Paint knotty pine walls or not?
Cheri
May 7, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Our home/cottage great room has knotty pine walls, and I'd like to paint them a creamy white. The rest of my family isn't on board with it yet, and truthfully, I'm a little afraid to do it too! Last weekend I painted our bay window in our great room...it's so much brighter!
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feeny
I think they would look beautiful painted a creamy white. Why don't you put together a houzz ideabook of paneled walls that have been painted white to show the rest of your family for inspiration. Here are a couple to start with:
Sullivans Island Cottage
Master Bedroom
3 Likes   May 7, 2012 at 7:26PM
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AJD Interiors
Hello,
I really love the cozy, rustic look you have here. I know, I know, people keep telling you not to paint the paneling; there are always those who feel very strongly against painting over perfectly good wood! Truthfully, I think the creamy white would be great, but if you are hesitant, try these ideas first- instead of painting the paneling, you could brighten up the room just by switching out a few things: I'll take the cue from that pretty white pottery on your mantle- painting the brick on the fireplace a creamy white would update, and adding sconces above the mantle for more light. Switching out your stools to distressed white with some cute cushions would help, too, and also adding some bright little valances or curtains in your kitchen windows. I like your open shelving- I would consider extending that idea to the other side, as well, for a more consistent look. You may also want to consider adding a flush mount ceiling fixture as I don't see any other source of light.
Good luck- I think either way could definitely work!
2 Likes   May 7, 2012 at 7:32PM
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Cheri
The photo is actually pretty old .... since the photo was taken we've added pendant lights. Thanks for the ideas! I've actually considered painting the brick fireplace, or framing it in wood.
   May 7, 2012 at 7:51PM
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AJD Interiors
Great idea! And those pendants are perfect!
   May 7, 2012 at 8:17PM
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Manon Floreat
Hi Cheri. I understand your hesitancy. I do think the room would be pretty and brighter with creamy white paneling, but also really like what the natural wood is doing for the room. It's cozy and charming.

Whitewashing the paneling would give you a lighter look but still allow the paneling to read as what it is and show the grain. Another option is refinishing the existing paneling.

I know that wood is very difficult to strip once painted and kind of think we'll return to the place where we appreciate the wood aesthetic - it is after all an expensive application. With that said, I'd incorporate some of AJD Interiors suggestions, live with them for a while and if in six months you're itching to paint, try whitewashing, wait six months and then paint if you're inclined.

Refinishing and bleaching out the pine will result in a look like the first photo, whitewashing the second and painting the last. Good luck.
3 Likes   May 7, 2012 at 10:37PM
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houssaon
This all pine room looks fresh with pastels and lots of sheer white: Rustic Modern 1

This all pine room has had the walls white washed: Rustic Modern 2 Dining Room | Sarah Richardson Design I think you would have to prep the walls to get any varnish off.

Pickled pine walls: Pool Room

Painted pine wall: Historic House

You could also just paint all the trim and the doors colors that go with you decor. That would be a fun update, which could have a modern feel to it.
   May 7, 2012 at 11:04PM
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Cheri
Thanks for the ideas! I'm going to try to brightening up the room with the tips given. I'd love to have all open shelving in kitchen, but wonder where the food will go!

