Wen the loft-style town house with the mansard roof at 178 Harvard St. in Cambridge recently hit the market for $1,495,000, prospective buyers were quick to connect with broker Jeff Stephens of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Commonwealth to learn more. The magnetism of the property has a lot to do with its stellar location and long-held ties to the world of MIT, but there is something more that tips the scales: its striking blue exterior color scheme.
“The original color of the house was light green. Through the years, it has been gray, purple, and most recently before the recent renovation, a base of darker green with complimentary accents,’’ said Chip Webster, the owner of the town house. When prepping it for sale, Webster opted for the more sophisticated color palette for the exterior.
Of blue, Webster said: “It is a historic color, as well as an historic combination of colors with the trim and accent colors.’’
The house hits the market at a time when this particular shade is prevalent in the public eye. In fact, in early December, Pantone Color Institute, a provider of professional color language standards and digital solutions used by industries across the world, announced that the 2020 Color of the Year is “Classic Blue.’’ Touted by Pantone as a color that is universally favored and comfortably embraced, the shade is “a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on,’’ Leatrice Eiseman, executive director, explained in a news release.
Kendra Amin-Dufton and Brad Dufton, the design duo behind Boston’s Color Theory agency, said it’s an easy color to incorporate into interiors and has a versatility that allows it to be used in myriad ways. “As a paint color, we see ‘Classic Blue’ being used to add a jewel box touch to special or secondary areas of the home. It does particularly well in a formal dining room or powder room where you’d want to create a sense of envelopment, or as cabinetry color in a light and bright room.’’
It also makes a commanding backdrop for art, Color Theory noted, especially for works that feature bold shades like magenta and raspberry. “For a palette that reads a little less saturated but still offers a pop, chalky colors like dusty peach, lavender, rust, and sage greens also work very well,’’ Amin-Dufton said.
Los Angeles designer Ross Vincent was delighted to see Pantone celebrate this favorite hue of blue. “It’s funny because I have used this color for years; it’s my favorite accent color when designing a home.’’ Ross suggested using it on a front door or for modernizing a vintage piece of furniture like an armoire or credenza.
Two other leading paint companies — PPG Paints and Sherwin-Williams — similarly appointed shades of blue as their favorite colors for 2020. PPG’s selection for the new year is a blue with a violet undertone named “Chinese Porcelain,’’ which is said to “impart calmness and restful sleep,’’ the brand said in a statement. “It’s perfect for a cozy bedroom, or dramatic dining room with blue and white fabrics or porcelain accessories,’’ said Los Angeles-based designer Mark Weaver.
“Naval’’ by Sherwin-Williams offers more depth and moodiness, and Boston designer Amy McFadden is a fan. “Naval works with all neutrals or layers of color. Plus, where we design in the New England area, blue is a ubiquitous color for the summer homes and even primary homes. Our clients love classic colors in a forward-thinking way.’’ For this rich color, the brand suggests marrying it with gold metallic accents and medium shades of green for a more thorough look.
Behr paints adopted a different color stance altogether with their New Year selection: an earthy-green shade called “Back to Nature,’’ which is meant as a color bridge between the outdoor landscape and indoor living. Erika Woelfel, vice president of Color & Creative Services at Behr, suggested using it as a ceiling color in a black-and-white bathroom for a revitalizing effect.
According to Toronto-based designer Anne Hepfer, Behr’s selection is “a breath of fresh air in spring. I would use this color for a country home as an accent. It would be beautifully paired with white oak floors and crisp white millwork.’’
Pratt & Lambert’s 20 trend colors for 2020 are, according to the brand, “a blend of refreshing botanical hues and chalky pastels complemented by warm concrete and earth tones,’’ and dominated by their leading pick for the year ahead: a minty fresh green called “Songbird.’’ “This is a great example of how a fresh, vibrant color can make a room sing,’’ noted Weaver, who proposes pairing this shade with a bright white trim.
To many, “First Light’’— a pale, muted pink from Benjamin Moore — seems the most unexpected of the new decade’s color selections simply because it feels like a shade that has been in public view for some time. “The shade seems distinctly in the ‘millennial pink’ family; a color which was a huge trend over the past decade, and which, as all very popular things do, has now suffered something of a backlash,’’ said Kaye Blegvad, an illustrator, designer, and the author of “The Pink Book’’ (Chronicle Books, 2019), an illustrated homage to the multi-faceted color. Yet there’s no need to break up with pink just yet, explained Blegvad, who said it still has longevity in our living spaces. “It’s optimistic without being saccharine, eye-catching without being overwhelming.’’
The colors of the year ahead are meant to be inspirational for anyone looking to freshen up their interior spaces, but designers encourage going outside the color lines if other shades truly resonate with your style.
The duo at Color Theory in Boston say the blue they return to time and again for their design projects is “Bermuda Turquoise’’ by Benjamin Moore, because it is “rich and moody and universally loved by many of our clients.’’
Amin-Dufton said the hue is addictive: “Clients find that whatever room it’s in becomes their favorite in the home.’’