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Tom Lives Here, No Doubt About It

Tom Lives Here, No Doubt About It
Well hello Sleeping Beauty!

Paint Colors to Call Home

I’ve waited 17 years to paint my house, not for lack of wanting, but more for having an understanding of what I needed to do by myself and with limited funds. I drafted an outline of priorities for house upgrades and gentle restoration, and I pretty much stuck to it. Placing no timelines on any project’s completion, I got the job done when I got the job done, just chipping away as free time and affordability allowed. I was happy to live under this roof no matter what the state of repair.

First Things First

As any homeowner will attest, to-do lists are roadmaps drawn with detours, delays, and unforeseen exits. I learned from restoring my house in Seattle that one should not pursue the pretty in a project before focusing on functionality and repair. It’s nice to apply wainscoting, but not if the plumbing and electrical systems behind it are suffering from old age and neglect. So beginning in 2004, I targeted the big stuff first : foundation issues, water-in-the-basement woes, anemic heat sources, aging roof shingles, curious chimney configurations, and feeble porch boards. Yep, I took on the hole in the foundation before lining up paint chips and light fixtures. And may I add my dear homestead has been the most charming of subjects throughout: patient and forgiving. So here it is 2021, and the paint is finally on the brush! My painter Wade is up to the challenge, and I eagerly cheer him on daily (minus the pompoms and cartwheels). He’s so good, I’ve started calling him Leonardo.

Pondering Paint Colors

Wade, master painter and man of the hour…day… decade…at my house.

I’ve never been afraid of color. I relish how color can conjure up a feeling of enthusiasm, warmth, delight and comfort within me. Months went by before the actual painting started, and after I had tested enough sample colors to coat my house two times over, I chose the colors — colors infused in the harvests of late summer, early autumn: peaches, peppers, plums and pears, with side a order of marigold and nasturtium.

Doubting Thomas

When it comes to color, I live out loud, but sometimes I succumbed to self-doubt and friends with good intentions but strong opinions. As a result, I began to stray from my original plan of summer-sweet colors into a new territory of tone-on-tone tastefulness. I started to doubt myself, thinking I should really go all classic white. When I told my friend Lynnanne that I had changed my mind tabling bright colors for a more pallid palette, she responded with disappointment, “Oh, I really love your original paint choices.” So did I, really. Perhaps I was under the spell of an HGTV episode or the quiet beauty of understatement. Hmmm, I needed to rethink this. There’s no doubt a quieter color scheme would be lovely, but was that me?

Getting gussied up in seasonal colors…

A Little Help From My Friend

Within a half-hour of Lynanne's visit, I received this text from her: 

"Hope this doesn’t sound too hokey but when I envision your house and you in it I see a bright, cheerful white or cream body with trim accents of color like sunshine, morning glories, pumpkins, grapes...

When I drive up your driveway and I see your lovely old gal perched on the hill it will say Tom lives here…no doubt about it !
Everyone has their opinion…no doubt about that! Me as well, but I did love your first choice of colors. 

Hard to decide, but whatever you do will pay homage to a grand old farmhouse with years of history and stories to tell. ❤️

My dear friend was right (she's an artist after all), and thanks to her generous and heartfelt note, I snapped out of it and how! Back to Plan A: Bring on the joyful colors! 

Colors Inspired by Nature

I didn’t pick my trim colors; the orchard, garden and kitchen did. The wonderful color combinations of red-oranges, golden glows and sunny yellows already lived here. Why not celebrate such vibrance daily, with each walk up the lane, with each view from the orchard, with each swing in the hammock. Here are some of the show-stopping hues Mother Nature let me borrow.

Nature’s Colors Trim the House

Here’s a sampling of the paint job in progress… I’ll post more detailed photos when the house is all painted and gussied up! (This will likely be a couple more weeks.)

