Sharon Grech on outdoor paints, stains and colors | Home Front

May 22, 2014

Sharon Grech is color design expert for for Benjamin Moore. After graduating from the University of Toronto’s Fine Art & Art History Program, Sharon has dedicated her career to exploring and celebrating the world of color. As a member of Benjamin Moore’s Color Innovation and Design Team, Sharon researches design trends, helps develop new color collections and more.

Every week, Jura Koncius helps you in your quest to achieve domestic bliss. Got a question about decorating? She's happy to whip out her paint chips and suggest the perfect hue, call a retailer to help track down a hard-to-find accent piece or offer some do-it-yourself. Built on years of reporting experience, Home Front is an online conversation about the best way to feather the nest. We invite you to submit questions and share you own great tips, ideas and, yes, the occasional complaint.

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Good morning! This is Sharon Grech with Benjamin Moore & Co. ready to answer your paint, stain and colour questions! Thanks Jura for having me on today!

Good morning and welcome to Sharon Grech, Benjamin Moore's color design expert. Today we address our favorite chat topic: paint! Let's get going and ask Sharon our most pressing questions on exterior paint colors, stains, door colors and any indoor queries you have been dying to ask.

Hello Jura: I just wanted to let your audience know that the ASID Washington Metro Chapter's Spring Spruce Up 2014 will only be accepting applications until May 31 (consultations for clients do not have to take place by then). Thank you!

Thank you for this information. Everyone - go to the ASID website for more info.

I want to paint a piece of furniture an orange color, do you have any recommendations on the color and finish. I was thinking of using your ADVANCE product.

Benjamin Moore's Advance is a great product for painting furniture!  How about my favourite orange buttered yam AF-230?  Assuming it's wood then scuff up the previous coating if there is one,  and paint away!

I have outside facing bricks that look a bit dull with age. I want to freshen them up with a coat of appropriate paint but my husband insists there is no such thing. He thinks that bricks should be able to breathe and paint will restrict its breathing. On a related note- I ignored him and painted some internal brickwork around the fireplace (I am so glad I did it because it perked the place up with white instead of yellowing brick). It was a very hard process to try and paint the grout (is that what is called between bricks?). So my questions are: 1. Can you freshen/paint outside brick and if so, with which paint product? 2. What is the least hasslesome way to paint brick and get best coverage?

Paint can be applied to brick - as you have tested yourself!  Just a few things to keep in mind:  Once you paint it there is no going back!  And you want to ensure there are no underlying moisture issues before you commit.  If its in great shape then be sure it is dry (no rain for a few days) and then to avoid primer I always use either Aura Exterior or Regal Select exterior. If you can spray it, that's the easiest.  Otherwise a high pile roller (1 inch) to get in the mortar.  Good luck!

Because of overly aggressive pressure washing, nails that hold the siding onto the front of our house have begun rusting. Result: there are rust dots in rows across the siding. Is there a coating I can apply to the rust spots that will stop further rusting and prevent the existing rust from "bleeding" through when I repaint the siding?

yes - you first want to remove any loose rust spots with sandpaper and then immediately spot-prime with a rust inhibitive primer.  Just prime those areas.  If the rest of the siding is in good shape then I recommend painting with an exterior latex like Aura exterior or Regal Select exterior in any finish.  My preference for painted siding is low-lustre.

My dream of owning a home by he beach is coming true. Any suggestions for decor for a beach vacation home? The house will be rented part of the year to make it affordable, so I need items that make the house appeal to different tastes, but if don't want kitschy shell mirrors or seahorse lamps, for example. Thanks a million.

Check out my article on shopping in Annapolis today.

They have lots of good sources for vintage beachy stuff and designer stores and of course Maine Cottage, where second homes and waterside houses are their specialty. You'll get ideas just by visiting the stores. Also you might want to get a subscription to Coastal Living magazine.

Does painting a deck (with paint) work or should a deck be stained?

I would recommend staining the deck surface to maintain breathability and get the best wear for your coating.  Even if you want a more opaque look (like paint) you can choose any color in a solid stain --- look at Benjamin Moore's Arborcoat product for the variety of finishes, colors and transparencies. 

What do you think about painting a ceiling in a color other than white? For example, a light sky blue?

I love that idea!  Think of the ceiling as the 5th wall -- so don't ignore it!  Sometimes white is the best choice - but even then look through all the whites to choose the best one to complement your space.  A light blue, like Benjamin Moore's breath of fresh air #806 (happens to be our color of the year :-) looks so refreshing.  Go for it!

I am touching up my house exterior where needed with exterior solid colored oil-based stain. I have some leftover stain but the brand and color are no longer readable. Can you recommend the best solid color oil-base stain that I can bring in a sample and get the color matched? Thanks very much.

Good question - I would recommend checking out our store locator to find a few retailers close to you - give them a call to find one who specializes in color matching.  Keep in mind even with the same brand/product/color you likely won't get a perfect match as the exterior color will have seasoned somewhat over time.... You may want to consider painting/staining the entire area, or at least to a natural break.

Good Morning! I'm in the midst of a master bedroom re-do and going for a restful, upscale hotel look. Painted the room BM's Indian River (beautiful!) and have cream and duck egg blue accents. The cream upholstered bed is centered over one of three windows (all have relaxed roman shades). The bedside tables do not match - one is a 28" tall creamy wooden nightstand and the other is 33" tall antiqued mirrored chest. I'd like simple crystal table lamps but am unsure if I should purchase a matching pair or single lamps of different sizes. Would also appreciate any thoughts on artwork on the walls behind/beside the lamps. Thank you so much.

