Old House Colors

Schwin, Lawrence. Old house colors: an expert’s guide to painting your old (or not so old) house. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 1990.

I had some initial hesitations about allowing Old House Colors: An Expert’s Guide to Painting Your Old (Or Not So Old) House by Lawrence Schwin III back on the shelf. “Really,” I said to myself, “do we actually want to encourage people to paint their homes garish reds, greens, and yellows?” However, Schwin’s color schemes are not meant for just any old house. An “insider’s manual for choosing the most beautiful and most authentic exterior paint selection for your home,” the title contains a total of 35 styles from every period, each showing “in gorgeous full color the exact shadings and nuances” essential to obtaining an exact reproduction. And, because the composition of paint has changed so much over the decades, the book includes “valuable charts showing how to mix today’s brand-name paints” to exactly replicate the recommended colors. Although I initially dismissed it, the more I looked through the pages of Old House Colors the more I realized what a useful resource it could be for anyone interested in historic preservation and restoration, two topics that aligned exactly with Professor Alexander’s interests.

Library of Congress call number: TT 320 S38 1990