An Update On My House Makeover. Painting the Trim. Eek.

O.K., this is NEVER going to pan out.  In case you aren’t familiar with what’s going on in my old house here, you can read my original post from last week entitled Every Room Makeover Begins with Inspiration and Frustration.

In hindsight I now realize that post should have been titled “LOLOLOL.  You’ll never believe what an asshead I am.  I’m sooooooo f*cked.”  Or something like that.

I have serious, serious issues with my imagination and my brain in general.  I can imagine doing ALL SORTS of things in a week.  Probably I could walk to China and still have time to get my hair cut and highlighted.

In a nutshell (a small one, like a hazelnut) I planned on redecorating and painting my house in the spring, moved the task to the fall and now have precisely 10 days to get everything done before I host Thanksgiving.  As of 14 days ago I had done precisely nothing.

I got to work on the trim right away but it ended up taking me over a week to do because I’m having to squish it in after work.

I’ve been wanting to paint the original trim in the front portion of my house since I moved in over 15 years ago but honestly I just didn’t have the nerve.  I had to work up to it, so I trained by painting all of the other trim in the house.  The upstairs, the kitchen and the dining room all have painted trim. The only trim that was left untouched was the trim in the foyer and the living room (the oldest trim in the house).


And it wasn’t even all that nice.

But I never painted it because I was afraid that if I painted the trim my 180 year old house it would lose all of it’s character.

As it turns out it didn’t lose its character. It lost its ugly.

Everything looks cleaner, bigger and more open with the trim painted and strangely … you notice the beauty of the trim more.  I don’t know how that works, I’m not a brain scientist. It’s just the way it all panned out.  Paint the trim … trim shows up more and looks way better than it did before.

Plus the rooms look twice as big because the painted trim makes the walls look bigger instead of having all that wood chop up the room at every window door and entryway.

There were 2 things that precipitated the trim painting.  The first being a house I went through last November on a Christmas House tour in my area.  There was an old, old, house similar to mine but sightly grander, and all of the trim was painted white and it was beautiful.  The second thing that precipitated the trim painting was, I grew a pair.

So I painted the trim.


Bad photo courtesy of me.  Sorry.

I used:

A Purdy paintbrush. (I had a regular handled Purdy paintbrush but the Purdy Blue Heron with the Beavertail handle is the BEST because the shorter handle doesn’t gets in the way when you’re painting in tight spaces like corners)

DAP Latex Caulking (a whole post on how to load and use a caulking gun coming up)

Benjamin Moore Latex Aura Paint in “Simply White”, Satin.

Benjamin Moore Fresh Start Primer




The painted trim even makes me like my ugly gold Costco mirror.  The trim only has one coat of primer and one coat of paint here and the walls haven’t been painted yet.

I like THIS shot a lot better.


You’ll notice I’ve Photoshopped out my old programmable thermostat with a fancy Nest thermostat.  Why?

Electricity rates  in Ontario, Canada (where I live) are the most expensive in North America.  How expensive?  Well, imagine living in a communist country where you’re forced to line up to buy bread and have to blow your nose with Kleenex that has no Aloe.  It’s like that only instead of those things you can only do laundry during the hours you might encounter a bat, Stephen King, or drunk barfing college students returning from a frat party.  From 7 at night until 7 in the morning is the only time electricity rates are even moderately affordable.  Mainly you can’t do anything that involves electricity any other time unless you want to pay an insane amount for it.  So no dishwasher, no unnecessary lights on, no laundry, no nothin’. Which is hard when you’re home all day because your home is your office.

Since your furnace and air conditioner are the biggest hydro suckers you own, regulating them is the best way to cut your electricity costs.  You know all of this.  I have no idea why I’m telling you this.  Other than to say I’d really like a Nest thermostat and I’ve wanted one since they debuted a few years ago.


I decided to leave the doors wood for now.  Old habits (and fears) die hard.  I can start moving furniture around now, so whatever ends up working in the foyer will dictate whether I paint the doors black, leave them wood or paint them white.

Everything has been mashed into the centre of my living room and foyer for weeks now and I hate it.



This is where I find out how observant you are.  Did you catch a glimpse of this Empire chandelier in the previous photo?  As soon as I committed to trying to get this whole lower floor makeover done by October 10th, I spent the night on the couch browsing Kijiji (It’s like Craigslist) for things I need like carpets and lighting.  I found this BEAUTIFUL antique chandelier in the first hour and and picked it up by the next morning.  The rest of the crystals for it are in box off to the side of the room.  I paid $100.  Which is otherwise known as a score.

