Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dear Lord! Not Wood!!

As some of you know, I am a lover of knotty pine. Of paneling. Of wood walls. I'm so all about it. Our house is full of it and one of the main reasons that we actually bought this place was because it is still authentic and has the original wood paneling and cabinetry.












Today, I was led to the Apartment Therapy site. Which I usually don't allow to happen because it sometimes just confounds me. There are honestly some great design ideas on there - but sites where people sit around and anonymously (and quite often cruelly) critique the styles of others wear away at my nerves.

It just so happens that today they are talking about wood paneling and oh my gosh, could it actually be coming back in style? You can go here to see.

And have mercy at the comments. Such anger and disappointment that the writer would even so much as bring up the notion of wood paneling! At first, there was just denial:

Hideous knotty pine is not back.


And then disgust:

Ew. No. And I love the rustic look, but wood paneling just looks so dark and busy.


And those who faked injuries:

Oh lord, please pass the eye bleach, will you?

And then a ripple of fear swept in:

Nooooo. No.No.No.No.No.

I just ... It's so ... I mean ...BROWN. It's SO BROWN. I just can't stand any of it. Not a single one of the examples pictured is appealing to me. There is just no way I could get behind leaving any paneling natural in a home where lived. I would be compelled to paint it immediately. The BROWN! my eyes!!

Wow, that person really hates brown. And then a true suspension of disbelief (and suicidal tendencies) took over the comment thread:

I'd be interested to know how many of the people who commented in a positive manner regarding wood paneling, actually live in a wood paneled house...24 hours a day...7 days a week. It's not cool, chic, contemporary or anything but depressing. It sucks the light and color out of everything. I always joke with my husband that one of these days I'm going to tear it down and slit my wrists with the wood shards.





Now add in a little indignation and parental dissing:

No. Absolutely not. There is no excuse for this. Please stop the insanity.

No. Wrong. just wrong. my parents bought a house with this fugly wood paneling in '86. It wasnt cute then. Its not cute now.


Not ever in MY house, thanks very much. Kill this "trend" now, before it spreads!


I love how that last one compares wood paneling to a horrible, communicable disease. Then you have the elitists:

There's wood paneling from the 50's that's rich and real. Think gorgeous built-in studies in uber-wealthy homes. Then there's that notched crap from the late sixties and seventies that makes you want to cry -- hardly better than gussied up plywood and ubiquitous in that era -- even in expensive houses. One is Katherine Hepburn, the other is Happy Days.



I also love the comments where the people can't even fathom that some of us might actually live in houses with real wood paneling. Why, aren't we compelled to sleep in our cars and not even come inside at night? Do we keep the drapes drawn so that nobody will know our dirty little paneled secrets? Surely we don't actually live in our houses without spiraling into deep, dark depression! Picture The Snake Pit with Olivia de Havilland but instead of an insane asylum, put in it's place a knotty pine den. Chilling.

It's not cool, chic, contemporary or anything but depressing. It sucks the light and color out of everything. And I'd bet my last dime not a blessed one of the positive comments come from anyone who is forced to live in such wicked oppression.



Then you have the ones who blame pop culture:


Here we go... just because Mad Men is back, we'll have to suffer that crap again...


I bet this is one of the same people who buys up every vintage thing they can find and then tries to resell them online for ridiculous prices with the keywords "Mad Men" as if vintage items did not exist nor were they loved before Mad Men ever aired.

Then you have those who have to go into some kind of make-believe world to cope:

Ugh, there is nothing I hate more than wood paneling. I can live with any other aspect, but I just cannot do the paneling. I have to paint it and treat it like it's sheetrock and just do the best I can to ignore it.




And finally, there is the commenter who's having some pretty major angst filled childhood flashbacks:

It depresses me, disgusts me, fills me with dread. Nearly every negative childhood memory I have involves some place with wood paneled walls. Ick, ick, ick. HATE it.




I'm not sure that I've ever seen so many thoroughly disgusted comments in one place on a design blog. I firmly believe that some of these comments wouldn't be filled with so much bile if the people who made them weren't covering up their secret love for wood paneling. Just sayin'.

We have a saying in the South which goes "Bit dog hollers". That means that the one who barks the first and loudest is probably the one that we should be looking at. I'm talkin' to you, person who asked for eye wash!

And mark my words...one day soon, the tide will shift. Sure, it will take some huge event like Zooey Deschanel saying that she loves wood paneling. Or Etsy sellers hawking knotty pine mustaches on sticks. But it will happen.

Until next time,
x's and o's,
Eartha

54 comments:

Coedith said...

This post is awesome! I am so in love with knotty pine..but not as in love as they are in hate. Goodness! Themz some strong feelins' they got!

Stephany said...

