Reader Alicia and her husband bought their 1955 mountain cabin just 12 hours after seeing it — even though they knew they had work to do. The cabin itself was in great shape, but the previous owners had painted nearly all of the original knotty pine walls, ceilings, woodwork, doors and windows white. Virtually every wall and ceiling surface of the 1,800 s.f. cabin was whitewashed — ouch! Undeterred, the knotty-pine-loving couple started up their sanders and broke out the amber shellac — restoring all the gorgeous, original knotty pine back to warm, woodsy and wonderful!
I just wanted to say Hi and thank you for such a great site! My family and I purchased a WONDERFUL 1955 cabin in the mountains of Montana. The cabin was built in 1955 on an old, very small ski mountain which closed for business in the 60’s. My husband and I saw the real estate listing for it about a year ago, and purchased it twelve hours later. Typically we do not make crazy decisions on impulse, but we knew we just had to buy it (of course, we hadn’t sold the current house we were living in, but that’s another story!)
Many of its wonderful, original features were intact, but sadly many were “updated”. Every single wood surface, except the beams (which were thankfully left alone) was painted white over the original knotty pine interior….the ceiling, the windows, the doors, EVERYTHING!! I will add a pic of a “before” wall, just so you can see. My husband and I sanded down EVERY SINGLE SURFACE in the entire 1,800 sq. ft. cabin. We then used amber shellac to create an original feel…it came out so beautifully!!
Precautionary Pam jumps in here to remind: Remember, readers, that the surfaces and layers of the materials in our old houses may contain vintage nastiness like lead and asbestos. Be sure to consult with a properly licensed professional to assess/test what you have before getting out those sanders! Renovate Safe!
We worked SO HARD on the paneling and it is fun to share the results!
We have made only cosmetic restorations that we could complete ourselves because of a very limited budget. Our next project is to expand the kitchen and try to recreate a knotty pine kitchen. Eventually we plan to remodel the kitchen and expand it into the dining room a bit (the dining room is larger than it needs to be and the kitchen is super small). The kitchen still has half of its original white, metal cabinetry, and the original GE freezer ( which we now use as a refrigerator, thanks to a new thermostat to convert it). The hardwood floors are original throughout, as are the beams, windows, and fireplaces in the dining room and master bedroom.
We just love our cabin and are thankful that we could purchase it and restore it….most of the time in our area, old cabins like this are torn down to make room for a large “trophy house”.
I am just glad to share our labor of love with you….it is so nice to visit your site and see posts from others who appreciate pine paneling and don’t want to paint over it!
Alicia — what an inviting home!
I’ve never understood why people buy a house like this — which likely attracts them in the first place with its woodsy feel — and then completely neutralize it with paint. Isn’t the whole point of buying a cabin in the woods, to feel like you are in a cabin in the woods?
We can only imagine the hours of backbreaking work it must have taken to remove all of that white paint. The final results look amazing — so inspiring!