Family Room in new house - knotty pine paneling help!

CaroleOHFebruary 5, 2011

We're getting ready to close on this house and I'm getting that tight feeling in my stomach! Too many things that need to be done and just trying to figure out what to do first! I took some pictures at the inspections, so these are the prior owners furnishings.

This is the Family Room/sun room area. It's an interesting room in that it has this huge fireplace on one end, this crazy knotty pine paneling everywhere else and a sun room that overlooks a beautiful view of the golf course.

This house is very oddly decorated. It from the exterior and other rooms has a tad of a french country feel - lots of moldings, but then you walk into this room that is like a hunting lodge! If you look into the back hallway area you can see the molding on the staircase. I'm thinking of painting the trim a nice off white to lighten things up - but that's another project.

Question #1 - What to do with the paneling? Leave it, take it down and paint, or paint over it? I'm just not really loving the orangey knotty pine look to be honest. I like the ceiling and beams left natural, and I think you need that to go with the fireplace, but the rest of the walls just feel like I'm stuck in the 80's. A lot of people think we should get rid of the opening to the second floor area (there's a loft area of the guest room up there). I'm thinking that to do that I'd really need to remove the paneling and drywall in that opening. But,if I drywall that all up, I'm going to have a huge wall that I will then be posting here "What to do with this wall?" :-) I'm more inclined to paint the paneling since I'm thinking the board texture will at least give some interest on the wall??

Question #2 - Window treatments? The windows are actually nice - they have leaded window panes in the arches - it's just the windows are lower than I'd like. I would like to do panels to give the room some more warmth, but do you think they'd look like they were hung too low? Hang them level with the top of the arch? I think I need something on the rest of the window - blinds, shades, shutters - something!

The built in is going to be replaced so that's gone.

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I would live with the knotty pine for 6 months to a year before making any decisions.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 9:04AM
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The room is gorgeous! I'm not sure what to tell you about the paneling... I'm normally against painting stained wood unless it's really in bad shape, but on the other hand if it doesn't go with the rest of your house, then it's a tough call. What about roman shades for the windows?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 9:04AM
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What a great space!

My .02 is that the trim around the arched window is very jarring to me. After living w/ it for awhile (long while as graywings noted) I would take a baby step and paint that trim on the white walls only. Then live w/ it for awhile to see if I would want to consider painting the panelled walls. I probably would not paint the panelled walls becuase my personal style is white slipcovered furniture mixed w/ leather pieces and natural wood. But that is not everybody's style.

What a great room you're getting!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 9:21AM
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I wouldn't make any rash decisions either. We had a pine paneled den in our last home and lived with the walls for 14 years before painting.

Looks like you are on acreage? The paneling and beams fits in with the woodsy feeling.

What is going in place of the built-ins?

If you want to close off the guest room door/balcony, you could take out the railing and sheetrock over that area, but on the den side (leave the trim) and build a pair of shutters to fit the space.

Will you be buying new furniture for the home? Is this your only living room/den area?

I would paint out the vent/register cover in the wall - left of balcony.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 9:32AM
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I can see your point Graywings to live with the paneling, but I really need to do something now with the built in because of wanting to replace the carpet etc.

What kind of wood would you do with the builtin that would go with the paneling? I was thinking about a natural cherry because I thought that would be rustic enough to to with the fireplace and would had some warmth to the room if I paint the trim and walls. Just can't picture cherry with the knotty pine?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 9:33AM
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I love the wood ceiling, the walls not so much. But I agree with living with it for a while to see how you really feel about it. There was a previous post here about a beach house where the poster painted the panelling and the whole room turned out gorgeous. try searching for that post. I also don't care much for that opening for the loft, I think that tends towards the lodge feel.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 9:35AM
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I LOVE your family room---- it is stupendous! The paneling looks just right I'm that grand setting. You could go lodge-y, European country (not just French, think Gorsuch catalog) or English country baronial, all modified for your location and lifestyle. The only thing that looks "off" is that white wall. I would paint it a color that favors your existing furniture, move in, and dream about it for awhile. Congratulations on your fabulous new house!

Adding that the more I look at the picture I am convinced that you could go in ANY direction with that room----you could even go stark modern or 50s modern (flokati rugs, steel and black leather, etc) or anything else. When you have a beautifully proportioned and appointed room you can do almost anything with it. Please post photos of the rest of the house, I would love to see it.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 9:42AM
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All knotty pine is not created equal. :) Take it from me, who moved into a house with knotty pine paneling on the walls of one room and on the do-it-yourself kitchen cabinets. Mine was a definite teardown. Yours actually is a pretty, warm color, the horizontal installation givens it some visual interest, and it looks rather classy to me. A design choice instead of a cheap fix, which is the reason most of that kind of paneling was installed in the first place. I certainly don't have an "Oh God, there's that horrible 60's paneling again" reaction from your room.

Also, from what I understand, and I did a lot of research before taking my paneling out, no matter how good the prep work and the paint job, the knots in the pine will eventually bleed through the paint job. And with that much paneling, that's a whole lot of bleeding. So, I'm joining in the chorus of "wait and see how you feel about it in a few months". I think it would have to be plastered over, which would be a huge job.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 9:49AM
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Rather than replace the texture of paneling with flat tract-home walls, I personally would absolutely paint or do a colored translucent stain. That said, it's sad to see nice pine paneling always being painted or torn out and replaced with something ubiquitous just because its finish has turned orange or it happens to be out of style in this era.

