Our Exterior Window Trim Color Reveal! (And the Whole Process of How We Finally Decided)

May 5, 2024

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It’s been over a year in the making, but our exterior windows have been replaced and now painted!!! (The interior of the windows are black and the exterior we opted for paintable so we could paint them whatever color we wanted!) I have a slew of photos to show you, and I feel like the color looks slightly different in every one, which is honestly accurate! We painted the windows Cromwell Gray by Benjamin Moore, and it’s a total chameleon color! Is this brown-y taupe gray green that’s STUNNING! We’re so in love. Take a look!

Chris Loves Julia | Moody Colonial Brick Home with Cromwell Gray Paint Trim
Chris Loves Julia | Moody Colonial Brick Home with White Paint Trim

Planters | Faux Topiaries | Lanterns

Choosing a color for an exterior can be tough. In fact, if you watched our YouTube video about choosing exterior trim colors, you saw that we narrowed 11 different colors down to two (and this was after sampling 10 colors last year). And on the count of three, Chris and I both chose our favorite: the brown one, which was called Cromwell Gray by Benjamin Moore. And then the cameras cut, but actually the cliffhanger just began! Sometimes after I say something out loud, I get this ping of uncertainty in my gut. And I got that feeling when I said brown.

The next day I went and painted some swatches on the back of the house of both colors. And to be completely transparent, I started to think too much about other people’s opinions. I thought, people are expecting me to to do the more blue tone, it’s the bolder choice. It is a little more fun, so even though I want to do the brown, I should do the blue because it would push me out of my comfort zone, which will help push other people out of their comfort zone.

Chris Loves Julia | Modern Colonial Brick Home Backyard Exterior with Cromwell Gray Paint Trim and Pool
Shop the Backyard
Chris Loves Julia | Modern Colonial Brick Home Backyard Exterior with White Paint Trim and Pool

Outdoor Coffee Table | Carlisle Sofa | Oversized Ottoman | Oversized Lounge Chair Side Table | Pool Storage Box | Outdoor Shower

Chris Loves Julia | Modern Colonial Brick Home Backyard Exterior with Cromwell Gray Paint Trim and Pool

Outdoor String Lights | Striped Pool Floats

Chris Loves Julia | Modern Colonial Brick Home Backyard Exterior with White Paint Trim and Pool

Chaise Lounge Chairs | Outdoor Striped Umbrellas | Umbrella Stands

So blue it was, then. We told our contractor we would go with the blue, aka Homburg Gray by Sherwin-Williams. I felt excited that I was doing something out of my safe zone, but also anxious. The contractors told me they’d pick up the paint and prep all day, pressure washing the entire house and masking off the windows. So I said, “Can you paint two full windows just so I can make sure?” By the time they were done, it was in the late evening. I walked out front, and ohhhh, it was not what I was expecting. But I was not feeling well that day, so I thought, let’s just look at it in the morning. The next morning I left before dawn to go to gym, but I knew when I drove back to the house it would be bright enough to see. And that was the moment when my reaction went viral on TikTok. The trim looked like this cool charcoal gray to me, and…I didn’t like it. But I still wasn’t ready to let it go, so I waited until I could see it with the sun out. And actually, I was like, “I know why I chose this — this is pretty.” It would look amazing with a wreath on the front door next to it.

Chris Loves Julia | Sampling exterior paint trim on windows: Homburg Gray and Cromwell Gray

But ultimately, when the sun’s not shining on it (which is at least half of the time), it’s going to look like that other tone — so remember that. So I had them paint the other color Cromwell Gray on a window, and the feeling was immediate: This is the right choice (again). I didn’t have any anxiety about it at all. That’s actually when I posted both of the options in my Instagram Stories. At that moment, it didn’t matter if someone told me they didn’t like it, because I was confident that I liked it. That’s something I’ve learned: When I’m not sure about something, I can’t really share it, because I can be talked out of my opinion.

Chris Loves Julia | Exterior dark moody paint color on brick home windows

The contractors got the Cromwell Gray, and they painted each window pane and trim with a sprayer. They started with the garage doors and the windows right next to them. Then they worked their way around the guest house, which was the most excruciating, because I couldn’t really see a difference —we never go back there, and the painters were there for a full day. The whole project took over a week, because there are just so many windows on the house — there are a few guys masking the windows, and then there’s a guy who is just amazing with a paint sprayer and can maneuver ladders like no other.

