Where Did Your House Get Its Style?

By Steven Randel, Houzz

One of the most common questions people have about their own home is, what style is it? This is not always an easy question to answer. "Style" is an elusive term, because it can be applied to many different things, and style is frequently an amalgamation of different features. Nevertheless, most homes have a link to an established fashion of architecture, defined by the overall form of the structure and/or its details. Also, it needs to be taken into account that many structures are created purely out of necessity with little regard to design aesthetic, and are considered to have a folk or vernacular style.

It can be said that a style is a definition after the fact rather than before or during. To label a unique building as it is being designed makes little sense. Time will tell if it holds up to replication and garners a following, thereby establishing a trend. But by far most houses have a rooted identity that has evolved to adapt to current living standards.

 

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Isler Homes, original photo on Houzz

 

Styles and fashions of home design once were regional and changed slowly over time. Building techniques were dictated by the skill of local tradesmen, and materials came from nearby sources or were specified far in advance and patiently anticipated. Beginning with the building boom after World War II, modern building practices completely changed how and what we built.

Related: The Birth of Modern Architecture

The Disneyland effect took hold. Design was inspired by faraway places, and materials could be shipped by rail or truck and even flown to almost any place in the developed world. Out of this luxury of choice evolved a few persistent styles, which are pressing into the latest century with great affection. Here you can see five home styles that have roots in the past yet are firmly 21st-century dwellings with a strong sense of place and character.

1. French eclectic. Considered to be rooted in Renaissance classical architecture as opposed to ancient classical architecture, French eclectic style can be symmetrical, as with the home shown here, or asymmetrical. This particular house also has the feeling of a chateau with its use of stone, and of Beaux-Arts architecture with the detailed articulation of the facade. There is even a hint of Greek revival with its centered, gabled pediment. Though classical architecture is practically absent in modern commercial building, it shows no signs of giving up in the domestic arena.

 


Sicora Design/Build, original photo on Houzz

 

2. Shingle. With some reference to classical detailing, the shingle style began to appear under the Victorian umbrella of design in the late 19th century. It ironically stems from medieval architecture — that is, the period of building between the end of ancient classical and the beginning of Renaissance classical. Original shingle was a style before its time; shingle designs emphasized a more open floor plan, a feature so popular today. On this house there are also elements of stick style (note the gable over the entrance porch) and Tudor (note the steep roof formations and varying window shapes). Shingle style is currently very popular in the southeastern United States but can be found in all areas of the country.

 


Studio 1 Architects, original photo on Houzz

 

3. Prairie. Though authentic examples of this style are rare outside the Midwest, and although it was only briefly popular (1900 to 1920), it had a profound effect on vernacular suburban architecture for the rest of the 20th century. The long, low, horizontal lines and deep eaves along with hipped roofs can be found all across the United States in the more familiar ranch style. It is also uniquely an American creation and is considered a part of modern architecture and, more specifically, stems from the Arts and Crafts movement. As can be seen in this example, the detailing can be quite sophisticated and complex.

 


Rockefeller Partners Architects, original photo on Houzz

 

4. California contemporary. This coastal California design alludes to midcentury style along with vernacular modernism, hence its designation as contemporary; it also displays currently popular materials and building techniques. A strong affection for midcentury modern architecture, especially domestic, resurfaced at the turn of the 21st century.

Original examples date back to the 1930s, but the Case Study program in Southern California and developer Joseph Eichler in Northern California set the nation on a course of what most labeled, at the time, contemporary. Many houses were built with this influence until a reversal of taste in the 1980s led fashion back to historic revivals and even postmodernism, though the latter was rare in residential architecture. A strong relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces is evident in this example, along with walls of glass and the use of warm materials.

 


AR Design Studio Ltd, original photo on Houzz

 

5. International. This style is somewhat rare in the United States but can be found in many places around the world, such as this example in the United Kingdom. Born from the work of famous architects such as Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier prior to World War II, this style fell out of favor after the war in Europe but simultaneously strongly influenced the aforementioned mid-century modernism in the United States.

Structural transparency lies at the heart of this style, which can easily be identified by flat roofs, walls of glass and long planes of solid walls punctuated with openings. With the home shown, the landscape is defined by the extension of primary wall elements, while the upper level seems to float above the setting. Minimalism marks its identity, but closer inspection of these masterpieces often reveals intricate, thoughtful and careful detailing.

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From the Architect's Corner - a Helpful Tip

A product's sample in the hand is about the best thing you can provide your clients when choosing colors for the exterior of their home. It is important to remember to take your samples outside and put them in the natural light. Be sure to leave them there for a day or two and view them in all different lights and shadows. This will allow you to have a better idea of what the color will look like once the products are installed.

Click here to read more FRESH tips for choosing exterior color from our Color Expert, Kate Smith.

 

Fake Cedar Shake

 

Happy Friday, Architects!

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Say "No" to Cookie Cutter Homes

We're right in the middle of "Cookie Cutter Week." Although we're sure the person who developed this celebration was probably thinking of cutters made to create tasty treats, we think about it in a different way.

Polymer Roofing ProductsYou often hear about houses in a community or development being referred to as a "cookie cutter home" with all the same siding, trim, roof and other external elements. BORING! This trend started during the post-war housing boom in the 1940s when it was fast and easy for builders to create house-after-house the exact same way.

At DaVinci Roofscapes, we know it's important to put your personality into your home --- on both the inside and outside. That's why we say "no" to cookie cutter homes!

A few years back, one of our "Shake it Up" Exterior Color Contest entrants had the winning entry of "Trapped in Cookie Cutter Land." Brigitte Meehan begged for our help in breaking out of the "me too" aspect of living in her Illinois neighborhood where everyone had the same exterior. While she loved her floor plan, she wanted her home stand out.

We obliged Brigitte by recommending a new Multi-Width Slate roof from DaVinci in Brownstone --- a combination of medium and light brown, medium and dark tan and dark stone. That suggestion helped set the stage for other exterior changes! (See Illinois Homeowner Wins $5,000 in National DaVinci Roofscapes “Shake it Up” Exterior Color Contest)

If you find yourself trapped in your own cookie cutter land, take the leap and make some changes. We always suggest starting at the "top and going down" so that your colors and textures work together and flow. Need some help? Click HERE for a fast link to our free e-books and to ask one-on-one free advice of our color expert, Kate Smith!

