Eye on excellent exteriors

By Leslie Tippell | Sonoma Valley Sun The SUN Thursday, January 2, 2014

Even though the abundance of beautiful homes abound, when I first moved to Sonoma the homes that I was most drawn to, the ones that I found most interesting were off of 2nd Street East. The neighborhood offers an eclectic mix of Craftsman, Bungalows, Cottages, Traditional and Spanish colonial houses both old and new that gives you a feel for California cool architecture at its best.

As a color design specialist, my area of expertise is creating color palettes; selecting paint color, masonry brick, windows, roof tile, hardscape and landscape theming to create a complete package. When I revisited the eastside neighborhood, camera in hand, I zeroed on five homes that really have it all together.

As with luck would have it, I also had the good fortune to photograph these homes all spruced up for the holidays.  Of course the one thing that all these homes have in common is beautiful landscaping, which is like the icing on the cake.  With the leaves turning and many beautiful fall colors still in abundance, here’s hoping these exquisite exteriors well inspire you as well.

684 Second Street East:


This has to be one of favorite homes in all of Sonoma. An adorable, lap sided Traditional cottage with a warm grey exterior, deep red shutter accent, and charcoal color front door off set by a brick paver entryway. Beautiful contrast of gray and red to pop the color.

558 Second Street East:


Craftsman perfection – another one of my favorite things.  Dark chocolate brown shingles with dark green accent color.  Moroccan arches, varied rough and uneven brick columns accented with green roof shingles.  Can you say texture!

Yes, please!

693 Second Street East:


A recent remodel, Dutch Colonial, this house has just the right amount of color – a very subdued golden wheat.  Yellow is a tricky color, too much color or chroma (as we say in the biz) is slightly off-putting. Of course color is very subjective, so my apologies to those of you who like lemony yellow, much better in confections, but that’s my friends Kristin’s column!

However, the thin lap-siding, brick walls, asphalt shingle cookie cutter roof and black color front door make this home seem both old and new effortlessly,

Simply perfection.

Spain Street East


OK, so I lied, I have one more house that is absolutely charming is off of Spain Street East.  I’m a sucker for old barn-red homes; nothing says Sonoma more to me then a Barn red home.  This very thick lap-sided home with white trim accent, French door with window lights and porch is so quintessential homey, I hope the Owner invites me over for a glass of wine or hot chocolate soon!

5th Street East


I was simply obsessed with this house when I first moved to Sonoma almost 10 years ago.  This quintessential Craftsman house is part of the Ledson Estates off 5th Street East. Real wood shingles in a light Sage green, ivory colored wood trim, burnt russet window trim that I like to say is the equivalent of eye liner for a home, a beautiful rustic red stacked chimney and of course, the piece to resistance, a full wrap-around porch.  Yes this is eye candy at it’s best.  The indulgent setback and authentic fire engine red mailbox add to the charm.


Leslie Tippell, is Chair of the Sonoma Design Review Board, Is the principal of L.T. Designs, a color design studio that collaborates with residential/commercial builders, developers and private clients for full project color designs specializing in material selections and color palettes and landscape features.  leslie@studiotippell.com