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.




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 


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.


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


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.


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



  • 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.


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


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!


Warming Up Your Home Exterior

Say farewell to the days of harsh exterior color combinations on a house. These days, warmer tones of beiges and neutral hues, plus soft shades of gray, are the colors homeowners are leaning toward for their homes.

According to Kate Smith, color trend forecaster at Sensational Color, homeowners are marrying up warm beige exteriors with trim work and shutters in eye-catching contrasting tones.

Brownstone Blend"Today's homeowners are looking to express quiet sophistication on their home exteriors," says Smith. "That can be achieved by viewing the home from a 'top-down' overview. By starting with the roof and letting the eye travel downwards on the house, different soothing color combinations can be joined to create an overall warm exterior."

As an example, Smith cites a DaVinci Roofscapes® synthetic slate roof in a Brownstone Blend of browns and tans. Flowing down the home, a welcoming Antique White paint on the siding would be offset by a Mahogany front door and accenting trim work in a deep Chocolate.

Castle Gray"Neutral tones of beige and brown certainly warm up a home exterior, but they're not a homeowner's only option," says Smith. "Gray is a popular and powerful color these days. There are softer tones of gray, like Smokey Gray, that easily flow into this trend of creating warmer exteriors."

For this type of home, Smith cites the example of a Castle Gray Blend of roofing that leads the eye visually down the home painted in Silverpointe and accented with Snowcap White trim and Steely Gray shutters. A front door in Ibis Rose or Royal Gray completes the exterior.

For more color tips from Smith, see The Best Shades Of Gray Paint For A Home Exterior. 


Understanding Paint Color Undertone


When it comes to choosing color for your home, what you don't immediately see about a paint color is as important as what you do notice.

Color is dynamic and energetic. Every color has a vibrant public persona, but it also has more subtle attributes that the human eye does not immediately see. This is what makes color both fascinating and frustrating. One of the most effective techniques for alleviating frustration and mastering color is to understand how color undertones affect what the eye actually sees.

More than meets the eye

It is easy to think that first see about a color gives you all the information you need. But you can't always trust what you see. Often a color’s has qualities that at first are concealed. It isn't until you take a closer look that you discover exactly what a color is all about.

There is the color you first notice but there may also be a quality that is less obvious. This is the color’s undertone and it is often "hidden" and takes a closer look to see. It is important however that you do take a closer look because if you fail to recognize the colors undertone, it will show up when you least expect it. Choosing a color, especially a neutral, without considering the undertone can cause the color schemes you thought was perfect to feel amiss.

Understanding Undertone

To understand undertone you need to know that colors have both mass tone and undertone. Mass tone is the color you immediately see. Undertone is the characteristic of the color that is often concealed when a color is viewed on its own. Undertones become more apparent when a color is place near other colors.

In some colors, the mass tone and undertone are very similar; other colors have undertones that are quite different from their mass tone. A true blue, for example, will have a mass tone and an undertone that are very close to the same hue. However, turquoise has an undertone of either green or blue and periwinkle has an undertone of violet. Sometimes the undertone is referred as the way a color "leans" -- a turquoise that leans blue or a purple that leans red. These undertones are usually easy to see. 

With whites, neutrals and muted colors, that isn’t always the case. The more complex and less pure the color is, the more difficult it can become to determine the undertone. In my experience, either not recognizing, or incorrectly identifying undertone causes most color mishaps.

An example of a well-chosen white. The color blends beautifully with the surrounding
and the
Bellaforté Shake Shingles in Mountain Vari-Blend.

Finding the undertone

Understanding how to select the correct color is important, but selecting the correct color that also has the right undertone is even more important on your home's exterior. Here’s why: if you’ve ever seen or created a scheme that you thought should work, but didn’t, it was probably the undertones threw the scheme off rather than the mass tones of the colors. The specific colors you chose may have had undertones that were fighting each other instead of working together.

The mass tone and the undertone of the colors you select need to work together to create a harmonious color scheme. Now that you understand the importance of identifying the undertone, the next step is to learn how to detect it. For those just learning, the easiest way to see the undertone is to compare one color to another similar color. Start by looking at your chosen color alongside other colors from the same color family. Although the hues all belong to the same color family, you will see how their undertones are different. For example, some blues will lean more purple, while others will lean more green.

