101 design ideas to decorate knotty pine — 24 page catalog from 1960

mid-century-knotty-pine-kitchenLet's-decorate-1960Today’s vintage 1960 catalog is a real treat — especially for those of us who love knotty pine. And even if you are not sure about the knotty, this 1960 look at “101 Home Ideas Featuring the 10 Fine Woods of the Western Pine Region” might update your view.  For example, I have always considered knotty pine in terms of its Early American heritage…. something that today, we’d play up in a kitschy way. But take a look at the kitchen above: Knotty pine goes all mid century modern — and it looks pretty good! Check out this catalog — 24 pages — to see wood the way that homeowners saw it back in the day.

knotty-pine-kitchen-with-trim-on-counter-edgeThis Americana kitchen looks like it belongs in a Storybook Ranch house — look at the awesome built in controls for the stove top and the decorative scalloped trim on the counter edges and undersides of the upper cabinets. Dig the window treatments. Dig the wallpaper. Is that a built-in barbecue peeking at us over on the left? Is that a Lamb Chops cookie jar over on the right?

knotty-pine-kitchen-with-bar-seating-vintageHere’s another view of the same kitchen, taking a look at the eat-in bar area. It combines knotty pine with stone to face the bar. The flooring (vintage Armstrong, wethinks) continues the stone motif throughout the kitchen, while the posts that hold up the interior awning coordinate with the captains chairs at the bar.

unusual-knotty-pine-ceiling-vintageAbove: A third photo of the same house — you can tell because the window treatments are carried room-to-room. This is a great design idea if your house is small and you want to unite adjacent living spaces; it also saves on agonizing decisions about often-expensive window treatments. We love this cafe curtain treatment, as well — a nice design idea if you want privacy and light at the same time. The curtains themselves are also beautifully designed — a little bit of color, but not so much as to draw too much attention… and the scalloped design where the cafes hook to the rod is a nice, subtle touch.

knotty-pine-kitchen-with-tile-counters-retroThe kitchen above has a more modern looking pine design — the use of multi leveled counters with what must have been the most cutting edge custom, built-in appliances and lack of ornamentation make this kitchen feel more minimalistic than kitschy.

knotty-pine-kitchen-with-tea-kettle-lampDoes anyone else love the tea kettle pendant light in this kitchen as much as I do? And, laying the copper metal tiles on the diagonal is a lovely idea. Wallpaper: A small-print geometric, on the soffits, just like in Pam’s kitchen. These are nice design touches that adds a bit of fun to this otherwise straight forward utilitarian space.

pink-knotty-pine-bathroom-vintageCould this be? A pink vintage pine bathroom? Yes: The text says, “A gray-glazed pink enamel over clear grade ponderosa pine….” Yum. Terrific storage in this pine bathroom, too.

knotty-pine-cabinets-in-vintage-bathroomHere’s a bathroom with loads of personality. Scalloped edges are everywhere. White knobs pop off the wood, over exaggerated hinges line the doors — and those decorative fish tiles set into the backsplash — to die for. I also spy a Hall-Mack revolving toothbrush holder. This bathroom has it all.

knotty-pine-and-tile-vintage-bathroomMore scalloped trim decorate the built-in light fixture and shelves in this mid century bathroom. It is nice to see the pine mixed with pastel and checkerboard in this space — which gives the bathroom a balance between a masculine and feminine feel. Interesting also is how things line up in this bathroom. The curtains meet the edge of the trim on the light, the tile backsplash runs all the way up to the underside of the shelf and mirror. These touches give the room a very intentional and finished feeling.

knotty-pine-retro-bathroomIf it is possible to go overboard with knotty pine in a bathroom — this would be that bath. Knotty pine covers every surface — the walls, the counter top, the knobs, the medicine cabinets — heck, I think if it were possible, they might have used knotty pine sinks and toilets.  Sound yucky? Don’t forget: It wasn’t until after World War II that many homes got indoor toilets. Before that, we had outhouses — wooden thrones. We love outhouse stories. Here’s our favorite: An outhouse named Sally.

knotty-pine-cathedral-ceiling-retroRound rooms are always intriguing — but this one takes the cake with its radial pine domed ceiling, high shelf for knick knacks, flamboyant wallpaper, and paneling that follows the curve of the room. All with pretty modern looking furniture!

knotty-pine-fireplace-surround-vintageSurely it is not a normal thing to make a fireplace out of knotty pine — even the inside seems to be pine-lined. Huh?

knotty-pine-in-laundry-room-vintageThis adorable vintage laundry room — love that washer/dryer combo — employs pine in the built-in cabinet that must conceal all the “un cute” items that belong in a laundry room.

