Think You Have to Choose Between Paint and Natural Wood? This Cincinnati Home Balances Both

published Sep 7, 2022
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In the design world, there tends to be a lot of opinions around what to do with wood — and specifically, if it’s wrong or right to paint it. It can get messy. Every wood grain is different, and using a stain can bring out the unique shadows and textures that would otherwise get covered by a saturated shade. And yet, using paint can be a quick and efficient way to bring personality to a simple wood furnishing. It’s routinely a tough call between choosing one side or the other.

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Thankfully, deciding whether or not to paint wood is not the point of this story. Because, as it turns out, it’s possible to lean into the color wheel while also incorporating plenty of wood. Take this Cincinnati apartment tour as a prime example. Its 1,100 square feet of space is a playful canvas of color, from sunny blue and yellow to smile-inducing green and purple. 

The renters of the place, India and Jerome, live here with their “lazy cat Dorian” and describe their style as full of bold color with geometric shapes that’s inspired by the technicolor sets of “The Price Is Right.” Their favorite aspect of the home — other than the fact that it used to be a funeral parlor, with interesting details to prove it — is its Victorian details. 

“We’ve always lived in vintage apartments, but this one takes the cake!” they wrote to AT. “There are four giant pocket doors, windows everywhere, three beautiful fireplaces, original light fixtures, and THOSE STAIRS! Don’t even get me started on the entryway. The foyer walls and ceiling are all wood, plus the original tiled floor and stained glass double doors are still intact. It’s gorgeous!”

The woodwork is timelessly beautiful, and almost acts as quiet frames throughout the rooms where multiple colors are combined. In a way, the wood allows the eye to rest, creating a balance between traditional features and all-out individualism. “It took me a while to find ways to honor the architecture while still making it work with my style,” India says. “I’d like to think that I figured it out, and that the clean lines and bright colors leave room for the woodwork to shine.”

If ever you’re unsure about how to treat wood, or you think all of the trim in your home should automatically be painted white, remember this home. If you hold on to a classic wood finish, you can still use as many paints as you please. It is possible to have the best of both worlds, and surprisingly, it can happen under one roof.