Cottage Exterior Colors & Benjamin Moore Matches

Tomorrow is my 20th wedding anniversary! To celebrate, Mr. Man and I took a trip last week to the Pacific Coast. We spent a week there for our honeymoon between San Francisco, Monterey, and Carmel, CA. When we were there 20 years ago, I didn’t know very much about Carmel and didn’t see all the beauty of it UNTIL NOW. The cottage exterior colors are absolutely out of a fairytale, and I think you’ll enjoy seeing them!

cottage exterior colors


Carmel-by-the-Sea is the village within the city of Carmel. It’s pretty much the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. It is the most picturesque place you can imagine, especially if you love architecture like I do. It looks like a quaint European village and feels like walking through a children’s storybook.

carmel a frame building


As I snapped photos for two days straight, I couldn’t wait to start figuring out the exterior color schemes of the shops and homes to share with you. We don’t all have storybook homes, but these cottage exterior colors that I matched to Benjamin Moore paints are definitely inspirational! Here we go:

Cottage Exterior Colors in Carmel, CA

Here I am in front of The Tuck Box, built in 1926 by Hugh Comstock (who built in this infamous Hansel and Gretel style throughout Carmel-by-the-Sea), which seems a very good place to start!

tuck box carmel cottage exterior colors

similar to Benjamin Moore Adams Gold and Duxbury Gray


Here’s the most darling City Hall I have ever seen – it was formerly a church, built in 1912. The turquoise doors – what a fabulous choice! Looks very similar to the color of bookcases in my home, and coincidently, on the cover of September’s This Old House magazine!

turquoise doorssimilar to Benjamin Moore Azure Blue


Green windows are my favorite – how beautiful they look with the weathered shake roof and warm stone chimney!

green windowssimilar to Benjamin Moore Kennebunkport Green


This is one of my favorite homes in Carmel. It’s classic Comstock fairytale, with the curvy roof and storybook detailing. Not bad for a garage on the front (which is usually not to be desired)!

comstock fairy tale cottagesimilar to Benjamin Moore Hale Navy and Gettysburg Gray


Here’s another example of the amazing roofs in Carmel. And notice the copper tops on the multiple chimneys:

curvy fairytale roof

similar to Benjamin Moore Waterbury Cream and Puritan Gray

We’ve all heard horse shoes are good luck, but this homeowner is hoping for a ton of it! Did you know that you should hang a horse shoe pointing up? Apparently if you hang it the opposite way, the luck runs out the open end of the shoe!

horse shoes for luck


This hotel was so charming, I had to take several photos from different angles. You’ll notice that two of the photos make the body color whiter, while two look creamier. This is metamerism – light affects the perception of color. The filtered sunlight on the side of the building changes the way you see the body color.

green and white exteriortrim color similar to Benjamin Moore Ponderosa Pine


No, I’m not at Disneyland! This is a new build facing the Pacific Ocean in Carmel. I have no idea what that roof is made of, but how much FUN would it be to live in a house that looked like this?

fairytale roof in carmel


The Carmel-by-the-Sea fire station, built in 1937 of Carmel stone, was delightful to see. They even have an antique fire truck inside (I could see it through the windows)! I believe they use it for special occasions like parades and such.

carmel red door fire stationdoors similar to Benjamin Moore Country Redwood


Oh, to live in the Cottage of Sweets in Carmel! What a sweet, sweet dream. Built in 1923 as a loom shop.


fairytale cottage in carmelsimilar to Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace and Bittersweet Chocolate



carmel architecturesimilar to Benjamin Moore Princeton Gold and Intrigue


A slate roof always makes me weak in the knees. It’s weird, but true. Take a gander at this one:

shake roof carmel


The detail, the imagination, the nostalgia – if you love architecture, Carmel-by-the-Sea should be on your bucket list of places to visit. Even the gas stations are gorgeous! You should know that they are no chain restaurants, stores, or groceries in Carmel. And no street addresses. Yep, you heard me right. NO STREET ADDRESSES. The houses have names, and directions are something like “the third house from the corner of Lincoln Street.”

stone cottage carmel


Oh, and there are secret garden courtyards and winding walkways hidden in between and behind stores. It’s the most enchanted city in the world!

enchanted carmel alleys


If you go, make sure to take an architectural walking tour. We thoroughly enjoyed the 2-hour we took with Carmel Walks. So now that you’ve seen these cottage exterior colors, what do you think? Would you like to live in a fairytale cottage?

Don’t forget! I’ve got a coloring contest going on where you can win one of 3 Just the Right Paint Colors instructional videos! Find out how to enter HERE.


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27 thoughts on “Cottage Exterior Colors & Benjamin Moore Matches

  1. Carolyn says:

    I have been to Carmel by the Sea. It is truly fantastic!! One of the most amazing places I have ever seen!!! Clint Eastwood has done alt for the local community there also. He owns or has invested in an Inn there that overlooks the ocean and is gorgeous! When my then 15 year old daughter saw it she wanted to get married there! I just came back from a trip to France and we stayed at an amazing place in Frayssinet in the Midi Pyrennes for an art retreat/workshop. We went on several outings and day trips. Every place was beautiful but one in particular was truly over the top incredible. Rocamodor!!! It is too gorgeous for words!!!! It is a medieval town and has amazing views, but the architecture is stunning!!! You need to go!!! And the French were amazing too… Loved every minute of it. A must see if you like to travel! And of course Paris!!!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      We ate at Clint Eastwood’s Carmel Mission Restaurant, and it was fabulous! I would love to see France – I’ve been to London and loved it so much. I’ll have to remember Rocamador if I ever get to go, thanks!!!

