Header Flower On Left

Emily Henderson

Style Play Every day
Header Flower On Right
Article Line Long1
by Emily Henderson


Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Sandblasting Ceiling Walnut Glass Inspo Pic 131
image source

Let’s be clear – that is not our house, but I wish it were. A recap: mountain cabin ceilings need and want wood. Sure. I can get behind/under that. While I originally would have been absolutely fine painting the ceiling white, the more time I spent at the mountain house, especially in the winter, the more I agree that the wood on the ceiling is really cozy and lovely and yes, it just feels like a mountain house. Painting it would be fine, but it would be like dressing your child in all black for an Easter egg hunt – it’s not a big deal, but it just doesn’t feel right.

As a reminder, here is what our ceiling looked like pre-renovation:

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Sandblasting Ceiling Walnut Glass Before Pic 1

It doesn’t look that bad in photos, but it just felt like a dark orange or almost a semi-translucent dark stain…closer to paint.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Ceiling Blasting Walnut Side By Side

This is very common and YOU GUYS, let me be VERY clear here – it’s absolutely fine. If you have this in your house, do not look at it and judge it. It’s appropriate and normal and totally “mountain.”

But I had other dreams…I wanted my fantasy wood ceiling. I wanted these:

Emily Henderson Modern Design Trends Dwell Concrete Black White Contemporary Minimal 651
image source
Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Sandblasting Ceiling Walnut Glass Inspo Pic 151
image source
Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Sandblasting Ceiling Walnut Glass Inspo Pic 12
image source

See! I like wood, I’m just pickier about its tone. I also have to make sure for my business and reputation that this house is a representation of my style. It would be like if I were an accountant and my files were slightly disorganized, with spreadsheets named improperly and zeros added where they shouldn’t be. I would never hire or trust that accountant (nor should you), so as a designer, I have to make sure that the stylistic decisions I make are something I want my clients (aka YOU) to see…and those inspiration shots above are what I want for myself.

What is beautiful about all of those is the tone of the wood – it’s warm without going too orange. Most of those are also not V-groove tongue-and-groove (with the little V-shaped indention between the planks) but instead clad like shiplap or flat stock. Perhaps they used a harder wood like oak, alder, maple or walnut…or maybe they used Douglas fir and pine (like most) but tweaked the stain or bleached it a lot.

Again, here is our ceiling in the mountain house:

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Sandblasting Ceiling Walnut Glass Before Pic 171

I knew I wanted to do something to bring it closer to those dreamy inspo shots, so let’s talk through the options. What can we really do to this ceiling:

Paint It White

Coating it in white paint (or dark gray hue – more on that in a sec) would likely cost $5-6k. Well, saying this is an actual option is inaccurate because Brian will not budge on this. I also think my contractor and architect would walk off the job. You do NOT paint wood ceilings in this town. Fine. Again, I DON’T WANT TO EITHER, just discussing the OPTION. Here’s what that would look like (even if it’ll never happen).

Modern Kitchen With White Rafter Ceiling
image source
Rgp 2941 1
image source

Paint It Gray

Oh…but what about painting it a dark gray?? Would that be so bad? Would it give the same sense of warmth and coziness? Probably not, but maybe close? Is this an actual option? NOPE. Brian says no, even though it would make my life (and thus his life) so much easier because it would mean that I could choose ANY flooring we wanted (i.e., I wouldn’t have to worry about matching/coordinating wood tones overhead and underfoot).

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Sandblasting Ceiling Walnut Glass Inspo Pic 34
image source
Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Sandblasting Ceiling Walnut Glass Inspo Pic 35
image source

But admittedly, it’s not as warm or “mountainy” as a wood-toned ceiling. How can we get closer to what I want, without losing the warmth of real wood grain? So, I searched long and hard for more options:

Emily Henderson Living Room
photo by Ryan Liebe for EHD

Refinish It

If you have ever had Douglas fir or pine in your life, you know that it’s extremely difficult to take the orange undertones out of them. This is why typically, you see them stained dark, because the darker a stain, the more overall consistent color you are able to achieve. The reason that these two kinds of wood are used so often is due to durability, availability and cost. Getting the same amount of material in hardwood would be insanely expensive, but believe me, refinishing isn’t really an option. I know this because of the ceiling beams in our living room in LA and what we had to do to get them up to snuff. The team that worked on them had to bleach the beams three to four times to ensure that the undertone wasn’t orange, and instead more white…and then we stained it. It was incredibly expensive and laborious and refinishing this ceiling with the same bleaching technique would be bonkers (like $20-30K). And I still might not get the look that I want. Dropping that kind of dough isn’t an option, especially without the guarantee of it coming out just right.

Re-clad it in beautiful wood in the perfect tone like some of those above

This was my original idea. Yes, this would be even more expensive, but I’d get my dream ceiling. It would be in the same range ($25-$35k), but at least there wouldn’t be any unknowns. The problem with this is that veneer does not come as long as the rafters are (probably 16 to 20 feet) so you would have to piece it together. The tongue and groove can be “easily” clad over, but the rafters, not so much. When we discussed this, everybody convinced me that seeing a seam in the veneer in the rafters would make it appear obvious that the rafters were indeed veneered. It would look fake, cobbled together and generally “mickey moused.”

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Sandblasting Ceiling Walnut Glass Before Pic 101

In case you are thinking “oh, but that dark brown you have right now looks pretty!” allow me to correct you – the light in the room is pretty. The windows are large and beautiful and let in a ton of light, but the dark brown wood looked like a painted dark orange ceiling in person.

Right around the time that we bought the house, I went on the Dwell on Design tour and saw this house:

Emily Henderson Dwell On Design 911
image source

I asked the architect that day about the ceiling and they said that it was an original Douglas Fir ceiling from the ’60s that had been walnut blasted and left raw, with no stain. The gave me SO MUCH hope. So the last option:

Walnut Blast the Ceiling

Walnut what?? Walnut blasting…it’s a thing, evidently. We did a whole bunch of research for those of you interested as well as picked the brain of Mike from Culwell Abrasive, who, spoiler alert, did our walnut blasting because it’s what we ended up going with, which you’ll see later on in this post.

First and foremost, you might have heard of “sandblasting”, which it seems is just the “Kleenex” of the abrasive grit blasting world (i.e. people just use the term, even if sand is not the blasting medium being used). FYI, sand comes with some warnings, which we’ll get into in just a sec.

Here’s a super formal straight-from-the-dictionary definition of abrasive blasting: “…a process by which an ‘abrasive media’ is accelerated through a blasting nozzle by means of compressed air.” The abrasive used varies based on the surface treatment required. Some abrasives commonly used in the process include steel grit, glass beads, crushed glass, plastic, corn cob, baking soda, copper slag, steel shot, coal slag, aluminum oxide and, why we’re here today…walnut shells.

Mike told us that for customers who ask for basic “sandblasting,” he actually uses copper slag, which is a copper byproduct. Blasting with sand is messier and can create a mess long term because the sand gets stuck in the wood and falls from the ceiling for years to come. From Mike’s mouth to your ears (eyes?).

As for the cost, it varies job to job as many things in remodeling/construction do. In this instance, factors that could change the quote are whether or not you have beams, surface conditions, different ceiling heights, etc., but Mike gave us a “guesstimate” average cost of $3-4 per square foot for sand and 25-35% more for both walnut and glass blasting options. It’s important to note that most pros doing this charge per square foot as opposed to per hour. On the low end, you can expect to pay $1,500 for “sandblasting” with corn cobs on a 1,500 square-foot log home, while on the high end, using copper slag on something like metal and masonry (with cleanup, because that’s def not something you can do yourself) on the same size home is more like $5,000.