Original front door, east side
The first coats of paint…
North side porch windows
Everything old is new again…south side of the house


  1. Oh, I love the vibrant colors! Can’t wait to see the finished product…some shade of green in the shingles, perhaps?

  2. The anticipation makes the culmination extra sweet, yes? Thank you for listening to your orchard and garden; very sound suggestions. 🙂

  3. I absolutely LOVE everything about the colors you have chosen, and especially love the inspiration for these colors! And the blue front door…..it is so perfect with it! Great job, Tom!
    What a treat for you to return home from an errand and see these wonderful ‘fruits’ of your careful planning and labor as you pull into the driveway. 🙂

    • Thanks Nancy, that is so true, I chuckle when I drive up my lane and see the progress made and the beauty in the rough being reborn. Warms my heart.

  4. This is a fabulous and fantastic saga of “color” decisions, and love for your home! I’m looking forward to more! colors of your gardens and growing things are heavenly!

  5. Your house is lovely with a touch of whimsey. The bold trim colors are delightful, especially for our grey climate. I hope you enjoy it for years to come.


  6. Absolutely STUNNING choices you have made! It is clever and appropriate to use your garden and culinary creations as your muse. I think the house will sing even on the dullest of winter days. You will be so happy with the results!

    • Thank you Mike, it’s been a fun process to see the exterior come back to life, and the only better is sharing the journey with friends. Thank you, most appreciated.

  7. What more glowing words can be said than have already so appropriately and joyously been sung in praise to you and your lovely old lady? I am in the procproceas of buying a new home clad in pale misty-gray vinyl and black plastic shutters – very blah looking. I would love, in years to come, to change it to resemble yours, tinted with shades of summer sky and vivid flowers. Our homes can look like everyone else’s, or be truer expressions of our souls. You have chosen the higher path, and we yearn to do the same. Bravo!

    • Congratulations on your new home, Becky. I’m sure each day the house will be a step closer in being everything you wish it be. Here’s to the laughter, love, friendship, and good times within the walls of your new abode; these are the richest colors of all.

  8. Oh Tom..it is you through and through. Warm, welcoming, happy and one of a kind. I love it! So glad that you followed your heart. Beautiful.

    • Oh June, how kind of you to say. I’m feeling quite fortunate now to receive such generous words. I’m eating my morning oatmeal and beaming ear to ear. Thank you.

    • Thank you Vern, I sure appreciate your kind words. We have a week of rain forecast so finishing may be a protracted exercise in the coming days. 😉

  9. Love your choices! As the owner of a bittersweet orange and red house, I find that the rich colors cut through the gray, rainy days and pop against the garden greens the rest of the year. Beautifully done. Enjoy!

  10. She is stunning Tom. I see a coffee table book in your story here, there is so much more behind and beneath a simple new coat of paint… this is a love story! So happy for you both.xo

    • Thank you Catherine, do you remember when I first bought Karen and Buzz’s house? You and Dana were there in the beginning, and thank goodness every day after when time allows and paths cross.

    • Thank you Lisa, considering your amazing use of colors in fiber arts, I’m honored by your comments, and can’t wait to give you a guided tour. Safe travels, big hug.

  11. Tom, your home is beautiful!!! It reflects you in every way. Hope your hives are healthy. With love, Carole 🥰🐝☺️

    • Hi Carole, I hate this blasted Covid for keeping everyone apart. When things settle down and visiting returns to normal, I’d love to catch up with you in person, my porch or yours!

  12. And NEXT, the happy, colorful addition of chairs? Tables? Baskets? The possibilities are yummy with that background! Yay Tom!!

