paint it black!

flat onyx black benjamin moore exterior paint / sfgirlbybay

i’m very excited to finally share with you my latest home improvement project! i got up some steely nerve and painted my new house black! i’ve always dreamed of having a black house, and i couldn’t be more thrilled with the way it turned out. i’ve been pinning black houses, inspired by those in Scandinavia and denmark, and at long last have one of my very own! i partnered with benjamin moore, whose paints i adore and we went with their paint in Aura Exterior in Flat Onyx Black 2133-10 (the same shade as my interior doors). The trim was painted in Aura Exterior Grand Entrance in Satin Oxford White 869. i chose these paints because both deliver rich, full color and unprecedented durability — especially exteriors. My house gets a lot of sun in the morning, and Aura protects against cracking, peeling, and fading and is also mildew and stain resistant. and, Aura Exterior is available in thousands of colors. oh, and by the way — stay tuned this week, because coming tuesday we’re going to be hosting a giveaway for a chance to win 5 gallons of Benjamin Moore Aura Exterior paint — in your choice of color and finish!

black house and door in benjamin moore satin oxford white / sfgirlbybay

some before photos of my home's exterior paint / sfgirlbybay

i guess i’d better show you a couple of befores! okay, so my house was originally painted a kind of gray green which was nice, but not my dream house. also, i think at some point when windows were replaced or during some past renovations it seemed as though some of the character was stripped from the house and the windows and doors had no molding around them — not much character to speak of. so, my painter (ed mingura who is amazing and not only a wonderfully meticulous painter but a carpenter, too!) added craftsman style moldings we designed together after seeing this blog post. i love the result — giving the house much more personality and i love the contrast of the Oxford White trim against the Onyx Black. next up is the landscaping which is happening next week, but i can already tell how lovely all the greenery looks against that jet black. i hope you like it as much as i do! i like the way it looks at night a lot, too! stealth house!

my black house at night / sfgirlbybay

my back patio painted black with hanging chair and potted plants / sfgirlbybay

my white front door and black house and gate / sfgirlbybay

street view of my black house / sfgirlbybay

decor details of my black house makeover / sfgirlbybay

my black house with white trim and industrial sconce lights / sfgirlbybay

black and white benjamin moore exterior paint and industrial sconce light / sfgirlbybay

black house and porch with industrial string lights / sfgirlbybay

my black house with wood pergola and industrial string lights / sfgirlbybay

my black house with outdoor potted plants and lucy / sfgirlbybay

black exterior paint with white trim and string lights / sfgirlbybay

my black and white back patio with greenery / sfgirlbybay

my black house and industrial modern patio decor / sfgirlbybay

green plants against my black and white house / sfgirlbybay

• photography by lily glass for sfgirlbybay.

This post is in partnership with benjamin moore, and all words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep sfgirlbybay going with fresh content every day.

139 Responses to “paint it black!”
  1. Jen Pollard says:

    This house is absolutely gorgeous! I can’t even pick which photo to share, because they’re all so beautifully done. Nice work!

  2. Deborah says:

    Your house looks absolutely beautiful! I check out your site almost every day but don’t think I’ve commented before. I so enjoy your photography, as well as your posts of others people work. Good luck in your new home!

  3. richele says:

    Lady, this looks SO sharp!

  4. Your house is PERFECTION! The black could not have turned out better. Great choice.

  5. Casey says:

    Girl! THIS LOOKS AMAZING. I also adore that Scandinavian black house look. When we bought our old farmhouse in upstate New York I was sooooo tempted. We wound up going with white because ultimately I wanted to return to its old character (we had old photos of the place), but I keep scheming up “out buildings” that will be black– saunas, woodsheds etc. Great choice! And P.S. it’s been such a pleasure to read about you settling into your new home. It seems like you are kicking butt in LA!

    • victoria says:

      i was thinking of white as my other option (when I was feeling nervous about black). i love big white houses and I’m sure it’s lovely! and thank you – I am loving living here!