  2. Elena Espy says:

    Kristie, I love seeing these pictures of Carmel! I, too, was there more than 20 years ago and don’t remember any of this:( How wonderful it would be to see it through more mature eyes. I love the turquoise doors and that slate roof is amazing!!! I hope you had a great time. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

  3. Laura P. says:

    Happy Anniversary! Congratulations on 20 years of marriage!

    We took this same trip this year, with the addition of Yosemite so I know what you mean when you say the area is spectacular! Carmel is adorable, and the ocean right out of town is so beautiful. I love your post! My favorite colors are the Azure Blue, Kennebunkport Green, and the Chantilly Lace. Grat photos…they brought me back!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      I’m pretty sure you will LOVE it. Let me know if you need any details as you are planning! None of the hotels are chain hotels, so it can be tricky trying to book one (and their websites aren’t really great or updated, either)! The whole area is stunningly beautiful.

  4. Susan Patterson says:

    Oh Kristie, I enjoyed this so much! My husband and I lived just minutes away from here ( Salinas) for about 3 years in the early 90’s. I was a manufacturer’s rep in the home décor field back then with the central coast as my territory. Calling on designers and showrooms in that idyllic place never felt like work. Sometimes I was even lucky enough to accompany my customers on consultations to their client’s magnificent homes. One in particular in Pebble Beach was very near the iconic Lone Cypress and was just simply an architectural masterpiece. I was in awe!
    Having no kids at the time, we spent every single weekend exploring Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel, bucolic Carmel Valley and majestic Big Sur. The Tuck Box was a favorite place to take my mom when she came to visit. Hubby & I keep talking of a return trip to revisit all of our precious memories of our time there but life keeps getting in the way. Thank you so much for taking me back!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Oh wow, that sounds so lovely, Susan! We did the 17-mile-drive and my mouth was literally hanging open most of the time in awe of the homes along the coast. I wish we had a few more days there to explore all the shops!

  5. Susie says:

    Lovely photos! We used to live in Northern California and one of our favorite places to visit was Carmel. It is such a quaint town. Love the beautiful houses and the ocean.

  6. kelly says:

    Wow! Looks so wonderful. I was in Carmel a few years ago, never knew about the village. Now I want to go back. The roofs are the coolest! Happy Anniversary Kristie and Mr. Man!!

  7. Maureen Bray says:

    Kristie ~ I so enjoyed your photos of my hometown of Carmel! I was born on the day that my parents moved into their new home there (it was a Comstock-designed adobe). As a child I walked into the village on Saturdays and meandered all of those quaint streets, enjoying the winding lanes in between where you’d find small shops full of treasures. The Tuck Box was a favorite place for my mom to take us for tea …. it’s where I first had a peek at the English way of life. By the way, in addition to the restrictions on chain restaurants and stores, no neon lights are permitted in Carmel either. Thanks for the walk down this enchanted memory lane!

  8. Debra Martin says:

    I actually live in a cottage very much like these . It was built in 1918 and, believe it or not, the builder’s name is Comstock! I’ll have to figure out if they’re related. As you can see, it desperately needs some love in the color and roofing department! Although it will probably cost me my life savings, my dream is to restore the roof to whatever it was originally. Your post couldn’t have come at a better time, as we’re about to start some projects that will add curb appeal. Can’t afford to paint the whole house or change the roof right now, but we’ll work on the front door and the front yard landscaping.

  9. Susie says:

    Hi Kristie and Happy Anniversary! My mother-in-law used to live in Carmel right on 10th and Lincoln, but moved back to Florida the year I met my husband. I’ve never seen the home, but have heard so much about it. Now with your post I decided to google it and all I have to say is OMG!!!! It’s nice to have her here, BUT I think I would rather have her in Carmel!

  10. Kathy says:

    The multicolored roof might be synthetic slate. It reminds me of the quaint illustrations of the 20s-40s children’s books, esp. the original Raggedy Anne and Andy books and Disney film of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I was able to come up with something similar with by picking 5 colors in the multi-width option, although the tiles in your photo are extra wide. Might be a custom order.

    There are still firms that specialize in installing steamed bent cedar shingles to look like thatch. This was a popular style for Tudor Revival and Storybook houses in the 1920s. It is very expensive, but the resulting roof should last around 50 years as long as it isn’t deeply shaded and thus prone to moss growth. You will find advertisements for them in publications such as “Old House Journal” and “Arts and Crafts Magazine.” A nice photo gallery and bibliography is here:

    We drove along the scenic route years ago, but I didn’t realize Carmel village was so quaint. Wish we made time to stop. I have a soft spot for homes of the 1920s filled with charming nooks and crannies and craftsmanship you can’t find today. There was such variety then, even if a lot of it was ordered from a catalogue. Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Period Revivals–I love them all. Houses of this period seem particularly exuberant on the West Coast.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Oh Kathy, I love them all, too! Thanks for the good info and links. We went to a wonderful historic home in Campbell, CA with a bent shingle roof, and they told us that it was solid for 75 years. They had to replace it about 5-10 years back – they said it was difficult to find someone who could do it and that it cost $200,000 to do it. I was on a 2-story house, about 3,000 square feet. Now THAT’S an expensive roof!

  11. jodi seaton says:

    Great tour Kristie! I especially like the wavy roof home w copper topped chimneys. I like how they chose colors that do not take away, but inhance the roofs character.

  12. Shelby Sprague says:

    Happy Anniversary and thank you so much for this post! Carmel is now on my bucket list, what an enchanted and beautiful place!

  13. Mary Lynn Lindner says:

    My great uncle George lived in one of the Carmel Fairy Tale cottages. We stayed with him many years ago and I fell in love with the town. I also loved Monet’s House and gardens outside of Paris in Giverney. I was there in May and everything was in bloom. I bought a decorating book that a woman wrote after visiting his house. The blue kitchen and yellow dining rooms are gorgeous!

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