House Renovation: Week 12, Paint That Paneling, People!

We are rocking along on the house.  I’m down to the last big room to be painted and that is the den.  Yowza, at the brown wood paneling in that space.  I have never been a fan of wood paneling and vowed if I ever inherited a house that had it, it would be painted in no time flat.  That time has come and I tackled it last week.  This paneling is actually made of real wood (thin for sure), but I don’t have a problem covering it up.  Bye-bye 1970’s!


In its brown glory, the befores.  I’m still debating on what to do with that ceiling.  It’s a drop ceiling, not my fave, but underneath is ugly ductwork and pipes and so I can’t just take down the ceiling.  I’m sure those tiles are original, cause they are very saggy and stained and even the vents are duct-taped in the top, which will have to go.

I’ve painted over some of the stains to make them less noticeable, but eventually I’d like to just replace them all with fresh new tiles.  That seems to be my best bet on this one, but I will probably live with them for awhile and then change them out.  I haven’t even priced them out, so I need to take one down and haul it with me to Lowes to see what they have that will fit this grid.

UPDATE:  I may have found a great solution, just need some $$ to do it.  Saw this website, Ceilume,  on another blog (Dixie Delights) that I featured in one of my Feature Fridays and they used a drop ceiling in their basement.  They have a nice selection of 2×4′ tiles which is the size I need and look at these:

This is one of their best sellers (and most economical) and these break it up into 12×12 squares which would pop right into my ceiling.  Love this look  and that could completely update my ceiling.  All I need is about $600 to replace with these.   This will definitely be on my list of things to do!


So, back to the walls.  I know painting the paneling will lighten this space up so much and I’ve been dying to get it all primed and painted.  That door sitting on the floor will get painted black and it will replace the open door there going up the stairs.  That one has a hole in it and the door on the floor came from closing up the door going into the kitchen from the living room.  Got that change-out?


Once again, Zinsser cover stain primer came to the rescue (big thanks to the Rust-Oleum folks for sending me so much primer for my project).  I’m currently on gallon 6 of primer, this house needed a ton of white to cover up the ugly.   It’s an oil based primer and will work great for covering this paneling and preparing it for latex paint.  I rolled it on with a thick roller and a paintbrush for the cutting in. The thicker roller helped get into those grooves.


It takes some muscle to move the roller around and get it all into the grooves, but for the most part that roller worked great.


All primed and ready for the real paint color, which is Comfort Gray by Sherwin Williams.


From the stairs and door looking down the room.  All primed, yay!  I’d love to add another window to this room eventually on the left wall.  A nice big double window would be nice, since this room is not below ground, it’s level with the ground and another window could easily be cut into the wall.  On my list!

After two coats of Comfort Gray, we have a room really starting to look like a room I could live in.

I love this soft blue/gray and it will look great with my existing den furniture.  I wanted this space to be light and airy too and this color should do the trick, especially after I change out the overhead light fixtures.

I am not sure what I’ll put up there, but something besides what is there now. Those are UGLY!   You can see I’ve already got two coats of my Dark Brown door paint on there too.  It’s so hard to photograph carpet that is beige. This carpet is not pink-toned at all, but comes across in these pics that way. It’s a nice medium beigy tone.


The door to the left of the stairs goes down to the garage.

Other side with Comfort Gray.  Looking good!  So, this room is coming along. I still have all the white trim to paint, but I’m getting there.

If you have old-style 70’s paneling, by all means paint that stuff!  It is not precious wood at all, so talk your husband into it and you won’t be sorry.  Men sometimes have a really hard time painting wood, but this is just a wood facsimile and deserves to be painted.  Go for it!

If you have REAL wood paneling, that’s a different story, so you’ll have to duke it out with the man at your house.  You know what I’m enjoying so much on this renovation?  I don’t have to argue with a man over what I want to do.  Yeah, that’s awesome! 🙂

Moving upstairs to the front door, I got out my black paint and got one coat on the inside of the front door.  It’s already black on the outside and now will stand out from the inside too.

There is not a really easy way to paint a metal door, but I used the foam roller on the flat parts and brush in the grooves. Hopefully, the 2nd coat will smooth things out.  I did tape up the doorknobs and inside the glass with FrogTape.

And it’s looking better already.  We still have to rip out the old wood down there and repair plywood that is rotted inside the door.  The reason I haven’t painted the trim yet is because it’s all wonky and weird and has to be worked on.  Whoever put the door in didn’t trim it out right and we will have to try to fix things with some additional molding, so I will get to that eventually and get it fixed and painted.  I did get the railing painted and installed again with my newly sprayed hardware on the right.


Outside, we got new gutters installed.  That was huge too, since the house had no gutters at all.  We found out from the neighbors that about 2 years ago, the new concrete siding was put on this house, as well as a new roof.  When that was done, apparently, they didn’t replace the gutters and it has been gutter-less all this time.  Not anymore!  Yay for the new siding and roof, that is a biggy!


