Love/Hate Relationship with the paneling
My husband and I are purchasing a new house that needs some updating. There is a lot of dark real wood paneling (oak maybe?) on the walls. The house is a colonial style outside, tons of huge windows, built in 1977, 9ft ceilings on the main level, and large rooms. The house really hasn't been updated at all.
I have a love/hate relationship with the paneling. It is gorgeous in it's own right. But it lends itself to feeling more rustic, which isn't necessarily my style. My current home is a very traditional home (neighborhood setting) with medium stained maple woodwork, which I love. The new home is on wooded acreage so the setting is entirely different.
I'm trying to figure out a way to find the happy medium between maintaining the character and charm in the house and yet modernize it enough that my furniture doesn't just make it look odd.
I do not want to paint the woodwork, as I love stained...and I can't bring myself to painting the walls. I've had a couple of contractors looks at the paneling and they thought it was probably custom made and appears to be like 3/4' thick. It's definitely not cheap. The contractors recommended we sell the paneling, if we decide to remove it. There is an abundance of natural sunlight (6 6ft tall windows and 2 6ft sliders in the main living space), so it doesn't feel dark or 'cave-like'. So that's not an issue. And the main living area, which will be the eating area and great room, is approximately 25'x48'.
To add to the equation, I'm going to be renovating the kitchen and it's going to be open to the main living area. Currently it has the original oak kitchen cabinets. I just don't care for the oak. I have the opportunity to purchase new cabinets at an insane discount...unfortunately I have limited choices in stain colors so it's going to be a different color hue than what's currently installed. But it doesn't make sense to spend 5X's what I'm going to pay for cabinets to get another brand (we'll have about 120 linear ft of cabinets)...I would rather spend that money in some other updates to the house.
So my questions are as follows...any recommendations on how to bring some modern life into the living area with the paneling? Is there anyway to cover the paneling without making it permanent or destroying it? Any ideas on what to do, if you keep the paneling and end up with a cherry wood kitchen cabinets, on how to transition between the two areas and not look weird? Any input is greatly appreciated! Sorry for the long post :)
Here is a link that might be useful: House