2nd question: We want to put wood floors in the entire room. What color/wood with the pine walls?
   May 8, 2012 at 2:13PM
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grillmichelle
If you don't want the panel texture to show when painted. May texture first and paint the texture. I painted paneling in my clinic and it made a world of difference. Painting the fireplace a cream color is also a great idea. The idea do bringing in cream accessories or even lighter furniture is also a good idea. I painted my fireplace with a paint and glaze so it has some depth. Love glazes.
   May 8, 2012 at 6:48PM
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lefty47
HI - I would start by painting the kitchen cabinets and see if that does enough for you - if you want more then you could just sand and white wash the paneling and have lots of white furniture with natural wood decor items. Everyone has given lots of good ideas - any of which I think would look wonderful. Just one more idea -- paint your stools each the color of your fiesta ware collection, that would be fun !
2 Likes   May 8, 2012 at 7:04PM
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Shannon Ggem ASID
I love the texture of painted panelling. I think painting it is a fantastic idea! Maybe as a concession leave the peninsula pine for now. Good luck!
1 Like   May 8, 2012 at 9:29PM
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Gorgeous Homes
If I was you, I would rip the paneling, its dated unless you live in Aspen. Most likely, you have sheetrock underneath and can just paint the walls, of course, its a lot more work, but, I would definitely prime and paint those walls, make sure, you use a stain blocker and good quality paint. It will brighten the rooms and give the house a brand new refreshed look. Keep in mind, I only do high end work.
   May 8, 2012 at 11:05PM
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Norma Lyons
I agree with many of the suggestions here......I think the best suggestion so far is to possibly whitewash the paneling. This is an easy diy project since the finish doesn't have to be perfect. In fact, I would look at some lime finishes that the English use on their pine furniture. You could start with a very light application that really just catches the cream color in the pick up or ridge areas. Just remember you can always add more easily than take away so use the white wash sparingly at first and then if you want more you can add.....Also, please be sure that the "whitewash" is a creamy hue then you don't have that stark blue white look.....If you still want more cream after living with tat look then by all means paint. You will still have the lovely texture that a paneled wall brings. Love the idea about painting your stools the colors of your fiesta ware...what a fun look that would be!!! I often tell folks....relax and go with your gut....it's your home.....have fun and enjoy!!!
1 Like   May 9, 2012 at 2:21AM
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leslielevin
I just had paneling installed in my family room with the specific idea of painting it a creamy white (Benjamin Moore-Antique Lace-satin finish) that I used to paint my kitchen cabinets. I have lived with the color now for six years and I love it! I am also painting my less than lovely brick in the same color. I think there is nothing prettier than the texture of paneling but with the lightness of paint. I also agree with the comment of using this amazing resource, Houzz, and search for painted paneled rooms. Nothing like seeing what other people have done! Good luck!
1 Like   May 9, 2012 at 4:35AM
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selahsmiles
I love reading all the comments. My personal thought is that if you are lucky to have one room in your house that already has wood, find ways like the above suggestions to brighten it up, There is nothing like the warm, romantic, cozy feel of a fire reflecting off wood walls. You can also try tacking a curtain or sheet the color you are considering on one wall. Leave it there for a week, Then take it down and keep the wood walls for a week. Then you can better make the big decision of what feels better to you.
2 Likes   May 9, 2012 at 5:17AM
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Fran Allen
I have a large family room in my 1920's home has real wood paneling that i didnt want to cover with all paint as well but the all paneling look was a bit much for my liking. I watered down a soft buttery color Benjamin Moore paint and used a soft rag (with plastc gloves) and washed every other stripe, as well as a soft sage color for the alternate stripes. Each stripe in the paneling is a foot wide with a narrow 1" stripe between each which i left its natural maple color. The wash of colors lightened up the room and has a cozy yet casual feel - not losing the grain of the wood which i love! You can add as little or as much water to your liking depending on the transparency you like.
1 Like   May 9, 2012 at 5:20AM
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kakki
I have a small den in my house where the knotty pine has been painted a khaki color with whitewash trim for years. Paint the pine....you'll love it!
1 Like   May 9, 2012 at 5:47AM
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gin1ek
My first 'like' was the washing look, then I saw the bleached look and it is my favorite. If that is real wood paneling a good scrubbing with a product to clean walls before you paint will probably lighten the walls by a couple of shades.
   May 9, 2012 at 6:31AM
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AJD Interiors
You also mention hardwood floors for a future project; Take another look at the links posted by houssaon above. Those photos show great examples of contrasting wood floors/paneled walls. The key is to keep the flooring rustic and casual like the walls, but in a contrasting finish. For example, if you do paint the walls, have the floors done in pine with a natural wax finish, and if you leave the walls as they are, use a pickled or limed finish on the floors.
   May 9, 2012 at 6:58AM
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AJD Interiors
As for the open shelving dilemma- food in base cabinets or pantry ( behind closed doors) , and plates and glasses on the open shelves. Yes, you would have to make sure the plates are stacked neatly and all that- but what a great way to display all of the dishes and pretty bowls I'm sure you have somewhere! ; )
   May 9, 2012 at 7:02AM
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Jake
Absolutely paint it. We did so for the baby's room and basement. It turned out great! Would recommend it in a heartbeat. See below. (don't mind the rug in the second photo).
2 Likes   May 9, 2012 at 7:41AM
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sophie123
We have a cottage up north - so I understand the love affair with wood. Pine deepens over time, so what was once a light filled room ends up looking dark over time. There is always the urge to paint whenever you see darkened pine to freshen and lighten things up, but you do lose the warmth you expect in cottage country, the reason you likely put it in in the first place. My suggestion is to whitewash (lightly) or bleach. They offer a lot of benefits for both scenarios. I would paint the bar bottom in white to match the kitchen cabinets and leave the wood counter natural or whitewashed. I would flank the fireplace in a mantle that is consistent with the white cabinets - and I would take the mantle siding all the way up the wall (or take the brick up the wall) - something to give it some continuity and presence to that fireplace. Look at this example: Atherton Holiday House Tour

