What Color for Our Mansard Roof?

Hello Kate,

My husband, Ron and I met with Royce last week and said you could maybe help us with picking out the colors that would look best for the mansard roof. We were looking at Brownstone and Castle but one seems too brown and the other too gray.

Thanks for your help,

Sea Girt, NJ
Product: DaVinci Multi-Width Slate tiles







Hello Kathleen,

I can see why you might think gray is the best choice. If you are set on that direction, a warm gray or medium weathered gray could be a good choice with your bricks (it leans more warm brown than cool blue).

Brownstone would also work or one or two of the colors from brownstone. Just keep the pattern that is created by multi-colors within a blend minimal so that it doesn't compete with the pattern of the brick.

Single-width slate will give a uniform look like you have now but multi-width will work too and give an entirely new look for the roof.

I think the colors on the siding and trim seems a bit too light and bright for the overall tone of the brick and roof options. Select a neutral that blends with your roof color and is more toned down (grayed). This might just be the lighting in the photo but my advice would be to have your siding color be the value (lightness or darkness) of your brick. That does not mean the same color just that when you stand back the main siding shouldn't seem too much lighter or brighter than the brick. For the trim, a lighter or darker version of the same color will work nicely. Keep the garage doors the color of the siding rather than the trim.

I hope that helps with selecting the right color roofing tiles.


Kate Smith
DaVinci Roofscapes Color Expert


Nothing Says Elegance Like an English Garden

Your house has style and grace complete with beautiful turrets. Your yard looks more blah than beauty. Why not infuse a romantic English Garden love into your outdoor space?

A proper English Garden has only a few simple elements that can create a timeless outdoor space where an American iced coffee or a spot of tea would be equally welcome. Creating this look you may wish to start by taking notes from the perfect English Garden topper a Turret covered in DaVinci Roofscapes' slate. Nothing hints back to English days of yore stronger than a turret. Slate grays complement both light and dark tones on the home and create a stunning starting point for your outdoor space.

Elements of English Garden Style- Topiary and Turrets

Elements of an English Garden

Begin your garden with a focus on all that is green. Neatly trimmed hedges or shrubs can give way to creating intimate vignettes in your yard. Curves become elegant or even whimsical with a few added tall topiaries. Square hedges can create ‘rooms’ for beautifully selected furniture. Allow the green to be lush and speak volumes in your space.

Surrounding your perfectly manicured hedges is often raised flower beds. This is where you will want to infuse your pops of soft or bold color. Roses, hydrangeas or other fragrant perennials would be perfect in this space. Color rules for an English garden are generally to keep things in one of two ways:

The first option is to create flower beds that contain one color in various shades of that color family. Various reds to pinks or vibrant purples to light orchids would be perfect in an English garden. Vined or high growing plants are typically used to create visual interest in your garden.

Second, if you are looking for more color variation in your garden you can select bold hues in opposing colors. A hot red rose mixed with a vivid yellow pansy would be stunning. Do not mix in too many selections, just 2 or 3 for interest so your garden appears well thought out, not haphazard.

For added visual interest you may choose to add archways, seating spots or gazebos to your English Garden. Anything that can grow a vine plant would absolutely be lovely and carry through your color scheme with height.

English Garden Design with Rustic Bench

Furniture in the English Garden is always kept stark in white or wood. The garden should be the color-focus here, not the furniture. Stick with clean lines or a few aged rustic wood pieces to keep things authentic. For privacy fences select pieces that will melt into the background like black iron or darker wood.

Textures and accessories in this style should be kept to the minimum. The one exception to this is pottery. You can incorporate whites, pinks and lighter colored planting pots filled with lush greenery to enhance your garden.

Designing an English Garden to go with your Euro-Classical designed home will begin a vast array of options incorporating beautiful colors that become wonderful jumping off points for your outdoor design plan. Focus on the style, décor and combination of hues up top to create beautiful patios and porticos all throughout your outdoor spaces.

For more inspired ideas for you outdoor living spaces see  Outdoor Inspiration From the Top -- The Vineyard Look, Go to Relaxing Sedona for Your Outdoor Spacesand 8 Sure-Fire Ways To Create A Colorful Outdoor Space Part 1 or 8 Sure Fire Ways to Create a Colorful Outdoor Space-Part 2.


Please HELP with Color and Style...

Color. Home is currently in framing stage. We are using a used / antique brick (see pic), and probably a whitish trim. Need help with style AND Color.