My dad worked on getting some shingles up on the little roof over the backdoor, so that is coming along too.  It will be awhile before he finishes trimming it out completely and I’ll wait a bit before painting it all white, but one day it will really be cute.

He added some trim to the ends too and has a little more trimming out to do and then it will be ready to paint.  He’s going to put some metal up in the ceiling part and I will paint it out.  Pretty impressive, isn’t it, this little roof.  How many almost 85 year old men can still do this?  That Daddy o’mine is amazing!


Back in the kitchen, it is finally time to tear out the last wall of base cabinets that houses the sink.  We left it as long as we could and now it’s time to rip it out.


He got off the old faux butcher block backsplash that was oh, so ugly.  Behind that was more filth!  This was such a dirty kitchen, it was unbelievable.  But tearing everything down to the bare walls at least lets me get the walls primed and clean again.


Dad worked hard on getting those nails out that held the cabinets in place and finally we got them all out and in the backyard.


The old cabinets were so rickety and unstable and I’m so happy I didn’t try to keep them.


Because look what was behind just this row of cabinets.  YUCK with a capital Y! More roach crap to get out of there.


Disgusting, I know!


So, I brought my primer out and got busy priming all those walls and at least covering up and sealing the filth.


And now at least it looks better and feels better.


Clean and white, I will take that.  Now we have a blank canvas for those new kitchen cabinets from Ikea.  Can’t wait to start on that, but first we’ve got hardwood floors to install.  That’s going to be a big job and we are tackling that ourselves.  Bought an angled floor nailer from Floor and Décor and we are ready to start nailing now.  It might take us weeks, but we will get ‘er done eventually.

That’s it for this week.  Hardwoods arrived on Tuesday and I’ll tell you all about those later.

Thanks as always for stopping by and following along on this house renovation journey!  I appreciate all of you out there reading along.

- Rhoda


  1. Rhoda, what about those panels from Lowes/Home Depot that look like pressed tin?

    You’d probably have to spray paint the frame/grid silver to blend in. Just an idea. I’ve always wanted to try something with them but never knew what.

    Whatever you do, I’m sure it will be pretty!

  2. Rhoda,
    i have enjoyed watching you transform your beautiful new home! We did two homes last year… a total gut job and a smaller scale job (mostly cosmetic) on a small cottage my inlaws live in! We not only painted the paneling in the cottage but also painted all the knotty pine in the cottage as well! Like your den… the painted paneling lit up the room and the whole cottage is now bright and airy!
    You and your dad are doing a beautiful job!
    dee dee

  3. laura @ the shorehouse says:

    Love it! I don’t know why everyone doesn’t just paint that stuff, I tell you what. The room ours was in was this VERY dark, textured, knotty stuff…but I painted it a gray-ish white in the hopes it would look somewhat nautical. And…it kind of does! Vaguely driftwoody, and I love it. Makes me want to hire myself out to paint people’s bad panels. 🙂

    Also, I would very much like to hire your super handy dad for my kitchen!

  4. Pat in Chicago says:

    I LOVE seeing your posts on your home renovation! Like I said before, this would have been a great HGTV series. Keep the updates coming.

  5. Simply Amazing & Wonderful!

  6. I just found your site and love it! I wasn’t going to comment but when I saw the drop ceilings (yuck) it brought back a memory that might work for this ceiling. Years ago, while my husband was in college he worked part time with the school carpenter. One evening we were invited over to his house and they had done something I had never seen before with the ceilings. They had used a thin wood panel (I think it looked like birch) and put that up. Over that they had thin strips of another wood that was a bit darker that was about an inch or two wide. With the strips they made differant size rectangles and squares. The strips were all at 90 degree angles but veried in the placement to give a random pattern over the wood panel.
    It would be easy to get a similar feel and create a drop ceiling.

  7. Rhoda,
    Looks great! So much hard work ~ a labor of love. It looks beautiful already:)

  8. Wow! As always, I am so very impressed with all that you and your awesome parents accomplish each week! About that dropped ceiling-you know, it doesn’t look bad at all the way it is right now. But, if you really want/need to change it, Amanda at Dixie Delights Blog used a panel ceiling in her basement that was really pretty and almost looked like something a cool boutique would have. Sorry, if I were more computer savvy, I’d link the page!

  9. Karen McCullough says:

    Wonderful update !! I agree with a previous post – this would have made a great HGTV series – at least it would have been real, informative, and not fake like most of their shows have become.

    Love your updates. Great job that you and your parents are doing !!
    Karen in Texas

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Was that mold behind the kitchen sink and cabinets? If so, you might want to check if you need to do something more than prime. Don’t want you to get your pretty kitchen in there and have a problem down the line. That stuff can make you so sick!

    Love seeing all that paint up on the walls. The power of paint is certainly working it’s magic on your new home. So excited to see what comes next!