I’m not liking my chances of this coming together in the next week because well, I don’t think it’s even possible, but stranger things have happened. I mean I found my dream chandelier for $100 on Kijiji.

Anything can happen!

In my imagination.

Have a good weekend!




  1. Leisa says:

    Total score on the chandelier! I like black doors A LOT, but I really love all the white with the wood doors, kinda classic. Amazing transformation!

  2. Tracey says:

    Hi Karen,
    I love the white trim!
    When we moved into our house al the walls, big trim, wide baseboards were all painted harvest gold. We have wide pine floors. Maybe the previous owners thought it would all “blend”, but it looked horrible! And, it made the pine floors look orange. I painted the walls BM Linen and the trim in White Dove (supposedly it’s the same colour as ikea white). The pine floors look so nice now, and the house looks bigger.
    I still haven’t pulled the trigger on the painting the doors yet
    I was also thinkin a soft black.
    My house is small though, so I think I’ll do white as well…
    I just need to grow a pair myself.

    I’m so looking forward to all the changes you are making. I know it will be fabulous!!!

  3. Alice says:

    Btw, Ontario’s electricity’s rates are not nearly the highest in North America. See, for example,
    or google “compare electricity rates North America” and see the document Hydro Quebec puts out annually (sorry, couldn’t figure out how to link to the pdf)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Alice! I did see the Hydro Quebec report when I was researching this post. It’s out of date by a year I believe. :) When you factor in delivery and time of use and all of that stuff Ontario really does have the highest rates in North America. They have increased in price over the past few years exponentially and then there was another increase in our last bill that was so huge there are now people living without power and protests are happening all over the province. It’s crazy! ~ karen

      • Jan in Waterdown says:

        AND they had the unmitigated gall to raise our rates because they said we weren’t using enough!? wtf? I don’t even know how to explain that beauty especially since they were trying to get us to use less. Don’t get me started. Oh. Too late. grrrrrr

  4. Su says:

    Purdy brushes make painting anything easier and Benjamin Moore paint rocks…. there are Aps you can use where you take a picture of a room and apply a paint color to see how you like it before you even buy it! I used it when trying to determine what color I wanted on a huge wall with a vaulted ceiling….might make determining whether to paint your doors easier….. LOVE your chandelier!

  5. Katie C. says:

    I have an easy solution that’ll buy you another 6 weeks.

    This year tell everyone that you’re changing things up and celebrating US Thanksgiving!

    See problem solved. ;)

  6. Monique says:

    Love the painted trim w/ wood doors..! Great Kiijiijiijiiijiijiii..:) buy!

  7. Oh, paint the doors black!

  8. Ron says:

    Just so you know, the Ecobee3 is a Canadian alternative to Nest and has the advantage of supporting remote sensors.
    You can find comparisons here:

  9. Cathy says:

    Make that GAS company?

  10. Cathy says:

    I painted my window trim white years ago but not the baseboards. No one knows why.
    I too left my doors wood and don’t have the cohones to paint them white. Black looks good in some of the houses I’ve seen online ( checkout Kristi’s blog at Addicted2Decorating. She’s USA’s version of you without the bad language?) but part of me feels it’s another mauve trend.
    Anyway, it looks terrific and very you.
    Why not get a less fancy programmable thermostat ? I love mine and even though it wasn’t wildly $$$ to begin with, I got it free through my gad company during a promotion.

    • Karen says:

      I do have a programmable thermostat Cathy, but it’s discoloured and falling apart and needs to be replaced. Part of why I like the Nest I’ll admit is because it’s so sleek and small looking. :) ~ karen!

  11. Gail Dedrick says:

    First off, kudos on painting the trim. I am usually a die hard DO NOT PAINT ORIGINAL TRIM, but in your case I do believe it is what was needed and it wasn’t particularly nice trim. Nothing fancy.

    Secondly, I LOVE my Nest, but my expectations were entirely based on how it helps me manage my cottage from far away. I also have the camera and smoke detectors. All great for my situation. PLUS! Using Nest’s motion detection capabilities and IFTTT I am now able to tell when maybe renters arrive.

  12. Ronda says:

    sigh … the previous owner of my 100+ year old house had someone come in and paint EVERYTHING (including door knobs and hinges) a bleh creamy yellow. Some rooms got the walls painted as soon as we moved in, some have been painted and papered three times (my daughter’s room when she was very much younger) and others are still waiting after 20 years (my poor old dining room). But all the doors and door knobs are still that boring bleh colour. As the paint has worn off the door knobs over the years, brass has been showing up underneath. Maybe, when I retire, I will have the energy to tackle them. Having the balls is not the issue lol!