Since you like the ceiling wood, how about "doing something" AND "waiting a while" by taking the old finish off the walls? And maybe painting the white walls and arched window trim something more harmonious with the paneling? That might help with your perception that the windows are too low.

More knotty pine for the built-in wall, of course. It might need a little work to match since pine darkens with age. (If you paint, of course, no prob.)

Then you'd be in a good position to decide what else you need to do to bring this room into harmony with the French feel of the rest.

BTW, from this side of the screen I do like your little balcony opening up there and laughed at your prescience about the new issue that would replace it. So true. It's charming. Would it work to "fix" whatever problem it presents by addressing the space behind it? Noise? Nice old shutters to close when needed? Maybe wall a space off from the guest room and...whatever? If nothing else, hang some nice art where it can be seen from below and add closets for sleeping bag storage. Just retain some sense of mystery, let it beckon. :)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 10:11AM
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You all are so comforting. I went into the house yesterday and got this overwhelming panic! The office area also has the knotty pine. I was thinking that it really made the room feel dark and cave like, so had this idea I could paint this paneling first and see how I liked it before committing to painting the FR. What do you think about doing that first?
Here's some office photos...You know what I'm feeling is my birthday is tomorrow - I'm going to be 50. I feel like I don't have the "time" to live in this house for years before making it the way I want it. I lived with my old kitchen 7 years before remodeling it etc. I know 6 months isn't 7 years, and I need to take a deep breath, but I want to enjoy this house! Not live amongst the remodeling rubble....OK, a little vent, therapeutic on my part! Getting old really sucks! :-)
Looking into the office from the foyer
Built in area (thinking about yanking this all out. I have a nice desk)
You can see into the FR from here...It does have a nice Fireplace but we discovered yesterday the previous owners took the gas logs! Who takes the gas logs when they move out?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 10:22AM
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I was watching an episode of Sara's House recently and she put wood on the ceiling and gave it a white wash look, which was really pretty. I think that would go with the French Country feel in the rest of the house. This isn't the room I saw, but I found the link to one of her rooms that has a lighter wood all over.


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 10:29AM
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They took the gas logs? Seriously? I don't know what the laws are...but I though things hooked up to gas lines stayed unless it said "does not convey"? I think I'd be asking some questions about that.

I, too, believe in living with things like paneling for at least six months before doing anything drastic. Also--one person's cave is another person's cozy. The thing that bothers ME about that room is the carpet. The color doesn't work well with the pine...

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 10:36AM
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Yes, lighten up that carpet! Love your office! Can you put the desk in your bedroom or even the family room? The latter is huge . . . You may need a nice desk in there to enjoy all that light.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 10:58AM
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I'm going against the rest and voting for painting it. Knotty pine can overwhelm in large doses. Also, if it doesn't match your decor painting it will probably make the room easier to furnish and maybe make it flow with the rest of the house. Plus, it's easier to paint a space like that before you move in ;) but that's just my vote. Someone mentioned a post where a member painted their beach house? I believe they are referring to Gina from Willow Decor (link below).

Here is a link that might be useful: Willow decor Beach House

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 10:59AM
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I agree, the wood is overwhelming. There was a time when this was in, but we are no longer used to it and it's time has passed. And, most important, you really don't seem to like it! I would sheet rock over it, but maybe leave the wooden ceiing either the way it is or paint it. I agree with chris, it is easier to have this work done before you move in all the furniture. Can't wait to see what you decide.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 11:09AM
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Allison and Rosie, Shutters might be a nice idea that isn't as labor intensive as drywall. On the other side up in the loft area, there are six panel doors that cover up the opening for privacy/sound purposes.

At this point, we're going to move in with our existing leather sectional and paprika colored chair/ottoman. I think those colors will work ok. I was thinking about adding green to the mix - dark brown, paprika, and green?

In the sun room area, the previous owners had two chairs at a right angle with a table inbetween in the one corner - it was a lovely sitting area with lots of light for reading and looking out onto the course. Beside that closer to the kitchen will be our eating area. For now, we'll just bring our existing table and chairs, but that may not work once it's all in place.

I agree that the white wall needs to be painted, and with a darker color and some window treatments and a built in with some decor - the paneling may not be such a focal point in the room. I'd paint the vent a color similar to the paneling. If I do the shutter idea, would you paint the trim/shutters cream or do a shutter in the same color family as the pine?

Msjee, the carpeting is going to be replace with wood floors, so yes, that carpeting is very butt ugly! Also the door what's white needs to be painted to make it less of an eye sore. It's an odd door - it goes onto a very narrow porch that runs underneath the FR windows.

Msrose, I like that link and agree the whitewash is very pretty. I just worry that to get that to work, I'd have to strip/sand the finish off the walls - quite a bit of work. However, the ceiling is not finished, so it could be whitewashed easily. Maybe a paint on the walls and whitewash the ceiling?

Regarding the builtins, I was going to take out the entire pine bookcase that's there now. It's really ugly especially the cabinets. I was going to make the built in shorter so it doesn't come all the way to the window wall - to make room for a panel on that last window. I was thinking about cabinets underneath, shelves for my books and junk and then maybe a row of cabinets across the top to make it feel more like a unit - with obviously an large opening for the TV my husband covets. Do you think a cream colored builtin would work if I painted the trim cream like the rest of the house? Or should I stick with a wood tone - I can't do knotty pine! It would be cherry or maple or something not real dark wood - probably close to the color of the knotty pine. Which makes me think it needs to be painted???

