A Makeover with Formerly Painted Wood Paneling

The current trends of all-white-everything and trim painted to match the walls in homes is lovely. Honestly, our Victorian would look beautiful with all of the wood painted out. Take away the strong feelings associated (on both sides) with painted woodwork and look at it objectively, and it would be amazing. That said, I have no plans to paint the trim downstairs, and I can’t relate to much of what seems to be out there in the decorating world right now. So when I came across a stunning before and after of a Parisian apartment with painted wood that was stripped down and stained, I thought I’d share.

Before: A+B Kasha

After: A+B Kasha

The floor makes a huge difference here, of course. Had the chevron flooring been uncovered and the paint freshened up instead of stripped, this would still be a stunning makeover. But still, it’s nice (for me, at least!) to see some unpainted wood being brought back in all its glory.

After: A+B Kasha

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  • Kim
    July 29, 2014 at 8:25 am

    I’m with you! I love the look of bright, white spaces but moved into a 1911 home that has BEAUTIFUL dark woodwork everywhere. Here’s a few pictures:

    I would NEVER touch the wood. I think it’s important for the house to look like it fits the era it was built, and the wood definitely shows the character of this old home.

    Still, it’s hard to find inspiring design images. I’ve done a few “dark trim” searches on Pinterest and have found some eye candy, but nothing like the white that is everywhere. I’m trying to look at is as a positive though, as my house is more unique that way! That and white curtains are helping to brighten some dark rooms! :)

    • Making it Lovely
      July 29, 2014 at 11:04 am

      I love your house! Jessica Jones put a Pinterest board together called Old House Ideas that has some nice photos of houses with wood trim that you may like.

      • HollYo
        July 29, 2014 at 12:35 pm

        thanks for posting this board! Always feeling deprived in the old house/woodwork decor pins!

      • Kim
        July 29, 2014 at 12:46 pm

        Love it! Thank you for sharing!

    • Katie
      July 29, 2014 at 11:37 am

      Kim – lovely house! It reminds me of the house we just sold ( The trim in our house was dark, and in some rooms it almost looked like it was painted black. But it was just a dark stain, and once we painted the rooms a lighter color, it really helped to update the look. You are right, it is difficult to find pictures of “dark trim”, so I thought I’d share.

      • Kim
        July 29, 2014 at 12:47 pm

        Your woodwork is gorgeous! LOVE the colors in your bathroom and nursery. They complement the wood so well – you don’t happen to remember paint colors, do you?

    • katie
      July 30, 2014 at 8:20 am

      The nursery color is Sherwin Williams Rainstorm. I actually painted the room that color when it was a guest room, and loved it so much, I kept it for the nursery. I do not remember the color in the bathroom, but I believe it was a Valspar color from Lowes. Hope that helps!

  • Jessica
    July 29, 2014 at 9:11 am

    I also live in an older home with almost all of the woodwork left unpainted (minus the bathroom and kitchen). I can envision how fresh and beautiful it would be with white trim, but I’m glad to see inspirational photos of homes that maintain the original wood. I know you went back and forth a lot in your last home on the decision and love how you’ve decorated with it in this one!

    • Making it Lovely
      July 29, 2014 at 11:07 am

      I did, and I’m glad that I painted the wood in that house. It was fir, I think, and not of very nice quality. It looked so much better in white! The wood on the second floor here is the same, and I can see maybe painting it one day, but it’s not something I’m dying to do. Downstairs is quarter sawn oak though, and it’s in good shape. It would be beautiful painted, but I’m having fun working with it (though it IS limiting!).

  • Hanna
    July 29, 2014 at 9:29 am

    That floor is amazing!

  • Somer
    July 29, 2014 at 9:37 am

    YYYEESSSSS!!!!!! As much as I love white, I really appreciate good woodwork in it’s original stain. We are planning a move to Pittsburgh and I am on the hunt for untouched woodwork in our future home!

    • sarah
      July 29, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      there are tons of houses in pittsburgh with untouched woodwork! look in the city–not the burbs. i live in the city, but painted our trim white… don’t hate me!

  • Ilse
    July 29, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Wow, I love this makeover! I think the room looks so gorgeous with all that wood!

  • Karen @ year of serendipity
    July 29, 2014 at 10:09 am

    I agree- I totally see both sides! Wood trim is beautiful painted or stained. I usually gravitate a bit more to the painted, but I’m so glad they stripped that! It’s amazing, I just want to move in! I actually am in the midst of purchasing a house to flip that has amazing wood detail that I wouldn’t dream of taking a paint brush to! I can’t wait to refresh the space. I’ll be blogging all about it (and all the amazing craftsman wood details that I’m already in love with)

    • Making it Lovely
      July 29, 2014 at 11:27 am

      I’ll be looking forward to seeing what you do!

