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My House

Final Decision – What we painted our trim

Thank you guys so much for all your feedback in the ask the audience post. Β I read every single comment which made the decision both harder and easier. The choice was down to those four options (above) and most of you chose #5 (50% of you, actually) but there was something I didn’t like about the white beams. It did feel like a missed opportunity not calling out that architectural feature of the room.

For us, it really came down to doing the all black (below) or the white with black beams.


The light gray walls with the trim just feels so lovely and airy.


But then some of you had the suggestion of doing the window frames in white, with the windows themselves in black. This was something I considered for sure, but I didn’t think it could work so I had it mocked up and here is what it would look like:


I liked it. So did Brian but not as much as I did …


I texted those two renderings to my two best friends who’s taste I trust the most and they said Absolutely do this. No brainer. Its the best option and that we’d regret doing anything else.

But, Brian was REALLY on the fence and I really want Brian to be on board with all the major decisions in the house so I had them paint one window that way for us to see.


I liked it. It looked more classic, and dramatic for sure. But after talking about it for WEEKS and seeing this option in person we decided that it’s just not us. We picture the doors open 70% of the time, the California breeze flowing and the kids running around. For some reason this life feels more conducive with white frames like so:


So that is the final decision – we are refinishing the beams (hopefully they will look WAY better than these renderings :))


Decision made. Finally. We are painting the walls a light gray (like almost white, but technically it’s a tone … and it’s SO PRETTY). Then the trim in white – oh and we are keeping the shelves!!! They are shallow but I can style shallow – we can’t make them deeper so the choice was to remove or keep and ultimately we decided to keep because it’s just vintage character that we love.

Thoughts? Do you support our decision? I feel good about it … πŸ™‚ Let us know below.

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7 years ago

I think this is the best possible option and will be bright and airy yet still keep the vintage character that made you buy the house in the first place. I like that the beams will be a wood tone, the black seemed too harsh to me whereas the white just made them disappear. Perfect comprise. And I’m so glad you’re keeping the shelves. They are lovely and add so much to the room.

7 years ago

YES to the wood beams!!! I liked the black windows but black on the beams was throwing me off. Ultimately, I think white will be perfect with your design and will keep it from looking too busy. Eeee I’m excited!!

7 years ago

Hooray! As the owner of a 100-year old craftsman, with cream walls and dark stained beams, I’m soooo happy you decided to refinish the beams – the black was just too heavy/stark. I think the white windows will match your cheerful/airy vibe. (They did look great painted black, too….)

Rose Boccella
7 years ago

You crazy kids did good! I like that you stayed true to you. I’m painting my placepink….just because it makes me soooooo happy! Ps….love your book!

Katy DeBardelaben
7 years ago

Oh yayyyyy!!! I was one of the people who begged you to refinish the beams even though you said it wasn’t an option. I think you’ll be SO happy. This is by far my favorite option. And the very light grey with white trim – delicious! It’s going to be perfect, can’t wait to see.

7 years ago

lol! you stinker (never thought I’d call emily henderson that!) I as well thought that was a perfect idea but it wasn’t an option! hahaha, so glad, some good wood tone to break up the white, can’t go wrong!

7 years ago

ABSOLUTELY the best option!!!!! So weird, but I thought about it for days, and kept thinking the beams should be wood-toned, not painted. SO glad you went with that option!!

7 years ago

I’m so happy you are refinishing the beams! That is the best option for sure. And I love the white trim in your room for the windows. I think you ended up with the PERFECT plan!

7 years ago
Reply to  Kristen

perfect….I was an option #3 girl but this is by far the best!

7 years ago

YAH!!! You picked my suggestion, and it wasn’t even an option- the wood stained beams…

and “white is right”


7 years ago

For some reason, I was thinking about your beams on my drive to work this morning. The high contrast of black just did not seem to fit your style to me at all. I love the light, bright, airy look you’ve chosen!

