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!


Eartha Kitsch said...

Here's to it! Your house is absolutely wonderful. Love all of the pine and the built-ins. Thanks for not painting over the wood. There is so much charm and coziness there.

Katie Cappello said...

Eartha Kitsch, love your name and your blog. And yes, charm and coziness in spades.

50s Pam said...

I love your house -- it's perfect! I want to see the wallpaper panelling, I know what you're talking about. My dad has this in his second house in North Dakota. He covered over it in one room (to my consternation) but I keep workin' him not to change it in the kitchen. xoxo your town and your house sound lovely!

Betty Crafter said...

Wow! What a great home! I'm so in love with your avocado sink! Super jealous. I totally identify with your talking about the original owners often. We do the same thing (we're also the second owners.) When we moved in we found an adorable mid century plaque with their last name on it (like you'd hang by the front door) in the trash. We thought it was so sad. We rescued it and will be hanging it somewhere to honor them.

Katie Cappello said...

Betty Crafter, we are of the same mind! 50s Pam, I knew if anyone would know about that wallpaper paneling, it would be you!