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May 24, 2021

Episode #54: Choosing House Paint Colors With Expert Help

Episode #54: Choosing House Paint Colors With Expert Help

One of the most popular old house questions is, “What color should I paint my house?” Kristine Teno from Teno Interiors is here with some tips and ideas for choosing an exterior paint color you’ll love. Also, Alex from Old Town Home is back to...


One of the most popular old house questions is, “What color should I paint my house?” Kristine Teno from Teno Interiors is here with some tips and ideas for choosing an exterior paint color you’ll love. (17:05)

Also, Alex from Old Town Home is back to help answer a listener question about the first steps of project planning. (4:16)

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This episode is supported by The Window Course.

The Window Course is a step-by-step do-it-yourself program that will teach you everything you need to restore historic wood windows successfully. The information is comprehensive and taught with Scott’s signature approachable style. For 10% off, visit The Window Course and use the coupon code truetales.

Mentioned in this Episode


The Luckhardt Family Bible:

Kristine's Work: 

Thank you for listening to True Tales From Old Houses.

Until next time,



Stacy Grinsfelder  0:00  
On today's show, my friend Alex from old townhome is back for listener Q&A. We're talking about the very first thing we do when we get ready to start a new house project. Also, one of the most popular questions I read on old house forums is, "What color should I paint my house?" Well, we can't make that choice for you but paint and color expert Kristine Teno from Teno Interiors is here with some tips and ideas for choosing an exterior color you'll love. But first. 

Stacy Grinsfelder  0:30  
I'm Stacy Grinsfelder from Blake Hill House, and I am the host of True Tales From Old Houses.

Stacy Grinsfelder  0:43  
Hello, and welcome back. Wow, so many things are happening right now. The warm weather switch has officially been flipped. Here in the chilly northeast between the months of February and April. It really does feel like time stands still. It's cold, damp and gray and maybe even snowy if we're lucky. May gets off to a slow start, but by the middle of the month, boom! We are off to the races with 80-degree days, and every last dormant plant and tree springs to life in a hurry. Now that the switch has flipped that push and pull of outdoor projects versus vacations and sitting around in the sunshine doing nothing is very strong. Every year I do get a little bit better at balancing work and life during the gorgeous summer months. My primary outdoor projects this summer are repointing the stone foundation and repairing woodpecker holes in the siding shingles-- those woodpeckers. If you are also repointing stone or brick, I do have an article and video about repointing with lime mortar on the Blake Hill House blog, and I'll link it in the show notes. As for the woodpecker holes, those are a new task on my to do list, but I will be sure to share the process as I move forward. For now, I'm still working on our main bedroom project for the one room challenge and it's coming right along. The deadline is June 24. And so far, I'm on track, the wallpaper is down, the paint is up and I've been working on blinds and curtains. You can follow the main bedroom project on Instagram or on my blog, Okay, I have a couple more things to tell you. First, there are just two more weeks to go in the spring merchandise fundraising event. It ends on Monday, June 7. And thank you for your pre order so far. Yes, it is the preorder stage just like last fall, no money-- I don't need any money right now. When you go to the True Tales From Old Houses website, you'll see that merch run graphic in the sidebar, you can also get to the merch run at the top of the page. And for good measure, I've put it in the show notes of this episode as well. And those links will take you right where you need to go to place a pre-order. For spring we have short sleeve and long sleeve tees, a tank top and a hoodie all in the same super-soft fabric that we offered last time. And there's also a really nice work apron. So if you're interested in merchandise, time is running out to submit a preorder for the items that you want. On June 8, I'm going to order everything from my friend Jim's small business. He printed our merchandise last time too. Then when everything's ready in a week or two, then I'll email an invoice to you. And once the invoice is paid, I will ship your gear to you within two business days. If you have any questions about the merchandise or issues with a form or anything, just let me know. And I'll get it all straightened out right away. 

Stacy Grinsfelder  3:30  
Next, thank you, ewilliams2019. For your really nice review this week. All those positive ratings and reviews help people find the show and tell them that True Tales From Old Houses is worth a listen. So if you have a minute, it would be great if you would leave a rating or a review wherever you listen to this podcast. It really does help. And as always, if you have information events, workshops that you'd like the old house community to hear about, please send me an email via the contact page, and I will announce them on an upcoming episode.

Stacy Grinsfelder  4:16  
For today's Q & A, Alex from Old Town Home is here. Welcome back, Alex. It's nice to have you back again.

Alex  4:24  
Thank you very much. So glad to be back.

Stacy Grinsfelder  4:26  
Yeah, I feel like I've had all these wonderful opportunities to chat with you over the season, and it's great. I'm thrilled about it.

Alex  4:33  
Yeah, I've really enjoyed it. Thanks. Thanks for having me.

Stacy Grinsfelder  4:34  
Yeah, well, our listeners get their questions answered, and I get to talk to you again. So it's a win win for everyone.

Alex  4:40  
Wonderful. All right,

Stacy Grinsfelder  4:42  
The question we have today to answer, and you're quite organized so I'm curious about your answer to this one. It is, "What is the very first task you do when starting a restoration/renovation/preservation project?" So I assume they're talking about, you know, organizing the project and planning for it. So what's the very first task?