For anyone asking “wait, what does abrasive grit blasting (or “sandblasting”) do exactly,” it can be used in tons of ways – plus, it’s chemical-free. For example (according to our research), it can remove paint from stucco and other textured structures, rejuvenate concrete with no color fading, strip back rust from fancy antique metals, remove oil and stains from concrete driveways and garage floors, and bring back the original look of brick, pebbles or other rock designs. While the process is relatively simple, the prep work is labor-intensive. Your contractor will have to take care to protect your windows, roof and landscaping (not to mention everything in your home that’s currently there) before beginning the process because that stuff gets EVERYWHERE.

Img 2482

So, while we went with walnut shells for our ceilings, there was also the option to use glass as the media. Here’s some info on both, because each has its own pros and cons:


Ideal for indoor blasting on softer surfaces like wood, plastic, fiberglass, aluminum and various composite materials. Pros include less prep (you don’t have to cover your glass/windows because, unlike sand, walnut shells don’t etch glass), speed (it’s a dry process which reduces additional drying time that can eat into tight production schedules) and safety (organic walnut shells don’t produce harmful toxins and require no solvents or additives during the blasting process…they are reusable and biodegradable, as well). One of the most notable cons though is price. Walnut blasting is the more expensive option (when compared to copper slag or sand) due to material costs.


Ideal for steel, metal, sometimes concrete (depending on what finish you want), brick and wood (depending on the type of wood…if it’s too soft, the crushed glass could etch the wood which isn’t ideal). It’s often used on things like cars that are being repainted rather than in a residential building and is the most expensive option. Pros include cleanliness (glass is “dustless”, so the mess and clean up is minimal), and limited embedment (crushed glass doesn’t embed very much into the surface, making it ideal for applications where that’s problematic, like log cabins). It’s also environmentally friendly – crushed glass is inert, which, depending on your location, means it can be safe to use around water. If you’re looking for a speedy turnaround, though, glass is softer than some harder abrasives like, say coal slag, so it can be slower at removing coatings depending on the surface.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Sandblasting Ceiling Walnut Glass After Pic 311

Regardless of what abrasive you choose, here are a few things to remember if you venture down this blasting path in your own home:

  • “Sandblasting” is VERY noisy and messy. If you have nearby neighbors, you might want to tell them ahead of time as not to bother them or in the case that they also need to tarp/prep their property (anything within 30 feet of the job needs some prep).
  • Some cities require permits for sandblasting, so always check with your town or city hall to see what you might need before starting.
  • Better “soft” than sorry – If you’re not sure whether the surface you are blasting can handle a more abrasive material, you’re probably better off starting with a gentler medium. Walnut shells or corn cobs can be an excellent choice for softer surfaces such as wood; they won’t cause etching. They also provide the additional benefit of being biodegradable, making them among the most environmentally-friendly blasting media.
  • You might want to avoid sand altogether. Why? Sand contains silica, which is known to cause serious respiratory illnesses for workers involved in the sandblasting process. 
Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Sandblasting Ceiling Walnut Glass After Pic 231

Our contractor gave us a quote of $5,700 and we okayed it. It would take two days and without feeling confident about any of the other options, we went for it. Here she is after succumbing to the power of walnut blasts. When I first walked in, I was relieved, thinking “okay this is good.” But the more I stared at it and experienced the space, the more I was like, wait…is this good?? The doubt starting setting in because it wasn’t exactly what I originally envisioned. The Douglas fir rafters and pine tongue-and-groove are different tones, the former pink, the latter more yellow. Neither of which I dislike, but together, it felt like a lot.

Furthermore, the texture was EXTREME (see top right photo in the grid below…that is some serious texture).

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Ceiling Blasting Walnut After With Copy 01

I like texture, but man when you blast wood, it takes it down to the grain and there was a lot of depth, knots and variation. I didn’t hate it but it just wasn’t what I had predicted. Also, remember that you all voted (but barely) for “refined” not rustic, so I was like “dear gosh, this ceiling is RUSTIC.”

