It’s time to increase the curb appeal of our Sacramento Carter Sparks designed, Streng Bros built home in Sacramento. In this article about our SacMod makeover we give tips on selecting the best paint colors and other ideas on how to refresh the exterior of your mid century modern home.
When we first started the renovation almost two years ago one of our first projects was to expose the roofline. The home had been empty for more than a year and the yard had become overgrown. We trimmed and removed plants that blocked the trademark Carter Sparks roofline. But that was the extent of our exterior improvements as we focused our time and budget on the interior of the house.
Select the Perfect Paint Palette
The architecture of a Streng home lends itself to a distinctive paint palette. These homes are historically painted three colors—a different color each for the body, the beams/trim and the eaves. Sometimes the trim might be a fourth color.
According to Steve Streng, son of the original builder, a paint palette had not been established for these homes when they were constructed in the 1960s but the colors trended toward a neutral palette with the front door a contrasting bright pop of color.
One of the main goals when selecting paint colors for the beams and the eaves is to select colors that give the visual effect of extending the interior to the exterior as one unbroken plane. The only standard that was set in the 1960s was for the beam color both for the interior and exterior be painted Oxford Brown by Kelly Moore. The eaves are traditionally painted the lightest color of the three colors, traditionally the same white color used for the interior ceiling.
For our home, we knew we wanted a dark gray palette for the body of the home. We designated one exterior wall as our test wall so we could see how the paint colors would change in different lighting during the day. We also wanted to see how the three colors looked side by side. It was sometimes shocking to see a paint color we thought was THE ONE be rejected once we had it on our test wall.
TIP: Designate an exterior wall as your paint test wall. For best results, paint the test wall white so your test paint color isn’t effected by the current paint color of your home.
After many trips to the paint store for paint samples to try on our test wall, we selected Benjamin Moore Aura paint for its durability and rich depth of color.
We selected N Style Painting, owned by Nick Pierce and his business partner Jeremiah Cabaza as our painting contractor. Nick and his team have many years of experience in the SF Bay Area painting Eichler homes and they have recently expanded to the Sacramento area. Since the Streng home style is similar to Eichler’s, we knew they would have the expertise for our Streng home.
TIP: Hire a painting contractor who has expertise in your style of home to increase the curb appeal.
Prep Your Home for Painting
Before we could be begin painting, there were several issues to be taken care of.
The dryer vent was located by our front door which made for a dusty mess. We relocated the dryer vent to the roof but that meant the siding needed repaired. Our painting contractor repaired the siding as well as made other repairs to the trim.
Like many homes of a certain age, our home was being strangled by more than 50 years of TV, alarm and phone cables that were no longer in use. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. Nick recommend someone to remove the cables. It made a huge difference in how clean the house looked.
Tip: Hire a low voltage specialist to remove outdated cables prior to painting.
Nick and his team spent about three days prepping the house for painting. Beside repairs, they spent almost an entire day power-washing. They were careful to avoid the vents under the eaves that are typical in Streng homes. Another reason to hire a company who are familiar with these types of homes. Spraying water into these vents can cause flooding into the home.
Painting the home took about a week with touch ups in the months that followed as needed.
New Doors Complete the Look
In addition to painting our house, Nick and his team also painted our new front door prior to installation. We opted for a bright orange color that really popped against the dark grey of the house. We decided against frosted glass to maximize the light in the home.
The finishing touch, and the one that gave our home perhaps the greatest increase in curb appeal, was the new garage door. We selected a black Avante aluminum door with etched glass from Cloplay. We love how the door allows the natural light into the previously dark garage. This door uses myQ technology that turns any garage door into a smart door so you can control it from an app.
TIP: Consider a smart garage door that allows you to control package deliveries and access.
Our home is now almost unrecognizable to the one we purchased in 2020 and we feel now reflects the original design intent of the builder and architect.
Stay tuned for articles on our progress of our Sacramento Modern Makeover. You can access past posts on our SacMod makeover such as our most recent post at patriciakline.com.
There you will also find profiles of other Mid Century Modern enthusiasts written for Atomic Ranch Magazine as well as articles on Mid Century Modern finds such as where to shop, eat, drink and stay in Palm Springs. You can follow me on Instagram.
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