15 houses of very, very different color

July 26 |

Zebra-striped house in Basset, Nebraska

In June I found this all-zebra, all the time house in Bassett, Nebraska and found myself newly-inspired in thinking about house colors.

It's fascinating! How do people choose the color of their home? How do neighbors react? So many Victorian homes are bright and colorful because that is their tradition, but they sit across the street from rows and rows of more beige houses.

I sorted and sorted through Flickr and found all these houses — SO MANY HOUSES — of a different color. And, surprisingly, so many really mean comments. I had to save these houses and present them to people who would truly appreciate their weirdness: the Homies.

And so, let's look!

This is a SanFran house in a high-class neighborhood. It's super haute couture, but I wonder if all the neighbors appreciate it. I love it. Luff. Photo courtesy ffffound!
This is a really nicely done leopard-print house. Does this homeowner also have a wardrobe filled with leopard-print blouses? Photo courtesy Apartment Therapy.
Chefchaoen, Morocco is an entire city painted blue, in the tradition of the prayer shawls worn there. Not just the outer walls, but vases, planters, stairs, and even some interiors are blue. Photo courtesy Neatorama.
Pinkstone
Legend has it this brownstown turned pink after its owner mistakenly purchased a flat of pink housepaint. Photo by Matt Carman. Used under Creative Commons license.
Rainbow house
Now this is an interesting approach to jazzing up a paint job. You'd have to plan ahead for this one. Photo by Dystopos. Used under Creative Commons license.
Pink House
The white undersides on the porch of this house are such a nice touch. They set the house OFF! Photo by bettybraun. Used under Creative Commons license.
Ugly
I'm not sure what the inspiration for this house is, and I'm also ambivalent about my own feelings of it. The photo-taker? HATES it. Photo by Chad Miller. Used under Creative Commons license.
Tim Leary, Color Consultant
GEEZ, HOUSE LAY OFF ME I AM AWAKE!!!! I feel like this house is assaulting my eyes. Photo by Roger Jones. Used under Creative Commons license.
sidehall shotgun
Nicely, neatly done paint job. And pink and yellow? That is not a color combination I'd have predicted would look so good. Photo by boxchain. Used under Creative Commons license.
Pumpkin House, Fall Day
Husband and I started house shopping after setting our hearts on an orange house very much like this one. Photo by abbyladybug. Used under Creative Commons license.
Pink Victorian at Park and Holmead
This is an unusual color application for a Victorian house, but what I really, really, really, really, really, really, really love is the detail in the shingles. Photo by Mr. T. Used under a Creative Commons license.
For Karen and Jeff
What a nice little endcap: this teeny tritone sunshine house. Photo by boxchain. Used under Creative Commons license.

Sound off in the comments: which of these houses would you LEAST want in your neighborhood? Which one would you emulate on your own house?

  1. LOOOVE the black house, and the orange and a few of the pinks. The green-blob house, the striped house, and the partially-polka-dotted house are pretty bad though. The polka-dotted one would be better if they'd at least painted the whole thing instead of leaving half of it in disrepair, haha. I'm also a little sad about the pink brown stone, but then, I sort of hate seeing gorgeous brick and stone painted over (my own house has painted brick and we'd take it off if we could… sigh.)

    3 agree
  2. Kind of like my love of loud shoes, I'd love to have any of these homes in my area.
    I would love to paint a house a lovely Navy blue with white trim.
    Or restore a Victorian with that orange color which is right to the time period.
    Plus who doesn't love a house with a tower!

    9 agree
  3. I used to live around the block from the pink Victorian at the bottom! It's really lovely in person and doesn't look odd in the neighborhood at all.

    4 agree
    • I was just about to write this same comment. I walked by this house every day for the two years I lived in the neighborhood. It didn't look out of place at all. There's a multi-colored Victorian on the same road with tricycle yard art to put this in perspective.

      1 agrees
  4. I wanted to point out that in the case of the two shotguns (pink/yellow and the last one, yellow/yellow), it is really common in New Orleans to paint your house bright colors. (I love how I just assumed those were both in New Orleans without checking, but I live there, so…) For instance, the block surrounding my house is almost all identical shotgun houses, and we have light orange, salmon pink, bright yellow/red, even brighter salmon, bright blue/purple, lime green. My pale yellow house is quite tame but design-wise is exactly identical to the last picture except for the trim is different and mine is slightly bigger (4 chimneys).