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 11:16AM
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Chris, Thanks for the link - I remember that post. It does look much nicer painted - I think.

The problem with drywalling over it all is the trim is installed almost flush with the paneling, so the trim would need to be removed and new casings that are thicker installed and then the trim reinstalled. I'm thinking I could remove the paneling and patch the drywall?

If I paint the paneling, I'd paint the trim cream, and then maybe paint the opening trim cream with shutters cream. I'm thinking either a warm gold like Pittsfield Buff or something easy to live with like a Khaki color. I don't want to paint this wood more than once!

Thanks for all your suggestions!! I need to bounce ideas off people and appreciate all your ideas/opinions. I may even hire a decorator or two for an hour or so consultation to get some of their ideas.

We have the luxury of not needing to move into this house for several months, so that's another reason why I'm so motivated to get some things done prior to moving - flooring, painting etc...

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 11:27AM
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Those built-ins look as tho they're mounted on top of the paneling. Either way, I'd tear them out, do the carpet, then take my time deciding on design and color of a replacement unit. The new carpet can be cut (if necessary) to put in new built-ins.

Re: the opening/balcony in the wall, I'd have to stare at it longer before deciding. If kept, I'd probably change out the framing and detail.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 11:38AM
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That room is beautiful, I love the paneling and ceiling, and if it were my home, I would keep those and paint the brick a color that brings out the beauty of the paneling. A creamy white would be most people's choice, but since I love bold colors I would do a green, red, orange, gold or even black, just something that, to your eye, really looks good with the paneling. I think I would paint the drywall portion a dark color, or even use a bit of wallpaper, maybe in a deep, two-toned stripe bringing in the color the brick was painted.

Lightening the carpet is a definite, maybe even a patterned carpet, or several rugs over a neutral carpet (after you get your furniture placed where you want it).

I think painting the paneling in the office is a good idea, it will give you an idea of how much work painting it is and how you like the finished product. Covering all those knots will be a b!tch, but in a room the size of the office, it might not be too bad.

It looks like a really fun project, good luck-


    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 11:47AM
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" LOVE your family room---- it is stupendous! The paneling looks just right I'm that grand setting. You could go lodge-y, European country (not just French, think Gorsuch catalog) or English country baronial, all modified for your location and lifestyle. The only thing that looks "off" is that white wall. I would paint it a color that favors your existing furniture, move in, and dream about it for awhile. Congratulations on your fabulous new house!

Adding that the more I look at the picture I am convinced that you could go in ANY direction with that room----you could even go stark modern or 50s modern (flokati rugs, steel and black leather, etc) or anything else. When you have a beautifully proportioned and appointed room you can do almost anything with it. Please post photos of the rest of the house, I would love to see it. "

It's the stark white wall that makes the panelling scream out for attention. The contrast is just too much. Try a really rich color in a mid- to dark-tone to bring out the warmth of the wood while blending it into a subtle backdrop for your furnishings and artwork.

Painting just that one white wall (pick a color cue from your furnishings -- anything green? red? gold? Blues may bring out the orange.) Painting just that one white wall -- an easy one-day change -- may be all you need to get you on the right track.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 11:54AM
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I'd take and replace that opening on the wall in the big paneled room with a stained glass window with it's own back light BUT I'd do it after I had some time to get use to the house.
I would paint the vent on the wall to match the paneling.
I would not paint the paneling till I lived with it awhile.
First off you are looking at an almost empty room with furnishings that are not to your taste. You need to move your stuff in first and the PO's stuff completely out and see how it feels then. Even the office area you're looking at all the empty space you aren't looking at that room dressed with curtains and furniture. The addition of curtains is going to make a huge difference as is adding in your stuff and your furniture. It might be more work to unpack and live in it for awhile BUT in the long run it may save you a lot of cash because you will be more confident in your selections.
Once you paint that's it you are committed to it. Stripped paneling never looks the same once it's been painted. Most folks can not get all the paint out of all the grooves.
It's usually very prudent when moving into a new house to live in it awhile to get how the house will function for you, how the light will play in each room thru out the seasons.
I would refinish the white door by the fireplace. I'd also see about getting it rehung so it opened differently. As it stands now it opens into the room and towards the walk way. I'd have it rehung so it opens towards the windows and put a stopper on it so the knob doesn't go into the glass. I see they have a problem with the other door too, hence the pillow being used as a door stop of sorts. Buy a door stop and put it up top. They also have them you can put on the hinge area of the door to keep them from crashing into each other depending on how the hinges are made. At any rate a easy fix and something I think you are going to find alot of in that house.
Those little things are going to drive you nuts faster than the big stuff because reality is they should have been done by the PO when they lived there. The fact that you are going to have to fix those things before you do your changes makes it all the more important to take your time.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:02PM
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Sweeby :)

Caroleh, if you go green/ gold/ paprika in the room ---- fabulous combination, IMO--- can you do the new built-ins in a green stain? You will have wood, but not another wood color and not a completely solid color. . .

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:23PM
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Carol, are you sure you need to completely remove the bookshelves and cabinets? It may not be all that easy without leaving holes, or tearing up the wall. A good carpenter can take the frame (what's already there) and add to it - make a place for the TV or hang on wall, build in around it. Change the door, etc. You may even be able to find old pine in your area for resale - Craigslist, ebay, rehab shops, etc.