Alex  5:05  
The very first task, when we're looking at any project that we're going to do is, we ask ourselves, and this is my wife, Wendy, we, we have a conversation about this. And we say, what are we trying to accomplish? What's our goals? What is our desired outcome from this? Those questions together are the primary items that shape everything that we do. I know, there's lots of considerations about budget and timeline, and, you know, the actual design decisions and everything of what you're trying to do. But that's the number one thing we ask ourselves, what are we trying to accomplish. And that's our starting point. When we're working on restoration work, a lot of times it's about preserving original aspects of something that we're trying to restore. If we're looking at a window restoration, for example, we look at it and we say, we want to make this window functional, we want to make it the double hung window. So we want to make the upper sash and lower sash function, we want improved weather stripping, we want to retain the salvage way the glass, and we want to make sure that it will last, you know, for generations beyond us. So what do we need to do to accomplish this? and then we break out the whole project more or less into individual steps. And what will be necessary to achieve this goal? It's like high level milestones that, you know, are kind of what we try to accomplish with it. And I think some of it comes from, I'm a, I'm a software developer, and this is how we work through projects, you look at it at a higher level, kind of project level view, what are the incremental elements that you want to accomplish? And then from that, you break it down, and you try to accomplish those individually. 

Stacy Grinsfelder  6:51  
Yeah, I will say this has not been my strong suit, although it's been something that I have been developing, because I tend to be sometimes-- I'm organized and in certain aspects of my life, but a little fly by the seat of my pants and others. And so there's been times when I've started a project thinking, you know what? I can think this to death, or I can just start it, and it'll all work out when I get there. And it does, because I'm stubborn, and I'm really tied to a professional-looking outcome. But I will say it can be pretty stress inducing to do it the way that I have done it in the past. So I've really kind of buckled down. And probably the first project, or the first thing I do for every project is, it's it's really the same thing that you're doing, but I guess it's kind of the more negative spin on it. It's why is this not working? And I will take into account because I have we have six members of our family, we all live here. So a lot of times my projects are affecting a lot of other people. So sometimes I will get their input. Why is this not working for you? Why? and that's, that's usually it. So I'll use my daughter's room, for instance, I sat down with her, she's 14, and she wanted to redo her room, and I thought, great, that's good. This is the perfect opportunity to work together rather than me just telling her what to do. So I asked her that exact question, what doesn't work for you anymore? You know, what would you like to see out of this room? And and then we flipped it. What would you like instead? And that really helped. I think that's even before budgets, because understanding expectations helps you set the budget, you know. Sometimes you don't always get what you want. You can set your expectations, and then you're like, Oh, that's way pie in the sky. I will never ever get that, but understanding what that is, is probably the first step towards completing any project.

Alex  8:45  
Do you find that you're surprised by some of the outcomes from the conversations, things that are issues that you didn't really realize were issues before? Or do you find that you tend to kind of have your assumptions confirmed through the conversations?

Stacy Grinsfelder  9:01  
A lot of times I do have my assumptions confirmed because I kind of have my finger on the pulse of -- much to their chagrin. I have, I'm kind of in the know, but sometimes I do. I mean, my daughter had some really good ideas about her room and things that just weren't working for her. And I think she appreciated being part of the project. And 

Alex  9:21  
that's great. 

Stacy Grinsfelder  9:22  
Yeah, and getting getting her-- I mean, I'm all about hearing from everyone, but I will say sometimes I can be a bit of a bulldozer. It's just my personality. So I have to really, you know, stop and think and get-- I guess I'd admitting my my downfalls here. I feel like I'm like in therapy or something, but

Alex  9:44  
You then have to sell your ideas about why your ideals or ideas are better than her. Right. Right.

Stacy Grinsfelder  9:48  
Right. Well, and Andy has, Andy has this discussion with me sometimes he's like, you're not selling me on this. Like this is not even something that I remotely want to do. You're gonna have to work on your sales skills here.

Alex  10:01  
So there's one other aspect of when we're working on a project, and we're just starting out, something that we tend to do that I don't think a lot of people necessarily do is counterproductive in some ways, because you have to have an area to place everything. But we end up ordering a lot of the materials that we're going to need and figuring out what are the difficult things that we're going to have a hard time obtaining that will benefit this project. Specifically, we're working on a bathroom right now. So really, right at the beginning of his bathroom project, we started ordering a lot of this stuff that we weren't going to use until the very last day of the project, essentially, figuring out things like sconces, light fixtures, the sink, making sure we have, you know, towel hooks, and all that sort of stuff. And we also identified some areas that we were going to have to source material that was going to be more difficult, so that we didn't reach a point where we were stuck waiting for materials to come later. Specifically, there was salvage wains..., beadboard wainscoting, and also finding material that I could mill salvage flooring out of to match some of the original flooring that we had. So if we hadn't started those right at the beginning, we would have gotten to a point a month or two into the project, we were just stuck in waiting while we tried to find it.

Stacy Grinsfelder  11:18  
Right. Right. That makes sense. Yeah. And I will say when it comes to projects of preservation or restoration or on here, I pretty much do just move forward in a manner in which I want and that is primarily making sure that I have what I need to do the project the right way. So I can see that point. Definitely.

