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Beam colour - what would you do?

Luciana
6 months ago

Hi again!

We are renovating our cottage and discovering all sorts of unexpected problems that make me regret starting this!

When enlarging a door opening, the builder was shocked to find the main beam in the boot room completely rotten at one of the ends. As you can see, he replaced the lintel and put a new support in place using this lovely oak timber.

My problem is that the rest of the beam was painted black by previous owners, and I feel the new oak is just too beautiful to paint and I'd rather keep it as it is now. However, I think the contrast is just too noticeable and I don't know how to balance it. Even if we agree to strip the old beam (which will be rather difficult), the colours won't match and I'm afraid we won't be able to do a good job staining them to look the same and the end result would be even worse.

What would you do? I just don't seem to see a solution unless I just leave them as is and learn to live with it... Also, we are rebuilding the large fireplace in the room in stone with a similar new oak mantel, so whatever we decide about the beam should apply to the mantel as well.





Comments (36)

  • pmasmith3
    6 months ago

    You could leave the lovely new oak lintel and mantle natural and maybe paint the older dark ceiling beam the same colour as the ceiling, or woodwork.

    Luciana thanked pmasmith3
  • chloeloves
    6 months ago

    I agree with previous comment - heavy black beams can often be too over bearing in my opinion. As you are in the messy stage of works though why don’t you strip a small section of the black beam to see what you are dealing with and get an idea of how it would work with the new oak. Then You can make an informed decision.

    Luciana thanked chloeloves
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  • Daisy England
    6 months ago

    Don’t paint the oak beam. It would be such a shame. Oak has lovely grain.

    Luciana thanked Daisy England
  • Luciana
    Original Author
    6 months ago

    Pmasmith, that is a great idea!! How come I didn't think of it, it seems so obvious now! Thank you, that's what we're going to do.

    Chloe, the sides of the beam that were under the ceiling boards are now visible and I did scratch it in a corner... it looks ok, but clearly like an aged timber, that's why I didn't think staining will work. But I can ask the builder to sand it some more.

    Daisy, that's what I'm trying to avoid, so the oak will only get waxed for protection!

  • Sonia
    6 months ago

    The oak lintel is lovely. I did see on one of George Clarke’s programmes where he blasted the black, heavy beams with a high pressure water thingy especially for that job. It was a little messy but the beams looked fab after it. However, I do agree that you could paint the big old beam to match the ceiling and the decor style and colour of the room, I’ve seen beams painted white or taupe and they do look lovely and don’t detract from the charm of an old building.







    Luciana thanked Sonia
  • Luciana
    Original Author
    6 months ago

    Sonia, all the beams in the house are painted in black, something that I just thought as ‘normal’ and probably stopped me considering painting the boot room beam in a different colour. The exception is in one of the bedrooms, where they left the main beam natural and painted the others in black.

    Now I'm thinking maybe I should have the lounge beams painted in taupe or similar, because I really like the example you showed above...


  • pmasmith3
    6 months ago

    I personally find dark beams overbearing which is why I suggested painting it in the first place - I didn’t realise you had so many though!

    Luciana thanked pmasmith3
  • Oliver Pullout
    6 months ago

    Perhaps you bought substandard materials. I did not have such problems, since I did not save on wood, and also carried out accurate measurements. I bought wood and construction materials on this site https://sheetmaterialswholesale.co.uk/, which seems to be not bad.

  • minnie101
    2 months ago

    It looks gorgeous Luciana! What sort of furniture are you after?

    Luciana thanked minnie101
  • Sonia
    2 months ago

    Looks amazing already. I think a modern county look would look fab with all that character but I think we need to know what style you prefer?

    Luciana thanked Sonia
  • Sonia
    2 months ago
    • country
  • carocat24
    2 months ago

    Leaving it as it is would have been my choice too. It shows the history of your house.

    Luciana thanked carocat24
  • Jen
    2 months ago

    Wow, the room looks stunning with the walls white!
    It really suits the minimal look, so I’d be sparing with the furniture - perhaps just two or three beautiful pieces.

    Luciana thanked Jen
  • Luciana
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Thank you, ladies! I am happy with how it looks, the renovation of this room and the utility took a long time - the builder started working in December last year... And although I got annoyed with him at times for being too anal and meticulous, I cannot fault his work; he has my gratitude for all he's done!

