Tuesday, April 10, 2012

To Paint or NOT To Paint...

yes,  I'm referring to the trim in my house.

Read on for  details.

When we bought this house, 
we were on the 10-year  renovation plan.  
Um,  ya we're at 15 years
and still not finished.
 One of the last things to do is the interior trim.
We changed out window (aluminum side-sliders for wood single-hungs) 
during the exterior makeover
and have changed one doorway. 
 Those areas are trim-less at the moment.  
We have been trying to decide on that trim for almost 8 years now...
does that make it a 10-year decision?!
I do what I always do with indecision...
move onto the  thing that I do know
and don't decide at all.

It is time...we really do need to decide
what to do  and to do it.
this post really should be titled
To Decide or Not To Decide.

We have  three main rooms  in question.
They're the more formal rooms. 
The deal is this:
 there is a mixture of trim going on.
Let's go room by room and you'll see what I mean.

The Entry.
Here is that original stairway that sealed the deal for me

Two of the doorways have original trim and one is un-trimmed.

The 2 windows are untrimmed.

The Parlor
Same unfinished doorway from the entry 

and all of the windows  are raw wood without trim.

The trim going into the dining room is original.

The Dining Room
All of the doorways and the built-in china cabinet are original.

The windows have nothing.
The 3/4 plate  moulding  and crown are already painted white.

This picture from Easter morning shows 
all of the mis-matched-ness.

So this is where the dilemma is.
We need to purchase the trim for the windows and doorway.
We are going to get the same profile 
but do we get stain-grade
and attempt to match? (will it ever?)
Or do we get paint-grade? (do the easy and for sure thing)

Pros for Paint
  • Less expensive (paint grade is considerably less money)
  • On close inspection, the existing trim is not in that good of condition, there are a lot of paint splatters on it already.
  • I really do  love and have loved  painted woodwork for a long time.
  • When all of the trim is installed there will be 3 types of wood: the original trim, the windows, and  the new trim. Is it even possible to make all match in color, in finish, and for it to look old?

Pros for Stained Wood
  • Considered a more authentic restoration
  • Is painted trim a fad? (does 20 years of liking something disqualify it as a fad?)
  • Does painted wood reduce perceived value in a  historical  home?
  • Will I have painter's remorse?  Once painted-always painted (I will NOT strip woodwork)

So there it is in a nutshell.
Tell me what you think?
What would you do?
Would painted woodwork make a difference 
in your decision to buy an old house?

White Wednesday @ Faded  Charm 
Tuesday Cowgirl Up @ The Farmhouse Porch 
Cozy Home Scenes
Knick of Time Tuesday @ Knick of Time
Tuesday's Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Be Inspired @ Elizabeth & Co.
Wow Us Wednesday @ Savvy Southern Style
What's It Wednesday @ Ivy and Elephants
Time Travel Thursday @ The Brambleberry Cottage
Vintage Inspiration Friday @ Common Ground
Farmhouse Friday @ Laurie Anna's Vintage Home
Home Sweet Home @ The Charm of Home
PRIMP Your Stuff @ (PRIMP)
Thriftin' on a Thursday @ Savvy City Farmer
Inspiration Friday @ At The Picket Fence
Potpourri @ 2805


Vintage Market Place said...

it is beautiful.
My mother did paint and it looks so cheap and chips so easily. She wishes now that she would have kept the stain, but she went for the easy way and is now wishing she would have taken the hard road.
It may take longer but the results will be amazing.
Your home is so beautiful and the history will be saved.
Good luck with your choice.

Kathy A Delightsome Life said...

Hey - understand your dilemma! We are removing years of paint on our french doors - I am actually going to faux wood paint them - if that makes sense - the old milk paint is just not coming off - anyhow - you probably can match the stain - it is quite dramatic against the light walls - will frame the outdoor view beautifully!

Anonymous said...

I am in the same dilemma as you with the trim to paint or not to paint question. The dining room has a built in like yours but now crown moldings which we intend to install . I love the look of painted wood but those of us who have historic old homes like this have a tough decision. I have painted some trim in bedrooms and such but think in the dining room and living room I need to keep the integrity and look of the original. I am am afraid I will regret painting a few years down the road when stain woodwork comes back (you know it will!)