Alex  11:38  
There's also a big piece of what what you just mentioned, is having to do research to with the project, once you understand what you're trying to accomplish. If you don't necessarily know exactly how to accomplish that, then it's launching into that research aspect to figure out what sort of party should I be using for this window, for example? Or what are the different options that I can use in terms of, you know, sourcing salvage material, or what would be an historically appropriate lock to use here, any of those types of items, comes that research element that we're all so fond of that I think pulls us into these projects a little bit more deeply than a lot of people,

Stacy Grinsfelder  12:14  
Right. A lot of times before I've even started the project, because I'm not a huge list maker or anything like that--A lot of times what it looks like, externally is probably just all of a sudden I tear stuff up, but I've probably been thinking about it and researching and deciding how to tackle it, you know, safety issues, how it's gonna affect my family that might that process might have gone on for months. I just haven't-- Nobody has seen it on paper yet. So it's as if it didn't happen.

Alex  12:42  
Yeah, that's that's my mindset, too. I think there are very few projects that I do that I haven't already done in my head for the last several years.

Stacy Grinsfelder  12:49  
Right, right. That's so interesting, huh? I wonder if a lot of people do that. So yeah, listeners out there. If you're that kind of person, I'd like to hear from you. Let me know if you're a thinker and a doer or if you're a list maker, and then a doer, or maybe a combination of all of those things. That would be interesting to know. All right. Well, Alex, thank you for answering this question today. And great to see you. I hope you have a wonderful day and that your bathroom project goes along smoothly. With no headaches.

Alex  13:21  
Yeah, exactly. By this. I'm hoping that by the time anybody hears this, the bathroom is totally done. And I can show everybody great after photos. But it's been wonderful here chatting with you. And thanks for having me. And I can't wait to see the next time. Great.

Stacy Grinsfelder  13:33  
All right, talk to you later, Alex. Thanks. Bye.

Alex  13:35  
All righty, bye

Stacy Grinsfelder  13:36  
Now it's your turn. All season, I've been asking what is the weirdest or most surprising thing you ever found in your old house? And here are a few of your answers. Brittany sent me a direct message to let me know that she found a couple of dolls in her house and one of them was a clown. I get it. Not everybody likes clowns, but where she found them was kind of the creepy part. They were in a chest freezer in the basement. Can you imagine? Just put yourself in her shoes, opening that freezer for the very first time. What a surprise that must have been. This next find is a sweet one. Alyssa found an old family Bible from 1856 in her house, and she writes, I'm just going to read to you what she wrote to me, "that came with the house which we bought from the last living descendant of the family who had lived here for 100 years, and we were gifted a lot of random things when she left. I've been able to use it to piece together a lot of the history of the family and the house." Now that really is a very nice gift. Alyssa also shared some photos of the Bible which I have put in the show notes for you if you'd like to see it. And finally, one of our previous guests answered the question two if you've been listening to the show for a while you may remember the episode with Paige. She and her husband Trevor moved their old house five inches to build a proper addition and to appease the permit folks in Seattle, Washington, and I'll link to that episode in the show notes too. Well, Paige found an empty Johnnie Walker bottle with a page from a 1990s Victoria's Secret catalog inside. That's a weird message in a bottle, right? I don't think I really want to know more about how that came to be, but that is a really funny find. 

Stacy Grinsfelder  15:20  
Do you have an answer to this season's question? Visit the True Tales From Old Houses website and submit your answer by voicemail or email for a voicemail, click on the mic icon in the bottom right hand corner and you'll see it on your phone or your computer and just go ahead and answer in a complete sentence if you would. If you prefer to send an email just tap contact in the top menu bar. Your privacy is important and I will not share your messages without your permission. Thank you Brittany, Alyssa, and Paige for taking the time to answer the question about the weirdest or most surprising thing you ever found in your old house. 

Stacy Grinsfelder  15:58  
True Tales From Old Houses is supported by The Window Course. We are lucky, lucky people. Scott Sidler from The Craftsman Blog created an entire DIY window restoration course for the old house community. All of those tutorials you're searching for on YouTube? You don't have to do that anymore. The Window Course is a step by step program that teaches you everything you need to know to successfully restore historic wood windows all in one place, right where you need it. It's self paced, so you can go as fast or as slow as you need to. And there are also several price points to fit your needs and budget. You could buy it for yourself, or you could buy it as a training tool for the person you hire to restore your windows. The Window Course is offered with a 100% Money Back Guarantee and lucky for us, Scott is offering True Tales From Old Houses listeners a special discount. For 10% off visit and use the coupon code truetales.

Stacy Grinsfelder  17:05  
My guest today is Kristine Teno. Kristine works as a color consultant and she has helped countless old house owners throughout the Buffalo, New York area choose exterior and interior paint colors that fit their house style and the neighborhood.

Kristine  17:19  
Hi, I am Kristine Teno, and I am a paint and color expert in the Buffalo New York area.

Stacy Grinsfelder  17:25  
Great welcome. Thank you for being here today.

Kristine  17:28  
Thank you,

Stacy Grinsfelder  17:29  
I had intended to meet you with you in person, but this pandemic situation just keeps on giving, doesn't it?

Kristine  17:35  
Oh, I know. It's always disappointing us--looking forward to things and then they can't happen. But thanks for Zoom.