I must admit I cringed a little when I started reading your post, but the wood in your photos seems to be a lot higher quality than the paneling I faced in my childhood. I really love the kitchen that's pictured. :-)

SusieQT said...

We bought our house because it had knotty pine paneling also. And it had a pink bathroom- double bonus for the haters!

Rueby... said...

My Dad put wood panelling in our basement in the 1990s and I always quite liked it. It's a light colour, not dark. I'm not a *huge* fan of having every wall paneled unless it's a basement, but 1 or 2 is quite nice as an accent on upper floors and I do love the kitchens!!

What Remains Now said...

I'm neutral on wood paneling...neither a lover nor a hater, but I love this post. Hilarious!

pulchritude said...

I love this. I was just talking to my mom about wood paneling today. My husband and I are thinking about moving into a house with a partially wood-paneled living room. At one time, I wouldn't have loved it. But now I associate with happy memories at my grandparents' house.

Dakota said...

I love this post!! So funny. Growing up, my dad's house was a classic 1960s ski chalet, and very much 'of its time'.... we had dark wood panelling galore (along with sparkly formica countertops and an antler chandelier, naturally) and to this day I love the stuff. It sounds as though some of those commenters are letting bad childhood memories cloud their judgment ;)

Beta Mike said...

There are certainly different types of wood paneling to be sure. Unfortunately, one of the houses I grew up in had the veneer and would splinter and bow from the adhesive coming off the back (I call this version the trailer wood paneling). My aunt on the other hand is blessed with same type of gorgeous knotty pine kitchen that you and Mr. have.

I am a firm believer that wood paneling trumps any other style of wall covering - with a nod to fabulous cedar lined closets. There is an unmistakable home-like smell that comes with having a wood interior or paneling.

Lauren Ashtin Mocny-Branum said...

Haha! I love this post. People truly over react over things they shouldn't even be upset about. Because somehow the wood paneling is going to haunt them at their day job where they discuss "can you believe people like wood paneling?"

pinktrees said...

we just bought a house from 1966 with almost original everything...minus a mid 70's remodel that refaced/added on to the kitchen cabinets and heinous carpeting over hand inlaid parquet. we're actually trying to find some gorgeous REAL wood paneling like yours to replace the fake stuff in our den! the rental house we lived in previously had gorgeous deep honey paneling and i would kill (or maybe just hurt. slightly) someone for some!

erin said...

1. your house is fabulous!
2. your cat looks like my cat lemmy soo much!
3. another vintage telephone lover? hello, i got yer number!

Welcome to DeluxeVille said...

You are to funny!

Do you hate me because I recently painted my "in not such good condition" wood paneling? I'm not trying to pretend it's drywall...I just wanted it to look like wood paneling but painted white. :)

Your kitchen is beautiful but I imagine if you wouldn't have been the ones to buy the house, another owner would have renovated the kitchen. Sad to think about!

Laura said...

What's that funny burning smell? Oh, it's the concentrated scorn of smug hipsters. I often read Apartment Therapy, but I try to avoid the comments, because they all take themselves too seriously. They probably could use a (non-microbrewed) beer in knotty pine kitchen. :)

hannah said...

oh eartha, i love your blog so much. almost as much as i love wood panelling. your posts always make my day. that crisis counselor call center photo just kills me!!!

Pam Kueber said...

Yes, there must also have been paneling in the Mitchell & Webb house with the Avocado Bathroom (HORRORS!) and the Flocked Wallpaper (ACK! Dare I print the words!) Hilarious post, EK.

SUZY8-TRACK said...

Gotta say, I like your knotty pine paneling and your kitchen is lovely...don't paint a thing! I had wood paneling and beamed ceilings in my first apartment and it never bothered me nor instill the hatred that seems to be coming from those comments from Apartment Therapy that you posted. I used to be an avid reader of Apartment Therapy, but have to admit, I don't visit nearly as much as I used to because of the snarky-ness.

Pam Kueber said...

P.S. They can't take BROWN, but GREIGE is great????? Shoot me.

Sara In AZ said...

Great post girl!!!!

I LOVE paneling and I SO completely hope to find some in our future dream house.

And you just know that HATER of brown probably has her walls painted that light brown color of "toast" that is SO popular these a days!!!! :D

Anonymous said...

You realize these same people who profess to hate brown will likely paint that paneling ... tan/toast/greige. Which is just another name for brown, if you ask me.
Kate

Karen/Small Earth Vintage said...

Oh man, this is hilarious! People are so ridiculous. I love the paneling in your home. I also live in a home with wood paneling--ours is cherry wood--and I don't *think* I'm depressed because of it. lol. We considered painting it all white awhile back, but a friend (from The Big City, NYC, no less!) told us our paneling was "too nice" to paint over. So we only painted it in the bedroom. I'm glad we didn't paint it all. It's a lovely deep reddish-brown color, and my paint by numbers (I have a few framed horses that look like yours!) look awesome hanging on it.

