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Why is color avoided in new residential architecture? Perhaps too many examples of color gone wrong have made builders weary. But let’s think of cars. Red invokes a very classic Italian sports car color, while dark green brings a distinctly British flavor. I don’t know about you, but sky blue makes me think of a romantic convertible along the French Riviera. Many of us are very expressive about the color of our cars. Color paints a lifestyle and allows others to have a glimpse into one’s personality and preferences. We have a definitive opinion about the colors we wear. When going to an interview or a meeting, a lot of thought is given to what we wear and how the color we choose will influence the people we are meeting. Color enhances our personalities and expresses the image we want to convey.
We know color is used in marketing, subliminally telling us we are hungry, we want a vacation (Although some of us don’t need an advertisement to tell us that), or that we need to go on a cleaning spree. Those in marketing know that color sells. Choosing the right color can light that spark of inspiration in a homebuyer, the home stands out in their minds apart from the rest.
All too often, when we build our homes, we tend to avoid any commitment to color. We blend our houses with our neighbors, making one essentially indistinguishable from the one next door. Chances are good that we’re not the same as the folks down the street. That is something to be celebrated!
It’s important to note that colorful neighborhoods certainly have precedent. There is a rich history of color in the architectural styles we use. Think of the Victorian houses in San Francisco. They are bold and spectacular, ranging from classic colors to bold expressive hues. The personalities of the homes and the people who live there are expressed on their façades; different, yet complementary. The people that gravitate to one over the other are very different as well.
Now, I am not suggesting that everyone wants to live in a bright blue house or a magenta one. It could be fun though… I digress.
Overcoming the fear of color will give new communities the rich character of an old established neighborhood and start a legacy of their own. You know the ones, with the beautiful historic homes that have been renovated, and painstakingly restored to their original beauty. They are painted to express the architectural style and the historical period they come from. Unfortunately, the price to pay for character is often times a less-than-ideal surrounding area – perhaps the crime rate is a little higher or the school doesn’t have the best scores. In many cities, families must choose either the character of a beautiful streetscape or the good school district with favorable property taxes. It doesn’t have to be that way!
It’s time to make choices available to new home buyers, ranging anywhere between classic colors to bold, vibrant ones. Beige can still be an option, but let’s end the practice of restricting buyers from choosing anything other than some varying degree of it. Let’s use color to accentuate the architectural style and allow buyers to express their unique personalities with their house, not just their car or clothes!