Stacy Grinsfelder  17:45  
Yeah, yes. Thankfully, we didn't have to put this off again. And yes, but I would have loved to have seen you in person today. So we'll have to do it another time.

Kristine  17:53  
I agree. I agree.

Stacy Grinsfelder  17:55  
Alright, well, today we're going to talk about choosing paint colors. But before we get started, I do want to be clear with everyone that that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Some people are exceptional at choosing colors from the get-go. And they might gravitate towards classic colors or simply like what they like, This interview is definitely not, at least in my eyes, about being right or wrong. And you don't seem like that kind of person either. Kristine, I just wanted-- I just wanted to serve as a leaping off point for anyone who has ever stood in front of that paint chip wall at the store and wondered like, how do I even start? and I think you can help us with that today.

Kristine  18:33  

Stacy Grinsfelder  18:35  
Well, and so first, I want to ask you, I want you to tell us a little bit about you. How did you get started in interior design and historic preservation, and paint?

Kristine  18:46  
So I actually was an unusual child and I knew what I wanted to do with my life at a really young age. A lot of people will switch majors in college and try to figure out what they want to do. But I knew I wanted to do interior design at age 14. And I never really wavered from that. So I attended Cazenovia College, which is a four year school and I received my bachelor's in interior design from there in 2010. So I had all my formal training in in the field through school. And then basically it was more out of necessity. I had no idea that I would ever become a paint or color expert, but I needed a job. And it was April and I was graduating in May. So I just applied at the local paint store because I knew it was at least somehow related to the field of home renovation and interior design, and and it just kind of went from there. I ended up working for Shuele Paint Company for six years. They're the largest Benjamin More retailer in the Buffalo New York area. So, within my first year, my boss sent me to Benjamin Moore's headquarters in Montvale, New Jersey, for like a color presentation type seminar. When Benjamin Moore released to their color stories, color palette, which was like a new, it was a new color collection that they came out with a few years back, It was actually our store right here in Clarence, New York, that had the first display of that. And I presented it to the local designers. But basically, just through that job, I started going into people's homes, because people were asking me. So I asked my boss, "Can Can I go home with them?" Everyone was asking me, "Can you come to my house?" but I'm stuck here in the store behind the counter. But he agreed, and they started their color consultation program. And by the time I left that job, I had been over 200 buffalo homes. 

Stacy Grinsfelder  21:01  

Kristine  21:02  
helping people come up with paint, paint color schemes,

Stacy Grinsfelder  21:07  
We have a huge amount of old house inventory in the Buffalo area. So did you always like older homes and want to work in older homes? Or was it just the inventory that drove your career,

Kristine  21:20  
it's really my own passion. That just kind of all came together. I was, you know, the artsy kid that likes to draw all the time, I only liked to read the books that showed you the interior of where the characters live, you know, went into school and realized, you know that, as much as I love interior design, I need there to be like more of a purpose behind what I'm doing, as opposed to just making things look nice, or current. And it kind of dawned on me how much I just love architecture and older things. And I really started to dive into research and preservation more on a personal-- on a personal level, in my in my own time. I was just lucky enough to be born and raised in Buffalo, which is older city. So it all kind of works out that I get to be here and be surrounded by a lot of beautiful buildings and help people make them look nicer.

Stacy Grinsfelder  22:19  
So let's start by talking about exteriors. Because sometimes that can feel the most paralyzing. Painting an exterior of a house is incredibly expensive. I know firsthand, it took three summers--we had to break up the expense into three summers to have our house painted, and so to choose a color feels daunting, like what if I choose the wrong one? What if I get it on the house? And it's ugly? So? And of course, what

Kristine  22:45  
What are my neighbors thinking? 

Stacy Grinsfelder  22:46  
What are my neighbors thinking? So go ahead, how would you start on an exterior? Is it based on what the style of the house is? where it's located? go for it.

Kristine  22:56  
Well, if you're going to attempt it yourself, first thing I would start with is collecting inspiration. So you can drive around similar neighborhoods, you can look on the internet, Pinterest, Instagram, just google images and try to find some homes that are maybe look similar to yours in architectural style or just have a color scheme that you love. And then the next step would probably be to venture to the paint store and try your best to find colors that look like those inspiration. Then it's always good to get real paint samples, not just go off the chips. But yeah, it's really important to take into consideration the age of your home style of your home, whether or not you want like historically accurate color palette, or if you just need a color palette, you know that is welcoming that you want to come home to personally. When I do a color consult for people, the first thing I look at is the neighborhood. Certain neighborhoods can handle color. In Buffalo that would be like, Allentown is very artistic neighborhood-- parts of the Elmwood village can be very artistic. It just seems appropriate sometimes down there to have more fun bright colors. Then there's other areas that are a little more classic around our city. And then once I get to the home we send tend to stand at the end of the driveway and see what other colors we can see nearby. So someone might say I really want my house to be blue, but as you can see from this vantage point, there's six blue other houses. So how can we lo-- What can we do? You know? Sometimes we walk up to the other houses and just make sure our paint chip is different enough. You know? It's it's taking the neighborhood into account, the streetscape into account, the architectural style into account ,and and having some inspiration-- is really some of the key things you need to get started.

