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Final Decision – What we painted our trim



Thank you guys so much for all your feedback in the ask the audience post.  I read every single comment which made the decision both harder and easier. The choice was down to those four options (above) and most of you chose #5 (50% of you, actually) but there was something I didn’t like about the white beams. It did feel like a missed opportunity not calling out that architectural feature of the room.

For us, it really came down to doing the all black (below) or the white with black beams.


The light gray walls with the trim just feels so lovely and airy.


But then some of you had the suggestion of doing the window frames in white, with the windows themselves in black. This was something I considered for sure, but I didn’t think it could work so I had it mocked up and here is what it would look like:


I liked it. So did Brian but not as much as I did …


I texted those two renderings to my two best friends who’s taste I trust the most and they said Absolutely do this. No brainer. Its the best option and that we’d regret doing anything else.

But, Brian was REALLY on the fence and I really want Brian to be on board with all the major decisions in the house so I had them paint one window that way for us to see.


I liked it. It looked more classic, and dramatic for sure. But after talking about it for WEEKS and seeing this option in person we decided that it’s just not us. We picture the doors open 70% of the time, the California breeze flowing and the kids running around. For some reason this life feels more conducive with white frames like so:


So that is the final decision – we are refinishing the beams (hopefully they will look WAY better than these renderings :))


Decision made. Finally. We are painting the walls a light gray (like almost white, but technically it’s a tone … and it’s SO PRETTY). Then the trim in white – oh and we are keeping the shelves!!! They are shallow but I can style shallow – we can’t make them deeper so the choice was to remove or keep and ultimately we decided to keep because it’s just vintage character that we love.

Thoughts? Do you support our decision? I feel good about it … 🙂 Let us know below.

Fin Mark


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I think this is the best possible option and will be bright and airy yet still keep the vintage character that made you buy the house in the first place. I like that the beams will be a wood tone, the black seemed too harsh to me whereas the white just made them disappear. Perfect comprise. And I’m so glad you’re keeping the shelves. They are lovely and add so much to the room.


YES to the wood beams!!! I liked the black windows but black on the beams was throwing me off. Ultimately, I think white will be perfect with your design and will keep it from looking too busy. Eeee I’m excited!!


Hooray! As the owner of a 100-year old craftsman, with cream walls and dark stained beams, I’m soooo happy you decided to refinish the beams – the black was just too heavy/stark. I think the white windows will match your cheerful/airy vibe. (They did look great painted black, too….)

Rose Boccella

You crazy kids did good! I like that you stayed true to you. I’m painting my placepink….just because it makes me soooooo happy! Ps….love your book!

Katy DeBardelaben

Oh yayyyyy!!! I was one of the people who begged you to refinish the beams even though you said it wasn’t an option. I think you’ll be SO happy. This is by far my favorite option. And the very light grey with white trim – delicious! It’s going to be perfect, can’t wait to see.


lol! you stinker (never thought I’d call emily henderson that!) I as well thought that was a perfect idea but it wasn’t an option! hahaha, so glad, some good wood tone to break up the white, can’t go wrong!

ABSOLUTELY the best option!!!!! So weird, but I thought about it for days, and kept thinking the beams should be wood-toned, not painted. SO glad you went with that option!!


I’m so happy you are refinishing the beams! That is the best option for sure. And I love the white trim in your room for the windows. I think you ended up with the PERFECT plan!


perfect….I was an option #3 girl but this is by far the best!


YAH!!! You picked my suggestion, and it wasn’t even an option- the wood stained beams…

and “white is right”



For some reason, I was thinking about your beams on my drive to work this morning. The high contrast of black just did not seem to fit your style to me at all. I love the light, bright, airy look you’ve chosen!

I’M SO HAPPY. I couldn’t even vote on the last post because all I wanted was for the beams to be actual wooden beams, not painted. This is the best possible outcome.


Ha! Same here!


OMG THANK GOD YOU ARE REFINISHING THE BEAMS. I was one of those rooting for black windows/white trim, but refinished wood beams was 10000% my real preference and the way bigger issue, IMO. I just didn’t say anything because I thought the option was off the table. It’s gonna look sooooo good!!!!!


I feel a little bit like I got tricked, I thought refinishing the beams wasn’t an option! 🙂 But absolutely looks great!

Haha I feel the same way! I love the wood beams, but I thought that wasn’t an option? Well, I’m glad it’s back on the table now because it’s going to look great and oh-so-Emily Henderson. Just curious: what changed your mind on being able to refinish them?

xx Hannah //


I do too. Not amusing.


Yes!! Yes yes! 1000 times YES!!!!!!!!!!

this is the perfect answer! It was my first thought when you first showed us the house and my continued thoughts as you instagrammed and blogged about this “dilemma”, It seemed like a no-brainer to me. I know you said the beams weren’t refinishable – what changed?


Yes!! Absolutely the right decision! I am so excited to see how it all looks when you move in!

YAS!!!! That was what I wanted you to do!!! SO excited to see the beams. What’s the worst that can happen??? If they look terrible, you’ll just paint over them, but I bet it looks AMAZING!


SOOO glad you decided to refinish the beams and not paint them! And I love the idea of the white, airy windows. Can’t wait to see pics of the finished product 🙂


I love your decision. A nod to tradition, without it seeming overwhelming. I would love to know what color gray paint you are using on the walls?


It is going to be awesome – great decision you two!


Love that you are keeping the shelves! I had my fingers crossed for that. I have the same situation next to my fireplace and we use them as picture ledges.


Good! I was sad when you said refinishing the beams wasn’t possible. All the painted options didn’t seem authentic to the house. So glad you’ve found a way. (And, nobody will closely inspect the beams, so it’ll be okay. We inherited a fake beam in our house that is a bunch of barn board covering a drywall, and I’m PICKY, and I’m fine with it, and everyone who visits always assumes it’s a real, solid chunk of wood.) I’m sure your friends are lovely and have great taste… but Brian was right about the black windows. 😉 Nice work on… Read more »


Love it! The black hardware is a very smart idea. Also love the Blackened paint color. Just got a paint sample of it the other day to test in my place.

Have you picked a layout for your furniture yet?


I am SOOOOOO glad you chose the wood beams! I didn’t comment on the Ask the Audience post because it seemed like the wood beams were 100% a no go and I just couldn’t get on board with any of the choices (it was like I was trying to convince myself to cast a vote for the lesser of two evils….but they all just felt wrong…..wait, am I talking about the election or your beams? I’m getting cofused;) I read all the comments and looked over the pictures, repeatedly, sadly almost like this was my own house. I just kept… Read more »


AGREED AGREED AGREED. I voted, albeit reluctantly, on the option to have the beams black so they stand out as an architectural focal point. In my heart I wanted them to be wood. I think you could spend big $$$$ on getting those beams to be the right wood color and it would be worth it. Cant wait to see!


Oh, thank goodness you’re doing the beams in wood. It that had been an original options I would have hands down gone with wood beams, white trim and a barely there grey walls. It’ll look bright and airy but still have a nod to its history without being too overwhelming. The wood tone will add a bit of warmth to the room as well.


That is great! I love the real wood beams!


Good for you for going with your gut! I think it looks fab!!!


Clapclapclapclapclap! I’m so glad you are refinishing the wood beams instead of painting them! They will be fantastic, and it will be a look that you can live with for a long time and not regret.


Yes! Well done.


YAY! That’s the one I picked. So striking 🙂


Absolutely love this decision! This is by far my favorite option and I can’t wait to see the end results! It’s going to be gorgeous.


Excellent choice! Love it!

Caitie Mears

I love this decision. Nice teamwork!


Crossing my fingers the wood responds well! This is going to be gorgeous and I’m really glad you’re pursuing this classic option that highlights the beams.


Wait! That was my suggestion – Option 13 – white trim throughout and reface wood beams. I’m so proud to be EH approved:) It gives me the confidence to tackle my own home!


Love your choices! The refinished beams, keeping the shelves, and the white window trim. Beautiful. You’ve done it again!

Nicole M.

Kudos on going with your gut and landing on a decision that suits YOU and YOUR lifestyle! The white windows create a bright, happy space which totally reflects you and your family. I am so excited that refinishing the beams was a possibility (I was secretly hoping it was!). It makes the space so much warmer and more balanced. I do like the shelves because of the character they bring to the space, but there is something squatty about them. Maybe because they are rectilinear and the ceiling isn’t? They just seem to stop so abruptly. I can’t wait to… Read more »

Amy Madeline

Simply lovely. The Blackened wall paint will be so pretty, and the black hardware on the windows, so sharp and old world. The quirky shallow shelves will add character and so much styling enjoyment. (I am picturing your kids’ favorite books invitingly displayed on the lower shelves.) AND THE REFINISHED BEAMS! YAY!! I am eager for your next crowd sourced opinions on your charming new home.


Yes! It looks great! The all black was way too dark and while the white frames with black windows could have looked really good, I think you made the happiest-feeling choice (no surprise there).

I’m also so glad the wood beams could be refinished. They look so warm and inviting. Down the road, you might want to replace the white shelves with wood planks to match the beams.


YES! I love this choice!

If it were me, it would be black trim, black beams, black behind the bookcases…but it’s YOUR home, so whatever makes you happy is what you should pick 🙂


Nailed it.


I voted for Option 1, but I like the final choice too. Am I the only one confused as to why wood refinishing is now an option, even though the original (voting) post said it wasn’t?


Yes, yes, yes!!! So pretty. Best option by far. It’s going to look amazing!

Ha! This is what I was wishing you would do. Light white and airy but with proper wood beams. That is just right – congrats!


Glad you can get the wood beams to work!


Yes! Love. I also struggle with lusting that kind of Nate Berkus-y, dramatic chic thing. And then I realize it’s just too much for me in my real life. So I totally get it.




No fair, we didn’t get that option because I for sure would have picked that over #5! 🙂 I love it!

Amanda K

I love this way better than the other options!! It’s going to look fantastic!!




You did it! The black was too severe and the white made the beams invisible. Totally the best choice, not even close. If it’s this pretty already, I can’t wait to see it with all your beautiful pieces.

Great choice. Looking forward to seeing the whole process.

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