After 9 Summers In Our Home… We Painted It!

Honestly, the condition of our outside paint wasn’t terrible — at least most of the spots that were visible. But, after living here for nine years, along with our backyard project, we updated the paint color! After long deliberation of even a ballpark color family, light vs. dark, and more, we ultimately chose Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal — a dark, warm gray — to coat our house’s exterior siding.

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**NOTE: Throughout the post, you’ll see different lighting, different times of day, different seasons, and even different settings — and how they all contribute to how an exterior home paint color appears. As always, with your own house paint, TEST TEST TEST yourself, and don’t assume that it will look the same on one section as it does another.

Easiest Way to Get Paint Samples

If you’ve never ordered a paint sample via Samplize, it is the EASIEST way to get a true color that you can use time and again. You can order high quality peel and stick samples (I typically just tape mine so I can use them over and over 😉 ) from Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, and Farrow & Ball, and unlike paint chips or even the bigger paint sample sheets you get at the paint store, these are made from the actual paint. You can also get multiple brands AT THE SAME TIME. Each sample is cheaper (and way less messy) than the paint sample cans and if you spend $40+, you get free overnight shipping HERE.

Here are a few of my well loved (and well used, haha) samples I hold onto and it’s made picking colors so much easier…

Favorite Gray Paint Color Samples

I picked up a small can while I was out, on a whim, but even after we chose our color, I was wishing I had ordered a Samplize sample so we didn’t have to live with paint swatches on our house for a few months, like we did. When you choose a color on their website, they’ll show you similar colors to consider, too — again, from different brands. Then you can order your samples together and have them arrive the next day. If you’ve never used them before, you can browse HERE.

What Color Paint Did We Have Before?

Honestly, I don’t know the name and I don’t remember why we originally chose it, but it was pretty beige. Like — flesh-toned beige. I knew when we painted one day, I would want to change it but despite our humidity and heat, it’s actually stayed in pretty good shape. Most of the issues fell under the eaves, on the upper backside of the house, and even splintered trim boards that needed replacing. Here’s a reminder of what it looked like, in a picture I found from several years ago…

What Ultimately Made Us Decide to Paint Our Home?

Along with the more discreet places that needed painting, and our porch and peripheral railings that needed painting, and our fence that needed to be re-painted, and our decks that needed re-staining, once we invested in our backyard project, it was kind of just like… “it’s time.” We had watched neighbors repaint their homes over the past few years — many who had paint fresher than ours — so knowing that too made us feel better about our decision. Once we had a recommended company out to give us a quote to get a ballpark idea of what we were looking at, I asked them to line item ALL the projects. When all was said and done, it made sense to have them do everything — from start to finish, with a crew of four — it took them two weeks. By the way, I’m usually hesitant to share a lot of contractors/service providers but I have nothing but amazing things to say about the company we used. If you’re needing an exterior painter, I’ll be happy to share who we used!

How I Chose Our House Exterior Color (And Ultimately Decided On Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal)

The biggest thing I had to keep in mind was that the entire front of our home is brick and stone. We have hardie board siding but the front stands on its own, and the other three sides stand on their own… but they have to complement one another because you can see them both from most directions. Out brick is ok but truthfully, I don’t love the color of our stone. I also wasn’t interested in having it painted, so my goal was to find a way to work with it.

Our house faces south and gets a LOT of sun on the front. A warm white probably would have been the “safest” choice but I wanted to do something a little different and I thought that white siding on the back of the house wold be too stark against our porcelain deck tiles and some of the other features. So, I started considering dark colors.

My Mom’s Home Inspo (Sherwin Williams Roycroft Pewter)

My mom has a dark gray house — and I love how it turned out! Here’s her charcoal exterior in Sherwin Williams Roycroft Pewter, when it was still under construction… I LOVE the color it appears here.

Roycroft Pewter Sherwin Williams Home Exterior Paint Color -- Charcoal Gray

And here it is, during late fall/early winter with less green and sun hitting it…

Dark Gray Home Exterior Colors -- Sherwin William Roycroft Pewter

And here it is, in a shadier spot, earlier this year. I love her color and especially in her setting, it’s perfect. But, it does have a tendency to lean a little blue.

Dark Gray and Charcoal House Siding -- Roycroft Pewter by Sherwin Williams

Once I was convinced I wanted to go in a charcoal/dark gray direction, my goal was to find something warm, that wouldn’t clash with the brick and stone on the front, and also wouldn’t have blue undertones. Without much research (at all, haha), I landed on sampling Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore. I painted a sample on the east-facing side of the house, next to white trim and a sliver of brick. (While I mentioned I grabbed a sample can on a whim, you can order a true painted high quality peel and stick sample HERE. Orders $40+ get free overnight shipping.)