Thank you,

Jeff Bouldin
Fairview, TX
Product: Fancy Shake,Shake or Slate








Dear Mr. Bouldin,

Without knowing anything about the style of your home, I can only give you some insight into the color and type of roofing that generally will work well with this style of brick.

The antique brick appears to work with either a gray-based or brown-based roofing tile. It will also work well with either slate or shake style tiles depending on which you prefer on your home.

Of the four options I am showing, I prefer the slate gray. It offers a nice contrast to the bricks, is a classic choice and would go with any style of home. Slate black could also be a good choice but in the strong sunlight of Texas may be too strong a contrast and too dark in general.

A cooler and lighter medium & dark gray would be another choice that is classic but may not work as well as the other choices if all of the other permanent elements on the home lean warm.

The Mountain blend shake would be my choice if you wanted to go brown rather than gray. It goes well with the brick and is more neutral than some of the other brown-based tiles that are more chocolate brown and would not read as well with the brick.

You might find it helpful to download my two FRESH Color For Your Home's Exterior ebooks. The steps given can help you to coordinate all of the elements of your exterior from roof tiles and brick to paint and trim. 

Best of luck in selecting the perfect colors for your new home. I hope this information is helpful in the process.


Kate Smith
DaVinci Roofscapes Color Expert


From the Architect's Corner - A Red Luxury Roof

Have a project that has you seeing red (but in a good way)? If you are working on a home or a building that calls for some red roof tiles, whether they be for an accent in a gray or green color blend, or for the entire roof covering, contact us to see what we have available in this distinctive color. We can plug our various shades of red into either our imitation slate or imitation shake product molds. 


Happy Friday, Architects! 


From the Architect's Corner - Free Online Continuing Education for Architects

Have you ever wondered what a color expert would tell you if you asked the question, "What order should I go in when selecting exterior colors for my home?"

According to Kate Smith, DaVinci Roofscapes' color expert, the correct order is roof, siding, windows, front door, trim then garage door. Unless the home is brick or stone, the largest fixed feature is probably the roof, so you will want to start there. 

Interested in learning more? Are you a professional in need of a continuing education credit? Jump over to AEC Daily's website to take our course, The FRESH Approach to Choosing Exterior Colors. It is free and available online 24/7.



Go to Relaxing Sedona for Your Outdoor Spaces

Designing an outdoor space that drips with warmth all year round is simple to achieve when you think Sedona style. Mixing the Arizona laid back feel of soothing sunset oranges and muted reds with the bold yellows and turquoise blues of the Southwest creates a space that is both vibrant and relaxing at the same time.

Sedona Style Outdoor Spaces

Inspired by elements taken directly from nature and infused with pattern and bold color choice – Sedona style is a perfect selection for any outdoor area.

Create a unified look to your entire home, taking a top-to-bottom approach incorporating one of DaVinci Roofscapes' color blends. DaVinci’s unique color collection Sedona, becomes a complementing palette that will finish off your look and enhance the selections you’ve made for your outdoor space.

Bellaforté Slate in Sedona blend mimics natural clay in oranges, reds and browns – a color palette that would transform your entire space into a warm, visually interesting and inviting spot.

Bellaforte Slate in Standard Blend Sedona
Bellaforté Slate in Standard Blend Sedona

What works so beautifully about this design style is the light and airy sense earth tones create. Accented by lush green or colorful gardens it is perfect for creating vignettes or one large, relaxing area.

Some tips for creating a Sedona style that works:

  • Pay attention to the colors of your wood tones in fences, furniture or other areas. Natural elements from stone or earthenware are also welcome additions in this style. It would be perfect to include pots or vases throughout the area.

  • Color pops are easily achieved with a Sedona design plan, when you include additional turquoise or greens for added vibrancy. Take note of the little details, like pillows or plantings for an authentic look and feel. This would be the perfect space for that copper or metal fire pit you’ve been eyeing.  Furniture in rod iron or even black painted woods would help to properly anchor your space.

  • To keep the warmth glowing year-round, think of installing a beautiful fireplace, if space allows. Soft outdoor lighting and adobe red cushions against warm teak woods will make your space feel intimate, inviting and never boring.


