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enduring exteriors

From habitat magazine - issue 39, exterior excellence

Take two home exteriors from different eras and enhance and modernise them while staying true to their roots and surroundings. Sound simple? It can be when you choose the right Resene paint and colours for the job.

Modern upgrade

When Atlas Architects Aaron Neighbour and Ton Vu first took on a project in Arthurs Seat, Victoria, the home had its back turned on the fabulous views. They knew they had their work cut out to re-align the property and centre the view over the beautiful Mornington Peninsula for the homeowners.

A modernised brick home exterior

This 1980s brick exterior and bold steel pergola are seamlessly combined with a dark related colour palette of Resene Bokara Grey CoolColour on the bricks and Resene Black on the pergola. Using a consistent Resene Lumbersider Low Sheen paint finish across both surfaces helps to connect the different surfaces together. Design: Atlas Architects. Image: Tess Kelly.

“Our key driver for this home was to blur the line between old and new, simplicity and complexity. The colour palette we chose was dark and cosy with calm greys, charcoals and bluestone. It limits light reflection, creating less strain on the eyes and elevating the expansive windows, views and natural light”, says Ton. The effect is a home that offers seclusion where desired while also feeling expansive in areas.

The exterior brick walls were painted in the deep charcoal of Resene Bokara Grey, using Resene CoolColour technology, to help protect the home’s cladding and keep the temperature down in hot weather.

“The dark tone-on-tone exterior colours and pergola elements simplify the appearance of the building to a contemporary silhouette of a pitch roof farmhouse. This creates a contrast for the green and purple hue of the landscape to come forward.”

The home itself was a 1980s brick pitched-roof farmhouse that the homeowners wanted to upgrade, while celebrating the natural outlook surrounding the property. They also wanted to take advantage of the access to the outdoors and create areas that celebrated connection and shared experiences.

“The existing roofline was messy so we evolved it by creating a steel fascia pergola structure that envelops the existing building so it still reads as one solid line. It extends the roofline and shelters the open space at the entrance, creating a private northern courtyard. Over time, the plants at its base will grow, creeping up to the roofline and enhancing the home’s privacy with flora so it feels contained but never confined.”

Selecting exterior colours from Resene that allow the landscape to shine have made this home a standout that honours the surrounding Mornington Peninsula. This home frames the surrounding landscape from every angle while discreetly nestling into its surrounding environment.


Top tips for exteriors

Go low

When picking your exterior finish check the substrate, suggests Resene Colour Expert Angela Fell. “If it is quite aged with imperfections, Resene Lumbersider Low Sheen might be the best pick for you to help hide surface imperfections.”

Heritage haven

Restoring your heritage home with authentic colours is a breeze with the Resene Heritage colour palette. This traditional selection, curated by conservation architect Ian Bowman, draws on the historic use of colours on local projects, for an authentic palette you can use on all eras of homes. Pick up a free colour chart from your local Resene ColorShop or view the full collection online at

Traditional restoration

Owner Barb Lawson took on the restoration of her beautiful villa in Nelson with an open mind. Understanding that this home was a heritage property offered its own set of challenges. While the home had had paint colour changes in the past, they weren’t always in keeping with the home’s heritage style. “The home is over a century old, but had been ‘modernised’ in the 70s-80s. It was a cacophony of colours, styles and textures.”

An updated blue/green villa exterior using Resene Half Inside Back

This updated heritage home was lovingly transformed from a cacophony of colours to an elegant beauty with the blue green of Resene Lumbersider Low Sheen in Resene Half Inside Back, window frames in Resene Geyser and trims in Resene Black White. Colour selection: Barb Lawson. Build: Homes Created.

Tackling the project head on, Barb initially looked at her exterior colours. Selecting the soft green grey tone of Resene Half Inside Back successfully bridged the gap to offer a nod to the home’s heritage while also bringing a modern feel to the exterior. Window surrounds were painted in the lighter pearl grey of Resene Geyser, allowing the trims and architraves to stand out with Resene Black White.

The overall feel is a home that has been both modernised and brightened, while staying true to its traditional style. When Barb first bought the home there was much needed to restore her new home to its previous glory. “It felt very dark and small. The overall aim was to ‘spruce the old girl up’ bringing back her original charm.”

