Exterior Transformations – Would You Like to Learn How to Do This?

Today I’m sharing two exterior transformations – one for a local Nashville client, and one I specified via an online consultation. I’ve been choosing paint colors for interiors and exteriors, both local and long distance, for well over a decade now.

exterior transformations


Here’s the first – a darling vintage cottage in the Sylvan Park neighborhood of Nashville. The “before” sported a dark plum body, a dark gray chimney and windows, and white trim. I chose a light color to brighten up the fascade, a medium gray trim to give it definition, and a cheerful red to make the windows smile.

before and after exterior paint colors by the decorologist

The “before” was a bit forboding, while the “after” welcomes visitors. I made sure the new color palette complemented neighboring homes, which is an important thing to do when homes are close together.

The next home was previously painted a lovely dark blue, but the maroon shutters and creamy trim made the overall color palette feel a little too 1980s-version-of-historic-Williamsburg-VA. My long-distance client wanted a lighter, fresher look while maintaining the salt box’s charm.

before and after salt box colonial by the decorologist


Here’s a look a little closer up:



The Decorologist exterior color training courseafter

The homeowner sent me this email that totally made my day.

“I have received so many compliments from the neighbors! One left a note in my mailbox saying it’s the prettiest house in the whole neighborhood! A big compliment because there are lots of very lovely homes here.” – Lisa W.

I have to admit, it feels pretty amazing to make the decisions that can transform an exterior of a home into something that is truly special. But I can’t do them all.

That’s why I’m working on a very special project. Something that I hope will help many others make amazing exterior color and color placement choices on exteriors across the country. I’m pouring my heart and soul into an online exterior color training course, but I need your input. My initial plan was to create a course for professionals who want to specify exterior colors for a living or add that offering to their design services. Now I’m considering creating two different products – one more extensive training for professionals, and another, simpler how-to for homeowners who want to make better choices for their individual homes. I’d love to know what you think, and if you’d be interested in one or the other.

I’m trying really hard to guard my time so that I can better focus on developing this course – it’s been in the works for a long time, but my plan is to drill down over the next couple of months so that I can finally get this completed and available to the people who have been asking me for this for a long time. I have the system and all the paint colors to support it, but it’s requiring turning down a lot of my normal projects to make this possible for launch in the near future. So please forgive me if I’ve had to turn down your project – it’s for a greater good, I assure you!

I’d love to hear your feedback – please share your thoughts in the comments!

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77 thoughts on “Exterior Transformations – Would You Like to Learn How to Do This?

  1. Kim Hume says:

    I’m so excited to hear this, Kristie!! I would LOVE the professional course, and can’t wait to see it!! You are the best!

  2. Robin Moyer says:

    I love this idea and would certainly benefit from such a class. If our goal is to have clients relying on us for an “expert” opinion it may make sense to stick with a professional only course. But either option is such a benefit. Thank you as always.

  3. Debra VanDyke says:

    Beautiful transformations!
    I’d love to have the professional version of the course…but most likely would purchase both versions.

  4. Judy says:

    I would take a course for individuals, Kristie! I have wanted to understand more about color for a long time. We need to do several things to our house’s exterior, but I am not in a place in my life (yet) where I can invest time and funds into becoming a pro. Thank you for considering this!

  5. Pam says:

    I think the two courses are a great idea. I would certainly do the professional one. One thing I have noticed over the past few years is that most homeowners seem daunted about picking a new color for their exterior and just tend to stick with what they already have. Some people of course may be restricted through a Home Owner Association as to what colors they can choose.

  6. Laura P. says:

    Hi Kristie, The windows in the cottage made ME smile!! What a wonderful transformation! Hard to believe it is the same house!

  7. Angel Rodenbeck says:

    I definitely need this course! I rely heavily on my local paint store mgr’s opinion, but would love to feel confident enough to do it myself 100% of the time. I pick exterior color about 10 times a year and I’m winging it.

  8. Sandy says:

    Is it a trick of the light, or does the first photo prove the color rule that when a neutral (the sidewalk) is surrounded by a color (green grass, trees, and siding), it turns the neutral toward the color’s complement (pinkish sidewalk) –?
    Lovely transformations, and all the best on creating your new products!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      The front stoop and stairs were painted out with the darker trim color in the “after.” The difference in the sidewalk color in the before/after may have more to do with the time of day the two photos were taken (the before was brighter, mid-day and the after was early evening, less direct light).

