Sign our Guest Book: Knotty pine memories

Knotty pine is comfy cozy, unpretentious & warm — and it seems like ‘most everyone has some great memories attached to it:

Sonya writes:

My great grandmother’s house was done in Knotty Pine (nearly throughout). Built in the 40′s and faced so there was quite a bit of light in the kitchen it represented all that was comfort to me. The smell of knotty pine has not been discussed here. That sweet, semi-cedar nose that the house takes on along with Grandmother’s Chicken ‘n’ Dumplings will live forever in my memory along with the visual warmth of those walls and cabinets as a backdrop to antique lamps, quilts and crocheted bedspreads. The small, dim hallway with that bright aqua tile glow into the one bathroom. The glowing white sheer curtains that lift with the summer breeze. Yes, Knotty is nice….

Do you have knotty pine memories, too? We’d love to hear them! 

32 thoughts on “Sign our Guest Book: Knotty pine memories

  1. I don’t have any NP memories, except that I always noticed that Ward Cleaver had NP in his den. My den is a future project, but maybe I’ll just do it in NP.

  2. Thank you for the new blog and all that you do for mid-century goodness!

    Dependent on a job offer, we are pondering a move from Florida to Philadelphia – Southern New Jersey area in July or August.

    We have started looking at houses on and amazed at the number of knotty pine kitchens, basement rumpus rooms, dens and even attic build-outs!

    What makes the search much easier, is that when we read “updated kitchen” in the description, we just skip the listing entirely.

    As a result, we have been doing random searches in other areas for homes 51+ years old to see if there are photos of knotty pine (or even maple) kitchens.

  3. I recently purchased a home that was actually built in 1910, but the kitchen and den in the back were add ons in the 50’s – all Knotty Pine. At first glance, I thought “Well, that has to go…” but I have to say, I have lived with it for a few months now and am falling in love with it! The kitchen is large and is all knotty pine, and I have hung stained glass panels in the windows. The cabinets are in immaculate condition, some look as if they were never used much and the layout is so efficient, Lots of storage including a great half round cupboard in the corner! The Den has Knotty Pine walls, and ceilings with beams with a nice fireplace. The home belonged to a former Congressman, and I think he used the Den as his office, but I am now using it as a cozy Den/TV room. I am glad you are doing this blog. When some of my friends look questioningly at the rooms and wonder why I have not changed them, I can point them in your direction and let them know that there is love and affection for the craftsmenship of the past! FYI, I am an interior designer, and I am making them work!
    I will try to take some pics and upload them soon. I am still putting some things in the rooms but hope to be finished soon.

  4. We had a house in the woods on the shores of Lake Superior. It was hand built in 1953, pine log faced on the outside and all knotty pine on the inside, floor, walls, ceilings, window trims, kitchen cabinets, countertop was yellow pine w/o knots, built in dressers in two bedrooms, even the furniture was made of pine logs. I just loved it, wish we had kept it, because the people who bought it — you guessed it — gutted it. They were bragging to me about their beautiful granite kitchen, drywall, tile floors. They invited me to see it but I could not do it. The outside is shingled now. So sad.

  5. My in-laws left their home to hubby and I! Dad built the house starting in 1961 and kept going… it’s huge! Almost the whole thing is knotty pine! It’s about 5500 sq. ft. and at least half of it is knotty pine. I just love it! Some people ask if we will paint over it, we reply, never! When I get some decorating done, I will post some photos! Good work Pam, keep it up girl!

    • I inherited my Grandparents vacation home in the Pocono’s which i am moving up to permanently…I was wondering what do do to make it more updated and yet I love the knotty pine..people tell me to paint it..NEVER!!!…I just decided to go over the top with it..added a crystal chandelier, my antiques ,light oriental rugs…I’ll nevr give up my NP!!

  6. I have a garage apt. that has knotty pine walls with a knotty pine chapel ceiling. Knotty pine kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. Getting ready to update the kitchen..keeping the knotty pine and redoing the counters and sink. They are 50 years old and it needs to be done! Will be keeping with the style and era! I will post pics when I can get in. The apt. is rented and they love it! I wish my house had some!

  7. My great grandmother’s house was done in Knotty Pine (nearly throughout). Built in the 40’s and faced so there was quite a bit of light in the kitchen it represented all that was comfort to me. The smell of knotty pine has not been discussed here. That sweet, semi-cedar nose that the house takes on along with Grandmother’s Chicken ‘n’ Dumplings will live forever in my memory along with the visual warmth of those walls and cabinets as a backdrop to antique lamps, quilts and crocheted bedspreads. The small, dim hallway with that bright aqua tile glow into the one bathroom. The glowing white sheer curtains that lift with the summer breeze. Yes, Knotty is nice….

  8. I have a 1954 home in Seattle with knotty pine kitchen cabinets, At one time every house on the street had them, I am the only one left. And I LOVE them! Kitchen accessories are all 1950’s, pink and yellow and turquoise. I call it my ‘playroom” and it makes me smile every time I walk in.

