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How eDesign Saved This Exterior from Black Windows; Before & After

By 03/17/2021March 29th, 202335 Comments

Before you hop on the black window trend, here’s an example of a home where black windows would not have been the prettiest choice. It’s a beautiful eDesign exterior project.

I love getting before & afters from my readers! Recently we received a collection of photos and I’m starting by posting the exterior:

Here’s the email that came with it:

“I’m extremely happy with how everything has turned out!!

While researching new windows I came across Maria’s blog, the post about black windows and what to watch out for.
It turns out black would not have been the best choice for my home and I instead went with white windows among other things that I would never have chosen on my own.  
After reading a bit about windows and some other posts on the blog I decided to take a leap and pursue something I have always wanted to do….a complete remodel.  Having Maria’s guidance helped tremendously!  
Thank you for all your help!  I couldn’t be happier with the result.”

Here are the photos:

Our client wanted to move the house to a much fresher look. And she didn’t like how the wood stained interior shutters made the house look like a fortress.

PS. Think carefully before you choose shutters for the interior. They cut out the most amount of light and generally work best in a hot climate where you don’t mind because it’s sunny every day.

Since this brick home did not have substantial window trim, black windows would NOT have been my first choice. After all, you’d need to repeat the black somewhere on the house again like the fascia or the roof.

Unifying the trim, windows and siding in the same cream to match the windows was my recommendation.


edesign exterior before photo

front door before

Since the door was deeply recessed it looked super dark during the day, so we kept it the body colour.

Front Door After

deck before

Here’s the deck in the backyard treated in the same colour scheme. 


Often, the simple colour scheme is best, especially with a classic brick house like this one.

If you’d like help with your exterior, this is what it looks like to work with me.

If you’d like to LEARN how to choose or specify the best colours for exterior, you can register into my Masterclass for Exterior Colour Selection here.

All additional details and colour specifications from this home will be posted on the Facebook page that is attached to the Masterclass.

Here are a few recent reviews:

“Modules are concise and easy to understand even if you have no design experience. I appreciated the fact that the modules covered ever possible detail you need to consider when it comes to the design of your exterior. A link to a trusted landscaper was a bonus.”

“The emphasis on undertones (especially in brick and stone) was EXTREMELY helpful!”

“LOVE your style, Maria! You have made such an impact on my career as an Architectural Color Consultant.”
Get the exterior masterclass here.
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  • Sunshine says:

    This house is lovely!
    Red brick can be polarizing, so thank you for not recommending she paint the brick white. White brick certainly has it’s place and I’ve seen it done exceptionally well, but this house has so much going for it without a white wash. The whole project looks professional, with the owner doing her research and Maria working her magic. I don’t know if the owner power-washed the brick and the roof (I know a composition shingle roof shouldn’t be power-washed, but they can be treated for staining), but that is one clean looking house! Even the keystones above the windows look happy again. Especially love the front porch foyer and back deck. So bright, calm and inviting!

  • Laura says:

    What a grand transformation! The house has so many architectural details that were lost before. I can’t wait to see the rest of the photos!

  • Kay Perret says:

    Wow Maria, your blond nephew looks so much like your mom! They’re so grown up. How is that possible?

    Love this post, too. Such an elegant and simple way to illustrate what was obvious – that is, after you showed the obvious! Thank you for always educating us in the best way.

    Hope Terreeia is healing.



    • Joanna says:

      Your nephews are such sweet kids. I love lilies! I had a knee replacement so I know what Terreeia is going through. Doing your physio exercises throughout the day is key to full recovery.

      Lovely transformation! The lighter paint under the portico makes the entrance so much brighter and welcoming.

      In answer to your shimmer outfit – a big NO! It’s too much with your colourful outfit and shimmer/glitter is for dressy, evening attire. IMHO

  • Bonnie says:

    Dear Maria, I love you, I really do, but please, NO on the sequin outfit.

  • Flying Carrot says:

    Great example of how a trend (black windows) is NOT always a good idea!

    Re: sequins as shown. It’s a No from me, Dawg. The sad phrase “Trying too hard” came to mind… Sorry to be cruel!! 💕

  • Amber says:

    Me too. The cream looks very generic and builder grade to me. Although I do like that you can actually see the front door now.