I would definitely do matching lamps. I like the crystal lamps that have several large balls of crystal as a base. A lamp like this would look great on the mirrored chest as well as the wood nightstand.

Hello, I have a question about paint colour for front door & garage. My house is white brick with charcol coloured roof and white trim. Door & garage are currently white. Any suggestions appreciated. Thank you. Also should they be primed first and should I use acrylic or oil based paint.

seems like you have  a blank slate. perfect.  I would consider keeping the garage door an off-white that blends in with the brick and then accentuate the front door with a colour.  If you want a pop, try a red like salsa dancing AF-280 or more serene try a nice blue- grey like atmospheric AF-500?  I would suggest water-based paint as opposed to alkyd, far more environmentally friendly and easier (less mess) to work with.  Benjamin Moore's Aura Exterior and Regal Select exterior come in a wide variety of finishes.

We recently bought a house with a finished basement featuring dark wood paneling and a dark brick fireplace and surrounding brick wall. I'd like to paint the paneling and possibly the brick. Any color recommendations to brighten up the room but still maintain a basement feel? We'll be using the room as an entertainment room/"man cave". Also, do you recommend painting the brick? I've heard varying opinions.

Painting the paneling and brick will certainly brighten up the space!  Without knowing the flooring color, I would suggest something warm and gray - my fave is Revere Pewter HC-172  for the walls.  You should clean the paneling well to get rid of any oil or wax, and then prime with Benjamin Moore Fresh Start 46.  After that you are good to paint away -- again I like Aura Interior or Regal Select in an eggshell finish. For the brick same thing - be sure its clean and then no need to prime just paint with 2 coats of latex paint.  If you want an even brighter look then paint the brick light, classic gray OC-23 is nice or go a bit darker than the walls, rockport gray HC-105.  With such a big area to paint be sure to buy a pint sample first to test out the colors!

hi everyone! i'm going for a "fall foliage" theme in my living room it has a large picture window that opens to the porch and another smaller window that . So i get some natural light but its diffuse. i chose BM "showtime" for the room and BM "fiery opal" for the accent wall. the colors are pretty but don't really give me the effect i want: i want "warm and cozy" rather than "bold." Should I repaint one or more of the gold walls with a pumpkin color? suggestion?

i love fall colors :-)  How about for a little less bold - splendor AF-385?  Still looks great with the rich orange!

My husband and I have been using Benjamin Moore paints for our entire 17 year marriage--and long before that. I am in LOVE with the AF series--we have Pashmina throughout much of our main level, and it changes beautifully in varied lighting. Lots of other beautiful colors in that series, many of which go well together. So, just a thank you!!

Nice message.

Good morning-- It's time to restain our eight year old deck. Sigh. Any tips on colors (our shake siding is light grey) and tips to ease application and get a nice finish?

re-staining a deck is all about preparation (sorry, but it is a bit of work :-)  We always suggest  power washing and a light sanding with a pole sander, even if the deck is in good condition.  I would suggest Benjamin Moore's Arborcoat - a waterborne stain that is available in translucent through to opaque finishes.  If the deck is in rough shape, the semi-solid or solid is best, if you want to see the beautiful wood, then semi-transparent finish.  How about a darker grey for the deck boards:  amherst gray?

Help! Our house was wiped out by a burst pipe this winter and we are about to undergo reconstruction which means lots of opportunities for new paint colors. We have an original 1969 greenish gray slate floor in the entry way I am trying to keep and the adjacent wood floors are a light yellowy blonde color. The house is very shady so we want to keep the light wood floors. Can you suggest a light grayish color which would go with both? I would use it in the entry and then in the adjacent stairwell and upstairs hallway too. The adjacent living room walls are stick-of-butter yellow if that helps. Thanks!

sorry about the burst pipe!!!  With the blonde floors and green-gray slate take a look at grey owl 2137-60 and hazy skies OC-48.  They are both quite light and airy. if you want a tad deeper try revere pewter HC-173.

My daughter lives in a small craftsman style bungalow. She wants to paint the kitchen and adjoining living room a soft creamsicle orange that she loves. The problem is that the kitchen has white appliances with black accents and a fairly new black fridge. How does she avoid having the kitchen look to "Halloweeny" or should she just change colors?

a bit tricky, but a good thing to keep in mind is using a gray undertoned color (orange or any) to help work with the black and white contrast.   Even a pale creamsicle could help and be very current with the pastel trend.....oklahoma wheat 2160-50? If she loves it that's the important part!

Thanks Sharon. Lots of helpful information here. We really appreciate your joining us today. Hope everyone has time to do a bit of painting this long weekend. Enjoy.

this was so much fun Jura!  Lots of great questions - sorry I couldn't get to them all.  Hope this turns out to be a great weather weekend for painting - outdoors or in!

In This Chat
Jura Koncius
Jura Koncius is a Washington Post staff writer who specializes in home and design. Read her daily twitter feed @jurakoncius for the latest in decorating trends, shopping, decluttering, organizing and DC retail.

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Sharon Grech
Sharon Grech is color design expert for for Benjamin Moore. After graduating from the University of Toronto’s Fine Art & Art History Program, Sharon has dedicated her career to exploring and celebrating the world of color. As a member of Benjamin Moore’s Color Innovation and Design Team, Sharon researches design trends, helps develop new color collections and more.
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