7 years ago

I’M SO HAPPY. I couldn’t even vote on the last post because all I wanted was for the beams to be actual wooden beams, not painted. This is the best possible outcome.

7 years ago
Reply to  Another Emily

Ha! Same here!

7 years ago

OMG THANK GOD YOU ARE REFINISHING THE BEAMS. I was one of those rooting for black windows/white trim, but refinished wood beams was 10000% my real preference and the way bigger issue, IMO. I just didn’t say anything because I thought the option was off the table. It’s gonna look sooooo good!!!!!

7 years ago

I feel a little bit like I got tricked, I thought refinishing the beams wasn’t an option! πŸ™‚ But absolutely looks great!

7 years ago
Reply to  SKB

Haha I feel the same way! I love the wood beams, but I thought that wasn’t an option? Well, I’m glad it’s back on the table now because it’s going to look great and oh-so-Emily Henderson. Just curious: what changed your mind on being able to refinish them?

xx Hannah //

7 years ago
Reply to  SKB

I do too. Not amusing.

7 years ago

Yes!! Yes yes! 1000 times YES!!!!!!!!!!

this is the perfect answer! It was my first thought when you first showed us the house and my continued thoughts as you instagrammed and blogged about this “dilemma”, It seemed like a no-brainer to me. I know you said the beams weren’t refinishable – what changed?

7 years ago

Yes!! Absolutely the right decision! I am so excited to see how it all looks when you move in!

7 years ago

YAS!!!! That was what I wanted you to do!!! SO excited to see the beams. What’s the worst that can happen??? If they look terrible, you’ll just paint over them, but I bet it looks AMAZING!

7 years ago

SOOO glad you decided to refinish the beams and not paint them! And I love the idea of the white, airy windows. Can’t wait to see pics of the finished product πŸ™‚

7 years ago

I love your decision. A nod to tradition, without it seeming overwhelming. I would love to know what color gray paint you are using on the walls?

7 years ago
Reply to  Katherine

It is going to be awesome – great decision you two!

7 years ago

Love that you are keeping the shelves! I had my fingers crossed for that. I have the same situation next to my fireplace and we use them as picture ledges.

7 years ago

Good! I was sad when you said refinishing the beams wasn’t possible. All the painted options didn’t seem authentic to the house. So glad you’ve found a way. (And, nobody will closely inspect the beams, so it’ll be okay. We inherited a fake beam in our house that is a bunch of barn board covering a drywall, and I’m PICKY, and I’m fine with it, and everyone who visits always assumes it’s a real, solid chunk of wood.)

I’m sure your friends are lovely and have great taste… but Brian was right about the black windows. πŸ˜‰

Nice work on a great decision!

7 years ago

Love it! The black hardware is a very smart idea. Also love the Blackened paint color. Just got a paint sample of it the other day to test in my place.

Have you picked a layout for your furniture yet?

7 years ago

I am SOOOOOO glad you chose the wood beams! I didn’t comment on the Ask the Audience post because it seemed like the wood beams were 100% a no go and I just couldn’t get on board with any of the choices (it was like I was trying to convince myself to cast a vote for the lesser of two evils….but they all just felt wrong…..wait, am I talking about the election or your beams? I’m getting cofused;) I read all the comments and looked over the pictures, repeatedly, sadly almost like this was my own house. I just kept begging you through the computer screen to choose none of the options and go with the wood. WOOD = SOUL and the black/white options offered me no soul and homes NEED “SOUL”. Does that make sense? So all this to say…BRAVO, great decision!

7 years ago
Reply to  Leanne

AGREED AGREED AGREED. I voted, albeit reluctantly, on the option to have the beams black so they stand out as an architectural focal point. In my heart I wanted them to be wood. I think you could spend big $$$$ on getting those beams to be the right wood color and it would be worth it. Cant wait to see!

