Saturday, January 17, 2009

100 year old woodwork doesn't get painted. period.

I recently had asked another blogger, Decorno, for some advice about my living room curtains. She was kind enough to extend my question to her readers by posting a blip about my project on her blog.

Lesson Learned: Don't ask a question unless you really want to hear answers that might possibly offend you.

Not to say that I am "offended" mind you... just some of the replies, I did get a bit irritated about. Somehow, instead of chiming in on my curtains, some chose to give painting tips and thre out there that I should paint the trim.

Now... I do like white trim. I do. However, in my home, to paint that wood, it would be entirely disrespectful.

I suppose to those who don't like in a historical home, they might think I am over-reacting and that I should just rip apart the house and make it my own.

I see is a little differently. I spent YEARS researching the home. (You can read a bit of this research in my first few blogs). In fact, I used the home and the architect for my graduate admissions paper for a master's in historic preservation. (hint: I am into PRESERVING). I went blind sorting though microfilm to find ever last agonizing detail about every person who ever lived in this house. I have dug up pictures of them all. I researched the genealogy of the architect and traced his family back to France. Many important people have lived in the home.

I feel lucky to be a part of the history of my home and feel it is my duty to protect the home. Although a full restoration is not on tap now, a renovation is. Not only is Queen Anne woodwork not painted, but I feel it would be disrespectful to the home, and its architect.

While I adore white trim, it would be selfish of me to take a preference like that and cover over tiger oak (extremely valuable tiger oak, I might add). The pocket door was appraised at over $3K alone. All that value would be gone by painting.

So... maybe I am a bit sensitive about the woodwork in the home. But, I sort of feel like 100 year old wood has earned its right to shine. And not be made to look like the trendy flavor of the week. When stained wood is in style again, and painted wood is passe, mine will still be here. The classics are timeless.


Umbrage City said...

Well, I have to agree with you completely. I live in an old house that was travestied by evildoers who painted the trim garish colors.

They've moved on to wreak destruction on yet another old house. Buy a souped-up ranch next time, idiots!

Patricia said...

My husband has recently stripped woodwork trim in a 96 year old home. What a job!! The grain of the old wood is stunning! The floor refinishers who also do trim said it was some of the most gorgeous they'd ever seen. Tsk Tsk - some folks just don't know. Let's hope they don't get an old house with tiger oak and commit that unpardonable sin.

Siiri said...

Hey Puck, I was one of the commenters about the curtain question on Decorno's blog. But I didn't venture into the paint discussion. Uh- HELLO?!?! None of our business! You asked about curtains! If you had asked, "Should I paint the trim" you would have assuredly received double the comments telling you exactly what you Must and Mussen't do there as well. Nonetheless, I am curious, have you decided what to do about the curtains? -Siiri

puck said...

I decided to keep it somewhat traditional and period, yet not so frou-frou Victorian.

Traditionally, the windows would have had heavy curtains with big swags and holdbacks, and sheers.

I am thinking of a nice neutral panel and sheers. I am not sure if I will do panels for each, or just for the outside windows... The "Peacock" panels at BB&B were nice because they were a blue-gray and I think they'd match everything else. They'd also make a nice summer curtain.

I will probably go ahead and finish the corduroy ones and possibly use them for winter curtains. I don't think people really understand how FREEZING COLD it can be in front of old windows in the winter. You put your hand there and feel all the cold air rushing in.

Siiri said...

That sounds like a good plan. The peacock sheers is kind of what you were talking about doing from the get go, in leiu of the cords. I have to say, I totally empathize with needing winter curtains. I live in Seattle, in a house from 1922 and that is a COLD house to be in, in the winter, which as you may know, lasts from October to April here. I purchased those insulated curtains from Overstock that I mentioned on my comment on Decorno's blog, and both myself and my roommate have noticed a substantial temp change in the house and I am sure we're saving money! You can purchase that thermo backing at the local fabric and notions stores, and it's usually on sale (but even when it's not, it's only around $4.00 a yard). so if you have two cold rooms, you could leave the peacock ones in the living room and back 'em with the thermo fabric, and then use the cords in an equally cold room. Just a thought. enjoy and happy sewing!