I agree the wall is too start for the room as is.

Asking again - what look do you want in the end? Don't want to suggest something European rustic if you want more American traditional.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:30PM
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I have had paneling in many rooms many times over the years and the first thing I have the painters do is paint it fast.
Everyone is different of course so I think it just depends on whether you are a person who likes dark rooms.
You can take a paneled room and put nothing in it but all white upholstered furniture etc but you still have those dark walls.
Personally I think dark paneling makes a room look heavy even if it is a well lit room.
If you are not wood room type person, get it taken care of before you move in.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:30PM
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caroleoh - In that case, I wouldn't hesitate to paint it a creamy white. It looks like that's what Sarah did in the entryway.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:39PM
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Just an FYI that all that paneling may NOT be attached to drywall underneath! Do some investigating as it may very well be simply nailed to the studs in lieu of drywall. I doubt the builder went to the extra expense of putting up drywall and THEN paneling over it. A previous owner may have added it later though, so check into it.

Our den had 1960�s knotty pine that was installed directly to crossbars attached to the studs. After living through a 25 year love/hate relationship with the stuff, I took a brush to it and painted it. Like you, I�m 50 and was tired of living with walls that I did not love. Granted, we only had 2 walls of it! But still, it was a hard decision.

If you paint, be prepared to go over every knothole with wood putty. I also primed with 2 coats and used 3 of my final color. If your boards are individual like mine were, you may also need to caulk between each board to remove the shadow line of the joint.

If you remove the paneling, think about trying to sell the boards. There are lots of DIY folks renovating mid century homes that would pay good $$ to have that vintage pine! (check out

You have a lot to look into and think about here as a slap dash decision may end up being way more work than you are ready for at the moment.

Congrats on a fantastic looking home!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:47PM
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I was coming back to tell you what a PITA painting the paneling will be - since you said you won't be moving in soon. The 50s/60s stuff usually has a finish on it. You cannot just paint over. The first time all three of our children went to summer camp, instead of having a romantic weekend alone with candlelight, we spent it painting 2 coats of Kilz (for primer) and 2 coats of the white.

It's not necessary to fill knot holes, if you don't mind them showing through.

Syllabus is right about the shadow lines too.

Love the Sarah foyer posted.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:52PM
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If I had just bought your house, my first call would have been to the painters to have the paneling painted. I could not live with it and it is the kind of project you want to do before you move in, if possible.

You have a very nice space and it will look fabulous once it is painted!!

Don't feel bad about ripping out the desk or built-ins, even if it is functional. As you said, life is moving along, why live with things that don't make you happy?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 1:29PM
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This house was built in the 80's so not sure what that means about the finish, but I'm guessing it's poly. Hopefully not shellac!

To be totally honest, I'm not creative enough to have a period specific look I'm going after! I'm looking for something that is attractive, comfortable, welcoming - this is the main living area of our house. There is a DR/LR that I plan to make a little more "pretty", but this room I want to be sortof a "wow" because it's a big open area, but not over the top. I think I need to find an inspiration piece for the room and work around that. The previous owners had a beautiful tapestry over the fireplace. I'm thinking I need to find something I like to put there and then decide the room around it. What do you think?

I had pulled these tapestry's from in my favorites folder....Do you like any of these? I like all the colors in this one, just not sure if it's the right style. I like that it's not real fussy, but pretty to look at.

These are more formal - but big enough to be in that space.

This is what the owner had when we first looked at the house

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 1:51PM
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I'm not opposed to painting paneling, in fact I love the look. But that is a h*ll of a lot of resinous, bleeding, varnished/poly'ed wood in difficult, awkward places to paint. A mega-PITA to DIY and not cheap to hire out.

I checked around the web to see if there are knotty, woody rooms that are attractive. Do these pictures inspire you in any way? The wood does exude a nice warmth & coziness in incandescent light. And it seems to work beautifully with layers of art, fabrics, rugs & upholstery. Old brass looks pretty too.

The woodwork here is more formal; looks good with all the fabric though:

Knotty pine certainly wears gold framed art well:

Formal woodwork here too, but, again, it's lovely with the fabric, rug & lighting:

I kind of like that little balcony -- a bit of the unexpected. Maybe wrought iron spindles would make it more attractive, with a dramatic wall color peeking through from the other side?

I think kswl is on the right track. Paint the white wall in something warm & deep, see how that works. It's certainly the quickest & easiest approach for now. Judging from the above pics, looks like knotty pine rooms can take a lot color & pattern.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 2:05PM
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I would paint the paneling and leave the ceiling unpainted. Take out the built-ins also, and then you have a clean slate to start on. Your house looks beautiful and I love having a fireplace in the family room and the office. Can't wait to see what you decide.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 2:09PM
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I like that first tapestry:

Happy birthday, btw!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 2:21PM
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We lived with a knotty pine paneled room for 25 years. It was dark and gloomy ... not at all like your warm, light-filled space. Is the paneling in good condition?

I agree that the "window" to the loft should be closed off ... it just looks strange. Good call on removing the built-ins. Have you thought about something painted to replace them rather than more natural wood?

Playing with the office might be a good way to decide if that's a route you want to eventually take with the family room. Are there many windows in the office? Could you start with just painting the window/door trim in there to lighten the room and see how that feels?

