Exteriors: rescuing plain Jane houses

19 Dec 2016

So many of our city suburbs and small towns were populated in the middle of last century. We needed houses to live in, and new styles were emerging. We no longer built villas, bungalows and cottages.

Some of the houses built from the 1950s to 1980s were super-cool, designed by architects such as Henry Kulka, Miles Warren, Frank Lloyd Wright and Group Architects.

They moved away from the English-style housing that has previously dominated and introduced new concepts such as good sun orientation, spacious kitchens, open plan living and simple materials.

Others houses built during that time were fairly plain. Others were just plain ugly.

Many still populate our streets today. Some sport once fashionable details that haven’t lasted the distance – clinker brick, lumpy stucco, leaky plaster, faded cedar, mock Tudor battens and cutesy shutters.

Undeterred by such obstacles, and equipped with a bit of courage and vision, these homeowners are reworked their ugly ducklings into fine looking contemporary dwellings. 

Exterior colour tips

Greyed off or muted colours are best for exterior use as they blending well with both natural and urban elements.

Colours will always look lighter in our strong sunlight. Use a Resene testpot to try out your colour on various sides of the house (sunny and shady) before you make your decision. Most colours from the Resene Whites & Neutrals collection (a popular range for exteriors) come in strength variants so it’s easy to go one or two shades darker.

Many new claddings come with warrantees that specify the LRV (light reflectance value) of the paint colour to be used as dark colours that absorb the sun’s heat may affect the cladding underneath. To find the LVR rating of your chosen colour, simply look on the reverse of the card. You can also choose Resene CoolColour paint which reflects more of the harmful UV from the sun so helps protect your cladding.

Cedar cladding can be left to weather and slowly turn grey but many homeowners prefer the smarter look of stained cedar. The Resene Woodsman stain range has a variety of colours. 

Remember to include existing elements like aluminium joinery and roof colour in your scheme. If you can’t change either (or have any colour scheme query), send a photograph and details to Resene’s free colour consultancy at www.resene.com/colourexpert.

Did you know…

that Resene Lumbersider is the perfect paint for outdoor use on timber claddings. It’s a tough waterborne low-sheen paint that gives maximum durability in all exposed conditions. It has a natural low-sheen look that is fully washable. For a lightly higher sheen option, choose Resene Sonyx 101, a durable semi-gloss.

Do you have a home full of wonderful Resene paint and colour? Send us some snaps by emailing editor Sharon Newey on [email protected].

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This clinker brick house has been utterly transformed with a lot of imagination and hard work. The owners painstakingly chiseled off the raised parts of the brick before being painted in Resene Bokara Grey. The colour was chosen as an excellent match to the existing bronze-coloured joinery.

Owner Urszula Sherrell then painted one wall of the entranceway in Resene Triple Sea Fog as a break from the dark colour. To match the copper spouting, she then experimented with a mix of Resene Bokara Grey and Resene Milk Chocolate for the right shade. 

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Faced with lumpy plaster, a weird profile and little street appeal, the owners of this 1970s house had one thing on their mind: to reclad. Working with the steeply pitched gable, they hid the big side lean-to behind a parapet, and framed the entire house in Rockcote aerated concrete panels. Letting the texture of the new weatherboards and the panels be the feature, they then painted the entire house in Resene Sea Fog.  

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A good clean-up and a new colour scheme has turned the Shand house in Invercargill from a plain Jane to a smart character home. The couple removed a clutter of 1970s attachments like timber shutters, a garden arch, and scrolled edging.

The Shands then knocked on the door of a house with colours they liked, discovering the scheme to be Resene Triple Thorndon Cream cladding with a Resene Ironsand roof. They then added Resene Eighth Thorndon Cream on the window frames. The green-edged toned of the Resene Thorndon Cream variants now beautifully offset the feature red bricks and tidied garden. 

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The modernist lines and striking window configurations of this home weren’t a problem… but the plaster cladding was. The owners commissioned Sketch Architecture to come up with a cladding solution. They kept the parapet design but simplified the facade by removing the 'eyebrows' above the windows.

Vertical cedar cladding was chosen to add interest via shadow lines with two different profiles give a subtle change between the main house, and the garage and cantilevered entry canopy. It was finished in Resene Woodsman Wood Oil stain tinted to Resene Shadow Match. New exterior lights further accentuate the form of the house. 

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This faded 1960s townhouse has been utterly transformed by designer Andrea Burney. Removing all traces of ‘the brown era’ she reschemed the exterior using Resene Rampart for the cladding, Resene Nero for the trims and Resene Half White Pointer for the fascia and soffit. 

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Resene Bokara Grey

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Resene Eighth Thorndon Cream

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Resene Half White Pointer

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Resene Milk Chocolate

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Resene Shadow Match

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Resene Thorndon Cream

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Resene Triple Sea Fog

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Resene Triple Thorndon Cream

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the look

If you're stuck on what
colour to use or need colour
advice, try out the Resene
Ask a Colour Expert service.

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Resene Bokara Grey

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Resene Eighth Thorndon Cream

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Resene Half White Pointer

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Resene Milk Chocolate

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Resene Shadow Match

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Resene Thorndon Cream

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Resene Triple Sea Fog

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Resene Triple Thorndon Cream

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the look

If you're stuck on what
colour to use or need colour
advice, try out the Resene
Ask a Colour Expert service.