Jelly Bean Row: Test your Colour Eye

The residents of St. John’s, NFLD (Canada) must be used to tourists taking photos of their colourful homes, happily, the second day we were there, the sun came out.

Jelly Bean Row: Test your Colour Eye | Maria Killam

The reason their homes are so colourful is because most of the downtown core was burned in a fire in 1892 and the quickest way to rebuild the homes was to build row houses.

In order to distinguish one row house from another, the residents started painting them their own individual colours to identify their house on the street.

According to our tour guide, many times the furniture inside would also be painted similar colours.

When I snapped this photo (above), the owner of the blue house on the right walked over to me and reported that she completely re-built the yellow house. Created a pulley system in the basement to pull the dirt out through the lower window to dig it out further and built a wine room down there.

 

Jelly Bean Row: Test your Colour Eye | Maria Killam

Jelly Bean Row: Test your Colour Eye | Maria Killam

She said the house used to be blue but two days after they painted it BM Sun Kissed Yellow (above), someone knocked on their door asking if they could buy it.

Jelly Bean Row: Test your Colour Eye | Maria Killam

It was hard to get a photo of a row of houses without either a bad trim and body combination or a clean and dirty in addition to a value/intensity problem, so I thought I’d see how good y’all are at seeing which colours on the above photos should be tweaked and to which new shade? Post your answers below and I’ll post my answer in a few days.

This is in no way meant to be a big critique of this town, the homes are charming just as they are. This is just a fun way to test your eye!

Jelly Bean Row: Test your Colour Eye | Maria Killam

Here one of these colours also needs an adjustment. Which one and why?

Jelly Bean Row: Test your Colour Eye | Maria Killam

I don’t know why this old foundation is orange but thought this was a cool shot!  That’s where our boat tour took us to see the the furthest tip of the East coast of Canada.

Today I’m flying all the way down to Durango, Colorado for a mastermind day on Thursday and then back home Friday!

Apparently the weather back home in Vancouver has been a lot warmer then where we’ve been travelling in the last 10 days!

I’m looking forward to being home!

** Okay so here’s my assessment of the colours.

The first photo, the neutral technically doesn’t belong on the strip of colourful homes. If it was lighter or greyer it wouldn’t look dirty in comparison to the yellow and green on either side. It’s close but not exactly right.

In the second photo, the turquoise is too clean and would look better if it was more muted.

The third photo, the muted turquoise is too pale and would really sing if it was the same value as the purple and yellow row homes on the right. And obviously the red roof is slightly out of place here too.

Related posts:

Clean vs. Dirty Colours

The Happy Colours of Lunenburg

Happy Turquoise & Purple Exterior in Christina Lake

If you would like help creating a palette for your home, become a client. Online or In-person.

To get your exterior colours right, download my How to Choose Exterior Colours with Confidence webinar and get my go-to list of colours.

Download my eBookHow to Choose Paint Colours – It’s All in the Undertones to get my complete step-by-step system on how to get colour to do what you want.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

And, if you would like to learn how to choose colour with confidence, become a True Colour Expert.

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  1. Paint them all ‘Cloud White’ :)) I have no idea except maybe re-paint the blue one a more ‘teal’ shad to compliment the red roof and brighten the trim on the pink house, next to it?

  2. Given that you said “adjustment” regarding the last three houses, I’d say the blue house, at least on my monitor, looks a bit rough and faded as though it’s in need of a fresh paint job. And the trim on the purple house looks as though it could use a dose of white to match its neighbors. Don’t like the red roof on the blue house but that’s not an “adjustment” – that’s rather a major investment. Which might be why the roof on the yellow house looks pretty rough. On the whole, it’s a charming street and, if I lived there, I would hope the neighbors on either side of me chose a color I felt coordinated with my house, I’d be happy no one dictated what the colors HAD to be, and I’d try to keep in mind that my neighbors might be hoping the same about the color I chose. Sounds as though you’re having a ball and still teaching us.

  3. Some of the roof colors are out of line with the siding colors one blur roof looks like the paint color is a blue with a lavender undertone ( on my screen ) then the dirty color red roof with the clean color of the blue green

  4. I like the red roof because it’s unique and would cost more to replace than just repainting. Something about the blue I don’t like. Maybe it just looks sad compared to the rest of the homes.

  5. I suggest“”adjusting””the first house on the left with the red-based roof. Ideally, change the red roof to a new roof similar to the charcoal color on the adjacent houses, especially since it seems not to be in great shape. Whether keep the red roof or not, but still want to keep a blue façade, go with a deeper, more dark gray blue, such as the far right blue in the first photo. That would balance the intensity of the red roof. (The blue house in the middle of the first photo is interesting too, but the color doesn’t seem as rich to me.) Also the house trim, window trim and gables’ colors are different. Make them all a white, no beige. This was fun. Thanks!

  6. I think the yellow and turquoise homes need to be redone. The red roof on the turquoise home is a nice touch though, I haven’t really seen that before.

  7. This exercise put us all to work. I was just thinking if all the residents took your color course, they probably would never be happy with their homes again, and that is sad. Ignorance is bliss!!

    So glad that you had such a wonderful trip and it was so much fun to see all your pictures.