DaVinci Roofscapes Synthetic Slate Inspires Outdoor Spaces

Sedona style is built upon a minimalist approach. Less in more in this genre of design, so select pieces that make a statement – but not too loudly. Going full on southwest with natural stone or stucco walls can be stunning. Be careful not to overdo your ‘theme’ as you don’t want your space to become kitschy – you want subtle hints of this style, not an overpowering feel. Stick to smaller details using chevron pillows or an outdoor rug, rather than full-on pattern and color everywhere.

Colored cushions on your outdoor furniture is a must in this style, as this is your place to infuse brightness and personality. I prefer oranges and reds, but yellow or green could work just as well in this motif. If you decide to use wicker as your texture, stick to dark tones like black or brown. Whites or creams will be too stark for this look.

DaVinci Roofscapes Sedona Inspired Outdoor Spaces

Sedona style, inspired by the fantastic color palette of the Sedona rooftop, will create on outdoor space that calls you in to sit, relax and stay awhile. When done well, this is a timeless style that will remind you of sunsets, warm fireplaces and nature’s best.

For more inspired ideas for you outdoor living spaces see Outdoor Inspiration From the Top -- The Vineyard Look and 8 Sure-Fire Ways To Create A Colorful Outdoor Space Part 1 and Part 2.


Color Inspiration from Europe

If you're a regular DaVinci Blog reader, then you've seen stories from Kate Smith of Sensational Color offering inspiration and ideas for adding color to your roof. (Hint, if this is the first time you're hearing about this, then check out New Color eBook Now Available! and The Many Colors of DaVinci Roofs.)

At DaVinci Roofscapes, we appreciate Kate's color insights ... but we also recognize that some people may not feel comfortable with the decision to select a colorful roof. If you fall into this category, then check out these roof pictures from Europe, where colorful roofs abound.

Adding color to roofs isn't a new concept! These pictures show that slate roof colors have a long history in Germany, France and even Switzerland.

Fortunately you don't have to move overseas to get your own colorful designer roof. Just visit the DaVinci Color Studio to use our custom color tool and get started with "painting" your new imitation slate roof or synthetic shake roof from DaVinci. And, if you need more of Kate's assistance and colorful thoughts, check out her blog section of Roof Rap!


Outdoor Inspiration From the Top -- The Vineyard Look

Dreaming of picturesque outdoor spaces and have no idea where to begin? If you are looking for color inspiration as a starting point, look no further than your rooftop. There are some gorgeous roofing materials that offer a seamless look and great color that can be translated into a wonderful cohesive design for your entire outdoor space top to bottom.

DaVinci Roofscapes offer a wide array of color combinations and textures for your home. Here are some tips to pull together DaVinci’s Multi-Width Slate in Vineyard blend as your starting point for your outdoor spaces.

DaVinci Roofscapes Multi-Width Synthetic Roofing Vineyard Blend

Vineyard slate blend is a combination of colors reminiscent of beach escapes like one would find on Martha’s Vineyard or out on the Hamptons. Establish this upscale look with a focus on comfort.

Using a soft color palette of creams, tans or buttery, soft yellows you can easily create a Vineyard inspired outdoor space you may never want to leave. Furniture in this motif should be durable with relaxed and weather-friendly materials like wicker or teak. 

Imitation Slate Color Inspiration -- Vineyard Blend

Let a lush garden or clear sky-blue pool become that extra pop of color in your space. For additional splashes of color think about adding classic stripes in blue or red to your seating cushions or sunny yellow as an end table.

Amazing Vineyard-inspired outdoor spaces can also have a bit of fun or whimsy. Consider a beautiful wicker hanging chair in either brown or crisp white. This would be appropriate for kids or adults alike and fit in with your color scheme when you add a coordinating cushion.

Imitation Slate Color Inspiration -- Vineyard Blend

Focusing on your top to bottom Vineyard-inspired look you can add a great stone bed in your color scheme. This look is best achieved with small pebbles in a carved out area of your space. It sets the tone for seating and creates a sort-of natural outdoor ‘rug’. You could translate this look into a pebbled patio if that better suits your taste.

Imitation Slate Color Inspiration -- Vineyard Blend

The Vineyard slate tile roof combined with a palette that complements the look, you can create a timeless, effortless feel that will bring you to the beach days of Summer every time you enter your outdoor space.

For more inspired ideas for you outdoor living spaces see 8 Sure-Fire Ways To Create A Colorful Outdoor Space Part 1 and Part 2.


