What environment is your house situated in?

The third in a series about color selection. 

I mean this question in two ways as well: what's the climate where you live, and what do your grounds look like? The first question is probably more important than the second. For the second, I only mean to draw attention to any large, colorful trees or flowering plants in view of your house. If you have a spectacular, fuscia flowering crab tree in your front yard, red may not be the color for your house.


We once painted for a lovely woman of Greek extraction. She related how she had gone to Greece, and come home in love with the Mediterranean colors: white-wash and terracotta, azure blues and olive greens. She painted these colors all over her home, and was happy with them until the Minnesota winter set in. Suddenly the colors that had been happily breezy and cooling were unhappily breezy and cooling. Her home seemed cold and uninviting six months out of the year. Which brings to me to maybe my only rule: Always consider what your colors will look like in the snow and cold.


As a corollary to this “rule”, while grays and whites certainly have a place in an exterior color palette in Minnesota, they have to be chosen cautiously. A cold white as a body color will blend with the snow in a discouraging manner. Grays can suggest slush and ice on drizzling, horrible days in February. On the other end of the spectrum, clear, bright, tropical colors can become garish and ridiculous when popping out of a mountain of snow. Think of the Miami Vice house on Lake of the Isles. If you don't know what I mean, then take a drive around the lake, and you'll see it. The same things that look good in Florida or Greece don't look good in the Upper Midwest. The plants, sky, water, and even the color of the soil are completely different.