Neale Whitaker

Neale Whitaker Guest House


Having recently completed a beautiful, one-bedroom guest house on his property in Berry, Neale Whitaker, long standing judge of The Block tv series and style aficionado, knows first-hand the complexities of home renovation.

Neale and his partner, David Novak-Piper, wanted to create a luxury guesthouse where visitors could experience the beauty and tranquillity of the area’s lush, verdant surrounds.

They knew from the start they wanted a black barn – as their farmhouse is a very pale grey, they relished the prospect of creating a beautiful contrast between the two buildings.

Choosing a black paint, however, is a process that requires a little understanding of colour.  And for this, Neale visited his local Wattyl centre and got some expert advice. 

Key to choosing the correct black is to consider the elements surrounding the area to be painted – in Neale’s case, he knew that the black could be a little harsh on its own so he introduced a mix of warmer browns and greens to the palette in the form of brick, timber and foliage, to soften the look.  Worn brick pavers, in a warm brown hue, have been laid in a herringbone pattern, while olive trees, in tall cylindrical planters, and large drifts of rosemary soften the profile of the barn.

Wattyl advised the best external finish for the barn would be Solagard, in a low sheen –  the low-reflective finish hides any imperfections and is easy to clean.

Neale and David’s final colour choice, after using several test pots to trial the colours insitu, was Wattyl Solagard in Wattyl’s shade of Colorbond NightSky, in low sheen.  “We love the fact this colour creates exactly the amount of drama and luxury we were after.  The black is quite sensorial and, depending on the time of day, it throws incredible light and shadows that create interest,” said Neale.

In David’s words, “Our guest-house barn is a city person’s version of ‘country’ – supremely comfortable, with a sprinkling of glamour”.

It was Neale’s experience of seeking expert advice on colour and finish that initiated the relationship between the Block judge and Wattyl paint.  And in March 2023 Wattyl announced its appointment of Neale as ambassador and style adviser.

Wattyl's Popular Shades of Black Exterior Colours

Deciding to paint your home’s exterior black sounds simple but there are many different shades of black to choose from and it’s important to select a shade in either a cool or warm undertone as the slightest difference can affect the look and feel you’re wanting to achieve.

With black being neutral, it can work with nearly all building types. Cooler hues of black work best on homes in environments surrounded by natural bush landscapes, while saturated black is better suited to modern architecture in urban settings. 

Wattyl recommends using Wattyl Solagard in a low sheen finishSolagard offers excellent coverage for large surface areas and has been specifically developed to withstand Australia’s harsh weather conditions. Its Total Protection Technology ensure it resists flaking, peeling and blistering to keep all exteriors looking better for longer. Low sheen is the ideal option for cladding or rendered walls due to the low-reflective finish which hides imperfections and is easy to clean. 

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