    Sonia, French country would be my preference, but with not too much shabby chic in it, if that makes sense.

    Caro and Jen, I love the look at the moment, however we have 2 Bernese Mountain dogs and a river just outside that back door... Maybe I should just get white washable paint and resign myself to wiping the walls every other day...

  • Luciana
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Minnie, I'd love your advice actually!

    This is meant to be a boot room and I need storage for all our outdoor gear and dog stuff. I can basically see 2 options and I'm not sure which I should go for.

    First option would be a large armoire and a bench, very stylish and 'Instagram-able' which I'd probably go for without hesitation if I didn't have dogs (or my messy, careless husband :)). Also, I'm not sure if it's not too fancy for our cottage.

    Beechwood & Llewellyn · More Info


    Secondly, I could have a built-in cupboard with a bench... I'd already had a chat with the joiner and we kind of discussed what to do, but he can only start working for us in September, so I still have time to decide...

    Timeless · More Info

    What do you think? I need practical, but love stylish... What would you choose?

  • delyth price
    2 months ago

    My beams are taupe and I love them

    Luciana thanked delyth price
  • Maggie Youngson
    last month

    Beautiful refurb. WHERE did you get that poppy rug love it

    Luciana thanked Maggie Youngson
  • Luciana
    Original Author
    last month

    Hi Maggie, the rug is a Sanderson design. I bought it in John Lewis, but lots of other shops sell it.

  • Maggie Youngson
    last month

    Cheers

  • minnie101
    last month

    Hi Luciana. i love both options! The armoire definitely isn’t too fancy. Which wall is it going on? i suppose armoires tend not to be as deep for storage but do have the advantage of being on legs so make the room feel bigger, you could also alter the interior so it suits your storage. I‘d probably be a bit nervous of the bench material with the dogs so would look for similar in wood or leather or drape a washable throw lol (the joy of having a dog you can lift up to clean!)

    I also love the fitted option with the baskets etc for texture…

    Luciana thanked minnie101
  • Luciana
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you, Minnie!

    The furniture can only go on the wall where the builder plunked that black sideboard atm. I found a few wardrobes that I like, I'm just not sure what to choose. Whilst I'd love an antique, I'm afraid it would be somewhat smelly - in my experience, dusty old things tend to 'acquire' a specific smell that is nearly impossible to eliminate. So I'm considering new (like this one from Scumble Goosie), which I find quite whimsical.


    Or an upcycled/refurbished Gustavian style one, like this below from one of my favourite Etsy shops.

    I already have a nice bench, one that we found in the barn when we moved in; I had it cleaned and it can be stained or painted to (sort of) match the wardrobe. Although Andrew mentioned we could get some type of a monk bench too...

    Or I could have the cupboard made around a bench:

    I just don't know what to choose...

  • minnie101
    last month

    😂 me neither! They’re both lovely. I think a white wine vinegar solution helps the smell of old furniture, ours doesn't smell anymore! What’s on the wall from where you took the photo? It’s hard to tell what would be less imposing in the room. i don't know if I’d be tempted to have built in cupboards in the bottom right corner with a bench up to the kitchen (?) door keeping the cupboards in the wall colour. I love the t&g too and you could have baskets under the bench.

    Why not try the bench in there first though and see how that looks to give you an idea as i really love the armoire idea? It’s just hard to tell from the photo angle how it would work.


    Luciana thanked minnie101
  • Luciana
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Minnie, I've just finished a discussion with my husband and basically we've decided to go for a built-in, something like this:

    with elements of this thrown in - I like the curved panels...


    The lower room is still serving as a kitchen, but will become an utility after the extension/ new kitchen is built. I'm not sure if you remember the old pine kitchen; that is now gone, replaced by a rather bland&boring looking utility.

    Once more, I'm grateful for your input, thank you! I'll post photos when it's all finished!

  • Corrine Brice
    last month

    Hi Luciana, i love the photos and what youv’ve done! I went for Slaked Lime throughout my house which is an off white but a pale grey rather than yellow hue. It’s from The Little Green Paint Co but my builder had it colour matched by Tikkarilla so its super hard wearing and scrubbable. highly recommend the paint 👍🏼


    Luciana thanked Corrine Brice
  • minnie101
    last month

    Hi Luciana. Sorry i missed your reply! I’m glad you’ve made a decision, the units will look lovely. i do remember the old kitchen, so is the boot room the old upper part of the kitchen? i hope we get to see the extension once its built!

