Katy Elliott

A daily design journal about new england life, home decorating resources, and renovating a 257-year-old house in Marblehead, MA.

House Colors: Gray, White, Green or Black

Posted on | July 28, 2010 | 27 Comments

Greg and I gathering references to get our roof redone. In the meantime I’m snapping photos around town of potential roof colors. This morning I realized I’ve never shown photos of my potential house colors which to me totally relates to the roof color.

My two favorite houses in town are a shade of gray with dark shutters and white trim. The house above is gray/brown with dark green shutters. How cute is the whale over the front door? The cobblestone driveway is pretty awesome too! The second just a block away from my house is dark gray, white trim, with black shutters. See a photo of inside this house here (my fav wallpaper). Both color combos are traditional but feel a little dressier with contrasting dark shutters.

Update: The second house in this post recently got painted. Click here to view and find out the exact paint color to try yourself.

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House Colors: Olive Gray with Black Shutters

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27 Responses to “House Colors: Gray, White, Green or Black”

  1. moparbrownstoner
    July 28th, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

    I never thought about roof color before because my neighborhood is all row houses with flat roofs you can’t see.

    They are often painted white or silver because it makes such a difference to the interior temperature in the summer. Much cooler. Then again, maybe the top floors don’t heat up that much in Marblehead?

    That reminds me. If you have a dirt floor cellar, Katy, could you do a post on dirt floors? There seems to be very little reliable information about maintenance, moisture, venting, cooling, and other issues.


  2. Ashley
    July 28th, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

    I love your choices, Katy! The colors seem both appropriate to the period of the house as well as the setting of Marblehead. Timeless, just as all your choices have been so far.

    That said, I’m curious if slate shingles are popular in period houses around town? The upfront cost and maintenance, I’ve heard, is great but the look is hard to beat.


  3. Katy Elliott
    July 28th, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

    Ladies your jumping the gun! I’ll report on all things roof tomorrow I promise–from trends in town to why people choose different colors.

    I need to get better photos first!



  4. Erica
    July 28th, 2010 @ 6:21 pm

    You might want to check with your historic commission first. Our hist.comm. has specific colorways for each historic neighborhood in the city, and one can only choose from those colors. Those houses you’ve shown seem to be in the same historic realm as yours, so you’d probably be safe copying them, but who knows — maybe there’s some fab color scheme you’ve never even thought of waiting at the historic commission office.

    Thanks so much for sharing all the chimney info — it was really helpful, and the task of doing something with mine seems less daunting now.


  5. Vallery
    July 28th, 2010 @ 8:21 pm

    I have always loved the look of the lighter grey with the dark green shutters. It is a little softer than black shutters and just seems more inviting. Love the pictures.


  6. kristin
    July 28th, 2010 @ 8:25 pm

    i love both of those houses, but i think i would lean toward the first one you featured. something about it feels “clean” and i like the contrast of the paint, shutters and trim.

    we’d love to paint our house (like tomorrow if we could), so we love looking at the various color combinations in town. i’m always drawn toward yellow houses, but there is something striking about white with a red door or some of the really darker colors that almost look black. our neighbors’ are gray, blue and a beige so in the end we’d probably try to blend in with them.


  7. kristin
    July 28th, 2010 @ 8:31 pm

    almost forgot about the whale – love, love, love it. that’s got to be a whole other post, right?! cod or whale? which do you think you’ll go with?


  8. Katy Elliott
    July 28th, 2010 @ 10:10 pm


    True in many old towns you have to your house color approved by the historic society–not here! I actually wish they did limited colors used.

    Both of these house are just a few blocks from my house and both in the historic district.


  9. Maryam in Marrakech
    July 29th, 2010 @ 5:10 am

    Love the color patterns. Grey is always classy and never goes out of style. It is a little sober looking, however, as they say in French.


  10. Jessica
    July 29th, 2010 @ 7:39 am

    The first home pictured is definitely my favorite, simply because it’s unique and more cheery than the others. I encourage you, with your exquisite taste, to choose something similiar but not exactly the same as any of the homes pictured above. I’m quite sure whatever you choose will be lovely.