Comparing your paint swatch to the purest version of the main color is another way to see the undertone. When you place your blue swatch next to a true or pure blue, the undertones will become apparent.

This technique works for white as well. If you thought white was exempt from the undertone issue, think again. When looking at a white swatch on its own, it may be almost impossible to distinguish the undertone. Look at the same swatch next to pure white and it will mysteriously turn into a faint yellow or pink or some other color. That is the magic of undertone.

Neutral territory

Neutrals are a bit more difficult. You can compare neutrals to other similar neutrals, but that doesn’t guarantee you will easily recognize the color of their undertone. Neutrals are the toughest to get right, but don’t let that discourage you.

One way to confirm the undertone of the neutral you select won't class with your other colors is to place the neutral swatch against pure hues -- red, yellow, blue, green, orange, or purple. If your neutral has a green undertone, placing it next to red (the complement of green) will bring the green undertone out. If the neutral if the neutral has red or pink undertones those will more clearly come into view against green. Yellow undertones pop out against purple, orange against blue,

A little tidbit that can help you to know your right is that while neutrals can have an undertone of any color some are most common:

  • Beiges undertones are green, yellow/gold, red/pink and occasionally orange.
  • Undertones of colors most people describe as a gray are blue, green or purple.
  • Taupe or Greige is a color that is between beige and gray and doesn't lean towards a particular color.

Creating harmonies

It’s important to identify the undertone of your paint color because selecting a main color and trim color with harmonious undertones is the secret to creating a successful color scheme. Evaluating the color and its undertones is well worth the effort. Expertly choosing colors that harmonize is the foundation for designing a beautiful exterior. It may seem challenging at first, but like most things – a little effort now will pay off every time you look at your home.

Ready to know even more about choosing color? Here is another post that can help you as you choose your exterior color Color Lesson: Defining Colors


Color Tips for Gaining a Warm Home Exterior

Neutral tones of beige, brown and gray are the "in" thing when it comes to color for the home exterior. But don't worry about selecting a color that's just trendy --- these warm, traditional colors are timeless.

"Soft tones of gray, browns and beiges work well with so many different home style exteriors," says Kate Smith, color trends forecaster with Sensational Color. "Always begin by working from the 'top down' on your home. The roof has a huge visual impact and that's the place to start!"

Smith, who offers color guidance to homeowners choosing composite roofing from DaVinci Roofscapes, has compiled these five tips for people ready to take the plunge and warm up the colors of their home exterior:

                       Designer Roof Tip #1 - Use paint samples liberally. Take time to paint out a large enough sample area so you can really see the true color of a chosen paint. The full beauty of many colors, especially a neutral color, isn't always apparent when looking at a small sample. You might be surprised at just how beautiful the color you thought was "too dull" really is when you see the true hue on your home exterior.

                        Tip #2Don't dismiss gray. A great choice for a roof, colors like Smokey Gray can be used with warm or cool neutrals and a wide range of colors on the home exterior. For a house that has natural wood siding or is predominantly brown in color, going with the warmer tones that fall between gray and brown (such as a Mountain Blend) would also work well on a synthetic slate or shake roof.

                        Tip #3 - Surface texture matters. The lightness or darkness of a color, along with the texture of the surface it is applied to, will affect the amount of light reflected. If you are applying paint to stucco or another textured surface, the color will appear darker. If applying paint to a smooth surface, the color will appear lighter.

                        Tip #4 - Go outside with your samples. It's always best to view all color samples and materials (including your roofing options) in the natural light outside your home and at different times of the day. This allows you to see the way the light changes the colors throughout the day and allows you to envision what the product will most closely look like before placing your order.

                        Tip #5 - Accent neutral colors with deep, rich and slightly toned down colors. You can use neutrals, textures and accent colors to give your home personality and make it stand out. Stone, brick and roofing tiles all add texture and depth to a neutral palette. Then, choose a statement color on your front door to turn it into a focal point.

Need more color advice? See Please Help Narrow Down Color Selections... and To Determine The Best Color For Your Roof Start By Looking Down Not Up.




Give Your Home a FRESH look this Summer

The snows have finally melted, but the harsh winter and stormy spring weather has left your home looking a bit shabby. To perk up your home exterior this Summer, get FRESH.