But let me present another argument – perfection in all your finishes can look like a new build, which is fine if you want a new build. But if you want a mid-century cabin in the mountains then trying to shove the perfect finishes on it seems like a devil’s errand. Erasing charm is anti-everything that I’m for, though I also REALLY want to be happy with the ceilings. So while digging around Pinterest (as one does), I found the following photos of what appears to be a veneer on the rafters. Veneer that doesn’t stretch across and thus looks like what it is – beautiful veneer over cheaper wood.

image source

You would NEVER notice it (at least I wouldn’t). It doesn’t look ‘mickey moused’ or silly. How often do you stare at the ceiling? Not often. So I showed my contractor, architect and Brian these photos to prove to them that you can veneer without losing visual architectural integrity. Heck, “visual integrity” is in and of itself a ridiculous aspiration. But everyone looked at me like I was crazy…and they weren’t wrong. The ceiling is fine. Good enough. Not bad!! The quote to re-clad was three weeks, at $1k a day (for 2 guys) plus materials. That’s just nuts and not something we can afford.

So I explored even other options – painting the rafters white, so we could leave the T and G, and therefore at least have less contrast and reduce the pink. Like so:

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper Sandblasting Ceiling Walnut Glass Inspo Pic 32
image source

But I don’t LOVE that as much as much as I should. We would still have to stain the ceiling which would cost $7k at least (if you have a lower ceiling, it’s MUCH cheaper, but when you are up that high with scaffolding, the cost of labor skyrockets).

So as of right now, I want to work with the wood ceiling. I canceled my original wood flooring to ensure that the floor is pulling the best tones from all of the different tones of ceiling. I am embracing it from below and just like most of us, it’s not perfect but maybe it’s likable enough. And maybe that is more important than perfection.

You see, I started realizing that while renovating a quirky house, you can OBSESS about all the details that you might not actually notice when the house is finished. It’s easy to home in on a tiny little thing (LIKE AN ENORMOUS CEILING) when there isn’t anything else to focus on. MUST REMEMBER THIS. Mixing woods is pretty. Real wood in a mountain cabin is crucial. While I haven’t done much of it before and feel like a novice at the notion of mixing a ton of woods, I don’t want to spend more money unless it’s going to be my dream ceiling. Getting “closer” without nailing it seems like a waste of money and time. But because I have a wide audience with so much more experience than I have, I want to ask you – and not in an ‘I design, you decide’ sort of way because it’s too expensive to even propose, but in a PLEASE HELP ME way:

If you have a wood ceiling, have ever clad, stained or replaced a wood ceiling or maybe you have a general contractor in the family you can shake information out of…what do you/they think? What do you like? Am I missing any options? Do you like it as-is? Or do you think that I’m maybe projecting too much importance on a singular finish and should consider the importance that furniture and accessories and PEOPLE can give to a space?

I’m leaning towards the latter…

Update: Check out all of The Mountain House REVEALS here: The Kids’ Bedroom | The Kitchen The Kitchen Organization | The Kitchen Appliances | The Powder Bath | The Living Room | The Downstairs Guest Suite | The Loft | The Hall Bath | The Upstairs Guest Bath | The Dining Room | The Family Room

  1. Good enough
    Rough texture a plus
    Gives character
    Same with different color of wood
    Matching looks new

  2. I worked on construction sites for 3 years. A handful of the jobs renovated old mills into apartment buildings. They used the sand blasting technique. The results were BREATHTAKING. The honey tones were perfection! and the texture was really quite beautiful. Please please please go through with this option!

    1. 😉 Not sure if you read the whole thing but Emily did the walnut-blasting on the ceilings and the images towards the bottom show how it turned out 🙂

      1. Hey molly! yeah, we already walnut blasted. different than sand, but i think a similar result (that is slightly more expensive but less sand for years in your house).

  3. I really like it! The texture is cool and authentic. Leave it alone.

  4. I am the daughter of a forerster so I might be a bit partial but i definitely think you can work with the wood ceiling you have now. Real wood will never look perfect and i think that’s what makes it beautiful and gives it that “mountain house vibes”. I also think the ceiling will be less noticeble when the furniture is in since there will be other stuff for the eyes to focus on. 🙂

    1. I completely agree– the charm of the wood is its variation. I definitely think you had to take the orangey stain away, but the rustic, organic nature of the ceiling is pleasing. The veneer seems overly ‘perfected’. I can understand how it’s not what you expected, but I don’t think anything will beat the natural aspect of it.