  9. My old house had knotty pine in the master bedroom. I spent weeks stripping the tired varnish and re-finishing it. I decorated the room like a country cabin. It was lovely…

    • Friends of mine recently refinished the knotty pine walls in their guest room. It looks great. The tone is softer and less shiny yellow than before. I imagine the finish had yellowed over time. I’m so glad not everyone is tearing the paneling out or painting over it.

  10. When I was about 10 or 11 we moved into a house in my hometown that had been built and owned by a family in our church. Out the back door (through the den off the kitchen) and down 3 steps was a summer kitchen. It was a small building, maybe 10′ X 12′ with cement tile floors with a drain in the center, a drop ceiling, and the most beautiful knotty pine paneling, a whole wall of knotty pine custom-built cabinets that still held jars of home canned goods, a custom-built knotty pine framed wall mirror, a small 2-burner gas stove/oven that also served for winter heating, and both hot and cold running water.

    This little building became my clubhouse, my laboratory, my studio, and my dream world. I remember quite well playing with my chemistry set and all the magic that entailed. I made candles by melting paraffin blocks on the little stove and adding color and scent. When I took up painting my dad hung 2 of my early works on the cabinet doors, making me feel like a “real” artist. We stored our bicycles and gardening tools in there too and I created luxuriant flower beds all around the little building every spring and summer. For a time we had a ping pong table there and all the neighborhood kids came and played for hours. My dog even had her puppies in there one spring.

    As I grew older I became a hairdresser and we seriously considered turning the little building into a beauty salon, which would’ve been great. Unfortunately my father died suddenly and hard times prevented the realization of that dream. But I have so many fond memories of that little knotty pine oasis! Someday I hope to own a home of my own again and I will recreate this little summer kitchen building, complete with knotty pine walls and shelves. When I was in that little place I dreamed about so many things, discovered worlds unknown to me before, created things of beauty and usefulness and it always felt so cheerful and warm. Good times, indeed.

    Thanks for starting this site. I have nothing but love for knotty pine.

  11. My ranch was built in 1965 and those owners sold it to me in 1996. When touring the house, I was taken in through the enclosed carport rather than the front door. The carport took me straight into the sweet, homey kitchen with knotty pine paneling on the walls and cabinets. Little wooden shutters were open across the kitchen window to the backyard and I think I fell in love that instant. From the kitchen I could see into the den with the same knotty pine walls and bookshelves. On the kitchen counter sat a cake on a pedestal dish and I was transported to the types of home my grandma and aunt & uncle had. While their homes did not have the actual knotty pine, there was a similar sense of coziness, and a lovely “welcoming” feeling. The rest of the house had been well-maintained with beautiful tile walls and counters in the hall bath. Needless to say, I’ve enjoyed this home immensely and made little changes/upgrades along the way. While I occasionally have been tempted by some magazine photo of painted panellng to brighten up a room, I can’t bring myself to do away with the pine (I did paint the brick fireplace). I’ve raised my 2 children from toddlers to teens in this home and the paneling could use a good cleaning, but I couldn’t ask for more. Whenever I fret about the state of my house, a friend or guest will comment on how comfy it is and how they love to just come and hang out, and I know this is HOME.

  12. I grew up in a house built in 1959-1961 that had a large kitchen and den area covered in knotty pine. This area encompasses over 1/2 of the entire house (it’s only about 1200 sq.ft. total). Growing up I always wished my parents would paint it. I’m so glad they didn’t. My Dad told me time and again how we could not afford to buy that quality of wood today if we wanted to. All my parents ever did to the paneling, maintenance wise, was clean it with Liquid Gold wood cleaner and they only did that once every 2 years or so. It has held up beautifully through the years. My sister and I spent our entire childhood in the house and my mother babysitted countless children and she cooked countless meals in that kitchen with no exhaust hood on the stove for years and it never affected the paneling. My beloved parents are now gone and my sister and I are currently renting the house to a nice policeman. He’s in his early 40’s like me and my sister and I both about fell over in shock when we first showed him the house and he exclaimed “Oh, I love the paneling”. We were sure it would be a drawback to prospective renters. I’m so glad he likes it and I hope he and his 2 children have as many happy memories in it as we did. We told him “those walls have good karma”!

  13. The house I grew up in (built in 1952) had an “unfinished attic”. A few years and a few siblings down the road, that “unfinished attic” was “finished” — in, yup, all knotty pine. So that is where I listened to my “West Side Story” soundtrack over and over…. And my pink plastic radio — Motown. Beatles. Rolling Stones. And no-such-thing as air conditioning — so I roasted in that attic, too! Intimate thoughts about my formative years. All done in knotty pine!

  14. I can relate so much to all of these stories! I just moved back to my childhood home that my dad built in 1960. It’s still all original (except for one toilet so far…) and yes-it’s almost all knotty pine! I, too, thought of doing ‘something’ to at least some walls, and looked at refinishing the kitchen cabinets. But, doing most of the reno work myself (with help from brothers) on a 0$ budget, thankfully I was prevented from diving into whole house updating. Since my dad built it, I feel that I have been handed the responsibility of preserving the integrity of this ranch. The knotty pine will stay!

