How to Choose the Right Exterior Palette, According to the Experts

Homeowners and local paint connoisseurs help us overcome chromaphobia for a façade that pops.

Bold and Beautiful 

There’s nothing ordinary about the East Side’s Leonard Levin House, which is something builder George Potsidis knew when he purchased it in December of 2017. This mid-century modern gem was designed by architect Domenic Thomas Rusillo and, as is typical of Rusillo’s style, invokes Frank Lloyd Wright in every sightline. On Potsidis’s rehab list for the home: repaint the siding a shade to better complement its green-tinged stone. “When I purchased it, the house was red. With the greenish stone, it looked a little Christmas. I wanted a color that wasn’t ordinary, something as unique as the rest of the house.”

The solution was a custom hue called “Blackness,” which was mixed by a color specialist at Adler’s. The dark, monochromatic treatment of the siding, trim and window sashes accentuates the home’s clean lines and pushes the stone forward. “You can do bold and have a mass appeal,” says Potsidis.  

More tips on getting it right

Let go of your fear. “It’s just paint,” says Potsidis. “Ultimately, if you don’t like it, you can paint over it.” 

Still, sampling is important. Adler’s Design and Hardware rents paints and sells pints. “If you screw up the paint in your living room, your family might not be very happy. Painting the outside is a big and not very private thing you’re doing,” says Adler. 

Another reason to sample? “Color dissipates outside and concentrates inside,” he adds. In other words, to get the color you’re really after, you may have to go darker than you think.

Prep fastidiously and be patient. Wash and prime the area to be painted, and use quality paint. “You can’t paint when the sun’s blazing or when wood is wet,” says Brown.

Leonard levin house

Photography by Tony Luong.