See How a Stager Used Paint to Completely Transform Vintage Trim Molding

published Dec 14, 2023
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Living room with floral sofa before remodel.
Credit: Studio D. Home

When you have dramatic picture frame molding in a 1950s home, the first rule of thumb is don’t touch it. Don’t even think about taking it down. Don’t alter it. Don’t add to it. Just let it shine in all its classic glory.

But in this 2,600-square-foot house, the vintage trim molding felt tired. The color palette of buttery off-white with a stark white ceiling looked more dated than designed, and the ornate mirror and sconces were stunning, but too literal in a traditional space. 

Matthew Heafey and Teresa Baum of the Heafey Baum Group with Compass Real Estate listed this timeless property and brought in designer and stager Janci Deetz from studio D. Home to make sure the home’s aesthetic encompassed the 21st century, too.

“The house was built in the ’50s. It had so many great elements, like the detailed moldings and high ceilings, and we really wanted to emphasize these traditional elements but bring it into modern day,” explains Deetz.

Credit: Studio D. Home

Looking at the before and after, the living room appears to evolve into a completely different room. It went from feeling as if it did, in fact, step out of the 1950s to giving off a modern, sleek, and minimalist art gallery vibe. Yet nothing changed on the walls — except the paint. While the trim and walls had previously been painted in the creamy off-white shade and the ceiling was a basic ceiling white, Deetz painted the ceiling and walls both in Benjamin Moore White Dove to create a seamless look. Deetz then accented the longtime designer favorite white with Dunn-Edwards Black Pool DE6315. She set apart the fireplace to draw more attention to the mantel and painted the back of the bookshelves to give it a high-contrast appearance.

Credit: Open Homes Photography

Deetz explains, “We chose this deep green-gray because it relates to some of the elements that could not be changed, like the dark green marble surrounding the fireplace in the living room. This was a color that brought some drama to the space while modernizing the home.” 

These changes make it appear as if the actual architecture of the room has been edited, but it’s all just paint. Rather than changing the room completely, she elevated what was already there, giving it a bold, fresh look, and leaning into the contrast. “The white in the space was an intentional contrast to the deep accent color. It was a way to keep the space sophisticated and clean while still being able to add a bold color into the mix,” says Deetz.

With the backdrop in place, Deetz turned to the furniture. While the owner’s furniture created conversation spots in the room, Deetz wanted to create a more open and airy look, which actually meant pulling the furniture closer together. “

Credit: Open Homes Photography

“The furniture placement kept the room open and prevented any boxiness. The curved sofa seems to round out the space and add some dynamic visual that isn’t already present in the home,” explains Deetz.

She then made a decision not to replace the mirror and sconces above the fireplace mantel, but instead let the dark paint speak for itself and draw the eye towards the bookshelves as the starring moment. “The fireplace’s minimal decor was a way to add some life to the fireplace without cluttering the room,” says Deetz.

The result is a space that combines traditional elements with stark black and white that’s worthy of an art gallery — all thanks to a few gallons of paint. The sculptural furniture contrasts with the classic molding and fireplace, and the home will appeal to a buyer who loves mixing old and new. And Deetz succeeds in creating that story — which is the goal with every staging project. She explains, “We approach a space with a person or story or objective in mind. Each space has the potential to attract its perfect match and we like to assess a space based on that. Who will live here? What will they love?”