December 6, 2007
What was originally the formal dining room is now the family room. Sitting in the middle of the home, it straddles the formal front rooms and the more modern kitchen in back.
In order to provide a smooth transition, we've painted the wainscoting, trim, and picture molding white. While the architectural detail gives a nod to the formal spaces, we felt that painting the wood would signal that this was now a less formal space.
We even considered painting the fireplace white…
…but we opted to keep it natural not only to carry some of the formal elements into the room, but to preserve the look of this great piece.
Further, we physically changed the space by removing about a third of the rear wall to expose the the kitchen desk and bay window/banquette. And we've also opened up the back staircase, which carries the wainscoting, and installed balusters.
One of the key drivers of making this a family room in the first place was that it was the only room with a logical wall for a TV. And our architect thought we just might be able to see the TV from the banquette. Turns out he was right, but now we just have to keep the kids from hijacking that TV for video games!
(10) CommentsComment on this Blog
I really wish that people such you who HATE old houses would just leave them alone and let someone else move in who has has a little bit more respect for an old house.
I really wish trolls like you wouldn't go around pointlessly adding bad comments. They are respecting the old house, they're trying to make it livable and revert the mistakes that were added by previous homeowners. Just because you own an old house you don't have to keep EVERYTHING exactly the same as it was when you bought it, that's just absurd.
What a strange comment, Kevin, considering that Maddy and Paul have invested so much time and energy into lovingly restoring this 1897 Victorian/Shingle Style gem. Tom and his gang have painstakingly brought back to life so many of the home's original architectural details including interior millwork, leaded glass windows and the billard room light fixture, just to name a few. The only renovated portions of the home include a kitchen, laundry and replacement windows dating back from the 70's, as well as a former second floor sleeping porch-turned wood-paneled alcove that now hosts the owner's master bathroom and closet. Maddy and Paul also turned the first floor library space, which in the original home was a small exterior porch, into a back entry/mud room for their busy family. The removed library shelves were veneer-covered plywood and unfortunately they were not in the greatest condition.
The stock of existing buildings and infrastructure in this country is immense and fantastic -- and with a careful mix of preservation and renovation, we can continue to live and love these places for many more generations to come. Thanks to Paul for so diligently documenting this experience and to TOH for another insightful and beautiful project!
Wonderful comments Stephanie and Nick. Thank you for appreciating and validating all that this couple has done. They have worked very hard to restore this old beauty, and its comments like yours that make this blog worthwhile!
FANTASTIC FIREPLACE & TILE!!! We have an Italianate, built ca. 1870, but almost none of the original molding or woodwork remains, and NOTHING of the 3 fireplaces. PLEASE don't paint that beauty white!!! It's gorgeous as is...and the tiles are unbelievable---can you post a closeup, Mr. DeMille?
Every time I have heard of an interior designer wanting to paint everything, the fireplace, interior oak woodwork, I want to throw up. It seems the only ideas that interior designers can bring is paint. The woodwork in the Newton project had been preserved fo over a hundred years and now they are going to paint it. I have watched TOH for over 25 years and I am truly disgusted that they would allow this. Shame on Norm, Tom, and the producers.
In1947, when my parents bought the 1917 vintage farm house I have lived in most of my life, it was in terrible condition. But with careful and loving restoration and renovation over the years, we have made it a wonderful home. Much of the work we have done is not true to the styles and building techniques of 1917. It is better. Remember, the main purpose of any home is to provide shelter and comfort to the people who inhabit it. It is not meant to be a museum. Maddy and Paul certainly have the right to live in the kind of house that meets their family's needs. And for those who object to painted woodwork, remember that there are many fine paint strippers available on the market if any current or future owners ever decide to revert to natural woodwork!
having seen the show, i would say they're only painting a tiny fraction of the woodwork. painted wainscoting was not uncommon - as i understand it, it was a tossup whether it was originally painted or not. this is a shingle style, not the gamble house.
i share the frustration expressed about designers who want to paint every surface of a room with reckless abandon, but i really don't see that here. what i observed was a painstaking, calculated decision that was made with the input of the designers, the craftsmen, and the homeowners.
think about it this way - have you ever walked into a renovated house with various additions, and you knew immediately which part of the house was old, and which was new? the jarring contrast between spaces that look like a dark new england maritime museum, and those that look bright and freshly milled? i believe this compromise was intended to soften that juxtaposition.
Get over yourself Don Smith. The house is not a museum, and if they want to paint a portion of the woodwork to update the look a bit what is it your business? Go back into the cave you crawled out from, you troglodite.
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