      1. Yeah, I don’t like the veneer option. At all.

    2. Ditto! It will just be one surface out of six. And really, you want your eye to travel out the window to the beautiful outdoors … which is why this cabin is in the mountains, not on a suburban lot.

      1. THANK YOU. After spending two days there this week I definitely like it more. I just have to shift into the more ‘rustic’ world which isn’t what readers chose , but i think whatever is best for the house … RIGHT?

  5. I much MUCH prefer what you have created with the walnut blasting to the veneered look which is just too ‘perfect’ (and to me un-charcterful, is that even a word?). It looks real and beautiful and like wood should. I love it.

    1. I totally agree! The veneer is too perfect for me, and dare I say, a little weird contractor grade perfect. I actually love the idea of painting the rafters too, but I think it’s an awesome challenge to work with it with furniture, painting, and decor, as this is a VERY real possibility for several future clients. Also I love the walnut blasting finish, even the more rustic texture. I’m not sure how even a bleach or white wash would look? All that being said, Tim Gunn that shiz girl.

    2. I agree with everything these ladies said. Your ceiling is giving me heart eyes!

      1. Agreed!! Perfection is boring 🤷‍♀️ Work it, Emily!!! You got this!

        1. YAY. thank you guys. Very much. Its so nice to get a fresh perspective and new eyes on it. xx

    3. To me veneer just looks like someone put flooring on the ceiling. Wood ceilings are actual support of the roof, and is made with boards going from beam to beam. When I see boards or beams with seams on them, I can tell it’s fake. Especially if the finish is a modern lacquered finish.

  6. You know, I liked seeing your high budget rooms, but the reason I’ve read your blog for so many years is your ability to make it work, Tim Gunn style. None of us are going to be decorators like you, but we all want to get inspiration on working with what we have. It’s not just practical – working with constraints brings a new level of creativity and interest. I hope you leave it, make it work, and don’t give it another thought. 🙂

    1. Well said!! I’m trying to do the majority of a bathroom for 5k. Talk about constraints. But it does allow for more creativity when you have less options. Such as ordering dead stock inexpensive beautiful hardware. Or making your own mirror from old trim.

    2. Yes, well said.

    3. Agreed. Inspiration is nice, but I feel kind of overloaded on inspiration in this age. It makes me kind of sad to hear how the stretch for perfection weighs on you.

    4. Agreed! And I like the slight rustic-ness without being super rustic. On another note, one Easter I was in the hospital with one of my other children so my parents and husband took the other two the neighborhood Easter party. And one was wearing a black shirt (or if not black something very un-eastery). I was mortified!

      1. Oh good. thanks guys. we get direction, requests, ‘advice’ and suggestions from so many angles so its hard to know what angle to take. moving forward i’ll often do inspiration, budget or both. but i’m glad you support the ‘make it work’ method of life 🙂

    5. Making it work is SO MUCH MORE INSPIRING! (That’s why I shouted it). I think you are missing the reason why people look at your work. They like seeing creative solutions more than mega-budget perfection. You are very creative so I think that you need to have the confidence to say that you can make it look good. Also, you said it yourself- perfection tends to eliminate charm. A mountain house should be a bit “ugly pretty”, you know, that thing that is technically wrong but elevates everything else to something special and unique.

      1. Well said! I was among the refined voters, but if the house leans more rustic, so be it. You’re working with the natural elements and that’s far more interesting and organic than bending the house to your will in order to fulfill a refined destiny. The ceiling is beautiful and I have every faith that you’ll find a solution for the wood flooring.

        My family home in Finland has wood on the ceiling and floor. Shockingly, my critical eye has never paid attention to whether they match. There are so many other elements in the house and through the windows that draw my attention. It’s a cozy, meaningful place I visit.

        As always, I enjoy reading your posts!

  7. Paint the beams white and leave the rest of the ceiling as-is. I don’t like pink undertones of the beams and I love the last picture you posted.

