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Exterior Colour

The only time to use a Personal Colour Viewer

By 07/28/2009January 27th, 201722 Comments

Last week I was in Victoria and had dinner with my friend Kim (who I have not seen for 7 years, she was in Miami but she’s back) at the Brentwood Bay Lodge & Spa. So stunning! The whole hotel was varying shades of natural cedar accented with black.

Now until this point; anytime I have seen an exterior with stained cedar siding or shingles and people have used black on the fascia, windows, on the stucco, etc. I look at it and think—that is so wrong. Just to be clear I’m talking about an all cedar house with black trim.

A natural ‘whistler cabin’ look like that with a modern accent black, in my world the combination does not work! Until I saw it so tastefully done in this hotel and I figured out why it works so well.

The entrance to the marina, (photo taken from the patio):
Pots filled with grass – so organic and fresh looking!

A side view of the patio:

Here’s my mojito; I really took this picture to show you the patio chairs, so comfortable!

And here’s Kimberly and I about to order dinner!

Notice how the fascia is not black, and the balcony looks like it was left the cement colour. If the balcony and fascia were black, it would be too heavy and (in my opinion) would kill the natural, organic feeling of this setting. Using black strictly as an accent instead of in a heavy handed way, keeps the look sophisticated, exclusive and serene! On any other exterior, it would be weird not to repeat the black on the fascia, but with an all cedar exterior, it’s very well done just the way it is.

Above photo obviously not taken by me

This brings me to my point; the ONLY time it works to use a tool like a Personal Colour Viewer with Benjamin Moore is if you are trying out dramatic combinations using black trim (for example) otherwise, there is no way that a computer generated paint sample on an exterior photo of your home, will give you an accurate impression of what the colour will look like, when the light hits it during varying times of the day.

If you need exterior colour advice for ANY other reason, hire a professional.
Related posts:
5 Steps to choosing the Right Exterior Colours
Exterior Undertones
The Best Exterior Trim Colours—NOT Cloud White
Advice to Do it Yourself Homeowners on Choosing Exterior Colour
Glamorous Hotels in London

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  • Rachel says:

    i agree, black is such a commanding, strong force, it should be used in moderation. i recently completed a building make-over where the clients didn't want to spend the $ to repaint all the black window grids and trim. such a shame, because it totally overwhelms the design with heaviness.

  • Design Esquire says:

    Great post, Maria. It looks like you had a great time too!

  • Ideezine says:

    Black is such a commanding color that's rarely seen in nature (except when something dies). So when you need to ground a space, to balance, we go to nature for the solutions (biomimicry). The results, pleasure to our eyes rather than raising a question to figure out why it bothers us. Great example Maria!


  • Ivy Lane says:

    another informative post! Thanks Maria..the views look spectacular there!!!

  • Terry says:

    Thanks for the big urns with ornamental grass. My wife will go nuts over it. Me too.

  • Renae says:

    I like black but I see what your point is…
    your mojito looks so refreshing…wouldn't mind one myself! I know you two girls had a good time!

  • Roberta says:

    Love your blog Maria. Everything about it actually. I wonder if you've done a post on tray ceilings…I'll take a peek to see if I can find one. Side bar, great tool!
    Thanks, Roberta

  • lizawiza says:

    Thanks for the tip about color viewers. I figured it would be hard to translate the exact color of my walls in that way.

  • Cristin says:

    so stunning is right! and the black works like you said.


  • Marlo says:

    When I look at something my gut instincts tell me if something is wrong but I don't always know *why* it's wrong. This post teaches us why – thank you Maria.

  • Velvet and Linen says:

    Great advice as always, Maria.
    The black is dramatic and unexpected.
    Wish I was there with you and that mojito!


  • Annie says:

    see I love black, I think it's a great colour, you may not like my new home maria, there's quite a bit of black exterior, only a little inside tho! Now you've got me nervous… arrrgghghgh

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Annie,
    Sorry if I wasn't clear, I was specifically referring to an all cedar shingled or siding house with black trim.

    With any other house, it would look weird not to repeat the black on the fascia, etc.

    I'm sure i would love your house!

  • Haven and Home says:

    Wow that place is amazing. You are so right about the black, but then you are always so right!

  • Between you, me and the Fencepost says:

    Really like the pictures. I wanted to stay there with Aaron a while back but the rates were too high to justify a one night stay. Beautiful place.

  • Patricia Gray says:

    Hi Maria
    What a beautiful part of the world Brentwood Bay is and a great picture of you and your friend..2 stunning blondes. Wish I was there to have one of those yummy mojitos with you.

  • Tracy @ comfortandluxury says:

    What a beautiful place. The unusual use of black on cedar is really dramatic and chic. And, thanks to you, I can see how it could easily get too heavy. This is not a combo I see in my area. ((or maybe I just haven't noticed?… I'll be on the lookout!))

  • Kelly (Arte Styling) says:

    I think the black works well because it's used as a consistent accent color throughout the entire "brand" of the spa. Many exteriors just have those ugly black windows (I typically HATE them) and there is usually no continuity with anything else. I love that the black was used for the lounge chair cushions, the umbrellas, the signage, the menus, the tables, the napkins, the railings, the light fixtures…even down to the straws! And the blacks are introduced in different textures, so it gives the eye a break.
    The gorgeous natural setting doesn't hurt, either. 🙂
    Nice post!

  • Slices of Beauty... says:

    Lovely pics!

  • Maria Killam says:

    I didn't notice that even the straws were black! And I agree with you , it really works repeated everywhere in the design concept!

  • DesignTies says:

    Another great post, Maria! Always love coming here, learning lots AND looking at your terrific photos! It's been said in the comments above, but that mojito looks so refreshing!!

  • Carol Ann says:

    Oh my, oh my, oh my what a great hotel…I am thinking a great place for a weekend away with my hubby so time…
    I love the deck chaises around the pool
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful place with all of us.
    On our way to Courtenay, BC (my moms) tomorrow for 2 weeks, wish I had the time or extra money to stay there while on the island, but no such luck, maybe next year.

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