Stacy @ Stacyverb said...

Wow, who knew wood paneling could ignite such fierce emotions on both sides of the debate? Another great post, as usual! I've added a link to your blog on the sidebar of my blog, so more people can experience your hilariousness. :)

Jill said...

The pine brings back memories of my grandparent's 1957 ranch. We have a '52 ranch with the same floor plan, but sadly no pine. :(

Laura said...

OMG this post is fantastic! Notty pine isn't my personal taste, but that's what makes the world interesting, our differences in taste! If we all liked the same thing, how boring would life be??? :-)

PS You must admit though, there is some wood paneling out there that IS in fact hideous!

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Erin + Jeannine said...

the Zooey Deschanel comment is spot on! I loved reading this. I have 1950's pine kitchen cabinets that I *gasp* kept as is! Commence eye bleaching. I LOVE my cabinets, and I LOVE wood paneling (when done correctly) I was literally shaking my head in agreeance with everything you said. Thanks for the refreshing post!

Zakniteh said...

Haha, so much drama and hate. Who knew a simple thing as wood could muster so many buried emotions for some people. I adore wood, but I do admit that sometimes knotty wood paneling can be a bit much for my personal tastes. Loved the post =)

DearHelenHartman said...

Knotty pine is NOT just any wood paneling. IT's so warm and wonderful and may the people who think otherwise hit their head on the corner of an open cabinet. LOVE your captioned pics.

Vivian said...

I say if you love it, or anything for that matter, you need, no, you must kept it as is. Who cares what someone says is " in" or "out". Your kit hen photos are gorgeous and unique! Love the flagstone wall with the "windows" and shelves! Keep it all!

Vivian said...

You must keep what it is that you love! Who cares what is in or out for today! Your photos show a gorgeous setting!

mysocalledmodernlife said...

LOVE this post.

My 1959 house is almost entirely wood paneling (minus the bathrooms). The previous owners painted over one room and it looks hideous - might just be the color they chose, but I would kill for the unpainted paneling. When we bought the house, we had such a hard time explaining to people that our walls were covered in wood paneling and we had no intention of ripping them down, covering them with drywall, or painting over them.

Is save the wood paneling going to be the next save the pink bathroom?

Jenny A. said...

We're not ashamed to say we have a knotty pine basement and we LOVE it. My son's room is also entirely clad in knotty pine and he appreciates that it's warm and cozy. He's ten and very sophisticated for his age. ;-) Long live the knotty pine!

lynxymama said...

i think most of these peeps are confusing knotty pine with that sheeted board stuff from the 70s. my grandparents ran a resort on the north shore of lake superior and all of the cabins were BEAUTIFUL knotty pine on the inside with cobble lake superior stone fireplaces, you would die of delight! my great-grandfather built the cabins and he learned to build from his father in sweden!

Beth said...

Great post! I'm following you now, Eartha.

Lune Munro said...

hahahaha. Right on. I can't say I'm on the pannel wagon, but I respect your right to like it. Come one people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one anothers wall covering choices right now.

Kitsch and Curious said...

So many comments! You see, everyone likes to express their opinion, and I'm no exception! I think the Apartment Therapy comments were just what people do when it comes to fashion - you have to love or hate it, or else there's no fashion, or 'taste' or 'style'.

In fact I was doing the same thing only yesterday. I picked up some interiors magazines (secondhand and free) and was amazed at how bland they all were. Everything painted cream or white, and the dullest kind of shabby chic accessories. Just no personality. But probably what a lot of people would like.

However, I did have knotty pine panelling in my old house and I didn't like it, because it was done in a botched 1980s fashion, with no sensitivity to the house itself (a 1905 2-up 2-down British terraced house). If I lived in a ranch house it would be different. Anyone seeing your wonderful house would fall in love with pine, I'm sure.

As ever, context is everything.

Sandi said...

Your post is fabulous and gave me a good giggle. I love wood paneling and surely it's not for everyone. I guess by some of the ridiculous comments we can tell people are indifferent. I personally grew up (and my parents are still in the same house) in a home with wood paneled walls, wood floors and a lot of wood detailing, including a full wood kitchen like yours (which btw is fantastic looking!). I think people get confused with faux wood panels which are tacky and blah. Real wood is so pretty, we are currently updating our home with more and more wood detail, I got some stares when I told people I loved the wood colored trim over white and we replaced it all with a nice honey colored stain to match our floors. Some people just have no taste ;)

Stacey said...

You are hilarious! I especially love the picture of the "crisis center" -- snoooooooze.

Call me, uh, old fashioned but I thought "fashion" was for clothes. If you update your decor with every "fashion" that comes around, you will soon be broke. And living in an ultimately unfashionable house.

