Wood Dilemma: Part 1


A few months back I shared with you guys the biggest design dilemma we encountered during our house remodel (read part 1 here)- “what to do with all of the original wood detailing.” We went back and forth, and then back and forth again, trying to decide what to keep, what to remove, what to refinish, and what to paint. I think I mapped out every possible scenario of wood/paint combinations and I would be lying if I said I didn’t lose sleep over it. But alas, we made it through and couldn’t be happier with how things turned out. Here’s the before and after!



For the living room we ended up painting all of the built-ins (bench, shelving to left of fireplace, mantle) the same bright white as the walls. The color is “Simply White” by Benjamin Moore – probably my favorite white. To make the room feel a bit taller, we removed the wood crown moulding that bordered the ceiling but you will see that we left it in the entryway because I liked the more “regal” feeling of it in there. We both loved the look of those wood pillars and knew we didn’t have it in our hearts to paint those so ended up refinishing and staining them to match everything else.

Next up is the dining room which felt almost cave-like because dark wood covered all four walls and most of the ceiling. We ended up painting the built-in the same “Simply White” as well as that beautiful detailed moulding on all walls except for the one that we knocked down leading into that bright sea-foam green monstrosity of a kitchen.



Both of the beams in the after shots were actually not the originals. The original beams were so beat up and funky that it would have cost us more to try and salvage them then to just replace completely. I think when all was said and done these beams only cost an additional $200-$300 which is nothing considering the amount of impact they bring to the space. Lastly, those glass pane doors, I had envisioned those doors in the dining room being a crisp black from the second I walked into the house and think the black adds the perfect bit of contrast and modern feel. The doors are painted in “Onyx” by Benjamin Moore.

So there you have it. One of the toughest design dilemma’s to work through but we came out on the other end just fine.

Brett Foken is the owner of Decorotation, a full service residential interior design firm in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in refined, natural + minimal spaces. Her work has been seen on Apartment Therapy, Today, The Everygirl, Curbed + more. To work with her, click here.

Brett Foken