Chris Loves Julia | Exterior painting of window trim in progress with ladders

Someone commented on our post on Instagram and said they preferred the white trim because the white made the house stand out more. Of course everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but the fact of the matter is that 1) so many people have brick houses with white windows in this part of North Carolina that it doesn’t really stand out among other houses, and 2) the white windows made our windows stand out more, not our house. What I really wanted to accomplish with this window color was to lean more into the red brick and make that the star. And now that I see the Cromwell Gray, it really complements the brick in just a beautiful way.

Chris Loves Julia | Mushroom brown trim paint color on brick home
Chris Loves Julia | Driveway entrance to grand brick colonial home with Cromwell Gray exterior trim paint
Chris Loves Julia | Back of House Showing Cromwell Gray Trim Paint on Window Trim, Door Trim and Siding

Outdoor Planters & Faux Topiaries

Chris Loves Julia | Outdoor Kitchen with Pergola Painted in Cromwell Gray, a Moody Brown Color

Lantern Pendants (similar) | Barstools | Stone Vase | Pergola (similar) | Outdoor Kitchen Sources

Chris Loves Julia | Outdoor Kitchen with Pergola Painted in Cromwell Gray, a Moody Brown Color and Ivy on Brick

Gordon Planter | Montpellier Planter | Dell All-Weather Planter | Double Ball Topiary | Cedar Pine Tree | Pond Cypress Topiary

Chris Loves Julia | Colonial Brick Home with Cromwell Gray Exterior Trim Paint (After)
Chris Loves Julia | Colonial Brick Home with White Exterior Trim Paint (Before)

The final task is that we’re going to dye or stain the stone keystones (need to look into processes) to better match the mortar!

Overall, we are just in love with the transformation. The house just feels more us — we love it in every light at every moment. It finally feels like it reflects what’s inside: the house and the people.

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What do you think?

  1. Lesley says:

    Absolutely gorgeous!! I wonder how long u til a neighbor gives you the best compliment by following your lead!!

  2. Cindy Schoen says:

    Stunning! I liked the white but totally understand wanting your home to not look like everyone else’s home. The grey was also my vote when you were trying to decide and it looks amazing! Those painters did an exceptional job from the pictures.

  3. Amy Marsh says:

    i love how these turned out! watched the youtube video and was TRANSFIXED. super curious what’s happening with your gutters. did you photoshop them out or are you in the process of getting new ones?

  4. Laura K. says:

    The color you chose is stunning. I agree about so many brick houses with white trim – it is classic and pretty.
    This color just makes the surroundings stand out well. The greenery and nature are what you see first and then you see your beautiful home within the land and trees.

  5. Joyce May says:

    Love it! Elevates the architecture. The white trim is just distracting, bu5 now it looks like an estate as opposed to just a house.

  6. Bonnie Barros says:

    LOVE the new trim & windows. It really pulls the house together. Hope you don’t mind if I steal your color. My home is in Texas…not like it’s next door. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. Barb Shoemaker says:

    Are you going to put the gutters back?

    • Chris Loves Julia says:

      We’re switching out for copper ones — they’re on order and should be here in a couple of weeks!

      • Barb Shoemaker says:

        I thought the gutters that were up were copper . That will be beautiful!

  8. A B Seawell says:

    Honestly I find the overall presentation depressingly dark.

  9. Patricia says:

    We painted the trim on our brick Tudor revival house the deepest charcoal gray I could find. I must have had five different sample swatches . Hard to pick one but when done, we loved it.
    You only have to please yourself but sometimes even that is a challenge.

  10. Karen says:

    Absolutely Beautiful!

  11. Julie says:

    I love this color with the brick! Now your whole house stands out, not just the windows. Amazing.

  12. Gina says:

    Your color choice is spot on!! Beautiful 🤩

  13. tamara mathews says:

    One million times better! Love the color choice. Looks like a manor house now. Congrats on a successful transformation.

  14. Debie Larsen says:

    I love it; it’s beautiful! The color did exactly what you wanted it to!

  15. It’s gorgeous and makes the house and it’s surroundings SING!

  16. Vicki E says:

    I loved your house so much with the white….until I saw the gray. Such a beautiful and perfect choice!

  17. M. says:

    I think it is really beautiful.

