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I’m excited to announce I’m starting a new series on Youtube called Colour Rescue! It’s where you can ask me anything about your house.

And I’m kicking it off with black exteriors – specifically the black modern farmhouse. Because contrary to popular belief, it’s easy for the details to go wrong.

Black exterior with garden design

New York Times

Now that we’re halfway through the Black and White trend you’re all asking how to fix your black and white exteriors. 

So last week I posted a video about orange timbers and how to make them work if you’re going to add them. Specifically how to add them in a way that looks balanced (there’s more to consider than you think).

Black Modern Farmhouse

I got this question in response: 

“Is this a mistake? Should I repeat the wood more?”

What do you think? What would you do?

Post your thoughts in the comments below!

[PS. Remember to be kind. đź’› This reader is putting herself out there by sharing her photo.]

Should I paint it black?

Black houses have dominated the scene for a few years now and when you read about why you too should paint your house black, most articles gush convincingly (just like they did when the black window trend came on the scene).

“It’s empowering, go for it!”

“If your house is lacking in character, paint it black!”

“If your house has character, painting it black will enhance it even more!” 

“Black communicates to the world that you’re confident!”

“Black can feel cozy, warm, and welcoming despite its moody disposition. Or, a black house can feel modern and stately if that’s the look you’re going for.”

How do any of these statements help us make a decision on whether we should choose black?

It doesn’t. It’s copywriting fluff that helps no one.

No one whispers about all the black homes that should never have embraced the darkest of all colours.

They just show the homes that make us all go “Wow, that looks amazing”.

Bold Black Exterior

Apartment Therapy

The real secret to making a black house look amazing

If you look at both of the pretty homes in this post you’ll notice something that makes the black work so well.

All of the greenery that surround both homes.

With black, you also need to go big or go home. And do it on the right house.

If you’re not planning a spectacular garden for the black backdrop you’ve created, forget it.

Black doesn’t like embellishments

Black is more than anything austere. It’s a commitment to that austerity and it doesn’t work if you chicken out at the last minute and add some orange timbers or light grey stone to “brighten it up”. 

Black with orange accents will only ever look like a Halloween costume. Eeeek!

Halloween Pumpkin with witch hat Funny Pumpkin Illustration image 1

Orange timbers need plenty of white or a pale neutral to look good. Like on this house below.

Steve Powell Homes

Colour Rescue: Advice for this Black Modern Farmhouse

See my YouTube video here to see the colour advice that can help RESCUE my reader’s black modern farmhouse (above).

And, if you’re worried that your existing black or white farmhouse is missing the details that would make you love it when you drive into your driveway, check out my exterior eDesign packages here. I’d love to help!

If you have a question for my new colour rescue channel email photos here.

And a reader just posted this photoshopped exterior and I love it actually! My solution focused on the wood stained world but this one is better!

Adding grey trim to relate to the grey stone is completely inspired! 

Here’s the before again:

Related posts:

Are Black Windows the Best Choice for your New Build?

Never Paint this Style of Exterior, Black

The Black and White Exterior Colour Mistake Everyone is Making

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  • Norine says:

    This answer was so succinct. I loved the mention of plantings to balance out the colors.

  • BG Mitchell says:

    No matter the color of the house, I hate those raw lumber porch posts. It gives an unfinished look, like the painters walked off the job and didn’t come back. I can’t understand why this look is popular.

  • Cara says:

    I think most black homes are really, really ugly.

  • Kristin says:

    You are doing such a great service to the world.

  • Connie says:

    Get an exterior plan from Maria. House needs white.

  • Robin says:

    I just watched the YouTube video and thought how lucky she is to have such an easy and most perfect fix. I bet she’s dancing on the sidewalk right now lol. So looking forward to this most exciting new color adventure you’re sharing with us all. It’s most excellent.

  • Martha says:

    They can add wood corbels on the garage and house.

  • Bette says:

    The fix is simple and easy to understand — however, nothing will ever make up for those black window frames, which will be far too expensive to replace. The photo also highlights another problem with black — there are multiple shades of it. Already, you can see the window frames not matching the rest of the black.

  • Allison Burnett says:

    I like your solution very much. The garage door looks great and I like brown more than orange for a stain color. It is a pretty house now!

  • Myrna says:

    Go for browns, creams, whites for your new look. Stay away from greys as you already have it in the brick. Paint the three lumber posts the same color as the house to make the front door more noticeable.

  • Lisa says:

    I love the color of the house and I also love the wood contrast and would like to see more of it! My first thought was to make the garage door wood but I also think it would be more balanced to bring the wood higher, maybe with some gables under the peaked roofs. I’m looking forward to hearing your advice!

  • Lorri says:

    I’ve only seen one black house that was so pretty it knocked my socks off. It belonged to a blogger who painted her cottage a color called “Black Bean” which was warmer than most blacks. What made it work was there was a lot of white trim. Plus she had beautiful rose gardens everywhere and the roses popped against the color.

    I just looked at real estate in my area and was surprised to see several black houses. These are rustic houses that can handle the color better. They weren’t terrible, but I’m still not a fan. Once in a while, someone will pull it off and it will look amazing.

  • Katherine Burnett says:

    I think the second picture with no trim looks like a haunted house!

  • Maggie S says:

    I love “real world questions”–Maria you always give a great answer!

  • Patricia says:

    Regarding the reader question about the exterior of her home, I think a narrow pergola going up and over the garage door would be charming in addition to corbels (same color as door and posts) on the peaks of the home and garage. Depending on where the reader lives, there are many options for vines/roses to go up and over. I would put the top of the pergola the same height as the top of the posts. Landscaping will soften it, bring the plantings out into the lawn as deep as one third height of the house. (Avoid a narrow bed of soldier shrubs smack against the front). A tall shrub or ornamental tree next to corner of home, some pots of flowers on porch. Have fun!