  6. Bronwyn says:

    I love it. The black makes a huge difference, as well as the moldings. I’m loving your potted plants and candles. Lucy is adorable!
    What a transformation.

  7. Mollie says:

    Your house looks FANTASTIC. I love how dramatic it is and it really makes all of your plants stand out so nicely. The touches of white are great. I live in a neighborhood where most of the houses are brick homes from the 50s (midcentury, not modern). One house has recently been painted black and it has been polarizing to the neighborhood. I’m obsessed with it. I bought my house in May and we are planning on painting it BM Soot in the future. I love the drama of a dark house!

    • JP says:

      Is there any way to share a photo?! I have a mid-century ranch from the 50s and am planning to paint it black in April. I live on a small street (nine houses) and am the last house on the road so, hopefully, won’t be too polarizing! ;)

      • Heather says:

        I would love to see a pic! I also have a 1950 mcm brick rancher (just the front is brick and the rest is panel). I really want to go black or uber dark gray. Did you paint yours yet? Can you email me at a pic of your house?

      • victoria says:

        Hi Heather – this is my house painted Benjamin Moore Onyx Black. :)

  8. merlin513 says:

    Looks fabulous and a definite upgrade from the before shots.
    Was wondering, did you paint existing vinyl siding? Cause the grain pattern looks way too regular to be wood battens. Asking because my parents house has vinyl siding and I’m not too crazy about the color. Would be nice to know that it could be painted over down the line when I inherit it.

    • Erin says:

      Yes, I would like to know this as well! Would LOVE to paint my vinyl siding one day. The black looks amazing!

    • victoria says:

      thanks so much! it’s actually aluminum siding, and the paint went on really nicely in just one coat (sprayed).

    • Great question! I recently had a BM colorist here for a consult before painting. We settled on a dark “Trout Gray” for the entire house… “Oxford White” trim and “Exotic Red” door. But to my great disappointment, when she realized part of my house is done in vinyl siding, we had to regroup as she informed me that you can’t paint such dark colors on vinyl or they will warp. We had to opt for painting the vinyl areas (back of house only) in a lighter “Coventry Gray”. So now I’m on schedule to have a three color house. It’s not exactly what I wanted, but I’m sure I’ll be happy with this facelift when all is said and done. Thanks for sharing the black house Victoria… very inspiring and reassuring that in choosing a dark gray my place will also look good ;-)

  9. Sambista says:

    Gorgeous! You should be so very proud!

  10. Nicole says:

    That looks AMAZING.

  11. Aileen says:

    LOVE! Your home looks absolutely dreamy! Aside from the paint color, the adding of molding made an incredible difference.

  12. kate says:

    So beautiful!!! I love this look so much. I got a little gun shy when we were painting our house and went with a dark gray but I just love this black so much! perfection :)

  13. Vicky says:

    OHH! I love black! the house is beautiful! and the plants, and wood…lovely
    Congrats for the renovation! :)

  14. nohatnogloves says:

    This, as we say in England, is the business. I would never go out.

  15. Kelly Tirman says:

    totally entering your giveaway when you post it. My house totally needs a new coat of paint (inside and out)! Feeling very inspired by this post!

  16. Victoria Rose says:

    Beautiful Victoria good job and the right design decision…

  17. katie k says:

    congrats victoria. it looks absolutely stunning. i look forward to your blog entries on a daily basis for inspiration from a well curated, consistent source. you never disappoint!

  18. Cia says:

    I really like this. It’s a color I wouldn’t have thought of using for an exterior, but it really works very well. I love it!

  19. casey says:

    I love it. Looks so great.

  20. Tracey says:

    What a transformation! I love it. Was that vinyl siding you painted over? I have some vinyl siding on the back of my house that I would love to paint black. Now I’m tempted!

  21. Victoria it looks AMAZING! I can’t believe what an improvement it made on the entire look of your house. I too have been in love with black houses, especially after seeing Sarah Sherman Samuel’s remodel of their Michigan lake house :) Congratulations!

