Why Not Paint Your House Red?

Jun 12, 2014Choosing Colors, Do It Yourself, Exterior Painting

I just got through painting my second red house. For my first red house, the owner already knew he wanted it red. It was an assisted living facility in Kennewick.

This time however the owner just wanted something bright and bold.  She was trying to figure out a yellow and green combination that she liked when I suggested red. Her eyes lit up! Now she couldn’t be happier with her red house with white trim set among her green grass and trees.

We looked at several reds and painted samples on her house. I was afraid the one she was leaning toward was going to be “too bright”.  That of course means different things to different people, but the darker reds I suggested just didn’t cut the mustard for her.

Milk Paint was the Original Red Barn Paint

The Quintessential Red Barn

When I originally thought of red I was thinking of Barn Red so I did a little research to see if I could find a color that could authentically be called “Barn Red” as if all barns were the same red. I found a few paint companies that specialized in authentically made paints from yesteryear, including something I had never heard of – Milk Paint.  Yup, it seems like they used to make paint with milk, and other 100% organic and safe-for-people-and-the-environment materials. You can mix milk paint with pigment powders to create just about any color you can imagine.

Here are just three of many companies where you can buy authentic “old world” paint for your antique furniture, decks, floors, walls, and of course your barn:

The Real Milk Paint Co.

Old Fashioned Milk Paint

Old Village Paints

My First Red House

Red House in Kennewick

On my first red house in the Tri-Cities, we painted an assisted living facility on the hill behind the mall in Kennewick.  There we used brown for the trim color. Looking down the street it certainly adds a bit of interest to an otherwise typically blah monochromatic Kennewick neighborhood.

The owner and I thought it made a great addition to the neighborhood. And so did a number of the neighbors.

Red and Green Make a Great Combination

For my most recent red house, Glenda couldn’t be happier with how the red makes a perfect backdrop for her many roses and other landscaping. It makes them stand out beautifully.  Red and green is a great combination.  For a house with red brick, I haven’t seen a color that goes with it better than green, particularly sage greens.  One of Glenda’s neighbors said she wasn’t sure about this red when we started painting but says it has grown on her.

Glenda’s Red House

Painting your house red isn’t for the faint of heart, especially in the conservative Tri-Cities.  If you are overly concerned with the opinions of others just realize you won’t make everybody in your neighborhood happy with your red house.  But you will get a lot more positive remarks and thumbs-ups from those driving by than you might expect.  There will always be one in every neighborhood that won’t like anything out of the ordinary.  Maybe they just need someone like you to brighten up their life. Just go for it, you’ll get a lot of neighbors glad you did.

UPDATE: My first red house is now white. It looks like that one neighbor got to the new owners…


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