Glencroft Kitbash: Color Palette

Before I paint, and I mean a single stroke, I know exactly what colors I’m using–throughout the entire house. I do scale elevations, so I know what I’m building; I do color charts, so I know that that mantelpiece I worked so hard on isn’t gonna clash with its surroundings. Is there a “right” color to use? For anything? Absolutely not! Use what fits your aesthetic. That being said, I do think tone matters. This is why the greatroom, so far at least, looks monochromatic but not dead. Warm juxtaposes with cool, from surface to surface.

Before I get into the tutorials themselves, for everything from the soot and grime in the firebox to the stains on the ceiling, I thought I’d share a few specific color charts and materials lists. Feel free to adopt them as is, or ignore them entirely. But I hope they inspire you.

For the wood:

  • FolkArt, burnt umber (this is a water-based latex craft paint)
  • PanPastel, black
  • Panpastel, red iron oxide extra dark
  • AK Interactive, weathering pencil, black

For the walls:

  • FolkArt, parchment
  • PanPastel, orange extra dark
  • Abteilung 502, pigment, light European earth
  • Abteilung 502, pigment, dry mud

For the sandstone:

  • FolkArt, linen
  • Abteilung 502, pigment, fresh rust
  • Abteilung 502, pigment, light European earth
  • Abteilung 502, pigment, dry mud
  • PanPastel, orange extra dark
  • PanPastel, raw umber extra dark
  • PanPastel, yellow ochre tint
  • AK Interactive, weathering pencil, dark chipping for wood
  • AK Interactive, weathering pencil, sepia

For the bricks:

  • The base coat, here, is made from:
    • 1/2 FolkArt, parchment
    • 1/4 FolkArt, heritage brick
    • 1/4 FolkArt, orange
  • PanPastel, orange shade
  • PanPastel, red iron oxide
  • PanPastel, red iron oxide shade
  • PanPastel, burnt sienna

For the slate:

  • DecoArt, neutral grey
  • FolkArt,  pale gray

For the grout, on all surfaces, I use a combination of PanPastel, neutral grey extra dark, and PanPastel, black. This black is excellent, because it’s a Mars black; it’s quite cool, with a lovely if barely detectable blue undertone. That’s why the famous “Zorn Palette” includes greenish tones–and was also the inspiration for this piece. I’ve always loved the challenge of pulling different hues from only three or four colors.

As far as the surfaces, themselves, there’s tremendous variation to be found in both brick and stone–of all kinds. Don’t feel limited! I’m going for a fairly traditional look, here, but I don’t always. Who knows what my next house will be!? Besides, traditional is as traditional does. My houses aren’t, and aren’t meant to be, historical replicas. They’re probably somewhere more like Middle Earth. Somewhere, there’s probably a world where brick is blue.

Another piece of advice I have is this: write things down. Keeping track of everything for one afternoon can be surprisingly challenging. Especially if, like me, you have dozens if not hundreds of colors–of everything. But a project like this lasts months. I’m not interested in using up what limited bandwidth I have on trying to remember which color of dust (cargo dust, light dust, alkaline dust, factory dust, light European dust?) I used on that wall panel last week. This is a tremendous secret to that unified look so many makers seek and don’t achieve.

And for my final tip, don’t worry about what anything is “supposed” to be for. Some of my favorite supplies come from the auto parts store. This mantel I just finished isn’t rusty, any more than it’s dusty. I judge a color (or product) on its own merits. Labeling is stupid.

My hope, with this series, is that anyone who wants to will be able to follow along and create their own Glencroft. I’ll try to cover as many topics, both specific and general, as I can. However, this is one of those times when I really need you. Yes, you. To tell me what YOU want to see!