  11. i llove, i looove it, i llloove it –
    do you have an idea on when you may move in
    this fall? we should all do an online housewarming
    for you!!!
    hugs, p

  12. I duked it out with the man in my house! Painted that wood panneling!
    Your house is looking sooo much better. There’s nothing I love more than seeing an nasty house made beautiful!

    @ Creatively Living

  13. I don’t know how you do it and stay so positive and upbeat. Of course I know the end results are worth it but it’s got to be so tiring at times. God bless you and your parents in this massive change-over.

  14. Hi Rhoda…thanks for sharing your reno progress. It’s been fun watching and seeing how things are changing and improving so dramatically. For the drop ceiling in the den, I wanted to mention that Candice Olsen used a coffered tile in place of the regular drop ceiling tile and it fit into the standard grid system. It looked fabulous and might be just what you need. Good luck!

  15. Hello! I am loving how the house is coming. Have you considered painting the ceiling all black? There are some inspiration pictures on Pinterest with it painted that way. I think it would look wonderful with your doors.

  16. I have painted paneling too and it is a job but so worth it!! Have you considered replacing the ceiling tiles with the pressed tin knock offs that are available now? I have seen it done on tv and it looks much better than the acoustic tiles…something to consider. One of my friends used it for her back splash and it looked really good. It is very versatile. Love how the house is coming along and cannot wait to see it when you move your furniture in!! Hats off to your daddy….he is such an inspiration!

  17. Hi Rhoda,
    Your paneling looks awesome painted in that pretty color! You are truly working miracles in that house! I so look forward to my daily Rhoda “fix”! LOL I’m struggling with some sudden serious health issues and life is really scary right now but I always get comfort from visiting my favorite blogs. You GO, GIRL!!!!

  18. I love seeing everything come along – but that kitchen – eek! so gross!!

  19. allison mcclellan says:

    Your dad is awesome!

  20. Rhoda, the den looks amazing! I love that color and you hardly notice the drop ceiling anymore. The kitchen looks so much better and I know it must feel better too. I’m back from TN the end of the week. Can’t wait to see it in person!
    Take care and tell your sweet dad that I said hello!

  21. It is all looking so good. I know you are thrilled. You are getting there and it is going to be fabulous. Hugs, Marty

  22. We have done both of our kitchen remodels in our now duplex in IKEA kitchen cabinets and honestly I love them. I picked out styles that I liked and so when we move back home I can pick which part of the house (duplex) I want to live in. But the amazing thing is if a renter damages a door they are easily replaced! I went with the STAT doors in one kitchen and Akurum White Shaker doors in the other kitchen. I have to stay I like the Akurum shaker doors better then then STAT, both are very clean and crisp looking and can be taken a million different ways decor/style wise! I love reading about your renovations with your parents. This last year my parents did the exact same thing with me and my house. They are actually still working on the finishing touches to get it ready to rent, since I had to move to join my husband! Love these posts and I can’t wait to see it when it’s all done!

  23. Oh Rhoda, love, love, love your humor in this recent house update! I’m LOLing for sure at all your “isms” in this one (and use of capitalization)! Can’t wait to see it and yep, my mama and others in my family have painted many a paneling white. Had it once in a house that my mom and dad renovated that I lived in for a short while. Lookinnnnng gooood! You are so talented and that Daddy of yours…almost as good as mine who will be 82 this year. I tell you, they don’t make ’em like that anymore. Love how his mini roof is looking over that outside door. Precious!!! I really loved the “man” comment…no arguments when your single…yeah, that is fabulous for sure!!!! Hope you are counting up all the hours you and ya’ll have put into this. Talk about sweat equity…and in that Georgia summer heat! You’ve earned it…a day or two of rest! You are blessing all of us with your updates! Keep the faith girl !!! You are doing it…and living it !!!

  24. Thanks all for the comments & suggestions! I haven’t priced anything yet for the dropped ceiling, but I do know I have to replace 50 something tiles up there, so that could add up to some major cash. I’ll have to see where I am when I get moved in and save some $$ to replace. Love the tin idea and will be doing some research on costs & material to find out the best solution later on.

  25. WOW, you sure are making progress Rhoda!~ I can’t wait to see it room by room. You are making some wonderful choices. I had to laugh at your statement about not having a man to argue about decorating and such. My hubs and I agree on most everything, so I don’t have that problem. Only sometimes getting him to do it for me:) Your Dad is awesome!

  26. There are ceiling tiles that look like real tin, but much cheaper and can be painted any color! Also you mentioned that you might be considering using the stove that was there. TRY TO GET A NEW ONE, or a good used one, because if there were roaches all over, believe me they also got into unseen parts of the stove. I know because that happened to us when our son brought these dear (ugh!) creatures back from college!

    • Hi, Sheila, I’m definitely getting a new or used stove and that one is going! I don’t want to take any chances either on roaches being around. In fact, I’m getting an exterminator out there to spray for pests in the next few weeks, way before I move anything in there.

