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Black Contemporary Exterior eDesign Consultation; Before & After

By 06/03/2019March 29th, 202325 Comments

This extraordinary contemporary style home was given a black-on-black makeover for a more elevated curb appeal. See how we incorporated black (the current trendy neutral) into this home’s exterior with one of our eDesign consultations. 

I’m so excited to share this beautiful transformation with you!

My client Tamara has a really special modern contemporary house. It was built in 1977 and the exterior was looking a bit tired.  She used our eDesign Exterior Bundle consultation to get help revealing it’s potential with colour.

After photos taken by the real estate company as the house is being sold

The exterior has lots of pretty limestone and amazing mature landscaping.

And the interior has lovely flagstone floors and stunning floor to ceiling windows that create connection with the landscape.

Black Contemporary Exterior eDesign Consultation

But the stained wood siding and trim was looking drab and didn’t connect well with either the natural surroundings or the stone (above).

I recommended that she use a deep charcoal to make the most of the dramatic architecture (below).


You can see the the before photo above that the grayed sage colour was looking drab and neither contrasting nor coordinating with the stone. And the trim was an odd blue gray that really was not doing anything to help.

But below, after, the look is crisp and current, and really offsets all the gorgeous ivy and landscaping!


Exterior Colour Advice

I advised her to keep it elegantly simple by painting the siding and trim the same high contrast charcoal to set up bold contrast with the stone. Charcoal and black look amazing with leafy green and green gray, the colour of stone and weathered wood.

The colour scheme before looked disjointed and washed out. There are three different colours happening without enough connection or contrast (above).


The dark charcoal paint colour unifies all the busy trim elements and makes the stone and deck look fresh (above).


The architecture of this house is truly amazing. You can really tell that so much thought was put into integrating the indoors with the landscape.


How amazing is this beautiful outdoor oasis? It’s dramatic, and now the contrast on the house itself has been leveled up to it.

Gorgeous private pool

Dark colours help create a modern look.

Using dark colours is a fabulous way to create a current look on modern contemporary and Brutalist architecture from the 60s and 70s. Their simplified lines and dramatic angles do best when the body colour has some gravity. I really love the way black can offset a lush green landscape too.

This style of house can also be painted softer warm grays. In this case, I gave her both options. A “safe” mid tone green gray would have blended with the stone instead of contrasting with it. And that would have been fine, but I’m so happy she took the plunge and went for drama!

If you’d like help with your exterior colour see our eDesign packages here.

PS. I had a great time speaking on the MainStage of the Small Home Expo this weekend:

My sisters Lea Junttila (left) and Elizabeth Jacobs (middle) came to support me!

Thanks so much to Peggy Richardson, organizer and promoter of this event for asking me to be a part of it!

Related posts:

Trend Alert: All Black and All White Exteriors

The Shortcut to Testing Exterior Colour; Before & After

Overheard: I Don’t Have Any Go-to Colours – For Designers Only

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  • Karen Elliott says:

    It’s an outstanding, truly modern contemporary in a beautiful setting and yes, your choices of paint/stain colour are ‘right on’, in my opinion. Question; why would you feel the need to use photographic filters? In a way, the filter negates the certainty of the choice in that there is an artificial ‘boost’ needed to illustrate the impact of the new colour. I’m sure the homeowner is very happy – it must be a beautiful and impactful improvement even without the technicolour, surrounding nature.

  • LeeAnn Cheeley says:

    Personally, I think a very dark brown would have complemented the natural surroundings and stone better than charcoal. This has a Tuscan palette and charcoal clashes with it. Just my humble opinion.

    • Maria Killam says:

      The stone is an overall green grey which complements black nicely. However if this was YOUR house and you preferred brown, I think that could have worked too. Thanks for your comment. Maria

  • Hi my name is Melony and I have been following you for the last couple years! I am truly inspired in what you have accomplished and believe in your Color the Theory as to undertones!!! I am interested in a position if I can work from my home in Saskatoon!! I know not the best place to be but can be done!!! If you think there would be any possible way to work together I would be thrilled. I have been looking to five 200% into interior design as my 30 year career does not sit my physical ability! (Stood on my feet on cement for 30 years and can’t do it any more) I have worked in the industry on and off for about 20 years and have great design knowledge and ability. I would love to be able to work fir you!

  • Kim says:

    This is a big WOW transformation, Maria! The word “tired” really fits the before photos, and the after photos show an impressive and gorgeous change. The contrast and connection of the charcoal color is striking. This property is so beautiful. Great job!

  • Jan says:

    All I have to say is that I love this house-everything about it. The update is genius.

  • Norma Fournier says:

    Maria~~ I love the contrast on this house between the stone and the charcoal gray. It’s gorgeous!

  • Tara Imani says:

    Outstanding job. I love the black (dark charcoal color) that you chose for the exterior. Impeccable choice.

    Beautiful yard, pool, and home.

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    Hi Maria,
    I love this makeover so much. The way the house looked before I would have walked right by it.
    Now it looks so good, it draws you in. It makes me want to see the inside.
    Great job to you & the homeowner for making the best decision to go with the black option.

  • Anne says:

    Beautiful job Maria! I use a range of charcoal often in my projects because it’s a gorgeous, soft version of black. Loved seeing this.

  • MaryAnne says:

    I Love the transformation!! I think the dark charcoal is appropriate for the style of house and provides the oomph and contrast that was much needed. Well done Maria! (when I saw the last few pictures.. I immediately thought they looked like real estate pictures with color enhancements). You continue to inspire me and I thank you for that.

  • Brigette says:

    I visited a garden last year that had a black wall on one side of the house and it really set off the greens of the garden. I have kept this in the back of my mind since, so I really love this project that works in the same way. The charcoal has pushed this house into a more modern look without pulling out or painting over any of the stone, setting off the garden at the same time, perfect. Well done!

  • Lucy says:

    Wow, you have made this house look like a drop dead gorgeous house by just changing the paint color! Because of it’s surroundings with all of the greenery and stone it needed the boldness of charcoal and black to make it pop! Fantastic job and what a lucious home. Wonder why they wanted to move? The new owner will think they have died and gone to heaven!

    • Tamara says:

      Homeowner here, we absolutely adore this house, especially after implementing Maria’s design suggestions! We’re quite heartbroken to leave it, but are moving so our son, who has special needs, can attend a specialized school.

  • Diana says:

    Love to know how long it stays on the market. I don’t think very long as you have made it a diamond. Paint, like make-up, when the right color, turns the average into a stunning model. Great job.

  • Monica says:

    Looks fantastic! This is what buyers are looking for today…great job!

  • Noris Monsalve says:

    WOW transformation

  • Maria,

    Your choice of colour was perfect and painting out the trim in charcoal as well was brilliant! Charcoal would have been my first pick as well. Keep up your fabulous work! God bless.

  • Monica says:

    Probably the best exterior transformation I have seen on your blog. Great job!

  • Kate says:

    Is this in Texas? San Antonio area? This house is so beautiful & the vegetation reminds me of Texas! The interior is gorgeous, too! I’d love to be able to see the real estate listing!

  • Rosemary says:

    I’m in love! Beautiful transformation, glad they went with the charcoal color.

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