    Molly {Dreams in HD}

  22. aimee says:

    Incredible upgrade!! Hard to believe it is even the same place!

  23. Carrie S. says:

    This looks so amazingly fantastic! I’d never have the nerve!

  24. Love the bold and dramatic color choice

  25. Ashley says:

    Looks amazing!!

  26. Mady says:

    This looks amazing, Victoria!!! Congrats!!!

  27. Victoria, it looks AMAZING!! I’ve been wanting to paint our house black (someday!) and was inspired by all of your pins. It looks so good. Yay! :)

  28. CA says:

    It’s absolutely STUNNING at night! I’ve never seen a pic of a black house at night before and it really wowed me.

    Beautiful anytime of day.

  29. Rebekka says:

    Stunning! Love it! We just recently painted our
    Fibro/ weatherboard double storey beach shack
    in black and wow what a transformation! At first I
    was a little apprehensive but are so very happy
    we went with out gut instincts. It went from a
    Cute little place to striking! We also framed around
    Our windows etc and painted them white it
    Has put a whole new spin on the house. Seeing
    Your amazing house just made me fall Inlove
    with this look all over again. It’s simply stunning
    Love love love!

  30. jan says:

    looks amazing!

  31. Jen says:

    It’s absolutely stunning! Thank you so much for sharing all the detail shots with us! Inspirational..

  32. Connie Fox says:

    Victoria, the house is wonderful. Great following your adventures on the blog. Enjoyed your book also. Take care.

  33. Callie Grayson says:

    I am loving the way the landscape pops, and the house becomes dreamy.

  34. Susan Lawson says:

    From someone who for many years had a dark brown house–color was called espresso and it was almost black–I love it. My neighbors hated it, though trimmed out in a barn red it was classic colonial. Too bad we’re in Indiana. Anyway, we did have problems with mildew and sun damage because of the dark color, primarily on the south (front) and west-facing sides. You were smart to pick a paint that would address those issues. Hope it wears well. It looks stunning.

  35. Shirley says:

    Oh my goodness! I am absolutely in love with this transformation. I have a similar plant aesthetic to you – agaves, succulents and palms are heaven. Now I want a black house :)

  36. Jaime says:

    RIGHT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. Debra says:

    Truth be told I was mad when you moved from the charming Herb Caen apt.
    Then when you transformed your little cottage into an amazing space especially when you had those kitchen cabinets painted white.
    But “wow” your home is fabulous and your neighbors should be showering you with treats and champagne, you just raised their property values.
    Love everything you’ve done.

  38. this is GORGEOUS, victoria! i’m in the process of house hunting and this definitely helps me ‘see’ the potential in fixer uppers wayyyy better.

  39. Sarah S says:

    Victoria: I’m loving all your new house posts and absolutely love the exterior painting and details! Your LA voice is shining through so brightly! Can’t wait to see more!

  40. Kate says:

    WOW! Absolutely stunning! Those plants against the black , I painted my summer house dark grey but seeing this I am going for black! Fab!

  41. Christine says:

    Wow, that’s one spectacular transformation! The house looks so much more modern and I love the way the plants stand out against the dark background.

  42. Cheryl says:

    Wow looks amazing, So clean and crisp. The white just pops against the black.
    Nice job!!!!

  43. Peggi says:

    Your home looks stunning! Ours desperately needs an exterior makeover. Not sure our conservative neighbors would love a black house :-0

  44. Denise says:

    how do you ever leave home expect to put the trash out and admire the house? absolutely stunning.

  45. Jill says:

    You transformed your house! It looks great!

  46. Tina Frey says:

    Hi Victoria! So nice to see the pictures! Your house is absolutely STUNNING and looks so modern!!!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!!!!

  47. GORGEOUS! So gorgeous. What a vision you had—so impressed and inspired to see that you ran with it.

  48. Jeska says:

    looks amazing, I had to come over and see the full post – just beautiful.

