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. Charly says:

    So happy to have stumbled upon your blog! It’s my new favorite! You had me giggling whilst drinking my coffee and trying to get some motivation this morning. (I, too, am terribly inefficient at estimating the amount of time it is going to take me to complete a project :) ). I love the white walls, white trim, and warm wood tones in this room! Beautiful!

  2. Jackie H says:

    We have had a Nest for a number of years and love it. You can see both temperature and humidity in both the Nest read out and in the app. I like getting the monthly Nest reports as well that tells us how much time our furnace was used and the difference with outside temperature that might have contributed to the furnace use. We also have the Nest smoke detector and you can see both on the same Nest app. The motion light the Smoke detector has is really handy when I forget to bring up something upstairs with me before bed. I really prefer the chime warning when it detects smoke versus the normal screech of other detectors :)

  3. Mona says:

    There are a lot of comments about not using black on the doors. It’s true that if you for a pure black you probably won’t like it. It does feel like the door is a black hole that you’re going to fall into.

    Having said that the secret is not to use pure black. Better designers than me (not a designer) have said the same thing. On this episode of Marilyn ( Scott McGillivery recommends Para pain colour called Tuxedo (P5249-85).

    It’s also good for a mantle and is a very nice colour.

    • Karen says:

      There are indeed a billion types of black. I have mine picked out already (Black Satin) which I mentioned in a previous post. If you look at that post you’ll see examples of black doors that look beautiful. I never thought of them as being black holes you would fall into, lol. ~ karen!

  4. That’s a super gorgeous chandelier! And what a steal, too. It’s nice to find what we are looking for in the midst of chaos! :-)

  5. Mark says:

    Nice job on the trim paint job. I used to be a true westerner (trim shall not be painted, ever!) but I have seen the light and much prefer caulked and painted trim.

    I don’t like having doors on the main level, except where needed (e.g. bathroom). In my current house, I removed several doors and the door jambs (replaced with drywall). That gave me an extra 3-4 inches in some tight doorways. It makes painting simpler too since there is no trim to paint there, and the whole thing looks a little cleaner and more modern.

  6. Kari says:

    Just so everyone knows that’s a Rolling Stones song reference. I’m not being an ahole, lol.

  7. Kari says:

    I see a wood door and I want it painted black. Lol. But seriously, your wood door is so beautiful though. But I like black doors too.

  8. Alberta says:

    Looking better now. I’m excited to see your next post for the update on this project.

    • Karen says:

      Me too. Because the next update will mean I’m done, lol. I am currently doing the last coat of paint on my dining room and living in a complete disaster with furniture, paint and accessories EVERYWHERE. ~ karen!

  9. Stephbo says:

    Painting trim is always such a huge pain in the arse and takes three times longer than you think it will. I’m solidly in the black doors camp. I think it really makes these old houses really classy.

    • Stephbo says:

      OH!! And I really love you for showing us what your room is like mid-project. Makes me feel better about the destruction I incur whenever I’m doing a project.

  10. Stephanie says:

    p.s. Love the painted trim and I say, go for the black doors. I’d love to see you go first, because I really, really want to paint all my upstairs doors black too.

  11. Stephanie says:

    I have this one I picked up at Home Depot and am loving it! It is fully programmable by each day and different time periods per day. You can set vacation mode, or if you forget, do it from your phone. It had better reviews than the Nest when I bought mine a few months ago. Better: It also gives you the outside temperature and humidity (something that may come in handy Karen for the chickens? I don’t know, but say, to forewarn you before you step out into the minus 30, that the chickens need extra straw, well, because it is minus 30?) I was missing a wire needed for the wi-fi, but my furnace guy used the fan wire from the furnace to take care of that issue – it just means that you can no longer put just the fan on independent from the furnace or a/c. And total décor junkie that I am: if you paint your wall whatever colour you want (black say) you can choose the same colour from the options built into the thermostat for its face!!! Love.

