very messed up roof of the Apple House was melting. We were in for such a great surprise! Despite all the snow we’ve had this winter, the prevailing winds in our new ‘hood picked up the snow from the East roof faces and dumped it all on the West roof faces. The weak spot in the roof, the big crisis spot that we wanted patched so urgently, is on the East side of the house and miracle of miracles, there was only about an inch of snow over that spot. The West side of the house had about a foot of snow, and it was forming an incredibly impressive drift over the front of the house! The Apple House looks like an emo kid with a heavy sweep of bangs hanging in his/her eyes.
I fell in a snowbank. I am a graceful Canadian swan.
I pulled myself out by holding onto our Subaru Forester.
When I ran out of station wagon to hold onto, I almost fell back into the snowbank.
Mark couldn’t even look at me, it was so embarrassing to watch.
That’s not the only creeping I’ve been doing, though. I’ve been working on figuring out what to do to improve the exterior of the house. Right now, the house is the worst of the 1980s in Canada. Any Canadian (who would notice these kinds of things) will tell you that in the late ’70s and in the ’80s, there was this insane Canadian civic love affair with dark chocolate brown: libraries were painted chocolate brown, park signs were chocolate brown with yellow letters, trim on houses were glossy chocolate brown OH GOD THE MEMORIES. Everything that was provided to the public by the provincial or municipal governments (it seemed) got painted chocolate brown! Our house kind of falls into that category: cream vinyl siding, red brick, and dark chocolate brown trim (and shutters).
This colour combination has always strongly reminded me of a nanaimo bar, which isn’t BAD because yum? But it’s dated to be sure. Since we have to put a new roof and new windows on the house, we’re in a position to make significant changes to the appearance of the house. This is brilliant! However, if you’re gonna be choosing a new roof and new windows, it’s a good idea to have a vision for the whole exterior. The roof will come from one supplier, the windows from another, so it really falls to the homeowner to have a master plan.
So what do you do with a red brick and cream vinyl siding house? (Answer: google image search the crap out of red brick houses!)
The internet seems to say that your only options for a red brick house are black shutters with white trim and windows, but that’s pretty much what we have now and it doesn’t look good at all. It really, really looks… dark? Dirty? Boring?
I decided to assume that the windows would have charcoal grey trim (more on that later), and that the roof would be a medium grey. The choice of roof colour is a big deal: the darker your roof, the more heat it’ll create and the more your insulation will have to work at keeping your house cool. Since that’s the case, I think a medium grey will be both dark enough to have class, and will be light enough to not create too much heat.
After futzing around with Microsoft paint and trying out a wide variety of colours, I created a milky oxblood red (applied to the shutters, front door and garage door) that just happens to look absolutely incredible with a charcoal windows and cream vinyl siding. The look is very “modern farmhouse”.
I’m hoping that in real life we’ll find a garnet/oxblood house paint that looks absolutely incredible with the existing brick. The colour I created on my computer is darker, browner and somehow has a smooth milky-ness that sets off the brick instead of creating a sense that the whole damn house is an OXO cube. Win!
But the tricky part becomes this: in my successful mock up with the imaginary oxblood house paint, my starting point was those grey frame windows. The mock ups with pure white window frames clashed with the cream coloured siding.
Well, we have a quote for getting grey frame windows, but they’re more expensive than white windows. So now my question is…
…if I wanted to put grey framed windows on the parts of the house that face the street, and white frame windows everywhere else, would that be such a crime?