 

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Dreaming of a Famous Re-Roofing Project

The Taj Mahal. Buckingham Palace. The Empire State Building. Hearst Castle. These famous landmarks all have one thing in common: a roof overhead.

Just for fun, we asked some of our DaVinci Roofscapes team members to "dream a little" and tell us which famous building they would re-roof with our synthetic slate or shake roofing products if they had the chance. Here are some of their responses that may help to transform famous structures in the future! And, by the way ... which famous building would YOU re-roof with our polymer tiles?

"It must be the roof that the Mona Lisa is looking at ... that's why she has that smile!"

Ray Rosewall
President and CEO, DaVinci Roofscapes

 

"The AT&T Stadium in Dallas. And I'd do a custom design with the Dallas Star out of contrasting roof tiles because it would look stunning."

Aaron Adams
Central Regional Manager, DaVinci Roofscapes

 

"Too many to choose just one building, but I'd definitely pick a historic hotel, like the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec or the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park."

Mike Ward
Northeast Regional Manager, DaVinci Roofscapes

 

"Absolutely The White House. By upgrading to a DaVinci slate roof this famous building would benefit from the technical advances that make it a long-lasting, eco-friendly roof."

Kate Smith
Chief Color Maven, Sensational Color

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Rich Reds Give Home Exteriors a Fall-Friendly Feeling

By Jennifer Ott, Houzz

This week’s featured exterior color is inspired by the rich palette of fall, specifically the crimsons and burgundies found in leaves as they turn. These deep ruby-red hues also call to mind full-bodied red wines that we can dig out and enjoy once again now that the weather is finally turning cooler.

Related: How to Choose the Right Color for Your House

While not as loud as the previously featured bold orange colors, these reds still provide a healthy dose of drama on the exterior of a home, and they’re appropriate for a variety of architectural styles and geographical regions. Read on to see six stunning examples of rich red-hued homes, along with a sampling of paint color palettes to help coordinate siding and accent colors.

 


Lands End Development - Designers & Builders, original photo on Houzz

 

I wouldn’t care how frightful the weather outside was if I had this beautiful lake home to take shelter in. From the dark gray roof to the rich red and warm wood siding, the palette is elegant but with a nice rustic vibe. And despite the variety of materials used on the exterior, it doesn’t feel too busy, because the colors are all within the same warm, dark color family.

 


Houseplans LLC, original photo on Houzz

 

A gorgeous modern home deserves an equally fetching color scheme. As with the previous example, if you’re using two different siding materials, try using color to further differentiate them. It makes for a more interesting facade. Plus it allows you to use a smaller amount of a deep or dark hue that you might be hesitant to use top-to-bottom on the house.

 


Craftsman Exterior, original photo on Houzz

 

Our featured hue works well on just about any style of home. Whereas the previous example featured a modern house, you can see this more traditional home also looks great. The light gold trim is an excellent choice; a pure white trim would have been too jarring with the other colors in this palette.

Related: These Porch Photos Will Motivate You to Increase Your Home’s Curb Appeal

 


Atelier 292 Architect Inc., original photo on Houzz

 

Having grown up in a rural Midwestern town, I fondly tend to associate red exteriors with the ubiquitous barns of my youth. And while the assertions vary widely as to why barns were traditionally painted red — from it being an economical paint color to wanting to mimic more expensive red brick to the dubious claim that red helps guide the cows home — we can likely all agree that red is a great choice for a modern take on a barn- or farmhouse-style home.

 

 
Bau-Fritz GmbH & Co. KG, original photo on Houzz

 

Red is not a wallflower kind of color, especially when used against a backdrop of greens. This is because red and green are opposite each other on the color wheel and therefore provide the most contrast to each other. If your house has an interesting form that you want to play up, paint it the complementary color of the surrounding landscape.

 

 
Moger Mehrhof Architects, original photo on Houzz

 

If you’re loving these rich red hues but are concerned about using them in large amounts on the exterior of your home, think about breaking them up. This is a look best pulled off on contemporary or rustic homes, but even a traditional home could add a red-hued gable or, at the very least, a ruby-red front door.

Related: Try Red in Small Doses With a Crimson Porch Swing

 


Jennifer Ott Design, original photo on Houzz

 

Try These Palettes

If you go with a deep, rich color for your siding, I’d recommend keeping the trim and accent colors very neutral, so as not to compete with the red.

Siding color: Borscht
Trim color: Natural Tan
Front door-accent color: Raisin
All from Sherwin-Williams

 


Jennifer Ott Design, original photo on Houzz

Siding color: Antique Ruby
Trim color: Black Bean
Front door color: Witch Hazel
All from Behr

 

 


Jennifer Ott Design, original photo on Houzz

 

Siding color: Raisin Torte
Trim color: Graystone
Front door color: Midnight Oil
All from Benjamin Moore
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Color Trends: Three Tips For Using This Year's Hottest Hues

Trend forecasters discover trends before they are apparent to most people. These are the people who set the trends into motion when they make their best guess as to which color and design elements the market will want to buy in the future. 

Yes, you read that right. They guess. Trend forecasters are always guessing. They look at mega, macro and micro trends and then couple their findings with their in-depth knowledge of an industry or market.

A successful trend forecaster has the ability to weigh current information against what they have learned from years of experience and not only predict future directions for color and design but also give solid justifications for why these are the trend directions. In other words, the best trend forecasters are those who are pretty darn good at guessing correctly.

But you don't need to be a professional forecaster to discover upcoming trends. Rather than forecasting the trends you can find trends ahead of the curve by spotting them as they just begin to hit the market. This is known as trendspotting and is actually what the vast majority of people that talk about trends are doing.

For many years trend forecasting was a big part of my job. Today, I don't spend nearly as much time focused on trends as I once did. These days, I am more of a trend spotter, and with 2017 quickly approaching I am sharing three of my favorite tips so that you can try your hand at trendspotting, too.

Tip #1 Know the difference between a fad and a trend

You Find a FAD
People often refer to fads and trends as if they are one and the same. This is not the case. There is a difference between a fad and a trend.