Hope you are better at making a decision then me! Sorry I wasn't any help!

bee blessed

Lisa~A Cottage To Me said...

Wow....okay, so we live in a home that was built in 1879! Many, many families have lived in this house. They have done LOTS to it over the years...not all good! ALL of the woodwork is painted, except for the railing going down the stairs. I would LOVE to have it NOT painted! Even with different types of wood, if done correctly the trim can be replicated and stained to match closely (if that is even correct) enough. "I" think that this painting original beautiful antiques, whether it be a piece of furniture or trim in a home, is something that in the long run, will be regretted! Yes, at first it freshens the appearance, but it takes from the value and the workmanship that has been there for, in some cases, over 100 yrs! Please think this thru cautiously! Your home is gorgeous and there are many out there in blogland with 70's ranch style homes trying to replicate what we, who are lucky enough to have already in our older homes. I am sure, if you think back to when you purchased your home, one of the things that probably sold you on it was the woodwork! Good luck in deciding! I'll still visit no matter!

Sheila said...

PAINT IT ALL!!! I lived in a 1937 cottage, it was our first home...when we decided to buy old, my one condition was painted trim. I will say that this it is no fad, it is what you like :) a fad is bell bottom jeans, fluorescent colors...remember the 90's? Hunter green and burgundy gingham. I think that if you don't, that when it is all finished you will be like, man why didn't I paint the molding :)and your husband will say shoulda woulda coulda...but now NO! lol PAINT IT!!!!

Smiles & Blessings,

Kassie said...

We had this same decision to make in our 1928 cottage. Most of the trim in the rooms had already been painted white, but the dining and living rooms had not. The wood was beautiful and we went back and forth for several months. We finally decided to paint. We did leave the fireplace the original wood. That said, we bought this old house with the intention of fixing it up...but I think most who don't want a fixer upper would like for the trim to be painted. That was the opinion I got when I asked around. Everyone said it lightens and brightens and just gives it a "cheery" feel. And I do love the way it turned out. But I WON'T paint that fireplace no matter what anyone says! :)

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

You can try the stain and if it matches well enough, you're good. If it doesn't you can still paint it and then it stays that way. I think I would try the stain first just to have the option.
Good luck. It is looking nice can't wait to see what you decide.

chateau chic said...

If I remember correctly, the trim in your kitchen is all painted white and it is so fresh and bright. When we lived in the Chicago area, all the trim in our home was beautiful wood, but it all matched. Since we moved East, I'm liking all the trim in our house painted white because it's so bright and clean and crisp. I don't see the dust as much! :-)
Mary Alice

Brayton Homestead Interiors said...

as an Interior Designer I can see the value for painting but as an owner of a 216 year old house I always say to leave the wood. Your taste is quite lovely.


Karen's Place said...

It will be interesting to hear what other write about this question. IMHO I love, love, love the dark built in china cabinet and doorway wood in the dining room. The entry way stairs and stairway are charming. I would leave them dark and that is where I would spend the money and re stain them to offer a warm welcome to your home. For the other areas...Can you get a carpenter to trim out the untrimmed doors and windows. or you dear hubby. Those I think white would be okay white. You've already covered the windows with lacy curtains. Your home is so lovely. I have a newly built home and it's nice, but lacks the charm of a home like your. Karen in Sth CA

Anonymous said...

For me, if I was going to buy an old historical house, I would NOT want the wood trim painted. I rented an old house and it had tons of wood trim and woodwork moldings and wainscoting and I was always so glad the owner hadn't painted over it. But that's just me. It would probably match the rest of your house better to have it painted. By the way, I LOVE your house and the way you decorate. Very inspiring. Sorry to write you a book! Kathy L from Colorado

from me to thee......... said...

first comment, yes !!! I say paint !!!! Love all your painted wood...it would really, really, be hard to match the stained wood, so for that reason along I would paint. I like some mix anyway, some stained wood with painted. I think everything painted white is a bit much, a little contrast is good. But, I know what ever you do will look awesome! Be brave and carry on!

