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Changing the wood color?
February 21, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Before we move into this home should I paint the wood beams, trim, fireplace and bookshelf? It's newly refinished wood but I want to go white. These are NOT my furnishings, they are the sellers!
What do you think?
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Beautiful home with character! I like the wood and would not paint it.
February 21, 2013 at 1:27AM     
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No, no, no. Do you mean you bought this house in spite of its wood beams, floors, and millwork? It appears to be a gorgeous Tudor that has been preserved or restored with care. Makes no sense to me to irrevocably destroy it.
February 21, 2013 at 1:36AM     
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Ironwood Builders
Oh my goodness, no! Your classic arts and crafts home's trim has never been painted. I have spent way too much time and money bringing back the natural wood in these old homes to stomach the idea of painting this one! What made you purchase the house in the first place? There are people looking for just this type of bungalow to buy....and you don't want it? I would suggest you contact your realtor and list it as a historic property. American Bungalow magazine regularly lists homes of this caliber for sale in the classified section. The woodwork was just refinished! Stage the house with period and eclectic furnishings and turn it. Then buy a house that works with your design aesthetic from the get go. People are spending huge dollars to recreate this look...browse through the Houzz photo galleries with search parameters for "arts and crafts ", you'll see what I mean. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but preserving our historic structures is a fight that we are losing. Please don't join the battle.
February 21, 2013 at 1:41AM     
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I agree it is beautiful as is, put your furniture in and sit with it for awhile, then make your decision. It will allow you to feel the essence of the room with it as it is.
February 21, 2013 at 2:00AM     
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Ironwood is soooo right! You might be surprised if you place your more modern furniture in the living room it can look good. I have seen homes like this with luxurious all white sofas and chairs.
February 21, 2013 at 2:24AM     
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The wood is in perfect condition, a perfect design and gorgeous. So No, no paint.

Paint is appropriate for things that need covering up and concealing.
February 21, 2013 at 3:24AM     
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I do know what you mean. I spent four years agonising over whether or not to paint my pine ceiling, which is barn style, so very high. I finally painted it and it has transformed the space and looks amazing. Maybe you could paint the brick around the fireplace as a start, to get rid of the dark heavy look and see if you like it better. It looks as if the wood is solid and gorgeous, but if it is not and is veneered, I would paint it?
February 21, 2013 at 3:57AM     
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The millwork is beautiful. Changing the color and design of couches would make a big difference in the look. Wait and see how your furniture looks. Softening the wall color to a light taupe or beige would give the room a richer look.
February 21, 2013 at 4:04AM   
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respect and appreciate this beautiful wood.

what's your style? what colors make you feel comfortable? this wood can enhance many design styles.

you might want to try a large, brighter rug, lighter furnifhings, updated lighting. if the wood still bothers you, consider painting the walls a pale sage orvery light gray blue to soften the contrast with the wood.
love the radiator too.
February 21, 2013 at 4:14AM     
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Don't touch it, it's beautiful. And that radiator is just gorgeous.
February 21, 2013 at 4:17AM     
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It is purely preference. My personal preference is to paint the wood white. I'd put a soft palate slate or marble in the fireplace surround and then cover with wood above the fireplace, and again, paint:) If you don't want to paint, you might want to find a softer wall color that coordinates with your furniture and provides less contrast to all the lines created by the wood.
February 21, 2013 at 4:45AM   
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Aghhhh - the suggestion to start with the brick is giving me angina....
February 21, 2013 at 4:50AM     
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Designing Richmond
The room is beautiful... Maybe it's the contrast of bright white and dark wood that is bothering you.
I paint wood all the time! ... This is my criteria... if the house is historic and this is the style of the entire home... and you feel you will sell in the future, don't paint... however if this style is only in this room... and nothing else reflects it's feel...Then do what you want. You have to be happy where you live.

With that said... This room is lovely. If you simply paint the ceiling and walls a deeper hue, the woodwork will feel more apart of the room and not so "in your face"