A fad is a here-today-gone-tomorrow color, design or style. Fads rise fast. They seem to explode onto the scene out of nowhere. They are often mainly popular at first with a particular age group or type of person and then grow from there. Remember Day-Glo colors, anyone?

Fads are fun and create followers. They are relatively short lived and fade from the mainstream within two years or less. Still they are often long remembered after they are gone because so many people shared the experience of the fad even if they didn’t participate in it. 

You track a TREND
A trend comes about as a result of myriad cultural, political, social and economic factors that interact to influence our preferences. Trends respond to human needs and emotions. Trends become trends because they address an unspoken need or desire that many people share at a particular time.

Currently looking to our lineage gives us feelings of strength and stability. Out of this comes the trend of reinventing classic and historical designs rather seeking something completely new. This also signals that the trend of placing importance on neutrals for for both home interiors and exteriors will continue.

People notice trends slowly and are usually unaware of a trend at first. As it becomes more prevalent, it crosses into different groups of people, expands into more geographical areas and types of products, which is how it gains strength, power, and longevity.

Tip #2 Don't jump on or off a trend too quickly

In the past, a typical trend would last centuries or at least decades. Today, a trend generally last for four to seven years.

Many people think that a color trend lasts about a year and that by the following year that color is no longer on trend. That might be what many retailers and manufactures would like you to think because it can boost sales but it isn't exactly true.

Certainly talking about color trends and naming trend colors annually has become an effective marketing tool but trends evolve rather than change completely from year to year. Anything that comes into favor and disappears just as quickly is a fad.

A typical trend curve looks like this. Keep in mind the timeline is usually from four to seven years:

A trend life cycle and the designs it inspires can differ in lengths. For example, you might remember how popular "Tuscan colors" were for home interiors at one time. At about the same time grapes and anything wine related were popular design motifs seen in these colors. Both arose from the influence of our fascination with Italy and specifically, Tuscany. The life cycle of the colors was seven or more years while the motif of grapes or wine peaked after two years and only was around for about four.

As trends change, colors shift warmer or cooler and become more or less intense. For example, recently the grays we favor have become warmer and beige (sometimes called greige.)  Also, darker brownish grays emerged followed by a return of truer brown to the color trends palette.

It doesn't mean that gray has fallen out of trend. What is means is that as things in the world have changed so have our emotions and thus the colors we want to surround ourselves with but it usually isn't a big change. It is a subtle change from year-to-year. In four or more years you will be able to look back and see a more drastic shift in what is now popular versus what once was on trend.

With all of the variety of colors available your style can evolve from one year to the next just as trends do. The great news is that if you are looking at home exterior trends they last far longer than most trends and the DaVinci Roofscapes Slate and Shake colors are timeless.

A key tip is to follow your instincts. Always select an exterior roof, siding or trim colors that you love and look best for your home. That's a true way to always be in style. If however, you just love one of those colors that is very hot right now my last tip will tell you how to keep it from looking passé.

Tip #3 Keep your colors from looking dated by avoid these combinations

Is there a color that you once loved, but today would seem outdated in your home? Some of the answers I get for that question are avocado and gold, gray and mauve as well as chocolate brown and aqua. At one time, these color combinations were all very trendy.

Do you notice anything about those popular responses?

Something they all have in common?

All of the examples are pairs of colors. Rarely does someone reply with a single color.

That is because it usually isn't a particular color that puts a time stamp on your design. It is a combination of colors that were so popular that you began seeing them everywhere. You might have even chosen them for your own scheme.

At one time, a combination of chocolate brown and aqua was so wildly popular that I started calling it "Choc-qua." Today when you see a room in these colors you can pretty accurately guess when it was decorated. 

Brown with a color other than aqua ... or even aqua with another color such as gold or navy blue or green, would be harder to know just by the colors alone. Keeping that in mind, the best way to use a trend color is to come up with your own color scheme rather than using it in the same combinations as everyone else. This is the best way to keep your color from feeling either trendy or outdated.

Using a trend color you love more creatively than other people makes your scheme a true reflection of your taste and style ... and that is always on trend!

Many paint companies have their trend forecast for 2017 online and you might enjoy seeing what is in store:

 

Then follow my three tips and you will be well on your way to using this year's hottest hues in a scheme that sizzles with style all your own.

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From Nondescript Neutral To Bold And Beautiful Color

 

 

It takes both courage make a bold color change on your exterior but as these brave homeowners prove it can be worth making the change.

When their home was built 24 years ago adding color in the eaves added color to an otherwise neutral home. It also was a different look than had been widely seen at that time and buyers were attracted to the look. Today, homes are being constructed with a whole mix of materials and the two-color look isn't quite as interesting as it once was.

In this case, the Gaskins decided to give their home an updated look by going for a few strong elements that would stand out.

Exterior Makeover Before and After 2

 

Starting At The Top
The pitch of the roof allows a large part of the roof to show. The porch roof and interesting turret draw the eye making it important that the roof looks great.

The cedar shake roof had faded to a greyish brown, was worn and starting to splinter and crack. They wanted a maintenance-free, alternative cedar-like roofing materials. They chose DaVinci Roofscapes Shake in Tahoe because they loved how it looked like natural cedar yet was far more durable and long lasting.

As you can see in the photo above, the Gaskins home is already begin looking better just by replacing their old split and curled shakes with the a DaVinci roof in the right color and style.

Fewer But Stronger Design Elements

These smart homeowners also decided to enlarge the dormer over the garage before replacing their roof. The original dormer was there but didn't stand out as a strong element on the front facade of their home. The dormer was small and competed with the green dormers cause the eye to jump around rather than land on one strong element. 

Now the two dormers work together, balance the design and make a strong statement.

Commit To Color

In the before photo you can see how the contrasting color around the base of the home was distracting. It drew the eye away from where you want to focus it. The idea may have been to "ground" the house by using this darker color but it took away rather than added to the overall look of the exterior.

The  front door had been green. The same color had been used in the dormers and to paint the floor of the porch and steps. The door, porch and tops of the steps are now all a rich cocoa brown.  

The white trim was repainted but look at how much more it stands out now which leads us to the biggest change - the main color!

 

From nondescript neutral to a bold and beautiful blue/gray.

What a spectacular change!