For the floors - either you go with a floor that is consistent with your bleached/whitewashed walls, or you go for high contrast. with something darker. Something too in-between will make it look like a lot of brown in the room. Don't know where you live, but stone floors (like slate) with pine looks beautiful. I did it at my cottage:) If you did that though, you would have to clad your fireplace surround in slate (just a bit where the sood doesn't cover) Here's a picture of slate floorss although the walls aren't pine in this picture. Entry Hall
1 Like   May 9, 2012 at 8:53AM
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Imagine That
Over the years, the finish (probably shellac) on knotty pine paneling, will age to an over ripe orange color that is dark and depressing. Unless you have big bucks to have it refinished, then I vote to paint it.

The look of whitewash is nice and clean and great on new, unfinished paneling. That was actually my first thought when I read this but if you go to whitewash it, won't all that shiny finish have to be stripped or at the very least, sanded down before the whitewash or pickling will "take"?

I think I would put a coat of Kilz on it and paint it a creamy white color, The bar could be painted the same as the walls or even a different color like a mossy green.

The fireplace would look great with a beefed up mantle or even better than that would be a fireplace surround/mantle in the same color as the walls or just one shade darker or lighter. That would cover part of the brick and would make them look less dated.
Leave the beams in the ceiling and the top of the bar natural wood tone, if you want. Replace some of the country elements, do some upholstery, add some beautiful lamps and your room will be wonderful and inviting.
   May 9, 2012 at 9:08AM
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ruthieq
all are great ideas..love the sheet idea.. I don't like knotty pine , but I have a dinning room with pecky cedar walls and ceiling..of raw wood never painted or treated in any way..it is the room everyone goes to so warm and inviting..how about painting the pennsula same color as your cabnets see how you like it then paint your fireplace this will brighten up your room .. also love the idea of painting you stools like your pottery.
1 Like   May 9, 2012 at 9:15AM
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veillem
I say paint it! But keep some wood to keep the warmt in the room.
   May 9, 2012 at 9:15AM
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swanswimmer12
Our basement rec room looked a lot like yours. We got a primer paint especially designed to use with slick, shiny walls. It allowed the regular paint to adhere well to the wood. We used Sherwin Williams "sea oats" - a creamy whitish color for the finish paint. Looks great. Much lighter room - very cottage like. We also painted the fireplace bricks white and painted the mantel and hearth a sagey celadon green shade.
   May 9, 2012 at 9:25AM
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Imagine That
I painted my bar stools. They were great til we started to nick them up. They got nasty looking real quickly. Kids and hubby put their feet on the bottom rungs and scuff them up. I am going to buy new ones and if you want a different color, I would advise anyone to do the same.
   May 9, 2012 at 10:03AM
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Lisa Trapanese
I see in a previous comment that you are also considering cladding the fireplace in another material (wood) thereby possibly changing the look entirely. First, decide upon whether you want a cottage look or an entirely different look. Then, find a suitable palette to work from that reflects both the style you've chosen and your personal preferences regarding hue and value. If you want to retain the warm golds offered by the pine paneling and you want to maintain the cottage look, yet you want to lighten the value of the color reflected by the walls, then pickle or white-wash the paneling and retain the rusticity offered by the knotty pine. If you don’t like the contrast of the pink-red cast of the brick against the yellow-gold of the paneling, but you want to have a peachy color as you background neutral, then, by referencing the color of the existing brick, use a peach or pink-tinted pickling stain. If it’s the texture of the brick that you object to and want to change, then be careful with the notion of cladding it in wood for two reasons: 1) If you build it yourself, be conscious of its flammability. Use the correct offset from the opening. 2) Using too many different woods can cause an undesired busyness to the overall look. An alternative to sheathing the brick with wood, use a stone instead. Your options regarding hue value and texture are wide open. Just bear in mind when selecting it that you have a certain look and color to aim for. Decide firmly upon the style of the room, and the hue and value of the colors that you want for the room – then choose your paints/stains and materials accordingly.
   May 9, 2012 at 11:02AM
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Mission Millworks
Painting the paneled walls should not be too dificult of a decision. It's only paint and would definitely brighten and update the room. I say its only paint because it can always be stripped or sanded of at a later date, but i think once you see it painted you will never want to go back. I would however paint the ilsand peninsula another accent color. A nuetral tone (light sage or yellow) that would open up the space and make the room feel less divided. Maybe that could be youir starting point. paint the peninsula first and see if the family agrees.
1 Like   May 9, 2012 at 11:35AM
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Cheri
So many great ideas and suggestions! I really appreciate all this input!
   May 9, 2012 at 1:00PM
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GizV
I think contrast is missing in this room. I would:
Change the wood barstools to a dark brown metal base and light colored seats.
Change the countertop from wood to a light colored quartz with specks of brown and bronze.
Paint or pickle the fireplace mantle and hearth to a light color in keeping with the countertop color.
Spray paint the wicker chair to a darker brown.