Get Your Colors Approved by Your HOA Quickly & Easily with These Tips

You bought it. You love it. You keep it looking great. So why does someone else get a say in the color of your paint, door, deck or polymer roof? Many of the millions of Americans living in a community governed by homeowners associations (HOA) have found themselves asking that question.

If asked before you’ve painted your home or installed that gorgeous new roof – great question. After the fact, it may just be the beginning of a headache. To keep you from having to reach for a bottle of aspirin here are a few tips for getting your HOA to approve your home improvement project.

Start by digging out the copy of the CC&R's (covenants, conditions and restrictions). You were mostly likely given these at the time you closed on your home. Don’t worry you don’t need to read all of the Rules and Regulations just the ones referring to areas of property restrictions. This should give you an idea of what is acceptable and what isn’t in your community.

Don’t stop there, however, because some things may have changed. Even if you have kept your binder up-to-date with revisions you’ll want to check with your neighborhoods property management company about the current protocol for getting your project approved.

Call or stop by their office and ask them to explain the entire process and how long it will take to get an approval. Find out what forms need to be filled out and where to find them.

Also ask if there are pre-approved colors that must be used or if you are free to make your own selection. Also ask them if there is any guidance they can give you on color selection based on their experience. Their answer may just give you more insight on how to have your plans accepted than any written guidelines. It is well worth your time to ask.

You may think that if you have pre-approved colors that all you have to do is pick one and done. Not so fast. Even if the color is pre-approved it might not be approved for your home if it is identical to your neighbors. Look around and make sure your colors don’t mirror another home close by.

If you are on your own for choosing colors, look for colors that will express your personality or give your home a unique look but don’t deviate too far from what is the norm for your neighborhood. The ideal color scheme stands out while still fitting in. If you keep that idea in mind as you select your color scheme you’ll be well on your way to getting an HOA approval for your plans.

In my experience, it takes anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months to get an approval for your colors and design. Don’t expect to decide to paint one day and be doing it the next when you’re in an HOA. You must allow for the time it takes to get approval.

As I alluded to earlier, asking for approval on a project after you’ve already completed it is often times a headache. On several occasions I have been hired to give my professional opinion to resolve a color dispute. From these experiences I can tell you that it is much easier to gain approval prior to beginning your project.

Keep in mind that the main goal of a HOA is to protect the property values of individual homeowners. By enforcing the rules, the HOA helps maintain the aesthetics of the neighborhood and property values of all the homes in the community.

In a perfect world this is a good thing for everyone. In the real world you may find that your HOA’s architectural review board has little knowledge of design and is only comfortable approving something that is very much like what is there now. If that is the case and you have your heart set on stepping beyond their color comfort zone you are will have to build a convincing case.

Often showing the committee rather than telling them is the best way to go about convincing them that your plan is a good fit for both your home and the neighborhood. Photos, samples, drawings or anything that can help them visualize the end result can be much more convincing than anything you can say.

Here are some related stories that may give you idea for putting together your presentation to the committee:

Getting your colors approved in most cases isn’t difficult. If you just take the time to understand the process and follow the steps, your request will be back to you in no time marked APPROVED!


Espresso? or Another Blend?

We have a stone and cedar contemporary. We are replacing the current 17 yr. old real cedar shake roof with your Bellaforté product. What do you think would look best - the Espresso or a blend of the light and medium brown (or some other combination?)

Many thanks,

Brad Toben
Waco, TX
Product: Bellaforté Shake


Dear Mr. Tobin,

I think you are on the right track for the color and style of roof for your home.

Although it is a bit difficult to see the exact colors in the siding and stone of your home, from what I can tell the Espresso would be good color choice. It seems to blend well with the overall tone of the existing materials.

The other color I would have considered is the Abruzzo blend. It is a different tone and a bit lighter but it appears that is could also work well with your existing colors. Since you are staying all very close in tone it is just a matter of which looks like it blends the best and whether you want a darker or lighter roof.

Either way go with a color that works with your stone. This is a fixed feature that will not change even if the siding color does change. Step back and look at the sample colors and how they blend with the stone. If one clearly looks better with the stone then that would be the color I suggest. If both look equally attractive then choose the one you find most appealing.

I hope that helps you to make your color decision.


Kate Smith
DaVinci Roofscapes Color Expert
















To see more color advice, please click here to visit our color advice blog page.


Illinois Homeowner Wins $5,000 in National DaVinci Roofscapes “Shake it Up” Exterior Color Contest

Envelope, please. Drum roll, please!

