We’ve been on a roll discussing painting interior wood trim and now we have a home with copious amounts of wood.
And this lovely reader, Connie needs your help to decide whether or not she should paint wood paneling in a historic-style home.
It’s an interesting story, but I’ll let Connie tell you all about it.
I’m actually away and in my fantasies, I was going to save myself some time and just post her photos and let you guys have a go at it.
Ha! That’s akin to – “I think I’ll just stop coloring my hair.”
And believe me, I’d love to do even more because this is my favorite period of architecture–Federal/Georgian, or there about. But instead after I post Connie’s images, I’ll post a few images from the period that her home is styled after.
We recently purchased this home in November. It is in the “Old Town” section of Alexandria, Virginia.
We are surrounded by historic homes, some dating back over 200 years. However, our row-house is relatively new (1976) and it was built on what used to be the stables/mews of the Lee-Fendall House (one of the historic homes in Old Town). So although this house is relatively new, it was built to blend with the surrounding historic homes and row houses.
We bought this house for both the location and for its potential but pretty much everything needs to be updated. Nothing has been done to this home since 1976 and I mean nothing! We are talking mirrored soffits in the galley kitchen, and bathrooms with shell shaped sinks!
The wood paneling and detailing in the living room was a major draw for us.
Even in this area with historic homes, it’s hard to find that kind of workmanship. However it is a bit heavy and the wood has many knots. It seems as though it was lime washed at some point to tone down the orange tone of the wood. Fortunately the room gets plenty of light from the two French doors and a large window.
I will be furnishing this room from scratch but before I buy a single piece of furniture, I need to decide what to do with the walls.
- Either I commit to keeping the walls as is and find furnishings to go with it
- or do I paint the wood paneling?
- If I keep the walls as is, I’m not sure what colors to bring in.
- If I paint the walls, I’m not sure what color to commit to.
- I tend to like lighter colors but I’m not sure if white is the way to go.
I’m at a complete and total loss. “Paralyzed by Perfection” is what my husband calls my current state. I’m in desperate need for your help as well as your readers!
Ooh! One more important fact! This living room is the heart of our home. It is well-used by my husband and I, and our two teenage daughters so it needs to be practical and not overly formal.
A million thanks again for including it in your blog! I’m sure you hear this a lot but really, I am a huge fan! I often spend my free time and weekends reading your current and older blog posts. I get lost in them! Between your amazing sense of humor and the gorgeous pictures, I can spend hours…
Thank you so much Connie for your kind words. That is one seriously gorgeous home you found. There’s a ton of potential!
But, honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking. If I were home, I would’ve spent 20 hours on this post because I love this period so much.
The style of this home is from the Federal Period which spanned from about 1780-1830. The Lee Fendall Home was built in 1785 and aside from those decorative doo-dads on the portico is a fine example of that period. Undoubtedly, the Victorian ornamentation was a later addition.
Ya know… Keeping up with the current trends of the day.
But, let’s take a look at Connie’s beautiful Federal-style home, built in 1976.
This is the living room.
and so is this.
This is the same view as photo number one but a different time of day.
The living room on an obviously bright, sunny day.
The dining room with stained wood trim and Chinoiserie wallpaper
I do see that the hall is white, wood trim and all.
Another view of the dining room with the Chinoiserie wallpaper
A close-up of the knotty pine wood paneling, that indeed, has been lime-washed. It’s difficult to tell from the images, just what color it is. And I color-corrected the darker images, because they were even redder than they look here. But I imagine the color is somewhere in between the more exposed images in the bright sunlight.
Funny. We just had just been discussing a pine stain that is too red.
In all fairness, the rooms are empty, but that’s a lot of brown. And if stay, will dictate the colors, a lot.
But lets look at some rooms from the Federal era to see if it is more authentic to paint or to stain the wood.
I also included a few that are either English or American Georgian which started earlier, but is covered in this time period. There’s a lot of overlap in any case.
This is a parlor at George Washington’s Mount Vernon home which was built a little earlier and is therefore in the Colonial Period, but it is close-by. I love how all of the painted wood paneling is only one color.
An isometric plan view of Mount Vernon. Here we can see a mix of wood stain paneling and painted wood paneling.
A Federal Government house in Maryland. Yes, too formal, but there is no wood trim in sight.
Doesn’t this valance remind you of Miles Redd? His valance would be deeper, but the same shape for sure.
This is another view of the same room which is a room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art – Originally, the Colden House built in Coldenham, New York
This house is also mid-18th century and is a fine example of the colonial period of architecture.
Again, it is all painted ONE COLOR. This is historically correct. And it’s not that they never painted the trim white and the walls a color. They did that too.
This home was built in 1920, but in the manner of the French neo-classical style. I am including it because if the wood trim stayed in the dining room, I would rather see a more complimentary color for the wallpaper.
A 1904 home in Atherton, CA – built in the Georgian/Federal neo-classical style. beautifully renovated by Architect David-Buergler, Designer Dara Rosenfeld and builder-Paul Conrado.
I’ll see y’all on Wednesday when I’ll be releasing the new blogging guide!
I apologize because there were some server issues on Tuesday night, and some people had trouble getting onto the site. But my amazing techie, Tim Gary of Mindcue fixed in no time flat.
The cure is a new caching plugin that also fixed the mobile site! Some of you mobile users may have noticed some wonky things going on, but it’s all fixed now.