For your new wood floors, I would find a mid range brown that is close in color to the knots. It would be a neutral base that can work with the knotty pine or any paint color.

If you really want to lose the knotty pine, I like the suggestion of changing the bar first to give your family an idea of what it would look like.
   May 9, 2012 at 1:06PM
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Cheri
For y'all who are recommending bleaching the pine paneling....do I have to strip the varnish/poly off first? Has any of you ever bleached walls?
   May 9, 2012 at 1:24PM
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occhi
I would keep the knotty pine. Definitely paint the hearth and mantle a creamy white, and maybe add crown molding in the same color. I like what you put on the mantle. It looks great against the pine. I wouldn't paint the brick. Keep everything else simple and light. Paint the supports for the wood counter in the same creamy white (you might want to change that in time). I would hang some artwork --birds, florals, even sea-themed(framed in creamy white frames). I might also change the hardware on the cabinets to a more rustic iron finish. I would keep the carpet. I think any color hardwood floor would compete with the walls. If you really want to paint the wicker, that's fine, but I would not want to go through the trouble. Just get new solid color seat cushions in a warm, light, earthy tone (cabinet color--mossy green?, or yellow) and some cream colored pillows with a some of the color of the cushions. A new standing lamp might be nice, maybe in the rustic iron with a creamy linen shade. I love the Fiesta pitchers, but the color is too much for me. I would stick to creamy white, rustic iron, the color of the cabinets, and maybe another color like yellow. You can add more creamy white ceramics, some clear glass, and pillar candles in creamy white and your accent colors. A nice throw in an accent color also. A pretty glass cocktail table would look nice. Work with what you have. It's a cute, cozy room...you would be surprised with what you can do with a trip to Homegoods, without any major projects like painting paneling and putting in new floors!
1 Like   May 9, 2012 at 2:07PM
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corba58
Definitely paint it - you will love it!
   May 9, 2012 at 2:22PM
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Cheri
Occhi and others.... the Fiesta pitchers are gone. More white items on top of cabinets, cabinets now painted a creamy white with a slight glaze on them. Maybe too much going on in the room? Pictures below taken a few minutes ago. I'm still waivering on painting or not painting. Seems we have a 50/50 split! Painting mantel has been on my list for awhile now....
   May 9, 2012 at 2:44PM
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occhi
Now that the cabinets are white, I would not paint the walls. You need the contrast with the cabinets. Definitely paint the mantel too. It's coming along. Not sure what the backsplash is? could do something with that. It looks more orange than the pine wall. A little too much clutter. Maybe just a plant in a ceramic container on the top of the fridge. One thing on the cocktail table--and no runner. Nothing on top of the stove. I would use pillar candles instead of candlesticks on the fireplace mantle. When you have knick knacks everywhere, your eyes don't know what to focus on. Better to use just a few larger items. White place mats on the bar stool island might pull together well with the newly-painted cabinets. Since you have green elsewhere, maybe some green plates and pretty casual goblets as place setting. Clear everything else off the counters so the focus is on the place settings. You want to try to balance your colors in the room so that it flows. Maybe creamy linen pillows instead of the orange & floral. Might consider a solid jute rug in the kitchen--go darker than the living area.
2 Likes   May 9, 2012 at 3:33PM
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chindowney
I think the majority is for painting and I strongly agree.

