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Need Advice On Paint and Furniture for 100 Year Old Home

Jason Von
last month
last modified: last month

Hey all! Just bought this house. I love bold color and funky/artsy aesthetic, but am second-guessing some of my ideas. I'm going to pull up the carpet to reveal the hardwood floor, and would like to do the walls of the living and dining rooms in deep blue, paint the fireplace white, and put up white crown molding in both rooms, but have seen people saying to never paint a fireplace, and have no idea what sort of crown molding to apply. I'm also completely lost on the type of furniture to get (current furniture is from previous owner) and blinds/curtains to put up. I'm thinking what I'd like is a mix between Art Deco (to match the dining room's original chandelier) and Pop or Expressionist Art to make everything colorful and playful. Attached are some pictures of the house:

























And here are some ideas of interior design that I'm sort've taking inspiration from. I guess ultimately what I'm looking for is the line between classic and masculine, and fun and non-stuffy:


My Houzz: An Eclectic 1920s Farmhouse in Georgia · More Info










Comments (22)

  • apple_pie_order
    last month

    You have a good idea what you want the house to be. Do you have a question?

  • Jason Von
    Original Author
    last month

    Hi there! Yes, I have a few questions.


    So is it actually inadvisable to paint the fireplace white? I really like the look of white fireplaces, but I'm uncertain if the style of fireplace I have would look good painted white. Also, the brick in that fireplace is very porous, which seems different than other brick in fireplaces that I've seen painted.


    I'm also looking for advice/recommendations on the coffee table, entertainment stand, curtains/blinds, and other chairs in the living room. As well as a chandelier to replace the fan that will match the style of the one in the dining room.


    Finally, I don't know much about crown moulding, and was curious if there was advice on a style that would look good for the place, or if I should even bother with crown moulding.


    Looking at coffee tables, I found this beat up antique Art Deco piece on ebay for a decent price:


    But for something completely modern, I found this on Wayfair that I kind of like:

    I have no idea if either of them match the tone of the room I'm going for though.


    Should I buy curtains or just blinds, or both? What color curtains would work for the theme I'm going for? I looked at bamboo Roman blinds, and thought that might work with my color scheme, but I'm not certain.


    So, as you can see, I'm sort of all over the place. I sort of know the overall theme, but I can't seem to nail down particulars.


    Thanks!

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  • cawaps
    last month

    So exciting! And I love your inspiration pics.

    It looks like a couple of your rooms have picture rail molding applied very close to the ceiling (and it looks like the previous owners actually used it for its original purpose, since I see picture rail hooks). I'm a big fan of picture rails in older home, since they avoid putting holes in your walls and make it really easy to rearrange art (which features prominently in your inspo pics). So think about that before you take it off and replace it with crown. Crown AND picture rail is an option.

    Your door casings look to be very simple, so I would choose a relatively simple crown profile to go with it. Maybe something leaning Craftsman.

    I'm usually opposed to painting fireplaces, mostly because it's so hard to undo if you (or a future owner) wants to restore the original. But the the brick used doesn't seem to be anything special, and/or the lighting in the room doesn't show it off to good effect. I suspect it was considered pretty utilitarian when the house was new. So if you need someone's blessing to change it, you have mine. You could paint, you could do a German schmear, or you could even tile over it. I think you could make it something pretty special with tile.

    The Ebay coffee table would be very cool. I don't think industrial-ish Wayfair table really fits the aesthetic of your inspiration photos. You could do well sourcing things from Ebay, Craigslist, and second-hand for a collected look, mixing stuff from different eras.

    If the artwork in the inspiration photos is part of the appeal (and you don't have a current collection or the wealth to just go out an buy anything you want), start keeping an eye out for things you like. Mass market art usually looks like mass market art. You can find affordable pieces at student shows, craft fairs, Etsy, and many online galleries. For example, I have many pieces from a local studio that serves disabled adults and has a big sale every December (with lots of 5, 10, and 20 dollar items).


    Jason Von thanked cawaps
  • PRO
    JudyG Designs
    last month

    Have you identified the style of your house. Thinking it maybe an American Foursquare, side entrance. Love to know what you have for provenance.


    The dining room light looks Art Deco.



  • Jason Von
    Original Author
    last month

    Excellent! Exactly the kind of feedback I've been looking for.


    The previous owner, a local professor, and artist did in fact use the picture rails, and I've been a bit torn about taking them down and adding crown moulding, but thought that white moulding would flesh things out a bit after adding such a deep color to the walls. I suppose I thought the rail would look anemic if I painted it white, and needed something a bit heavier up there. But getting a second opinion on that would be helpful. I had also considered lowering the rail below the moulding...