  49. Maggie says:

    Wow! I couldn’t picture a black house in my mind, but I really like this! :)


  50. silvia says:

    Love ! Love ! Love ! I have been dreaming of painting our house the same color when we get to repainting it so thank you for the inspiration. Absolutely beautiful.

  51. Cynthia says:

    Holy crap! Your house just went from 0-60 in a hot minute and probably increased in value by a hundred grand. Seriously. B/c the majority of people want what you have but would never have the balls to do it. LOVE the look so much and it’s perfect for the white-washed usual we see in LA.

  52. Joan says:

    Absolutely fantastic! BOLD. STUNNING. Gutsy move that now makes us all want to paint our houses black!!! Thanks for the inspiring share.

  53. Allison says:

    Wow! your house looks amazing.

  54. What a difference. This looks amazing. Great inspiration, thanks!

  55. sara c says:

    YES! I love it. Inspired by Amsterdam, I chose to live in a dark brown house trimmed in white. When house shopping, I just gravitated to the dark painted ones!!

  56. Jennifer says:

    What an amazing transformation and gutsy move! I’d love to knew where you got your string lights if you’ve been happy with them. I’m hoping to add a little twinkle to my bay area backyard! Thank you.

  57. Elizabeth says:

    Wow! That totally works! The plants do look gorgeous against the black.

  58. Kathryn says:

    This looks AMAZING! great work! We need to paint our house this summer but have been hesitant because our roofing in brown in colour. It’s hard to match with! Do you think black would work with a brown roof or would the contrast be too stark?

  59. Suzanne says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever commented here before (thought I love your blog and read every day), but I had to after reading this post. I’m so impressed you went for it: I love black houses but don’t think I would be brave enough. This is incredibly gorgeous though – a total transformation. Wow.

  60. Meggles says:

    What a contrast to the original shabby, dowdy color. I love it in black with the crisp white trim. The new exterior makes it look like a completely different house–wow. So stylish. I, too, love those black Scandi houses.

  61. Kirstin says:

    So so SO GOOD! So interesting that I always imagined your house on street level, but it’s definitely got a bit more character! Love the way the black makes your greenery stand out and the new white moldings definitely give it that little extra kick. I’ve been toying with the idea of going black with white trim on our exterior and I think you just convinced me to join the dark side :)

  62. Amanda says:

    Incredible! I need to step up my reno game!

  63. Anna says:

    What an update! It is hard to believe the “befores” are the same house. The black updates it and highlights the interesting architecture. I love your choice of painting the Cinderblock and Landscaping Timbers as well, yet left the stairs. Well done.

  64. Bridget says:

    Looks beautiful! Found you through design sponge. Wonder what the siding is? Wood or vinyl? Thanks!

  65. MaryEl says:

    This look is like – SERIOUSLY AMAZING!! Great job, Victoria!

  66. Carol says:


  67. Kristin says:

    Fabulous transformation.

  68. paloma says:

    IT turned out amazing !! I am completely in love with how it looks and dare I say a little inspired to do it myself =)

  69. Emily says:

    This is so perfect! I would kill for the exterior of this home. A very risky move, but one that clearly paid off. So much yes.

  70. Brenda says:

    Your house looks so classy and elegant! I love the black! I just painted my interior entrance doors black and I love them…my brother lives in Oakland and his house looks similar to yours…great job…

  71. john says:


  72. Merin says:

    Bold and Beautiful !! Absolutely loved this!!


  73. Aidel.K says:

    Wow! I read in Design Sponge–all black house, and had to come look. It’s amazing. Stealth house indeed.

  74. Rachel says:

    Hi Victoria, your house looks AMAZING!!! In fact, you have given me the courage to paint my house black instead of the dark grey I was picking because I was scared (painting commencing this summer).

    Question – you said the paint only took one coat – did you prime it first? Or just wash it?

    Keep up the great work! I love your blog.

    • victoria says:

      hurrah! the paint only required one coat. my painter first primed and painted all the white trim; then he meticulously masked all the trim off and sprayed the onyx black paint – all in one coat. it went on really well!

      thank you!