Jen said...

LOL LOL Do the folks at the Crisis Center need any coffee? lol

I must say, though: while we LOVE actual wood (real wood) knotty pine panelling, because it is beautiful, our last home's upstairs (which we turned into our master) had been done in the plastic stuff from the 70s. I know this because the Kmart price tags were still on the backs of some of the pieces, something I noticed when I tore them out.

Honestly...the plastic, fake version was pretty fugly, and we couldn't even paint over it. There was no beauty to it, unlike real wood paneling. So down it came, replaced with drywall. Had it been the real thing, though...My claw marks on the front porch, left when I had to be physically pulled away upon moving, would be even deeper. We nearly bought a home with stunning wood paneling in a couple of the rooms—unfortunately, I'm pretty sure Jimmy Hoffa, the JFK tapes, Godzilla's bride and the real secret of NIMH were buried next door. Alas.

I do wonder if, as others have suggested, some of these clearly deeply wounded commenters at AT are confusing the real thing with the plastic stuff from the 70s and 80s. If this is a case, it IS a crisis. They need to see your stunning kitchen, and then they would absolutely change their minds.

Or just prove that they are indeed a bit loopy.

Hilarious post. People need to calm the heck down. They aren't living there...stay in your greige home and let the rest of us have knotty pine and pink bathrooms!

Lisa said...

The pro knotty pine post to end all pro knotty pine posts! I wanted to stand on my chair burst into applause. And why WERE those commenters so critical for no good reason? You don't go to THEIR house and criticize what THEY love about it. The guy with the Hepburn/Happy Days comment?! Crazy! People are so rude under the guise of being "strong opinoned". Tell 'em to go soak their heads!

PS Also, your house is my dream house. Goes without saying, but seriously. How could anyone hate so pristine a MCM?

Catherine Slye said...

Some just want to hear the sound of their own voice. Blithering idiots.

Averyl Hill, M.S. said...

Oh ranch sister, my house has knotty pine, too only the previous owner painted them white! I would love to have the natural color back!

frecklewonder said...

eartha kitsch, i love you.

Crystal Lee said...

You are brilliant! I personally would love a wood paneled home!

d.ambrose said...

This made me laugh so hard. Every wall in my laundry room is covered with knotty pine. I can't bring myself to paint it, I can't say I like it but it's not eye bleaching worthy either. Thanks for the good laugh.

Robert Dulaney said...

ugh. i hate all people. always. wood paneling is amazing. i'm actually scouting locations for photo shoots because they have paneling. it's so fun and sort of vintage-y. those AP folks sure do have a lot of opinions.

cmtigger said...

I know this is a late reply, but I just found photos of my grandma's house (it was sold about 8 years ago and it is back on the market.). The current owners left the knotty pine in the kitchen, and the pink bathroom. They took out the carpet (which is probably a good thing), but they painted over the rest of the knotty pine in the house. So sad about that, it was gorgeous wood. Maybe it can be stripped and salvaged, I found some behind other panelling in my kitchen, but it was too damaged to restore, or it would have been done.

Gail Dedrick said...

I can't stand Apartment Therapy. And I love most wood paneling.

Cleo Ward said...

We are actually thinking of installing knotty pine panelling in our living room (gasp). Some find this downright disturbing. Carry on brave panelled soldierette.

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enigmalea said...

I just looked at and offered on a home built in 1955 BECAUSE of the knotty pine paneling. The front room is gorgeous real wood paneling and the dining room used it as wainscoating. I wish there were a little less of it in the dining room, because it's asymmetrical and it makes the room look short, but it's nothing that the right paint color can't balance out. There is pink paint and pink tile EVERYWHERE in the bathrooms and that will eventually go.

I don't think I'll ever touch the wood paneling in this house. Ironically, I did paint the terrible 70s and 80s paneling in the first house I ever lived in, because it wasn't real wood and looked so horribly cheap. There is definitely a difference in quality.

Melissa said...

I have actually had people visit MY home tell me that they hate wood paneling, while standing in my wood paneled livingroom as though it is no big deal!! Some people have no manners!

Sheldon said...

The knotty pine kitchen cabinets were a huge reason we bought our house 8 yrs. ago. When we had the kitchen remodeled in 2012, we actually had the cabinets removed, modified a little to add more storage, spiffed up and put back in all of their knotty glory.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your awesome post!

I love knotty pine paneling, cabinets, and shelves. I grew up in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York State and everyone used knotty pine. I am moving into a new home and I can't find affordable knotty pine cabinets anywhere. Sigh. I would love to find some cabinets that someone was removing. Best wishes to you and to all your commenters.

Anonymous said...

We have the pine planking on the walls in our family room. We are changing the flooring and cannot decide what kind of wood looks best with the pine walls-- any suggestions?