    Thanks for the blessing on the fireplace. LOL. It's actually one of three in the house, one in the basement, and the other in the master bedroom. I hadn't considered tile. I think I'll look into that before committing to paint.


    As far as artwork, my father is also a local artist (and I can draw a bit), so I'm sure I'll have some of that up there, but thanks for the advice. I definitely want to get an eclectic mix on the wall.


    I'm not a fan of the sconces that are currently above the fireplace, and was thinking of some art deco-y pieces for that.


    I'm still drawing blanks on curtains/blinds for my color scheme/theme. Moving in here, and seeing all of the grandma curtains, and then seeing the astronomical prices for blinds, I realized I don't know anything about window coverings.


    Anyhow, thanks so much for the help! You're right, this is all very exciting. Just hoping I don't make too many costly mistakes in the process.

  • pds290
    last month

    Congratulations on your new home! I agree with cawaps that your inspiration photos are lovely and fit the style of your home well (it’s hard when someone’s cabin-style inspiration photos clash terribly with their split level in the suburbs). I also agree that the Ebay coffee table fits better with the esthetic you’re going for than the one from Wayfair. It can be a fun (and economical) process to find special items over time, if you have the patience for it.

    I think that the picture rail that is currently installed at ceiling level is too petite to serve as crown molding. The crown molding in your third and fourth inspiration photos would fit better with the other trim in your room than the more elaborate molding in the fifth photo. If you decide to have both a picture rail and crown molding (as in your first inspiration photo) you should tie it into the height of your doorways to make it look less busy. It does look like windows and doors may all come to the same height, but this doesn’t work if they don’t. I don’t think you need it visually though, unless to save your walls if you plan to rotate art often.

    I would put off the concerns about window treatments for now, unless you need them for blocking light while you sleep or for privacy from neighbors. Other decisions should come first.

    Definitely find a different spot for the TV!

    While I don’t always like painted fireplaces, given the color you’re planning for your room, I think white would look great and the fireplace as is would be dark and not live well with your wall color. Personally, I prefer the white inspiration fireplace to the one that matches the wall color.

    I look forward to watching this project unfold!

  • Jason Von
    Original Author
    last month

    Hello JudyG,


    I'm not certain what style of house this is, though I'm curious myself. The auditor's website simply says it's "conventional." I can tell you that it was built in 1918 here in North West Ohio. The previous owner, a local professor, artist, and movie reviewer moved in with his wife in 1974, and I believe moved the bottom of the staircase a bit to allow room for a coat closet, added a rear deck, an extension to the Model-T sized garage, and added lots of ugly wallpaper upstairs. LOL. Also, they remodeled the kitchen, and main bathroom, which will be the subjects for future posts. :D


    After his wife passed away, the owner moved out, and left it empty for 4 years, though kept it maintained. There are two doors besides the front one, one that goes out the rear-right side and the other that goes out to the rear-left side to the deck. Behind the garage as you're looking from the deck is a backyard that's been converted to a wild garden by the previous owner whose father took up horticulture after WWI and instilled that passion in him.


    Here are some pictures around the rest of the house:




  • ital mover
    last month

    I have some of the same inspiration pics! If you do Houzz photo searches for London interiors, or British interiors anywhere, you can find a lot of houses that are quite old, high ceilings, smallish rooms, that have nods to both history and pop, and lots of saturated colors. You might want to look at inspiration rooms on the website Farrow and Ball, the manufacturers of paint in the UK.



    Another fun interior design style to look at is contemporary Russian interiors.




  • Jason Von
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks so much pds290! Your advice is so helpful. I feel so much better about my current plan now.

  • Jason Von
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks so much ital mover. Constantly on the lookout and saving inspiration pictures.

  • partim
    last month

    Even with the picture lightened it's hard to see what the brick looks like.

  • apple_pie_order
    last month

    Thanks for info and questions. The ebay coffeetable is striking and unique. The rough new one would not contribute to the look.


    For curtains- if you are thinking of throwing them out, first see if you can salvage the sheers for daytime privacy while you decide how much you can afford for window coverings (ten windows at a basic $100 each adds up). Throw the sheers in the wash on delicate setting with some oxy-clean or equivalent. Then get some paper shades from a big box store or amazon (6 shades for $20 https://www.amazon.com/Original-Filtering-Pleated-Shade-6-Pack/dp/B000SDX54M ) for nighttime privacy.