  75. Rossana says:

    Veramente una splendida casa!

  76. Lucy says:

    Oh my gosh – completely OBSESSED! This looks beyond amazing and go YOU! And your gut feeling!!! It’s so damn beautiful just love love LOVE



  77. Tiina K. says:

    Brilliant!!! Pure perfection! All the best from Berlin, Tiina

  78. Focus Pocus says:

    A bold transformation! Outstanding! Your landscaping, all of the wood elements and even your dog stand out against the black onyx paint of your home. Well done! (Kudos to Lillie your photographer.)

  79. I love black houses. I have to share this post. Black houses get no credit. Love it!

  80. The makeover looks amazing! I love BM onyx.

  81. Beth says:

    Love the boldness of the black!

  82. Suzie T says:

    Wow! Black and white never looked more stunning!

  83. christina says:

    This house looks amazing, what a difference some paint can make! I love how the potted plants really pop against the dark color.

  84. Lori Powell says:

    Victoria~ LOVE,LOVE your new house, and now the new color!!
    I’m with you, it was brave and worth it!!! I hope you are continuing to enjoy LA, although we miss you in SF! Best~L

  85. Nicole N says:

    Extreme jealousy has overwhelmed me!!!! I’m talking my husband in to painting ours black as well. I’m hoping your blog helps to push him into the yes box. Looks beautiful!!!!!!

  86. Cynthia F says:

    Your lovely home looks absolutely stunning in it’s “Little Black Dress” ! You have given me the courage to finally choose Black as the exterior color for my tiny little house, and simple white trim!
    I have always wanted to do this combo but never had the nerve……I sure do have it now! Everything about the home and patio areas is perfect and I feel sure this look will translate well to my little cottage in a historic preservation area of Columbus, OH. The plants and greenery are fantastic against the black and white! The best part is: The terrible ordeal of choosing body, trim, and accent colors has disappeared from my life completely. Hooray!!! Very, very well done!!!

    • victoria says:

      thank you so much, cynthia. i really, really love it and greenery does look really pretty against the black!

      • Cynthia French says:

        I find myself looking at the photos constantly….can’t wait for the weather to improve so the painting can begin! Wanted to ask where you found the kool black hangers that hold the small flower pots? They are darling! Than ks!!

      • victoria says:

        thanks, cynthia – so glad you’ve found some inspiration. :) i got those hangers at the flea market.

  87. brooke says:

    This is amazing!! I love it, but my favorite is the patio shot- did you make that fabulous wood-topped table with the metal/wire base? I’d love a source for that:) I’ve got my wheels spinning for a diy version…..

  88. Sukie Saito says:

    Ugh, we are waffling between painting our bungalow BM Granite Grey with black trim ( Granite is quite dark) or BM Simply White with black trim , and this just makes it so much harder. Your house looks fantastic! I worry though that we don’t have the height to carry off the dark colors and our house is stucco. I always think black exteriors look best on wood houses.. Maybe I am just talking myself out of it …

  89. Jen says:

    Where is the wood & metal patio table from? I love it. It all looks great!

  90. klara says:

    We’ve been gearing up to paint our house black too. A lot of painters we interviewed were questioning our choice of using flat black because it would get dirty and be harder to clean. They recommended using the satin or low lustre instead. They said the sheen was a good idea if we didn’t want issues with it getting burnished and dirty. Ben Moore reps I talked to recommended the same. What has been your experience thus far and did anyone try to sell you on sheen?

    Most of them also like regal more than aura so were pushing us in that direction. Thoughts?


    • victoria says:

      I like the look of flat as opposed to a sheen, but that’s just my personal preference. I get a bit of dust here where I live (next to a vacant hillside) but the house doesn’t look dirty. I’m sorry I don’t really know the difference between the Aura and the Regal, but Benjamin Moore is great paint and I think either would probably work well. Good luck!

