The Cross House

Classic Black


See the round window?


Round window now black!


Black-painted sashes were the norm for a long time. Then, somewhere along the way, certainly after WWII, white became the new norm, and this color choice is now entrenched.

But if you have an old house I hope you will consider going black.

I love my sashes in black.


21 Responses to Classic Black

  1. Every girl should know the value of a “little black dress.” I think perhaps your old gal appreciates the value of her little black sash? She sure is coming along, bit by bit, piece by piece. Lovely, just lovely, thank you for sharing.

  2. I love white, but I promise I sighed with contentedness at this. It’s just… right. It looks lovely.

  3. I’m going to paint mine what is known as commercial bronze. It’s dark, but I think it’ll fit better with the brick colour on my house.

    • That sounds nice!

      While black was common before WWII, I think dark green and dark red were also used. I knew one house which had eggplant sashes originally!

  4. Yes, they look so much better. It really helps give the windows depth and highlight the compostion of the walls as a whole

    Then again, with how poorly most modern homes have the windows proportioned, located, and trimmed, perhaps it’s better for them not to be made so prominent.

  5. My window sashes are painted Rookwood Dark Red. I love it. If I had to pick another shade, it would be dark green.

  6. I just remembered how it was I chose that color. It was in Sherwin-Williams historic color chart as a historic color palette of Body, sash and trim colors. Houses with bifurcated bodies; i.e. a shingled 2nd storey would have a shingle color. As you probably well know the ‘painted lady’ phenomenon is not historic at all. I used to love that style but historical placement and colors looks much better!

  7. Dark, dark green sashes on my 1904 Queen Anne (the house itself has always been white or cream) and scraping paint today revealed the same sash color on the new project, from 1904.

  8. hello again,

    i am in the process of lobbying my husband to fully restore the windows in our 1863 farmhouse (remove old paint, repaint and redo the old poorly done glaze) and while we’re at it paint the sash and the muntins black or our favourite colour – Sico Penguins back.

    i’m curious what you think of this: assuming the interior window millwork is painted, then the interior of the sash/muntins should also be black, right? and if so, the interior window frames should be / can be a different colour, e.g. white?

    At the moment, all exterior frames /sashes / muntins are white and interior colour varies, from olive to yellow to white. i’m thinking that for the exterior it remains white and for the interior we go black…but i’m concerned this will look kookoo.

    any advice? – once we make this decision it would be very difficult to turn back.

    Cheers – Happy Canada Day and Happy Fourth of July to all.

    • Interior and exterior sash finishes are entirely separate. Exterior are generally painted a dark contrasting color (black, dark green, dark red, etc), while the interior should match the surrounding window trim. If the surrounding window trim is stained, so should the sashes. If the surrounding window trim is painted, the sashes should be painted to match.

      One note on painted sashes. If you use latex paint, they will bind and stick (called “blocking”. You can use oil-based paint, or coat the sliding surfaces with furniture wax (e.g. Briwax). All our sashes are stained inside, but I used modern latex exterior paint, and used Briwax on the sliding surfaces. I also added spring bronze and other concealed weather stripping. My wife says they are nicer to use than any new windows she’s tried.

      • Great advice Seth, especially about the latex/oil paint. I have 27 old windows to tackle soon, so I am taking notes, LOL…

      • thank you so much Seth. this is REALLY helpful. i made a mistake in my comment. What i’m thinking the final result will be is:

        * Black sashes/muntin
        * White frames

        * White sashes/muntin
        * White frames

        i will follow your advice on how to avoid blocking. in fact, at the moment, many of the windows are painted shut which i’d like to correct, of course.

        Both you and Ross have inspired me to continue my lobby effort to it’s “natural” successful conclusion :). ONWARD!

        have a lovely day.

        • Sounds like a great plan! I’m always excited to see others restoring proper wood windows.

          I’m working on writing up a detailed blog post about my window restoration process, including rot repair and weatherstripping, but just havent made the time to finish it. Hopefully I’ll get around to it soon. If you bookmark or follow my blog, you can find it when I post it.

          • Yes, I have one, but am terrible at posting. I post periodic updates for facebook friends, though.

            Now that we are selling this house and moving, perhaps I’ll make time to do some summary posts about it.

            [From Ross: You show the BEFORE facade…but where is the AFTER facade?????????]

  9. The Cross house is rockin’ and rollin’…”So look at me now, I’m just makin’ Ross’ day – Don’t try to paint me white, I’m black now to stay – Cause I’m back – Yes I’m back – Well I’m back in bla-hack, Yes I’m back in black!…” 🙂

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