  11. Katy Elliott
    July 29th, 2010 @ 9:38 am

    FYI we are hoping to paint next spring. We have to the new roof and fix a hole and rotten wall in the back of the house first.


  12. Michelle
    July 29th, 2010 @ 10:52 am

    House and roof color totally relate. If I could do it all over, I would paint the trim darker than the siding, b/c that trim looks dirty all the time (ours is white.) I like a crisp look, so dirk irks me.


  13. jaime
    July 30th, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

    i love the first photo too. the light gray/brown/green color is just beautiful! i can’t believe all the work you guys have done since i have been reading your blog. so impressive!


  14. Erica
    July 31st, 2010 @ 5:43 am

    Oooh — unlimited color choices makes it so difficult to decide! A friend of mine had her (Victorian) wood house painted (she was restricted in choice by the Historic Commission), and the painter she hired came up with a variety of color schemes for her to choose from. Mind you, she had lots of different shapes and trim colors, so it was more complicated, but maybe a painter can help you decide and can suggest the roof shingles at the same time?


  15. Jane
    August 11th, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

    I think that you really can’t go wrong with any of the options you’ve shown here. They are all classics and would compliment your adorable house very nicely. The house in the last 2 photos reminds me the most of yours. You are wise to choose darker colors. We have an old colonial in CT and mildew on the exterior is always an issue.


  16. shanna
    January 2nd, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

    Love those colors too! Last summer we had our house painted and this is exactly the look I was going for. Unfortunately it did not come out like that at all. The painters sprayed the entire house while I was out for a couple of hours and by the time I returned home it was to late to say, “wait I don’t like that color! We have to lighten it up.” Lesson learned-never leave the house when people are working on it! I never followed up on my blog with the new paint because I was a little bummed about how it turned out. Definitely not French-y at all. Can’t wait to see how yours turns out or dig further into your blog to see if you have already painted the exterior.



  17. shanna
    January 2nd, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

    On second look picture #4 was the color I was hoping for. That charcoal shade is so pretty when snow is on the ground.


  18. Lynn
    January 27th, 2011 @ 9:34 am

    Katy, Is it possible to find out the paint color and manufacturer of the grey Marblehead house with the whale above the door? We are currently renovating a colonial home in Barrington, RI. I’d love to use that color. Beautiful! Thanks for posting it.


  19. Katy Elliott
    January 27th, 2011 @ 9:50 am

    I would have to go over to the house and ask. I’ll report back.


  20. Lynn
    January 28th, 2011 @ 6:43 am

    Wonderful. Thanks!


  21. Robyn
    March 3rd, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

    Came across these pictures. I did the landscape design for the first house in 1993 – the cobble driveway, fence, arbor, privet hedge and back yard. Glad it still looks good 18 years later!


  22. Katy Elliott
    March 4th, 2011 @ 10:07 am

    oh fun Robyn! The house looks great and I love that cobble driveway. We need to decide (maybe this summer?) if we want to do cobble or brick?


  23. Annie
    March 24th, 2011 @ 11:58 pm

    Katy, I’d love to find out the paint color of the house with the whale too. I’ve been searching for a gray like that!


  24. Josey
    October 21st, 2011 @ 9:08 pm


    Did you ever find out what the paint color and manufacturer was for the whale adorned house? I see others have requested it above and you advised you would report back, but I don’t see any such report. This is exactly what I’m looking for and would love to know what it is!



  25. Alicia
    May 16th, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

    Does anyone know the color gray is on the house with the whale over the door. It would be a great help to us.


  26. alyssa
    August 21st, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

    I also would love to know the color of the house with the whale.
    I need to have my house painted this week!! My painter needs a color and this is exactly what I am looking for!


  27. Rhiannon
    October 23rd, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

    LOVE your blog! LOVE your home! I’d also love to know the color paint on the first home in this post. It’s exactly the color I’m looking for but I haven’t found anything close. Thanks! :)


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