Oh yes we did. We painted the paneling.

Things have gotten pretty much back to normal for me which means I've been busy, busy, busy.  If you haven't been following along, I had my hip replaced on 10/23/13 (because of hip dysplasia, not age) and my recovery was intentionally a bit slow.  My anatomy wasn't quite normal and my surgeon wanted to be conservative with my recovery.  But he gave me the green light at 6 months so I've been back painting, renovating, and gardening.  Life has been really great!

As the title of this post says, we painted the paneling.  And before any paneling purists out there say "why did you paint the WOOD?!" hear me out.  Our upstairs family room and hallway had/has wood paneled walls, wood floors, and a wall of built-in wood cabinetry.   You couldn't PUT any more wood in this room.  Well...maybe the ceiling but that was the only wood-portunity.

The paneling was not solid wood like the teak or mahogany walls you see in some mid-century homes, it was wood-veneer with grooves in it.  The grain was actually quite nice, which is why we lived with it for almost 4 years before deciding to paint.  I like wood, but not this much of it.  It felt very dark in there. It was downright depressing after the long winter we had here.

Another reason for painting is that some of the beautiful features of our room were getting lost with all that wood.  We have a stunning brick fireplace that covers one wall and you barely noticed it.  And we have a beautiful, vintage Howard Miller George Nelson Spindle clock that was completely getting lost in the room because it was wood on wood.  All you really noticed in the room was that it felt like you were in a wood cabin.

Here are some "before" pictures:

BEFORE: Upstairs family room with window looking at entry.  You can see the long front planter in the picture.  The curtains are original burlap pinch-pleat (and disintegrating). On the right is a full wall of built-ins.  The TV is in the center cabinet.
BEFORE: Hallway leading from family room to garage.  The curtains there were plaid and not original.  I had already taken them down before I took pictures. 

BEFORE: Brick fireplace and doorway that leads to entry.

BEFORE: More dark and depressing wood paneling.  The pass-through and doorway on the left go to the kitchen.

BEFORE:  Another view of the fireplacewall and built-ins.

Over the long winter, the dark room became too oppressive and I finally decided it needed to be a lot lighter in there. So on a cold, rainy weekend at the beginning of April, we painted the paneling.  We decided to paint it Benjamin Moore's Edgecomb Gray, which is the same color as the kitchen.  I love this color--it is very versatile. It complements wood tones very nicely.  It's also a very similar color to the grout in the fireplace. 

First we had to sand and wash the paneling to take off any gloss.  Then we primed the family room and the hallway.  I decided not to paint any of the cabinetry or the wood trim around the windows.

In case you were wondering, painting paneling isn't very much fun.  We thought we would be able to paint the walls with a high-nap roller.  It didn't get the paint into the grooves well enough so we had to brush each groove in the paneling separately.  Let's just say that this project took 2 full days.

Priming the paneling.

After priming.

After priming.

AFTER:  Notice how the fireplace stands out so much better?  I love this brick.

AFTER:  I painted the backs of the built-ins a darker gray that I had leftover from my bedroom.

AFTER:  Wall of built-ins.  The TV is housed in the center of the cabinets.  They look so much nicer now!  We also got a new carpet as the old one felt very "country" to me.

AFTER:  Back hallway after painting.

AFTER:  Back hallway.  We also painted the door trim to match the rest of the house "decorator's white".  The floors are slate.

AFTER:  We also cleaned and treated all of the louvered doors with Howards Feed 'n Wax.  There were 4 sets of bi-fold doors.  They look beautiful now. 

AFTER:  "After" view of fireplace.  Now you can see our beautiful George Nelson clock.  My mother made the quilt and I liked the color it brought into the room so I'm using it over our sofa seat cushions. 

AFTER:  Close up of clock and veiw into entry.  We actually re-hung the drapes from the kitchen.  They look great in here!
Things we have left to do:  My husband decided that he wanted to replace all the switches and outlets to something more modern.  And I want to get some kind of shade for the windows in the hallway. A few more accessories and I think this room can be called complete!


  1. hi, I read your roofing blog and I have a very similar roof in Rochester. What metal roofing contractor did you use? I am also evaluating membrane vs metal and contractors are difficult to find. Residential vs. commercial, ...

    1. We used Reliance Contracting. They are the commercial arm of Mr. Fussy Roofing. They did the Webster Montesorri school and the Harley School.

    2. Thanks for the info. I grew up in your neighborhood and know your street and house well. We were close friends with some of the Hershey family. Stop painting the paneling :-) I understand though. I have already requested a quote from Reliance. My roof pitch and issues are almost identical to your structure. Thanks for creating the blog. Nice to know there are other crazy people like myself out there.

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