    1. I agree

    2. That’s my vote as well. Good luck!

      1. I’m not crazy about the pink either. But I’m not sure I’d notice it when the whole room is done. I think it might look great white.
        from the pix, i like the way the ceiling was originally. But so hard to tell.

      2. I don’t think the white clad/painted beams will look right. I wouldn’t do it. I think it is ‘busy’ looking as is, but with the rest of the home finished/decorated, it won’t stick out like a sore thumb. But the white…not for your look. It is too traditional.

    3. I think this is the option I most prefer as well – the pic I saw with the white beams just looks so beautiful, seems to be best of both worlds, both modern and mountain which I think is what you’re after here. I think it will tone down the wood overall, ground it more as it will connect to the walls and rest of the space and style, and just look so fresh too. I love the look of wood, but the clashing undertones was throwing me… so short of having two different colors of stain to try and create a more cohesive look, I think the white beams would be absolutely beautiful!

    4. Exactly what I was going to write. Love the white beams!

      1. Another vote for the white beams. (Also maybe I read this incorrectly, but it sounded like you said you had to stain the ceiling if you were going to paint the rafters? Can you just leave the ceiling unstained and paint the rafters white?)

    5. I agree!! Or paint the ceiling white and stain the beams?? Would Brian kill me for saying that?

    6. I totally agree! I think this would also bring the refined into the refined-rustic.

    7. Yup, 100%. I love everything else about how the ceiling turned out EXCEPT for the pink tones in the beams. And I freaking love how the white beams look in the example picture. This definitely your best option.

    8. 100% The knotty pine ceiling is GORGEOUS. If the two tone is too much, just paint the beams.

    9. I wonder if you paint the beams white is it going to make those knots stand out all the more? If they’re bothering you already you may want to consider that? I like what some of the other commenters said about working with what you’ve got so that we can see how you make it work. I also agree that the natural woods will add to the effortless cabin feel you’re going for, perfect imperfections.

      1. What about painting the beams dark? Have you looked for inspiration photos of that?

        1. I like the white beam idea, for sure, but fear that it will look too ‘new build’ which would be fine but not with the now old world fireplace. I’ve seen many a dark beam and so far its not what I think we are going for. I think its too distracting and harsh to be black , but who knows … 🙂

  8. I think you are obsessing over nothing! The ceiling is stunning and I love all that texture and knots. Proof that it is authentic.

    The two different tones don’t matter as it is authentic to the “function” of the roof and gives it integrity.

    Thank goodness the veneer was vetoed!

    It you still want to lighten up the wood (and preserve it), have you considered Danish oil (in the lighter tones). Woca do an excellent choice of oils and lyes – https://www.wocadirect.com/products/

  9. Hi, Emily. I think you have to apply some kind of stain, white washing, bleaching technique. Not to make it perfect, but just to tone down the pink a litle, soften the knots, and marry the two tones. I think it’s worth the 7k you mentioned. This blog is my first read of everyday!

    1. For my two cents, I agree with Alexandre.

    2. I agree… love love love your work Emily and so tempted for your mental and financial health to say it’s good enough 🙂 but I really think it would look better more evened out.. I lean more contemporary so I’m personally in love with the veneered look, but for this mountain cabin-y space, the natural can work… with a little work.

      1. Looks like I need a different name for this blog. I’m fairly new here and have been using “Jen” too. Sorry!

    3. yes yes, I came here to say the same thing. Maybe look at a white wash? something super translucent to still let the tone and grain through, but cool down the pinks. love the texture though!!

    4. This would be my vote as well if you’re looking for “as good as you can get.” While I don’t really like the too-perfect veneer options you showed and I think the texture looks great, I think it’s worth exploring options to blend out the tones a bit.

      Thanks for sharing this! I learned so much about sandblasting; it was really interesting and nice to know there are environmentally friendly options to using solvents.