  27. I cannot believe what you all have done. It is looking great.

  28. Your house reminds me so much of my own when I bought it. I couldn’t believe that people lived that way. Completely disgusting, filthy mess. Mold, rats and roach nests everywhere and just generally filthy. The bathroom tile was so dirty that I thought it was speckled until I figured out it was 50 years of soap scum, lol. I gutted every room in the house, including kitchen and bath, except for the bedrooms because they’re so small, there was really nothing that could be done with them. I had the dropped ceiling in my den too, but I pulled it out and sheetrocked it. Half of the panels were missing and it really bugged me so it had to go – we were sheetrocking the walls (which were “paneled” in wormy barn wood – seriously) so a few more sheets for the ceiling didn’t add to the cost appreciably. I had so much fun doing my house, made a lot of first timer mistakes, but I learned a lot and I still love that it was a 55 year old “new” house when I moved in. I love watching your progress – it makes me remember so much of my own remodel.

  29. Hi Rhoda,
    You’re transformation is coming along. You and your parents rock!! That’s all I can say. Can’t wait for next week’s update. Your place is going to look fabulous.

  30. Painted ceilings, duct work, pipes and all is very big these days. You can choose just about any color. It’s a little industrial looking, allows access to all the pipes and such, and is a super frugal option

  31. Marie in Va says:

    The transformation has nothing short of amazing! You have the best Mama and Daddy! Can’t wait to see your next update.

  32. I loved the panel painting. My husband and at one time lived in a house for 12 months rent free if we replaced the paneling in the house. Well we tried and the more we pull out a replaced the worse it was. So my husband had a brain storm. The landlord had supplied the mud for the wall board but not the wall board. There was a lot of mud a huge amount of mud stacked in cans in the largest closet in the house. My husband pulled it out and so that it was kind of old and thick. So as a multimedia artist it took it out mixed a little water and hand applied to the walls. This sounds messy (it was) but it was like finger painting and mud pies for adults. In one week end we retextured the walls all the walls the next week end we lightly sanded it so there were no sharp points. Then we painted with (supplied by the landlord) thick rollers. The landlord gave us 3 more months free. To this day I don’t think he ever knew that the paneling was still there. I came out wonderfully. I hope he doesn’t read your blog. lol.

  33. I just keep seeing pics of your Dad and I know people have told you, but he is amazing! I love seeing the renovation. I did not read thru all the posts, but there are more attractive drop down tiles, if that is all you can do for now…..or….paint them! 😉 Keep up the good work….it’s really hot outside!!

  34. Rhoda, it is looking so great. Wonderful colors and ideas. That is one disgustingly dirty kitchen. Looks better already.

    Have you considered using the bead board wall paper on the ceiling tiles? Or cut bead board paneling to size and use that instead of the tiles.

  35. You are sure moving along! Just think of all the people out there putting wood planks on their walls, and with some Zinnser, paint and effort you already have the look. That den is going to look great!

  36. You and your parents are machines! It is amazing how hard you are working and how much you are getting done. Motivates the rest of us!

    Take care,

  37. Lou Ann C. says:

    WOW, WOW, WOW! I’m all excited just watching this! 🙂 I LOVE the painted paneling. SUCH a cute, cottagey look and an inexpensive fix! I’m really getting excited to see the kitchen reno begin. I have seen you work your “kitchen magic” before, and it’s a sight to behold! I’m cheering you on and looking forward to your updates!!

  38. Hi Rhoda! Oh, I’m so enjoying you seeing you fix up your new home. It’s looking wonderful! Your home will be so beautiful when you put your decorating touch to it! So much improvement in such a short time!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 🙂

  39. Rhoda, can’t wait to see your “new” old house with your furnishings set up and everything decorated like you do so well. I know your home will be beautiful. Then, you, your Mom and Dad can sit on the screened porch with a glass of southern sweet tea and pat yourselves on the back for a big job well done. Continued good luck!! ——-Shannon

  40. AMAZING!!!!! Cant wait to see more!

  41. Rhoda!
    Your house is taking fantastic shape. Your daddy is quite a handy feller. Don’t ya know he’s tired at night! What a wonderful blessing he is.

  42. It’s coming along so beautifully and what a great man your dad is…85 I never thought he was even close to that age! Anyway, I can’t wait to see all your furniture in the rooms!

  43. Paula Lusk says:

    Rhoda, you have gotten a lot done. You are right about the kitchen, it was really yucky. I really enjoy seeing the updates every week. You are a trooper. Blessings Paula Lusk

  44. Hi Rhoda, The transformation of your home is amazing–You all have accomplished so much!! I think the Ceilume ceiling tiles look great but…once, when in your situation, we pulled the drop ceiling and sprayed ceiling/ductwork etc with dark paint. It was our best decision! The ceiling “disappeared”. The high “ceiling” made the space much more airy & pleasant and not at all like a basement room. I think you could use white paint & get the same effect, actually. Anyways, we used the saved money on lighting–another good decision 🙂 If you did that, I wonder how lantern style lighting would look–bringing “outside in” (brainstorming!)

