paint it black!
by victoria comment


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.

177 responses to “paint it black!”

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

    • 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

    • 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! ;)

      • 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?

  5. 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.

    • 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 ;-)

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

  7. 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 :)

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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 :)

  15. Victoria,
    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.

  16. 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!

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

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

  22. 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!!

  23. 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.

  24. 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?

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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 :)

  28. 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.

  29. 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…

  30. 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.

    • 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!

  31. 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



  32. 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.)

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

  34. 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

  35. 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!!!!!!

  36. 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!!!

      • 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!!

  37. 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…..

  38. 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 …

  39. 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?


    • 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!

  40. 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?


  41. 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!

    • 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!!

  42. 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.

    • 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!

  43. 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!!!!

  44. 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!

    • 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.

  45. 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?

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

  47. 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!!

    • 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! :)

  48. 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!

    • 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!

  49. Love it ! I’ve been wanting to paint my craftsman black or dark blue. Have you noticed that the interior gets warmer now with the dark exterior? That’s the feedback from paint “experts” .

  50. Love!! Just wondering where you got the light fixture over the door? Love the metal, farmhouse style of it exactly! Thanks

  51. Hello, we are currently building and I think we are going to go for it…the black house. A few questions. Do you have issues with it looking dirty? Like black cars look…smudgy and spotty? Also, would you paint this on a two story with craftsman detail? If so..what would you paint the shakes? If house is black, and trim detail white…would you leave the shakes a natural wood color?

    • Hi! Well, I love the black but I also live next to an empty lot of trees so the house does tend to get a bit dirty. I think black looks great on Craftsman style houses with white trim. Leaving the shakes natural would probably be really pretty, too. it’s hard to say without seeing the house, but sounds dramatic!

  52. I’ve wanted to paint my vinyl siding black, and there telling me I can’t because it may warp from black paint. Was your house vinyl siding ?

    • Hi Michelle, I have aluminum siding and after 2 years it has cracked a little above my garage where it gets really hot (100+ dgree) direct sun. So it could be an issue depending on your sun exposure. I love it so much though, it’s worth it for me to touch up certain spots.

  53. I love how bold and crisp this is! My question is: How did you decide what trim to paint white or black?

  54. I love your house so much! Question: Two years later do you still love the black exterior? I am looking for a paint color for my little colonial revival home in a historic neighborhood near downtown Winston-Salem, NC. I am contemplating something very dark like yours, or a pretty pink (probably pale versus bright). They are so different that I am stuck! HELP!!!!

    • Thanks, Edie! I do love it, and I’m still really happy with the color choice. It looks so great with greenery and stands out very dramatically in the neighborhood. :)

  55. Ahhmmm i really like the look of your house… so chic and modern

    Can you share the floor plan of your house??? Im gonna build my own house so im collecting some ideas
    Thanks in advance

  56. Hi,

    I’ve been going back and forth trying to decide if I should paint my siding black. I really, really love black. I have to say, your home inspired me. It’s so beautiful! My only reservation is if the paint will last… How are you finding it’s holding up since it’s been a few years now..?

    All the best, Bobbi

    • I still love my black! I would say do two coats or at least primer before painting but if you use a good paint like Benjamin Moore’s Oynx Black you’ll be fine!

  57. What a great way to make a “common” exterior” look fantastic. Great job.

    I have a modern home in rural New York, Two sheds occupy a corner of the property. Both are painted matte black and with their silver metal roofs, they look great.

  58. Hi, We too have a black house! We bought it that way. It’s more of a brown black. We are going to keep it black and repaint it just to give it an update. We are thinking of going a slightly blue black, Benjamin Moore Soot or similar. My question is what stain did you use on that wood wall behind your porch? We are trying to find what deck or porch stain goes will to create the black house Scandinavia look. Do you know? Many thanks, Kristine

  59. Hey I just wanted to say I love the color! I just had a quick question regarding the siding. It looks to be a vinyl siding and I was under the impression vinyl siding could only be painted lighter colors because of warping and heat absorption. How is the paint on your house holding up? Any warping? -thanks!

    • Hi Eric,

      I’m not sure if that’s true, because I had a Benjamin Moore expert out the house and he just recommended a specific primer to be used first. I get a LOT of heat on the house, so it’s faded a bit, but still looks really great. I get a lot of compliments on it. I haven’t seen any warping. Cheers!

  60. Hi Victoria! I love your house and I love the colors. I am currently researching painting our two story house black. The siding is vinyl though and I’ve read mixed opinions on this. In your comments above you state that your house is aluminum and then in another comment that it’s vinyl. Can you clarify if it is vinyl for me? If so, you’ve seen no warping only minor chipping?

    • Hi Erica,

      I was told it was vinyl but it turned out to be aluminum. I went with a primer specifically made for aluminum and it worked great. I think you can contact Benjamin Moore and their specialists will give you the ideal recommendation. We also sanded the house down first before the primer to avoid pealing and cracking. I hope that helps!

  61. Hello! Love your home. I was curious what kind of wood/stain you did for the back patio. We are painting our home flat black and are curious what type of wood we should use for the attached pergola. Thanks!

    • Thanks Alicia. We didn’t use any stain on the natural wood, and I believe we used Redwood. Sorry, it was 6 years ago, and I don’t live there anymore, so I can’t remember.

  62. I love the color! May I know what color is your interior? I’ve been thinking of repainting my house with black, but I don’t know what’s gonna be the color of my interior. I’d love to consider your idea. Thanks a lot!

  63. I am so inspired by your house and I REALLY appreciate you giving the paint names. Are you satisfied with the color 5 years out? Are you finding the house hot in the summer? I am contemplating this color for a house on the coast of Maine that will take some weather. It now has vinyl siding.

    • Hi Virginia,

      Yes – I don’t live there anymore, as I sold the house, but I have seen photos of it and the last time I saw it in person was October 2019 and it still looked great!

  64. Hello Victoria, A second homeowner in our beach town who’s house sits vacant most of the time just painted their house black. The local neighborhood is aghast at how awful the place looks. All the defects in the old siding stand out like a sore thumb. I hope folks here are open minded enough to hear a negative comment about people painting their houses black without getting upset. I’m amazed at all the positive comments here. I must say, “The Emperor wears no clothes folks.” Black houses are creepy. Even more creepy when vacant.

    • Well, the house sounds run down and I can see painting it black would just bring out the flaws. I did a lot of patchwork and adding new molding etc before moving forward and I still love the outcome. It’s not for everyone though!

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