    For paint colors- start with an inspiration piece with the colors you love. It can be art, a ceramic bowl, an Oriental rug, and so on. Paint one small room such as a bathroom first to see what the color on the tiny card becomes when it's life size on the wall. If you want a popular recipe for how much color in a room: main color 70%, secondary color 20%, accent color 10%. Look at your second photo to see this in action. Avoid using several different saturated colors in the house: the psychedelic Jefferson Airplane San Francisco pad is not what your photos show. Now that you are spending money on furnishings, you can choose quality vintage pieces instead of thrift shop make-do pieces. Gradual acquisition rather than furnishing it all in a weekend allows you to get a sophisticated eclectic look rather than a younger person's "I got this from my roommate's parents' basement" look. Estate sales are full of 1970's things nowadays. Thrift shops have more 1980's things.



    2x2 36 pcs Gerona Talavera Mexican Tile · More Info

    From this tile for example, you can pick three colors to use throughout the house in different ways.



    Look at older 1970's consoles for your electronics. Or just buy something unobtrusive from Target.


    For a chandelier, consider the search to be an adventure that may take a year. Look online and at local vintage shops. Some fixtures go cheap, others turn out to be wildly expensive. If you would be happy with a modern copy, look online at the many lighting websites.

  • cawaps
    last month
    last modified: last month

    The time period is right for Foursquare style, but those were typically characterized by a hipped roof and symmetric façade. The gable roof and overall shape reminds me of Georgian or Federal style houses, but those also had symmetric façades with center entrances. If you hadn't said it was built in 1918, I would have guess it was older. Maybe it's just an atypical example of a Colonial Revival. I've got a house that doesn't fit neatly into any of the style boxes, either (broadly, mine is a classical revival style, but it doesn't fit the characteristics or time frames of the widely recognized classical revival styles).

  • Jason Von
    Original Author
    last month

    here are closer pics of the fireplace.

  • Jason Von
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks for the info cawaps. I'd love to learn more about the place and was planning on heading over to the town museum to see if they had old pics in their archives.

    That's great advice Yvonne. I'll be sure to do that.

  • SashaDog
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Maybe it’s the combination of the mantle and fireplace insert, but that fireplace doesn’t look original compared to the other pictures. Would you be able to ask the former owner if they covered up a different fireplace?

    I also wanted to comment that the woodwork throughout the house is lovely in the pictures and would be nice to keep original vs painting.

  • Jason Von
    Original Author
    last month

    Hey SashaDog!


    I actually did get to talk to the previous owner about the fireplace when he came by to drop off some extra keys. He never indicated that he did anything to the fireplace, but did state that when he first had it inspected after he bought the place that he thought he might convert it to gas, only to find that it was originally gas to begin with. I didn't know that gas fireplaces were that old, so that came as a bit of a surprise to me. I do believe the mantle is newer, as it doesn't match the rest of the woodwork with the exception of the stair railing which also looks more modern. I had originally planned on painting the mantel white, but not touching any of the other woodwork.

  • SashaDog
    last month

    Maybe I’ve watched too much HGTV, wanting some dramatic reveal where you take a part the ugly fireplace to find the beautiful original perfectly hidden behind. ;)


    I also wouldn’t have thought gas fireplaces were around at the time that house was built. If you have the time, it’d be interesting to look into that. Maybe someone switched it before he bought it in 1974. It just looks very 60s/70s


    Do you want the fireplace itself to be modern, or are you looking at keeping it more fitting with the vintage of the house? For the latter, you may be able to find a more appropriate mantle in an antique/vintage/salvage store. the current insert will be a challenge to incorporate in either style, though.

  • PRO
    Norwood Architects
    last month

    I agree with the American foursquare assessment by one of the other posters. It also has elements of craftsman elements IMO. The American foursquare style was a reaction to the Victorian style which was much more ornate. So, as far as furniture I would think that craftsman, arts and crafts and mission style furniture would be period appropriate. But, since you style is more pop and art deco I think you could certainly go in that direction. When you go to resell paint can always be changed and furniture almost never stays. So, make the home your own to fit your style and your vibe. Good luck!

  • Jason Von
    Original Author
    last month

    Hey SashaDog, you may be right that it was replaced before the previous homeowner moved in. Maybe I can get more about out of the previous owner. A dramatic reveal would be great! lol. I'd rather a more vintage look in keeping with the house. Looking for a more appropriate mantel isn't a bad idea. As far as inserts are concerned, I just thought an insert was an insert, and hadn't even considered replacing it. Any recommendations on alternatives?


    Thanks for the information Norwood. So, yeah, looking at examples of craftsman and mission style furniture, it definitely does seem to fit the woodwork of the home. Hmm... I might have to rethink a few things. Maybe see if I can or want to incorporate them into my vision of the place...

  • apple_pie_order
    last month

    Your city hall may have copies of permits issued for changes to the house, including the fireplace remodelling. The fireplace looks like 1960's brick and tile to me.