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The Reveal – Our Black House (SW Iron Ore): Before and Afters

September 1, 2020

We painted our house black!

A few weeks ago I announced that we chose to paint our house a soft black. This felt like a big decision.

Yes you can change paint color, but painting the entire exterior of a home is a big financial investment. I wanted to get it right. You can read all about the decision making process we went through. It’s safe to say I lost hours of my life combing pictures and paint color choices.

If you’ve ever chosen a paint color for anything major you know exactly what I mean!

Here is what I love about SW Iron Ore for the exterior of our home

1. It is a soft black/deep gray

So many dark colors can feel harsh. Not so with SW Iron Ore. It is actually classified as a really dark gray – a steel color – and it is truly lovely. I know that sounds designer-weird, but it’s true. It is very pleasing to the eye – it’s rich yet soft.

2. It looks stunning in a natural environment

We live in a beautiful area that has trees, fields, and mountains in the distance. The dark color blends with the environment and makes the house feel like it belongs there.

3. It looks good in snow

We have not lived a winter with this color yet, but I know it is going to look great. My design friend, Anne of Pedal Home Interiors, has a white house in Oregon. She said it snowed once and the snow made her white paint color look yellow in contrast. She remarked how thankful she is that it doesn’t snow much or she’d have to re-paint her house. It’s something to consider with white if you live in a snowy climate, and also something to celebrate with black!

4. It adds sophistication

There’s no doubt about it, just like the perfect black dress with a set of pearls takes style up a notch, so does a black home. There is a sophistication about it that is simply timeless and beautiful.

5. Dark paint pops the accents on your home

We have some beautiful beam work on the home and it makes the wood pop. It contrasts the river rock as well (see next note). It also makes decorations pop and I have plenty of those!

6. It even makes me feel OK about the river rock

We have TONS of river rock accenting the exterior of our home and it is not my favorite. I even said I hated it at one point. When we bought the house, the river rock was one of the only downsides to the property in my opinion. To change it would be a hefty cost, and there are other renovations that matter more.

However…. GOOD NEWS! Changing the main body of the house to SW Iron Ore made the river rock looks a thousand times better. I don’t mind it so much anymore!


We still have some exterior changes we want to make to the home. For example, updated black lighting is on the way as I type. But the point of this post is to show you the power of paint alone!

You can see a video tour of the house on my IGTV on Instagram.

The house went from this…

To this…

From this…

To this…

From this…

To this…

Watch a Video of the Transformation

Or you can hear the Instagram clips that explain and show the color process.

Overall opinion of SW Iron Ore paint for the exterior of a house: FIVE STAR

It was a risk to go with such a dark, dramatic color on our home, but I could not be happier with the result. Every day I look at it and LOVE it. It’s beautiful.

If you are thinking about painting your home dark, go for it! You’ll be glad you did.

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  1. […] out our before and after pictures after painting our house SW Iron Ore – they are […]

  2. Maggie Tate says:

    It’s spectacular!! Love the update – great job and so happy it turned out well for you!!

  3. Jessica says:

    Your house turned out beautifully! We like the monochromatic iron ore exterior as well. How did you match the color of your gutters to the trim? Are they painted iron ore or were you able to find a factory color that matched close enough?

    • Krista says:

      Hi Jessica! Thank you so much. We just painted the gutters for now! I’m sure you could find a close match, or they can factory paint them for you. That would be better but we already had ours up so we had to work with what we had!

  4. Rebekkah says:

    This really is stunning! I discovered your blog via Pinterest and am really enjoying it!

  5. Amber Walker says:

    Love the color on your house! We are getting ready to build a cabin in the NW and have chosen Iron Ore as the main color. A bit out of my comfort zone but we are going for it! Big question: What color is your roof? We are going with a metal roof. Struggling to decide between Old Zinc Gray or Matte Black.
    Also did you use a trim color? Would love help! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Krista says:

      Hey Amber! Where in the NW? That is so exciting – we are in the Inland NW. It’s such a great fit for the natural surroundings. Our roof was already there and it is a gray brown/black color – almost Urbane Bronze like, so it goes well with the Iron Ore. We decided NOT to do a trim color because of some of the other elements around the house. It felt like it would make it too busy. The inner window trim is a deeper black. Hope this helps! Super fun project for you ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Shelby McQueeney says:

    What color did you paint the trim around the windows? Beautiful home!