Btw, I love the low windows! We have a picture window in the living room like that.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 2:34PM
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I'd love to have your problem to work on -- that is one potentially gorgeous room! A couple of minor comments: I like the landscape orientation of the current owner's tapestry much more than the portrait orientation of the tapestries you posted. The landscape orientation is closer to standard ceiling height and makes the room feel more cosy. One thing that would bother me is the large opening into the kitchen. I think I'd add french doors or dutch doors. Love the idea of glass front cabinetry to the right of the sink (I guess that's in the other thread). I'd probably replace the black trim on the recessed lighting with white.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 2:44PM
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Everyone has such good points, I keep waffling about painting and getting it done with or waiting for a bit and seeing if the other elements help make my decision for me.

Thanks Awm03! I just like that one because of the colors, I picture just what you did, using a green for the walls and somehow finding fabric or panels that go with the wall color.

I think messing with the office is a manageable way to see what the paneling looks like painted. I really don't want to fill in the board grooves, I think that's what is interesting about painted paneling - the boards showing some interest.

Natal, I've thought about painting the builtins - cream, black - someone suggested green. I would prefer to do something more safe than cool like a green stain, just in case I get tired of it, cream/black is easier to live with long term. I was thinking about whoever makes my wall cabinets to have them make the builtin too. They could then paint both to match. Or I could do a distressed black or dark brown?

I agree that a tapestry in more of a landscaped format vs. portrait might look better, but honestly haven't found any I really like! I thought with the portrait setup I could position some candle sticks or something tall to fill in the sides.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 3:51PM
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The window casings are so much more formal than fit the room. Interesting. I am wondering if the suggestion to paint them wouldn't bring them down,and thus make them fit better? They remind me of a church for some reason. The ceiling I would definitely keep as is. First it is beautiful and second if you paint it, it is going to really increase the feel of the size of the room. It seems to me you don't need that. With out seeing the rest of the home it is hard for me to understand your objections to this room. You feel it is a different style..yet as already stated it sure seems to fit its surroundings as we peek out the windows. Sarah was mentioned. She might hang a picture railing at 10 ft. all around the room and paint below the rail. I personally would never remove built ins unless they really just don't work, like the desk..I like the idea to paint them. The best suggestion might be live with it a bit. As you live in your new area you might find your taste changing to fit your surroundings. It happened to me!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 4:05PM
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Here's a lovely tapestry with great colors! :)

I would probably paint it all -- including the fireplace (but not the mantel -- I would stain that darker) ... BUT thats just me (LOL!) .... in a soft creamy white -- possibly Benjamin Moore "Linen White" for more of a European country house look ....

Or possibly go for a softer white-washed or bleached look ....

Here is a link that might be useful: -- Summer Quince tapestry by William Morris

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 4:16PM
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Just adding another word of caution about painting. We installed knotty pine beadboard wainscoting in a bathroom, primed and painted it carefully, and it doesn't look too good. I can't remember what primer we used (it's been a long time) but it was probably either BIN or Kilz. I think only one of those is formulated to properly deal with bleeding knots, and we must have used the other one. Several months after painting, the knots popped through. And we didn't paint the tongues before installing, so every winter when the wood contracts you can see dark lines between the BB panels. I need to paint them now that the gaps are as wide as they ever get, but I just haven't gotten around to it and also I'm afraid that when the wood expands again in the summer, the paint will be squeezed back out of the cracks. Anyway, I am no big fan of knotty pine but I think yours looks nice especially with all your natural light, and if it were my house, I'd probably try find a way to live with it. If not, perhaps a whitewash or glaze as other posters have mentioned -- something that'll look OK if and when the knots show through. I saw that Rubio Monocoat comes in a sort of whitewash effect... wonder if that would work? I suppose it depends on how your pine was finished. (p.s. I just finished our basement stairwell's knotty pine wainscoting in clear shellac and it looks nice, but I did use dewaxed shellac in the hopes that it can be painted over someday if someone [not me] wants to try. So maybe shellac would not be impossible to deal with, if that's how yours is finished?)

Good luck! I really like your house, knotty pine and all!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 4:28PM
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Teacats, I saw that one and do like it, I just don't think it's big enough...

I'll have to take pictures of the builtins next week when we close. Believe me, they are the cheapest looking things. It's basically 1x8 pine boards - no trim, no nothing. The bottoms are boxes made out of the 1x8 boards with more 1x8 boards making up the doors. Looks like who ever paneled the room had some extra boards left over and just made the shelves etc. The opening for the TV is just a hole - no logical thought there. Probably had one of those giant rear projection TV's from the 80's that filled in that area. It's hard to see in a picture, but the bookcases or the desk area is not anything to worry about saving. I'm surprised it's lasted this long. The desk top has big dents/gashes in it and it's made up of boards too that have shrunk and so it's not even a level surface. Ripping those out is a no brainer, the walls...that's another story.