After sampling many colors and Mr. and Mrs. Gaskin chose an acrylic solid stain from Hallman Lindsay, a Wisconsin-based company for changing the color of their home, which is primarily cedar panels.

The color is a custom blue/grey blend that the selected after sampling about a dozen slight variations of the color they had in mind. I love that they did this because I always advise homeowners to take this step but not all of them follow that advice even though often they later wish they had.

Sampling the color is the fastest way to know you're going to love your color before your home is painted. It gives you a chance to see the color on the actual surface material and in the right light. It is almost impossible to know just by looking at a small swatch what exactly the color is going to look like once your home is painted. Sampling the paint can give you a much better idea.

The back of the back of the Gaskin's garage was a colorful canvas during the sampling process but the effort to get the color exactly right paid off. They couldn't be happier with the finished project and love driving up to their house every day.

Upgraded Exterior

Mr. Gaskins says, "We have received a lot of very positive (and envious) comments and inquiries from our neighbors about the roof and the paint. Most of the house colors in our area are a very conservative/neutral tan or white."

Indeed the neighbors are envious.

By focusing on three key elements -- roof, dormer, and color -- the Gaskin upgraded the look of their home and added thousands of dollars worth of curb appeal. Best of all they the way their home looks.

This has been one of our favorite remodeling projects and we think the results are sensational.

Do you need some help with your exterior makeover? We're here to help you get your own 5-star results.

 

 

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6 Ways to Use White on Your Home’s Exterior

By Kelly Porter, Houzz

As summer comes to an end, keep in mind that fall can be a great time to paint the outside of your home. The weather is cooling down and you’ve got a few short months before the holiday season. This is when you’ll want to make sure your cool-weather curb appeal is in tip-top shape for visits from family and friends. While white is a very versatile interior color, it’s also a great choice for the exterior of your home. White is crisp and clean, and it will give your home a classic, timeless look. Here are some ideas for using white to make your house a standout.

 


Hendel Homes, original photo on Houzz

 

For a house with great architectural features, consider using a dark hue for the main color and white on the features you’d like to showcase. The contrast will add a whole new dimension to the entire exterior. In addition, unique elements such as unusually shaped shutters and arched doors will really stand out.

Color to try: Popped Corn from Behr

 


Vanguard Studio Inc., original photo on Houzz

 

Farmhouses and barn houses are often steeped in tradition and history. Therefore, it makes sense to use a traditional barn red and white color palette for these types of homes. But stay away from the brightest whites. The best shade of white will be one that’s slightly gray and has cool undertones. This will help soften the look and reduce the harshness of the strong red and white combination.

Color to try: Cool Gray from Valspar

 


Farmhouse Exterior, original photo on Houzz

 

If you prefer a more modern look for your farmhouse, use white as the main color. Create a clean look by forgoing shutters, and choose black shingles for the roof. I love the stained wood entryway on the house shown here. It provides a traditional element with a contemporary twist.

Color to try: Moonlit Snow by Olympic

 


Helios Design Group, original photo on Houzz

 

Scores of traditional, Colonial-style homes can be found in the Northeast region of the U.S. Many of them are painted with a classic black and white paint combination, which has stood the test the time. I think any house in any region would look gorgeous painted with such a tried-and-true duo. And don’t forget the white picket fence. This is an elegant color scheme that takes away all of the guesswork.

Color to try: Ultra Pure White from Behr

 


Alan Mascord Design Associates Inc, original photo on Houzz

 

Hunter green and white is another classic combination you’ll see on traditional and cottage-style homes. Hunter green has a masculine feel to it, so if that’s not your style, pairing it with off-white is one way to lighten up its appearance, especially on a large home.

Color to try: Alabaster from Sherwin-Williams

 

 


Highland Homes, Inc., original photo on Houzz

 

For a house that offers guests a more subtle welcome, pair a warm white with a light, understated accent color. If you have a grassy front yard and trees, a pale, light green accent is a wonderful way to tie in the natural scenery. A soft green and white combination is very organic and serene, and it will look great for years to come.

The main color used here is Pure White from Sherwin-Williams

For more cool weather curb appeal ideas, read:

Ask a Local Painter for Advice
Are Plantation Shutters the Right Choice for Your Windows
Add White Rocking Chairs to Your Front Porch 

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Nature vs. Science—DaVinci Takes on the Age-Old Debate

Polymer Shake Roofing Bridges the Gap

 

The battle of nature vs. science is one that has been argued for centuries. It’s been debated by artists in the eras of Romanticism and Enlightenment, scholars whose focus is in the realm of academia, and even politicians in modern-day elections.

Consequently, the two are often presented in opposition. There are those who appreciate the authentic beauty and eco-friendly benefits of natural elements, and those that say science can perfect what nature got wrong.

Fake Cedar ShakeThe debate has become similar for people choosing products for their home, thanks to an ever-growing selection of synthetic or alternate building products like decking, columns, and of course, roofing. When choosing a new roof, for example, people have grown accustomed to asking themselves which is more important to them: natural beauty or scientifically proven performance?

Though it should be a careful balancing act between the two, homeowners, architects, and installers are often forced to tip the scales toward one or the other based on affordability, aesthetics, or their ability to install it easily and quickly. But the question should always have been, “how can I get both?”

In today’s day and age, it’s not enough simply to invest in a new roof that will reduce heating and cooling costs and last for years to come—it’s equally critical for that roof to have true aesthetic appeal, resembling the materials of nature that add character and authenticity to a home. Striking that balancing act is not easy, but DaVinci has learned it can be done; science and nature, as it turns out, do not always have to be in opposition.

DaVinci Shake was developed with an emphasis on science, but an appreciation for nature. In conceiving of the product, we knew that whatever performance benefits our science-driven approach to shake roofing would produce would ultimately mean nothing if it didn’t have the appearance of natural materials that homeowners love. We developed our Polymer Shake material to look like an authentic shake roof, but without the hassle. The natural variance of the material creates the perception of nature, but the long-lasting, weather resistant performance is all science—and best of all, it’s affordable to purchase, requires minimal maintenance, and comes with a lifetime limited warranty.

In short, someone making the decision about a new roof no longer has to look for ways to tip the scales between nature and science—they can have it both ways. DaVinci Shake has perfected the balancing act.

