Say Yes to the Knotty Pine!

Yes: Knotty pine is nice. There, I’ve said it, defying — horrors! — any modern-day decorating powers-that-be who want us to believe that the old paneling in old houses is absolutely *hideous*. When fact of the matter is: Old wood, including knotty pine, in old houses can be absolutely *charming*.

Just ask all the readers over on my main blog Retro Renovation, who have embraced their knotty pine kitchens, dens, sun porches, basements, bedrooms — bathrooms, even: Knotty pine wherever they find it in their vintage homes. They are adding lots of retro touches — barkcloth curtains, braided rugs, tiki lamps, nubbly sofas, retro wallpaper, whatever — having a blast in their warmy, comfy, cozy, happy spaces. They’re also saving lots of money, too, by avoiding unnecessary renovation expense.

Yes: You have permission to love the knotty pine in your home, without apology. Here, you are among friends. So take your shoes off, pull up a chair, and let’s learn all about the knotty, together, right here on this friendly little website. Welcome!

Above: That’s Betty Crafter in her gorgeous knotty pine kitchen, respectfully restored. You’re going to LUV this kitchen! Read all about it here.

9 thoughts on “Say Yes to the Knotty Pine!

    • THANK YOU, so much, Betty Crafter, for letting me show you and your fabulous house on this new blog! You are a Crown Princess of Knotty Pine (along with a few other readers!) xoxo – pam

  1. I grew up with a knotty pine kitchen and living room. Now, I’m in a 1970 brick ranch with custom knotty pine cabinets and counters and a backsplash featuring tiles made my a local potter. The potter also made the ceramic knobs on the cabinets. I loved how unique the kitchen is BUT my knotty pine cabinets and built-ins are not the warm honey-color knotty pine of my childhood. They’re stained a dark brown. Has anyone sanded/stripped stain off of knotty pine cabinets and either sealed them in their natural color or stained them a light color? The room is so dark, but I do love wood and don’t want to paint the cabinets over.

  2. I say “yes” to Knotty Pine. In fact, if I knew how to duplicate it, I’d do my kitchen with it! 4×8 sheets of panelling are one thing – I can see how people can have a negative feeling towards that – but knotty pine is real. It’s 3/4″ thick, creates instant warmth, and represents the trees that began growing 50 – 100 years ago to make this ambience possible.
    I consider knotty pine a “precious wood” for anyone preserving or restoring a home to Mid Century brilliance.

  3. I am lucky enough to have bought a 1953 Colonial Revival a year ago that has a terrific knotty pine basement rec room, with the original wet bar, built in seating (with original red vinyl upholstered cushions!) and loads of retro charm. My only disappointment is that the original black/white checkerboard linoleum was at some point covered by hideous 70s red carpeting. I’d love to restore the linoleum, but the carpet was glued down and I am unsure if getting it and the glue *gone* is even possible. Otherwise I adore the big room, and love the knotty pine!

  4. When I first walked into my home 20 yrs. ago too look at it before buying it, I walked in through the kitchen door. The first thing my eyes beheld were beautiful knotty pine cabinets, & without even thinking about it, the first words out of my mouth were, “I’m home”. All the houses on my street except one were built in the early 50’s. It’s a little dead end street w/ 10 houses on it, & it’s like stepping back in time. I’ve never seen a tighter knit bunch of neighbors more willing to help each other or just sit around on summer evenings & visit. God truly blessed me when he led me here. It was a wonderful place to raise my children.

  5. I see posts here mostly about the Northeast, but growing up and living in Fort Worth, Texas, gave me the opportunity to be acquainted with lots of Knotty Pine. Three houses and a couple of garage apartments that I knew in my childhood had interiors finished entirely in the material (including kitchens and baths) and three or more were at least partially finished so. Also in my memory are lots of houses on which it had been used as an exterior facing on protected areas of the front porch, which offered a really warm curb appeal.

    I’ve always considered that in Fort Worth, with the “wild west” reputation that the city had (even up into the mid ’60’s), maybe the popularity of the material was about expressing that rustic “cowboy” or “cattleman” look. In fact, one of the houses I mentioned was a big, rambling, old ranch headquarters house where my grandparents lived while they managed the property (out on a cattle prairie, faced with sandstone, real wagon wheel chandelier, giant stone fireplace and more) It was an incredible place.

    Also, I don’t remember any of these houses having the dark gloominess that people who denigrate Knotty Pine are always complaining about. These rooms were always filled with warm beautiful daylight. They glowed. There were also numerous cafes, restaurants, and bars in my experience that were finished with Knotty Pine paneling. That always makes me associate it with the smell of hamburgers and fries and just warm good food and times. Knotty Pine can be dressed up or down.

    I pity the people who don’t have the imagination or experiences to realize how elegant a Knotty Pine room can be.

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