DaVinci Roofscapes offers two free e-books that can help re-fresh your home exterior from the top down. (See Free E-Books Help You Select New Polymer Roofing in 2016)

The first e-book, FRESH Home Exterior Colors, offers 5 steps for finding the perfect hues for your home exterior. This FRESH approach involves selecting the perfect colors for the outside of your home based on:

Polymer RoofingFixed Features

Regional Colors

Environment and Surroundings

Style of the Home

Historic and Have-to-Use Colors

By putting it all together and viewing your home exterior as a whole unit (from the roof down to the siding, windows, front door, trim and garage doors) the e-book helps you pick the best colors for your home.

But, what about your home's style? That's where e-book #2 can help.

FRESH Color Schemes for Your Home Exterior identifies seven different home styles (such as Colonial, New American and Victorian) and then shows you samples of colors that really work for each home style. So, whether your home is a Ranch, Spanish Mission or European style, we have pages dedicated to helping you bring the perfect "top down color" to your home for a memorable Spring spruce-up!

Find more FRESH insights at Adding Color to Lightweight Roofing Tiles on Colonial-Style HomesRed Roofs Popular on Spanish Mission Style Homes and Victorian Homes Beg for Colorful Accents



DaVinci Roofscapes Introduces Four New EcoBlend Colors for Cool Roofs

We've done it again. DaVinci Roofscapes has launched four new EcoBlend options approved by the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) to reflect sunlight and heat away from a home or commercial structure. The new color blends all meet Title 24 requirements for California. (See  What is EcoBlend?)

Newly-introduced color blends for EcoBlend polymer shake and slate roofs include: Tahoe-EcoBlend, Mountain-EcoBlend, Brownstone-EcoBlend, and Slate Gray-EcoBlend.

Cool Roof Colors

Cool Roof Colors

"California's newly-adopted 2016 Building Energy Standards (Title 24, Part 6) will require use of more energy-efficient roofing materials starting in 2017," says Ray Rosewall, CEO and president of DaVinci Roofscapes. "We've developed these new roofing color blends to meet, and in some cases exceed, these strict requirements.

"In recent years when wildfires and severe weather conditions have increased on the West Coast we've seen enhanced demand for our DaVinci fire- and impact-resistant synthetic shake and slate roofing products. The newly-introduced EcoBlend color family options allow homeowners and commercial property owners to use our durable roofing tiles while complying with the new Title 24 requirements."

EcoBlend color blends previously accessible from DaVinci Roofscapes and still available include: Weathered Gray-EcoBlend and Castle Gray-EcoBlend.

"While Title 24 is unique to California, structures in all areas of the country can benefit from incorporating EcoBlend roof tiles," says Rosewall. "Because these tiles reflect heat and sunlight away from a structure, they help reduce the cooling load, and as a result, increase energy efficiency of a building."


How To Choose The Right Roof For Your "Storybook" Home

Often when someone is telling me about how they want their home to look they use the word "storybook" to describe the style. As far as I know this is not a term used in architectural design, however I do know exactly what the homeowner means.

As we were growing up most of us saw lots of pictures of homes in the books we read. The illustrations often included unusual details, fun shapes and even some not-often-seen in real life colors. Although most of the pictures were stylized, your idea of a quaint home with unique details can be brought to life.

Your home does not need to be large and in fact many of the homes described as "storybook" are small homes or cottages. It does however need to have some details that make it special. After all, that is what captured your heart in the pages of the picture book.

Bellaforté Shake in Mountain-VariBlend

Above is an example of a "storybook" home. From the thick shake roof and details under the roof peaks to the lattice on the windows, exposed beams and window box this little charmer could have come out straight off the page of a children's book.

A "storybook" home looks best with bolder details like a thicker shake that is uneven rather than a traditional single-width shake.

DaVinci Slate also works well on this type of home. I usually recommend a multi-width slate roof alternative for these little dream homes but a single with can work, too especially if it is colorful. Speaking of which - have some fun with the color. Multi-color roof tiles are a perfect fit here. Select multi-width slate in Aberdeen, European, Vineyard or Weathered Green. This is the one type of home where it is better to go with more rather than less when it comes to details.

These homes are so much fun to renovate because the possibilities are just about endless. In fact, usually the only lament is, "There are too many colors and I can't make up my mind". Don't worry I've got you covered on that one. You can see what I recommend here.