How hard is it to choose a stain color?


Not the greatest quality photo but you can see how the walkway looks at night when it’s lighted.

By Elle

Two years ago, we had a beautiful curved wooden ramp built at the front of our house (built as a wheelchair ramp for my mom — click on the link to see the “before” photos), which we planned to stain the following year after letting the wood season. Well, you know how one year turns into two, and two easily had the potential of turning into three if it weren’t for my OCD running interference. Once an idea gets planted inside my noggin, good luck digging it out. Part of the delay was legit: lack of time and opportunity. The other part, not so much. We just couldn’t wrap our heads around colors.

We knew we wanted a two-tone combo, but no matter how many times we stood in the front yard staring at the ramp, we just couldn’t come up with a solid plan. At best, we were wishy-washy. At worst, we would shrug and walk away.

Finally we got serious. A Google search on exterior stain colors led us to a beautiful coppery color by Sherwin-Williams called Rookwood Terra Cotta (SW 2803), which, by coincidence, complements our “copper” front door. Then a trip to our local Sherwin-Williams led us to our second color: a lovely blue-green called Lagoon (SW 6480), which also complements the front door. By Jove, we thought, we’ve picked two winners!

Two major considerations led us to these choices: One, we planned to cap the posts with copper-colored metal caps (I call them yarmulkes), so we wanted to be sure the color of the cap rails complemented the caps. Two, I wanted colors that weren’t too dark or too traditional, like a deep redwood.  Naturally, I wanted something a little different.

After power washing and brightening the entire structure, we waterproofed the floorboards and began staining the posts and rails with Sherwin-Williams Woodscapes Exterior Stain, which hopefully will give us years of top-notch performance. We’re betting on it.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design front walkway staining

Here I am painting away. Let’s just say I’m THRILLED that we decided on an open rail design.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design front walkway staining

I’m usually a pretty tidy painter, but I was covered in stain by the time I was done.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design front walkway staining

We’re still working on the landscaping. Each of the beige pots has a Japanese maple growing in it, or, in the case of the pot on the far left, dying in it. The red bicycle planter had Gerbera daisies in it, but they’re pretty much dead now, too. I don’t have a green thumb.

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design front walkway staining

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design front walkway staining

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design front walkway staining

We love the result!

Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design front walkway staining

I feel like the house is beginning to look like a fairy cottage, for better or worse. And, to further the fairy cottage vibe, we’re making new plans for our Zen garden. We’re going to turn it into an English cottage garden, with delphiniums, ranunculus, hollyhocks, lavender and lamb’s ear. That’s the plan anyway, and you know how I am. Once I get an idea….

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