And, the winner is ... Brigitte and Mike Meehan of Elgin, Illinois!

The Meehans have won the online public voting and will receive the $5,000 cash grand prize in the DaVinci Roofscapes 2014 “Shake it Up” Exterior Color Contest.

Almost 1,000 votes were cast in the contest, with Brigitte Meehan's "Trapped in Cookie Cutter Land!" entry generating the most votes of the five finalists. In her contest entry, Brigitte explained how she wants to shake up and break the mold of being the "same as everyone else" in her 1,000+ home neighborhood. She detailed her dream for the home that would include colorful new exterior products and landscaping. 

“The judges saw the potential for dramatic change using color on the Meehan home exterior to get them out of Cookie Cutter Land,” says Wendy Bruch, marketing manager at DaVinci Roofscapes. “As a finalist, this home was evaluated by national color expert Kate Smith, who worked to create an artist’s rendering of what the home would look like transformed with colorful new products.

"Kate specified a new Brownstone blend composite slate roof from DaVinci along with a Therma-Tru Classic-Craft® Canvas Collection® fiberglass door and sidelites painted Cochineal Red. As a final touch she recommended the addition of new low-maintenance porch columns and a balustrade system from Fypon.

"Obviously the voting public saw the potential in adding 'top down' color to the home that will increase the overall curb appeal of the house and make it a stand-out in its neighborhood. For our 2014 contest, the Meehan home rose above more than 125 entries to capture the grand prize."

When notified of her winning status, Brigitte was excited by the prize money that will allow her to add color and new products to the exterior of her home.

"We're surprised, happy and excited, all rolled into one," says Meehan. "We love the rendering that the artist created that adds color and unique products to our home and can't wait to get started with the transformation!"

See Inspiration from Colorful Contest Finalists and Judge Kate Presiding for more details on the contest!  


Dress Up Your Roof with DaVinci Color Options

Headed out for a night on the town and undecided what to wear? Will it be the traditional "little black dress" or something with more pizzazz to celebrate a special occasion?

Just as you like to add color and sparkle to your wardrobe, your home's roof has the same option to break free of boring colors. If you're in the market for a new designer roof, reach into the DaVinci Color Studio closet for ideas on adding color to your home.


The free color guidance tools from DaVinci include everything from personalized advice from national color expert Kate Smith to an on-screen "mix and match" way to create your own personal blend of colors for your roof.

At the DaVinci Color Studio we encourage you to let your imagination soar. There are 49 standard colors available for you to "play with" to create your personalized polymer slate or composite shake luxury roof. We also offer "top down" color suggestions for your home exterior, free downloadable e-books and personal color assistance.

And, if you're looking for inspiration, check out our Masterpiece Gallery --- an image library of dozens of different home styles sporting eco friendly roof options from DaVinci in an array of colors. Don't worry about thinking outside the box either. Even if your dream roof is a "dreamsicle orange" color, we can easily create a custom color roof just for you!

Need more colorful insights? See Adding Color to the Exterior of the Home and DaVinci Crayons for the Roof.


Before & After: White Washed

The beauty of this 110 year old, half-timbered Queen Anne had been whited out. Luckily Justin and Rachel could see beneath the white and imagine what this home could look like in full color!

These smart homeowners have already replace the original damaged slate roof (which had been overlaid with asphalt shingles) with DaVinci Roofscapes Valoré in the color blend Villa, which is a perfect choice. 

Working down from there, I replaced the brackets along the roof and the crossheads above the windows with similar styles from Fypon. The dentil molding under the porch eaves was also replaced with a Fypon product. All of these products are long-life, low-maintenance products that will remain looking new for the life of the home.

While I would have liked to replace the porch columns with a product with more longevity, I didn't want to give up the unique, original look. Repairing what was there and adding a fresh coat of paint was the answer. I did however replace the spindles and rails with a Fypon balustrade system. All of the trim was painted Medici Ivory.

A warm neutral, Oyster Bar, was selected for the main color. To accentuate the half timbers, they would be painted them with Unusual Gray.

Since the home already has a wide front opening I replaced the existing door with a Therma-Tru Canvas Craft front door centered between two sidelights. Both the door and sidelights have Ashurst glass inserts with leading that has lines similar to the half-timber pattern. I painted the door and sidelights with Gallery Green. This is a green that is toned down but has enough color to standout in the shaded area of the porch.