So while artists, scholars, and politicians are still debating the merits of nature vs. science, DaVinci Roofscapes has had another focus: making life easier for homeowners, installers, and architects by bridging the gap between the two.

Now, you too can have another focus:

“Which color do I pick?”

To learn more about DaVinci Shake roofing, download the product guide.

For a more in-depth comparison of natural vs. man-made roofing products, read our Shake Comparison Guide.

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How The New President Can Upgrade The White House Exterior

New Roof For The White House

 

Recently I read an Elle Decor article that asked the question, Trump vs. Clinton: Who Will Decorate The White House Better?. It reminded me of how much interest there is about how the new president and their spouse will redecorate the White House. But why all the interest on the interior when far more people see the exterior?

I'd like to see our future president take my top down approach and make at least one major improvement to the exterior. After all, the White House is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world and represents America to the rest of the world. It's exterior must communicate the spirit of the county and its exterior must have international "curb appeal".

Built in 1793 the president's mansion was designed by James Hoban. It has been home to every president of the United States since John Adams was in office. I would like to see the next president take the building back to its original roof, which was slate.

Slate provided a solid roof overhead protecting the first family for more than 100 years. In the 1880s during the building expansion (when what would eventually become the West Wing was added) a metal roof replaced the original slate. The metal roof has since been repaired and/or replaced many times including during the major refurbishments of the White House during the 1920s and late 1940s.

Metal may have been thought to be a better choice than slate during earlier times but that is no longer true. Besides no one ever "oohs and aahs" over a metal roof.

By upgrading to a DaVinci Roofscapes slate roof the White House will benefit from the technical advancements that make it a long-lasting, eco-friendly and overall great choice. Plus the residents, staff and public will benefit from a roof that is beautiful as well as one that is rooted in the building's history.

As for color, originally the roof was a dark gray that was almost black. For today, I'd go in a similar direction with Smokey Gray. This would upgrade the look of the building while being true to James Hoban's original vision.

And in case you're now wondering about what I'd do with the exterior color - I'd keep it white! The color white is symbolic and deeply connected with our identity as Americans.

Here is a fact about the white that I think you'll find interesting. Many think that the White House was first painted white color during the restoration after the British burned the building in 1814. While it was coated with white at that time it was not the first time.

The original color of the White House was white. According to the White House Historical Association, when the walls were finished in 1798, they were whitewashed to keep the porous Aquia Creek sandstone from freezing in winter. It has been repainted white ever since.

Image: Freshstock

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How Does Your Dream Home Stack Up To The Best-Selling House Plan In America?

 

Everyone has an idea of their dream home. I bet when you imagine your dream home it is filled with personal style and amenities to make your life easier and more enjoyable. My dream is to have a perfect little "jewel box" of a home that is smaller than what most people imagine but my dream home is more luxury than extra space.

What is your dream home like? I bet it is far different than the dream home of your parents or grandparents. You may have similar dreams for your family and our future but today our vision of what makes an ideal home are different than they were in post-War America when developers considered rows of similar homes to be the perfectly planned suburban neighborhoods.

Today home builders have shaken the 1950's idea of a "one size/style fits most" approach. They know that the perfect homogeneity that developers once imposed is no longer a match for the range of today's families and their needs.

And when it comes to finding a home with your dream design it’s easy to be envision lots of the details you want. It is just as important to choose a home that not only meets your individual needs but also considers where you'll be building, the typography of your lot, the look of the natural landscape and whether it will be marketable to future buyers.

Often the best way to do this is by simply looking at lots of home styles and floor plans. Companies like The House Designers offer what seems like unlimited options for your floor plan and home style. With so many different designs I was curious about which one was their most popular house plan.

House Plan 1895 - L'Attesa di Vita is an affordable, mid-size home featuring classic Craftsman details in a 2,091 square foot design.

Their most popular house plan is #1895 - L'Attesa di Vita. It is an affordable, mid-size home featuring classic Craftsman details in a 2,091 square foot design.

House Plan 7878 - Vita di Lusso is a luxury version of the classic L'Attesa di Vita featuring high-end Craftsman detailing, a 3-car garage and a finished walkout basement.

For those wanting more, the house plan #7878 - Vita di Lusso is a luxury version of the classic L'Attesa di Vita featuring high-end Craftsman detailing, a 3-car garage and a finished walkout basement.

Both of these dream homes are topped off with a designer roof from DaVinci Roofscapes that adds to the beauty of the exterior and gives both of these home Craftsman-Style Curb Appeal.

If you are ready to start working on making your dream home a reality you don't want to miss your chance to Vote for the New Look of America's Best-Selling House Plan! Win up to $1,000 in Prizes!!! But don't wait. Voting ends on October 10, 2016.

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How to Get Craftsman-Style Curb Appeal

By Laura Gaskill, Houzz

The Craftsman-style home is one of the most charming (and popular) home styles in America, and it’s no wonder — from the rich, earthy colors to the beautiful architectural details and warm, welcoming front porch, there’s a lot to love about Craftsman homes. Make your Craftsman-style home look its best with these tips for choosing paint colors, windows, doors, landscaping and more.

Roots of Style: See What Defines a Craftsman Home

 


FGY Architects, original photo on Houzz

 

Nature-inspired color palette. Craftsman style is deeply influenced by nature, so turn to rich, natural hues for the exterior color palette. Soft olive green, earthy browns and cream (rather than stark white) allow the home to settle into its surroundings. Shingles are the most common exterior finish by far among Craftsman homes, and these can always be left natural with a clear finish if you do not wish to paint them. With so many architectural details, it is common to use at least two or three different complementary shades on the exterior to highlight the craftsmanship.

Don’t forget to test! The warm, earthy hues of the Craftsman palette can look wonderful when they work, but some colors (especially greens) can be tricky to get right. Be sure to test any color you are considering using so you can actually see it in situ, not only on a tiny paint chip. If you are feeling unsure about picking colors, consider hiring a color consultant to help with the process.