If I paint them and don't like it, I can always take the boards down, but it's alot of work either way.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 4:44PM
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Lots of beautiful colors I this one to play off of. . . . And I like the vertical orientation to emphasize the height which is a fantastic feature.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pierre Deux tapestry

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 6:29PM
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We have 8 ft windows In our library that are similar to yours. The ceiling is 14 ft so we wanted curtains that did not get lost. ÃÂ Our designer had these made and suggested another layer of trim on the leading edge. ..I thought it would be too much and now wish I had done it. Once you are looking at a scale of 9 or 10 ft or larger for curtains you have to think "bigger" in every way

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 6:47PM
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I love your panels! I think that looks really nice and would work well in our room to have the panels hung much higher. The minions are missing in those windows, I wonder if I could have some made to fill in the blankness of the glass.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 10:38PM
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You could have munitions made for your windows, definitely. Before you go to the expense, use tape to mimic how they'll look to make sure you want to go to the expense of having wood muntin bars custom made. Or, you might be able to find out the manufacturer of the windows and order them, as they most assuredly offered the same window with muntins. Some people like a more open window, but the style of your house and the direction in which you seem to be going does lend itself to a more traditional window.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 8:54AM
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Nice interior thoughts, I have bought an woodpine covered apartment in NY and planning to decorate, can you please suggest me more ?Some people like a more open window I appreciate this greatly. You can have a look home decor in house product in this site, I have ordered few items like fabricated floor mat , bed from this site. They are offering good stuff I must say.

They focused greenworld slogan on their various item like pillow cover etc. I hope you will get better idea.

Many thanks for your attached image :)


Here is a link that might be useful: Home Decor Item

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 9:40AM
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I like to see knots bleed through on pine. It displays all the character of the wood but in light bright look.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 11:15AM
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We re-painted knotty pine in our kitchen. The PO's had already painted it a dirty cream color. I painted the walls over Christmas break 2008. We do not have bleeding with the knots, or if it's there, it's not noticeable. I used BM Regal in pearl finish in White Heron, two coats, no primer. It is a pain to paint between the grooves, and it uses more paint.



I would leave the FR as is for now and maybe start with the office. I love the paneling on the ceiling in the FR. I also like the horizonal orientation in the office and FR.

A neighboring house put berber carpet in their knotty pine FR, and it really warms up the space. Other neighbors painted their paneling a sage green, which is also very nice.

If you do decide to rip it out, definitely sell it. There is a huge market for reclaimed wood.

I'm also not a fan of painted brick and would leave the FP as is. Boo on the gas logs. You should check on the logs if they are in your contract or not. Generally, if things are not permanently fixed, they could take it, although that's a bit tacky. You might be able to get those back or get compensated, but it might not be worth the hassle. Of course, laws vary by state.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 11:44AM
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That's a great room! Love the natural light. And, congrats on your new place. I'm pretty sure I know what area it's in, (Starts with 'M',right?) and it always amazes me how people move into high-end homes and just never update them.

Anyway, are you sure your white slipcovered furniture you want won't look great against the kotty pine, or do you have that planned for somewhere else in the house? I'm thinking it might. But, yes, that built-in has to go.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 1:15PM
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ok. I am going in a different direction because I think you can make that room look gorgeous. As awm03 showed you, the look is formal but not stuffy- it is inviting and given the choices of tapestry that you have posted, it seems you are going in that direction. So, maybe you can lighten the room by (1) painting the fireplace (a lot easier to do) a lighter color (I wish I knew how to photoshop...for my to do list) or (2) just paint the ceiling white. Once you place your furniture, tapestries, etc., the pine will become just part of the background (just like rugs). Most people can't value stained wood because it is too expensive and laborious! So, have someone photoshop the heck out of your picture before you do anything! IMO.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 2:03PM
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Hi Dee, Yes, you've guessed right. It's amazing how people let houses fall into disrepair or fail to update anything in 30 years! But, those folks aren't on this forum!

The slipcovered furniture will go in the LR - it will be a tad more formal, or I should say light colored furniture/walls/trim. The FR will have our leather sectional and ottoman - more casual things and the dark brown will work nice with the brick fireplace.

When I see knotty pine paneling painted like in some of the posted pictures here, I like the paneling grooves and how they look painted. In my room, it's not paneling in the traditional sense. They are actual boards that have been nailed to the wall. So some boards are flush and some are not and some have a tad more space between the other ones etc. So it's that total ununiformity (is that a word?) that worries me if I paint.

I think I'm going to live with it for a bit and if I don't like it will probably just take it down and drywall...I think painting it will be a bear with all the knots and the shiny surface that will need sanded/primed etc.

I'm sure I'll be back frequently to give updates and more advice!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 2:04PM
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This darn iPad! Of course I meant MUNTINS and not munitions for your windows, for heavens sake. . . Sorry. :(

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 2:10PM
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don't apologize -- I LIVE for the funny typos!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 2:22PM
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I love the pine ceiling with the beams so wouldn't do a thing with them. However, the walls are another story. I would paint them a nice bright but muted green and paint all the trim including windows white. Also not a fan of brick fireplaces but love the look of white wash brick fireplaces. The room really needs some wood floors but I would do a contrasting color to the ceiling. Your paprika couch would work beautifully.

This is what I envision:

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 3:00PM
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Well, I am a fan of the room as it is, except for two things, and they are both in the same area - the drywall wall and arched windows. It is like they borrowed that wall from another house.

Someday, if it were in the budget, I would take out those three windows and replace with one large wall of windows/french doors there.

For now, if you are thinking of painting the paneling, the first thing I think you need to do is ADD paneling to that drywalled area to make it feel like it belongs to the space.

Instead of painting, could you do a pickling or whitewash effect in a soft grey or grey-green color? I think it would tone down the effect of the pine that you hate, which seems to be the color more than anything, and would work toward a less lodge, more country French feel.