    Luciana thanked minnie101
  • Karen Orrell
    last month

    I realise this is an old thread, but for anyone else who looks at it because they have black painted beams, my house was full of them (in one room alone there was approx 50 of them) and we hand stripped them all. It was a long messy job but worth it. We used a paint stripping gel (just got it from b&q but I'm afraid the brand escapes me), then we used a scraper and stainless steel scourers plus our super weapon, the cheap, basic Tesco baby wipes. They got a surprising amount of paint off and I'm not sure I'd ever want to use them anywhere near a baby!

    We were lucky our beams had only one coat of paint on them. When we had to replace a visible sole plate, the contractor found a reclaimed piece and although the colour difference is there it's not so noticeable that anyone but us would see it imo.

    As we stripped them, some amazing detail that had been disguised by the paint came out. A number of the beams had Roman numerals carved into them so the builders knew which beams went where and one of them, next to a door, is textured like bark in one place.

    Having said all that, I'm all beamed out now and determined that our next house will have no beams at all!

    Luciana thanked Karen Orrell
  • Yvo Goodson
    last month

    Always go fitted cupboards in a functional room. You don’t have to clean under them!

    Luciana thanked Yvo Goodson
  • Luciana
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Corrine, that kitchen looks fabulous! I love those roughly stripped planks, what a great idea!

    Thanks for the paint suggestion, I've been looking at Portland Stone and French Grey Pale samples from Little Greene, but will get Slaked Lime as well. Never heard of Tikkurila, my decorator swears by Dulux Trade Diamond for scrubbable paint, so I normally try to match colours to their palette (which is a pain at times).

    Karen, that is impressive! I imagine how much patience and time you've put into cleaning your beams. I admit, 10 or more years ago I'd probably would have tried to do it your way... these days, and with the amount of work the house needs, I'm just happy to get it clean and functional...

    At the moment I need to decide what to do about the staircase... I'm not sure if I should encourage my husband to continue stripping (he's done the paneling, didn't even start on the spindles), filling the house with wood dust and other yucky goo stuff, or just tell him to have them painted white and be done with it! The whole thing is oak, not pine, so I'm hesitating, but I'm rather fed up with the never ending mess...


    This is an older Christmas pic, where you can see the staircase better:


  • Jen
    last month

    Wow, what a fabulous hall! And the stripped oak is stunning… I guess I’d be encouraging your husband to continue with his labours, despite the mess 😉

    Luciana thanked Jen
  • minnie101
    last month

    The oak does look rather nice!!

    Luciana thanked minnie101
  • Luciana
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I agree, the oak is nice, the only problem is that it's been like this for a year. And knowing my husband, it's going to take another 2 years until he'll finish the job.

    Minnie, this is how the lower kitchen/ utility room looks now. We don't live there atm, the roof is being replaced so we are back in Cardiff. At the moment the house belongs to the builders :)) I barely managed to put some stuff in place, so I don't have good photographs, just some quickly taken ones on the way out. I promise some good/updated pics as soon as I can reclaim the house!




  • minnie101
    last month

    Even lovelier from that angle! i guess a year is a long time but I’d persevere! Or ask if the builders can finish it?! Maybe that will incentivise your husband?!

    The lower kitchen looks lovely, love the colour. i didnt realise the roof needed doing as well, there wont be much untouched at this rate, so worth it though for it such a beautiful house in that stunning setting though. Fingers crossed you‘re back there soon and hope our lovely ”summer” does’t hold the roof up further

    Luciana thanked minnie101
  • Sarah Bridger
    last month

    Why dont you check out the company Back from Black beam renovations They can bring all the beams to the same colour

  • midwalesparky
    last month

    @Karen Orrell I doubt you had one room with 50 beams; more likely to have been a few beams and the rest would've been joists - perpendicular to the beams. Beams bigger/joists a bit smaller.

  • Bruce Burn
    last month

    Matching the colour of old and new oak beams is such a first world problem ! Oak is a beautiful wood in all its shades and variety, enjoy its natural beauty.

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