 


Moore Architects PC, original photo on Houzz

 

Go more modern (with caution). If you’re not a huge fan of the earth tone look, you can go with a more modern gray or “greige.” Just keep it a little bit muddy to pay homage to your home’s Craftsman roots, and choose an off-white rather than pure white for trim. A comfortable porch. Play up a deep porch with a few carefully chosen pieces — a Craftsman-style bench or pair of rockers and a cluster of potted plants will do the trick. If your home’s original tapered or double columns have been covered over or removed by a past owner’s renovations, consider working with an architect to renew the porch to its former glory.

 


Moore Architects PC, original photo on Houzz

 

Multipane windows and doors. Typically, Craftsman homes have double-hung windows with either a four-over-one or six-over-one pattern, while doors nearly always have panes of glass in the upper portion of the door.

When to replace your door. If your home’s door is original, but in not-so-good shape, you may be able to revive it with a good sanding and a fresh stain, plus new Craftsman-style hardware. If, however, your home’s original door was long ago replaced with a modern version, a new solid-wood Craftsman-style front door can be a worthy investment, since this is really the centerpiece of your home’s facade.

Charm with lighting. Options abound for Craftsman-style exterior light fixtures — one of the most popular is a lantern-style with multiple panes. Lanterns echo the multi-paned windows and doors of the typical Craftsman home, making for a put-together, intentionally designed look.

Quality craftsmanship. If you are adding any details to the exterior or landscape of your Craftsman-style home, it pays to seek out the highest quality craftsmanship you can — after all, it’s not called Craftsman style for nothing! Beautiful details on a fence or garden gate will echo the architecture of your home and enhance the view from the street.

 

 
Todd Soli Architects, original photo on Houzz

 

The Craftsman garage. While some original American Craftsman homes were built before garages were common, if your home has a garage it will look its best if the overall style matches the rest of the house.

Naturalistic landscaping. Think of paths that curve and wind, natural stepping stones and native plantings. The best landscaping around a Craftsman home helps the house feel a part of the landscape and neighborhood around it, and it generally stays within a natural, earthy color palette as well.

 


ACM Design, original photo on Houzz

 

Natural elements connect indoors and out. Increase the connection between landscape and home by repeating natural elements from the architecture (such as stone and wood) in the landscape.

Add warmth with copper, bronze and handmade details. Craftsman homes look their best when surrounded by warm-toned metals (like copper and bronze), natural ceramics and wood. Keep this in mind when selecting exterior details, and everything will look as if it’s meant to be together, from the planters to the rain gutters.

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How To Handle Falling In Love With More Than One At A Time

Recently I worked with a couple who asked my advice on a topic I don't often discuss. They had fallen in love not just once but twice and needed my help.

They were remodeling their home exterior and had been doing their homework on which products and colors they wanted to use. By the time this couple contacted me they had already fallen in love with a DaVinci Slate roof in Smokey Gray. It is a great choice for their home.

They had also fallen in love with the idea of painting the siding of their home brown. They had seen other homes in their New England town that were brown and liked the look. They had looked at many dark browns but it was Benjamin Moore Falcon Brown 1238 that they loved.

DaVinci Roofscapes Multi-width Slate in Smokey Gray alongside Benjamin Moore Falcon Brown 1238

What this couple saw once they painted a section of their home and placed the roofing tile samples next to the dark brown was that the two didn't work well together. The two were both dark and although different in color similar in value (darkness or lightness) and they started to have their doubts that the two colors they fell in love with were going to work well together on their home. That is when they contacted me to give them my thoughts.

Both colors they selected were lovely on their own but were not the best choices together. Their home was large and you could see a good amount of the roof. There home was also shaded by many trees. Even with contrasting trim and a welcoming color on the front door the overall look would still be too dark and could seem a bit ominous. At the same time I understood that they had a vision of their home in brown and gray that they weren't ready to give up on.

Following my "top down" method for selecting home exterior colors it didn't take long before these homeowners and I came up with an alternative we all were happy with.

From two loves to true loves --
DaVinci Roofscapes Multi-width Slate in Smokey Gray and 
Benjamin Moore Bear Creek 1470

We started with the Smokey Gray roof and then looked for a brown that was a little lighter and slightly more gray. After sampling a couple of colors it was Benjamin Moore Bear Creek 1470 that captured the hearts of my homeowners. It isn't a huge change but the color was just different enough to change the exterior dynamic and created exactly the look these homeowners first had in mind.

You might think the reason people make mistakes with choosing color is that they aren't good at picking colors but believe it or not that isn't always the reason. Often is is because they get an idea in their mind and don't know how to create the look unless they use the same exact colors they've seen. Or they might find more than one color that they just love and are blinded to the fact that they don't work well together.

Over the years, I help many homeowners who are purchasing a gorgeous polymer slate or shake roof from DaVinci Roofscapes to choose the right color for their roof as well as the other elements of their exterior. From the choice of 50 color and a whole range of blends it is easy for homeowners to fall in love with one that they really want to use.

The next step is to make sure that all of the elements that will be used on the exterior work together. Since a DaVinci roof last a very long time and plays a major role in creating curb appeal, I always say to start from the top down. 

The roof can be 30 percent or more of what you see as you approach a home. Blending the color of your roofing material with other elements of the home exterior will create an overall cohesive look. When the roof and the main are working together it allows you to have many choices for your trim and accent colors. This also makes it easier to change the color of your front door or shutters and give you home a new look in a few years down the road. 

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Tips for Adding Curb Appeal to the Home

Want to truly personalize your home exterior? Then National Curb Appeal Month is the time to let your creative spirit kick in!

Kate Smith, chief color maven at Sensational Color, has several tips to get homeowners focused on adding color to their home exteriors in an effort to enhance curb appeal.

  • Designer RoofTip #1 - Consider the fixed features of a home before deciding on what colors to add. These elements include the colors of foundation and chimney materials, like brick, stone and concrete, along with other fixed elements like porches, steps, walkways and retaining walls.

  • Tip #2 - Think about regional colors that might work well on your home. It's fine to have a home that stands out in the neighborhood, but it needs to link in with the overall geography where you live.

  • Tip #3 - Look at your environment. The natural setting and landscaping around your home can help you select colors that complement the existing setting.

  • Tip #4 - Let the style of your home help you determine how bold or subdued you should go with color. For example, bright colors are almost expected on a Victorian home, while more refined colors like off white, dark green and rich chocolate would complement a Ranch style home.