Stacy Grinsfelder  24:58  
So since not everybody living in a city or a town, or in a closely situated neighborhood, like in Buffalo, what about architectural style? How do you start with that? If you're just-- I know that there's actually a house in my town that you chose the colors for, which is how I kind of got in touch with you overall, and the house used to be, I think, like pink and purple.

Kristine  25:21  

Stacy Grinsfelder  25:22  
Giant, giant Queen Anne. I don't want to give too much away, because, you know, they're my neighbors, and I'm not going to send people to see their new house. It used to be a bed and breakfast. So in some ways it made sense because pink and purple bed and breakfast--easy to find, I'm sure that was part of the character of the location, but then it became a primary residence for a different family altogether, and it has very distinctive features. So this is a long, roundabout way to ask you this, but so my question is, you know, you see this house that has a very distinct architectural style, where do you start? 

Kristine  25:54  
Well, I kind of have a method of one color needs to go on one type of substrate. So a Victorian, like what you're talking about is going to be much more detailed, they just naturally have it. Victorian era was more as more as more and sometimes even a little gaudy, but I mean, I love it. 

Stacy Grinsfelder  26:20  
Right. sure. 

Kristine  26:21  
But if you pull up to a home, you know, it's a Victorian from all the different details that it is showcasing. There's, there's usually vertical siding or horizontal siding, mixed with different shape, shapes of shingles, trim, and fret work and a lot of times flowers. So, a lot of times they can have seven or eight colors on them, because each detail can be assigned a color. So I usually start with a body color, which is the whole house, that would be the majority of the siding, then if there's a shake color, that's a secondary color that may be in certain parts of the home, usually on the upper portions. So that would be like another secondary body color, then we have our main trim color. So that would be most of the woodwork that runs down the sides of the house round with trim. And then there can be a secondary trim. Like if you have your original windows and storms, the inner part of your window could be a different color. And then there's accent colors. So your doors if you have shutters, so you can really just figure out how many colors to use based on how many details you have. And staying consistent. And actually, that house you were talking about was a great example was when I pulled up it was you know, it's just gorgeous, awesome house, I was actually there twice once from the inside and once for the outside. But it was almost like they couldn't decide if they wanted to be an East Coast Victorian or West Coast Victorian. They had some of those crazy pastels going on. They just kind of give you like the west coast vibe

Stacy Grinsfelder  28:05  
San Francisco. 

Kristine  28:07  
Yeah. And then there was the dark, there was some dark colors, which were east coast. So I was like that I'm like they're almost there, but we've just got to tweak these a little bit. And I think it came out pretty nice. But the one thing that I noticed is they did not put those colors on the house originally in a consistent fashion. You know, there might be some parts of the siding that were purple, and some parts of the trim that were purple. 

Stacy Grinsfelder  28:36  

Kristine  28:37  
I personally as a color consultant did not do that. I have one color for one each element.

Stacy Grinsfelder  28:45  
Okay. All right. That's interesting. So on something like that with a lot of different decorations, how do you decide what to highlight? Like, is everything important? I mean, it can be confusing, you have so many different little details on that. It does everything need a different color?

Kristine  29:03  
It doesn't, and I that part really depends on the homeowners personality. So a lot of times people will say well how do I know where to put that third color? you know, because most houses have at least three, three colors. So how do I know or where am I going to put this extra accent color? So that's the part where I usually explain that you know, they can just get a gallon of it and they can do as much or as little as they want to get the house color, you know get their house painted with its main body color. Add your trim, you know around, you know on your columns and your your porch rails and around your doors and windows. And then you'll have the overall feeling of the new look and start to add in those accent colors on some of the more obvious thing, like maybe a cornice bracket or the tops of some types of architectural columns will have different tiers to them just start to add on. And when you stand back and look to say do I, do I love that? Do I?

Stacy Grinsfelder  30:08  
Like makeup? Do I need mascara? Do I need some eyeliner?

Kristine  30:11  
Yeah, like, is are these little hoop earrings fine? Or do I want the big dangling ones today? Yeah, the that last color is, you know, you can put it in a few of the obvious spots, like a front door or shutter, and then, you know, you can just ask yourself based on your own personality, do I want--do I want more of this? Are there more details that I can highlight with it? Or, or I'm more a minimalistic person. And I just want to keep it simple and classic. 

Stacy Grinsfelder  30:42  
Alright, I'm gonna ask a follow up about that, because I'm curious. So we've been talking about really ornate houses, but how about something that's not like a colonial which is a little bit more, you know, straightforward. It has a very specific look to it. And, and I think about practical in some aspects, practical reasons. And I am going to use my house as an example, because it's the one I'm thinking of right now. But yeah, I have white as my accent, which is fine. But then I have a stone foundation. And then around my stone Foundation, there are several basement windows, and I had those painted white because that was what I was advised to do. However, that's a really mildew prone area. So I'm curious whether or not there are practical considerations with exterior paints, like, you know, could that be a different color, like the color of the stone foundation? Could you those window wells, could that be the body color of the house, which won't show up--won't show mildew as easily as white does? You know, those kinds of things? Are there practical considerations? 