I would love to see the fireplace redone in slate tile. Or, do the outside 'pillars' and the hearth and fireplace surround in a stone facing something like this, and drywall the center area above the mantel.

stone facing

I actually don't mind the opening on the second level, but I am wondering if it serves any real purpose? The spindles are bad, tho. My thought would be to put in a window, so that guests could see into the room, but would not have the sound transference or the feeling of a 'balcony to nowhere'. They would get light into the upstairs space, but keep their privacy.

It seems like a very cool home - congrats on the move, and happy birthday!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 3:02PM
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Kellyeng, thanks for the mockup! What software did you use? I have photoshop elements, and I can't get it to do anything...

Les and Sconway, there are so many things to be done to this house, I don't see the windows being replaced or the fireplace being refaced or painted. My DH loves that fireplace. I think he thinks it's like a temple or something.

Love all your ideas, so keep them coming. I like the idea of staining the boards, but that would involve sanding or removing the finish on alot of boards - I'm mean there is alot of boards in this room!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 3:17PM
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Also, I would turn that loft opening into a Juliet Balcony:

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 4:19PM
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caroleoh - My program is Photoshop CS5.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 4:22PM
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Congrats on the new home. Since you have the luxury of having a few months before moving, you can change the space to your liking without a lot of pressure. You have lots you want to tackle so unless you plan to do the work yourself or act as your own gc, it may be a good idea to consult with one to help prioritize your wish list and get an idea of $$ attached to your projects before getting bids.

While some paneling, particularly cherry or maple, can look wonderful in libraries, and knotty pine might look good in lodges, it's not a look I'd want in my family room. In a previous home, without your high ceilings and skylights, we removed the paneling, drywalled and installed hardwood flooring before moving in. The change was dramatic and made the room brighter & airy. In one of my mother's homes, we painted the paneling and, again, the room went from dark and dismal to cheerful. I wouldn't combine the existing paneling with the wood floors you're planning, especially with the ceilings. Four planes of wood is too much for me, but YMMV. Once you decide what you'd be comfortable living with, it will be a terrific space.

You've gotten lots of ideas already and I may have missed this, but would you consider not going with built-ins but using casegoods instead? Doing so will offer much more flexibility. If you DH is set on keeping the family room brick unpainted, would you be happy with painting the office FP?

I'm not a drapes person, but go for it if you are. Long panels will add color & warmth, but I'd not add mullions which would compromise the view. Consider Silhouettes, either regular or top down if you want privacy. We wanted to keep our view, so got the top down version but rarely lift them though on occasion we may go 2/3s up at night.

I'd change the Juliette opening as well. Unless it's providing needed light into the guest room, I'd rather have clean space in the family rm and storage or shelving in the guest room.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 5:02PM
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Kellyeng, those mock-ups are wonderful!

Two things though: staining that paneling would be even harder than painting. You'd have to strip the finish & sand like crazy so the stain can soak in, and because the wood already has a color, it would be hard to determine what the final stained color would be.

found this discussion about using glazes on knotty pine to change the color:
knotty pine discussion

Also, kellyeng's lovely mock-up furnishings would make the room look good even as it is now. I think once CarolOh starts moving stuff in, she'll get a better idea of which direction to go with the room.

Just for fun, here's another pretty room with knotty pine:

I realize your plank walls are more rustic, but still, these pictures show that orangey, dark knotty pine walls aren't the kiss of death.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 5:45PM
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Didn't read all the posts; ignore if redundant. If you want to paint it, I'd at least paint the officey part. I had knotty pine in my kitchen and painted it over w/ Kilz first as a primer and then just plain ol' paint. Nary a knot showing through and that was probably 5 years ago. Now I'd probably use SW PrepRite (or Prepright). I've found it to work as well as Kilz, but not as smelly.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 11:13PM
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I love it! You've got a great start for a rustic French country room. If it were the type of paneling used it the 50's I would say take it down ASAP, but knotty pine is not the same. Any color goes with wood! ;o)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 11:55PM
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My plan would be:
paint the trim on the paneled wall around the doorway and all the windows to tie them in together. Leave the paneling alone and see if the contrasting trim helps.
I'd paint the inside of the built ins to see if that is enough of a change. If that does not work, you can remove the built ins and the paneling but leave what is above the windows in place. It would be less to deal with and you'd let the paneling above coordinate with the ceiling.

I'd also paint the wall behind your desk in between the shelves. It would brighten it up and make the shelves pop a little.
As mentioned, painting knotty pine is a PITA (been there, done that). You need a really good primer and I recommend 2 coats. Use a quality paint, either an oil base or a good latex like Aura and you will have less of a chance of bleed and a much longer time between having to do any touch ups or repaints.
As for colors, I'd keep them a light neutral but not white. Try to pull a very light color out from the fpl so the fpl won't look dirty next to a crisp white paint. You can choose a similar light color for the walls, (1 shade darker, perhaps) with enough of a contrast to not blend with the trim. If you like soft green, use that for the carpet. I'd keep the walls looking more natural and save the color for the floor.

I'd do a nice curtain up on the balcony and paint the spindles the same as your trim color (but not the top rail). It would be too nice a feature to remove. It adds character.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 12:54AM
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I love your room!

I think what throws it off is the white wall; far too stark and cold. I love the mock-up with the painted wall and tapestry. Throw some drapes in there hung like KSWL posted and you are good to go. I do not care at all for the painted paneling. To me, you would go from warm and rich to cheap looking, looks like someone didn't like panel but didn't want to take it down. I wouldn't touch the fireplace either; don't care for the look of painted fireplaces, to me they look old, dated and painted. But some do love them; not me. If you do not want the built ins, rip them out. What is behind them may determine whether you leave your wall alone or not.