  18. Jill says:

    This is really beautiful. My guess is your neighbors are going to be asking for permission from the HOA to paint their windows this color! It took your house from very nice to something special.

  19. I liked the white too, but this color is very elegant.

  20. REK981 says:

    Making the red pop just fits with this choice. I love it and I hope you do too!

  21. Patti says:

    I absolutely love your final choice! It elevates the house in a way the white and blue did not. It looks classic and classy! Trust your instincts!

  22. I’ll admit, I had my doubts but it really looks amazing! We just moved from Jacksonville, NC and you’re right, there are a lot of homes in NC that are brick with white trim. Bravo for going bold!

  23. Amanda Rivera says:

    I love everything about this!!! Conrats!!

  24. Dawn says:

    It looks like it was always this way in the best way possible.

  25. emily says:

    LOVE it all and loved following along! What color did you paint the siding?

  26. Elise W says:


  27. Beth Ann Eidson says:

    Is your siding slightly lighter or 50 percent? House looks amazing.

  28. Temima Goldberg Shulman says:

    Thank you for being honest about the process, and the insecurity of sharing while you’re ambivalent.
    The color works beautifully with your traditional modern moody aesthetic. (I read that descriptor of yours in one of your newsletters :)

  29. Bre says:

    This new color makes the house look so much more “rich”. I love it; you definitely made the right choice.

  30. RKees says:

    You made the right choice! While white trim is always “safe” and wonderfully fine, the gray-brown trim turned your lovely house into a magnificent, stately manor. Another person questioned the keystones. I would tone them down to be more in keeping with the rest of the house. Beautiful home! Thank you for sharing your inspiring process. I wish you many happy years there.

  31. Becky Dean says:

    I understand completely your saying that you wanted the brick to be the star instead of the white trim. Looking through all the photos, I definitely see the difference. With the Cromwell Grey trim, the brick is the star. Love it.

  32. Linda says:

    The new color is dramatic and absolutely gorgeous. Yummy comes to mind.
    The white was just so average and normal – nothing special!
    I always love your choices in the reveal – and also how you are transparent as you take us with in the process of how you make your decisions. Educational and helpful!

  33. Mary Moessinger says:

    The brick looks so good against the new windows. Old, historic, warm. So charming. The white windows somehow made the brick look more like a 90’s house. Now it reminds me of old historic houses in New England. It’s lovely.

    • Jessica S says:

      I agree! It definitely looks more historic and stately, almost gothic even. When I first saw the full house reveal it reminded me of the house in Knives Out! So beautiful.

  34. Lindsay says:

    Stunning – just looks so rich and timeless and effortless, like it was meant to be this way all along. I’d live here, that’s for sure! 🥰

  35. Caroline says:

    Just curious re: thought process. What made you keep the white/light color stone at the top of each front window instead of painting it to match the windows and trim?

    Looks great!

    • Chris Loves Julia says:

      We’re going to work on updating the keystones (either dye or stain), we just need to find the right process!

      • Caroline says:

        Had no doubt you had put thought into this! V cool and look forward to hearing more!

  36. Katie says:

    What other people think of you- or your house- is none of your business :)

  37. Victoria says:

    I prefer the brown when it looks like a dark green in some shots, but I definitely get what you’re saying about the brick coming to the fore than when the windows are white. It looks like a darker house, but seeing the two side by side, the white is kinda boring.
    And I like the reminder to stop if it doesn’t feel right.

  38. Judy says:

    This really is stunning! The new color gives the house more presence. Very elegant!

  39. Debra Braun says:

    Can’t love this post enough. And it’s something I still need to remind myself of at 70: work the process, trust the process, then trust myself.

    P.S. I’ve loved this color choice from the beginning!

  40. Jenny says:

    You definitely did the right thing!! The whole look of the house just leveled up from very nice, to making-you-wonder-if-on-historic-registry status. When it looks like what the house would ask for if it could, you nailed it. Thanks too though for your transparency on decision struggles. How you navigated them is reassuring to the rest of us who get stuck!

  41. Jane says:

    New trim color is so much better!!

  42. Brenda says:

    Stunning!!! I always learn from your choices!! Thanks for teaching me.

  43. Kelly McLaughlin says:

    This looks lovely. I honestly think the brown is a bolder choice because it’s so unexpected. Bravo. Your instincts are what make so many people follow you and await your next project.

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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