  • Tip #5 - Consider the historic element of the home and let that help lead you to colors that reflect the house's history. Also make sure to check with any homeowner associations you might belong to for possible restrictions on color usage.

 

Two free e-books to help choose the right colors for home exteriors authored by Smith are available on the DaVinci Roofscapes website by clicking HERE!

Looking for more ideas? Visit Exterior Home Textures Boost Curb Appeal and Stuck on Color? No Problem - We Can Help.

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More Tips For Exterior Color From The Top Down

In my last blog post I gave you the top 3 reasons that homeowners are opting to go with a neutral as the main color for their home more than ever before. I also shared tips on how to set a home apart when starting with a neutral as the main color of the exterior.

Today I'm giving you a few more tips for choosing colors from the top down for your home exterior. Again in these examples, each of the homes below are painted an identical neutrals color. Then starting with the roof I've given you a quick tip for choosing accent colors inspired by your roof color.

To keep the illustrations simple, I'm showing the main accent on the front door and the secondary accent on the trim however you can use these colors in whatever why best suits your home and gives it personality. For example, with a light trim color the secondary color could be used on the shutters. 

If your home has a DaVinci Slate in Smokey Gray or similar color you're in luck. Gray, easily the most popular roofing color, goes with just about every color on a home. Against a neutral base, use one dark version of a color you love and another medium to light version in the same color --- like the blue tones shown here.

DaVinci Slate in European blend is gray with a twist. Mixed in with the mostly gray roof is a bit of muted burgundy. Whenever your roof has a touch of color you can play up the color added to the gray roofing blend by using a deeper or darker shade for the front door. A medium gray accent on trim work brings the entire look together.

DaVinci Slate Aberdeen Blend is a good example of a multi-color roof. With a multi-color roof choose two of its colors as accents for the home exterior. This blend of complementary hues of olive green and brick red bring out the beauty of the roof.

These ideas plus many more tips for creating curb appeal with "Color From The Top Down" are captured in two infographics -- Color From The Top Down Infographic and Top Tips for Creating "Top Down" Curb Appeal. View and download both now with our compliments. And for even more great ideas visit the Color Studio.

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Tips For Exterior Color From The Top Down

More today than perhaps at any time in the past homeowners are opting to go with a neutral as the main color for their home. There are many reasons neutrals have risen in popularity but these are three of the main reasons. First, there are more neutrals available and they are far more interesting than the old boring beige of years ago. There are chromatic grays and beiges with depth and complexity that give the colors character.

Second, the growing popularity of mixing materials on a home's exterior requires a color that can blend with many different textures, finishes and colors making a neutral the perfect solution. Last, a strong desire to have a home that blends with the environment -- "outdoors in, indoors out" -- and using a neutral as a main color is the easiest way to seamlessly connect a house to its surroundings.

With this movement towards more neutral exteriors many homeowners wonder how they can set their home apart. Choosing colors from the top down is the best way to figure out the right color scheme for your home exterior. For example, each of the homes below are painted an identical neutrals color. Starting with the roof I'll give you a quick tip for choosing accent colors inspired by your roof color that will give your home a unique personality. 

To keep the illustrations simple, I'm showing the main accent on the front door and the secondary accent on the trim however you can use these colors in whatever why best suits your home. For example, with a light trim color the secondary color could be used on the shutters.

If your home has a roof with the tones of DaVinci Shake in Tahoe blend look for an accent color that is enhanced by brown. Green is a natural complement to this shade of brown roofing. Pick a favorite shade from yellow-green to true green (or blue green!) for the front door. A lighter shade of brown for trim work contrasts nicely with this neutral body color.

DaVinci Shake in Mountain is a deep neutral blend that lives between brown and gray. If your home has a roof with warm gray or brown tones warm accent colors are often the best choice. Harmonize colors from the warm side of the color wheel to flow from the roof down. Classic gold on the door and warm grays or bronzes accent the rich tones of this roof color while creating curb appeal on the neutral main color.

DaVinci Shake Autumn Blend is a good example of a red-orange based brown on the roof that is enhanced by a complementary blue-green on the front door. A deep coppery red similar to colors of the roof makes a perfect secondary accent color.

The same idea works well whether your home has DaVinci Shake, DaVinci Slate or any other type of roof. Many of my tips for creating curb appeal with "Color From The Top Down" are captured in two infographics -- Color From The Top Down Infographic and Top Tips for Creating "Top Down" Curb Appeal. View and download both now with our compliments.

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Color From The Top Down Infographic

Has a home ever caught your eye simply because it was so well put together? The home might not be your favorite style or It might not be painted a color you love but you couldn't help admire its overall look. That’s a home with true curb appeal.

Does your home have curb appeal? If not, now is a great time to think about what steps you need to take to give your home that eye-catching look. August is National Curb Appeal Month and to help you get started we've put together our Color From The Top Down tips to get you started. A great color scheme starting at the roof and flowing down your exterior is a great way to give your home curb appeal, increase its appeal and value.

For more ideas about how to create curb appeal see our infographic Top Tips for Creating "Top Down" Curb Appeal.

You will also find a wealth of information in the DaVinci Roofscapes Color Studio. Go there now download our two free ebooks that give you the step-by-step guidance you need when selecting any colors or products for your exterior.

Now that you know how to add curb appeal to your home get start now. After all it is National Curb Appeal Month.

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Update Your Driveway and Front Walk to Ramp Up Curb Appeal

Guest Blogger: Laura Gaskill, Houzz

They’re the first thing visitors see when approaching your home (even before they get to the front door), which makes the driveway and front walk the keys to maximizing curb appeal. Here we’ll give you all the details on updating your front walk and driveway, from material choices to costs.

 


Rill Architects, original photo on Houzz

 

Project: Updating the walkway and driveway.

Why: Having a beautiful, well-maintained front walk and driveway increases curb appeal, adds value to your home and makes coming home each day a more pleasant experience. Cracked and damaged walkways and driveways can be dangerous, causing falls and damaging tires; improving this area of your home will add beauty and increase safety.

 


Madson Design, original photo on Houzz

 

Repair, enhance or replace? Repairing an existing driveway or path costs far less, and takes less time, than replacing it. Cracked asphalt can be filled and a new layer of asphalt added over the old. For badly cracked concrete drives and walks, however, repairing is not an option.

