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Exterior Colour

Exteriors for Colour Inspiration

By 07/28/2010January 26th, 201724 Comments

I know, I look totally obsessed with yellow and raspberry but the truth is, yellow is the only colour I’ve committed to so far in my living room. The reveal is going to be longer than I thought because I haven’t found the one inspiration piece that is making me jump up and down with excitement. Way easier to choose chair and drapery fabric if you have the rug or artwork first so that’s what I’m waiting for. Anyway, I have a pile of fabulous and colourful exteriors to show you from my trip to San Francisco, so here they are (pay attention there’s a colour test at the end):

First stop was Lombard Street, the world’s most crooked street. I walked down it and snapped this photo of what looked like a white car convention.

This house was right on Lombard Street. Everyone was taking pictures of it. Made me wonder what it must be like to live on a street that is busy with tourists probably year round!

Then we continued our tour, I liked this one, because kelly green, white and black always look good together!

Normally when I see a battleship gray house, I have the urge to run up to the front door and give the homeowner some shade of yellow to paint the windows or the trim but I liked this one with the navy blue windows. I even got the photo with a blue car in it.

Here’s a close up so you can see what I mean.

My token palm tree shot!

The paint is fading and peeling on this building but what I liked about it is that the colours were chosen to work with the blue and orange in the brick.

Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen blue in orange brick before. Must be a San Francisco thing.

Those might be blue drapes (to match the shutters) hanging in the window but what a great idea to have the exterior colours coordinate. Even if the drapes were a different colour inside, they could have been lined in the same blue as the shutters.

This house is white but I thought it was so pretty.

When we got to North Beach I went into this great little store called Pink Blossom and came out with two very cute tops! The shopkeeper was just great. Check it out if you go to San Francisco.

In the Castro District we drove by this happy motel!

I got to meet Rachel Perls from Hue Consulting when I was here! She is an architectural colour consultant in San Francsico. I also interviewed her here on my blog. It was so fun to meet and talk colour!

Whats the undertone of the 2 beige colours on the first photo with the yellow and raspberry?
If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me for on-line or in-person consultations.

Related posts:

5 Steps to Choosing the Right Exterior Colours
Exterior Before & After; Blue to Brown
Commercial Exterior; Before & After

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  • Lazy Gardens says:

    That house is NOT just white … look at the warm tones of the tile, contrasting with the cool grey-blue of the shadows, and then the cheery gaudy shrieking magenta of the bougainvillia.

    It's classic Spanish Colonial architecture and colors.

  • Kiki says:

    San Fran is amazing!!! Love the homes and the feeling there – you never quite realize the design/color/arch elements until now!!


  • Grace @ Sense and Simplicity says:

    What an amazing city – I'm dying to go visit it. What's there not to love with the crazy up and down streets and the riot of colour in the houses. I love that vine growing on the blue house (not sure I'd like to live in a house that everyone stopped to take photos of, mind you). Thanks for taking us on a virtual tour.

    On another note, I'm glad to hear that you always recommend yellow to go with battleship gray as I've just painted the lower cabinets in my kitchen gray and have gone with gold handles. I take it I did okay.

  • Steph@TheGraniteGurus says:

    I thought the same thing when I was in San Francisco….wondering if it drove homeowner's crazy that all us crazy tourists were outside their homes taking pictures.
    The homes are fantastic though. I loved your pictures.

  • Rachel says:

    it was awesome meeting you, Maria. 🙂
    and coming from a San Francisco Bay area local, I have to say that I am always blown away by the beautiful Painted Ladies and amazing architecture around here- never gets old!

  • Carpet Pro Guy says:

    This houses are beautiful! Love San Francisco and the architecture there, its so original. My favorite house, I must say, is the red/orange one with white trimming. I also liked your idea of coordinating the drapery with the exterior shutters/windows. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Ann says:

    Seeing the fabulous San Fran homes is always inspiring! I just love the color pairings.

  • Marcus Design says:

    I just LOVE San Fran, when I first visited there, I thought to myself, if I didn't live in Vancouver I could see myself living in SF. Beautiful photos!
    Is the undertone of the beige in the first photo pink?? I'm glad you had a wonderful time!

  • unique unique design says:

    What an amazing town for their architecture and color! Love the photos.

  • Flourishing Networks says:

    grey and white looks great – it also our house colour – love it

  • Annie, bossy color says:

    What fabulous pictures, Maria! Thanks for posting them. And I'm so jealous that you got to meet Rachel from Hue! Lucky ducks, both of you!

  • Ivy Lane says:

    I see pink undertone in the first pic….and..San Fransico looks to have amazing architecture everywhere!

  • Dale at Hospitality Re-Defined says:

    What a fun post. So many great examples of the use of fun and unusual colours. San Francisco is a great place to experience colour.

  • Christina - The Diva's Home says:

    I also saw pink undertones in the beige house in the first pic. All of those colorful homes look great! I guess if you move to Lombard St. you have to know that there will be people on the street (and driving it!) all the time.
    I love the Spanish style house since mine is also in that style. I wish I could get my bougainvillea to climb like that though!

  • Kelly says:

    You have taught me well Maria- I see PINK undertones! I am laughing because I always look for those pink undertones everywhere and stick my nose up at them! Love your pictures- loved visiting San Francisco. Thanks for the great post as usual!

  • Ideezine says:


    Real example of pinky-beige in action. Great snaps I love San Fran and it has great character and creativity. Everyone loves being there.


  • Donna says:

    Hi Maria, I love these pictures! What a beautiful place to visit. We drove through San Francisco, but I don't think we were looking at it through your color 'sensitive' eyes.
    I did think it odd seeing the houses stacked row upon row up the sides of hills and the steep streets were amazing!

    I tried to leave a comment here a couple of days ago, but my computer or the hotel internet got so bogged down I couldn't post it. This was a great post!

  • Rebecca says:


    Thank you for your nice note on my blog. It warmed my heart that you took the time to thank me. I have learned so much from you.
    If I was younger or money was no object I would take your class in person.
    You have shared so much with those who read you blog. Thanks for being generous.

  • Rebecca says:

    I forgot to add: Our son and family lived in the San Francisco area for a couple of years so we flew into and visited there several times. It really is a fun, feast for the eyes city.

  • Leigha says:

    What an incredible, visual delight of one of my favorite cities!

  • Cristin @ Simplified Bee says:

    Just love SF … anything goes here! So glad you had a great visit.


  • A rootdigger says:

    way up at the top at white car convention on crooked street, what was that pink vine.

  • sarah says:

    The one is definitely pink. I'm thinking the other is green?

  • Maria Killam says:

    Yes the bottom is pinky beige and the top left is a greeny gray!

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