Kristine  31:44  
Yeah, for me, personally, I always tend to recommend the same taupy gray brown for porch floors. Because in that situation, I feel like it's just this perfect, medium gray-brown that will hide dust and dirt. And it just, you know, if you go too light on your porch floor, a lot of people just do that standard gray, you just see everything. So I always go more earthy with it, and then that hides. So yes, with like your windows, I do like to try to keep things consistent. So if all the windows are white, then usually all the windows should be white, but if you're having issue like that, and you want to pick like the foundation stone color, and kind of just let those windows disappear and let the windows that you've restored up top really shine, that's okay, too. In general, like yes, Colonials, maybe don't have as many colors of Victorians. But it's always safe to say that every house should have at least three colors, a body color, a trim, color, and accent color. And then you may have some stonework, and then your shingle your roof shingle color. So you do end up sometimes with four or five, anyways,

Stacy Grinsfelder  32:59  
so that's interesting. And you mentioned windows, which is why I wanted to ask you, you know, so many houses don't have their original wood windows anymore, which is disappointing. And they have the, they have their replacements, and oftentimes, those are white, vinyl. Some black--black is getting pretty popular right now. So they could be white or black. 

Kristine  33:18  

Stacy Grinsfelder  33:18  
Is there a way to make those less? I mean, I guess not everybody wants to make them less noticeable, but is there something that you stick to color-wise with trim, if you're trying-- when a house has a vinyl window, like that is white or black?

Kristine  33:33  
Yeah, I just actually had the situation a few days ago where I was doing an exterior house in the North Buffalo area. And the homeowner was actually extremely upset that her front windows on her bungalow were all replaced by a previous owner and they were all white vinyl, and they just, on the inside they stuck out like a sore thumb because the trim work around them was still natural wood and the outside they, in her opinion, stuck out like a sore thumb. So a lot of times when someone doesn't want white trim, they want a more earthy or warm palette that comes together, but they're stuck with those newer windows that are white, some things we do is we paint the storm windows as you-- almost anything can be painted with the correct primer. If there's like a separate storm on top we sometimes will paint that a different color. Or a lot of times my secret is to paint trim like a khaki or a light beige. So when you drive by it looks kind of like a warmer white. And that way other brighter vinyl white doesn't stand out too much because it's not a really high contrast. But in you know snowy Buffalo in the winter, the house has still has an overall warmer feel to it because it didn't get stark white trim has a color that complements the body a little bit more.

Stacy Grinsfelder  35:04  
So basically, you're talking about low contrast rather than high contrast color, 

Kristine  35:09  
Right. So you can get away with having white vinyl windows and not having white trim if it's still a pretty light color. But in general, generally speaking, when you are picking exterior colors, you have to pick them outside. 

Stacy Grinsfelder  35:23  
Okay, oh, that makes sense.

Kristine  35:25  
You have to be outside. So when I do exterior color consults, I let everyone know, you know, if it's raining, we're gonna have to reschedule. 

Stacy Grinsfelder  35:33  

Kristine  35:33  
Because it doesn't make sense to pick these inside, especially with the whites. Because something looks just like a regular white inside. You get it outside. And it maybe it's blown out even more. Maybe you thought it had some color, you get it outside, you can't see that color anymore. And again, like in in Buffalo, areas of the country that are really snowy,winter comes, you know that pure white snow, and then your house can always look yellow or something. So it's really important to take your colors outside. 

Stacy Grinsfelder  36:09  
Definitely. Alright, so what happens if somebody comes to you? And I can tell you're very diplomatic person? So I, what if they have maybe a really current trend that they want to follow? And although it's perfectly fine, maybe you would prefer to steer them in another direction--help them think outside the box a little, maybe think outside that trend? You know, just because you see it doesn't make it like the best option.  How would you counsel someone about that? I mean, obviously, you're going to paint what they want to paint. And that's the that's how business works. Right? But if they are flexible and open to something different, how do you handle that?

Kristine  36:50  
Basically, when it comes down into a situation where what the homeowner wants, and what I feel is best are two different things I usually give them just more options. So it never works out well when I really tried to drive home my expert opinion. 

Stacy Grinsfelder  37:09  

Kristine  37:10  
you know, because that like you said at the beginning of this, you know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and really color is art, and color evokes emotion and feeling. So I know there's a color that you don't really like so much. I can't remember what it is.

Stacy Grinsfelder  37:28  
But we don't have to talk about it. [laughing]

Kristine  37:31  
Okay, well, when you talk to put on your stories, I thought it was funny because it's one of my favorites.

Stacy Grinsfelder  37:36  
Oh, yeah. Okay, so I was like, wait, what did I say that? I'll remember. I will own up to this.

Kristine  37:41  
Is it a baby blue? Or? 

Stacy Grinsfelder  37:42  
What? No, actually, it's--it could be maybe blue. But the choice is--because my entire house was painted green inside and outside, I generally don't choose anything in the green family. So it so people are like, Oh, it's not really green; It's sage. I'm like, it's still green. We're not going to do that one.

