To stain or not to stain? That is the question.

Just like every top rated HGTV or DIY "reality" series, where there is conflict there is drama. In the midst of hard work, problems arise and we can tend to overreact. (The Tractor Tiff anyone?) And over act. Dramatize. Could you see where I was going with this by the title? Anyway, let's skip the narrative. Here's much ado about nothing  our story in the words of Shakespeare (with CliffsNotes of course).  

Two people in a household, both alike in dignity, 
from ancient grudge break new mutiny, 
where paint and stain make hands unclean.

OK, so Walter and I didn't have an ancient grudge over our wood work.  He did, however, have a long time wish and plan for how he wanted his house to look one day. Also, the man has an extreme dislike toward painted baseboards, trim, etc. It makes him physically ill. If he looks at a picture online of a home restoration where trim that was once stained is painted, he gets angry. I get it. I feel a Nicole Curtis temper building when I see those pictures too. (Why would you cover that up?) The point is, Walter was passionate about the way he wanted his trim to look. I, on the other hand, had a passion for getting to live in our house. These passions led to an on and off again argument over what we should do for the trim work in our home. It started with the realization that our plan to use the old trim wasn't going to work.

Walter: (holding the old, painted trim)  When sorrows come, 
they come not single spies, but in battalions.
If you have tears, prepare to shed them now. 

Jessica: True is it that we have seen better days.

If you have been keeping up with the blog since the beginning (or if you read this post perchance), you might remember me giving a blog tour of the house. In some of those posts, I stated we would reinstall the original (i.e. old) baseboards. Three things kept us from doing this: the boards weren't walnut like we thought; they were covered in old paint (possibly containing lead); they were smaller than what we thought the room needed. These findings were very disappointing, especially to Walter who wanted stained trim throughout the house. Yet, a little adversity didn't scare Walter.

Walter: Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course. 

Unwilling to give up,Walter kept searching for other means to have stained wood trim throughout the house. Our options were: stained oak ($$), walnut ($$$), or stained pine ($). Because he really wanted walnut trim, he even went to a lumber yard to get prices. The wood would have to sit so many years per inch before it could be used. I argued vehemently against the lumber yard option. 

           Jessica: As he was valiant, I honor him; but, as he was ambitious, I slew him. 
I must be cruel, only to be kind. 

I know, I am a villain in this scene. Some of the options he found, I just couldn't get behind. I didn't want oak. I had a hard time believing pine would look good stained. Staining the trim was going to take forever. Did he really know just how much work that would be? Above all, I refused to wait however many years he had calculated for some walnut trim to cure (?) before we had baseboards, door and window trim. Mostly, I just wanted us to get this completed so we could be closer to moving in. So, we argued over the untreated lumber-- in the car, at a steak dinner with friends, etc. I did not believe Walter would be happy with that either. 

Jessica: This be madness--

Walter: Yet there is method in 't!

Jessica: We are time's subjects, and time bids be gone!

Walter: There are many events in the womb of time, which will be delivered. 
Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast!  

I argued that his ideas would take too long. That was the bullet I fired bursting his thought balloon of having walnut trim. (Of course, money played a role in our decision.) No way was I going to live in the house without trim. If we did that, I doubted we'd ever finish it. Pine was much cheaper, so we did decide to purchase it. The thought of staining it made me cringe. I suggested that we just paint everything. It'd be faster and look fine. Farmhouses are usually white anyway. Walter refused, and did not like that suggestion at all. 

                                       Walter: These words are razors to my wounded heart!

Jessica: I 'll not budge an inch! 

Walter: How poor are they that have not patience! 

Here is a look at the window trim.There are 10 pieces
that need stained per window. T
his does not include the window itself.
Eventually, I did budge much more than an inch. I agreed to stained pine trim with the condition that I would paint the trim in the kitchen and the bathrooms. Walter agreed to those conditions. Soon, he went to work on staining the trim. He made the trim look beautiful, but it took a lot of work and a lot of time. You see, he had to use a hand sander, put two coats of stain, and two coats of poly on each board. This is for the door jams, baseboards, window framing, window extensions, and windows themselves, and door framing. After completing three rooms and seeing the work and time it took, he reexamined his decision to stain all every rooms trim: 

Walter: Can one desire too much of a good thing? 

Jessica: I am not bound to please thee with my answer. 

Walter: If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do...

Jessica: Go to you bosom: Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know. 

Deep down, he knew staining every rooms trim was too much. That's why we decided to paint the trim in the two bedrooms along with the bathrooms and kitchen would be painted. Here's a look at both the stained and painted trim: 

Pine trim stained with Minwax Special Walnut.The door
still needs two more pieces on the top.

Pine painted-- Sherwin Williams Alabaster White.

We are happy with how it's turned out so far. There is still a lot of work ahead, but the light is at the end of the tunnel. "Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow." See ya, friends!


  1. You sure spent a lot of time on this post! Your literature teachers would be so proud! And yeah, I think your compromise was a very, very good one. You know, you're not just blogging about renovating a farmhouse, you're blogging your life...and, in a way, a "how to get along in your marriage" manual! Love you guys so much!!

    1. I did. I'm always looking for different ways to tell our stories, and this crazy idea took off with me. I'd never thought of it that way, but your right. Also, renovating a house is full of metaphors that can help you grow spiritually, relationally (not sure if that's a word), and emotionally. Hmmm... future blog post idea? LOl, love you, Dad!

  2. Your blog makes me laugh fair maid!


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