That inspiration ended up coming from a nearby house, which happened to be painted yellow. "It was a much different hue than the mustard tone we'd been looking at," says Sally. "It was brighter and more cheerful, and to us it felt right for the house."
After she and John told their painter, Mauro Henrique, about the place they'd seen, he snapped a photo of the house and took it to a local paint store for a color match. Then, armed with two slightly different color samples, he painted large swatches on the house's siding so that the couple could compare them. This is something Maycock always recommends, making sure that swatches are big enough (about 2 by 3 feet) to get a good idea of how each color will "read" in different light and weather conditions. "Computer visualizers are great, but screen colors aren't accurate," she says. "A color might look nice on your laptop, but once you put it on the siding, it's a whole different story."
Luckily, John and Sally's story has a happy ending. Though they didn't go with Maycock's recommendations, they say her advice helped tremendously, and they are confident that the palette they picked suits their home and neighborhood. The base-color yellow is warm and sunny; cream highlights corner boards, columns, and eaves; and black window sashes conform to the darker accents of Victorian times. "To mix things up, we might paint the front door red," says Sally. "But we're still trying to find the right shade."
Shown: A house in their neighborhood with a similar paint job led the couple to select this cheery palette. Benjamin Moore's Marblehead Gold (1), Navajo White (2), and Black (3)