Help! I have a 1960 flat roofed house that looks kind of Eichler-like. The painter is going to ask me what color to buy in just a few days. I was going to go with this wonderful Ralph Lauren "True Blue" but had an epiphany that I was going to ruin the architectural style! I need a palatte that features black beams (and, honestly soffets as well). Can someone help me?
I'm no expert or artist. But I'll share some thoughts while you wait for more professional members to respond.
When I was choosing colors and had narrowed the possibilities, I took a large board and mocked up the color combinations proportionally (largest square in the body color, then smaller adjacent bars across and beside in the beams and eaves colors). I then took it outside into the sunlight on the various sides of the house to see how I liked it.
Although this worked in terms of getting a color pallette I liked, I didn't know my Eichler needed to be earth tones and so ended up with a nice Sante Fe color scheme!
So, in terms of color palette, I'd say stay away from blue, yellows, etc. For Eichlers (though you note yours isn't), you would use earth tones--either brown (or green) tones, or grey tones. An in-between that is very popular currently is taupe (grey'd brown) which would look good with your black beams but you should have a third highlight/relief color--possibly light putty or cream. In Eichlers, there is then a 4th color which is the punch color used on the door.
I highly recommend mocking up before you spend good money on the full monte. It's expensive to repaint.
I cannot overstate Jake's suggestion to see what the paint looks like at high noon. When I *finally* painted my house, after hemming and hawing over the colors, what to paint what (fascia, trim, beams, ad nauseum) and the contrast, the painters painted one side of my home. The Aspen Green was fine, the Navajo White was wonderful, but this brown was dreadful! It was more red that contrasted badly with the yellow in the Aspen Green. Back to drawing board (well, paint store) to pick out another brown. Found it, and it was PERFECT!
Also, I suggest that you drive around the Eichler neighborhoods to see if there are homes that stick out -- either good or bad -- and either copy it or avoid it -- or adapt it to your own tastes.
Oh, yes, there was an EX-CELL-ENT article in the Spring 2004 Eichler Newsletter a couple years ago about painting Eichlers written by Cathye Smithwick. She suggested that you treat your wood before you paint. My suggestion: follow Cathye's suggestion.