  13. Debbie D says:

    Love the trim. Painting the trim is the worst! I have painted the entire trim in my house and it is not fun. However, it sure is nice when it is done. I would paint the doors too. I just painted my entry door haint blue. Love it. Painted the front and the back side of the door so I can enjoy the color from the inside of the house. Looks so pretty. Southern superstition or not, things have been less “bumpy” since the haint blue color went in. No, I don’t have ghosts and I know because I used to live in a haunted place. But life is easier and smoother since the color went in and the house has not had one fall apart tragedy after another, so far. Can’t wait to paint the ceiling of my front porch a lighter color of it as well.

    You planning on swapping out the black electrical outlet with a white one? That would make for a good article on how to do that. Electricity (and doing anything with it) scares the crap out of me. I might also grow a third pair if you showed me how to do it and swap out some of mine that don’t match the color on the wall. Yes, over my life I have had to grow a couple of pair already…..

  14. Grammy says:

    Glad you painted the trim. Natural wood finish works better on huge houses with huge rooms — otherwise they chop up your sight lines and make everything seem cluttered. All your “stuff” is going to stand out and look more fabulous now.

    That chandelier is so, so fine.

  15. TucsonPatty says:

    It is going to look fabulous. Period. I think everything you do is fabulous. I cannot, however, figure out what the twisty mirrored thing is leaning against the Costco mirror. (And I really, really want a very tall, white tree trunk in my living room. A kitty toy?)

    • Alice says:

      I think it’s another mirror (unframed) that is leaning at an angle, so the reflection looks odd.

    • Karen says:

      LOL! The twisty thing is an optical illusion. It’s also a mirror. It was hanging on the door of my closet and I removed it. :) The tree trunk is actually an old painted pillar from the front of a heritage house. :) ~ karen!

      • TucsonPatty says:

        I cannot get my head around the reflection. I can see that it is a mirror, now, but my eyes, my eyes! Thanks for the clarification. I thought it was some cool looking designer propeller. Now you won’t be able to un-see it! ; )

  16. Paula says:

    Thanksgiving is in 10 days! Omg. I guess the weather was warm for much longer than usual and although I ‘know’ the date, I am not ‘aware’ of the date (clearer than mud?). Crap.

    Awesome score on the chandelier!

    Don’t paint the floors! I clearly, have not yet grown a set; my trim is all wood, the owner before me spent a great deal of time removing green paint from every piece of trim in the house and I don’t have the heart to paint it again. The house is dark though.

  17. Linda says:

    Why not paint the Costco mirror frame matte black? Then do a metallic rub in a color you like.

    • Karen says:

      I’d love it in matte black Linda! But I actually like it now that it’s against the white baseboards so I’ll be leaving it for now. :) ~ karen!

  18. Melissa says:

    Looks beautiful, I agree though, on painting the doors. I think the black would be so dramatic, so that’s my unsolicited vote. I think you’ll come through and have it all done in time, you are always very determined! Good luck!

  19. tracie says:

    Well, the two things that stand out the most for me in this post, are that, shit, I totally forgot to book an appointment to get my hair cut, and that I can no longer ignore how grossly unobservant I really am. So, I had to go back to look at things, of course, and saw the chandelier, nice. I wish that I knew why it was a score at 100 bucks, but I do really like it. And was that a turquoise dresser I spied? Cause I really liked it too. And don’t tell me, that sucker was a side of the road score…that’s how little I know about fashion and decorating. I’m looking to buy a living room set. I will sent you a pic of my living room, and hope like hell you give me some advice. Hopeless in Surrey…

    • whitequeen96 says:

      Oooh, I like that turquoise dresser too! That’s an idea I’ll keep in mind for the future.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tracie! The chandelier would be about $1,200 in an antique store. It’s probably about 100 years old and has really, really high quality crystals. The best I’ve seen actually. ~ karen!

  20. stephanie says:

    If you paint the doors black and you do not like it, it will take 100 million coats of paint to cover it and by then you will have a very lumpy/grainy/bubbly door and you will replace it with a glass door that you can’t really see through but makes things lighter. I moved into a place with black hole doors and know what it’s like – just say NO to black doors.