  9. MARY JONES says:

    Christie, my daughter and I just took your EPS course. We could not have learned more design information in 3 days if we tried! So glad we took the class together, so that we are on the same page when designing in the future. To comment on your idea of creating a course for professionals wanting to specify exterior colors: We would jump at the opportunity to take the course. Providing the course online would be great perhaps with some additional printed material outlining the lectures. You are great in your other design videos. There is a great need for color concepts on exterior brick. That is almost all the exteriors we are asked to help with. Trim and accent colors are also extremely important to the overall look. Best of luck with completing this new color project!
    Prime Design Memphis, LLC will be one of your first subscribers. We are all about it!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      It was so great to meet you and Kendall! I’m glad you enjoyed the course and feel it was worth your time to travel to Nashville. 🙂 I’m glad you are interested in this course option!

  10. Michelle says:

    The Professional Course would be greatly appreciated, especially tips on how to pick colors for online consultations. Since I can’t be on site to account for how the environment changes how the colors read, I have been reluctant to do this at all.

  11. Kendall F says:

    I would jump at the opportunity to take your professional course on exterior colors!! We get asked by clients for exterior paint consultations all the time and would love to add to our list of “go to” exterior colors/combos like your color box for interiors. Great idea! 🙂

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Great, Kendall – a lot of pros have been asking me for help in this area. I’d like to give you guys the tools to do exterior consults confidently with explicit step-by-step instructions and lots of updated go-to colors/color combos.

  12. Jeri says:

    I really need the homeowner course! I am overwhelmed with deciding on paint choices for my home. I love the color palette on these two houses, they look amazing.

  13. R says:

    A non-professional course would be great! We just had to pick new roofing. Of course, after 40+years, the choices leaned toward different color blends, so the huge investment also meant weighing a paint color change. Talk about stress!

  14. Cindi says:

    Hi Kristie – I’m in for the professional course. Super excited and can’t wait. Hurry up! I’m starting 2 new spec house and need this now haha. Thank you for bringing color to the world 😊

  15. Sheli R Schneider says:

    Both are fabulous transformations and I sometimes find exterior colors to be the most difficult so would love the Professional course! Thanks and looking forward to the course!!!

  16. Leigh Ann Portale says:

    I would love to have this as a professional option. With so many things to consider when choosing exterior colors, your course and information would be an invaluable tool for us!

  17. Cheryl Bloom says:

    Hi Kristi. Love those red window frames! I’d be interested in the professional version, with particular interest in growing my business to include long-distance work. It baffles me how you can select a color when you are not on location. I want to learn how to do that well! Im hoping to add this service to my offering but have fond myself unsure of what my success rate would be. You always hit it right on. Would love that type of training in your new program. Thank you!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Thanks for your feedback, Cheryl. I would certainly include how to do this service online as part of the training. Over the years, doing online work has enabled me to be at home more with my school-age children!

  18. Paula Diekhoff says:

    Kristie, I’ve followed your blog for a long time and feel you have a great talent. I think both courses would be of great value! I would love to take the homeowners course, but it is my “fear” that the cost will not fit into a retired person’s budget. And many of us in the retired sector could use some exterior updating (lol :)!
    I know you will offer a well-designed promotion, but hope you will find a way to also offer your ideas to those on a reduced budget. Thanks for your consideration.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Thanks, Paula! I hear you – that’s exactly why I’m considering a homeowner’s version. Considering how much it costs to hire someone to do an exterior color consultation (providing you can even find someone in your area) – maybe $400 to $800, the homeowner’s version would be a bargain in comparison. Developing these courses (much like blogging) takes a lot of time away from paying work, naturally. That’s the rub – I have to earn some money f I ever hope to make it to retirement myself, haha! 😉

  19. Stephanie says:

    The afters are gorgeous, Kristie! You know my vote is for a more in-depth course for professionals and you know I don’t mind coming back to Nashville for it! 😉

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Great, Stephanie! This one would be online with supportive materials, so no need to travel. Would cut down on costs for everyone and you could go at your own speed. Stay tuned!

  20. patti mccaleb says:

    I would love to take a course for individual homeowners. I think the above examples, especially the second one, present an amazing transformation and I would love to learn how to train my way of thinking so I can more easily envision what colors will work and what colors will not.