    It's so cheerful to look out the window! I love living here.

    5 agree
    • I had no idea! I'm not terribly well-traveled, so. But that's very cool.

      • I just clicked through to Flickr and go figure, both of those houses are in my neighborhood. The pink one is 3 blocks away. Haha.

        4 agree
    • I used to live in New Orleans. When I saw the title of this post, my first thought was "I bet a bunch of those houses are in New Orleans". Such a colorful city. I miss it!

  5. My dream is to paint a house pale spring green with white trim, black shutters, charcoal shingle roofing, and a PURPLE door.
    My dear Mr. is withholding his opinions on this, but Someday, Somehow, I will have my purple door…

    2 agree
    • In some places in Ireland, the houses all have different colored doors. It's awesome. Good luck with your purple door!

      1 agrees
      • I'm always reminded of our honeymoon to Ireland when I see brightly colored doors :-)

        1 agrees
    • I've had the same wish – for a spring green house with purple door. I've been waiting 6 years for my painter man to give the okay on the house, but 3 years ago I went and painted my door purple and I love it!

      1 agrees
  6. If I had a house in a secluded area I've love to paint it purple, but after the well publicised blue house/yellow house court case here in the UK I'd never dare paint a streetfacing house, the colours the councils enforce are usually hideous.

  7. LOOOOOOOVE the black house! Soo chic! I am all for crazy paint schemes that fit the era of the architecture or the neighborhood. Victorians SHOULD be multi-colored and super artsy hoods should be as well! But, I think it is important to be careful if your house is gonna be the sore thumb of the neighborhood. It can lower property values for your neighbors and potentially attract unwanted attention. So if you are going to paint your house polka dotted just make sure you do it really really well, so it looks more high art and less DIY gone awry.

    1 agrees
  8. Oh! I love these. I would love to have more brightly painted buildings.

    Where I live there's a student pub which used to be painted bright orange, though they changed it to purple after a nearby pub copied them. Sadly it's now been taken over by someone else and it's still painted purple, just in much more muted tones. There's also a yellow pub too.

  9. That Chad Miller guy that photographed the house with the mod art green thing on the garage made a group called "Ugly Houses"….I checked it out, and I absolutely LOVE a good portion of them!!

    3 agree
  10. I use to live in a black house in Worcester. Black isn't all that uncommon where I am from. While living in Providence I lived in a yellow and purple house but better then that down the street from me there had been a house with only the side painted white and on that side there were giant crayons glued to the wall. The owners got more creative and painted crayon marks leading to the tip of each crayon. It was really whimsical actually there were a lot of unique spaces in Providence.

    1 agrees
  11. Man, if the commenters on the purple polka dot house hated it then, they *really* would abhor it now, I'm thinking.

    http://www.7dvt.com/2010whiskey-tango-foxtrot-why-does-house-across-burlingtons-centennial-field-tell-passers-cut-consum

    I kinda love it. A lot. There are a lot of houses around here (Burlington, VT) that are very brightly colored.

    The city in Morocco is gorgeous. And while I'd never, ever want it, that leopard print house is awesome and was done really well.

    3 agree
  12. I hardly ever comment but I love LOVE all those colored houses so much!!!! Especially that one with the polka dots! Oh! I want to do that straight away! I'm sad about the mean people commenting!

    1 agrees
  13. These are such amazingly unique houses. Many of these pictures remind me of the little, brightly colored and highly decorated "Gingerbread" cottages found in the Martha's Vineyard Camp Houses in Oaks Bluff.

    1 agrees
  14. http://3b7p.blogspot.com/2011/07/yipes-stripes.html

    I actually striped a hidden wall of my garage that sits right up along our patio. I love it and our neighbors do, too!

    I wish my little 1950s rancher had a little more architectural personality so I could pop the front with some bolder colors. That last yellow house makes my heart sing!

    2 agree
  15. I love all of them!… except the pink brownstone… I'd prefer it to be brown like its friends.