  45. You could have titled this post, ” paint that paneling Kelly’s mom & dad” because they still have the 70’s brown ugliness surrounding them! Love the ceiling panels you chose – the room will be amazing. My girlfriend (who is a fabulous swimsuit designer) just painted her interior doors and window trim black and it’s amazing. So dramatic – love your front door.

  46. The work y’all have done is remarkable! I always look forward to these updates. Those ceilume tiles were great for us. They gave us a 5% discount on our order and they will provide free samples. Not much but every little bit counts 🙂

  47. I’m loving watching your progress and seeing all your choices. I look for a new post every day, hoping to see some new magic transformation you’ve completed. It’s going to be beautiful.

  48. Looks like Super Dad is at it again! Thanks for sharing.

  49. Hi Rhoda. I can’t tell you how much my hubby and I are enjoying your reno journey. We really admire what you’re doing! You’re so right about painting that ugly 70’s paneling. The tiny house we lived in back in 1978 had that awful stuff in what became my daughter’s nursery. You better believe that I painted that stuff, but a lot of people thought I was crazy! Not only is the lighter color better, but I’ve always loved the texture of painted paneling. Kudos to you and your awesome parents!

  50. Rhoda…I don’t know what I love more….seeing your house transform from the ugly caterpillar to the gracious butterfly or seeing your dad in action….he is my hero…!!…He is truly remarkable…he reminds me so much of my dad…maybe that is why I have such a soft spot in my heart for him…!…I truly love all the great changes you are making to the house….It must give you such great pleasure and satisfaction.

  51. Rhoda,
    I have no idea how you can tackle a whole house reno like this. As you make your paint color-ceiling tile-flooring-light fixture-and-so-on decisions are you thinking of an overall scheme or as each room separately? How does your existing furniture fit into that scheme? Are all your rooms sort of interchangeable – if you can’t use a piece in one room you can use it in another?

    • HI, Laura, that is a very good question! I am taking all of my existing furniture into consideration. I chose the light Moderate White as a good backdrop to my living room furniture that I already have & wanted to go really light this time.

      In the den, I already have all that furniture from my old den & I know that Comfort Gray will go nicely with all my fabrics in that room.

      My master bedroom will get mostly neutral walls with a punch of colors & I’m using my same fabrics in there, getting rid of the yellow/golds and adding green instead.

      The office is getting those green walls and I’m bringing in more turquoise blues too. So, overall I have a good vision of what I want for the house and I’m looking at everything I already have, using what I can without starting over, but freshening up with a few new fabrics and paint colors. That’s my thought process!

  52. Have you thought about putting up drywall? It could be a lot cheaper thank the ceiling tiles. The second house we lived in had ALL ceiling tiles. I hated them so much! We wound up putting drywall on all the ceilings. What a difference it made. What about putting wood on there?

    I am so impressed by all you do! Wish I had your energy.

  53. i love your little home. And love it more that your daddy is a part of it. He makes me smile

  54. Heather Spooner says:

    I can’t wait to see what window treatments you put up in this room. My den is very similar to yours and I have plans to paint the paneling. I’m just stumped on what blinds/curtains to use. I know that’s down the road on your to do list, but I will be eagerly awaiting that post. You are doing an awesome job, Rhoda!

  55. WOW! What a huge difference with the paneling painted! Having been there to see it in person, I am thrilled for you! It is going to be amazing!

  56. Rhoda, you house is looking terrific…..I love what you’re going to do to the dropped ceiling….Your Dad is quite the trooper; he tackles any job put in front of him….I look forward every week to see what other new things that you have accomplished in your house….soon it will become a home…So happy for you….

  57. Michelle says:

    Everything is looking so Beautiful!! You’re making a lot of progress every week. Though I’m sure it doesn’t feel that way to you sometimes!

  58. I feel like I am on this journey with you. ♥ I am excited to see how everything is coming along that I check for updated posts often. I am so excited for you. I love the white wall trim that you are using and am getting ready to paint over 100 year old “stained” board and batten. I will be using the same primer you did and also the same white trim color of paint. You SOLD me. I am so happy for you in this new journey of your life. It is great to see God working in your life with all the blessings that he is giving you.

    ~ Lisa from Indiana ~

  59. Loving all you design choices and the progress you are making each week!

  60. It’s looking great Rhoda! Can’t believe all ya’ll have accomplished!


  61. Rhonda, Everything looks so nice. I can hardly wait to see your new hardwood floors. I bet this house is just breathing a huge sigh of relief for all of the love that you are putting into it.
    Ladybug Cottage

  62. Hi Rhoda,
    I can just imagine how rewarding it is to see your home coming together. And it is just for you and your taste. It is looking amazing and has really increased in value since you started. I can’t wait for you to move in and be able to enjoy it. This makes me want to paint my house.