knotty-pine-basement-workshop-retroThe basement rec room — or in this case, workshop — is a place where we often see wood paneling in a mid century home. 

knotty-pine-rec-roomHere an entire basement has been transformed into a fun and usable space with the help of Western Pine. Complete with a built-in bar, shelves and TV space, this is one terrific space.

knotty-pine-wall-built-in-tv-retroSpeaking of built-in television sets — here is another — this one presumably on the main floor of the house. In the days before flat screen TVs, this must have been an exciting space saver.

vintage-knotty-pine-finishesThe catalog shows several finishes and effects that can be achieved using different pine species and glazes. Yellowstone appears to be the color most people think about when they imagine an knotty pine room. We *think* that Amber Shellac — still available today — is the classic finish.

To see all 24 pages of this fantastic catalog, view the slideshow below.

Thanks to the MBJ Collection via archive.org for making this catalog available via Creative Commons license.

Tips to view slide show: Click on first image… it will enlarge and you can also read my captions… move forward or back via arrows below the photo… you can start or stop at any image:

  1. Cheryl says:

    Wow! I’ve lived in my 1947 home for 30 years and have always wondered what color stain the original owners used on all the knotty pine. It is somewhat unique and not as beautiful as most, but we have grown to love it. Thanks to your post, I now know that the color is “Klickitat Cloud”! BTW—I always love your posts.

  2. Dana says:

    When we bought our 1956 split foyer home 12 years ago it still had the original knotty pine kitchen cabinets, albeit in very poor condition. When we renovated the kitchen we made the bad decision to replace them with modern maple. If I was doing the renovation today I’d have the original cabinets refinished. There’s nothing like knotty pine! On the plus side, I did have the sense to save our original pink tile bathroom, with frosted glass light fixtures.

  3. Jacquie Y says:

    I’m sooo glad you started this part of the blog. This has been one of our favorite looks in any cozy home for such a long time. Glen and I always wanted to find a way to incorporate it into our decor, but the good stuff is hard to find and very expensive.
    Patience always prevails…we were fortunate enough to see an ad on Craigslist for 20 -12 inch wide Pickwick panels salvaged from a 70+ year old home in Prescott, AZ. about a month ago. My husband is the greatest! He took his brother with him to load and bought it all.
    I took a few out of the truck at a time, cleaned them, and did an amber shellac, and they look new. A few of the panels were a little damaged, so we have designed a way to get the most out of it and onto our dining room walls. There wasn’t enough to do full walls where we want it, so it will be cut to 5ft lengths, and put up from ceiling to the bottom of the dining room window.
    We had to buy trim, and after many coats of the shellac, it will be a good match. The panels are hard heart pine…beautiful. So glad we could give it a new home. .. the installation will be done Saturday Oct. 11th..can’t wait!
    I am envious of all the lovely homes with original pine decor, but now am happy to have the chance to use some that we “saved” . It looks so homey..will be a lovely addition to our dining room.
    A sidenote*. I know you wanted a little more history of the pine, and I came across a website you might enjoy, and then can do a little more hunting from there. Southwest Forest Industries was a company in McNary AZ. You can find more info online about the company, I was reluctant to send all of it because it is subject to copyright, but I had to send this one on to you. If you enlarge the pictures of the black locomotives, you can see the Southwest logo..on several of my panels, the logo is very visible, and looks to be branded into the wood. So neat! http://www.rgusrail.com/azslm12.html. Hope this helps with a bit of the research! I’m sure you know how to work out the copyright thing if you would like to use the pictures on your blog at some point.
    Thanks Pam and Kate for everything…you are the best. (Hope the recovery is going well Pam!)

  4. Debbie says:

    We have purchased a 1950s house with knotty pine walls in the kitchen and den and knotty pine cabinets. I want to keep the walls, but change the cabinets. They are in bad condition and the drawers are difficult to open. I don’t know what finish I need on the cabinets to coordinate with the knotty pine.

  5. Kathy says:

    I wonder if the cabinet next to the washer and dryer (I too love the angled front) conceals laundry bins in the bottom pull-out drawer, perhaps even a laundry chute if this is a 2-story (Garrison Colonial perhaps?). A nice idea still.

  6. Erin says:

    omg this is just what I need! We recently bought a house with a wonderful (almost) time capsule kitchen! The house was built in 1957 but the kitchen updated in the 60s and the house is DEFINITELY between styles (mid-century modern 1950 beams but 1960’s kitchen) however I couldn’t pinpoint the style! The wood isn’t pine, but it’s in the style of the lower left image in this photo, brackets, handles and everything!

    <3 Thank you for the historical tips. Now I know we can conscientiously and accurately renovate and revive!


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