Missi at Havoc-to-Heaven said...

Don't do it! The original trim is so gorgeous and so rare! Everyone has painted trim - you have something unique and beautiful. The new trim won't be right next to the old trim right? A close match will be fine if they are not too close together. I can't wait to see what you decide! Missi

fleurcottage said...

paint! :) Esther

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

That can be a tough decision for sure! Personally, I have always preferred painted trim. It just feels cleaner, lighter and brighter. But I do understand the issue of authenticity in an older home. In the end, it's your house and you should do whatever makes you happy! A home is meant to be loved and enjoyed, not just preserved!

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

THANK YOU for this post!!! I've had the same dilemma going on in my head for almost 8 years. I see all these old houses with painted trim and they look so bright and fresh. On the other hand, I do like my dark doors and the dark trim next to my stained glass windows. On the other hand (oops, that's 3 hands) a previous owner painted all the wide baseboard molding white, so I have that mis-matched thing going on, too. I submitted this dilemma to a popular decorator's Q & A blog post and OUCH! Apparently it's a mortal sin to have mis-matched trim. Who knew?! I'm leaning toward painting the trim, but leaving the window sashes, doors, and fireplace with their original dark stain ( ie Laurieanna's blog). I think I know where you're headed, and since you've been "deciding" 2 years longer than me I'll just wait and see how yours turns out. :@

NanaDiana said...

We had that same problem in TWO of the houses we renovated. Trim that was original...trim someone had attempted to match and then new trim where we had remodeled. We ended up painting the first house and from that point on I never looked back. It made the house look fresh and there was a LOT of painted woodwork back when those houses were built. You were considered a person with some "money" if you could afford to paint. The second house was the same thing and we painted that, too. We made a good profit on both houses and no one ever mentioned that the trim was painted.

Before we decided to sell the first house we had someone that asked if we were interested in selling (we were not at the time). She said, "Well, the first thing I would do is paint all this dark woodwork out and lighten the house up"...and she was part of the historical society here.

I used Dove White by Benjamin Moore and have continued to use that for trim since then. It is a soft white-not blinding and I love it.

So...there's my big mouth's worth!;>) xo Diana

Victorian1885 said...

Hello Rene
Our 1924 home we moved from had its wood already painted and I loved it but our neighbours home of the same vintage was all in the original woods and I loved it too. They seemed to think there home would be worth more when they decide to sell it but who knows. I think I would have trouble painting it but it will look lovely either way. Your Home shows so beautifully! Have a great week.

Anne said...

I say go white.It will go with anything you ever decide to do to your home.It will also bring out more of the detail on your doors,trim.We don't have an older home but a newer one.We have white doors and white trim with some wood floors.Just enough wood for a contrast.

Adrienne said...

I vote for painting all the trim...

PattieJ said...

I LOVE White woodwork!!! So that's what I would do! Paint it White!! :)I always think that everything looks better in White!

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Miss Gracie, You are the final voice in this very big decision! Your historic home has tons of character and I can see that it shows off it's age and style beautifully.
If it were my house... I would paint all the trim white. White trim looks so clean and would tie in all the trim styles. The house has so much character that painting the trim will update it without really hurting the integrity of this beauty!
I'm sure you will make the right choice!

awal.ny said...

This is a very hard and personal decision. When we built our home we had to make the decision also. I knew I wanted white trim right from the start. I must say that white does go really well with dark floors. Good luck, it will look good either way.

Sarah said...

My personal opinion is that I like stained woodwork better and would rather purchase a home like that, as opposed to painted. THAT SAID, I think you should do whatever you love in YOUR home. Who cares what the resale value is, unless you plan on selling soon go for what you love. :)

A Kitchen Witch said...

Oh, I'd keep it looking original. It looks stunning (even if there are paint spatters). : ) You just don't see trim made like that anymore. It may be hard to pull off, but I bet you'll cherish your labor of love in all it's glory.