  7. Ashle Dressel says:

    Were your windows already black? Or did you paint the windows also? I know you said the inner window trim is a deeper black…..and what color are they if you don’t mind sharing. We are about to paint our house Iron Ore, but our windows are a off white/cream color so I’m trying to find a trim color that goes with both, or paint the trim black and just have the windows pop along with the stone (which matches windows) Any advice appreciated

    • Krista says:

      Hi Ashle! Nice choice. You’ll love it. We did the doors Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black, so we also did the inner windows Tricorn. It’s kind of tedious work, but it looks great ๐Ÿ™‚ I see what you are saying about the stone and the white trim. I can do a virtual appointment with you if you want to talk it through and get my opinion. It would help for me to see it to know what to tell you. Good luck!

      • Ashle Dressel says:

        I would love a virtual appointment, what is the cost for that? My email address is below, can someone reach out to me by email?
        Would you want me to provide pictures our of house ahead of time? I can also get exact window color (brand new windows going in a few weeks) In hind site, with all these color decisions, the additional 15-20K might have been worth it to my husband to just pay rather than saying no ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Jamie McCarron says:

    What is the stain color used on the wood beams? We are thinking about doing something similar on our lake house

    • Krista says:

      Hi Jamie!
      The beams are a natural stain. I actually sanded down the big round beams when we moved in and mixed a natural stain with some Sherwin Williams Ebony stain to try and bring the red/orange tones down. It worked! The type of wood you use is the biggest factor. Some are great natural and some need some soft black or dark brown to cut the natural orange, yellow, or red.

  9. Alexandria says:

    This is absolutely gorgeous! And for the record, I really love the river rock! You know what might be cool though? And full disclosure, I don’t know if it’s possible… but if you could STAIN the river rock to more gray hues and reduce the brown tones in them. Just a thought!

    • Krista says:

      You are awesome! Thanks so much for the idea – I have not seen a stain but I’ve thought of whitewashing them a bit with some gray-ish paint. Thanks for the encouragement to do so!

  10. Alexandria says:

    Apparently there IS such a thing as stone stain after all. Who knew! LOL

  11. Christine says:

    After scouring through what feels like hundreds of photos, websites, rabbit holes of color choices, your page was a delight to find. The remarks about how colors work or don’t work with nature were pearls of wisdom, because I live in Montana.

    Your transformation was stunning, may I ask what SHEEN of the iron ore and tricorn black you used?

    Thanks again for ‘being there’ and responding to inquiries in a world of crickets!

    • Krista says:

      Hi Christine! What part of Montana? Love it! I chose a semi-gloss for doors and flat for the house. It’s all preference! Let me know how it goes. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Christine says:

        Thank you for responding! I’m in Missoula, MT and we’re in the “brown” season right now….not winter, not spring, no fresh snow, just potholes! I just decided yesterday to go with Flat and then came here to see if you replied…voila! My home is a light tan/peach/beige/undefined ugliness, thus seeing the transformation from your tan home to the ‘after’ sealed the deal for me. Your pics also convinced me to go through the pain of removing the DeckOver (by previous owner) to bring the porch/beams back to a natural wood. I’m so excited and again, thank you for taking care of a fellow NWesterner! Cheers!

  12. Terri says:

    I love the after – fabulous contrast to your surroundings. Such a brave, bold move with tremendous payoff!
    I have been a fan of iron ore for years. We first used it to color wash a red oak vanity top in our coastal bathroom. My husband made the pedestal vanity and I painted it SW pure white. We added a vessel sink with a waterfall faucet and it was stunning. The iron ore was a fabulous contrast and we sealed it in a marine varnish to protect it.
    Weโ€™ve since moved and used it again in our new home in our theatre room. We painted all the walls and ceiling with iron ore and I spray painted the inside of the ceiling can lights in a hammered copper. With less light (actually no light as we have blackout curtains on the windows) than the little bath we previously used it on, the iron ore in the theatre room sometimes takes on a darker, more charcoal-brown tone. Itโ€™s my favorite chameleon neutral!

