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1920 Built-ins dilemma
dbt83
October 30, 2012 in Design Dilemma
We just bought a colonial in the Boston area that needs a lot of work! The house was built in 1920 and it came with extra wood paneling and several layers of wallpaper. All that has been removed and the next phase of the project is to sand all the woodwork prior to painting it white. Is there someone out there that can give me an opinion about painting all this wood work white? Also, any design ideas that can help me decorate a living room and dining room with this amount of windows, built in and radiator is highly appreciated. So far we have decided on stingray 1529 by Benjamin More for the walls and on the white trims and built ins but any input on our decision is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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yvonnecmartin
Don't paint those built-ins! They are beautiful.
October 30, 2012 at 9:46PM     
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dbt83
Hi Yvone - thank you for your comment. I have been dwelling over these built ins for over two months. I just don't know how to keep the place looking sort of modern with them in their original color. This is our first home and we are a couple in late twenties early thirty. Our design taste leans towards eclectic and slightly modern. Do you have any pictures that can show me how to decorate with so much wood in its original color? Thank you!!!
October 30, 2012 at 9:55PM   
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Natalie
Beautiful home, full of character... I'd paint it all white and wallpaper the insides of the built-ins. [houzz=
]
October 30, 2012 at 10:00PM     
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dbt83
Hi Natalie - i thought about doing the wallpaper in the dining room built-in not the big one in between the lr/dr. Thank you for the feedback!
October 30, 2012 at 10:05PM   
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Natalie
You're welcome and glad you like the idea... Some inspiration for you. I see you're in the process of redoing the hardwood floors---are you going dark? Hope so. Anyway, I suggest you keep the colors monochromatic or within a few hues of one another---I would veer away from complimentary/opposite colors because your home has enough architectural features to make it interesting, too much color and pattern would be jarring. Good Luck in your new home!

[houzz=Queensway living, Interior Design Vancouver][houzz=Queensway dining space, Interior Design Vancouver]
October 30, 2012 at 10:16PM     
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mjmil
I know alot of people cringe at the idea of painted woodwork. I however prefer the painted woodwork. I think it makes the home so much brighter and more current. I also think that the wallpaper for the backs of the bookcases is a wonderful idea.
October 30, 2012 at 10:36PM   
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Darzy
If this isn't your forever home, I wouldn't paint the trim. People pay a lot for that! You can really be young and hip with the wood with furnishings and accents. You can still wallpaper the back of the built-ins. Purchase really modern furniture (with rustic) and you'll love it.. And it will have a LOT more style than painted built-ins white! But, I don't mean not paint ANY of the trim/built-ins, just leave some of the original character.
Eclectic Dining Room in Craftsman
craftsman teahouse
October 30, 2012 at 11:08PM     
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Darzy
As far as your window treatments go,,.check out this article on woven wood blinds that tie rooms together. It is a modern, yet cozy window treatment that may look great in your spaces.


October 30, 2012 at 11:44PM     
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michigammemom
I would encourage you to resist the temptation to paint the woodwork of your vintage Craftsman style home. Leaving the wood in its original state will appeal to buyers looking for such authentic details. The bookshelves and pillars are particularly lovely. Consider consulting with a local realtor to determine buyer preference for wood finishes in a historic home.
October 31, 2012 at 3:29AM     
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elklaker
I would also suggest that you leave the woodwork unpainted. Think of them as furniture and balance the warmth of the wood with your modern aesthetic. As someone mentioned, if you are not there forever, chances are the next owner will appreciate that you left it alone.
Congratulations on your new home. Happy decorating!
October 31, 2012 at 4:38AM     
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jonogallagher23
I love your built ins but I'm not a fan of the light brown woodwork color. What do you all think about staining the wood a dark brown instead. How would that look?
October 31, 2012 at 4:52AM   
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PRO
Hunt Studio Design
If you mess to much with the integrity of a house you may be sorry...and remember new trends are a reaction to old so unpainted wood is on it's way back. This is a beautiful charming home. The woodwork is quality. Do your best to preserve the bigger pieces and maybe stick to painting out the baseboards and some of the other trim. Add current and sleek hardware to the built ins , keep walls white and paint the insides of the cabinet white..or wallpaper. My advice..hire a good designer in your area for at the very least a consult. They will help you merge your aesthetic with the charm of this home.
October 31, 2012 at 5:17AM   
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Natalie
Totally understand what people are saying about keeping the integrity of the home by not painting the wood. However, if your style is not craftsman or traditional then either paint it white or stain it a deep color with an ash undertone. If whatever you decide to do doesn't appeal to the next owners, well let them change it. Do what makes you happy-you're young===make your house your home! Pic for inspiration. Tip for those radiators. [houzz=Ideabook: Building Built-Ins: They're Really Just A Bunch of Boxes w=300][houzz=jamesthomas, LLC]
October 31, 2012 at 6:09AM     
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nevadan
I'm from Boston and am well acquainted with your house style. It is not a Colonial, and was actually built around 1900 (check at the Registry). The style is called Craftsman here in the West, but in the Boston area it is just "house". The dark woodwork is hard to get used to at first, but please do not paint it. Refiish it if necessary. Match your furniture woods to it. Natalie is right about the decor. Stick with monochromatic and go for early 20th century modern styles such as Art Deco and Moderne. You will have as they say in Bosto - a Winnah!
October 31, 2012 at 6:33AM     
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dbt83
So, if I decide to stain the built-ins a darker shade does that mean that I need to match it with the stain on the floor? Also, if I stain it darker would the wallpaper on the inside still be a good idea? Thank you everyone for the input! It has been extremely helpful.
October 31, 2012 at 7:00AM   
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Natalie
If you do a dark ash toned stained on the wood then do a medium to light stain on the floor. Make sure to keep the undertone an ash, no golden yellows... First photo is the most "warm" undertone I suggest for you. Also look at the photo of the room I previously sent. The floor is a few shades lighter than the built-ins, you could also go that route... [houzz=Kitchen][houzz=][houzz=DuChateau hardwood flooring][houzz=Antique Reclaimed French White Oak flooring][houzz=Manoir Gray Custom Aged French Oak Floors]
October 31, 2012 at 7:34AM     
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rhines777
Chica don't paint those.. so amazing the way they are....
November 1, 2012 at 6:18AM     
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PRO
Media Decor
The built ins are architecturally attractive. Painting them will achieve a more contemporary look and get away from dark woodwork, which in this case is a bit of a drag.
November 1, 2012 at 7:12AM   
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victorianbungalowranch
Ditto for not painting or staining the wood an odd color, like the ash grey. Really, is it worth that much work? They are great as they are, and lots of mid-century modern interiors and furniture was in that wood color range, and furniture doesn't have to match woodwork. It can look very eclectic and modern if you use modern simple furniture, cool art or ethnic assesories and color.
http://www.dailynews.com/ci_17803847 http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/kathryn-david-mix-modern-furni-154059
is about a couple with a similar dilemma.