Kendall Charcoal Benjamin Moore Exterior Paint Sample

Kendall Charcoal vs. Iron Ore

When I went to paint a sample on the west-facing side of the house, I also used some of the Sherwin Williams Iron Ore I still had left over from our dining room (see the dining room painted in the soft, warm black HERE).

Dark Gray Charcoal and Soft Black Paint Comparison -- Kendall Charcoal Benjamin Moore and Iron Ore Sherwin Williams

I actually think the Iron Ore could be a really cool color — especially if we had siding on the front — but in our neighborhood and with the layout of our house, I thought that a color that black would probably be too drastic. I still love the color!

Ultimately, I decided to go with the Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal for our siding. And, I’m really glad we did 😉

Kendall Charcoal Exterior Paint Makeover — Before & After

This isn’t a SUPER fair representation of the “before” as I snapped it early in the morning (there’s dew on the side of the house, too), but it is the most recent shot (only a few weeks ago, just before the paint project).

Home Paint Exterior Makeover with Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal

And after we had our exterior painted dark gray… well, here’s the after!

Kendall Charcoal Benjamin Moore Exterior Paint Makeover with Dark Gray Siding

For the shutters, I opted to keep them black and had them coated in Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black (you can see that color inside on the planked ceiling of our conversation room HERE).

And for fairness sake, here’s what it looks like, also early in the morning — which shows how different things can look, depending on light and time of day. Don’t mind the roof tarp — we’re having some work done 😉

Before and After Home Paint Makeover with Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore

From the east-facing side, here’s when our pool was under construction (so the driveway was extra dirty), we still had pine straw ground covering instead of black mulch, and the grass was still dormant…

Before and After Home Exterior Paint Makeover with Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal

And here it is today!

Dark Gray Home with Brick and Stone -- Kendall Charcoal and Alabaster Trim

I especially love how the dark gray siding looks against the lush green…

Home Exterior Paint Makeover with Dark Gray Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore

Our deck was stained the color we’ve always had it stained with — Sherwin Williams Charwood. Also, our landscaping and plants are struggling a little bit this summer from trying to get it to root in the spring, before being able to treat it like normal. Also, our big limelight hydrangeas took a hit and it looks like may be dying a little this season from the paint 🙁

Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal Exterior Paint

What Trim Color Did We Use with Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal?

I was able to use my Samplize peel and stick samples (HERE) to quickly choose our white paint color. We went with our old, trusty warm white paint friend — Sherwin Williams Alabaster. We used it for the trim, eaves, garage door, gutters, porch, railings… anywhere where white appears. Even having the gutters painted made a huge difference!

Sherwin Williams Alabaster Trim and Garage Door with Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal Siding

On the west facing side of the house, we have a lot of un-pretty things going on (HVAC, gas, pipes, concrete retaining walls…) — and we probably need to consider more solutions to conceal some of the things.

Home Exterior Paint Makeover -- Before & After with Kendall Charcoal Benjamin Moore

But even painting the house in dark gray made so much of it blend it! Our painters also painted some of the piping black which looks WAY better. We can’t plant trees here since lots of wiring runs underground here and Dave backs his truck up here to load/unload from the basement, but I’ve been considering trying a Creeping Fig vine on the concrete retaining walls as a way to add more green (and to better conceal the walls). Regardless, having them painted the same color as the siding instead of just bare concrete like they were before, made a BIG improvement.

dark Gray Siding and Retaining Walls -- Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore

What Does Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal Look Like Next To a Pool?

TBH, the biggest reason I wanted to use Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore was the pool area in the back of the house. Since I was chasing a Hamptons-style/garden aesthetic, I loved the idea of the dark gray siding against all the backyard elements and the teal blue color of the pool. Here’s what it looked like in the winter, in the midst of the pool construction…

Before and After Home Exterior Makeover with Kendall Charcoal Dark Gray Paint by Benjamin Moore

And here’s how it looks today!

Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore -- A Full Home Exterior Paint Makeover!

SourcesChaise Lounges (set of 2) | Umbrella (black pole/canvas sand w/black trim) (currently on sale!) | Umbrella Stand & Weight (currently on sale!) | Outdoor Side Table | Stone Planter (XL)Striped Pillow Covers (24 x 24, set of 2) | Pillow Inserts (26 x 26, set of 2) | Deck Box (different color)

This alone… I’m not gonna lie– I LOVE IT. It’s also powerful to see how different paint colors can look like across each side, at different times of day, but also against different backdrops and settings.