  13. Hi Tom, I always look forward to reading your tales of life on the island and your experiences ! Love the trim and door colors – they are so vibrant, warm and happy and will help to carry you through the gray, rainy winters. You must be filled with so much pride as you return home each time and view the splendid vista with loving eyes knowing all the work you have put in to restore your home and surrounding landscape. Cheers, Sue

    • Oh Sue, always so nice to hear from you. Now I hope if you come north for some grandkid spoiling, I’ll find myself on your agenda. Would love to show you the place first hand, and wax on about what a wonderful son you raised. Big hug. Tom and Buddy

  14. When I scroll past emails offering unsolicited advice, gloomy news, or buy me ads and find a lovely note from Tall Clover Farm, it brings an immediate smile to my face and a lift to my spirits. I know it will be good news from Tom and Buddy and perhaps a recipe or a new adventure to be shared. I love your home and the happy color choices! I know she will be a stunner when finished and if houses could strut, I know she would! Thank you for being a bright beacon of happiness and hope in a world starving for that right now! Bless you Tom! Alice

    • Oh Alice, I think I can speak for both Buddy and I when I say we’re a bit teary-eyed over your thoughtful comment. Your kind words added some sunshine to our rainy day. Means a lot. Thank you so very much.

  15. Such a lovely adventure. And the results are beaming. So nice to have friends who are true to you- what lovely guidance. Job well done sir!

  16. Oh, your home is looking simply grand! Such richness and a lifting of spirits combined. Tom, you’re a born storyteller.

  17. Tom, I love how you chose your colors from inspiration in your much loved garden and orchards. Most of all, I’m so happy that you chose the colors that make you happy, since, after all, this is your lovely home! Always trust your gut feelings, they are true! I so enjoy reading your posts and blogs. Hope to see you when I’m at the studio. Hugs to you and Buddy.

  18. I love a house with an attitude and this one says, ” Yes, I may be old but I am still proud, beautiful and full of surprises!” She is gorgeous Tom!!!

  19. Tom! I would have expected nothing different from you!!! Thank Heavens for Lynanne!!! The old girl has really come to life under your skilled eye! So happy for you!

  20. Oh, what a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing your process. I’m appreciating the art of listening and the way you allowed the colors to be revealed to you through different channels. Sending all my best to you and Buddy from across the Sound.

    • Thank Tad, appreciate the vote of confidence. Now if I could control the weather I’d have more to show you. Looks like autumn storms are lined up off the coast this La Nina year. (Patience Tom, Patience.)

  21. Good morning Tom and Buddy!!!

    We love that you are living and transforming your home into a place that transmit and vibrates the energy of love that comes from not only your mind but your heart!! xoxo


    Viv, Harris, Abbey,Oscar, Meg
    (Saige beyond the Rainbow)

    • Thank you Viv…Harris, Abbey, Oscar and Meg, and Saige What lovely words to read this morning, even before my first cup of coffee. Thank you so much. Buddy is snoozing over the furnace vent, but I know he sends his love once he wakes up. 😉

  22. I have waited to respond to your painting news until I could gush appropriately. FABULOUS! INNOVATIVE! ARTISTIC! BEAUTIFUL! EYE-CATCHING! I’M JEALOUS! (Oh wait, maybe not the correct gush). You are SO SMART to go with your gut and choose colors that speak, “I am Tom.” The orange-inside-red window trim is inspired and the blue door? Mwah! Perfect. You must feel so happy every time you walk/drive up to your house. I know I sure would. Brava!!

    • Thank you so much Karen. I love your enthusiasm, it really adds to the whole process to have such generous support and my friends cheering me on. Gushing is a fine art and yours just made my day. Thanks again Karen!

  23. I’m so enjoying your painting journey, Tom and Buddy. I LOVE it when people paint their house according to what makes them happy! It sets their house apart from all the other houses. Red and orange trim? I never would have thought of that combination (because I’m no artist, that’s for sure) but look how beautiful it is! — especially when you compare it to the “before” photo. And look how it sets off your leaded glass windows. My oh my, nice work, guys!

  24. I hope you live out loud, right there, for a long long time to come, Tom. Your vision and heart have revived the old girl and she glows from yours and Buddy’s life. I love turning into your lane, the a slow minute’s drive to the house, and then, there she is! I think she smiles and welcomes every visitor. She gives good hugs, Tom.

    • Oh thank you Linda for such lovely and heartfelt words. Once the painting’s done, and I do a little “straightening” and find up a surface to place a coffee cup on, I’ll have you over for a first hand view. Thanks again for you big heart and hugs!


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