My husband and I have been shopping for a new house for months and if we ever find a home that we both agree upon and that we can actually afford, it will be a miracle. Here’s one issue. While we both want a vintage place, we are divided on our preferences for original wood trim (husband likes; I don’t). All the real estate ads make a big deal about “original woodwork,” and I when I arrive at these places I feel the weight of history pressing on me the second I walk through the door. If I buy this place, am I morally obligated to carry on this torch of originality? In wanting to paint the woodwork white, am I as evil as all those developers who destroy old buildings to put up hideous new construction?

I turned to two interior designers, Laura Soskin and Jessica Lagrange, to get their two cents. Both were adamant: Paint it white! “Just because that’s how they used to do it doesn’t mean that’s how it should stay,” said Soskin. “White is modern—your house doesn’t have to look like grandma’s!” Lagrange added, “Many times, the wood itself is nothing special—just stained pine.” That made me feel better. Now I just have to find the house.

—GINA BAZER

Living room photo from Jameson Realty.
Soskin’s home photographed by Nathan Kirkman.

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To Paint or Not to Paint Wood Moldings?


My husband and I have been shopping for a new house for months and if we ever find a home that we both agree upon and that we can actually afford, it will be a miracle. Here’s one issue. While we both want a vintage place, we are divided on our preferences for original wood trim (husband likes; I don’t). All the real estate ads make a big deal about “original woodwork,” and I when I arrive at these places I feel the weight of history pressing on me the second I walk through the door. If I buy this place, am I morally obligated to carry on this torch of originality? In wanting to paint the woodwork white, am I as evil as all those developers who destroy old buildings to put up hideous new construction?

I turned to two interior designers, Laura Soskin and Jessica Lagrange, to get their two cents. Both were adamant: Paint it white! “Just because that’s how they used to do it doesn’t mean that’s how it should stay,” said Soskin. “White is modern—your house doesn’t have to look like grandma’s!” Lagrange added, “Many times, the wood itself is nothing special—just stained pine.” That made me feel better. Now I just have to find the house.

Living room photo from Jameson Realty.
Soskin’s home photographed by Nathan Kirkman.


My husband and I have been shopping for a new house for months and if we ever find a home that we both agree upon and that we can actually afford, it will be a miracle. Here’s one issue. While we both want a vintage place, we are divided on our preferences for original wood trim (husband likes; I don’t). All the real estate ads make a big deal about “original woodwork,” and I when I arrive at these places I feel the weight of history pressing on me the second I walk through the door. If I buy this place, am I morally obligated to carry on this torch of originality? In wanting to paint the woodwork white, am I as evil as all those developers who destroy old buildings to put up hideous new construction?

I turned to two interior designers, Laura Soskin and Jessica Lagrange, to get their two cents. Both were adamant: Paint it white! “Just because that’s how they used to do it doesn’t mean that’s how it should stay,” said Soskin. “White is modern—your house doesn’t have to look like grandma’s!” Lagrange added, “Many times, the wood itself is nothing special—just stained pine.” That made me feel better. Now I just have to find the house.

Living room photo from Jameson Realty.
Soskin’s home photographed by Nathan Kirkman.

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