    • Diane says:

      I agree! 💯’s looks very nice painted lighter, but it’s a little too bland for me. However, the deck needed something besides that natural wood.

  • Linda Trammel says:

    I love the “after” house. Such an improvement! I noticed that a tree was removed close the the window. The new paint job really transformed it into a very well updated home.

    Regarding the outfit. First thing I noticed was the weight loss. Looking fabulous there. I am so jealous (I need to lose about 30 pounds but….I think my metabolism ran away!). I love the shimmer but maybe not with the suit coat on top. I love the shoes also. I’d say leave the shimmer to go with another piece of clothing to do at night. You always look beautiful so no worry.

  • Cassie says:

    Love sequins too, but not with a jacket that is so structured and casual shoes/bag.

  • Rene says:

    You can pull off fashion outfits that a lot of people can’t, so go for it! You look great and it fits your beautiful abundant personality!

  • Amber says:

    I don’t normally comment on fashion, but I wanted to balance out some of the anti-sequin crew. It’s not a look I’d wear to the grocery store, but I think you look great. After not seeing anyone for months, I am ready to dress up again.

  • Melissa says:

    I think the after photos would look so much better if not taken in winter with such a bare landscape. I’m glad the homeowner was happy with it maybe now she can take the landscaping to the next level – still looks tired.

    As for the outfit- love the color and don’t mind sequins but I’m not a fan of how this is put together – at ALL. Sorry you asked. To me, the sequin “duster” makes NO sense that length. My suggestion – have it altered to be more waist length. It could be really cute over the right dress or even jeans and a white tee.

  • M says:

    Wow, those homes look so much better now! Eye catching in a great way.

  • M says:

    About the outfit…. nice pieces and pretty color, but do not like them together. The long duster under the blazer makes no sense to me. Like a mullet hair cut, business in the front, party in the back. The duster is the party. Don’t like with the rest. Shoe and purse vibe off too.

  • Liz in Oregon says:

    The house looks really nice, although I liked the dark version too.

    Sorry Maria. A huge NO to the sequin thing. It doesn’t work with the casual shoes, purse, jacket, etc. Where would you wear it? Hopefully not on a consultation! It makes me question your design savvy. 🙂 But to a dressy occasion with dressier top, pants, shoes it would be gorgeous, so it’s a keeper.

    Is Instacart available in your area, Maria? We’ve used it for grocery shopping/delivery through the whole pandemic and will continue even when it’s safer for us to go to the supermarket. From choosing your items (filling your cart) to delivery in our area takes about three hours. The shopper is in touch with you while shopping in case substitutions are needed. It’s so much easier than wandering around the store and for us it’s worth the extra money for tip and delivery.

    Best wishes to Terreeia for a quick recovery.

  • Krista says:

    I definitely appreciate the considerations on black windows.
    Now, the sequins.. have to say “no”.
    You always look classy but this overpowers your sharp outfit, the proportion/length looks off,
    and how hard will it be to get in & out of a car, or a nice cloth seat at a restaurant?
    You are so beautiful, let people continue to be drawn to your light, not your flash!

  • Jan says:

    I love Trinny! I have learned a lot from her and from you, too! But I have to draw the line at all the sequins. She says that they light up her face. I would feel out of place and dressed over the top with them and the many dangling layers for an everyday occasion. When I watch Trinny, I enjoy her immensely, but the styling of her outfits are simply not me. She’s very tall and with her very large personality, it’s become her trademark way of dressing. Kinda like Iris Apfel. She’s unique!

  • Stephanie A Regal says:

    Looks perfect! Wish I’d had this kind of info 10 yrs ago when I repainted my house – totally wrong. I don’t live there now so not my problem 🙂

    PS. Sequins – NO. Too much like dressing as a tweeny.

  • Leslie says:

    The sequins are adorable on you if they were worn alone… just doesn’t work with the jacket or purse shown as they are not the same style at all. Looks like a room where you have both clean and dirty colors…. jarring to the eye.

  • Gayle White says:

    Maria, I love the sequined top under your suit jacket. But I think you have to upgrade the shoes a bit, to go with the sparkle – not to compete with it, just to acknowledge it. I love to see people wearing “out-there” things in daytime as well as night.
    I’m not a designer (I wish) but have loved to read you ever since you started.