  • Allison T
    July 29, 2014 at 10:34 am

    I must admit I do love white cabinets and trim in my kitchen. Though if I owned a Victorian home I would keep the original color of wood!

  • Priscilla
    July 29, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I do love our white trim, but you are right – that is beautiful! And those floors…

  • Katharine
    July 29, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Being picky here: This floor is a chevron pattern, not herringbone.

    • Making it Lovely
      July 29, 2014 at 10:48 am

      Oops, you’re right. I wasn’t paying close attention! I’ve edited the post to correct the mistake.

  • erin
    July 29, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Really beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  • Norma
    July 29, 2014 at 11:14 am

    I am ready to move in to that space! Beautiful restoration.

  • Anjanette
    July 29, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Whoa. Totally worth the renovation effort. That is one gorgeous after! Thanks for sharing.

  • Bleubook
    July 29, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Beautiful woodwork deserves to be maintained, not painted…but not all woodwork is beautiful. Contractor-grade trim is fine to paint today, and there has almost always been a historical equivalent. I love love love your gorgeous oak I wish I had it.

  • Miranda
    July 29, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    I’m completely with you. We just moved from a 1950 ranch where there was all white painted wood, to a 1907 Victorian that has all the original hardwoods completely untouched except for in the master bedroom. We will be stripping it and finishing it to match the rest of the house.

    You can see a couple pictures: (from the MLS listing)

    I’m so glad that the look of wood is coming back. I do believe that it has its place in certain homes, like our older Victorian, and may not fit in others (like our old house).

  • Leah
    July 29, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Wow! Stunning. Love the herringbone floor.

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  • Abby @ Happy Food Happy Home
    July 29, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Holy crap!! I cannot believe someone hid that gorgeous chevron floor underneath carpeting. What were they thinking?! Amazing amazing transformation. I love the look of wood, but can’t even imagine trying to decorate around it…

  • Tiffany
    July 30, 2014 at 6:41 am

    We’re currently fixing up a farmhouse that is 120+ years old and I was bummed when we moved in and everything was already painted white. We talked a lot about bringing it back but it really is madness to try and do something like that on your own…bravo to anyone that has.

    My motto is — if it is already painted paint it. If it isn’t – leave it.

    Typically and especially depending on the type of old home — wood was painted due to the type or quality of wood not just for style.

    I think it is wonderful that you’re leaving it — I don’t relate to much of the style out there myself these days but I do enjoy the challenge of an old home.

  • Katie
    July 30, 2014 at 6:59 am

    I do love that t white trim bright house look. But I live in a older (90+ year old) home and we have really beautiful large dark trim. I’m always on the look out for decorating ideas for dark wood trim trim because I’m not a natural decorator and white trim inspiration is everywhere. Like you, no plans of painting over my dark trim wither

  • Sheila
    July 30, 2014 at 10:16 am

    I read this post yesterday and have been thinking about it since. I’m drawn to those white interiors but have decided it’s not right for my house and always feel like the lone ranger so I appreciate this. My own home is mid-century modern, so none of the beautifully detailed trim I see in your home. In fact, there is not a lick of molding – crown, base, door – nothing anywhere. But the ceilings are all open beams, stained with a light gray that allows the grain, knots and imperfections to add texture to the space. Doors and windows are framed out with dark stained wood that’s visible where it meets the drywall. Walls are a range of gray/brown/almost white tones that complement the stained ceiling beams. Every MCM remodel I see paints the ceiling beams, trim and walls all in white and it does look nice and bright but all that texture and character is lost! I’m holding out!

  • breanne neuman
    July 30, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    I removed paint from a dresser and wanted to shoot myself half way through. I can’t imagine the amount of work that went into this!

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  • Jennifer Thompson
    August 4, 2014 at 10:33 am

    It’s herringbone — not chevron!! ;) I feel like chevron backlash is giving herringbone a bad rap.

  • Monnaie
    August 5, 2014 at 12:35 am

    Lovable interior designing and interior furnishing.

  • Valerie Di Veglio
    August 15, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Oh this gives me major inspiration! About to tackle a Rockaway Beach home renovation where all molding and glass doors (!) were covered in white latex paint.
    How did your carpenter strip the paint?

  • Ann
    February 25, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Oooooh love it. I just found your blog (while Googling “best gray paint for wood trim”) and I love it. Especially this post. We moved into a 1917 foursquare with a wraparound porch this past summer and it has some seriously amazing wood. (See
    four a couple pics).
    But like many commenters before me, I’ve had a hard time finding inspiration with all the white out there. I love everything you’re doing with your Victorian. Thanks so much for all the color with wood inspiration.