  63. Wow!!!! Everything is looking beautiful! I always look forward to your weekly progress pictures. Your house is going to look like a new house when you are finished. It’s lots of hard work… but so worth it. I know you will be so happy to move furniture in and start decorating. At the rate ya’ll are going it won’t be long!

  64. I adore painted paneling! That is one huge room to tackle and get paint into ALL THE GROOVES…what a job. Lookin’ good!

  65. Rhoda, I am constantly amazed at what a difference paint makes- your bonus room looks 100 times better already, and I’m sure you’re so excited to get the rest of those cabinets out of the kitchen. The floor is going to be a ton of work- Richard & I did our bedroom, can’t imagine trying to do the whole house ourselves. Let me know when you get started on it and I’ll help however I can. Do you have a chop saw for trimming the boards?

  66. Just saw your update regarding a solution for your ceiling tiles. Love it!!! I was liking the suggestions of the tin ones…but these look fabulous and from the pictures I’ve seen of your old house, it seems these tiles would be great and fit in with your decor nicely. Very classy! Love the white color and they look like you’d have an expensive “paneled wood” ceiling. Have faith about the $$. Your blessing us and we know God is blessing you! It will all happen. I like that you are doing this sans credit and paying as you go. Wise decisions you are making. An example for all of us and you are inspiring so many! Good luck on replacing your stove too….great decision. I’m in the same boat and appliances are expensive. Hang in there….you’re doing great!

  67. Looks AWESOME Rhoda! Thanks for staying so positive and upbeat. I know I find myself in a DIY hell at times and get so depressed. I just have to step away.

    As for that ceiling – in the meantime you HAVE to paint it! And paint it a color so that it looks like you intended to put that ceiling in there. We had to put one in our basement but I painted it a coordinating color to the walls and it really doesn’t look that bad. Better than the commercial white! One word of caution though…take all the ceiling tiles out and paint them separately from the grid. If you paint them together, they’ll stick and the minute you need to pop one of those tiles up to get in there, there will be all sorts of issues! That stuff paints up real easy. Roller brush with a long pole with all the tiles laid out in the garage.
    Keep up the inspiring work!

  68. I’m just wondering if you’ve seen what behind those ceiling tiles? The reason I’m asking is because of the roaches from the kitchen. They could be behind those tiles also. Again, I marvel at your energy and how amazing yours parents are.

  69. I read a lot blogs everyday…. but the one I look forward to most of all are your house updates! It is looking so great! I cannot wait to see the finished product.

  70. Delores LeBoeuf says:

    Whew! Was holding my breath until the white paint covered the paneling….looks phenom. The roof overhang at your back door is amazing and amazingly done……what beautiful work, Dad, WOW. I can surely see all of the tremendous accomplishments. So much progress………thnx for sharing. Love & Blessings, Lady Delores.

  71. I can’t believe how fast you are moving along on this reno. I can’t wait to read them every week and each week I am amazed at what’s been done. I love and appreciate how you are reusing so much stuff and doing it yourself. Impressive!!! Love your blog.

  72. I discovered your blog several months ago and just wanted to tell you how much I love it. I especially love to read the updates about your new house. Thanks for sharing with us! 🙂

  73. My Mama and Daddy bought homes, fixed them up and sold them for over 20 years. Nine times out of ten, the person who bought the house would buy all of the furniture as well. The last house they remodeled was my Grandmother’s house in Alabama. That house had dark paneling in the family room, too. After it was painted white, the whole house looked lighter and brighter. I LOVE the Comfort Gray by Sherwin Williams and the very next wall I paint is going to be that color. I’m in awe of your Daddy and all he does – and you too, for that matter. I agree with all the others – HGTV missed an excellent opportunity for a great house makeover show. Love your blog!

  74. Elaine in Laguna says:

    Wow…Dramatic changes in such a short time. love your weekly updates, and once you get these next big projects done, it’s smooth sailing! You and your parents remind me of our family here…A can do, roll up the sleeves attitude. All in all, beautiful, amazing and you’re going to be so comfortable there when it is finished! Keep your eye on the prize! Blessings to all!

  75. Debbi in Texas says:

    You are going to love your house. I have been looking at ceiling tiles and found these as drop in alternatives, tin look style

  76. Debbi in Texas says:

    You are going to love your house; great changes being made. Here is an alternative drop in ceiling tile: tin style which I love; can be found at

  77. Connie McCallum says:

    OH MY GOSH Rhoda, the house is really coming along. It looks so GOOD. That family room is SO much better with the paneling painted! You are doing an awesome job! Your Dad is amazing too, bless his heart.
    Always look forward to your posts on the house.

  78. Not always a fan of painting wood, but I agree, that old paneling from the 70’s doesn’t count and looks much better with paint. I lived in a little one room cabin/cottage in college that had an accent wall in that stuff?! What were they thinking?? It looked like a different place when they let me paint it.