I find the more you learn about a style, the more you appreciate it and understand how to tweak it. I feel craftsman was a true forerunner of Modern, and the two can complement each other.
November 6, 2012 at 2:30AM   
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inkwitch
Ordinarily, I'd be the first person to say, "Paint it!" But I have to admit that I"m crazy about the Craftsman-style house, and the quality of workmanship at that time is generally unparalleled by what's available now. Such quality deserves respect. It was usually all done by hand, by craftsmen who took pride in the finished result. It makes a difference from what is created now, houses thrown together with no intent but $$.

Therefore, I agree with all those who say, "Don't paint." The 20s had a fantastic unique style that was actually modern eclectic, revolutionary to the old VIctorian fussiness and formality. At that time, Egyptian motifs were popular due to the archaeological discoveries in Egypt. No one has duplicated it with the same class or quality since.

That being said, it's a beautiful home, and you've put a lot of work in it. If you're planning on living there a long time, do what you like, no matter what people say. If you're thinking, "5 years and we'll sell and move to Hawaii," then you'll have to leave the wood natural.

I recommend against staining it anything other than what it is (oak? walnut? mohagony? Then, the best woods were available and affordable). Certainly not darker. Wood darkens with age as it is. Consider finishes that leave the tone alone. You have your work cut out for your as it is, why make it more painful? Please post the finished result. We will all be eager to see that!
November 6, 2012 at 3:08AM   
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collettec
I wouldn't paint the woodwork either. The color is beautiful and would add warmth and character to any decor. The lines of this style of architecture are modern and would work well with a more modern, natural aesthetic with clean lines. For the cabinets themselves, you could switch out the pulls, hinges and knobs for something more modern, line the back with something like a grasscloth or wallpaper with more modern lines and display more modern pieces that would work well with the clean lines of the cabinets.
November 6, 2012 at 3:35AM   
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wikinz
I'd paint it white and install new motion rail for the drawers.
November 6, 2012 at 3:49AM   
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trc59
For my two cents, don't paint the woodwork. Beautiful, and as stated whats in today is out tomorrow. But in the end it's what you like.
November 6, 2012 at 4:01AM   
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PRO
Interior Expressions/ Nardelli Home Decor
If your hiring someone to paint /find someone that will spray paint them, most historical painters will offer this. If your painting yourself then add flotrol to the paint to give you a more professional finish. Classic contemporary furnishings have nice lines and work well with craftsman style homes. It is nice to bring a few historial accents lighting or vintage print fabric pillows. In Boston we call is Modernism :)
November 6, 2012 at 4:24AM   
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feeny
Please don't paint your beautiful built in woodwork. It has survived unpainted since the 1920's and cannot be replaced. Once you paint them you can't go back and you will have altered the historical integrity of your lovely home.
November 6, 2012 at 5:00AM   
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feeny
Please don't paint your beautiful built in woodwork. It has survived unpainted since the 1920's and cannot be replaced. Once you paint them you can't go back and you will have altered the historical integrity of your lovely home.
November 6, 2012 at 5:00AM   
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feeny
Please don't paint your beautiful built in woodwork. It has survived unpainted since the 1920's and cannot be replaced. Once you paint them you can't go back and you will have altered the historical integrity of your lovely home.
November 6, 2012 at 5:00AM   
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groveraxle
I live in a 1910 Craftsman and would give anything for that woodwork. FWIW, a lot of Craftsman homes have woodwork that was painted from the beginning. Mine is one of those. Perhaps it had something to do with the quality of the wood. In any case, I would NOT paint your trim. It's beautiful and you can make it work with any style.
Craftsman Inspired Kitchen
Craftsman Home
B + H
November 6, 2012 at 5:27AM   
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PRO
Linda
Don't paint that gorgeous woodwork! Doing a good job painting those built-ins is a lot more work than most people realize and I think you'll get more bang for the time and money improving other things. I would prefer to spend the time getting the walls and ceilings into flawless condition and cleaning up the wood finishes.
November 6, 2012 at 8:19AM     
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