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Beam color - Brown?

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Joined: May 8 2004

I decided to paint my beams (and front roofline face) inside and outside in a somewhat dark brown for several reasons: it ties in the darker/brown landscape elements like rocks to the house; it's in the original Eichler spirit; and inside, it shows off the beams against the offwhite ceiling color. The main exterior color is a grayish-blue. Terra Linda, 1961.

So already, the neighbors are saying that this is just not what to do - that they should be white. Sure enough, all beams within site of our house have white beams.

Is this a fad, or am I missing something?

Any comments appreciated.


Joined: Mar 20 2003

Actually, history shows Eichler's architects specified white and brown beams. Whether is was model or subdivision specific, I am not sure. Where are you at? What year was your house built?

I like brown beams and they are appropriate for an Eichlers, or any post and beam modern home. I like white too.

Joined: Apr 2 2003


Well, unless you have an architectural committee for your tract, I would think you could paint your house anything you like within reason. Stay away from easter egg green ;-) yes, we have a liberated soul in our neighborhood.

I don't know as much about exterior house color combinations as I'd like, especially the matching of trim colors and beam colors to the exterior. However, I'd say your current choices are unusual from 2 perspectives.

1. I think white or black beams were used for the grey/black range of body colors and you mention your beams are brown.

2. I think the facia normally is the body color. (The front facia could instead be trim color instead of body color).

From what I gather, the architect seemd to use a 3-tone color scheme (4 if you count the ceiling):

a. ceiling color (a medium stain in tan or grey tones)
b. beam color (white, dk brown or black) to contrast with ceiling and exterior and trim
c. body color (earth tones) that contrasted with beam and ceiling
d. trim color for door (and cross bar if you have one)

So, I guess a minor change that might be more in keeping with the traditional would be paint the facia board the body color (with trim color on the front facia, if that look works for your model).

A more major change might be to go with black beams. Or, if you're really sold on the dk brown beams, changing the body color to a warm earthtone (moss green, taupe, or others).

Now let's hear from the real designers and historians...

P.S. Out of curiosity, Is your house flat roof or peaked with a bar.

eichfan at rawbw dot com

Joined: Aug 28 2003

I agree with Jake that the beams should always contrast with the ceiling. If you look at pictures of original Eichlers you will see this.
The original homes had the beam and ceiling colors the same on the inside and outside. This is what visually emphasizes the "outside moving into the inside" feel of an Eichler and is the central concept of this style of architecture.
It is amazing how many Eichlers have been re-painted with a dark color beam until it enters the house and it turns to white. This just doesn't work visually and it makes the house seem smaller.

Joined: Mar 22 2003

Our ceilings are Frost semi-gloss (a white color by Kelly Moore) and the beams are dark brown, flat exterior Lom (also by KM). They look great.

When we bought, the ceiling and beams were both white and on the advice of an experienced Eichler contractor/neighbor, we decided to paint the beams dark to get the contrast. You also need to paint the posts the same color as the beams (both inside and out). This gives you continuity and flow throughout the house. We love the look.


Joined: Aug 30 2003

I have a similar experience to Cathy: when I bought my house the beams and ceiling were both white (Leslie, that is not the way they were originally, the ceilings were a pale stain over the redwood, usually light gray or green). A very foolish previous owner had the beautiful wood ceiling painted, which ruins it. That meant no contrast between the two elements, and it looked terrible. They had also painted the entire interior of the house white, and the exterior a light beige! Ugh.

Since it was not feasible to strip the ceiling in the entire house (and I wanted to!) I decided to paint the beams a dark brown to contrast with the white painted ceiling. The exterior I painted a warm taupe, and used a lighter shade on the interior. Front door was painted black.

Currently I am remodeling the second bathroom and as an experiment I stripped the ceiling. That is a lot of work. It took me two full days just to do a 50 sq. ft. area. It almost makes me cry to see the gorgeous redwood ceiling again (I do still have it in the garage) and I wish I could do the entire house. I'm planning on putting a light gray stain on it, a Cabot semi-transparent Pewter Gray, which will let the grain show fully and return it to a state similar to the original.


1959 A. Quincy Jones atrium model in The Highlands, San Mateo

Joined: Aug 28 2003

Sorry for the confusion. What I tried to say was that the beams and ceiling are a different color from one another but that the color extends to the outside.

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