Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm Saying Yes to Knotty Pine!

I've been wondering for a while what to post (or whether to post anything) about our new home. I didn't want this to become a house-centric blog, but I did want to somehow celebrate the fabulousness of our little bungalow. True, we no longer live on the farm, but we still live in an agricultural area--our new hometown is surrounded by orchards and grape fields, and some mornings I still find myself stuck behind slow-moving tractors. Lodi also has its share of history and personality, as does our new house. And when I saw this post about knotty pine on Retro Renovation, featuring Betty Crafter's adorable kitchen, I knew I had to share my own love of all things wood paneled.

Our post-war home was built around the same time as the General Mills plant was established in town--we are close enough to the plant that we can smell when they make the cereal (it smells like kettle corn). The house was the first one to be built on our street, when the rest of the area was a cherry orchard. It was small, like all the other post-war homes in the area. When it was listed for sale, the description of the "step-saver" kitchen had us confused, until we saw it in real life:

Step saving indeed. But I fell in love with the honey colored cabinets and the original fixtures, like the avocado green sink, the linoleum floors, and even the strange faux wallpaper paneling on the walls.

We are only the second owners. The original owners added on an amazing wood paneled family room in the Fifties, including a built-in closet, shelving and storage, which has now become our bedroom. The attached half bath is small, but the warm wood makes it feel cozy.

We talk about the previous owners, Roberta and Raymond, a lot. So much of their personality has seeped into this home, that it's only natural to wonder about them, imagine what they were like. Take, for instance, this handmade, built-in shelving unit in one of the original bedrooms:

The listing described it as a double headboard system for two twin beds. The original owners had two sons, so this makes sense. The particleboard paneling is beautiful, and the shelves are solid. It took a lot of ingenuity and imagination to put this together.

The living/dining room area is about half wood paneled (you can catch a glimpse of it in the kitchen picture above). We like to joke that they only paneled the half that would be seen by neighbors from the street. Many people have suggested we paint over or remove the paneling, but I think it's going to stay. Now that we have uncovered the beautiful white oak floors beneath the brown shag carpet, we are living in a veritable wood wonderland, and loving every minute of it.

All the pictures above were taken before we moved in, and a few things have since changed. I may post some "after" pictures of the place later on, so stay tuned. In the meantime, here's to keeping things original!