black exterior

Black is the new Black

It was brought to my attention that I never shared the before and after of our LA house exterior on the blog, and since I aim to please… (and because you better believe we will be painting the new house some shade of black as well), here she is!



It’s amazing what black paint can do! Right? Well, and a new door, and new shutters, and a lot of cement work, and landscaping and a new fence. ha See that tiny cactus to the left of the “before” photo? It is the same one in the “after” photo and that is just about the only thing we saved and look… he is so happy!

We did the landscaping plan ourselves and worked with a local landscaping team to bring it to life. Keep in mind I know almost NOTHING about plants and in hindsight I would not have chosen the “stick on fire” plant (that is the one next to the cactus partly blocking the left window). For one they are poisonous to dogs and babies (only if they eat them so it hasn’t been a problem, but still) and then secondly it grows SO fast. Like way to fast and too big. The agave and the other plants have grown in so well we didn’t even need them. The main lesson I learned is to start your plants small and it won’t take long for your garden to grow in. I wanted it to look good instantly, which it did, but then a year later it was already looking almost too full! Aside from that, I love how it turned out.

We painted the walls just a slightly darker shade of the same color. Previously, I had mentioned it being Iron Mountain from Benjamin Moore but when I went to go retouch the paint before we rented it out to tenants I realized that wasn’t the case and remembered I had mixed Iron Mountain with Cracked Pepper by Behr to make a custom color and then I brought it to the paint store to get color matched.

The other big change was extending out the stairs to the front door to create a small patio. It instantly made the entry feel more grand. Then we had the landscaping team pour custom large sized pavers for the side walk, which brought in one more detail that helped to modernize the exterior. All the seemingly small details on their own make one big impact.

To see all of our Los Angeles house renovations, check here.

And now… what to do on our new family fixer!? It may be super boring for blog reading purposes, but on modern houses, I basically will go one or two ways with the exterior and that is white or black. Find me a charming victorian and I might go the softest shade of pink… but still, a black victorian would be pretty great too for the juxtaposition alone. But anywho… from the second we saw the realtor photos of the house we knew we would 100% be painting it black if we got it (plus we just painted our last project white, so clearly we are due to go back to black. ha). A modern black house in a wooded setting has always been a dream of mine that I can’t believe is actually coming true and so close to the city. There is just something magic about being surrounded by all that green and how a black house feels right at home amongst the trees.

sarah sherman samuel // house exterior // choosing the right paintWhile we are waiting on finalizing designs on the inside, I am itching to get rid of the red so I already made a couple trips to our local Sherwin Williams to get samples and we are getting right to it. Above you can see where I painted some swatches next to the window and my options are almost black, black, blacker, and blackest. (ok the real colors are Sherwin Williams: (from the top down) Urban Bronze, Tricorn Black, Caviar, and Iron Ore). When choosing exterior paints, always paint the swatches… the bigger the better, and also in multiple places. Colors change in every light, so it is good to live with them for a couple days and see how you like what paints at different times of day in the different locations. From there if you are lucky, one will be the clear winner. If you are unlucky and you like one on one side and a different on the other, I would choose the one you will see or care about the most.

We are still in the ‘living with them stage’ so stay tuned for which shade we choose! And which would you choose?! Or if you still think black is crazy, what color would you do?

In the meantime I will leave you with some pretty black houses surrounded by trees, in case I didn’t make a big enough case for it myself.

Inspiration Sources: A- Frame // Mid- Century Modern // Concrete Bungalow

To see all of the posts and to get the full back story on where and why we moved, check here.