Cori G. said...

Hello Rene!
It seems like forever since I've visited, but when I peeked into my blog and saw your post I knew I had to drop in for a moment.
I vote for no paint. I think there's something so charming about an old Victorian that still has it's original stained woodwork and believe that no matter how dinged it may be it still has grace and a voice all its own. Put me down for no paint '-).
I hope you've been doing well and that the Lord is blessing you and yours.
xoxo Cori

EllenaElizabeth said...

I think you should not paint the trim simply because you have such a beauty of a house. It's historical value is evident by the photos you show. As you say once painted you will not strip. It does look a bit heavy but I think you seem to have enough white and contrast to balance it and lighten it up. All the best with your decision.

Tracy said...

Somehow, I get the feeling you have already decided in your heart that paint is the right decision for you. Sure, someone is going to say it's the wrong choice, but it's not their house. Do what makes you happy.

Shine said...

What a hard decision!!!! I can see why this is the last major thing to do:) Hmmmm....personally, natural wood trim truly makes me swoon in an old house and I always cringe at the thought of painting wood...HOWEVER! The bottom line is....you really have to do what YOU love...if the painted wood has been in your heart for many years..then you MUST paint it! Does your Mr. mind either way? What ever you do ..I am CERTAIN it will be GORGEOUS!!!!!! Blessings sweet friend~~Shine

Trisha said...

Normally I am all about painting but the original woodwork in your home is just too pretty to cover up. Either way, I know what ever it is you decide to do will be perfect!



Living in a historic home that had painted trim when I moved in, I will tell you that I would never be the first person to paint never-before painted trim. There is no (easy) going back. Get your light easy breezy colors from furniture or something else. I do believe painted trim is a fad and will, like everything else, pass. New homes, sure paint it, it has no inherent character anyway, but not in an old home. Sorry, but I'm passionate about this one. Stripping paint on trim is awful and you don't want to go there. You can use some refreshing products if you want to lighten and freshen the old varnish. I think if your farmhouse has made it thus far with it's trim untouched, leave her be. I wish my former owners had done that. Now I'm stuck with just adding my own layers of paint to the gazillion layers. And when someone dings it, it makes quite the divet and is a pain to fill and then repaint. OK, now that I have offended all of the "paint everything white" people out there, I'll go mind my own business, but it really is a different thing when you live in a historic home.

Hugs and sorry to be so hard headed...I'm sure I'll love it if you paint it as well. And just for the record, my studio/carriage house is new construction and I wanted painted trim. My husband was appalled, but again, new construction vs. old.


vintageandart said...

l had 3 different wood stains in my dining room also, which bugged me for years. l bit the bullet and painted 2 of them....LOTS happier now.

Diane said...

That's a real dilemma. I don't think I could even venture to give my opinion. You two have done such a beautiful job on the house and I know that whatever you decide will be perfect.

Cute cat!!

Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said...

Oh mercy...I hope I am not the first one to comment. There is absolutely NO WAY I would paint the trim. My husband and I lived in over 100 year old home, it had all the original wood, including pocket doors...You just don't get that in new homes anymore. I know I will probably be alone, and I know the white trim is beautiful...but I would want to keep the authenticity of the house. Ok, I will be quiet now!!
You did ask...!!!

Stacy's Shabby Shoppe said...

Oh my goodness Rene...that is a tough one! I guess it depends on how authentic your entire renovation has been and if you are a stickler for everything being "period" style. I would be inclined to paint it white, but then again having dark wood in with all of your white adds such a "pop" to the whole scheme. Heck, I don't know...now I can see why it has taken you so long to decide. I'm a lot of help aren't I... ~Stacy~ xo

debi huntsman said...

If I were fortunate enough to be able to buy a beautiful old home like yours, painted woodwork would seal the deal for me! Your home is gorgeous!!!

I think something to think about is, do you plan to ever move? My hubby and I do what we love in our home because we plan to die here. After that, we don't care what the value of our home is or is not.

The Green Pea said...

I vote for trimming it out and painting it all.

Do you love him Loretta said...