    On the ceilings, I remember a DIY show, I think Trading Spaces, where they cut and stained thin panels of luan to replace the ceiling tiles and painted the grid. Not the look you were going for exactly, but you might be able to paint them instead and paint/cover the grid to look like the panels you were considering – then again, it might end up a wash with the cost of materials and time to create your own version, just an idea!

  79. You (and your parents) never cease to amaze me, Rhoda! It must feel good to get everything primed and cleaned up and ready for the FUN stuff! Love your Comfort Gray — huge difference.
    xo Heidi

  80. You must be the hardest working woman in town! I love seeing the togetherness of you and your parents. I had meant to ask when you did an earlier post about the doors you painted. Are they solid core or what we used to call “luan” hollow core doors? The reason I wonder is that we are spiffing up our home to sell and we have those types of hollow core doors. It would be quite a coup if I could make them look as good as yours. Thanks.

    • Cathy, my doors are definitely luan type, hollow core, not solid at all. Everything in this house is basic, so anything I do will improve on it. Painting them made a big difference!

  81. Hey Rhoda,
    its coming along beautiful. I guess you will have to invite us readers all over for your housewarming party when its all done 🙂 then we should all chip in for your wonderful parents to take an exotic vacation somewhere. Just an idea 😉 love what you guys have done.

  82. Mary from Virginia says:

    I am truly excited for you to have your own home once again. You have wonderful parents. That is the sweetest picture of your dad working so hard!

  83. Looking good. I know you’re getting excited. When is your estimated date to move in?


  84. I love it when neglected homes get a second chance because someone who truly cares come along and transforms it from yucky to fabulous, which is definitely the direction you’re headed. I’m enjoying seeing the unbelievable progress you’re making! You work sooooo fast and your dad is nothing less than Superman!

  85. No wonder you’re so thin! You are amazing! The blog makes it all look like it. Happened in a day, but even if it was a week, that is some major progress! Go daddy!

  86. Rhoda, I’m enjoying following your remodel every step of the way. What I could do to my house if I had a Daddy like yours….is he for hire? Ha! I bet there are a lot of us out in blog land who’d snatch him up in a minute! You are blessed and all your hard work is going to end up amazing! God bless you!

  87. …i keep lurking and looking…the house is going to be…just like you…amazing…blessings laney

  88. …ps…amazing does not even come close to describe your daddy…

  89. Looking good, Rhoda! You are snatching that house right out of the jaws of ’70s decor and bringing it into the 21st century!

  90. Rhoda–I don’t have any pix to show you but in a former house of mine–we flipped the old tiles over and painted the backs. I painted them the same color as the walls. The room was weird. It had a big bulkhead running down the center–ducting for upstairs–and the ceiling tiles were the kind that “reveal”. You know what I mean–they hang down below the edge of the frame. I couldn’t believe how much the ceiling was visually “lifted” by flipping the tiles to the flat, non-reveal side. The walls in that room were a mixture of paneling and drywall so I painted everything the same color and it did expand the room. I only had to replace a few tiles that were damaged and I bought the cheapest ones I could. After priming and painting they all looked the same. Mine were not sagging so this may not be an option for you–but I wanted to let you know about it. The house is coming along beautifully!

  91. Barbara (hunnicutt) Moore says:

    Oh Rhoda, it’s really coming along! I love the new paint color in your den and cannot believe the difference!! Your sweet daddy is your greatest blessing (not counting your mom!). Can’t wait to see your new floors and kitchen. Just got an email from IKEA and I think they’re doing their 20% off of kitchen thing right now – could be great timing for you, huh??

  92. Your home is looking so wonderful. I know it will be gorgeous when you are done. Thanks for sharing.

  93. Oh, how wonderful! We painted the old 70s paneling in our living room Comfort Gray as well. It’s such a lovely color and completely brightened up the room!

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

  94. What about exposing all the duct work and painting it all black? Like they do in restaurants and stores.

  95. Rhoda: What a great transformation you and your family are making on that house. I am so enjoying the ride. Thanks for the update!

  96. Your work on your home is looking fabulous. How wonderful to have the help of your family. If you get a moment, here’s a link to the home of the person, Donald Brown, who invented the drop ceiling. It is on the market for $19.5 million. There are a few pictures and you could find more online. The home is on Lake Erie and alot if it is underground such as the garage, barber shop, restaurant, etc. Unfortunately, he and his wife were killed in an airplane accident in the last year or two. I live near here but the house is not visible from the road.

  97. I was in a McCallisters restaurant this evening and just happened to notice that their ceiling is the same as yours. It was painted!!! A very cozy sage color that played right into the decor. I instantly thought of your ceilings in this post. Just wanted to share. Thanks!!

  98. Rhoda – It’s been so fun to watch you do this from afar. I don’t have a big “re-do” to tackle at my home, but you inspire me and i’ve learned so much about paint fearlessness from you. Thank you and continued best of luck with your home.