  91. Mia says:

    Hi Victoria, I’m also obsessed with the cool yet elegant look of a black exterior. I’m planning on buying a home in the Sunset in SF and wonder if you’ve seen any of the Marian style homes done this way. Think it would look good?


  92. christina says:

    What kind of siding is on your house? Is it wood, vinyl, or fiber-cement?

    We have an addition on our home that’s vinyl that I’ve been looking into painting but when I did some research I found that:

    1. Most painters don’t recommend dark colors over vinyl
    2. Any paint that is specially-made FOR painting vinyl doesn’t come in a true black, the darkest I’ve found is medium grey

    Yours looks fantastic – hoping I can find something for my own vinyl siding!

    • victoria says:

      Hi Christina, my siding is aluminum and the paint seems to be holding up very well. That’s good to know though! Good luck finding your true black!!

  93. Sally says:

    This is exactly what i’ve been looking for! I live in a log cabin that has a bullnose verandah all the way around ( I live in Australia). We are going to paint same colours , but I have only seen houses with white posts and railings. I am tossing up doing them black and was wondering what they would look like … then I came across your place! It looks great … we live in the bush , so we are surrounded by greenery and I think this would sit really well.What colour is your roof? the whole colour thing is doing my head in! LOL I am afraid it will be all too much or heavy … we are painting our iron roof a mid-grey.

    • victoria says:

      Hi Sally, I thought about doing the railings white, but there’s so many of them I think it would look very busy – so black it is! My roof is a light gray. Good luck with the paint job!

  94. Karina says:

    Oh my gooooodnesssss!!! This post just made my day! I have always dreamed of painting my home black. Your home is absolutely gorgeous!!! It’s a “Black Beauty!!!” I’m definitely inspired, thank you!!!!

  95. Minsoo says:

    Hi Victoria,

    I just bought a house and trying to paint with Benjamin Moore Onyx! May I ask how long it took you to prep and paint the whole house? My house seems about 1/2 or 2/3 size of yours. Thanks!

    • victoria says:

      Hi Minsoo,

      I had a professional painter do the job, and he was very methodical about prep and we also added moldings around the windows. I think the whole process took about 3 weeks, but the painting happened pretty quickly.

  96. Kate says:

    Hi Victoria! I love your choice of black so much and would LOVE LOVE LOVE to do it on our new house which is currently rust (!). My one fear is that the house will be hot, attracting all the heat out there. What have you experienced?

  97. Kate says:

    Thank you! It’s so awesome that you responded on this older post! I appreciate your time and really want to go for it! :)

  98. Katie says:

    Victoria! I cannot believe this post. I went to my local Benjamin Moore store and found these exact two colors to get samples of for the exterior of my tiny house! I love love love this classic pairing! Thank you for being bold in a sea of pastels! Cannot wait to show my husband who literally looked at me like I have a horn growing out of my head when I said black house. I was imagining a wood door but the white looks chic and would be a major cost savings. All the heart eyes. Hashtag goals!!

    • victoria says:

      Awesome! I’m excited for you. I love my house this color, and my neighbors do now, too. They were a little shocked when I said I was painting it black, but now two other houses have done it! :)

  99. Caleb Ingersoll says:

    Hi Victoria,

    This looks really incredible! I too have aluminum siding and I’m trying to figure out what to do with it. When they installed it, they covered up all the original trim of the house and it looks like you were able to deal with that by adding trim. Did you just tack it on over the siding? I’d love more details on how you approached this. Also, I’ve had mixed advice on whether I should paint aluminum dark colors because it might melt if it gets too hot. Did your painter talk about that at all? thanks for posting this!

    • victoria says:

      hi caleb,

      my siding is actually vinyl, so the painter/carpenter drilled the siding to the house. i don’t know too much about how dark colors work on aluminum, but maybe the Benjamin Moore reps can answer that better for you at the paint store. my carpenter was very exact on how he created the moldings and trim and really custom cut it to size, ‘shingling’ the wood work so it would fit really well to the siding (if that makes sense). good luck!

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