  12. Alena says:

    I am not convinced the Nest would do me any good (except for a major hole in my bank account). I kept the programmable thermostat that was already in the house when I purchased it (11 years ago) and it worked OK for about 9 years. Then suddenly (on Halloween out of all days) two years ago it went on a fritz. (I think the fact it was Halloween may have been an instrumental factor). Since I knew I would be at work till past 6 pm, I had arranged with my neighbour to drop in in the afternoon to let my dog out for 5 minutes.
    Just before 4 pm, I got an email from her (the neighbour, not the dog) to tell me the house was very hot and that she will bring her husband (the best handyman with all the tools ever made) to check things out. I dropped everything and rushed home where I found the house heated to 36 degrees Celsius. (The dog seemed to be fine). The thermostat stopped working so the furnace ran probably all day non stop. I had to turn the furnace off, open all windows (it was a fairly mild rainy Halloween) and drove to the nearest hardware store to get a new thermostat.
    What I purchased was a White-Rodgers thermostat that seems to work much better in the sense that my house seems to feel warmer in winter (although the thermostat is set to 20 C as the previous one was). I keep the thermostat at 20 C all winter, day and night, because my old arthritic dog would get too cold otherwise (I, on the other hand, like to sleep in a cold bedroom so I keep the heat vent closed overnight). I don’t see a need to control things long distance.

  13. Jody says:

    Love the white trim. It must feel bright and clean even on these grey days. Who did the painting OF your house? I’d love a gallery wall of paintings by different artists of my house.

  14. Christy Weber says:

    Be bold…paint the doors black. It will be chic and you have the inspiration shot to prove it. If you need to grow another pair before you do it, test the water by hanging or draping black paper or fabric on the door and sit with it for a bit…maybe throughout a day as the light changes in the room. Look at it with slight soft focus (in my case just take your glasses off) and pretend it is really black, not just paper or fabric. My money is on you loving it once you make the jump.

  15. Nanette says:

    Your trim looks great. I painted my doors up front black and like the contrasting white trim. The only drawback is it does make the space darker so I would make sure the area is well lighted. But I love them. Have you looked up the Ecobee thermostat? Its supposed to be better for larger houses.

  16. Patty says:

    I LOVE PAINTED TRIM. well done. I do like that you left the doors unpainted though. Although black would be awesome too. And you done REAL good on the chandelier. I always misjudge time too. Thinking a project would take an afternoon and two days later I’m still at it. But at 66 yrs old I find I can’t do things as quickly as I used to. Can’t wait to see your finished project. You are an inspiration.

  17. Lisa says:

    I was gonna tell you to buy yourself more time and celebrate USA Thanksgiving and someone beat me to it! ha! Doors – paint them black! We have been renovating for the past 10 months! And can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel now….so close to finishing! I painted all my doors black, that’s TWENTY-ONE doors!!! Yes, it took forever – but was so worth it! They look fabulous!!

  18. Renee says:

    So I am looking for an opinion. I like trim painted in certain circumstances. Our kitchen has 4 windows, 2 on one wall that have no trim at all just a grey marble sill, and 2 on the other wall that the original owner put in later that has the varnished pine trim. My kitchen is chocolate brown which I love. So do I paint the trim on that one set of windows and what color? or re varnish and what do I do about the other set of windows that has no trim, just a marble windowsill? (We had the old aluminum windows in the whole house except for those two & the living room is all wood trim. We replaced all the windows with nice vinyl white windows a few years back, and left the marble sills – which I should have just replaced, but I am stuck now. thoughts?

    • Karen says:

      Renee. I have one window in my kitchen that has no trim at all and one that does. I painted the trim on that window white including the sills but did all the cross sections black, and painted the door that leads out of the kitchen into my mudroom black to match. If there’s no other pine in the kitchen I would definitely paint your pine trim and take inspiration from whatever else is in the kitchen. Safest best is white or a colour that matches the walls. :) ~ karen!

  19. Lynn says:

    First off love that you painted your trim , yes i agree it makes it appear as if house has grown . The fear of painting trim a really big one. One that goes way back . In the big old houses the rooms were rather oversized an trim was also , but used for showing areas . Some were natural due to the fact they used ( oak, walnut an other such woods). Or they used plaster which they painted very colorful in most cases. It is not a case of growing a pair so much as getting over the stigma which is unreal. Pine is not a good wood for stain so do not feel bad painting it. I do not know if that helps or hinders any of you out there . Your Kijiji find is a real deal , I live outside of Edmonton an it is big here also. When shopping I always go there first , you have to love the deals. I like the nest but have not gotten one :( . Here we find 70% of our elictric / natural gas is not on what we use but on ( bullshit ) charges ( service, paper) if you know what I mean . It drives us nuts.

  20. Jan in Waterdown says:

    We’ve had a Nest for several years now and it’s been just fine up until recently, when Canada Post decided to change our postal code and now the poor little thing is all confused and can’t seem to find us. It thinks we’ve moved to the USA. So the Nest folks, somewhere in Nevada, nicely suggested we tried to fool it by using a different code. Their suggestion? Toronto! lol Ah well, it’s a work in progress I guess.

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