When my grandma and grandpa moved from Aneta, North Dakota, to build their retirement home in Oceanside, Calif., in the early 1960s, they built a sweet little house that became the epicenter of action for the entire family, which included five of seven children who had all moved west and the growing swarm of grandkids, too. The house was beloved by all. When we weren’t in the outdoor pool, we were likely to be hanging out in the family room, or in the kitchen.
The family room was ready for big-time family action: Wall-to-wall carpeting for all the grandkids to plotz on… an upholstered rocker for grandpa to watch the new color console TV… and dozens of framed family photos that completed filled an entire long wall of the room. On the walls: Knotty pine, of course.
It was a small house, couldn’t have been more than 1,300 square feet. Right outside the den was the eat-in kitchen. There, too, Grandma and Grandpa installed knotty pine wainscoting, knotty pine trim and even a built-in, knotty pine shelf above the peninsula. It held Grandma’s world famous collection of salt-and-pepper shakers, dozens of them.
Knotty pine is nice.
My name is Pam Kueber, and I publish the daily blog RetroRenovation.com. I started this other little site, KnottyIsNice.com, to put a spotlight on knotty pine out of concern that folks moving into vintage homes with knotty pine on the walls will pull it down too fast, without first understanding and considering its lovely heritage. And, like another little website that I created, SaveThePink Bathrooms.com, this one was created to uphold, defend and restore the reputation of this decorative feature, which today is often thoughtlessly and undeservedly maligned. Yes: Knotty is nice. I think maybe we have just gotten out of the habit of being able to see so, and to say so.
Our 20th century relatives — heck, our 18th and 17th century relatives! — used knotty pine because it was available, accessible, affordable, functional, durable, easy-to-install and attractive. While it may not be “fashionable” today, knotty pine was just fine — desirable, even — as a decorative finishing treatment for walls for many generations. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with liking your knotty pine. Contemporary marketeers make their living by trying to get us to rip out something perfectly functional and perfectly beautiful so’s we will buy their new look$$$$. Alas, it’s a cycle of perpetual (usually unnecessary) destruction-in-the-name-of-fashion that never ends.
The family that built my 1951 colonial-ranch house in Lenox, Mass. did not put knotty pine in the basement. But, we do have lovely cherry paneling installed in the 1950s. We love it. Wood is good, just like knotty is nice.
So welcome. Browse around. Enjoy readers’ comfy cozy knotty pine rooms… and a little bit of history — and we’d love it you could take a moment to sign our guest book and share your own knotty pine memories.
Read more about me and my kitchen and my main blog here. And, I have another little website, Save The Pink Bathrooms, here.
xoxo, Pam Kueber