Friday, December 12, 2008

Not naughty knotty pine...

...but not clear fir either.

That's what I think of the drawer fronts from the built in under the eaves in the guest room.

We had decided to paint the trim in the three upstairs bedrooms. However, because (1) the sashes were so caked with paint, (2) half the doors (like, the hallway side of each door - not one half of the total number of doors) are unpainted, and (3) we really like the way the stained sashes/doors and painted trim in the kitchen look, we decided to do the same type of thing in the guest room and bedroom. So the plan was to strip the other two halves of the doors, strip the four window sashes, and strip the built-in drawer fronts. After all the other paint stripping we've done - easy, right?

Not so much. Ken carried the drawers down to the cellar workspace. When I went to assess the situation and plot my approach, I saw - gasp - are those knots on the inside of the drawer fronts? Knots - like cheap wood? Like no other piece of wood we've seen yet in the entire house? What the ???!!???

So, I started stripping (the paint!) using Peel-Away - I had it in my head that I wanted to do a bit of an archaeological dig to reconstruct the paint history of the room. As I peeled away layer after layer, I found (newest to oldest): 2 layers of white, a layer of blue (it's a boy!), a layer of pink (it's a girl!), then two different off-white layers. Incidentally, the oldest layer looks a hell of a lot like the color we'll be re-painting the trim. Welcome back, 1923 color!
Then - the moment of truth - down to wood. And knots. They were there - not just cleverly hidden, only showing on the back of the one inch thick, 12 inch wide (!) board, but right through to the front.

The good news: paint strips off damn easy from a knot! And, you can now see the nice, crisp beveled edge that the makers had carved into the drawer fronts. Great detail, lost under all that paint.

The bad news: time to rethink? Should we still go with dark stained drawer fronts, knots and all, or should we paint them too? The doors and sashes will still be dark wood no matter what - so I'm partial to sticking with the plan & going au naturel with the drawers. What do you think...?


Anonymous said...

I think I'd paint them. The knots make me think the original builder intended them to be painted, and if the first coat was really so similar to your color, then it's a doubly-nice homage to the builder.

But what do I know - we don't even have a closet in our guest bedroom, let alone awesome built-ins under the kneewalls. I think our guest bedroom used to be the nursery off the main bedroom. I bet there's a giant patch of drywall covering an old door frame somewhere between the rooms. Now that I think about it, that's probably where one of the mystery-doors in our attic was!

Jeremy said...

If I bother to strip paint off, I usually stain everything, especially if its going to be stained fairly dark.

BW said...

Interesting that you can see the outlines of the pulls - maybe they were originally bare?

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