Okay. As far as I am aware, and please correct me if I am wrong, the only real skill required of a painter (one who paints houses, not an artist) is neatness. Right?! I mean it pretty much boils down to "stay within the lines." If you are aware that you skills as a painter cannot handle this level of accuracy, the marketplace has even come up with a product to help you known as blue tape. Yes, there is knowledge that is required as far as what sort of prep work is required and can you put latex over oil or oil over latex, but as far as skills go it still really comes down to neatness. Apparently whoever the previous owner of our house hired to paint last time was not up to the task.
90% of the woodwork in our house has been painted over through the years. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I'm a bit of a preservationist and a purist which tells me that the woodwork should remain in its original dark stained state, on the other hand for such a small house in a relatively shady neighborhood all that darkness can make the house pretty gloomy. Anyway, it is what it is and I'm not ready to take on the task of stripping of 90+ years of paint. Unlike the rest of the house, our foyer's trim has not been painted in the 95 year history of the house and I'd like to keep it that way. Even though the trim in the "lesser" rooms of the house is some sort of nondescript softwood, the trim in the foyer is a nice old oak with nice grain. It's not super dark, but not that ugly light 80's color of oak either. However around every single piece of molding that abuts a painted wall there is about a 1/4" of white paint overlapping onto the molding. Everywhere. Every piece of base molding, every bit of door casing, and every piece of trim around the stairs. It's killing me! I want to paint the walls and ceiling a soft dove gray to set off the ceiling medallion and be a sort of neutral core at the center of the house since every room surrounding it will be a different color, but I can't paint the walls until I figure out how to get rid of the stupid 1/4" of white paint! I really don't want to have to strip all of the molding down because, with the exception of the perimeter, it's in pretty good shape. So after all of my ranting, I guess my question to the blogosphere is this:
How can I remove the paint without removing the finish beneath?