  8. I confess, I don’t think the colors look that bad at all. Yes the pinky beige house is not like the others in picture one. The screaming swimming pool aqua and yellow houses stand out in pic. 2 because the colors are so saturated and don’t contrast as much with the white trim, but hey it is pretty cool that they all agreed on white trim. The houses in pic. 3 all look a bit weatherbeaten, especially the mauve body color of the middle one, and its pinky beige trim doesn’t match the neighbors, but in all, not horrible. I do like the picking out of the cornice brackets in a darker color, not like the neighbors, but subtle enough to not be a glaring difference.

    I think a fresh coat of paint on the trim of all three would help, along with some roof repairs or cleaning of mustard house, and a darker door color on the blue house. This picture clearly shows what happens to saturated colors over time–they tend to get chalky and uneven in tone, esp. blue and purple colors, Usually takes more coats to cover evenly as well.

    The different roof color on the blue house isn’t too bad,especially if the blue was a bit deeper and greyer, but the shingle is large and doesn’t follow the slope of the roof as well, and it looks like there are several layers and the whole thing will need to be replaced at some point, preferably with black. It also bothers me that the windows are a little random on this house, especially that the right window is a bit smaller than the left on top, and I would add a decorative window box underneath to make them balance better.

  9. I think that the blue house should be painted a cool toned blue to make it look more clean and then it will match better with the cool toned mauve house in the middle and the cooler toned gold house on the end.

  10. In the long row of houses the aqua blue next to the red and slate blue houses looks out of place. I think it is too clean for that row?
    In the second example the house with the red roof looks out of place.

  11. On the first photo that Maria asked about, wow, I really don’t like the yellow and aqua colored homes! I think the aqua is too clean & bright.

    And the yellow is, well, too something… ugly! I think it would look so much nicer to have a softer yellow, maybe a butter yellow rather than saturated, dirty yellow. I wouldn’t call it mustard — it’s more like NEON mustard. Just imagine that yellow house right next to the orange house. The orange is nice and soft while the yellow is harsh and yucky. (That’s a technical term, I’m pretty sure 😉

    On the 2nd picture that Maria asked about, the Mauve/Plum house in the middle is perfect. The mustard yellow next to it isn’t horrible, because gold and purple do complement each other, but the yellow does need to be a little cleaner (or softer is the term that I would use).

    I don’t mind the beige trim on the Mauve house, but I agree that it has a slightly yellow undertone that might be improved with a more pinky undertone.

    The faded aqua colored house with the red roof is so horrible to me! That red roof just doesn’t go with any of the colors. It is such a harsh color, plus it doesn’t match the other roofs. And the aqua is too washed out compared to the rest of the palette. It looks sad and dumpy to me. That red roof just makes the aqua look even more sickly.

    I can’t wait to hear what Maria has to say!

  12. Oh Maria. Are you ever missing the point on the row houses in St. John’s ! They are what they are. Rest assured the nuances of colour rarely enter into the decision and you have no control over your neighbour. It’s totally about individuality and what makes you happy. But, I get your exercise. Hope you enjoyed your trip to our most colorful city.

  13. It’s a little hard to tell from my monitor, but here goes:

    First photo (row of five houses):
    -orange house has a pink-beige trim
    -blue house has a “clean” field color with a “dirty” trim color

    Second photo (row of ten houses):
    -second blue house has a yellowy cream trim which should be white

    Third Photo (row of three houses)
    -the raspberry house has a yellow-beige trim

  14. I didn’t take the time to read what others wrote..the first photo, the aqua and yellow houses are too clean/bright, and the second photo, the blue house has a different saturation level than the other two. The violet and yellow houses look nice together because they are complimentary.

  15. In the next to last house picture with the three houses I think the red roof color needs to be changed as it doesn’t seem to go with the rest of the colors or the plumy/red
    house color in the middle needs to be changed as the
    2 reds clash……….not sure exactly why tho.
    I like these kinds of exercises…….its a fun way to learn!

  16. In the photo of the 3 three houses, I think the blue house needs to have a deeper hue of blue and a stronger intensity of blue than it currently does. All three houses could use a coat or two of white trim and the red roof would look better in a dark gray.
    The photo of the long line of houses, the turquoise house is the one, I think, doesn’t fit with the rest. It should be a moodier blue. The yellow house is charming! I started school in St. Johns, so these photos take me down memory lane! Thanks for this!

  17. Too bad the utilities on the yellow house are front and center, would be nice if they could be moved to side of house

  18. I skipped reading the ‘answer’. The only house I noticed anything about was the pale blue one in the last photo. It looks like it needs a fresh coat of paint and maybe a gray. But that is my taste. Did anyone get the ‘right’ answer? Charming neighborhood and stunned how soo many homes could look so great together.

      • @ Julie: The answer is right below Maria’s original post, but I’ve copied it here for you:

        ** Okay so here’s my assessment of the colours.

        The first photo, the neutral technically doesn’t belong on the strip of colourful homes. If it was lighter or greyer it wouldn’t look dirty in comparison to the yellow and green on either side. It’s close but not exactly right.

        In the second photo, the turquoise is too clean and would look better if it was more muted.

        The third photo, the muted turquoise is too pale and would really sing if it was the same value as the purple and yellow row homes on the right. And obviously the red roof is slightly out of place here too.: