HOUSE: Newburgh

Getting there. I guess.


We got the skinny roller for behind the radiator, and the wall is now fully painted. Painting the radiator itself is going to have to wait until spring, though, because it’s stupid-cold in upstate New York, and we already have the heat going. Yeah, in October. Sigh.

So. That little strip of black. On the left. Is. Killing. Me. It’s all I can see. I know it looks stupid and awkward—especially in the photo, because it looks like I just stopped painting. That really is a corner, though, right before the point where the curved wall at the front of the house bows out.

patrick townsend light string

I need to stop obsessing and put something in that spot. Like maybe Patrick Townsend’s light string. Or something. I guess.

black bedroom 2

I am a bit bothered by the long view, too. It’s looking very !!!MOLDINGS!!! right now, which is what I was afraid of way back when I wrote this post two years ago. There are doorways and windows ALL OVER THE PLACE in this house, so it’s impossible to avoid the striped effect that comes with having a lot of contrast between the wall and trim colors. I’m trying to be okay with this, because I don’t think it’s going to help matters if I start painting the trim black just on this one wall.

Oy vey, I’m giving myself a headache.

Anyway, we managed to wedge a 12-foot-long, inch-thick pine board into the car yesterday, so tomorrow I’m going to cut it to size and make a long, continuous shelf running from the inside edge of one door casing to the other, right over the radiator. (Did that make sense? I don’t feel like drawing it.)

Of course now I also feel like we need a new bed. It never ends, does it?

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  • Reply victoria October 22, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    awesomeness! i love the strand lights for that corner that upsets you so, as well. the corner does not upset me – and you know how o.c.d. i am! love the moldings too. so there. 🙂

  • Reply lauren October 22, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    We did soot on our exterior, but wow, I love it even more for interiors! We just painted nearly every wall in our house “super white” but now I’m rethinking a sooty accent wall somewhere…

  • Reply Elissa October 22, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    I love it! I know what you mean with the moldings, but it doesn’t bother me on just one wall. Are you going to paint the shelf black too? What about the radiator?

    • Anna @ D16 October 22, 2010 at 6:59 pm

      We’re going to paint the radiator flat black, but I think we’re going to leave the shelf unfinished pine.

  • Reply Notorious MLE October 22, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    I love the “MOLDINGS!!!”, maybe they will grow on you. 🙂

    • Josh October 24, 2010 at 9:31 am

      Same here. I particularly love white trim on black walls. And they look great against the wood floor, in my eyes :]

  • Reply Tara October 22, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    That is a remarkable colour! I am in love!

  • Reply Lindsay Széchenyi October 22, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    I love the lights idea.
    I know what you mean about it never ending. This always happens to me – once I decide to change one thing I have to change a million other things to go with it, and I obsess and agonize over it forever!

  • Reply cottage of stone October 22, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Ahhh, living in an old home sometimes means just making stuff work. Part of the frustrating journey…

    But I am really digging the soot!

  • Reply Matt October 22, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Paint that trim black! I did on my black wall and it really helps unify the surface… though my black trim is gloss and the wall is flat, so there’s some differentiation still.

    • Anna @ D16 October 22, 2010 at 8:07 pm

      AH-HA! Someone who agrees with me. 🙂 This was my gut instinct, which, of course, I am always fighting against and then regretting it later.

      And yes, of course I would use gloss (well, satin at least) on the trim.

      Sold. Thanks!

  • Reply Joe Shoemaker October 22, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    love the dark wall. it’s delicious.

  • Reply jennifer in sf October 22, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Well at least you had to paint the little strip on the left. For some reason I cannot fathom now, when I painted my kitchen I painted this weird…part of a wall? I have no idea why.

    I think the wood shelf will help with the !!!moldings!!! feelings. Wood somehow bridges the black/white gap.

  • Reply Fritz October 22, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    “It never ends”…It better not end

    I like watching the progress

  • Reply Anne October 22, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Paint the whole room black! But leave the trim white. That’s my vote. I like the contrast, if the wall color goes all the way around the room.

    • Anna @ D16 October 22, 2010 at 11:09 pm

      Anne, the problem with painting the whole room black but leaving the trim white is that the effect would be very, very busy. This room has three windows (all side-by-side), four doors, and a fireplace. In other words, there’s molding all over the place, and it’s not in good enough condition that I really want to show it off. The “cartoon” effect that high-contrast moldings create isn’t really in line with my style. I love the textural contrast of all the detail in my house, but I prefer to let it recede a bit rather than accenting it.

    • Anne October 23, 2010 at 11:55 am

      That works too. 🙂 I do like Jenna Lyon’s house, and it’s hard to get a read on the entire room from one photo, so…yeah! Do it.

      I’m a bit biased against the molding just because I saw so many bad gloppy seventies mauve shiny paint-the-moldings paint jobbies in Victorian houses, growing up. You have better taste than my parents’ friends, though.

  • Reply Justine October 22, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Love the back wall! I painted my kitchen backplash black and live the contrast between that and the white cabinets, only thing that is hard to get past when you have such high contrast is the visible incisistancy in the brush strokes, especially with my ok’d house, taping the walls is pointless! Looks beautiful Anna!

    • Anna @ D16 October 22, 2010 at 11:10 pm

      Oh, for sure! That line where the wall meets the ceiling (we don’t have crown moldings) is the devil. I don’t tape, though—I have a fairly steady hand, and I touch up liberally. 😉

    • Karen Anne October 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm

      My signature is a blotch of wall color on at least 4 areas of the ceiling…

  • Reply A. Tee October 22, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    I am having the same problem. My question is , if you paint the trim black, does it mean you have to paint it black on the otherside too? {ie the trim around the doorway that faces the other room?} If not, where do you stop the black and continue the white???

    • Anna @ D16 October 22, 2010 at 11:59 pm

      I would stop at the point that does not show when the door is closed.

  • Reply peggy October 22, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Hi Anna. The room looks fabulous! I love the color. And sorry to suggest more work – it never ends – but I think the trim would look great in black as well. I think trim is too much detail and too busy. I once had an old house and painted the walls and the trim all the same color and I was much happier. It seemed to make sense with my more minimal aesthetic, and since your aesthetic is very clean and simple it will make sense for you as well.

    I know what you are saying when you talk about something bothering you and you can’t stop obsessing. I recently moved into a new larger place. I was actually really relieved the landlord said I couldn’t paint. That got me off the hook. Still the place has been a lot of work and I am running myself ragged trying to make it perfect, one day hoping to achieve Nirvana and just sit on the sofa and say aaaaahhh, I’m done. I tend to fret about stuff. I buy something new, and then I panic that I have too much. Sometimes I miss the days of a small studio. Or maybe I’m just never happy.

    Loved your post about body image. I think you are beautiful. xxoo

  • Reply Dan October 23, 2010 at 12:16 am

    I hate to say it. I really do. Like, really. But that little strip… it bugs me too. I’m actually really into the idea of the matte black walls with the satin black trim, but then I feel like the white trim in the rest of the room would bug me next to the black trim. Honestly, I think (especially) since this is your bedroom, black all around would be killer. But it’s hard to say without being in the space, so I’m sure you’ll make the right call. ALSO I don’t want to suggest that you shouldn’t buy those string lights because they’re pretty sweet.

    I really like your bed! I’m excited to see that pine shelf business, that sounds fun.

    • Anna @ D16 October 23, 2010 at 12:24 am

      Wait, you mean paint the entire room (all four walls, all of the trim, everything) black? *aslkjfhsdfsodjfod!!!!!*

      I think step one should be hang the shelf.
      Step two, buy the lights and hand them.
      Pause to assess the situation.
      Paint trim if need be.
      …and then repaint everything back to white. (KIDDING!)

  • Reply Amy October 23, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Hi Anna!
    I love the color!! I also love the white trim. I think if you painted it black the walls wouldn’t look special anymore…you’d just end up having a big black cave.

    • Anna @ D16 October 23, 2010 at 12:26 am

      I’m a big fan of big black caves, though! Seriously. 🙂

    • Amy October 23, 2010 at 5:47 pm

      You know…the more I think about it…a cozy black cave for a bedroom might be wonderful!! Kind of like being back in the womb!!

  • Reply Anna @ D16 October 23, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Just a reminder to myself of where I’d like to see this go:

    • Anna @ D16 October 23, 2010 at 12:47 am

      p.s. If anyone wants to buy me that Serge Mouille ceiling lamp, go for it! Don’t feel awkward or anything. I’ll be really gracious and nice to you forever.

    • sRa October 23, 2010 at 8:26 pm

      paint it ALL black is what I am DYING for you to do! I would LOVE LOVE IT! I too like the idea of contrasting the texture of the trim and the wall paint but all black would be lovely.
      AND I love the light…AND I LOVE your bed -don’t get a new one it’s awesome! or DO and sell it to me super cheap. 🙂

  • Reply Marthe October 23, 2010 at 3:54 am

    I love the color! 😀
    Don’t worry about the little strip, a pretty lamp would make it look awesome!

  • Reply Tania October 23, 2010 at 5:13 am

    Coming from Australia where we just don’t have very many old houses, any detail from another era is really attractive to me. So I love the detail on the mouldings and I think it’s so well shown off in the contrasting white. The light string would tie the white mouldings with black wall together nicely.

    I have faith that no matter what you choose its going to look fabulous!

    I also like your bed in that room… in fact I think I like your bed more now against the black.

    Gee I’d love to see that heater bright high gloss yellow… I wouldn’t have the guts to do it myself… but I’d love to see it in a bright colour. Electric blue? Kermit green?

    I apologise for my suggestions…

  • Reply jenn October 23, 2010 at 5:37 am

    i came to post the jenna lyons bedroom and tell you to paint ‘er all black but you beat me! i did one wall in my master a deep bluey-black and i think i just need to bite the bullet and paint out the trim and the rest of the walls. mostly because, like your house, the rest of my house has (or will have) the walls and trim in the same colour (white, obvs), so why not apply that to a dark colour? it just looks sooo much more interesting.

    • Anna @ D16 October 23, 2010 at 9:00 am

      I’m really just delaying the inevitable here, aren’t I?

  • Reply Shelf Appeal October 23, 2010 at 5:51 am

    That black is so black I think it tells all the quirky bits to drop away from view. My small hall in my small council flat in London has 6 doors leading off it. The doors are all cream, the wall (what there is of it) is going to be Dior grey. Very soon. I will learn to live with the discordant result simply to have the colour I want. That’s obsession.

  • Reply Monica October 23, 2010 at 7:45 am

    The black is gorgeous and I am also totally sold on painting the other walls black, along with the trim. Especially after seeing the grey (spell check is telling me “gray” but I like “grey”) room you just posted. Wow. The lamp is amazing. Love the one in the front right too. Wonder why the air vent (I think that’s what it is) was left black.

    • Anna @ D16 October 23, 2010 at 8:59 am

      Both “gray” and “grey” are technically correct. 🙂 I can never decide which I prefer!

      Anyway, that room is actually pitch black in reality. The photo I posted above is from the architect’s website, and I think they digitally lightened the color so the details in the room would be more noticeable. This is another photo of the same room:

    • regan October 23, 2010 at 1:41 pm

      what would robert say? all cats are grey.

    • Anna @ D16 October 23, 2010 at 2:05 pm


  • Reply Shelly October 23, 2010 at 8:28 am

    I think your house looks fantastic and the trim is wonderful as is, but I do know what you mean about the contrast. I’ve been thinking about this myself in our home and I think what I’m going to do is go with a lighter shade of the wall color for the trim…just a tiny bit. I hope the effect will be less “HERE I AM” without saying “WHERE DID YOU GO?”.

    Anyway, I love everything you do and looking at your home makes me want to trash every stick of furniture I own and start over! In a good way of course. 😉

  • Reply shashi October 23, 2010 at 9:47 am

    I agree about the black trim, it will unify it more and you’ll get the effect you want.

    Btw, I wondered if you had any suggestions on where to buy doors – I need an interior door and am having a difficult time finding something attractive. I’m considering a vintage one but am at a loss on where to find them.

    Also that bed looks cool, why a new one?

    • Anna @ D16 October 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm

      I can suggest a few specific places to buy salvaged doors if you’re in the New York area (let me know), but otherwise I’d try CraigsList and Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore if you have one near you.

  • Reply anna October 23, 2010 at 10:22 am

    we’re doing our whole house w/ black satin trim. we had our handyman rip out all the decorative stuff & put in straight edge. we like it so far, we just want clean lines! then just # painted our radiator to black

  • Reply Tiffany October 23, 2010 at 10:47 am

    I really like the white molding but I think the pic with the black trim looks more your style. Also thanks so much for doing this because I’ve wanted a black bedroom for so long but I’ve been too scared to do it. I love your color choice so I’m going with soot as well. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Anna @ D16 October 23, 2010 at 12:56 pm

      The Soot paint is really gorgeous!! It just looks so rich and deep. I want to paint everything with it!

