The Cross House

Porch Ceiling. Part III

Previously, I have posted 1890s catalog images of paint schemes. Surprisingly, pink was a popular choice for porch ceilings. In a million years I would never have thought this.


I learned about this two years ago and was fascinated. Pink? Pink????????

But I never really thought about pink porch ceilings for the Cross House. I mean…pink?

A few days ago however, my friend Patricia called and said she had a sudden insight. “I think you should do your porch ceiling in a kind of coral color.”


Oh my.

Patricia said the idea just popped into her head. “i wasn’t even thinking about your porch!”


So, with Zac’s help, we have gone back/forth with various shades of coral for the porch ceiling.

Yesterday though, I decided against this option. I thought it would look to, ah, cartoony. And after talking with Patricia, she agreed.

This morning though, I was looking at…


…this image and suddenly, and without warning, knew: The porch ceiling HAD to be coral! Even with all the recent changes to the exterior coloring, it was still too safe. It needed something unexpected.


I called Patricia and told her. She replied: “Wow! About an hour ago I had the same realization!”


We both agreed though that the ideal shade of coral had not been selected, and Patricia graciously made three more suggestions. I called these in to Sherwin-Williams and a while later paint samples were in hand.

I was e x c i t e d!

Wanna see?

Scroll way down…
























Squee! And…EEEEEEEK!


I sent the above image to Patricia (or PK as I call her) and then called her. While I stood on the sidewalk staring at the three colors we went back/forth about our thoughts.


The middle color won.


I ran back to Sherwin-Williams for a gallon.

Wanna see the results?

Scroll way down…























Squee! Note also the glossy columns!






You cannot really see the coral until you get close to the house. Also, a black pinstripe, or a black lintel, will hugely help “ground” the coral.


When I purchased the house 3.5 years ago, if somebody had told me that I would eventually paint the porch ceiling coral, I would have thought them quite mad.

But here I am.

My response?

I love it.

The color helps make the Cross House look fresh and vibrant.

And I love that, too.

My only concern at this point is….


…which is the PERFECT coral? This one, which I painted today? Or…


…this one, which Eric suggested?




18 Responses to Porch Ceiling. Part III

  1. Ross, your challenges with painting the Cross House have been fascinating to me. I live in a thoroughly modern 2010 era townhouse, but I love old houses and my dream someday is to own and restore one.

    This post particularly makes me smile. I love the salmon pink ceiling, but I”m reminded that here in the South, blue ceilings are the tradition. Why? Because a pale blue ceiling scares away “haints”. The Gullah-Geetche culture of SC believes that spirits can’t cross water so painting a porch blue meant that you prevented even spirits or “haints” from getting near the windows or doors.

    There’s also some belief that it discourages spiders and mosquitoes and other bugs.

  2. I LOVE what you’ve done to the place!!! The gardener in me sees big planters filled with salmon impatiens for next year…not sure if your sunny front and hotter weather than SW Michigan will agree with them but … Love the glossy columns and the artistic touch you’ve added to the front gable too! I can hardly wait to see the completed North face…I think it MIGHT be my favorite!

  3. When I was fixing up my first house, I asked my mother what color I should paint my den walls. You unintentionally reminded me of this because she said persimmon, which I recall did not bring a color to my mind at the time. I asked her to go with me to our local paint store, which was Duron in Baltimore. We agreed on one of those multiple shade color sample cards, but I chose one darker than her preference. It was called Adobe. I remember this clearly, because I have used this in every home I have had since. For some reason it seems warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It can feel dark or light depending on the light at different times of day or the time of year. My mother’s sister saw it at my house one day and has used it in her house ever since too. I believe that Sherwin Williams is the company that bought out Duron a few years back, so has their colors available. It is no longer on a current chart. I have to ask for Duron’s Adobe to get it. They usually have to search, but they do seem able to find it.
    Since I have no idea if we perceive color in the same way, i don’t know if it would suit you. I am just telling a story about a color that has given me a good feeling for a long time.

  4. My heart dropped when the thought of a salmon ceiling was put forth. But now I love your results! I think the black lintel will tie it all together!

  5. I think a black lintel would look great! It really helps emphasize the structural support of the lintel itself, the way it sits directly on top of the columns instead of melting into them. It’s also more consistent with the stripe in the pediment. I just don’t think the pinstripe would stand out enough, or contrast enough with the salmon. Just my two cents.

  6. Not good with colors, and don’t pretend to be.

    But I like the porch ceiling colors you picked, even though I wouldn’t have thought of salmon. Not in a million years. Which is why no one asks my opinion about pain colors.

    Also like the black pinstripe better than the lintel approach — it feels more subtle. The black lintel feels to me like a whack in the eye.

    Last but not least: I still think you need to look at the porch ceiling color alongside the porch floor color, if you’re not going with a weathered gray (which you already have). But I’m clearly in the minority on this, as no one else is mentioning it.

    Just my two cents, from someone who is learning a lot from watching your process.

  7. Lol! I am glad that I am not a neighbor just down the block as I would HAVE to run over and see the latest porch color every time I got your blog post!! 😉 Enjoying the discussion and creative process!

  8. It’s very different than the photoshop somehow, and honestly, I’m okay with it. I hated the salmon in the photoshopped images…yet this seems okay…I personally would still think it too scandalous, but that’s just me.

  9. Definitely the coral you’ve already painted. Being in the shadows is going to tone down any color you choose- might as well go with something more bright and vibrant to make sure it really pops at any time of day!

  10. I am going to look at the porch ceiling for a while, and look forward to the final outcome once you are done. It’s not the color I would have chosen, but I think that in the end, it will look great. Watching you work through the choices on this house reminds me of watching my grandma prepare oyster dressing when I was a kid. Some of her ingredients looked delicious, while others made me want to hide behind the smokehouse. In the end, what came out of the oven was nothing short of amazing 🙂

  11. I really like this! I also like the black lintel, and I think you should experiment with photoshopping black as an accent color on more than just windows.

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