  15. My husband and I just bought a South lake Tahoe house nestled amid huge pines on Gardner Mountain. It was built in 1960 and we are purchasing it from the estate of the original owners.

    Every wall in the house is knotty pine except for the two bathrooms and we love it!

    I am so excited and want to keep it as retro and orginal as possible. Hope to learn lots of great tips from your blog 🙂

    I would attach pictures but I don’t know how…


  16. I love knotty pine. I always wanted my Dad to install it in our home when I was a kid, but it never happened. I cringe when I watch House Hunters and people are saying how they’ll have to rip it out or paint it.

  17. My grandmother had a showcase knotty pine kitchen in Carthage Missouri. It was perfect, and even had countertops made out of Carthage marble. My own home was built in 1905, but apparently there was a fire in the 50’s, and as a result, we have knotty pine wainscot in our living room.

  18. When I was in college in the early 70s I lived in a small apartment building near campus, and the bedroom in my apartment was paneled in knotty pine. I loved it then, and still love it now.

  19. When I initially leeft a comment I seem too have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox andd from now on each time a comment is added I recieve four emails
    with the same comment. There has to be a
    means you are able to remove me from that service? Kudos!

    • So sorry, Ross, sometimes the technology is so glitchy! I turned off notifications…. that should do it. Otherwise, you should have the capability to unsubscribe in any notification emails that you get.

  20. I truly love this site and all the contributions. Just wanted to add we had a house with a tongue and groove knotty pine bedroom (1951 custom rambler). My husband sanded it (what a job) and then we had someone bleach the walls with chlorine. We spent the night in a motel. Then we put on a white wash (minwax?) finish, followed by clear satin sealer. It was absolutely gorgeous and we got lots of compliments on it. I miss it to this day. It had an understated warmth, a soft depth and light serene quality, the best of warmth and cool combined.

  21. So excited to be closing on our first house in 5 days! Immediatly walking into the house, straight into the kitchen, I fell in love with it! There is knotty pine cabinets installed that the previous owner crafted by hand, and they are still in amazing condition! The owners bought the house in the 60s, remodeled it, and kept it that was ever since. Mind you, the house need work. But the kitchen is perfect! I am super excited about planning the decor for the kitchen. Thanks for the website!

  22. Knotty pine has slightly different memories for me. When Hubby and I were engaged. Over a three year period, we went to Washington State twice and Oregon once from California to take Summer classes in Linguistics. I remember roadside cafes on backwoods roads all done in knotty pine that served comfort foods. The decor was all countryish with scalloped woodwork, old lanterns and deer. I don’t know if those places are still around.

    I see KP employed in the mountain cabins in So Cal where people do not gut their mountain retreats as often as they do their houses in the burbs.

    Oak glen California is another favorite spot of ours with lots of fifties buildings with knotty pine and cross bucked paneled doors.

    I associate KP with places surrounded with beautiful trees and where life moves at a more leisurely place.

    I’ve planted the trees around my house and am on the hunt for KP to warm up the suburban homestead.

  23. We bought our SoCal home in 1994. The house was built in the 1940s and knotty pine is EVERYWHERE; kitchen cabinets, den, living room, dining room, entryway and bedrooms! And it’s the real deal – probably a half inch thick and 11 inches wide in the living/dining room. At first I thought it might be a bit overwhelming, but every time I thought about painting it, something stopped me. So glad to know it is ‘in’ again! It goes great with my seafoam green carpet and mixture of vintage & newer furniture. Even mahogany and cherry wood look striking with the lighter golden pine color.
    As a bonus, I am also a proud owner of a pink bathroom – sink, toilet and bathtub and pink tile countertop. The accent tile color is burgandy instead of more typical black, and I love it all. I found some vintage wallpaper ca 1940s with a barkcloth look of exotic palms in shades of pink, burgandy and again my fav seafoam green. Perhaps some day I’ll get around to hanging it!
    We also have a ‘green’ bathroom with, you guessed it, green sink and toilet in a minty shade. Unfortunately the sink is in bad shape but we plan to keep the toilet.
    The kitchen has an avocado double sink, probably from a 1969 remodel. Love that too!
    For obvious reasons I call this the grandma house.

  24. My husband & I have had the “to-paint-or-ont-to-paint” discussion many times. We have both a knotty pine living room & kitchen. He always says “no” to painting & I always say “yes.” I guess he wins out because the dining room & the kitchen remain unpainted. He finally told me that memories of his grandparents’ houses are the reasons why he wants everything to stay the same. I decided to look back at photos of my own grandparents’ houses to see if I, too, would feel the same way he does. My grandparents, long since deceased, are in those photos. My parents & brother are in those photos. I’m in those photos…all of us surrounded by knotty pine. It took me no time at all to understand what he’s talking about. So, here we sit, 10 years later with our unpainted living room & kitchen, happy as can be…& also loving our pink tile bathroom!

  25. Knotty pine in one corner of our horrible basement brought a breath of life to that place. One note of caution. Knotty pine is meant to breathe in sunlight so windows, I find, are necessary. Never had a bad dream with knotty pine in it.

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