Dark Gray Home Siding -- Kendall Charcoal

On our big wall of two-story windows, the builder had all kinds of contrasting white vertical trim. I didn’t like it and asked the painters to slather it all in Kendall Charcoal, only leaving the vinyl window frames white. I’m glad we went that route. I also had them paint the pool pump surround fencing in Sherwin Williams Charwood to go with the rest of the decking on the opposite side.

French Gray Pool Design

SourcesChaise Lounges (set of 2) | Umbrella (black pole/canvas sand w/black trim) (currently on sale!) | Umbrella Stand & Weight (currently on sale!) | Outdoor Side Table | Stone Planter (XL)Striped Pillow Covers (24 x 24, set of 2) | Pillow Inserts (26 x 26, set of 2) | Deck Box (different color)

What Benjamin Moore Paint Finish Did We Use?

I’ll be honest — I wanted a flat finish on our siding. It’s just how we prefer our interiors, I wanted something that wasn’t really reflective. Our painter convinced us that using a matte would decrease the life of the paint so we went with the Aura Paint Low Lustre. It’s fine but there’s definitely more sheen than I would have preferred when the sun is hitting it. Will it last longer than had we gone with matte? I don’t know. If I was assured the matte would be easy upkeep and would last, would I have chosen matte instead? Absolutely.

Simple Pool Lounge Area Design

SourcesChaise Lounges (set of 2) | Umbrella (black pole/canvas sand w/black trim) (currently on sale!) | Umbrella Stand & Weight (currently on sale!) | Outdoor Side Table | Stone Planter (XL)Striped Pillow Covers (24 x 24, set of 2) | Pillow Inserts (26 x 26, set of 2) | Deck Box (different color)

What I will say is that our painters had way more experience with Sherwin Williams and when they completed the project, they raved about the Benjamin Moore quality and application.

Raised Poolside Planter

What Undertone Does Kendall Charcoal Have?

Based on a random photo on Instagram, someone asked if our house color was green. No. Far from it. And it never looks like that in person. But, like most colors, Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal does have a slight undertone (this one being green) which helps bring the warm tone to the paint. As always, it depends how the light is hitting it on whether or not you catch that undertone.

What LRV Does Kendall Charcoal Have?

I was most concerned with LRV when I was considering white paint colors, and not wanting something with too high of an LRV. LRV is a percentage of light the paint color reflects — the higher the LRV, the more reflective, the lower the LRV, the less reflective. Kendall Charcoal has a low LRV of 14.61.

We are so so happy with the result and can’t believe the difference it made in our curb appeal (and backyard backdrop). I would use it again in a second and I would love to see it on an interior, too. We wanted a warmer darkish color that would complement nature and the brown accents on our home, and I think the paint color we went with did just that!

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  1. 6.9.23
    Doris N Campbell said:

    Very well done. Your place looks beautiful and all of your hard work shows. I hope you take some time to enjoy your beautiful home as well as your wonderful pool and landscaping.

    • 6.12.23

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by, Doris. I really appreciate your kind note! We are definitely taking advantage of our new back yard space and the pool. It’s officially our favorite place to be!

  2. 6.9.23
    Joss said:

    Kelley, The color looks beautiful! It really compliments and pulls everything together! Love the color.

    • 6.12.23

      Thank you for taking the time to visit and for your sweet note, Joss. We are loving the new color too!

  3. 6.9.23
    Christine Perella said:

    It looks amazing and how amazing is paint! Great color choice! I love it too!😊

    • 6.12.23

      Hi Christine, Thank you for visiting and for your kind note. You are so right…paint works wonders!

  4. 6.9.23
    Kristin Dimmich said:

    LOVE it!

  5. 6.9.23
    Kim said:

    Hi – it looks beautiful! May I ask what color your roof is? Thank you!

    • 6.12.23

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by, Kim. Our roof is a faded black. I’m not sure of the exact color.

  6. 6.9.23
    Denise said:

    What a STUNNING difference! This is the way your home was meant to be! Even the concrete wall fades away! Kudos Kelley!

    • 6.12.23

      Thank YOU, Denise, for taking the time and for always being the best supporter!

  7. 6.9.23
    Corinne said:

    Absolutely love it! Looks so sophisticated and very relaxing, easy on the eye. Perfect choice!

    • 6.12.23

      Corinne, We are loving the new paint color too. I really appreciate you taking the time to leave a note!