    • Krista says:

      Yes I so agree! Thanks for sharing about your “Iron Ore” love! I can totally relate. The other day I saw some cabinets painted a deep black and all I could think about was how much better they would look is they were painted a soft Iron Ore ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. […] also knew I wanted it to compliment our black house (we painted it last year and I LOVE it). We have a modern mountain home, so it needed to fit with […]

  14. Ashley Srp says:

    Do you remember if you used a satin or matte finish? Thank you in advance, I enjoyed the article and your home is gorgeous. ๐Ÿ™โ˜บ๏ธ

  15. Jenn says:

    Is your siding natural siding, vinyl or aluminum? I only ask because we want to paint our house Iron Ore but have had trouble determining if we can go that dark on vinyl without warping. Thank you!

    • Krista says:

      Hi Jenn! We have hardi-plank. Are you afraid of it getting too hot in the summer? Wondering what climate you live in…

      • Kazuko Ono says:

        We have a Hardie siding project and originally wanted Iron Gray or Black Water. Our home bakes in the Summer. What has been your Summer experience with dark siding? Do you feel the home absorbed and holds the heat?

        • Krista says:

          I have not found much of a difference personally. We do live in the Pacific Northwest so that may be significant in this conversation for sure. Maybe in other parts of the US it will matter more?

  16. Alissa says:

    Krista! I shopped SW for many weeks and finally landed on Iron Ore and tricorn. I actually have an original 1916 craftsman. I have a smidge of red brick foundation showing… I was originally thinking I would add a 3rd color for the trim work around the windows but love love love the mono look of just iron and tri- I do need to choose a door and wood step color (as well as the bracket/bollard). Do you have a suggestion? I love the look of your natural wood beams but this wouldn’t be ideal in our setting. See a pic at @euclid_ave if you’re interested – its currently yellow and white and I’ve unsuccessfully tried using software to paint the photo. Ha ha. Would VERY much appreciate your suggestions! Reading your blog daily now to catch up!

    • Krista says:

      Hi Alissa! How fun for you! I’m happy to do a design consultation with you online if that would help? Let me know!

  17. Hi Krista!
    We are in the process of painting our home and I’ve been searching the internet for days for “THE PERFECT COLOR”!!! When I came across your blog I literally got excited!! Our problem is my husband would like Urbane Bronze as our siding/trim color.
    I am a lover of the Iron Ore w/Tricorn window color…we have red tinted brick and I’m worried that Urbane Bronze would look too green against the red brick! I would love your professional opinion! Loving what you did with your entire home reno! It is stunning, warm and sophisticated looking! Gorgeous! Thank you in advance! Tracie

    • Krista says:

      Hi Tracie!

      I would also be concerned about that – it has brown tones also. Have you painted each color on big pieces of cardboard (I use the tri-folds from the craft store)? This helps tremendously. I like red brick with clear, crisp contrast. You could also try Iron Ore and SW Black Magic. Let me know how it goes!

      • Tracie Achrem says:

        Hi Krista!!
        I just wanted to follow-up with you with our completed project and IT LOOKS AMAZING!! We absolutely love, love, love it!! The Iron Ore and black magic trim look perfect against our red brick! Our house looks absolutely refreshed and modernized!
        Thank you for sharing your own personal black house reveal. We would’ve. never made the “jump” and went with the colors we did without your story! God bless, Tracie

  18. Joan says:

    Does the Iron Ore have a brown undertone – especially in the sun?

  19. Miranda says:

    My husband and I LOVE this look!!! This is exactly what we want to do to our new house but just couldnโ€™t find a picture for reference!!! Did you do iron ore on everything? Siding, trim, shakes?

    • Krista says:

      Hi Miranda!
      We sure did – the very inner part of the windows is SW Tricorn Black, but other than that it is all Iron Ore ๐Ÿ™‚ Have fun with your project!

  20. Martha says:

    Beautiful. Love to know what color you used for the deck stain.

    • Krista says:

      Hi Martha! Right now it is Iron Ore, though we will be painting it Tricorn black when we have the painters back.

