The Exterior Paint Files: Rusty Terracotta Reds

On a trip to Rome last year, my husband and I became obsessed with the rusty terracotta color of so many buildings there. As you can see, we took zillions of photos of buildings in this color family, hoping to find a shade we might replicate for our own Spanish-style house, which is currently painted a rather shocking citrus yellow. Trouble is, while any good paint store can approximate a color, even the best house painters can't replicate the sun-baked finish of the paint jobs in Rome's picturesque piazzas—and any attempt to do so would surely look as fake as it sounds. More on our dilemma after the jump...
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One favorite: Benjamin Moore's Georgian Brick

Looking over the photos now, we're trying to decide whether these rusty terracotta reds are the right way to go. Possible drawbacks:

• Rusty reds look great in the sun, but let's face it—most of the time, it's overcast and foggy here in San Francisco.

• We don't want a color that's matchy-matchy with our adobe tile roof.

• So many rusty paint colors have so much pink in them; we might run the risk of ending up with something too "Sedona" (to quote a friend).

• With a stucco house in a Mediterranean style, we have to wonder if going with a clay red color is a bit too "literal."

Thoughts? House-dwellers, we'd love to hear how you chose your exterior paint. Have you been inspired by your travels? If so, did the finished product live up to your far-flung fantasy?

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