Piha paradise

Located on the sought after stretch of beachfront on the wild west coast of Auckland, this modern home exudes style while fitting seamlessly into the surrounding windswept environment. Choosing Resene Waterborne Woodsman penetrating oil stain in Resene Pitch Black not only provides the ultimate in rich colour but has the added benefit of providing much needed protection against the elements to this seafront home. Resene Waterborne Woodsman stain is a great choice for timber exteriors as all you need is a quick wash down of the timber or old stain with Resene Timber and Deck Wash, then you can apply the new stain. The finish allows the natural grain of the timber to be revealed with the tint enhancing the tone.

A modern and stylish home exterior in Resene Pitch Black

Design: Daniel Marshall Architects. Build: iCreate Building & Renovations. Image: Jackie Meiring.

top tip  Different sheen levels will impact how your colour looks and performs. A higher sheen finish, such as Resene Hi-Glo, is usually easier to clean but is less sympathetic to older buildings. A lower sheen finish, such as Resene Lumbersider Low Sheen, will help hide imperfections and marks but is usually harder to clean. To balance the benefits of both higher and lower sheen, try Resene Sonyx 101 semi-gloss waterborne enamel – it’s not as shiny as a gloss finish, but is easier to clean than a lower sheen finish.

Banish the beige

Resene Lumbersider Low Sheen in Resene Bokara Grey CoolColour was a bold choice for this grand home in Berry. The homeowners were initially hesitant to go with the dark shade until they were introduced to the cooling nature of Resene CoolColour technology, helping to keep the exterior cooler through the heat of summer. With trims in Resene Double Bianca, the home now exudes an elegant cool frontage framing the soft colour of the limestone pathway.

A dark home exterior in bold  Resene Bokara Grey

Colour selection: Asha Ardill.

Hilltop gem

As collectors of art, craft and material culture, Brian and Nigel’s decision to move to the country saw them wanting to create a new, well-crafted house, designed with Japanese influences, that would be comfortable to live in and showcase their collection of local craft. They found the perfect site high up on the hills above Martinborough with a view over the Ruamahānga Valley.

A Japanese inspired home exterior in golden Resene Buddha Gold

Approaching from the valley floor, the first sight of the hilltop home is a golden glow unfurling on the horizon.

The rich golden tone of Resene Lumbersider Low Sheen in Resene Buddha Gold painted on the plywood and battens combined with eaves and soffit in Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel in Resene Silver Chalice works harmoniously with the surrounding landscape. Brian and Nigel romantically call this home their golden temple.

A warm red home exterior in Resene Aroha

Warming this Christchurch home is the glowing shade of Resene Aroha in Resene Sonyx 101 waterborne semi-gloss. The bright and cheerful door is painted in Resene Jordy Blue, a complementary shade to welcome guests. The trims and posts are painted in Resene Black White, framing the home’s colourful exterior beautifully. Design: Team Architects Christchurch.

Paint it right

Choose the right Resene colours and paints for the job.


Paw friendly Resene Woodsman Decking Oil Stain

The family dogs keep watch on the beach at the entrance to this Piha, Auckland home. For a ‘paw friendly’ deck stain choose Resene Woodsman Decking Oil Stain in Resene Natural, giving an extra layer of protection from paws and claws. Walls stained in Resene Waterborne Woodsman in Resene Pitch Black. Image by Jackie Meiring.

Keep your cool

Resene CoolColour technology makes painting exterior surfaces in darker colours both easier and safer. It can be used on all sorts of exterior materials and applications, from weatherboards and concrete to windowsills. A Resene CoolColour looks like a normal colour but thanks to special pigment technology it reflects more heat, so it doesn’t get as hot as a normal colour would.

Top it off

When you’re decorating, it’s best to work from the top down. Refresh your roof or give it a whole new colour look with Resene Summit Roof Semi-Gloss. If you have a steep roof, choose a mid-range colour to reduce glare. Roof colours tend to look much lighter once you paint them on because of the bright sunlight. If you are choosing between two roof colours, it’s often best to pick the darker one as it will look lighter in the sun.

Best foot forward

Paths and stepping stones around your home can come in for a lot of wear and tear and build up moss, mould and other gunk, especially after a wet winter. Spray these areas twice a year with Resene Deep Clean to keep them clean and in good shape. And if the colour is starting to look a little too faded, refresh it with Resene Walk-on or Resene Concrete Stain.


Resene Aroha

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