Good Luck... If you still can't decide with all of this... Hire an interior designer... It's not too expensive... you need a two hour consult... $175.00 - $200.00 you'll spend... Well worth it!
February 21, 2013 at 5:00AM     
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Gabberts Design Studio
I would not paint the gorgeous wood! There is a high contrast between the white walls and ceiling and the woodwork. I would paint a warmer color on the white areas to bring the two areas together. It's a gorgeous room, and maybe if you live with it awhile you'll grow to love it. :)
February 21, 2013 at 5:15AM     
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As someone who painted all the wood and staircase in an old Victorian, I would not paint. As a prior comment mentioned, in my home the wood was in poor condition and the rest of the moldings in the house were white. If your entire home has this wood in good condition throughout I would not paint or at the very least live with it for a while with some lighter and more modern furnishings.
February 21, 2013 at 5:22AM     
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Wouldn't touch any wood in that room, they look awesome. Natural wood like this; people spend a lot of money to have beams like that... Painting it would almost be like removing them.
February 21, 2013 at 5:25AM     
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Thanks for a the suggestions!! I agree the wood is gorgeous and I feel bad even considering painting it, but all other rooms in the house have white wood, well with the exception of the kitchen. Felt like I should tie this room in with the rest of the house.
February 21, 2013 at 5:26AM     
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Doria Tremante
I know exactly what you mean - the wood does look dark and heavy however, that is what gives this home character. This home reminds me of my mothers with those gorgeous built-ins around the fireplace mantel and those floors - I DIE. In the master bedroom of that house, there is a solid oak fireplace (wood burning) mantel. It was at one point, painted white by previous owners to try and modernize it. She had it stripped and restored and it was quite a job. Like some other commenters have mentioned, if you've already purchashed the home, try your own furniture in there first before you make a such a major decision. Even though it may seem like more work to have everything moved in there to possibly move it out to paint..you will save your self time, energy and work in the long run.
Good luck!
February 21, 2013 at 5:44AM   
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Greg Jackson
Leave the beams as-is and do not paint. Just my personal preference, but the beams as they are add character, and painting them may just cause the room to look just like a lot of other spaces.
February 21, 2013 at 5:52AM   
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Please don't paint the wood or the brick. Once the brown sofas are gone and you get your furniture in then find a color to paint the walls. That is a wonderful room.
February 21, 2013 at 8:24AM   
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Jayme H.
Your room is lovely...this should be your special room, the "not painted white woodwork" room!
February 21, 2013 at 8:43AM   
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How timely that Houzz just put up this article about a family with a Craftsman home that has original unpainted millwork. They wanted to keep the warm, historic wood but still have a more contemporary colourful decorating. This is an inspiring story for you!

February 21, 2013 at 2:49PM     
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No, no, no! Do not paint this wood! It's beautiful and appears to be in very fine condition. This wood is finished appropriately for the home and is something to be admired. Painting would only ruin it. Stain grade wood is very expensive today and will probably only be more so in the future. It's the old saying, "They just don't build them like that anymore."
February 21, 2013 at 3:04PM   
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I think it's a gorgeous room and painting the wood would cheapen it.
February 21, 2013 at 3:09PM   
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Please don't paint that wood or fireplace. Use lighter color furniture and an area rug to make the room appear brighter. That room is much too beautiful to make such drastic changes. Ultimately, it's your decision but don't rush it.
February 21, 2013 at 3:23PM   
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I love it that this subject has stirred such emotion. I live in the UK where we preserve everything and even have a group of people in the form of English Heritage and The National Trust that makes sure that we do. I went to Japan recently and was at first troubled, then delighted, that new is good. The hotel we were staying in had been rebuilt at least seven times and each rebuilding was celebrated with a new post card of the hotel. To my mind the original looked the best. But they were pragmatic and wanted to pre empt the earthquake damage. Preserving the past is not necessarily and always good. Surely the cultures that believe in change have a point. I think the reason this topic has stirred such emotion is that you are challenging the notion that the past has to be preserved. Why? If this was my home I would want to put my own stamp upon it. I really do not like dark wood, it is way too Victorian. If you do not like it and do not want to live with it, you change it. Change it to the kind of room that delights you and makes you happy when you come home. Surely?
February 21, 2013 at 4:03PM   
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gulliverswift: Good quality structures last hundreds of years. The average American family moves every 5 years. So while we may imagine that the houses we buy (usually with a great deal of help from a bank) belong to us and may even be our "dream home," the reality is that we are temporary custodians of the housing stock which is our common heritage. We should respect the things that are irreplaceable - materials and skills. It starts with understanding what we have, and resolving not to squander it. Perhaps pass on the house that is so removed from your taste that you will tear out perfectly good workmanship and materials? And what you do take out, do it carefully and make it available to someone else? Habitat for Humanity has Restores that accept building materials (the ones in the NY area receive a constant supply of intact high-end kitchens!). I say all this while I am undergoing my own renovation, of course. At the same time I'm looking for other people's salvage, I'm generating my own. It is a conundrum!
February 21, 2013 at 4:27PM     
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Almost all the comments suggest that you do not paint the wood--I AGREE. Here is what part of your problem may be-- the white walls are too stark a contrast forthe dark wood. Paint the walls a beautiful rich colomaybe a gold tone or grayed purple. then follow thru with color and some pattern in your furniture, rugs and window treatments. Also the single wall sconce (although a nice sconce) does not work in the space--usually 2 sconces will work much better.
February 21, 2013 at 4:38PM   
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Marilyn Wilkie
Your room is perfect, warm, inviting and elegant and leather seating seems just right for it in my opinion. You are a lucky homeowner.
February 21, 2013 at 4:43PM   
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Gabberts Design Studio
I wouldnt touch the wood work! If you are going more white than bring that in with seating, rug etc. It will make a big difference after you paint and get your own furniture in there! Trust us!
February 21, 2013 at 4:50PM     
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