This home needs landscaping but since the homeowners are newlyweds I kept it simple and inexpensive by starting with just two shrubs and filling in the rest with a single type of easy-to-grow flowering plants.

This home has great bones, is in a great area and once renovated I have no doubt will be colorful asset to the neighborhood! 

Don't miss out on the opportunity to vote for your favorite to win!


Before & After: Lovvve Shake

This home may have changed it's tune but what hasn't changed is my desire to answer this homeowner's call for HELP to give this home the LOVVVE! it deserves.

To shake up this house a little differently than last year I came up with a different color scheme starting with the roof. I selected DaVinci Roofscapes Multi-Width Slate in Weathered Green. The gray-green of the roof tiles complemented the bricks and set the direction for the trim colors.

Removing the wrought iron and replacing the door immediately opened up the entry. I chose a Therma-Tru Classic-Craft American Style Collection fiberglass entry door stained in cedar with sidelites with Hazelton decorative glass.

Then off with the shutters. I wanted to simplify the look and return it to more of its original look. Vinyl replacement windows with Chocolate frames and Fypon urethane timber square pot shelves beneath each lower level window added character.

Fypon urethane brackets above the door and near the dormer window added another arts-and-crafts accent to the home. The brackets and downspouts were painted a dark reddish brown to blend in with the brick.

The columns on the front and side porch were brought back to life with Fypon’s popular column wraps. All of the trim was painted in Misted Green. The darker accent color used on the gables was Carolina Gull.

The privacy lattice on the side porch was replaced with a grid stained to match the front door. This made it look more like an architecture element than a quick fix.

Add a pretty slate walkway and these homeowners can...

Sing, sing a song
Make your home last
Your whole life long
Don't worry because now its
Good enough for anyone
Else to see
So sing, sing a new song.

Vote now for your favorite!


Before & After: Historic PA

The Nogami's stone farmhouse, originally built in 1870, has been a 'fixer-upper' since Mr. Nogami's grandfather purchased the home in the 1940's. I think it is time for this family to finally call it fixed and enjoy living on their lovely family estate, don't you?

Before any other improvements are made, this home needs a solid roof overhead. DaVinci Roofscapes single-width slate in standard color blend Villa will give Nogami's a roof that is true to the color and style that would have been found on the home originally. It will also provide them with many years of protection for their treasured property.

Next on the wish list is replace windows with energy efficient double hung windows with 6 over 6 grids. White window frames stand out too much against the stone so I recommend a color for the window frames that blends in better. To find the right color, I planned the entire color scheme first. In this case, I selected a three color scheme that included a neutral that I keyed off of the color of the grout between the stones. Then I looked at the available window frame colors and selected tan because it was closest in color and tone. Don't worry about the frames matching the trim exactly. Start by getting the trim color right and go from there.

I added Fypon stone crosshead to enhance the windows and changed the shutters to low maintenance Fypon double panel shutters painted in rich Bittersweet Chocolate or stained mahogany. Although not shown in the rendering I would keep the wrought iron latches on the shutters both because Mr. Nogami's grandfather crafted them and they are a delightful design element that fits the style of the home.

The Nogami's may choose to expand the front porch or leave it basically the same size it is now. In either case, it needs to look like it is part of the architecture. While the wrought iron pieces have sentimental value they are not a strong enough design element to create an impressive entry. I would remove them and enjoy using them as design elements in the garden.

The wrought iron was replaced with Fypon plain square columns. Then I add Fypon's peaked pediment to give the entry the much needed dimension currently missing. Top the porch area with the same DaVinci slate as was used on the roof. These changes will make the entry area feel like part of the home not an afterthought.

Replacing the front door with a solid Therma-Tru fiberglass entry door painted in a contrasting color will make the entry the focal point on the front of the home. I selected a Classic-Craft Canvas painted Autumn Purple. Fypon triple panel shutters painted in Bittersweet Chocolate frame the door and a new light fixture complete the entryway.

If the homeowners want to go with a mahogany door as they suggested in their submission they could reverse the scheme and use a color like deep Dark Purple on the shutters. Don't let the color name scare you. I'm not talking about crayon colors but rather a deep shade of purple that can look as elegant black or brown.

The finishing touch is a little simple landscaping and this historic stone house will be ready to be enjoyed for many more generations.

Take a peek at all the finalists and vote for your favorite to win!