Kristine  38:00  
So that happens to Yeah, but back to you-- back to your question if someone you know if I'm, if I'm like, this house needs green, and they're like, I hate green. You know, what we do is I will show them a palette that's in line with their inspiration with-- I always ask What are you thinking? What are you thinking? Because if I don't explore their gut feelings, and then I leave, and there'll always be wondering, what if I painted in my house this instead? So we always explore what they're thinking. I always find colors in the families that work together that they originally thought, and then I always offer to show them something different, and you know, sometimes they go for it like oh, I would have never thought of that. And that's why you're here. And other times they just go with their gut. So yeah, it's just, you know, how, how much I can read off of their reaction? Are they falling in love with everything I'm putting in front of them or is their face kind of blank. So I just keep putting together more combinations until they start to light up and you're like, Okay, here we go. Now we're on track.

Stacy Grinsfelder  39:14  
So I really, and you bring up a good point because I fear working with designers. I've worked with branding designers I've worked with, you know, interior, not-- just on the on a superficial level, and it always terrifies me because I-- as a consumer as the client, I'm always afraid to say what I really think because I think, okay, I've just hired this person for their expertise. They know 100 times more than me, but something in my head is like I don't like this. How, how would you want a client to communicate with you so that you end up advising them in the best way but they also get something they'll be really happy with?

Kristine  39:58  
Yeah, there's there's all different types of interior designers. There, you know, are ones who are just really driven to expand their portfolio in their personal tastes. And there's ones who listen very closely to their clients, but it is always best if you let your designer know what you like, and what you're attracted to. Because then a good designer would take what you're comfortable with, what you like, what you're attracted to, and maybe show you ways to put a little spin on it, so that you are comfortable, but you get something you would have maybe never ventured off to try. So for some designers, that's maybe pushing you a pinch more modern, but then you maybe get some more new functions that you wouldn't have thought of on your own. Whenever someone just wants my opinion, and won't tell me anything about what they're thinking. It's like a shot in the dark. 

Stacy Grinsfelder  40:53  
Oh, yeah. Well, that has to be a nightmare for you.

Kristine  40:56  
Yeah, classic, classic Colonial, why don't you paint your house white with black shutters and a red door, right? And they're like, I hate that. You're a professional. Why would you say that? Well give me some direction, and we'll start over.

Stacy Grinsfelder  41:13  
Right. I can only imagine how many times you're between a rock and a hard place.

Kristine  41:17  
Yeah, I mean, most of the time it works out. Most of the time it works out, but yeah, once in a while you have somebody who won't share their opinion. So it's, it's harder to get into something, that they're happy with. Once in a while you have a husband and wife for, you know, on opposite ends of what they like. So you really got to try harder to get everyone compromising, come together and find something 

Stacy Grinsfelder  41:41  
So your marriage counselor as well. 

Kristine  41:43  
Basically, I think all interior designers know that at the end of the day, part of the job is a little bit of, you know, therapy counseling. It's stressful when your house is ripped apart, or you're paying a ton of money for something to get done and you just want to guarantee that it's gonna look nice at the end. So 

Stacy Grinsfelder  42:05  
Right. Yeah, I spent months trying to decide the exterior color of our house-- months! because I was just panicked that I would choose something that I didn't like after six months. In the end. It's pretty classic. It's not really, I didn't go out on a limb with my choice, but I'm happy.

Kristine  42:23  
Yeah, yeah, that's good.

Stacy Grinsfelder  42:26  
All right. So we're gonna touch on interiors. I did really want to focus on exterior today, which we did. Because like I said, that's a very expensive job. Interior, you don't like what you did you just buy another gallon, you know. It's-- it is it's--money is money, whether you-- nobody wants to waste it, but it doesn't feel quite as critical of a mistake. If you pick something the wrong color for an interior.

Kristine  42:49  
Right. It's not hundreds of gallons. It's maybe like two. 

Stacy Grinsfelder  42:53  
Right, right, exactly. 

Kristine  42:55  
for your average size room.

Stacy Grinsfelder  42:57  
So sticking with the idea that somebody is in an old house? I mean, is there a complete creative--there's always complete creative freedom, but is there? I mean, are there any rules for interior? I mean, loose rules, I use that in quotes. What's that, like, comparatively speaking?

Kristine  43:15  
For color, it's really just your opinion, and you know what you like. So if you have a goal to restore the home to its original, historic grandeur, you might actually be using a lot of wallpaper. And matching colors from those papers selections might be using a company like Bradbury and Bradbury or a William Morris design. Or you might say you know what my goal is really to make sure the outside of the house looks historic, because it blends in with this village or town that I'm in, but I'm going to go a little bit more modern colorways on the inside for myself.

Stacy Grinsfelder  43:52  
Now when you say Bradbury and Bradbury and William Morris are talking about wallpaper?

Kristine  43:56  
Yes. So William Morris was a designer back in the 1800s in England, and he really was responsible for a lot of fabric and wallpaper designs, and his his work is still around today. It was a few years ago, I walked into H&M clothing store and his designs were on a dress. They had a William Morris collection. So it's very classic, vintage look that is actually coming back right now. And then Bradbury and Bradbury is a company that makes paper like reproduction, reproduction papers from different areas. So I think they have everything from you know, like Deco, and different versions of Victorian and Craftsmen.

Stacy Grinsfelder  44:41  
Are there any reference materials for people if they want to sort of stick hard and fast to historic and periods specific colors?