  21. Nicole says:

    I can’t comment on the nest thermostat but I love the nest smoke detector. It is the best little night light ever. It has a motion detector and lights up very subtly and briefly when you walk by. I’ve not lit the house on fire yet but I have taken a couple of really long, hot showers (my husband is also a fan of the Ontario hydro rates) and my nest smoke detector talks to me and gives me a warning that it thinks it’s smoky and if it gets any worse it might start shrieking. I like that it’s sensitive but gives me a chance to do something before the deafening starts.

  22. Jennie Lee says:

    The trim looks good, Karen. Somehow it makes your home look “tranquil”. Which is quite a trick, considering it’s REALLY not, right now.

    • Karen says:

      Noooo, lol, no it is not. And you’re right. It really does a lot to calm the house just because visually it’s way more restful having all the trim white. :) ~ karen!

      • Ash says:

        Omg! Love, love the trim!!!! Great job!
        I also live in beautiful Ontario, Canada. My f**king hydro is $225 per month, every month of the year! Lol good ole equal billing! :)

  23. Isabella says:

    Love the paint job. Fabjous. Now I have to go check out kijiji.

    • GC Lehman says:

      Beware the Jabberwock!!

      My mom knows this poem (?) by heart and spews it out randomly. One time just recently she was sitting in a dark corner of the living room and she started muttering it along with something on TV. My sister and dad were convinced she was speaking in tongues and we’re almost ready to have her committed. It’s the funniest recent memory I’ve got!!

      Now, we’re teaching get my youngest. They’ve put out a board book for pre-schoolers with it….it’s great! LoL.

      Sorry Karen. The trim looks great! …and that’s from a “leave the wood natural” person. Good luck with the rest of it. It seems to me you are on the o

  24. yinda says:

    Looking good! Time to paint the doors – colour to be decided!

  25. Susan Hollier says:

    Hate to burst your bubble but the Nest isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sure I like being able to control the heat from under the duvet with my iPad but the whole “learning” thing? It has never worked with ours. We might have 1st generation but still I have not been terribly impressed. Don’t even get me started on the accompanying smoke detector. Nice trim btw. I feel you with the long project list and hosting Thanksgiving, but not getting started yet…

    • Karen says:

      BOOOO HISSSSS!!! Really? I was hoping to get one! I think they’re on the 3rd generation now. It’ll be a while before I build up the courage to buy one anyway, lol. I still need a living room chair so I can finally get rid of the one I found in the garbage. Plus this girl has a turkey to buy. ;) ~ karen!

      • Pam'a says:

        If you’re home all day, how much switching of temps do you need to do? Are you one of those weirdos who turns the heat down to Antarctica at night or anything? I have a regular old programmable thermostat, but mostly, it’s set at one temperature. All. The. Time.

        An astute A/C guy once told me to leave the fan running, too. All. The. Time. He said the power used was negligible, and possibly reduced the amount of heating/cooling needed. Makes sense, I think, keeping the air circulating.

        Food for thought, anyway.

      • Karen says:

        Oh yes, I turn it down cold at night. Also working from home means I go out, I just go out at irregular times so I’d like an option where I can just push a button and have the thermostat automatically go down to a certain temp. Plus I like gadgets. :) ~ karen!

      • Michelle says:

        We have a Honeywell programmable thermostat that does the instant drop/rise at the touch of a button (from your smartphone), and it’s just like a Nest. Only it doesn’t “learn.” I like the option to adjust the temperature when I’m nearly home, that way the house is comfortable when I arrive. It was an affordable option to the Nest, and we’re very happy with it.

    • A guy says:

      Thermostats like the Nest are not plug and play with most furnace wiring. I had to run new wires from the furnace to make the Honeywell version of the Nest work, and my house was built in tjr mid 80’s.

      Careful what you wish for.

    • Carswell says:

      I have a Nest and I love it.

      The learning aspect didn’t work for me because my schedule is too erratic – that said, my previous thermostat only let me set a schedule on a 5/2 day split. The Nest does not have this restriction and you can program it to do as many shifts per day as you want and set each day independently.

      The fact that I can change the programming from my iPhone or iPad is just the icing on the cake. My cleaning person sometimes changes the days she comes and the remote function lets me change the setting when she calls.

      I have the smoke detector too and I love the fact it has a built in motion sensor/night light function since it is over the upstairs landing between my bedroom and bathroom. No more night light in the bathroom. Yay!

      • Lynne Burns says:

        I too love my Nest…… Worth the money and is super easy to install. I even called customer support, left a message and received a return call within 15 minutes by a real live human AND this was on a Sunday… Imagine that!

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