7 years ago

Oh, thank goodness you’re doing the beams in wood. It that had been an original options I would have hands down gone with wood beams, white trim and a barely there grey walls. It’ll look bright and airy but still have a nod to its history without being too overwhelming. The wood tone will add a bit of warmth to the room as well.

7 years ago

That is great! I love the real wood beams!

7 years ago

Good for you for going with your gut! I think it looks fab!!!

7 years ago

Clapclapclapclapclap! I’m so glad you are refinishing the wood beams instead of painting them! They will be fantastic, and it will be a look that you can live with for a long time and not regret.

7 years ago

Yes! Well done.

7 years ago

YAY! That’s the one I picked. So striking πŸ™‚

7 years ago

Absolutely love this decision! This is by far my favorite option and I can’t wait to see the end results! It’s going to be gorgeous.

7 years ago

Excellent choice! Love it!

Caitie Mears
7 years ago

I love this decision. Nice teamwork!

7 years ago

Crossing my fingers the wood responds well! This is going to be gorgeous and I’m really glad you’re pursuing this classic option that highlights the beams.

7 years ago

Wait! That was my suggestion – Option 13 – white trim throughout and reface wood beams. I’m so proud to be EH approved:) It gives me the confidence to tackle my own home!

7 years ago

Love your choices! The refinished beams, keeping the shelves, and the white window trim. Beautiful. You’ve done it again!

Nicole M.
7 years ago

Kudos on going with your gut and landing on a decision that suits YOU and YOUR lifestyle! The white windows create a bright, happy space which totally reflects you and your family. I am so excited that refinishing the beams was a possibility (I was secretly hoping it was!). It makes the space so much warmer and more balanced. I do like the shelves because of the character they bring to the space, but there is something squatty about them. Maybe because they are rectilinear and the ceiling isn’t? They just seem to stop so abruptly. I can’t wait to see more … it is a house with great bones that you are transforming into an amazingly beautiful home πŸ™‚ You are such a talent!

Amy Madeline
7 years ago

Simply lovely. The Blackened wall paint will be so pretty, and the black hardware on the windows, so sharp and old world. The quirky shallow shelves will add character and so much styling enjoyment. (I am picturing your kids’ favorite books invitingly displayed on the lower shelves.) AND THE REFINISHED BEAMS! YAY!! I am eager for your next crowd sourced opinions on your charming new home.

7 years ago

Yes! It looks great! The all black was way too dark and while the white frames with black windows could have looked really good, I think you made the happiest-feeling choice (no surprise there).

I’m also so glad the wood beams could be refinished. They look so warm and inviting. Down the road, you might want to replace the white shelves with wood planks to match the beams.

7 years ago

YES! I love this choice!

7 years ago

If it were me, it would be black trim, black beams, black behind the bookcases…but it’s YOUR home, so whatever makes you happy is what you should pick πŸ™‚

7 years ago

Nailed it.

7 years ago

I voted for Option 1, but I like the final choice too. Am I the only one confused as to why wood refinishing is now an option, even though the original (voting) post said it wasn’t?

7 years ago

Yes, yes, yes!!! So pretty. Best option by far. It’s going to look amazing!

7 years ago

Ha! This is what I was wishing you would do. Light white and airy but with proper wood beams. That is just right – congrats!

7 years ago

Glad you can get the wood beams to work!

7 years ago

Yes! Love. I also struggle with lusting that kind of Nate Berkus-y, dramatic chic thing. And then I realize it’s just too much for me in my real life. So I totally get it.

7 years ago


7 years ago

No fair, we didn’t get that option because I for sure would have picked that over #5! πŸ™‚ I love it!

Amanda K
7 years ago

I love this way better than the other options!! It’s going to look fantastic!!

7 years ago


7 years ago

You did it! The black was too severe and the white made the beams invisible. Totally the best choice, not even close. If it’s this pretty already, I can’t wait to see it with all your beautiful pieces.

Pam Groom
7 years ago

Great choice. Looking forward to seeing the whole process.