While painted trim seems to lighten up a room…if I had that kind of beautiful stained woodwork, I'd leave it as is. It really is pretty and so authentic. I have a 158 year old house which had most of its authentic trim ripped out, and whatever remained was painted, so I drooled when I saw your pics!

cindy-stitches-n-stuff.blogspot.com said...

I am really enjoying my visit with you today and reading all of your comments about this decorating decision. I too have a deep appriciation for beautiful real wood. I ask myself these questions:1.How long do you hope to live there? Which color do you want to look at for the rest of that time?

It sounds to me like you had a vision and white trim was part of it. I think it would be remarkably beautiful. I bet that there could be one thing in each room (maybe) that gets left stained or maybe one thing only. That would have to be the hutch.

It's amazing.


victoriantailor said...

Do Not Paint, do not comprimise the historical value!

Ivy and Elephants said...

Oh, so tough. I love the look of white, but I must say that I have pieces that I won't let paint get within an inch of! But, if white is your passion, follow your heart. This is your forever home, so the only person you need to please is you!
Big hugs,

Amber Lyon Ferguson said...

I wouldn't do it. I love everything about your home, especially all your whites but I would just leave it even if it would look "better" white because it would all match and be shabby. I actually like the view from your kitchen into your dining room where you can see the dark wood door facing. That wood pops like a fine piece of antique furniture, not like trim that doesn't match.

A Southern Rose said...

I think your house is beautiful and will be either way you go. However...if it were mine I would paint the trim. My dad has a very old two-story home and I have been at him for years to paint the trim. He still hasn't and probably won't. He loves the look of the wood as most men do. :)Whatever you decide..it will be beautiful.

Lee Laurie

Shabby chic Sandy said...

I usually always think paint is better--but love the deep darkness of the original woodwork. I would hate the mismatched to though. I would probably leave the old and paint the new white. I have seen the wood and white together and it looks great. You just need to do what makes you happy. What is "right" doesn't really matter.

Michelle Lisle said...

Hi there

I think a fresh coat of crisp white paint would brighten up your whole house....I understand the dilemma though as I'm a wood lover as usually hate painting over wood but sometimes paint really does do a better job at freshening up an area....

I hope it's not too hard a decision for you and I look forward to seeing which way you go..


Shingle Cottage said...

Paint it for sure,dark wood creeps me out at night,we are painting all white in our 1930's cottage and it looks so clean and fresh.
I think painted would go really well with the new white exterior of your pretty house too.

Olivia said...

Hello sweetie, it has been forever and a day since I have visited with you! Your home is sooo beautiful and I pinned some of your pretty Easter pictures, can't wait to see what else you have in store! xo

Our Country Bungalow said...

I vote no paint. We have similar built-ins and trim and when we built our addition we needed more trim for new windows and doorways and such. We went to a salvage place where there were rooms and rooms of doors and trim and bought a bunch that way. The stain matched really well and they had an aged patina to them.

marie said...

I love the look of painted trim...and I think your home would look lovely with it. Except for maybe that china cabinet...it's pretty awesome just as it is!

Have fun deciding. Your taste is wonderful...I'm sure whatever you do will be beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Your beautiful house `pops' with the dark wood against the white decor. hard decision for sure!

Zita - Mlle Magpie said...

Absolutely, paint out all the trim and then the mismatched wood won't be an issue at all - your house will look fantastic. Except for the china cabinet which you should leave in the original state. I just saw a 100+ year old house completely renovated, asking price over 2.5 million dollars, and it looked amazing - fresh, bright and beautiful with ALL the trim painted white. In fact, some of the detail of the trim becomes more noticeable when it's white :)

Auntie Bliss said...

Oh boy you have probably confused yourself more with the many opinions.
I can see the staircase done in BOTH...handrail dark...spindles painted, etc. So my vote is both!
HOT PINK all over :) nobody said that yet!

Leann said...

I vote stain as we have removed all paint from our 95 year old home's woodwork except one room. It's easier to keep up - you won't ever have the chiping and the need to repaint.