  99. Your Dad is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t know how he can still do all this work at his age but I am happy he can and has his health! What a sweetheart! Your house is really getting to a good point and I am so happy for you. I have missed some posts but am enjoying going along with you on YOUR journey! XO, Pinky

  100. Cindy Crews says:

    Hi Rhoda-
    I’ve been on vacation and just now I am catching up with your renovation progress. The comfort gray looks excellent! Have you considered leaving the door to that room off? I love all your black doors, but I wonder if that room feels a bit closed in due to only having the one window….leaving the door leading to the stairs off could give it a more open feel. Just a thought….
    ~Cindy in Woodstock :o)

  101. Rhoda, I love reading updates about your new house. I have been following your blog for some time now and am so glad things are looking up for you. God is blessing you and all of us who get to read about your journey. And I agree, your daddy is amazing! He really loves his little girl that’s for sure. Can’t wait to read more updates about your house!

  102. Good for you doing so much of it yourself! Now that’s sweat equity!

  103. Marilyn the nurse says:

    Rhoda, you have given me the nerve to have the paneling in my basement room painted. Our painter friend told me it could be done but seeing it done by you gives me courage to have it done. How did it come out when finished? Were you happy with it? Also why did you chose to use Zinsserr cover stain primer over a regular primer.
    Thank you.

    • HI, Marilyn, yes by all means paint it! You will love how it turns out. The pics above are after 1 coat of primer & 2 coats of paint & I love how it turned out. You can judge for yourself! I used the Zinsser primer over regular primer because it is oil-based and really sticks to wood, getting it ready for latex paint. I painted all my wood trim with it first before I painted my white trim paint. Gives it tooth to stick well.

  104. Hi, Rhoda. I just recently found your blog and I love what you are doing with your house renovation. I feel you have a real sense of color and ideas and I wondered if you ever take on “clients” via online consultation. I actually was directed to your site after reading “Four Generations One House” and seeing how you helped Jessica redo her family room. I am just at a total loss as to what colors to paint my family room, kitchen, etc. and what to use in the way of furniture and decor. I’ve had a decorator here once and I was not happy with her choices. I live in a small town and there really isn’t anyone to ask. My husband will not help at all and he doesn’t want me to waste $ on trying to find another decorator. When they passed out the decorating genes, they left me out! If I send you pictures of my rooms could you help? Can I pay you for your services? Thanks for considering and hope to hear from you.

  105. Rhoda,

    Your home is looking beautiful. I am so enjoying following along on your progress. My heart melts when I read about your dad helping you. My dad was able to do the same for my husband and I when we purchased our first home back in 97. 🙂

    One thing I can’t seem to find though is the paint color you used on your inside doors. I am looking to paint my own a dark color and wanted to see what you color would look like in my home.

  106. Oh, the shame! The guilt! I am guilty of being afraid to paint my 70’s paneling. Fond memories of college in the 70’s should not be an excuse! Thanks to your post, I’M DOING IT! I have one question: are you sure it’s okay to paint latex over the oil-based primer? I thought that was a no-no due to possibility of paint not sticking or peeling. Please help me make good on this! Thanks, Joy

  107. My paneling has plastic strips that hold the paneling pieces together. Are they to be removed when priming and painting?

    • Hi, Renae, I wouldn’t think you would want to remove those if they hold the pieces together. Can you paint right over it? I think that would be the best. If you prime and paint the plastic strips, they should be fine.

  108. Ross Cameron says:

    I really like the way woodpanels painted look. They are more interesting than painted sheetrock. I think it’s a great way to repurpose that old woodpaneling and a much better alternative than removing and replacing with sheetrock.

  109. We went through a house renovation too. Wish I took pictures of the demo process, but I have the before/after shots. Lots of work but well worth it!!

  110. Id like to cover my paneling but still see the wood grain – like pickling – do you have any suggestions for that or am I better off just painting over? I live in a log home and there’s a LOT of wood!!!!

  111. When painting my paneling (real pecan wood), found it best to prime in the black lines first. Had to do two coats.
    Then primed the wall, two coats. Then painted, two coats. total I painted six times. It was so much work, however; when it became late fall into winter the lighter color walls helped with the winter blues. It’s so much better now. Glad I took the time to make a change.

  112. Seeing your dad helped you with the house reminded me when my dad helped me with my remodeling. That’s just awesome.

  113. Pam Boatright says:

    I learned so much from your site.
    What are you putting on floors laminate or engineered wood?
    Thank you

    • HI, Pam, this post was done several years ago and I’ve already completed the flooring. I used engineered hardwoods throughout my house and recently installed Shaw Floors luxury vinyl tiles in this space that you see here. You can look through my Before and After house pics under Home tour for more info.

  114. Looking ?! Lots of work. One thing turns into another on a rehab. I love Pinterest and your posts. We are getting ready to take on an old 70’s farmhouse with a bungalow roof. Will have lots of decisions to make. We have paneling too in one big wall across the living area and kitchen. I am thinking of shiplap in This area. 50 year old sheetrock is usually getting old and tired.


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