    3 agree
    • Agreed. It's definitely interesting but paint on beautiful stone like that kind of makes me sad.

  16. Ha, I should show these pictures to me neighbors. I think they all hate our yellow house with a red roof. Pretty tame, but every other house on the street is beige, so it sticks out! They should consider themselves lucky we didn't go even more crazy!

    2 agree
    • That's what I was thinking! Our neighbors sent us anonymous notes when we "allowed" dandelions grow in our lawn (we're anti-herbicide), so no way we could have one of these beautiful houses here in Beigeville.

      1 agrees
  17. i adore the final, yellow one. though my favorite part is definitely the shuttered doors – so lovely! and the fact that the shutters are real anyhow – fake shutters make me kind of sad (though i have them on my house for the time being).

  18. I live near the Ladd's Addition in Southeast Portland OR and there are so many awesome paint jobs on the houses down here. Orange, blue, red, but my favorite is a purple and yellow one, it is to die for!

  19. I would welcome each of those houses to my neighborhood. you gus have no idea how lame and boring some of the houses i live near look – ok, so they cost in the millions and i'll never afford them, but enough of this sandy beige tuscan crap – more originality and color is what i say.

    takes guts to do what these owners have done, and i resepect them for that :)and applaud them :D

  20. Ahaha, yes that green color does assault the eyes a bit. A roommate at a former shared house painted her room that color. We christened the room "Gumby."

  21. These make me think of this awesome house nearby me that I love… if you go into the historic part of Safety Harbor, FL now several other homeowners have followed and are painting their houses awesome colors too. Check out the original.
    http://www.kiaralinda.com/index.htm

  22. I am in LOVE with the peachy looking one with the green flower on the garage door!!!!!!!!!!! So retro and bad ass!!

    1 agrees
  23. I had a friend in middle school who lived in a bright teal house with neon pink trim and gutters. Her father decided to embrace the unique paint job by filling the front yard with pink, plastic flamingos. Was always easy to find where she lived! :)

    1 agrees
  24. Where I'm from (Newfoundland) almost everyone has a colored house.

    2 agree
  25. I would not want the animal print houses in my neighborhood! I love the black, Moroccan blue, pink, and orange houses though! Fun post! :)

  26. LOVIN' the orange (sedate orange, not Safety cone orange) and the yellows. I so want a yellow house…. I also recently saw on HGTV that yellow houses sell better than any other color. So as a re-sale option it would be a wise move, while satisfying my color cravings. Great post!

    1 agrees
    • My home is a bright pastel yellow with white trim: I feel like I'm living in a giant teacake. And you do bring up a good point regarding resale values: the yellow certainly appealed to me!

  27. I want to make love to that orange house and make it's little orange house!babies. So that there will be more glorious orange houses in the world.

    These are lovely! I like the polka dot one, and the one with the funky garage is a bit outside my comfort zone but lovely anyway.

  28. I would want every single one of those houses in my neighborhood. For me, there is just something about bright bold colors and prints that just oozes happiness and fun. Who doesn't want to live in a happy neighborhood?

    3 agree
  29. I live in SF, and judging just by the wide sidewalks, I am thinking that black house is probably not in that high-class of a neighborhood. I could be wrong. I did some poking around and couldn't figure out where it's located.

    My neighborhood has a ton of eccentric and beautiful homes–some of them traditional Edwardians (deep, soft purples and blues) and some of them just zany. We also have a TON of murals, although most of those are on apartment buildings or businesses.

    This is my favorite.Here's another shot.

    The Starry Night building is pretty cool too.

    And here's the latest mural to go up.

    2 agree
  30. Now I feel I should drive over to Grant Park (in Atlanta) and upload some pictures for you! That black house is gorgeous, but being a Georgia girl all I can think about is how impossible it would be to keep cool!

  31. Around Detroit there's the Heidelberg project, and it's just as divisive – some people love it, others hate it. The whole neighborhood is an art installation. http://www.heidelberg.org/

  32. Totally reminds me of The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater. It's a kids book about non-conformity/self-expression. "My house is me and I am it. My house is where I like to be and it looks like all my dreams." Seriously great book to read aloud with your kids; it's probably the one I remember fondest from my mom reading to us.