    5. Also don’t love the pink tone. Would you reconsider painting just the rafters?

      1. Hey all, I am considering all of that. Its just cost. When you have workers up on scaffolding it cost twice as much, essentially because it gets so much more complicated. Do I want to bleach the ceiling and then control the tone more? yes. but they think it will cost around $25k. I could look more into washing …. and myabe I will. Right now I want to get finished with the house, put the flooring in and I think that will change my perspective. I want to live with it for a while…. i think 🙂

  10. Maybe you are focusing too much on the ceiling because it is empty. When the room is furnished, and there are other things to divert your attention, will you still dislike it? We are remodeling (it’s a total gut job) right now, and it’s easy to hone in on one thing when it won’t even be noticed when the place is full of things I love.

    1. YES YOU ARE EXACTLY RIGHT (and what I just wrote in my above comment). When you are doing one thing at a time and they are all ‘PERMANENT, TERRIFYING DECISIONS’ you obsess over things that won’t really be noticed. Yes, i belive in the power of architecture and permanent fixtures, but I want to spend more time up there, design the whole house before I sink more money into the ceiling unless someone has a great new solution. thanks so much for commenting. xx

  11. Please leave it! I really Think the overall look can be refined when everything else is in place.

  12. It looks a lot better than before. And really, I think there are a lot of knots and color variation in your Dwell inspo photo as well.

  13. Looks great. Move on.

    1. As is! Love the character of the wood- that wood tells a story, which includes the knots, the texture, the different undertones. The white beams would look so forced in this situation.

  14. You’re doing carpet at the upstairs open “loft area”, correct? I only have the photos you have shown to go on but I only truly pick up the two tone elements when you take a shot right next to the ceiling. I don’t see the two tones from below (or I do because I know I’m looking for it and can technically see it, but it isn’t offensive) and that is how you will first experience the space. With the wood flooring being so “far away” from the high ceilings, I think as long as you pick flooring that is close or doesn’t compete with the ceiling, you’ll be good to go. Give yourself a break and lean into it.

    1. That’s what I was thinking. In the picture with all the scaffolding, I thought the ceilings were great. So much better than before. I can notice different tones only in a closeup and only because Emily pointed out. I see pine knots in the inspiration photos as well. I think once the fireplace is toned down a bit, furniture and gorgeous art is in, you will never notice. Some subtle whitewash could work to even it out as some readers pointed out but not sure if it’s worth the expense. Would doing some sort of clear coat help with evening the tone out, at least visually? but I think it’s great as is right now.

      1. Maybe? I think for now we’ll furnish it and then IF its just not working we can deal with it next winter when we aren’t using it as much. i like the idea of whitewash but brian henderson believes in natural wood 🙂

  15. I process a lot like you do, and I think your final thought is your conclusion. I think it’s lovely as is, and tells a story of trying for ideal, but being content with what is because it’s still beautiful and you aren’t going to have photos of your fave Pinterest shots hung around your house for comparison. Maybe it’s not your dream, but in the big scheme it’s gonna be just fine. I think if you pull out some of the darker tones in the floor you’ll be good to go! And there will be plenty of other lovelies in the rooms…no one will be scrutinizing the pink/yellow. In the pictures it looks warm and inviting, and perfect!

    1. *pull out some of the darker ceiling tones to use in the floor, I meant

  16. The texture is very cool. The knots arre a little much. I love mixing woods, and my suggestion is to have one if the talented artisans you know create one try new item (small table, cheese board, kid’s toy, display shelf, etc) that incorporates the various would tone, types, and textures. It’s unlikely you will hate it; more likely you will love it, and it will be a great grounding/ jumping off point for the interior.

  17. Well, I liked the before but understand why you didn’t. I do like the varying shades and think with stain they would be fine. I think you’re at the “holy heck, what have I done?!” stage. Deep breaths. You always create the best rooms! Once you get all your furniture and art work in there, it will be all pull together.

  18. I think your last picture of cladding does look mickey moused…don’t! Your ceiling looks better after blasting but it’s not there yet. It seems to need some smoothing (stain? paint? something else?). I hope someone has useful suggestions. I know you’ll figure this out in good time.

