Should I cover everything in white paint?
 Blog post by Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant.

Should I paint everything white? Including the oregon beams, timber panelling, clinker bricks in my 1970’s home?

Many homes of the 1960’s and 1970’s have internal clinker brick, oregon beams and timber lining boards. Should everything be smothered in white paint?

In my spare time I am fairly active on the Houzz community forum in a professional capacity responding to renovation queries.  Houzz is a website and online community about architecture, interior design and decorating, landscape design and home improvement.  As with any free advice over the internet you need to be careful as quite often people with no professional experience are very happy to offer advice and opinions, and sometimes it is not good advice.  If you would like to see the type of informal advice that I provide then follow “Dr Retro House Calls” on Houzz.

https://www.houzz.com.au/pro/secret-design-studio/__public

 Blog post by Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant.

Should I paint everything white? Including the oregon beams, timber panelling, clinker bricks in my 1970’s home?

I thought I would give an example of a recent query and my response.  I have no idea where the the lady who asked this question actually lives, or who designed her house, but I really needed to answer before there was a chorus of “paint everything white to modernise it” response.

 Blog post by Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant.

Should I paint everything white? Including the oregon beams, timber panelling, clinker bricks in my 1970’s home?

She asked:”I love my house. It’s unique and warm. Original bricks and wood from the 80’s. It was once an award winning house.
But I always dreamed of having a white finish. This means flooring and wooden walls white. I’m interested to read some options if you would do a white epoxy floor all over the place and also, if you’d paint the wooden walls white? I love colours but in decoration finish. What’s everyone think of it and is it a good idea?
Thanks”

 Blog post by Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant.

Should I paint everything white? Including the oregon beams, timber panelling, clinker bricks in my 1970’s home?

From the images that she posted, that I have reproduced above, we can see that she lives in a spacious, split-level home, that looks like it is over at least three levels.  Internally there is some feature clinker brick half-height walls defining the kitchen area, with raked ceilings, stained oregon beams, and clear-stained pine lining boards. The home looks like it was well designed, carefully detailed, has been well maintained, and according to the owner it was once an award winning house.

 Blog post by Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant.

Should I paint everything white? Including the oregon beams, timber panelling, clinker bricks in my 1970’s home?

For anybody who is thinking about painting over the internal brick and timber of their home then this advice which I wrote for her, may also apply to you:

“No, No, and No. Your house has a lovely warm period character with the combination of the warm bricks and timber lining boards. Nobody builds houses like this anymore, partly due to the craftsmanship and labour costs.

By smothering everything in white paint you will destroy this unique character, and it will look like dozens of other homes of this period that have been made very bland. While this is your home, it has been around for a long time, and looks like it has been well designed and well built. So think of yourself as a custodian, who cherishes living in what it is, and someday in the future it will be time to sell to another family who appreciates the original architectural style.

If you need any more convincing here is a photo from one of my contacts who is trying to restore the original, internal brickwork (which is similar to yours), by removing the yellow/cream paint.

 Blog post by Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant.

Removing paint from clinker brick to take it back to its original character – work in progress

“Using a citrus based paint remover then a wire brush by hand. Reapply and bush again and follow up with a stiff scrubbing brush and water. Have tried using an angle grinder with wire brush attachment and while effective and faster it makes an enormous mess throughout most of the lower part of house.”

So if you paint your internal brickwork and internal timber then there is no going back without a lot of mess, effort and cost, and the original character is essentially lost forever for your custodianship, and for any future custodians.

 Blog post by Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant.

Should I paint everything white? Including the oregon beams, timber panelling, clinker bricks in my 1970’s home?

If you want to live in a generic white-painted home then move into a contemporary home that is all plasterboard, that doesn’t have this warmth and character. Homes of this period are about drama, texture and organic materials, whereas contemporary homes are quite the opposite. Painting it all white will not make it look like a contemporary home, just a home whose character has been smothered by white paint.

It looks like your floor tiles are not original, however if you want a white floor then I would not be painting your floor tiles with epoxy, especially white. It will show the dirt, will wear and will always look like a cheap painted floor. You would be better off retiling with a white tile.

I love your home – do you know who the original architect was? When it does come to selling your home it will not be considered by the increasing number of people who are looking to buy architect designed homes of this character if you paint it all out.

If you don’t believe that there is an increasing appreciation of homes from this era then go and check out the fans at “Modernist Australia”

http://modernistaustralia.com/

Or the real estate agency dedicated to special homes like yours at “Modern House”:

http://www.modernhouse.co/

If you need any advice on making it lighter (without white paint), and preserving the character then feel free to contact me directly,

Dr Retro

of Dr Retro House Calls”

I really hope I have put forward some convincing arguments to save this home from being smothered in white paint and losing its character forever.  If anybody recognises this home, or knows the architect please contact me directly.  If you would like to follow my informal renovation advice on Houzz then click on the link, and select “follow”:

https://www.houzz.com.au/pro/secret-design-studio/__public

 Blog post by Secret Design Studio, Melbourne's favourite mid-century design consultant.