  33. I have such an attachment to old buildings. I have a hard time with the pink townhouse. The rest I love, particularly the black house.

  34. My heart skipped a beat when I saw that orange one. I think that's gorgeous!

  35. The striped house looks like it's made of Legos!

    There was a house in my home town of Williamstown, NJ that was painted a vivid purple. I wonder if it still is.

  36. The leopard print house wins my heart.

    If you want funky colors, the townhouses in Georgetown, DC where I live are FABULOUS. Like, pinks, blues, greens, yellows, and they are honestly one of the best things about the Georgetown district. The pic here is kind of tame
    comparatively but they are cute.

  37. I swear to jeabus that the striped house is near me or in the very least we have a copy cat!!!

  38. I love all of these houses because the people that live in them express themselves. My neighbors hate my somewhat unkempt all food front yard and that's too bad. I have kids to feed. Everyone's space should look how they want it to. I miss the beautiful colors of New Orleans as well…. Thankfully, Bay View offers some individuality.

  39. The houses in Belize were all super bright colors. It was amazing.

  40. There's a housing addition in the Bloomington, IN that was built with each house a very bright, different color. I'm having a hard time finding good pictures that really show off their brightness, makes me want to make a trip just to photograph, but there's a few examples on these sites :
    http://www.humanedesign.com/fresh-ideas/site-visit-south-dunn-street-bloomington.html

    http://www.neighborhoodsolutions.info/floorplans.html

    These pictures don't really do it justice though. There's houses of ever color of the rainbow and they're super pretty.

  41. There's a wonderful house on loampit vale- just on the corner of lewisham way in south east london- it's so beautiful! The guy who sits on the doorstep hurling abuse is something else but google it- I can't get a direct link to it but all the paint work is different colours!

  42. The pink brownstone is actually located three blocks from my house, and is in WAY worse condition than that photo shows. The paint is peeling, and it is such an eyesore. The house has been painted that color (which in real life is a lot more pepto bismol than hot pink) since the 1980s, and everyone in the neighborhood is pretty dubious that the paint job was a mistake, since the owner has never changed it back. I'm surprised he's been allowed to keep it that color, as the whole neighborhood is also a registered NYC landmark! I do love a beautifully painted house though. My uncle lives in Woodstock and has a yellow, red, and blue house, which is totally gorgeous, especially on sunny days.

  43. I JUST passed the leopard print house today on my walk- I was completely surprised since I recognized it from this post and had no idea I live so near it!

  44. Honestly, I can't say that I would mind ANY of these houses in my neighborhood! Something nice to look at for once ;)
    But our dream is to get a nice brick house…and paint the bricks all different colors. And have a mural on the largest wall. As for the neighbors, I will make cupcakes to bribe them into liking it haha!

    1 agrees
  45. I grew up driving by that purple polka-dotted house, and it has a little fuzzy place in my heart. I actually met the owners of it in my late teens, and they're not at all who you would expect to live there :-p. I would be incredibly sad to see that house painted over with another colour.

    1 agrees
  46. Check out Flickr's "Happy Houses New Orleans" group. If you like colorful houses, you should definitely come down to NOLA and take a tour.

  47. Seems like (with a few exceptions) Americans like to keep their homes pretty neutral. I wish I had taken some pix but the other day I walked by 3 Dutch homes in a row with yellow, green, and purple trim respectively. In Haiti red and blue homes or green and yellow are pretty popular. Hatians really like to have a contrasting trim. Personally I'd rather have a home that sticks out so I could say "my house is the one with the orange trim" instead of "my home is the 3rd beige house on the left."

  48. we're in a house we just bought last spring. the people who sold it to us painted it…beige. with a brown dormer. and off-white trim. the paint is already flaking (they didn't remove all the loose paint before painting over), so we're going to have to figure out what color to go with in the near future. what looks good on stucco? lol

    • out INTERIOR on the other hand…that was all beige too, but now we have a bright teal blue living room upstairs, a sort of terracotta red/orange living room downstairs, a bright green kiddo room, and our room is a medium grey color that's just almost but not quite purple. lol

  49. The Leopard print house actually looks more like a Giraffe print in person. Maybe we should all take a field trip over there to determine whether it's a leopard or giraffe!

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