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Chicago Bungalow Maintenance

The great (quarantine) roofing project of 2020

It’s Day 46 of our Covid-19 quarantine…time for a new roof!

You may have guessed from the title of this post… yes, we’re in the middle of a roofing project. What exactly does that entail for a bungalow? For our bungalow it means a new chimney, new roof with a ridge vent, new gutters, new siding on the dormers, and new fascia and soffits (maybe… more on that later).

After we hired a contractor and received our estimates for the project, I dove into the color samples. Picking a roof color is not as straight forward as it seems. Our current roof is a three-tab asphalt shingle in a color my husband refers to as ‘hospital pink’. For a yellow brick house with white gutters, yellow vinyl siding on the dormers, and a ‘hospital pink’ roof, I felt like it was time for a pretty big change.

The difference between three tab asphalt shingles and architectural style asphalt shingles.
Roofing samples from IKO (left) and GAF (right), along with gutter color swatches from Quality Edge (top).

I did some preliminary mock-ups in Photoshop based on a gutter sample color that really resonated with me and that I felt would be a good complimentary color to the yellow. But the big decision remained…

Should the gutters match the roof or the fascia? I had never really considered it until I started looking around my neighborhood and saw the sea of white gutters and white fascia (and white painted limestone, which you should all stop doing btw).

I knew immediately that I didn’t want white anything and that I would rather stay true to a more natural color palette. My mock-ups were a good way to get my first idea out of my head and clear the way for what I would eventually choose.

A render of how the gutters would look if they matched the fascia in a Cypress green color.
And alternately, how the house would look if the gutters matched the roof instead.

There are a couple of fun online tools that can help with roof color visualization, so I took my mock-ups to GAF’s website to try on all the roof colors. I took screenshots of all of the colors I was interested in so I could compare them later, as well as a few that I hadn’t considered.

IKO Cambridge architectural shingles (left) vs GAF Timerline HDZ architectural shingles (right).
The top two tones look drastically different online, but in person they are almost indistinguishable.

For the gutter color I decided to go back to searching for inspiration. The initial color I was drawn to was too much look (in my opinion). Instead, I specifically searched for images of yellow brick homes to see what might pop up. Meh. The results were middling at best. Then, I decided to search for craftsman color palettes and historic color palettes from the early 20th century. Eventually I stumbled upon two images that really piqued my interest; the first was a Craftsman color palette and the second was a bungalow with an understated accent color.

There’s something so soothing about this color palette; the tone of the trim and the bungalow compliment each other without being too much of a distraction or contrast. And I love how the home becomes a beautiful backdrop for all of the flowers and greenery. With this new direction, I dove back into gutter color samples.

A screenshot of the available gutter colors from Quality Edge.

I quickly eliminated Cypress green (for a number of reasons, but the main one being I didn’t see it listed on the website anymore). Instead of looking for a color I looked for an undertone; I knew I didn’t want green gutters but I did want a muted olive green or a muted gray-blue. It was helpful for me to have both physical and digital representation of a color, while keeping in mind the digital version will always look different in real life.

A screenshot of a larger version of swatches from Quality Edge.

After looking at the online swatches and comparing them to the color palette I’d found and the inspiration photo, I went back to the physical swatches.

A few of the swatches were immediate maybes, and I went back and forth between colors for quite a while (one day? one hour?), but a decision had to be made quickly. The left image (above) shows Eldridge gray and the right image shows Terratone against the IKO Weatherwood shingle sample (now watch what happens when we take the colors outside).

Clockwise from the left: Clay, Terratone, Edridge gray, and the OG Cypress along with the IKO Weatherwood shingle sample. The gray was too blue and the green had practically the same color value as the yellow brick. But the Terratone offered enough contrast and tonal range. Fingers crossed our beadboard soffit is in good condition, because that will add another element of texture and tone to the completed look!

In natural light, the Eldridge gray became a coastal blue, not a bad look, but I’m not going for the coastal cottage vibe. The Terratone pulled out some of the neutral tones in the shingles while adding a nice contrast to the brick, and I really like the earthy tone of it.

Overall, my goal for the exterior is to bring in some natural materials. We have a cedar window box and number plate courtesy of Jeffrey at Craeft woodworking, and I want to continue the cedar theme onto the dormers as well. I refuse to even entertain the thought of vinyl. Anywhere. Ever.

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that we’ll replace the fascia and soffits during this project, but that’s only if the original beadboard underneath the current aluminum soffit is damaged or missing. My hope (and from what I’ve heard from other owners) is that the aluminum has actually worked to preserve it and I can simply throw some Spar varnish on it, or something similar, to protect it.

To complete my vision, I’m also trying to source some salvaged wood sashes/art glass windows to replace our melted vinyl replacement sashes. I currently have two sets of sashes (two windows’ worth) from the bungalow across the street, but the man threw the rest away (after agreeing to give them to me…?). It was a weird situation and I’m not happy about it.

The nice thing about wood details (like sashes and siding) is that they can be painted or repainted, so even if the colors I’m choosing aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, a future homeowner would have the option to change it without a total replacement.

If you’d like to follow along with projects in real time (not just when I remember to blog about them), follow me over on Instagram or Facebook. And while you’re there, drop me any pictures you might have of bungalows in your neighborhood that inspire you! -Tracie

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