How to Reseal Your Asphalt Driveway

If your existing driveway and front walk are in good condition already, consider adding a decorative edging made from brick or pavers to boost curb appeal.

 


Heidi’s Lifestyle Gardens, original photo on Houzz

 

Materials: 

  • Crushed stone and gravel are inexpensive and easy to install, though the gravel will scatter and need replenishing from time to time. Gravel paths and driveways are also difficult to keep cleared of snow.
  • Concrete is long lasting (15 to 30 years and beyond) and smooth, and has a modern look. It does tend to crack in cold conditions and does not take well to patches and repairs.
  • Asphalt has more give than concrete, making it a good choice for cold climates, and is easily patched and repaired. However, asphalt breaks down more quickly, sometimes requiring repairs or replacement within five years, even in a mild climate.
  • Cobblestone and pavers are the longest-lasting option — a cobblestone driveway or walk can last 100 years or more! They are also by far the most expensive options and require the most work initially to prepare the area and lay a foundation for the stone. Repairs are fairly easy with both; you can replace individual stones as needed, making upkeep costs relatively low.

 


Courtney Oldham, original photo on Houzz

 

Costs: They vary by region, but this list can help you compare materials’ relative costs:

  • A path or drive made of gravel> alone costs about $1 per square foot.
  • An asphalt topcoat runs about $2 per square foot; a new asphalt driveway (including a base layer of gravel and several coats of asphalt) costs $3 to $6.50 per square foot.
  • A new poured concrete path or driveway costs around $3 to $4 per square foot.
  • Pavers cost $6 to $10 per square foot installed, and a cobblestone path or drive costs $12 to $30 per square foot installed.

 


Rocco Flore & Sons, Inc., original photo on Houzz

 

Who to hire: A paving contractor, landscape contractor or landscape architect will best be able to help you complete this project. Ask the pros you are considering hiring about their experience with the type of driveway or path you would like to have installed — brick and stone especially require a pro with experience to lay it properly.

Good to know: Your driveway and front walk designs should take both beauty and safety into account. Keep the driveway slope modest and have it properly graded to allow water to run off instead of pool. A gently curving drive or path will take up a bit more real estate, but it can be worth it if you love the look.

 


Knight Construction Design Inc., original photo on Houzz

 

Best time to do this project: Warm, dry weather is ideal. In most regions late spring or summer is the perfect time to lay a new driveway or path.

How long it will take:

  • Crushed stone and gravel can be installed in a single day.
  • Both asphalt and concrete can generally be installed in one weekend. You can use your new asphalt driveway within 24 hours, but concrete takes about seven days to cure before you can drive on it.
  • Cobblestone and pavers take longer to install than the other options — up to a week for a large cobblestone drive. Mortar between stones is usually set and ready to be walked on in about 24 hours.

 

First steps: Look at your existing driveway and front walk with an impartial eye— taking a photograph or asking a friend’s opinion can help. Decide whether you want to repair, enhance or completely replace what you have. Begin gathering inspiration in an ideabook or folder, and make a short list of pros to contact. By the time warm weather rolls around, you will be ready to get started on your home’s new look.

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Curb Appeal Starts Up on the Roof

During National Curb Appeal Month in August, national color expert Kate Smith reminds everyone that adding "top down" color to a home exterior can enhance its overall curb appeal.

"True curb appeal of a home happens only when all the exterior elements are viewed as a whole," says Smith, chief color maven at Sensational Color. "When evaluating a home's appearance a person needs to first look at the roof, then let their eyes wander down to the siding, windows, door, porch and then the landscaping.

"The colors should 'flow' down the home exterior cohesively. For example, a slate gray roof works well with siding that's painted either pure white or a light shade of gray. Then accent colors of dark red or deep blue could be used for the shutters and entry door to give the home specific color 'pops' that increase the curb appeal."

 

Just because color starts with the roof doesn't mean it has to be boring. At DaVinci Roofscapes, there are 50 different colors to choose from for the roof. (See 50 Shades of DaVinci)

"We offer bright colors like Medium Terracotta and Light Violet for people looking for stand-out roof colors," says Wendy Bruch, marketing manager for DaVinci Roofscapes. "But we also have more subdued colors like Medium Tan, Dark Weathered Gray and Medium Dark Tahoe. And, Slate Black is still one of our most popular colors."

The company also offers four dozen blends of colors, where two or more roofing colors are mixed and matched together on the roof. Up to six colors come in some of DaVinci's standard blends or homeowners can create their own personal color blend online in our Color Designer tool
 

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Colorful Imitation Slate Shingles from DaVinci

Go ahead and imagine it ... a new composite slate roof sitting atop your home. Now close your eyes. What colors do you imagine for your polymer slate roof?

Whether your answer is Dark Gray, Light New Cedar or even Dark Violet ... at DaVinci Roofscapes we offer 50 standard roofing colors to make your dreams come true.

Designer Roof

 

One of the most fun elements for homeowners when purchasing new synthetic slate roof shingles is picking a color that works well with their home exterior. Our color expert, Kate Smith with Sensational Color, offers great advice on how to select the color that's right for your home (see Top Tips from Color Expert Kate Smith and "Top Down" Color Message from Kate Smith).

One of our key tips is to look at your home from the "top down" to determine a color that will serve as the perfect accent for your home's style. Don't know how to start? Then download our free e-guide: FRESH Color Schemes For Your Home Exterior.  There are lots of color options in the booklet that match up with different styles of homes. Best of all, we take you from the top of your house down to the lawn, so you get color recommendations for your roof, siding, shutters, door and trim!

Here's another tip: you don't have to select just one of our 50 colors. Our blends of two or more colors are especially popular because they add visual depth and character to the roof. For example, a Bellaforté Slate roof in the European-VariBlend includes Light Gray, Medium Gray, Dark Gray and Dark Purple. Or, you could select an imitation slate roof in a bright Sonora blend of Light Terracotta, Medium Terracotta, Dark Terracotta, Light Clay and Dark Clay!

Whichever color (or colors!) you select for your DaVinci polymer slate roof, we're here to make the process a colorful and fun experience. Visit our Color & Inspiration section of our website for more color assistance and ideas!

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