  • Monica says:

    Interesting post! I’m curious about the two different color windows, as for the next 20 years we will be seeing those lovely builder beige windows be replaced. This could get dicey! Your “Don’t Make These 5 Common Mistakes” post warns of the danger of white vinyl on these muddy brown trend, with a sprinkling of greeny-grey houses. Funny, because most people probably are dueling with that color inside with the grey trend and white kitchens. Black seemed a natural. Perhaps not. Is there a rule? These photos show that builder beige on the front (busier bossy side) vinyl windows and white vinyl on the back windows?! Is that even a thing? (Not for this house, where shadows definitely dictated the choice, mind you.) If door trim is changed to black or charcoal, can the builder beige vinyl stay? If the front windows are beige vinyl and the back are white, and the homeowner wants to wink at the black/charcoal door trend, what are all the other “Pure White” interior doors up to?! No problem, we’ll just paint those blue, but what of the Pure White trim? 😱 Oh, Maria … talk about an identity crisis! Wait! Which thing should go with what and must relate to who?! Perhaps another book: House Therapy. (You’re going to be busy. 😃)

  • Lisa Proctor says:

    This house looks brighter and fresher now and will come into its glory when summer comes! With the trees leafed out and plants growing, it will look especially terrific with its creamy new paint colour. Next winter, I bet the homeowner will enjoy putting a big wreath on her front door or filling her pots with seasonal greenery AND THEY WILL SHOW BEAUTIFULLY against the new paint colour. Lovely! (And it’s interesting to see how much the landscaping adds to the Before photo. Just as you have said! Maybe adding some evergreen shrubs would boost the home’s winter look?)

  • Sharel says:

    Love the post and your “Trinny” inspired outfit. I, too, follow her. You look great!

  • Donna Pleis says:

    Me too!

  • HPierson says:

    Gorgeous! You’ve created a beautiful refresh that is still classic and cohesive.

  • Andrea (who won't buy anything that needs dry cleaning) says:

    Had to comment after reading a lot of the feedback re: the sequins outfit: I think it looks FANTASTIC! When I first saw the pic, my thought was, “Wow! That is so fresh! I never would have thought of wearing sequins like that — as everyday wear!” Okay, maybe not for the grocery store. But certainly for bunch or a casual, classy dinner.

    And I think it’s the “sequins-as-everyday” that is throwing a lot of people. So many of the comments are about the supposed disconnect between the sequins and the casual accessories. But to me, what makes the outfit so remarkable is that it is breaking the traditional paradigm for sequins. And well-thought-out contrast is exactly what brings energy, right? Think of distressed jeans with a crisp blouse. Or leather-look leggings with a slouchy sweater.

    In other words, sequins alone do not equal “formal,” so no need to keep them in that box. If you love them, I think it’s great to find ways to add their sparkle to regular life! (That said, the practicality of them is a whole separate issue. But it’s also completely subjective. Lol!)

  • Melissa says:

    Love the sequins! UK, EU, Japanese fashion is going towards the loose layered look. Can you get the suit in a longer size like Trinny? Her pant cuffs and lapel are wider too. This look is all about proportions. Flowy and sleek. Also, masculine suit contrasted with feminine sequins.

  • Lucy says:

    I love all of this post. Your opinion about black windows and window coverings is spot on! The examples that you have shared are perfect. The white windows make the house look fresh. Black windows are so formal that it takes a certain style to pull the look off. Who would want to walk around in the evening without the “shades” being pulled?

    Maria you are trying too hard to be a fashionista. Your usual style is perfect and simple. Keep the KISS look on you just like you do in your design!

  • CK says:

    I was not expecting all the outfit naysayers in the comments. That outfit is fun and fresh, you pull it off, and the confident smirk says it all. When an outfit brings out that kinda mojo…

  • Malia Carlsen says:

    Wow! What a gorgeous difference that made to a house!

  • DeniseGK says:

    Can I just ask: why is everyone talking about sequins and fashion? I don’t see anything on this page about that stuff. I do have this website completely white listed in my ad-blocker so that ads can run here. I also have tried disabling the extension completely and it still doesn’t show anything. Is the fashion stuff on Instagram or facebook?

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