Kristine  44:49  
There are books about it. A lot of times just a quick Google shirt shirts will bring up like images of old paint pamphlets and people will upload a image of a pamphlet they found from the past. And it will show, you know, paint colors from a certain time period. So it's out there, you just have to do a search for it. And also, Benjamin Moore does have their historic paint color collection. Those colors were tweaked a little bit, though, to be more sellable. So they found colors throughout history, and then they tweaked them a little bit to make them more acceptable to the masses, right? If you've ever been to Mount Vernon, where George Washington lived, there's like a real bright green room there that you would just never think like, Whoa, this is a historical color. But so I think actually, historical, colors were a lot brighter than we expect them to be. So again, it just depends the accuracy level that you're trying to achieve and your inspiration photos.

Stacy Grinsfelder  45:56  
That's interesting. So you mentioned Pinterest before, I guess magazines could be inspiration. What other forms of inspiration could people use in order to make a plan before they come see someone like you?

Kristine  46:08  
Well, a lot of times just taking a walk in a certain neighborhood, taking pictures. I've had people tell me that they go up to houses and knock on the door and say, what's your paint color because they really like it. And I use Instagram a lot, you know, you can pretty much type in anything and find a tag for it. Anytime you see something that you like, you just snap a picture of it and save it.

Stacy Grinsfelder  46:32  
I actually found the color of my house on a walk in Indiana. Same thing--I'd been just sweating about what color it was going to be. I knew it wasn't going to be dark green with light green shutters like it had been for the last 40 years, and I was just, what am I going to do? What am I going to do? And sure enough, I was on a walk and I saw a house and I thought that's it! That's exactly what it is. And it turned out to be-- I did eventually find the color. I think my mother-in-law was the one who knocked on the door and asked them what color their house was. And she told me and then I found a similar color in a corresponding line because I wanted to use a different kind of paint. But yeah, so yeah, the walk helps. We have a lot of houses around here in my town, which would serve as inspiration too, but just none of them hit me right in the spot where I knew that was just going to be correct no matter what. Yeah, I had to leave town.

Kristine  47:22  
Leave town on vacation. Vacations can be inspiring, and we haven't been able to travel much, but if you've ever go through your old photos from places that you have been, or just going to a more densely packed area if you're out in the country, you know, or if you're out in the suburbs, and you just don't mind taking a quick adventure to a nearby city where you know, you'll see 100 houses on one street. You know, there'll be you know, a lot of different options right in front of you.

Stacy Grinsfelder  47:51  
Sure. And you touched on this earlier and it's kind of an important point, I guess. I don't know how important it is and making decisions but it's something to consider that a house in San Francisco, a historic house, is going to look a lot different than a historic house here in outside Buffalo, New York and even different again in Savannah, Georgia or Key West, Florida. So you have these regional components to choosing colors too. How how much of a factor is that? I mean, obviously you said you want it to look decent within your neighborhood but is this just a case of choosing what you love? Or is it maybe better to blend in with everything if the homeowner doesn't really have an opinion?

Kristine  48:32  
Yeah, again, that is just really personal. When I went to San Francisco I saw endless gorgeous, beautiful homes in the most soothing and soft pastels with a lot of them had metallic gold accents. And you could just tell that everyone was kind of inspired by each other you know --very pale yellows, greens, blues, pinks, purples, and it just created an entire mood for their little city. It was really enjoyable. just to see it like that. Because I'm so used to the moody dark Victorians, but I've seen time over and over again. The same image of this San Francisco home that's painted entirely black. It comes around sometimes on Instagram. You see this gorgeous house and it is head to toe 100% black, no other color. It's everything, every single detail is black. So it you know it just depends how much you want to stand out and what your favorite colors are and again, how much are you into preservation? Are you going for that perfectly historically accurate, or you going to take a pinch of that--a few historical colors, and a few colors of your own and try to make a combination? But yeah, regional is definitely something to consider. When you go to the Bahamas houses are bright coral and yellow and gorgeous, gorgeous colors but up here, you know, if you paint your house like that, most people ask you like what are you doing?

Stacy Grinsfelder  50:10  
It's like that sarong you bought at the gift shop to in the Bahamas, it looked fabulous on your vacation, but you're not going to be walking around town wearing it.

Kristine  50:18  
I really can't wear it here. It just doesn't make sense.

Stacy Grinsfelder  50:21  
All right. Well, this seems like a good point to wrap up. So let's tell everybody, where can they find you if they want to know more about you and your work and the things that you do? 

Kristine  50:29  
Well, you can just find me on Instagram if you want to. My name is Teno Interiors (@tenointeriors). And my first name Kristine, is spelled with a K. You can just send me messages there, follow along. 

Stacy Grinsfelder  50:41  
Wonderful, and I so I'll link to that in the show notes. I'll add that link to the show notes. I'll add a couple things that we've talked about today. Bradbury and Bradbury, William Morris--just some more information about that. And I just want to say thank you so much for being here today,  Kristine. It was really fun to talk to you and we will definitely raincheck on getting together since we live so close.

Kristine  51:00  
Yes, we should.

Stacy Grinsfelder  51:02  
Sounds good. All right. Thank you.

Stacy Grinsfelder  51:03  
Thank you for listening to today's episode to continue the conversation follow True Tales From Old Houses and Blake Hill House on Facebook and Instagram. And for more information about this episode including show notes, transcripts, merchandise, and to sign up for the monthly newsletter, visit Until next time!