Insights from 2014 Color Contest Finalists

What does it feel like to be named one of five finalists in the 2014 "Shake It Up" Exterior Color Contest? According to finalist Eric Nogami, "My wife and family are besides themselves and have not stopped talking about it!"


The Perkasie, Pennsylvania resident, who submitted the entry "Historic Pennsylvania Stone Farmhouse" says his home was originally built in 1870. "I'm interested in having a completely different opinion from someone not familiar with the house on the possibilities of renovation in terms of colors and materials," says Nogami. "If we win the grand prize, the cash would go toward the renovation of the farmhouse, with the original slate roofing being the first thing we'd change!"

Two-time finalist Marquis Cayce agrees that the roof comes first. "We REALLY, REALLY need a new roof," says Cayce, a resident of Nashville, Tennessee. "Our home is about 80 years old and 'when' we win all the money will go toward a new roof!"

For finalist Kim Schwerdtfeger, her cry is "give me color!" The Bel Aire, Kansas resident says "The exterior of my house is brown, brown and brown. Where's the fun in that?" remarks Schwerdtfeger. "It's kind of mind-blowing to know that my ugly little house in the middle of Kansas was selected as a finalist. If I win, I'm installing new entry doors for sure ... and I'd love to rebuild my front porch!"

In Fort Wayne, Indiana, finalist Justin Vedder describes his home as "a diamond in the rough."

"Being a finalist and possibly winning the contest would help us achieve our dream of restoring the home to its grandest potential," says Vedder. "Our home is about 113 years old and it desperately needs paint and preservation work."

The fifth finalist in the contest, Brigitte Meehan, lives in Elgin, Illinois in a "cookie cutter" house that is eight years old. "When we bought this home, I was in love with the floor plan," says Meehan. "My only apprehension was the front of the home. I am far from in love with it.

"I have always had plans to make changes, but other expenses related to home ownership and/or having children seemed to take top priority. I entered the contest with the hopes to win so I can make the changes that I've always dreamt of."

Now's your chance to help one of these finalists win $5,000 cash to make their dreams come true. CLICK HERE to vote for your favorite way to "shake up" an exterior with color and colorful products from DaVinci Roofscapes, Therma-Tru and Fypon!


Before & After: Trapped in Cookie Cutter Land

At first glance you might why these owners entered the contest. Their home looks rather nice so why would they want to shake it up? I think the title they gave their entry "trapped in cookie cutter land" and the rendering of the post-renovated home answer that question loud and clear.

Starting at the top I replaced the roof with DaVinci Multi-Width Slate in the Brownstone color blend, which was a big improvement to the builder grade asphalt that is on the home now. This one change alone added major curb appeal.

Next, I painted the garage door to match the color in the gable above the front porch to keep the wide, unattractive door from visually advancing. Most builders and homeowners don't realize how leaving the garage door white distracts the eye and makes the home feel out of balance. The two sides of the home will instantly look more in balance when the garage door is painted to match the home rather than looking like an empty billboard.

The front door was replaced with a Therma-Tru Canvas Craft door with two sidelights. The door was then painted Tanager, a deep red-orange to focus the eye off center and to the right, another technique to give more weight to the right side of the home. Any extraneous elements surrounding the house were removed in the rendering so that you can better see how all of the elements of the home are now in balance.

To give the homeowners the privacy they desired I replaced the columns of peeling paint and rotting fiberboards on the porch with a Fypon columns and balustrade system. After widening the steps to the full width of the opening Fypon rail pieces would be added to act like open arms to welcome family and friends.

The narrow walkway to the driveway and the skimpy area between the walk and porch were doing nothing to enhance the exterior. A wider walkway that curved away from the home replaced the existing walk created an area for landscaping.

A good landscape design and further enhance the appeal of a home. Good design, color and a dash of the homeowner's personality can go a long way towards making this home stand out from similar homes in the neighborhood.

Cookie cutter no more! This home proves that makeovers are not just for distressed homes or fixer uppers. Even a nice home can be renovated into the neighborhood knockout.

Which home gets your vote?



Before & After: Ugliest House on the Block

Kimberly Schwerdtfeger loves her house. It reminds her of the house she grew up in. When it came up for sale she begged her husband to buy the place for over a year. Yes you read that right. The home had been on the market for over a year. It seems not everyone shares her love of the home that Kimberly entered into the Shake It Up contest as "the ugliest house on the block."

