Mixing wood finishes

abcxxyy123April 16, 2014

I am in the process of buying a 70s house that is very dark brown. Brown wood trim everywhere. Dark brown wood interior and exterior doors. Dark brown wood floors. Dark brown window frames (some wood, some vinyl). Love wood. Hate dark brown. My first plan of attack was going to be to paint the trim white and leave the floors and doors. Now, I'm starting to fear that if I don't refinish the floors before I move in, I never will. I am waiting on estimates but I don't know if my budget will also extend to painting the doors. How bad would it be to leave the doors as-is? Unless this is all remarkably cheaper than I expect, I think the windows are staying brown for now. I'm not sure how well the vinyl will take paint and I'm putting up curtains anyway. The floors would be refinished in a lighter stain, with maybe reddish undertones. Enough to contrast with the doors rather than just faintly mismatch. Any ideas?

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From what I can see, the floors look in good condition and I like the color. I don't know your décor style, but my 'eye' sees wonderful colorful rugs on those floors. I like the brown trim, too; it could be quite dramatic with the right wall color.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 12:25AM
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The floors look great! If you think they really need to be refinished, then definitely do it before you move in.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 12:40AM
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I wouldn't call your floors a dark brown, more medium and they look in good condition. I'd paint the trim and the doors and forget about the floor. Get a lovely rug and you're good to go.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 12:45AM
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I have natural wood floors (light) but have to say that I do like your floor color and especially the darker window trim. Probably because I'm into almost white interiors these days....

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 9:28AM
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Thanks everybody. The floors are in good shape. The color just does nothing for me. A little background: I've been househunting for two years. Two of my biggest must-have's after school district were a nice kitchen (or a price that would allow me to put in a nice kitchen - but even that was second-best, because the time commitment would have really created a problem for me) and wood floors. This house has by far the nicest kitchen that I have seen in two years. It is far nicer (and more expensive) than anything I could've put in myself - and not very far off my taste, although obviously not exactly what I would have done). But now as closing approaches, I keep thinking about all of the brown and the not particularly large windows and wondering if I just bought a really nice kitchen. (It's a Tudor with some brown siding and brown garage and exterior doors, so the brown theme is inescapable. The roof is brown too, but I need to replace it and think that will be dark gray, in order to preserve my ability to change the color of the siding and the doors and the windows later. Did I forget to mention the dark paneling in the family room and the basement? I'll be painting the paneling in the family room.)

I'm being a little crazy.

Anyway, I agree rugs would do wonders. I only have two so far, but rugs would be a lot cheaper than refinishing. I will be curious to see what adding the doors to the painting will cost though. There are something like 13 or 14 interior doors, and then all of the closet doors on top of that, and the closet doors are slatted. I'm the other hand, I think I'm going to have to paint them one way or another anyway, so maybe it just makes more sense to do the doors and accept that the floors will be the floors for a long time to come.

I just can't decide about the windows. I know it would be reasonably simple to paint the wood windows, but I'm not sure makes sense to do that when about half of them are vinyl. My contractor says he had painted vinyl windows before, and Andersen actually has instructions on how to do it on their site, but he did warn me that they could peel.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 9:49AM
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I think area rugs and drapes can break up the brown very nicely without the expense of refinishing and painting. I like your floors and the woodwork.

And I would look around at a bunch of Tudors before deciding to change the exterior color scheme. I see a lot of them around here with non-brown "timber" and it rarely looks good to me.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:02AM
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Other than that I'd never spend thousands on refinishing perfectly good floors because they are a few shades darker than I might like, I am also wondering how often you can sand floors down to the raw wood. So, I'd live with them and get nice area rugs, and once they are scratched up and need to be refinished, I'd reevaluate.
With respect to the window trim, I think peeling vinyl is a lot worse than dark trim, which goes with the style of your house.

Are the doors "nice" wood? I understand that the prospect of too much brown can be scary, but I'd look at lots of pictures of Tudors and see what appeals to me. And maybe even try to live with the house before embarking on too many irreversible projects.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:19AM
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I think this is good advice. In truth, once I do the math, I sincerely doubt that refinishing floors will be in the budget, and my son is also not at an age where I can expect him to be respectful of newly refinished floors. :) I'm just freaking out a little. I will probably stick with my original plan of just painting the trim and the doors, as I really can't live with those.

As for the outside, that is all in the future, if at all. Most likely, I will never go to the expense of stripping and repainting the siding, but I might move to cream garage doors, which, along with a neutral roof, would match the faux-stucco and break up the brown a little.

Thanks for talking me down, everyone.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:42AM
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I would consider the exterior color scheme issue in the context of changing the roof color. What color is historically appropriate to a Tudor? Is it brown? There may be a reason the existing roof is brown. I would think that through before switching it to gray.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:51AM
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