The house-blogging genre dosen’t have much to offer in the way of controversy, but if anything comes close, it seems to be the subject of painting wood.
One interesting example can be found over on the blog Making It Lovely, where Nicole wrote this post a while ago about painting the natural wood trim in her home. This decision resulted in some generally polite, yet critical second-guessing from commenters who saw it as destroying something special and valuable and unique to the home — but in this case the wood trim wasn’t in the best shape, and she didn’t care for the way it looked, and why treat the house like a historical time capsule instead of the place where a family lived in the here and now? They ended up painting the wood trim, and based on subsequent blog posts, it turned out well and everybody was happy.
So on that note, I wanted to talk about the wood trim in our house, since it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. The virtual house tour post is full of photos taken before we moved in, but here’s a quick glimpse of what we’re working with for reminder purposes:
The living room, dining room, and kitchen (shown above) have wood trim around the doorways, windows, and along the floor. But there are some inconsistencies throughout the house, and the trim in the hallway, bedroom, and bathrooms was already white when we bought the place. Here’s the view looking from the dining room toward the hallway and bedrooms:
The trim in the hallway also seems to be a slightly different, less fancy style (notice the slight curve and lack of ridged detail compared to the unpainted version) but the difference in color only makes the inconsistency stand out even more.
This next angle, looking from the hallway back toward the kitchen, shows a better view of how the trim is actually painted white on the part of the door frame not visible from the kitchen:
I think it looks kind of strange to have it cut off like that part of the way through the doorway, though I’m not sure it would look any less strange to have it all wood with white trim (of a slightly different style) right there next to it.
The view looking toward the other bedroom (Lillian’s room) isn’t bad, though I’m not sure how I feel about the dark stained wood of the door combined with the white frame:
I’ve seen some great-looking photos of spaces with white trim and wood doors, but somehow the combination feels a bit off in our house. Granted, we didn’t do any painting in the hallway when we bought the house, so maybe it would help if the trim here got a fresh coat of paint? Or maybe it’s just that the wood is so dark?
Or maybe a part of it is just the general surface condition of the wood. At a glance the wood looks rich and glossy and high-quality, but up close… I’m not sure if it’s gotten too many layers of varnish or what, but overall it has this kind of brushed-over, splotchy look, and seems to lack the texture that comes to mind when I think “natural wood.” Here’s a closer view of the trim around the entryway to the living room:
Quality-wise, what the above photo shows is about as good as it gets, and there are other places where the wood trim is marred by nicks, scratches, and even nail holes:
I hope this post isn’t coming across as a big whiny complain-fest, though — it’s not that I’m trying to give the impression that it’s horrible, but rather to provide some context before saying, “we’ve been thinking it might be nice to paint all of the trim in our house!”
Truth be told, I didn’t expect to arrive at this mindset when we bought the house. But the more time goes by, the more I can’t help feeling drawn toward the idea of the entire house having crisp, clean, consistent white trim.
Granted, it would be a lot of work just to cover it all, since that would surely take multiple coats of primer and paint. And we’d have to research carefully and select a durable paint that would easily wipe clean, since we have a little one running around the house. And even if there might be other options — one of our friends suggested stripping everything down to the wood and then re-finishing it all — it seems like painting would yield the best result for the least work from among those.
So anyway, that’s where things stand — no concrete plans have been made either way, so this post is mostly just thinking out loud. What are your feelings on the subject of painting wood trim, either in general or in our specific case? Have you ever taken the plunge and painted wood, and if so, how did you feel about it afterward? I’d be very curious to hear your thoughts and experiences on this in the comments.