A three-story stone home in my neighborhood has stood in stately elegance for 80 years, surrounded by a 4-ft. high wrought iron fence atop a 2-ft. stone wall. The iron pickets are about 6 in. apart, and they have always been painted black. Recently, the house changed hands and the new owner painted the fence white. The house virtually disappeared.
I think this illustrates a frequently ignored design principle. The impact of a fence or a latticework screen can be heightened or reduced by its color. If you want to see the fence, paint it a light color. If you want to see what is behind the fence, finish it with a dark stain or paint. If you want to eliminate what’s behind the fence, paint the fence white. This may seem obvious, but when you start looking at fences it becomes apparent that this is a poorly understood rule.
Frederic E. Bishop, Farrell, PA
Edited and Illustrated by Charles Miller
From Fine Homebuilding #46