  21. Lisa Wiborg says:

    Hi Kristie – imagine my surprise to wake up this morning and see my house in my decorologist email!! Thank you again for the amazing advice – it was SO easy to decide everything with your help! And the bonus was coming away with not just a paint plan, but the decision already made for the shingles I will use when I replace the roof next year. That was an unexpected outcome of our consult and a source of great relief to me. As for the training, even though my house is done, I would still be interested in the individual training/tool, because as you know I have another house and in the next few years I will likely change the colors there as well. Thank you again – you are the best!

  22. Tamara from BetterBuyerSavvySeller says:

    As always, Kristie, bravo! I grew up in the Richmond, VA suburbs and a lot of houses built in the 80s had that dark color palette – the blue and burgundy is very common. The “after” photo shows a lighter, brighter color scheme that brings the house into the 21st century. I love it! Driving by the “before” home, I would assume it needed to be updated inside, but driving by the “after” version would have me think that the whole house was updated. *Perception is reality

  23. Kira Kegg says:

    I’m a few years out from needing either class. As I don’t own my own home yet. However I’d probably end up buying both, while really only needing to buy the one for homeowners. I purchased both the professional and nonprofessional furniture arrangement classes from you online. And I really got a lot out of both for differing reasons. Maybe there’s a way to combine the two programs to save on time? Or make the professional one more accessible to non professionals? Just a thought 🙂

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the workshop instructional videos on furniture arranging! This exterior color course will be VERY different from those – much more extensive, more like a 2 day training course that results in an educational certification for the professional version. More similar to my live 3-day Expert Psychological Staging course, but without the travel and hotel bills! I’m not sure exactly what the homeowner training will look like, but it will be less depth and breadth of the professional training, but definitely instructional for making decisions for your personal home. 🙂

  24. jill says:

    Long time reader here…i was bummed to see that you can’t take on E-design exterior anymore, so I would love it if more professionals took your course and homeowners could get a referral to some of them. My home is 20 yrs old and we are looking at replacing a huge roof and removing synthetic stucco (awful horrible stuff constantly attacked by woodpeckers!) to be replaced with fiber cement board and it all has to co-ordinate with the sections of facade stone….needless to say I paralyzed as to where to even start. Hiring an experienced professional for a consult would be well worth the money but I haven’t been able to find anyone with proven skills in this specialty where I live. Very nervous bc we are talking about a huge investment.

  25. Nancy says:

    Wonderful transformations! The cottage is genius. I wonder the 2nd house could be further improved with a change of shutters? Expensive undertaking I am guessing?

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Hi Nancy –
      I’m glad you brought this up! We actually discussed getting larger shutters that look more authentic to the style of the home, with shutterdogs and all. When my client looked into it, she realized they would have to be custom-made, and she decided to put that part of the project on the backburner for later down the road. She will also be changing out the roof next year, and we actually already picked that out during our consult 🙂

  26. Sherree says:

    I would love the professional course to add to my other portfolio of training materials. This would be beneficial to me as there is a home that has been for sale in my neighborhood for SEVEN years! I know the reason it has not sold is the lack of curb appeal. I noticed that the owners have yet another new realtor-one unfamiliar with selling homes is this area. I would love to approach this realtor and present a plan to update the exterior-which she could present to the sellers & get this home under contract!

  27. Ellen says:

    I would love to take the homeowner course. I’ve had no luck with 2 professionals who said that could pick colors for my 1870’s Victorian home. I’m ready to do it myself.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Wow, Ellen – that’s too bad that you couldn’t find someone who could do that job well. I’m just curious – were the people you spoke with interior designers or architectural color consultants?

  28. MaryValerie says:

    I am also very interested in the professional course as I stage homes for sale and get asked frequently about paint colors. Thank you!

  29. Jenny B. says:

    This class is a great idea! I am not a professional, so I would be interested in a version for homeowners. We are hoping to build a new home in the next year or two, so I will be making lots of design decisions, including exterior materials and colors.

  30. Susan Worthman says:

    Great transformations, and the course ideas are terrific! I’d be interested in the homeowner’s version. In the meantime, what’s the gray-green color used for the 2nd house?

  31. Amy Samuel says:

    Sign me up for the professional course! I’m just beginning to cook the concept of starting an Interior decorating/staging/redesign business supported with a blog and I would be all over this! Especially if you offered an affiliate program for a homeowner version!

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