Well, it’s that time again for a house project. It seems I always have a project of some sort going, but our last major one was our bedroom renovation three years ago. And since it was three years ago, it’s just enough time to forget how disruptive a house project can be to your daily routine. That project was major though. We had gutted it down to the studs and did an overhaul on it complete with custom shoe shelves for Aya. This project was going to be a simple repainting of the living room and dining room. Well, at least that’s how it started out.

The houses are close together where we live. So close that if we sit down to eat at the same time as our neighbors, we could ask them to pass the salt and pepper through the windows. With that, we don’t get a lot of natural light in our house. We also have some pretty saturated colors on the walls making it feel pretty dark, especially in the winter months. I’ve noticed being home and stuck in the house all day all winter long tends to get me down. It was time to lighten things up a bit.

It was just going to be simple painting. Easy, right? It’s just paint. This will take a weekend. No problem I thought. But then we decided to paint all the wood trim and moldings. If we wanted to lighten and brighten, we had to paint the dark stained woodwork white.

This was a controversial decision. Our house was built in 1919 and has the original oak trim and moldings throughout the first floor. And we were going to paint it. It felt like a crime against history to cover up this beautiful rich oak wood grain with paint. I needed input from others so I could claim it was a group decision.

I polled my designer friends and they all assured me it was okay. However, a conversation with the previous homeowners was weighing on me. They had lived in the house for 54 years and were very attached to the wood. They were so worried that some young couple was going to buy the house and paint it all white. They were relieved when we assured them we had no intention of painting it. And now, ten years later, that’s exactly what we were going to do.

Yes, we are going to paint the original oak trim that’s almost 100 years old. Whatever, this is not your house. They have since passed away so I’m fully expecting to be haunted for at least the next ten years if that makes you feel better.

So with our decision made, our simple painting project turned into quite an undertaking. I couldn’t just paint over the existing polyurethane because it was all bubbled up and looked terrible. I had to take all the trim off, sand it down to the wood, prime it, paint it, put it back up, and then repeat. This also led to refinishing the dining room table and our piano (which I’m still working on, almost done!)


I started last August with the kitchen. Moved to the dining room in September, and then finished the living room this past January. I’ve been taking a break before I tackle the rest of the house. But I will say, it really has brightened up the house and so far no hauntings have occurred. It turns out it was a good decision after all.








  1. What a HUGE improvement. I’d be nervous about painting the trim, too, but hell . . . it’s YOUR house. Do what you want. And I hear ya on being inside on dark winter days. Our living room is gray with white trim, and the gray inside combined with the gray outside can be rough. I might need a change, too!

    1. Thanks! Grey and white are nice cool calm colors, but all winter long, grey on grey can bum you out… Have fun selecting new colors.

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