One option for your office, instead of ripping out all the boards is to simply drywall over them. You would have to remove the boards from the doorway wall, but not the entire room. If you take your time, drywall really is not difficult to do at all; it's more a job to be done slowly, properly, with care.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 8:03AM
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happy birthday!

i would not be happy with the orangey color of the paneling, so i would definitely either try to stain the paneling a richer color such as pic above or would probably just paint...i think painted paneling is beautiful!! i would then stain the window trim (and possible mantle)the color of whatever stain you use on the builtins.

i think your windows would look fantatic with panels hung as kswl shows!

changing the railing in the opening to a black wrought iron or a metal in a color similar to whatever the paneling is painted in might help the railing fade away...i would def leave it open tho!

and, i'm kindof partial to the tree of life tapestry! there's plenty to do 1st before you worry about that tho!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 8:05AM
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Here's a room Sarah Richardson did:

Pic is small, but go to her site and look for "Sarah's Cottage" I also have a local design mag that shows a recently built lake house (a grand lake house, but a lake house nonetheless). The designer used no drywall in the house. All the walls and ceilings are boards painted a uniform BM China White. I don't have a flatbed scanner anymore, or I would post a pic for you. The white is broken up with salvaged beams and posts, and the decor is all in neutrals, greige, white slipcovers, etc. It looks great

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 9:44AM
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Another home I love where white painted beadboard and paneling with wood beams was used throughout is Massachusetts Architect Patrick Ahearn's. You can see it on his site (link below).

Here is a link that might be useful: Patrick Ahearn

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 1:17PM
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Wonder if it would be cheaper to remove the paneling than paint it?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 1:39PM
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Love that Patrick Ahern room...So hard to picture what will look best. I don't think I'd do a pure white - the room faces south and gets alot of natural light, may be a little blinding!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 2:08PM
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Well, I've called all around and any of the wood "reclamation" companies aren't real interested in pine boards. Those that may be would require me to take it all down, sort by size and stack and bind all the boards up for shipping, and they're in different states I figure they're not going to pay much if anything for it once they figure their transportation costs.

I could give it to habitat for humanity I guess, but again, someone would have to carefully dismantle it all, stack and take it there and we don't have a truck. I was hoping against hope there would some company out there that would come and take it down and haul it away - I'd give it to them for free just for their labor. Now if it was cherry, or hickory or something interesting like barn siding I think I'd have some takers! :-)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 6:53PM
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I take back what I said early about not liking painted wood paneling - I love those two rooms, but I would want to keep the fireplace and ceiling as is....

I did see your other post and can see the room doesn't quite go with the style of your entry door or kitchen.

I think I'd paint the wall where the windows are, select drapes, get rid of the built-ins and do what you want with the floor now. Once in, you can always paint that wood wall or drywall over it or whatever you chose.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 7:05PM
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At the dentist I saw a picture of hotel where the pine walls were left but the ceiling was painted white. That looked nice too. The fire place configuration looked just like your FR!! I vote for leaving the fireplace. I am just not a fan of white painted brick. That goes waaaaay back and I just can't go there. Better to clad in stone or something than paint. I think the honed granite idea sounded really great.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 7:13PM
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caroleoh - maybe you should put an ad on Craigslist and/or hang a flier up at a local building supply store? I'd have to imagine there is some contractor out there working on a house and would be pthrilled to have the wood. Actually, maybe that's who you should try calling - some local contractors. If not, as others have mentioned, maybe you can drywall over it?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 7:15PM
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Well, caroleoh, I keep trying to find an unpainted paneling picture that strikes a chord with you, because if you can work with the paneling, it sure would save you a bunch o' bucks. Let's not give up yet!

Here is a link that might be useful: related article

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 7:54PM
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I just typed a long response and lost it!! So I'll just say I think I'll hold off on doing anything with the paneling and let it grow on me. I'm thinking I need to pick out other things and see how it all fits. If the paneling doesn't fit it will be obvious.

I did make one decision! I ordered the tapestry I liked from As soon as I saw that tapestry it just felt right to me. So we will see how it looks in real life! Maybe it will be my inspiration piece!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 10:03PM
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Caroleh, all those pine-paneled inspiration photos people have posted are goregous. I think your pine could look the same if you did a waxed finish on it. Perhaps you could try that on one board to see---- use a bit darker wax and then buff. It would darken the color to something a bit more to your liking, perhaps, and give it a deeper shine that those inspiration walls seem to have. It will be a lot of work, but certain less than painting the paneling and/or removing it.

Glad you've picked out a tapestry--- that first piece will help you build around it. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 6:20AM
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I feel the paneling and the fireplace are really fighting for attention. Both are busy, strong design elements. The stark white wall between the two just adds to the contrast.

As suggested, I would start with painting the white wall and then live with things. My instinct would be to do something to tone down the fireplace. Not painting, but reface it or do something with the grout. You could possibly dry wall over the top 3/4 of the fireplace and paint that whole wall the same color as the window wall.

Lots of possibilities but I wouldn't do anything drastic until you've lived there for a while.

Congratulations on your new house!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 8:34AM
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I actually kind of like the wood paneling... but in the link they have painted and that looks great too! I don't think anyone else gave you this site.. but you did have a lot of replies which I just skimmed through.

Here is a link that might be useful: Before and After

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 8:06PM
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