Although I do love the look of all white in some homes - yours will look great no matter what! Your style is amazing!


Fairfield House said...


When we purchased the Fairfield House all the trim (three floors worth) with the exception of the staircase -- was painted sage green. The doors were all stained. I am in the process of painting the trim white. I do love the rich brown against the white. I did strip all the molding in another historical home I lived in. It was labor intensive but the results were beautiful. Bottom line, do what pleases you.

Terry said...

I was wondering the year your home was built. My sister has a home with trim very much like yours and hers was built in the 1890's. You have done a great job in restoration. I know well how long it really takes to get this done along with life happening itself.

Bcubed said...

I grew up in an old house that had that gorgeous big woodwork like in your house. Those places are hard to find. Me, I would NEVER paint that beautiful old woodwork. And, if the woodwork were missing anywhere, I would try and duplicate it, and paint the new windows to match the old ones. I love paint, don't get me wrong. I love painted kitchen cabinets, and even the woodwork in new houses, etc. But I still think that sometimes wood work, esp the kind in your house, should be left alone.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you want to paint but are afraid you're making a mistake. Don't follow the rules. Follow your heart. Paint. Your home is the place you love. You love the lighter trim. Go for it! : ) PS Love, love, love your blog!

lala said...

Your kitchen looks divine with all of the trim painted white- and I believe you will love the rest of your home's trim painted white also. I live in a lovely old colonial in CT with tons of trim - high baseboards, thick crown moulding, wainscotting and fluted window trims and mantles, and I painted it ALL WHITE, and I LOVE it!!! I have never regretted this decision and love how clean and bright everything looks. Paint it.

Karen Bates said...

"When in doubt....don't" Oprah

Rose ~Victorian Rose ~ said...

Well, I am not sure how many yeah's or nay's you have here, but my personal opinion...( we had lived in a house with dark woodwork for almost 25 years ) I simply hired a painter to come in and start painting it all...my husband was not for the project...but when he got home from work that first day the painter was there...he was amazed how bright, fresh and simply LOVELY it all looked, wood paneling and all. But be sure to put KILZ or whatever the latest stuff like that is...on it before you paint.
We lived in it a total of 33 years..and I SO enjoyed the look...and the fact that I KNEW I was right in my decision.
YOU will not regret it...I even had him paint the red brick on the fireplace...and when we went to sell the house...it sold in less than 6 days !!


bigeyedchick said...

Rene, I haven't read the other comments, so I don't know if this has already been said... I'm thinking leave what's already there as is and only paint the newly added trim. You like mis-matched anyways, and I think the mixture of painted and stained looks great. That way you are not altering anything original. I think the biggest thing in making it harmonize is using wide molding for the new stuff.
Good luck! I struggle with decisions like this too!

Laurel :)

sharie said...

I'd throw up my hands in horror at the thought of painting (and thereby destroying) original and beautiful features. I've lived in many old houses (some 400 years old) and consider my self to be a custodian for the future of these buildings. OK to running water, heating, bathrooms etc but I really can't see the point in destroying original features.
You've left it for so long for a reason.

Kathy McDonagh said...

I'm late with my comment, but let me try to tip the scales - paint, definitely paint! I think once you make up your mind to paint, you'll be so relieved. I can't wait to see the after pictures. I L*O*V*E your mismatched unpainted kitchen chairs though. Very warm and full of character.

Deanna Cheriese said...

I love your home! I think that white will be beautiful! I totally agree with the comments ~ this is your home and you should do whatever it is that makes you happy and gives you a smile every time you walk in the room :)

Just a little something from Judy said...

I had extra time to visit here today, and just like I anticipated, the visit was inspiring, relaxing, and beautiful. I enjoy reading your heart thoughts and seeing your vast doses of creativity in each of the aspects of your home and gardens. Your dining room table looks to be so inviting. Who wouldn't love the privilege of sitting around it with you all! The newly finished foyer is amazing! Your blog continues to be like opening a new magazine.

Rose ~Victorian Rose ~ said...

When are you going to tell us your decision.....??
I vote... once again.