  • Reply Grumble Girl October 23, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    It’s gorgeous – don’t fret. And I hear you on the wonky walls and too many mouldings… ’tis the bane of ye olde house. Fuckballs.

    I’m LOVING the black! Glad you got your skinny roller… it’s all looking terrific, babe!

  • Reply annie October 23, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Your room is beautiful. Your moldings are fabulous. And I love your radiator. Don’t obsess, just enjoy! Rember – perfection is boring. It’s the flaws that make things interesting, Good luck with the rest of the decorating.

  • Reply zimt October 23, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    although you already seem to have decided to paint the trim i’m on team white trim. i love how the white colour shows off the lovely curly details of the doorframes and i think it would look akward with the half-black half white doorframe when you paint it the way you suggested above. i find the black trim -black wall combination of Jenna Lyon a bit too ‘flat’ and meh/boring (don’t hit me) and i think it only works so well in photos because of the contrast with the fireplace and the wall behind the tub. but all the other lovely details with character just disappear (a shame imho) and i think once the radiator is painted flat black and the pine board mounted it will look even more ‘together’

  • Reply ann hooker October 23, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    don’t get ticked or anything, but what about painting the whole bloody thing a muted gray or greige to disguise the stripyness factor? i know, too late…

    • Anna @ D16 October 23, 2010 at 4:31 pm

      Haha, I wouldn’t get mad about a suggestion! I definitely want (and am very happy with) black, though.

  • Reply Adam October 23, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    It looks beautiful and I think painting the trim black is well will look awesome! I’m wondering how long until you paint the rest of the walls and trim black as well? 😉

    • Anna @ D16 October 23, 2010 at 10:41 pm

      I’m actually REALLY liking just the one wall being painted now that the trim is done. I’ll take pictures tomorrow!!

    • Adam October 24, 2010 at 10:46 am

      Awesome! Can’t wait to see it!

  • Reply Jo in NZ October 24, 2010 at 5:30 am

    I’m seeing Graham Atkins-Hughes in the black trim idea, and very much liking:
    Can’t wait to see!

    • Anna @ D16 October 24, 2010 at 10:54 am

      OOOOOOOooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh!! I love that, Jo!!!

  • Reply mariaeditha October 24, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Wow, the black wall paint looks great! Really inspiring, make me want to paint my kitchen with that soft black color.

    Are you happy with it ?

  • Reply Sid October 25, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    omg I love it…I def wouldnt mind having a black wall in my room…on a wall where my bed is then i dont need a headboard cuz it would be chalkboard paint and id just draw a headboard hahaha

  • Reply Siobhán October 29, 2010 at 4:10 am

    Hi Anna, have you seen Abigail Ahern’s work, she paints the whole room – including moldings – with a deep gray, sometimes glossy – and it looks great. Love the recent posts!

    • Anna @ D16 October 29, 2010 at 7:22 am

      Yes, check the next post—there are several photos of her sister Emma’s house in it. 🙂

  • Reply Carolina November 17, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Tycker om den där ljusslingan. Vet du om denna finns någonstans i sverige, alt där de skickar utanför us?

    • Anna @ D16 November 17, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      I don’t know, I’m sorry! You could try contacting the manufacturer.

  • Reply Lisa December 10, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    is this the color, Benjamin Moore Toucan Black, that you’ve mentioned before?

    • Anna @ D16 December 10, 2010 at 11:32 pm

      No, this is Benjamin Moore Soot.

  • Reply Lena March 5, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Anna, I am very new to this paint color choices thing (we are just moving into our first house) and I love your aesthetic. If I’m going to paint the fireplace (trim and mantle) in Soot, would you recommend a matte or satin or other finish? I’m having a bit of trouble figuring out what types of finishes look best where. Though I’ve tried to do a lot of internet reading and see different advice everywhere, I’d rather ask someone whose sense of color and style feels right and beautiful!

    • Anna @ D16 March 5, 2012 at 9:22 am

      Hi Lena, I always use satin finish paint for trim.

    • Lena March 6, 2012 at 8:33 am

      Thanks so much Anna!

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