To acrylic or not to acrylic aboriginal woodwork is a abiding catechism for homeowners, architects and designers who alive in and apple-pie old homes. Often, the acknowledgment depends on the owner’s preference, the appearance and era of the house, and the affection and action of the wood.
Fashions appear and go (such as the now-fading chic for accoutrement aggregate in afterimage with white paint). Woodwork corrective in hasty colors, such as fleet dejected or hot pink, is accepting a moment. More-expected neutrals, such as chrism or gray, vie in acceptance with woodwork au naturel in Brooklyn brownstones and row houses.
Interior artist Louisa Roeder grappled with whether to acrylic the well-preserved amber woodwork in her own 1870s Prospect Heights brownstone aback she adapted in 2014.
“I capital to actualize a almost avant-garde kitchen, and to do that I capital to accept a lot of white,” Roeder said. “I was afraid about painting the copse abstraction because they were in such acceptable condition, but already I saw how acceptable the kitchen looked, I absitively to acrylic the copse abstraction on the blow of the parlor attic and hallway.”
The white woodwork had the better appulse of all her architecture decisions, Roeder said.
“It absolutely avant-garde it,” she said. “It looked a little too Victorian before. It’s a big action because already you do it you can’t go back.”
Interior artist Tamara Eaton said her accommodation to acrylic or not to acrylic woodwork depends abundantly on the affection of the craftsmanship. In one brownstone beginning with busy amber woodwork, for example, she took abundant affliction to bottle the intricate detail and mother-of-pearl inlays. In addition brownstone, area the woodwork was a lower grade, she corrective the absolute parlor akin — walls and woodwork — a aphotic gray.
“Many austere preservationists accede painting woodwork sacrilegious. However, we try to be acquainted about aback to bottle a different or high-quality townhouse and aback we can be added advanced with our access because of the medium-caliber adroitness that was originally put alternating by the developer or builder,” Eaton said.
“In purchasing a townhouse, you accept adopted a abundant allotment of history that is to be celebrated, but additionally lived in,” she said. “There is a connected advance and cull with how to reinterpret and improve a home that was congenital over 100 years ago.”
Of course, abounding preservationists draw the band at painting aboriginal woodwork that was not meant to be corrective originally, adage it destroys the appearance of the home.
“The woodwork was not meant to be painted,” said Andrew Dolkart, acclaimed author, Columbia University professor, and above administrator of the school’s Celebrated Preservation program. “If they capital it to be painted, they would accept acclimated plaster. Why absorb money on big-ticket copse to acrylic it?”
Up until about the 1870s, woodwork was about painted, generally faux grained.
In the backward Victorian era, the woodwork on the capital levels of a brownstone was a affairs point, and a attribute of acceptable aftertaste and wealth. Pine and poplar were acclimated in accessory spaces like basements and third attic bedrooms, and were added generally meant to be painted, Dolkart said.
In the aboriginal 20th century, Colonial Revival ushered in a appearance for white-painted woodwork, while Arts & Crafts interiors featured accustomed oak.
Starting in the 20th century, new owners of brownstones corrective woodwork white to accomplish row abode interiors brighter. But with the brownstoning movement in the after allotment of the century, owners began to band abroad the old acrylic and balance the adorableness of the aboriginal woodwork, he said.
“Why buy an old abode if you’re activity to abort what makes an old abode wonderful?” Dolkart said. “As abode prices accept gone up and abundance has increased, bodies are ripping out celebrated interiors. To me, what’s the point? Go move to the suburbs if you don’t acknowledge the ability that went into these houses.”
Architect Jeff Sherman of Delson or Sherman has addition perspective. He prefers to acrylic the woodwork best of the time. Old moldings generally accept to be patched and replicated, and generally homeowners band bottomward corrective woodwork to ascertain that it’s an inferior breed like poplar, he said.
“I absolutely admit there is this common abstraction about what a abomination it is to acrylic over all this admirable wood,” Sherman said. “But I anticipate the attending of the abode with corrective abstraction can be absolutely admirable and I anticipate it’s abundant easier to tie calm the attending of the abode aback you acrylic that wood.”
Although best of his audience adopt to agilely band and restore aboriginal woodwork, Sherman said he usually recommends painting woodwork a adumbration of white or anemic gray.
“I anticipate it absolutely lightens up these spaces,” he said. “Some of these apartment accept a lot of woodwork and you can wind up with a actual aphotic room. But I anticipate there’s article apple-pie and accurate about painting these rooms.”
Interior artist Fawn Galli, who has a affection for color, sometimes paints the woodwork and walls the aforementioned blush to accomplish a amplitude attending modern, or chooses allegory colors like chicken and green. She corrective the column column in her own Carroll Gardens brownstone hot pink, a admired color.
“It’s absolutely an befalling to add blush and accomplish it fun and alike shocking,” Galli said. “The affair with townhouses is that they tend to be dark, but if it’s a admirable copse I would apparently leave it and acrylic the bank an icy gray.”
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