  • Catherine says:

    I don’t love the orange look of the timber. It could be painted to match the stone. There’s enough dark already in the house exterior. Now I’ll see what Maria suggests in the video 🙂

    • Lu says:

      It’s really a dark green house with bourbon timber but the picture makes it look black and orange lol.

  • Eli Pic says:

    If a repaint was out of the question, Marie’s advice is good, otherwise a new color or dark cream or white color would look good too. That puts it in the black and white trend but on the lighter end and it would tie into the posts and stone Plus the dark windows frames would coordinate perfectly.
    I saw a dark charcoal cottage with all white trim ( window outsides and soffits etc….)and dark red window frames and mullions and a red front door. It was charming and lovely!

  • Sarah says:

    The orange posts don’t relate; I wouldn’t add more. I would paint things: paint garage door same color as house, paint the front door the dark blue of the window frames, and paint the orange posts the window frame color as well. Also add some lighter furniture/decor to the front porch that relates to the light stone and roof. That’s just off the top of my head without testing things out (and I learned from Maria you really must test). And then add lots of landscaping for sure!

  • Sheilah Harris says:

    Easy fix. Paint the posts black, letting the front door shine . White window treatments on every window will help brighten up the whole house. Add lush window boxes to the three upstairs windows and shrubs and flowers to the front yard. It’s a beautiful house. Enjoy!

  • Linda Gail Trammel says:

    Where I live most new homes are brick so no paint is needed except for the windows that may have shutters, front door etc. I would never use black to paint anything and that sounds pretty serious but it’s just me. I do love white so adding some black might be okay for me but it has to be minute. The white farmhouse we saw is beautiful. I’m so glad that Maria can answer the problems we may need solving due to our mistakes.

  • Linda Hartford says:

    I would make a flower bed between the sidewalk & house & fill it with orange flowers such as zinnias, marigolds, or roses. I would get some orange cushions for those chairs and a terra cotta pot or 2 for the porch.

  • Christian P. says:

    Congratulations on building your new house. Would you consider painting the house and garage door a soft white/cream? It would look lovely with the light-colored roof and the light-colored stone masonry. You could leave the timber posts and front doors as they are. The black windows would pop, but will look best if the window treatments inside are not visible during the day. Your black porch furniture would relate to the black windows and you could add cushions/pillows to repeat the orange tone of the posts and door. For landscaping, add some nice green plants with pops of orange and cream. Choose a few specimen trees with orange fall color like a Japanese maple, shrubs with orange berries that remain during the winter like Winterberry, and lots or orange day lilies planted in masses. Japanese painted ferns with green and orange would look amazing in the shadier spots. Balance these out with plants that have lots of greenery and cream flowers ( think cream hydrangeas, lily of the valley, bottlebrush buckeye, Kousa dogwood specimen trees. It will look fantastic!

    • Christian P. says:

      Quick amendment to the above – replacing or refinishing the garage door to match the posts and front door is the better option vs painting it to match the trim. I watched Maria’s video and I like how having all three in the same finish looks.

  • smilla says:

    I think the first thing I would do is paint all the window trim to match the colour the stone sort of blends into from a bit of a distance. Then I would take a step back and some time to consider the posts, the front door, and the garage door. My suspicion is I’d want to paint the posts to match the stone & window trim, and the garage door to match the siding, and leave the front door as is. But lightening up the window trim might be enough balancing to make the wood posts work well, and I do like the shade of the wood – doesn’t seem too orangey at all.

    Obviously this would change the look of your house significantly but I think to something friendlier looking, homier. Also imo black windows look nicest with white or pale neutral trim.

  • Janet says:

    This house does look a bit out of balance due to the timber posts. I do like them. But not alone. I suggest to carry the wood tone to the vertical batten above the garage and the main peak.

  • pascale jones says:

    In my opinion black houses should only be considered for ultra modern architecture!!!!!

  • Diana in Indiana says:

    I would change the garage door to match the wood trim. Even if you change the color of the house this would tie into the beams.

  • Annie says:

    OFF TOPIC. Thank you so much Maria. For utilizing a non Meta (Facebook)-owned media channel! Love the new series on YouTube! Great energy!

  • MDavis says:

    I photoshopped it with white trim, colorful doors and some plants:

  • Loribeth says:

    Am I the only one? The house in the video doesn’t look black to me. It almost looks like SW Rainstorm, which is a dark blue.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Black is either straight black, or it has a purple, green or blue undertone. Regardless of what it is, it’s bad with the bright orange. Maria

  • Jean-Luc says:

    “Modern Farmhouse” is the mistake! Not sure how or why it came about, but it’s really tacky. An awful trend that needs to go away whether it is exterior construction or interior decor.

  • Rebecca says:

    I liked your reader’s fix.

    Personally one has to discern if the current trend is one that stands the test of time or will just look dated in a few years. Will it wear out or ugly out? Not always an easy task.

  • Melissa says:

    I like Maria’s suggestion for the most cost effective fix. If the homeowner wants to tackle the garage door, she should check how Jennifer at Making Pretty Spaces transformed her garage door with paint. She painted hers and really does look like wood stain. Yes, the landscaping will help tremendously but I would also research to see if the stone can be darkened or “aged”- it’s way too bright. And ditch the black porch furniture. Perhaps aged cooper outdoor lighting could help relate to wood tones.

  • Susan Schmidt says:

    I love this simple fix! It is a beautiful house! I would also add an “eyebrow” pergola over the garage stained the same color as the wood posts on the porch. Then have some climbing white roses clambering on it.

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