6 Ways Paint Transformed an Elegant, Historic Home Decorating a 19th-century Farmhouse

6 Ways Paint Transformed an Elegant, Historic Home Decorating a 19th-century Farmhouse
Posted on January 03, 2023

The Hoopes House has been a local landmark in the picturesque Napa Valley for well over a century. For designer Erin Fetherston, known for interiors that seamlessly harmonize both modern and traditional elements, the home has personal significance as well. "This was my friend Lindsay Hoopes' childhood home," explains Fetherston, who has fond memories of playing in the house as a little girl. When Hoopes decided her historic home was due for a refresh, tapping Fetherston to lead the way felt like a no-brainer. After several delays due to events both global and local—including a new baby for Fetherston—the new Hoopes House is ready to make its debut.

In considering the home's next phase, Fetherston wanted to honor the larger history of the space. Built in Yountville, CA, for George Yount, the town's founder, the home, which dates to the late 1800s, has had a front-row seat to the evolution of the Napa Valley from dusty farmland to America's wine hub. These days, the town of Yountville is home to a collection of award-winning restaurants that draw visitors from all over the world. Hoopes House, now a luxury vacation rental property, is ready to welcome guests who want to take leisurely dips in the pool, eat fresh pears directly off the trees, and soak in the sun-filled warmth of a 19th-century home reimagined for the modern era.

One of the key ways Fetherston achieved a balance between the house's past and its present was by transforming the interior with paint from Benjamin Moore's newly enhanced Aura line. Here's how she captured the original spirit of Hoopes House in fun, inviting spaces that work for modern visitors—and how you can use her approach to paint for your future projects.

Look to the Landscape for Color Inspiration

"The house just needed an update," says Fetherston. "It hadn't really been redone since Lindsay's mom, who was also a great interior designer, did it in the 1980s. Plus, we wanted to shift it from just being a family home to also being a vacation rental." Focusing on making spaces both inside and outside the house inviting, welcoming, and flexible, Fetherston wanted to capture some of the magic of the area—including the home's surrounding vineyard and farmland. "The greatest thing going on here is this gorgeous setting in Napa Valley," she says. "We really wanted to bring the outside in, making the house feel as expansive and light as possible—despite a floor plan from the 1890s, which is full of small, enclosed rooms!" To achieve this, Fetherston hand-selected a custom Benjamin Moore color palette including Capitol White CW-10, Hunter Green 2041-10, Steam AF-15, October Mist 1495, High Park 467, Gloucester Sage HC-100, Hint of Violet 2114-60, Morning Dew OC-140, Venetian Portico AF-185. Benjamin Moore’s ultra-premium Aura Interior and Aura Exterior (paint, perfected) were specified on the entire project to ensure unmatchable color, durability, and smooth application that elevates any luxury project.

Consider Light When Choosing an Outdoor Paint

"Locals have called this the White House for as long as I've been alive," says Fetherston. "When we were thinking of repainting it, I wasn't going to break with tradition." To that end, Fetherston applied a fresh white coat of paint from Benjamin Moore's Aura exterior line. "They did me the favor of having already put together the most beautiful curation of historic paint colors," Fetherston explains. After perusing the selection, the shade she eventually settled on was Capitol White CW-10: "It's sort of the perfect neutral point on the scale of warmth. It's not too cool. It's not too warm, and it looks really beautiful under all those different lights," she says. "With the Aura Exterior line [which is designed for long-term durability], I knew that it would just have this richness and depth of color that I was looking for and that it would stand up to the elements—important here in the country."

Unify Rooms With a Brightening Shade

"Because of the 1890s footprint, the house has a very cottage feel," says Fetherston. "It's not open concept at all. Your experience is room to room, and we were trying to maintain that coziness while meeting people where they're at—because people do enjoy that open concept lifestyle experience for entertaining." The way to do that, Fetherston decided, was to give the first floor common spaces an airy feeling that spoke to that modern point of view, without giving up the intimacy the floor plan created. She chose Steam AF-15, a paint hue that would create a breezy, bright atmosphere: "I've found that white paint is my friend when it comes to maximizing light," she says.

Find the Perfect White

Not all white paints are created equal—and there are a lot of them. "It can be overwhelming navigating color choices and the many shades of white paint, so it was helpful to have a narrower and curated range to work with," Fetherston says. The selection, called the Williamsburg® Paint Color Collection, also nods back to the age of the home.

Beyond historical accuracy, Fetherston considered the context of the room she'd be painting. "When I'm asked about choosing a white paint, I always say that 'It's relative to anything else,'" she explains. "My last home, for example, had bleached wood floors stained with a light gray, so it looked great with Chantilly Lace OC-65." The floors in Hoopes House are a blonder wood, and Fetherston found Steam AF-15, a softer white, was the perfect fit.

Go Bold with an Unexpected Neutral

When it came to infusing Hoopes House with a bit of color—a personal request from Lindsay—Fetherston immediately turned to green. "I just feel like it is the other neutral, even though it really is a color," she says. "Green brings the outside in, which is always the marriage I'm looking to create in my design."

Fetherston chose the High Park 467 shade for a long wall in the dining room, to speak to the home's location. "It's really reflecting the fact that we're surrounded by rows of olive trees, redwood forests, the vineyard," she says. She also appreciated how the color feels different throughout the day. "In the evening, around dinner time or before sunset—what we call Golden Hour—it is so beautiful and the green feels really vibrant," Fetherston notes. "In the morning it's a little more dim, a little cozier."

"I felt that the bedrooms were a good place to depart from white," says Fetherston. "A bedroom to me is a world unto itself; it doesn't need to flow with the rest of the home." For this project, Fetherston searched the Benjamin Moore fan decks and designer color tools, filled with 3,500+ color options to identify shades that might have been popular when Hoopes House was first built. She chose Hint of Violet 2114-60 and Morning Dew OC-140, dusty purple and a cool gray with a touch of green, to turn each bedroom into an elegant jewel box.


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