Historic Paint Colors in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Oak Park

I went on a little vacation last week with Mr. Man and the kids! We picked the most important things we each wanted to do while there, and mine was to visit architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio and tour the surrounding architectural mecca of Oak Park. YAYYYYYY!!!! The historic paint colors were a-mazing.



Because I choose exterior paint colors for a living, I am always examining houses while I’m driving to look for good exterior paint color palettes to copy. But guess what? I take very few photos of house exteriors because I seldom find ones that blow me away (in a good way). It’s a whole lot easier to find a “what-not-to-do” than it is to find a “what-to-do” when it comes to exterior paint colors!  However, while I was strolling around Oak Park, I could not. stop. taking. pictures. So many beautiful, well-done examples of historic paint colors and palettes that I thought I’d share them with you. You will want to PIN these color combinations!

red victorian exterior

Benjamin Moore:  trim – White Dove, windows and details – Black Satin, body – Currant Red


Just so you know, I carried a Benjamin Moore fandeck with me as I toured Oak Park so that I could color-match as I went! So the colors that I report will be from my expertise as a paint color consultant, and not actual knowledge of the original paint color. Let’s start with this stunner:

carrington beige exterior tudor

Benjamin Moore:  body – Carrington Beige, trim – Trailing Vines


Here’s a lovely example of more subtle contrasts in the historic paint colors:

rare gray exterior

Sherwin-Williams:  accent on shakes – Rare Gray, body – Rice Grain, trim – Dover White


tudor exterior colors

Benjamin Moore:  body – Annapolis Gray, trim – Bittersweet Chocolate, door/railings – Country Redwood



dunmore cream exterior paintBenjamin Moore:  body – Crown Point Sand, trim – Lafayette Green


saybrook sage exteriorBenjamin Moore:  body – White Dove, trim – Louisburg Green


midcentury modern exterior paint colors

Benjamin Moore:  window trim – Branchport Brown, accent trim – Amber


ansonia peach

Sherwin-Williams:  body – Portrait Tone, trim – Alabaster, accents – Gallery Green, Majolica Green


This one was being remodeled, and I think the roofing and paint choices are fantastic.

philipsburg blueBenjamin Moore:  body – Boothbay Gray, trim – Chantilly Lace, accent – Philipsburg Blue


The red windows really make this historic paint colors palette special:

red exterior window mullionsBenjamin Moore:  body – Danville Tan, trim – Fairview Taupe, windows – Cottage Red 


This red brick facade could have been paired with a plain tan trim, like most would expect. Instead, the dark brown trim takes things up a notch and looks totally appropriate. And do you love that green roof as much as I do???

red brick with brown trim

Benjamin Moore:  trim – Dragon’s Breath


This brick building has beautiful green “eyeliner” that trims the windows:

red brick with green trimBenjamin Moore:  window trim – Lafayette Green


coloful victorianBenjamin Moore:  body – Peale Green, trim – Grant Beige, accent/windows – Country Redwood, accent – Adams Gold


All the examples I have shown you in this post are really well done, but that is not often the case. If you drive around your neighborhood or town, you may find more bummers than stunners.  And then there are those who take the risk and fail miserably, like this unfortunate color combo:

2015-07-08 14.13.17

what the heck??

So, guess what?

This summer I’m working on a huge project that I hope will help both homeowners and builders make fabulous choices for coordinating exterior colors. Louisiana Pacific (LP) Building Products has hired me to create new color palettes for their exterior siding and trim.


As part of that project, I will provide specific, real-life advice for choosing colors and exterior design elements that work together brilliantly through LP’s Lookbook and website. It’s a very exciting, ground-breaking project that will bring consumers a whole new level of expert guidance when they are building or remodeling their home. I’ll keep you updated!!!

Our next Expert Psychological Stager™ staging certification training of the year coming up!  Don’t miss out – this will be our best training session yet!!! Find out what you need to know by clicking here.

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23 thoughts on “Historic Paint Colors in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Oak Park

  1. LaPriel says:

    I am so glad you were able to go to Oak Park. The beauty of the architecture there is enough to make me weep.

  2. Cyndia says:

    Oh, I do love it when people step out of the beige box and go for a little color! I especially love the red trim around windows, and I have that on my own house.

  3. Linda says:

    I don’t truly follow anyone but YOU:) Love your posts/blogs and usually find something to take away and use in my own business….am thinking that some day I’d like to come down there and take “your” course! Was just in Oak Park about a month ago and took the tour for the second time…I, too, loved it ….my FAV is the windows–high enough that you don’t need treatments…..just all that nature shining through! God bless your efforts–thanks for all you do for our Staging profession!

  4. Stephanie says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed your trip to Oak Park. Our first home was a block from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio. The old homes in that area are beautiful. Our little 1920 Chicago style bungalow was so charming. It was brick with a wonderful concrete roof which I loved. I always enjoyed walking around the neighborhood admiring the homes!

  5. Judy says:

    These examples are so pretty! There are a lot of newly-repainted homes in my neighborhood. Very few look as beautiful as these from Oak Park. So that means I’m also excited to hear about your new project. Improving exterior color combination suggestions for homeowners is a greatly-needed service!

  6. Linda Kinsman says:

    I’m going to pin several of these houses (especially the currant red house) and buy my own Benjamin Moore fandeck. I like your idea of keeping one with you when traveling and my husband isn’t going to give me his, he uses it way to much for work. Congrats on your new project too!

  7. Joanne Vroom says:

    Thanks sharing these beautiful homes with us. I especially like the house with red windows (taupe and tan). Many times when we are building homes and are using siding, it is a nice change from the tan and cream colours which are common around here just outside Montreal ( in St. Lazare). The red gives the house a much more updated look!

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