Paint the baseboard and leave the crown?
August 21, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We are slowly remodeling our home and have a big question. There is a ton of oak-ish woodwork. Baseboard, crown, foyer, kitchen cabinets, etc. Its all a nasty oak/red color and in horrible condition. It has been all been covered with a shellac (or something) so whenever there is a scratch or bump it shows up as a light mark. I have tried slightly sanding it down and re-applying a stain to make one color, but it takes a ridiculous amount. We are finally replacing floors and have gone with a scraped hickory- Pergo, I even ripped up the hardwood. My question is; can I paint the baseboards white and leave the crown oak? Maybe eventually we will get to that, but it would give us a much more contemporary feeling for now. Opinions please! I am getting overwhelmed by all the choices I have to make. In the picture, remember we are mid-reno, so none of the paint colors are staying. We are evolving towards a very eclectic yet modern and comfy feeling
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Hate to say it if you want to keep it . The base board need to have some heavy duty paint remover put on it to remove the old junk a gunk. It's nasty for sure use mask Lot of fresh air flowing open window's etc. Tape everything paper everything. Drop cloths etc. you can do it.
August 21, 2013 at 2:00pm   
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Is that the new or old floor in the photo? I hate to say it, but seems to me, especially for a modern look, both the crown and base moldings should be the same. Ugh, so much work. If the house isn't too big, consider pulling off the old baseboards and putting on new ones. Then you could paint them before installation, then paint the walls without worrying about messing up the baseboards, and would only need to touch up baseboards after installation. That is, if you're heart is set on white baseboard look. Nice new clean molding adds SO MUCH to making a house look new and modern! And I would remove the wainscoting, or paint it white as well.
August 21, 2013 at 4:23pm   
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Judy M
Paint it all (including crown) white.
August 21, 2013 at 4:36pm   
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Karen Harrison Rile-Martinez
We are just now doing all our trim and doors in dark, almost black, walnut with a subtle gold it!! No law says it has to be white.
August 21, 2013 at 8:59pm   
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First of all, it's your house. Do what you want. People really don't notice these things as much as we think they do. But if you are still feeling insecure, I would suggest painting the baseboards and door frames leaving the crown molding for last. If it doesn't look bad leave it alone. I've seen very expensive homes with all the moldings painted white with all the doors stained. And they were gorgeous. Painting the crown molding white, however would make the ceilings appear higher. As for removing the old varnish as Moorehandy suggested, I saw a citrus stripper at Home Depot (I think) that is safe to use indoors--has no fumes. I'm going to use it to strip my vanity. As for the top molding, should you decide to paint it, I wouldn't bother stripping. Rough it up some with sand paper and use a good oil based primer from one of the regular paint companies i.e. Sherwin Williams. The people there are very knowledgeable about good primers. (If anyone tells you to just use KILZ, forget it. It doesn't work.) You can then paint over the primer with a latex paint. My painter did this in one of my rooms. Since it is so high up you won't have to worry about nicks and scratches like you would on the door frames and baseboards. In fact, the painter did the oil based primer on the door frame and baseboards, as well, and I haven't had any problems. This was in an upstairs guest room, though, that doesn't get heavy wear and tear. Good luck in whatever you decide. I'm sure it will be beautiful.
August 21, 2013 at 10:35pm   
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I think staining the wood with a Gel Stain( love love this stain, u put it on with a sponge brush and comes out gorgeous..will fix imperfections too!) but stain in a dark walnut color you would be surprised at how gorgeous this would look. I do think you can blend them as well. Keeping the base boards gloss white and all around the door frames but leave the doors brown that would look beautiful too. I'm live in the south and we blend moldings all the time in houses down here. Very French quarter feeling. Then pick a neutral color for the walls and drapes always go to the ceiling. This will make your rooms look taller. Good luck!!!
August 21, 2013 at 11:02pm   
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I just noticed you mentioned that your kitchen cabinets were also stained. I assume you don't care for them. If you are thinking about painting them, I have a story to tell you. About forty years ago I decided I wanted the stained cabinets in our new house painted white. I think my husband, Nick, thought I had lost my mind. Nevertheless, on arising one morning, he felt energetic and was eager to make me happy. He decided to take on the kitchen cabinets. The day was still fresh when he started roughing up the worn, varnish with sandpaper. He was extra diligent, and even applied an abrasive agent called 'Liquid Sand.' This took a good part of the day but eventually everything was in good shape and ready to go. He began to paint. He painted. And painted. Over a period of a few days and after several agonizing coats on all those cabinets, his energy had flown out the window and along with it any desire to ever make me happy again. In spite of all his hard work, the white paint continued to streak and that wretched brown stain was still very noticeable. While this disaster was going on my dad, who had been a painter most of his life, sat at the table watching it all unfold. I don't know why he just watched. Maybe he didn't want to interfere in his son-in-law's business. Or maybe it was because he wasn't much of a talker. Finally, I guess it just got to be too much. He felt too sorry for poor Nick not to speak up. "It's the brush," he said. The brush? Nick looked at him. He couldn't believe what he had just heard. The brush! The thought that that might be the problem had never once occurred to him. He had been blaming the quality of the paint, the initial preparations, the Liquid sand, the weather--me. "You need a better brush," Daddy said again. He didn't have to say it three times. Nick drove him to the paint store. Dad picked out a $30 brush. That sounds like a lot now--back then it was astronomical! At that point, though, I don't think my husband really cared what it cost. They returned with the 'golden' brush and once again Nick began to paint. The white flowed over the brown like melted butter--so smooth--so easy. In no time every cabinet was thoroughly covered. Everything looked great! At last Nick was finished, and thanks to my dad, our marriage wasn't. So whenever you do decide to paint, never underestimate the power of a good brush!
August 22, 2013 at 2:13am     
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Replacing the baseboard and door trim after you paint the walls may be the smartest and least frustrating thing you do in this house. It may be some special wood (oak?), but with all that staining, I bet it's just cheap, and frankly, looks beaten up. It may be more costly and take longer, but in the long run, you'll save yourself a lot of aggravation and hours of work that NEVER SEEM TO END! And it will look fresh and neat.

The above advice about the crown molding is sound. You can use cheap paint, but you can't use cheap primer. Good luck!
August 22, 2013 at 3:58am   
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