One look at the "before" photo revealed that the first item to go on the Schwerdtfeger's wish list was a new roof. I selected DaVinci multi-width shake in Tahoe, which is a standard color blend. The color was a great match for the colorcast of the bricks.

Next on the wish list was repairing the dormers. Fypon has just the polyurethane dormer and window trim to give them a look that is as up-to-date as the new roof. A coat of paint in a color to blend with the roof will be the finishing touch.

The same color would be applied to the gutters and downspouts.

While they are working with the dormers I recommend replacing the windows. Bronze frames will be so much more attractive against the beautiful new roof. They will blend with the color of the roof tiles and the bricks; unobstructed glass will help to update the overall look of the home.

Those initial changes will greatly improve the home but won't completely overcome the "haunted house" feeling that kept her kid's friends away when they were young. For that I needed to increase the "friendliness factor" in a big way.

Adding two Therma-Tru fiberglass Pulse® doors to replace the outdated doors was step one. I choose doors with a more contemporary look and added glass. Even though visitors can't see directly into the home having glass in the door will help to alleviate any anxiety or fear of approaching the home at an subconscious level.

Painting the doors in Empress Teal creates a focal point on the front of the home that is inviting. To make the entry even more welcoming I increased the width of the walkway. I also added an open landing to the wish list to replace the small space enclosed with wrought iron rails they have now. To complete the entry the Schwerdtfeger's can simply install good lighting, and place a couple of pretty pots filled with colorful flowers.

Last, add landscaping to anchor the home to the lot and show the world just how much these homeowners love their home. 

I think this makeover have taken the Schwerdtfeger's  home from "haunted" to "happy." What do you think?

Which house is your favorite?


Vote NOW to Help a Homeowner Win $5,000 Cash!

You can help determine who will win the $5,000 grand prize in the 2014 DaVinci Roofscapes "Shake it Up" Exterior Color Contest. Just CLICK HERE to vote for your favorite of the five finalists.


Do you love the way national color expert Kate Smith has helped the "white-washed" Indiana home add a pop of color with new Therma-Tru doors and Fypon trim? Or, are you more in tune with the way "Trapped in Cookie Cutter Land" has broken the mold with their new colorful DaVinci polymer roof tiles?

Your vote counts! The finalist with the most votes as of June 1, 2014 will win the $5,000 cash grand prize and can then add colorful products and accents to their home. So, share the news and help determine this year's winner! CLICK HERE to vote!


Finalists Named in DaVinci Roofscapes 2014 “Shake it Up” Exterior Color Contest

Who are they? What excited the judges about their entries? All the answers are now here!

The five finalists in the 2014 DaVinci Roofscapes "Shake it Up" Exterior Color Contest have been revealed.

Led by national color expert Kate Smith, judges evaluated more than 125 contest entries from homeowners across the country wanting to “shake up” the exterior of their homes with color and new composite shake and synthetic slate roofing. The five finalists, who will each receive a professionally-created color rendering and product wish list of how they can transform their home’s exterior by adding colorful products to their home, include:

  • Brigitte Meehan of Elgin, Ill. with “Trapped in Cookie Cutter Land

  • Eric Nogami of Perkasie, Penn. with "Historic Pennsylvania Stone Farmhouse"

  • Marquis Cayce of Nashville, Tenn. with “LOVVE SHAKE!

  • Kimberly Schwerdtfeger of Bel Aire, Kan. with “Ugliest House on the Block

  • Justin and Rachel Vedder of Fort Wayne, Ind. with “White Washed in Williams Woodland



“Again this year the judging was a challenging experience because there were so many houses that qualify as needing color exterior assistance,” says Smith, president and chief color maven of Sensational Color. “The homes of the five finalists are all beautiful properties, but they could each benefit from a colorful makeover.

“One finalist's home is 'white on white' and begs for colorful accents while a 'cookie cutter' development home needs colorful help to make it stand out in the neighborhood. Then there's a home that the homeowner deems the 'ugliest house on the block' that truly needs colorful new products to help with a transformation. All five of the finalists now have a 'color blueprint' to follow with product and color recommendations to give new life to their homes."

Public online voting is open now through June 1, 2014 so you can view the finalists and cast your vote as to which finalist should win the $5,000 cash grand prize to help the winner add color to the exterior of his or her home. Then, stay tuned as the grand prize winner is announced on June 10!