  21. Mary says:

    It looks great! That’s a big house and the natural beams and river rock provide a bit of relief from the all-black. If I lived there, I’d leave it that way.
    I hope you love it now that you’ve been through a winter…and how did you feel during our recent heat wave? I’m in the Pacific NW, too.
    Getting ready to have my house re-painted and am leaning toward the same colors, but I have a ranch with several vaulted ceilings. Thanks for any updates. Mary

    • Krista says:

      Thank you so much! Yes, wood and stone warm up black and white for sure. I LOVE the color in the winter. It looks so beautiful against the white snow and clouds (which we have a lot of here as you know). And it was hot in the heat wave, but everything was hot, not just the black house ๐Ÿ™‚ We aren’t the best in heat up here in the PNW. I’d love to see a pic of your ranch Mary!

      • Mary says:

        This is just an update to reinforce the importance of testing out the paint on your own home, in your specific weather and light. I had a new cedar housing built for the mailbox. Since I am having this house repainted this spring/summer come hell or high water, and figured since I’d probably go with Iron Ore on the house, I thought I’d have the mailbox housing painted in Iron Ore and that’d be one more thing already taken care of. It’s built and it’s painted, but that paint doesn’t look anything like the pictures of Krista’s house. It shows as a medium-dark gray with a decidedly lavendar tint. When I get the house painted, (color TBD, but there will be several test patches!) the mailbox will get repainted. Meantime, I’m glad I had a little test project, because while Krista’s house looks absolutely dynamite, my mailbox doesn’t. I had this paint mixed at the SW store, so I know it’s correct. Only other factor is the light and weather. So…do your test patches! ๐Ÿ™‚ Mary

        • Krista says:

          Yes I’m a huge believer in testing as well. Glad you did Mary! You may want to try SW Black Magic which is just one shade darker toward a truer black. I hope you love it when you finally get it painted this summer!

  22. Steph Fish says:

    Hi there! I would LOVE a color consult!! We are debating on painting brick and paused that and decided on Iron Ore for windows and need to figure out a trim color- like yesterday! Lol. Can I set up a virtual meeting please??! LOVE love your Iron Ore transformation!!

  23. Teresa says:

    I absolutely love your home.
    I have decided on Iron ore and tricorn black also.
    my question is what sheen would you use on aluminum siding. I love the matte but not sure if I’m able to use on aluminum.
    thanks so much

    • Krista says:

      Hi Teresa! Nice choice ๐Ÿ™‚ I would stick with matte if it were me, but of course it’s personal preference!

  24. Tracie Achrem says:

    Hi Krista,
    I would love a color consultation for my mom…could you please email me so we can “chat”?
    Thank you,
    Tracie Achrem

  25. Suzanne Dahmer says:

    How has the Iron Ore held up so far? Any issues with fading?

  26. Benjamin Burrow says:

    What color did you use for the trim and door?

  27. Inga S says:

    Hi there,
    I am painting a log cabin in Black Fox. I am down to selecting stain fir the railings. Can you explain your online consultation process. My brain canโ€™t decide anymore๐Ÿ˜œ

  28. Sharon Cook says:

    It’s difficult to tell in the photo – did you go with a black garage door or get one primed and you did it, Iron Ore?

  29. Mak says:

    Love the color! How did you go about painting the shakes? Prime first and what color?

  30. Donna Vandenacre says:

    Just wondering how the paint on vinyl
    Windows is holding up. Mine are new and white and considering painting them. Afraid it will peel off

  31. Tory says:

    I ran across your beautiful home in my search for black exterior ideas! I’m in the process of picking a color from my narrowed-down list and I have a couple of questions now that you have had the dark exterior for awhile; Have you noticed a difference in your cooling usage and costs in the summer months? For the sides that are in the direct sunlight, how is the paint holding up as far as peeling and fading? Thanks for your input!

    • Krista says:

      Hi Tory – there is a little fading, but honestly that is true with any paint color. I do not notice any extra heat coming through the house. We are 100% happy with our decision 3 years later!

  32. Amy says:

    Hi, Krista. What a beautiful home you have! What color is your roof?

  33. Leslie St Lawrence says:

    Hi Krista, Love love love your house color. Are your shingles the same color as the hardie planks? It just looks like there is a slight contrast. We are trying to pick out a darker color for shingles and something to complement this with nickel gap and another color ๐Ÿ™‚


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