  8. 6.9.23
    JOY COOPER said:

    It looks fabulous!!!!!! I would like the name of your painting contractor. I live in the Atlanta area. It is hard to find good quality work with painting and all of the extras. Thank you! Joy

    • 6.13.23

      Thank you, Joy! Our paint contractor was Earthly Matters. Ask for Daniel Hernandez and please tell him I sent you!

  9. 6.9.23
    Vanessa said:

    OH MY GOSH!!!!!! Kelly this is a huge transformation! Your home looks stunning with the new paint color! 🩶
    We’d considered painting our brick for years, well I had; but Alabama red clay is just like GA red clay and I didn’t want to deal with that on white brick. It’s bad enough on our little bit of cream vinyl siding. I love seeing how you’re painted dark siding works with the white window trim and eaves. Exactly what we have as well as the tricorn shutters! I can actually visualize what our home could look like (though our brick is the orange/red/black mix).
    I’ve seen pics of brick homes with black/ dark trim, so when we had gutters replaced; we went with black gutters and downspouts. What a
    Difference and they blend so well with our black metal roof! I started thinking about painting our vinyl siding dark but am very hesitant because it’s actual vinyl siding not hardy board. I’ve read vinyl will bubble with dark colors 😔. BM and Sw both have blue based dark colors now that supposedly can be used on vinyl so I’m going to order some samples, via your link; and see what colors I like. Then get one of the in-house consultants out to help us decide.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful home with us! Enjoy your weekend! 🩶🩶🩶

    • 6.12.23

      Hi Vanessa, You are so kind to take the time and your note is so appreciated! I want our outside paint color to last a long time, so you are so wise to make sure you are making the changes that will work for your home. It sounds like you are well on your way in making updates to your home and I wish you the best in finalizing and implementing your plans!

  10. 6.9.23
    Dianne said:

    I love it all. You did a great job. Now sit back & relax by the pool.

    • 6.12.23

      Thank you, Diane, for stopping by. Your note is appreciated and you better believe, the back yard pool area is our new favorite place to be!

  11. 6.9.23
    Jeanine said:

    What a beautiful difference! I especially like how it looks on your concrete walls, just makes them fade away, yet look much nicer. I love how your green plants look against the new color as well. I would plant climbing vines along the concrete walls, something like climbing hydrangea or jessamine or clematis. You might need to make a criss cross pattern with fishing twine though. I remember that Young House Love did that at their old house, and it was beautiful. I would also plant bushes in front of your ac units, not just to hide them, but because it will lower your ac bills also.

    • 6.12.23

      Thank you for stopping by, Jeanine! As I mentioned in the post, we do plan to make some additional improvements, including adding some vines to grow up the concrete walls. We’re so happy with the progress made so far!

  12. 6.9.23
    J A said:

    Your results are beautiful. I love Kendall Charcoal and am considering it on my pergolas. I also love your pool and surround. Simple and elegant.

    • 6.12.23

      Thank you for taking the time to visit and for your kind note! We are so gald we went dark and the Kendall Charcoal was the perfect color for us.

  13. 6.9.23
    Sara Ross said:

    I love the color you picked for your house! What a difference it made. Such an updated look. By the way, have you taken Eliza to Cleveland to the Cabbage Patch place? I could just see her cute smile seeing a baby being born. Love all your posts.

    • 6.12.23

      Thank you, Sara, and we are so pleased with the result! We’ve not yet visited Babyland General. So many things to do, and not enough time. We appreciate you following along with us!

  14. 6.9.23
    Karen said:

    Your home turned out TOP NOTCH!

    • 6.12.23

      Thank you, Karen, for visiting and for your kind note!

  15. 9.3.23
    Libby said:

    We also painted our home Kendall Charcoal with black roof and trim. Love the color. I’ve also used it inside the house for an accent color and some accent cabinets in the kitchen. It’s a beautiful true gray with no pink undertones.

    • 9.4.23

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by, Libby! We are so pleased with the new paint color on our home. I agree that Kendall Charcoal is a classic color and is so versatile.

  16. 1.14.24
    Joy said:

    Hi Kelley,
    Love Kendall Charcoal & what you did to houses. I don’t know if it was your house or your Moms. Can u tell me what roof you used. Looks like a brown tone. Thank you.

    • 1.14.24

      Thank you for visiting, Joy! We are really loving our new exterior paint color. As a note, both of our houses have dark gray shingles on them. My mom’s house is in the first set of photos (she has a ranch-style home) and our house appears in the photos in the latter part of the post.