I think lightening the walls and integrating them with the freshly painted cabinets is the way to go. A reduced color palate will make the area feel lighter, cleaner, more spacious and less cluttered.

I'd start in a small or somewhat hidden area (such as the front of the bar) and do a semi-transparent wash with an off-while following these instructions :

http://www.ehow.com/how_12137492_make-white-wash-painted-walls.html

If you don't like the look you can literally wash it off even after it dries.. If you want a more opaque look you simply add more washes or just paint..

(Pickling or bleaching require complete removal of existing surface.)

Good Luck and let us know what you do !!!
   May 9, 2012 at 4:22PM
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christymack
We had a very similar look when we purchased our home. We sanded and painted all the pine walls cloud white by benjamin moore and it was one of the best remodel decisions we ever made. we love it- wonderful, open cottage feel and tons of light with airy feeling. going from pine to white completely transformed our home!
1 Like   May 9, 2012 at 9:18PM
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camas
Def paint. we did only some of the walls in our cabin and it brightened the whole room and even made it appear larger. We did a creamy white and a "weird" green under the kitchen cabinets.
   May 10, 2012 at 8:12AM
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Durpetti Interiors
I would recommend painting the walls as well. It will brighten and give a fresh look to the space. The texture of the painted paneling will look great!
   May 12, 2012 at 5:56AM
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smasko
It depends on what type of look you want for your room. Myself, I would definitely keep the knotty pine walls...they're rustic and cozy. To break up the knotty pine a little bit I would invest in doing a different base to your counter and doing a rustic rocky look to your fireplace to contrast the walls. When I look at the picture it's not the walls that I think need to be changed it's things such as the counter & base, fireplace or flooring. It is a very cozy and quaint living space, but you have to think what type of look do you want your living space to have...right now I see a cottage-like, rustic and cozy look.
1 Like   May 12, 2012 at 6:17AM
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nadine2012
This was interesting reading. I just got done painting a half wall of knotty pine in our family room and am SO HAPPY with the results. I think people that like it, like it. If you want to paint it, paint it! When we purchased our house (7 years ago) I thought to myself, "that knotty pine has to go!" It looks lovely now. I did use a good primer, oil based for glossy surfaces and it hid the black knots perfectly with two coats. This is all just a personal decision -- and if you think you want it gone, having people tell you it's a shame to paint over perfectly good wood just have a different opinion of what looks good. Have faith in yourself! I'm so happy I took that big step and painted ours. Good luck.
   May 12, 2012 at 8:51AM
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Cheri
Fireplace painted.....and I L.O.V.E. it!
1 Like   May 15, 2012 at 2:20PM
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feeny
Hurrah! It looks fabulous!
   May 15, 2012 at 2:34PM
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houssaon
I think that the white cabinets and the white fireplace look great. Love your arrangement on the mantle.

Now you're happy and the rest of your family is too!

Crisp white sheers on the windows in both rooms will bring the whole look up a notch.
2 Likes   May 15, 2012 at 2:53PM
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Cheri
houssaon: white sheers are next! (and maybe removing items on top of cabinets!) Thanks so much for your input!
   May 15, 2012 at 2:58PM
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chindowney
Like the fireplace-

-However, since you painted it, you might find it difficult to keep the hearth clean and fresh looking. I had that problem several years ago and wished I had placed a flat piece of iron roughly 12 inches front to back and 24 inches wide to catch the soot, ash and misc which come from regular use and cleaning.

