Second Floor Trim Installed (Mostly)

Category: Restore & Repair

We finished our trim installation rather late at night, so we had to wait until the next morning to get good photos of the stuff installed. Anyway, here they are…

As you can see, we still haven’t gotten everything in. There are a few areas like the pocket door where we still need to pick up some new pieces that fit.

That said, we have gotten pretty close on pieces like the master bedroom window.

The only thing we haven’t gotten installed at all is the quarter-round base. None of the original stuff was worth keeping, so we’ve started new. They’re stained at this point, but we needed to order more shellac (yes, we ran out again) before we’ll be ready to install it.

Now that it’s mostly installed, we are finally starting to get a feel for what the finished space will look like. We’re especially pleased with how the trim has turned out. I’ll admit I was initially a bit skeptical that we could really make something attractive from what was originally there. It was just hard to imagine how it would look when it was covered with layers of pink paint.

The best decision we made was to go with a rather dark stain and the darker garnet variety of shellac. Both of these created a pretty forgiving look close to the original that covered a lot of the damage the trim has endured over the decades.

In the end I think Jeannie was right…the wear and tear just provides extra character you're supposed to have with an older house.

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Boy, you guys are pounding it out and it looks great. I feel like a slug lately. It is inspirational.

Welcome to the "Expert Shellac Applicators Club". You are now appointed Grand Marshal of the Chicago Chapter. Now you can teach classes!

Beautiful! I like when you can see a little of the wear from the years- it seems more "authentic" and like the house has stories to tell. I'm impressed- it really looks stunning!

Wow it looks fantastic! I'm really impressed. And I hope ours looks as good in the end.

Hey, your blog was highlighted at Apartment Therapy today!

Wow, the trims look guys do great work!

where did you find your trim?

Hey guys, thanks! The trim came with the house...except it originally had a kazillion coats of nasty paint (PeptoBismal Pink and Dismal Beige) on it. Underneath all of that paint? Red Oak. :)

It looks just beautiful! You give me hope that our trim will be pretty and finished one day.

Wow, beautiful. I'm realizing I wicked take my unpainted original trim for granted after seeing all you have gone through to restore yours. It's fantastic. I always forget how unique original trim is to those who live in cookie-cutter modern houses; hometown friends from CT visited this weekend and were awed by "old house" stuff like fir floors, dark trim, beadboard wainscoting and glass-front kitchen cabinets. (They were probably equally horrified by some bad spots of plaster, sloping floors, a bathroom door that doesn't fully close, etc. but were too polite to say.)

Also, hearty congrats on your pregnancy; I've been out of the loop a bit lately and just catching up. Hooray for the bungalow baby!! :-)

It looks lovely and I myself don't mind the nail holes and imperfections of 100 year old wood either. I can't stand sterile feeling environments- doesn't feel like home to me.

love that shellac!

all I can say is WOW! It really looks great. Have a great first night in your new room Thursday night??

What color stain(s) did you use to achieve your final result? We need to rehabilitate some window sills in our house, and your trim looks very much like what little of ours that isn't painted looks. Fantastic job!

First time poster...

Fellow Chicagoan here (Hyde Park) and the next big-ticket agenda item in our condo is stripping our red oak trim and staining/shellacking. Would you mind sharing the maker/color of your trim and shellac? It would be greatly appreciated -- it looks amazing!

Hi Allison (we love Hyde Park): The trim came with the house! It is the original Red Oak trim from was just covered with many layers of pink and cream paint.

The stain is from Sherwin Williams Wood Classics Interior Stain in Burnished Walnut, which the closest match to the original stain. And the shellac is a 2 lb cut Dewaxed Garnet Shellac that you mix from flakes (and Dewaxed Garnet Shellac that you mix from is the same no matter what the brand name is...Hock, Rockler, and so on).

Best of luck with the new place!

[er, um, "trim" = I meant to say "stain"!]

Thanks for the info.. I love your color and we're going to be looking for something similar. Having not delved too deeply into the whole thing (haven't started stripping large-scale just yet) I was curious what gave some finishes such a shiny look and not others and I knew from doing our floors it wasn't poly! So.. thanks for the tips!

Our red oak trim is circa '28 and we have uncovered some peach and teal paints -- sexy! In some places where the most recent coat was white latex we've been able to peel the paint off like saran wrap...

Thanks again!

I just purchased a house with dark wood trim inside similar to yours. I plan to rip out the carpet and replace with wood floors. I was wondering what color are your floors? Any advice to give about choosing the best color wood floors for dark trim?


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