thonet test drive

chair2I found this old cane and black-painted bentwood chair for $20 at our local thrift, and figured I’d give my dream of having the Era round armchairs in my dining room a test drive. Yep, looking good. I love the way the cane and the spalted maple table work together.


However, we have a problem. The window trim in the dining room is cherry. It doesn’t match the table. It isn’t going to look great when we paint the walls grey. So, just how bad would it be to paint the trim AND the walls the same grey? I think it would look great. It just feels a little terrible.

I’m still feeling the pull of my great-grandfather’s restaurant as a design inspiration for the eating areas – and the photos in that post are 8 x 10 so I’d love to get them framed for the dining room. The one thing I can’t figure out is lighting – I’m thinking a vintage chandelier over the table, but haven’t found one yet that isn’t too fussy.


Roman Shades // Italian Gilt Tole Sconces // Marble & Brass Tray // Era Round Chair // Benjamin Moore Silver Fox Paint // Astier de Villatte Candle // Pewter Flatware // Mismatched Champagne Coupes // Tin Ceiling Tile // Ship Painting


  1. I have a new solution that doesn’t involve painting your cherry trim (because that is just a sort of sad thing…although I’ll understand if you do): just give that BEAUTIFUL table to me. (kidding.)

  2. Oh no!! I’m a long time reader, first time responder, coming out of the shadows to say: please don’t paint that beautiful cherry trim! Over the past few years I’ve lived in several very old apartments, all with painted wood trim. Every time I opened the linen closet or the china cabinet and caught a glimpse of what the unpainted wood looked like, my heart broke. The bare interior of those spaces sang with life, but the painted exterior was just flat.

    In my opinion, the character of raw wood is timeless, especially if it’s treated well. It gets better and richer with age, and helps to bring a little nature indoors. The living quality of a tree remains in the woodgrain somehow.

    It’s your space, and I’m sure you’ll do something beautiful with it (I’ve loved glimpsing the changes you’ve made to your gorgeous home!), but once you paint wood like that there’s no going back.

  3. Paint it! Paint it! I do not understand why people worry so much about painting wood trim. You bought the house, right? And you don’t like the way it looks, right? LIVE FOR TODAY.

  4. If you want to paint it, paint it! It’s your house, do what you want! Future owners can do the same. Paint is not permanent, it can be removed. I’ve stripped a few select items in my house and it really wasn’t that bad.

    I really like the look of painting the trim and the walls the same colour. It adds a really nice contemporary twist to places with lots of molding.

    I have cane chairs in my dining room – I bought them for the look, but actually an unforseen benefit is that they are VERY comfortable! Much more so than wooden chairs. I can comfortably sit in one for a long meal and not get a sore butt. And there seems to be tons of knock-off bentwood floating around Quebec and Vermont…

  5. I think they would look lovely painted. That cherry certainly doesn’t work. I guess if you were feeling particularly torn you could try a black wood stain but I’m not sure it would cover the cherry color. Paint! It will look nice.

  6. Hmmm, why does it all have to match? I lived in a house with red oak trim, which looked amazing when I painted the walls a slate grey. Maybe you just need to find a turned cherry bowl to keep on the table?

  7. With all due respect, I think that cherry trim is brilliant and warm and beautiful, and it will just so pop! against a gray wall. I don’t know why the trim and table have to match?! Bare wood is so gorgeous. It’s a testament to time and history… My heart always hurts so when I see beautiful wood covered over.

  8. Goodness, I have been reading your blog for a little while now – saw my name in the comments on the restaurant post (those photos are still so beautiful!) Grey is such a beautiful colour, but natural wood can be so lovely too – trust your instincts, I suppose.

  9. I love your inspiration pieces – such a lovely collection!

    Just to get it out of the way: I am not a wood purist, BUT I am on the side of not painting the window trim in this case. A room can look so rich and layered if it has different wood tones in it, with more of a collected look than matchy. I’m guessing that as the dining room comes together the different wood tones of the table and window trim will start to play off of each other in a very good way.

    But yeah — go with your gut on this one, it’s your home and it has to look good in your eyes!

  10. That table is so gorgeous; you’re brother is extremely talented, obviously. The black cane chairs are brilliant, and the grey walls will look awesome too.

    That cherry trim is nice, but it would look even better if you painted it either the same grey as the walls, or perhaps a dark black. Perhaps the same black tone as the wood cane? That would go great with the grey walls, and the furnishings on the inspiration board would make the black trim cohesive with the rest of the room and details.

    Looking at the photos of your great-grandfather’s restaurant, I’m intrigued by all of the dark contrast of the lower bar and the walls framed with wood beams. Looks like all that wood trim is painted white. Follow in his footsteps; paint your trim whatever color you want!

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