-Still favor paint on the walls starting with a light wash (one which would allow the knots to show) as described in my earlier comment.

Good luck and keep us posted!
.
   May 15, 2012 at 3:19PM
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Cheri
Thanks Chindowny...It's a gas fireplace so we shouldn't have too much trouble. The hearth is wood and easily painted.
Seriously considering whitewashing or pickling the walls. (probably in the fall)
   May 15, 2012 at 3:40PM
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chindowney
- Thanx for the info on the fireplace.

-Pickling installed wood on the wall is difficult and creates "one mell of a hess." Whitewashing is simple, cheap, easy, and reversible.
   May 15, 2012 at 4:26PM
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Cheri
Chindowney .... Where can I find good instructions on how to whitewash?
   May 15, 2012 at 4:42PM
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GizV
Hi Cheri. The fireplace looks amazing! I hope you'll keep posting the changes. This has been a lot of fun to follow. Lots of good information and interesting ideas.
   May 15, 2012 at 4:52PM
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chindowney
One place to find whitewashing instructions is here:
http://www.ehow.com/how_12137492_make-white-wash-painted-walls.html

(I included the link and other tips in my original comments to you six days ago.)
   May 15, 2012 at 5:55PM
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Cheri
must have missed the link....see it now!
   May 15, 2012 at 7:23PM
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trudeaudog
Oh Cheri, this is my same issue right now too. I am having a hard time to find pictures which to show my family to get them on board. Please post pictures if you make the plunge. And the fireplace is wonderful!!!
   August 8, 2012 at 5:25PM
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tdaa
I think I would paint the fireplace brick white and then the island wood a fun color! I think you are right about breaking up all the wood look - so this is another option. It is very cute though - lovely place. Enjoy!
   August 8, 2012 at 5:37PM
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K Davis
I lived with this same paneling for 30 years because I was afraid the knots would show thru and everybody said, "you don't want to cover that real wood." But I had it painted light beige with white trim and I love it. It lightened the room tremendously and I love it. No regrets.
   August 8, 2012 at 5:39PM
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Cheri
trudeaudog ... walls still aren't painted. I've been watching trends and it seems that these knotty pine walls are coming back in style (doesn't everything after awhile?) I added white sheers on windows and adding wood floors this fall. Light colored wood floors.
   August 8, 2012 at 6:07PM
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smasko
I agree the knotty pine walls are definitely making a come back, but I guess it's the type of room you want. If you're looking for a rustic, cottage-like look the knotty pine walls are it! If you're looking for a more up to date traditional look then painting them and getting rid of the knots would be the thing to do. It all comes down to what kind of look you want your room to have.
   August 8, 2012 at 7:07PM
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KILZ Brands
Hello Cheri!

Before you start any paint project, you want to ensure that the surface is clean, dry, and dull. When painting over finished paneling, prep is a very important first step. First, rough up the surface of the paneling with a pole sander that has been fitted with a sanding screen (rather than paper). Next, apply an interior oil-based undercoat primer like KILZ Original. It is important not to use a latex base because it would allow moisture to get underneath the paint, causing the paneling to swell and mildew to grow. For the grooves in the paneling, use spackle to fill in gaps and allow it to dry about two hours before sanding. Finish the wall with another coat of oil-based sealer and allow it to dry.
Now the surface can be treated like drywall so you can proceed with applying your preferred top coat.

If you live in an area where products that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as solvents and alkyds, are banned you will have to find a substitute. We would recommend our newest product KILZ MAX as a substitute to an oil-based primer. It is a water-based primer, sealer and stainblocker developed with new technology that’s formulated to perform like an oil-based product. Currently, KILZ MAX Primer can be found at The Home Depot and Lowe’s stores in California and The Home Depot in Philadelphia, PA.

We hope this helps! Please let us know how it goes, we always love to see before and after photos.
   September 21, 2012 at 8:41AM
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addys
I really like what you did. It brightened and contemporized the room. Have you considered changing the bar stools out to a lighter color that coordinates with the white? Perhaps you can paint or whitewash these. I think it would help to visually bridge the white from the fireplace into the white on the kitchen cupboards.
   September 21, 2012 at 9:08AM
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