  19. I would leave it as is and see what all the sunlight does to the raw wood. Without the protective topcoats the sun may bleach it over time? Not sure. I really like the zoomed out picture of it and you are not going to zoom in on the ceiling for pictures. It will be an accent.

    1. Oh, that’s an interesting thought. I agree to just leave it and live with it for a while. I keep imagining some kind of clear waxy finish but anything too clear and too shiny will just enhance the appearance of knots and clashing tones. Leave it and then down the road if you need to you can bleach or stain.

      1. On this note, as a person with an untreated log cabin interior, wood changes over time! Sometimes a lot! Our cedar walls have darkened considerably.

        In fact, we have a future project on our list to sand (or maybe blast) our interior and use some kind of sealant. One of the problems with raw wood, especially when it is textured, is that it gets dusty and isn’t super easy to clean. I swear it attracts dust and it STICKS. If you go with a wood burning fireplace this will add to the problem.

        I am just unsure of what kind of sealant I should use…something matte that won’t yellow over time and is easy to wipe down.

        Also worth exploring vegetable based stains to tone down the pinks and oranges. I have a friend who used it on her pine tongue and groove ceiling and it came out a lovely grayish tone, which might look nice in the mountain house.

  20. Leave it! You really are underestimating the power of the furniture you put in it. Plus, clients value a designer who can make a variety of things look beautiful, not just one look! (ie the ‘Emily Henderson look’ which is great, but you don’t want to be a one-hit-wonder). I personally love the texture.

  21. I hate that slightly disappointed feeling after researching ALL the options and the result isn’t quite what you’d imagined. I think a light white-washing is also the way to go as another reader mentioned. It would tone down the knots and varying tones, and it would still be real wood. That’s my vote! We’ll love it no matter what.

  22. I grew up in a deck house and our ceiling were pine, the beams were alder and stained dark almost black. I would lay in my bed and look for all the “faces” in the knots, you know like finding shapes in the clouds. I loved all the texture and colors in the ceiling so my vote is to leave what you have and embrace the wood as it is. Lean into what is not perfect and enjoy the beauty!

    1. I did the same thing in our wood ceilinged beach house as a kid. I remember there were lots of bird shapes in there.

  23. Looks awesome! I would consider painting the beams a dark color because the pink tone of them might bother my ocd 😊

    1. That’s what I was thinking 🙂

  24. There’s a saying that goes “perfect is the enemy of good” It’s happening to me on my remodel; I can’t see that something is beautiful because I’m too focused on “perfect”

    Your contractors have probably told you this but wood generally has orange/red “warm” undertones. It just does. We live in a world of filtered photos and when I see creamy buttery woods I usually assume some filter has been applied. Is it safe to say that you will be using a filter of some sort for your photos? Just color correct what comes thru as orange?

    1. Yes! In the wide shot scale, the ceiling looks awesome. Up close it is not totally perfect, but it is better than ever. Just color-correct it when you need to! And focus on all the other great stuff you’re going to do in there.

  25. I think it looks beautiful. I really enjoyed reading this b/c although I have no experience with this type of ceiling, I’ve had a similar experience in other parts of my home. And I absolutely think that you are obsessing now, but once you have furniture, accessories, floors, rugs, you will realize that you maybe even like it more than you thought you would! And to your point about having it look just right for your portfolio as a designer – one of the things I love about your blog and your design is that you work so well and creatively with what you have. Anyone can rip things out, do a new build, completely demo something and make it look beautiful, but lose the charm and authenticity of the original home. And so many of us don’t want that, nor is it even practical. I love to watch you create with some limitations (whether it’s space, size, historic preservation, husband’s desires, etc…) – I think that is where you shine and it’s so much more valuable to me as a reader than just a completely perfect new build.

  26. Well, I think you need to start considering the other elements of the room. The flooring and wall color will make a significant difference. And, you can’t forget about your view out the windows. That view is your art and your biggest asset. I would probably put in a dark stained wood floor and stain the beams to match, leaving the pine ceiling as is. Photoshop/sketch up will help determine if that is a good idea or not. That being said, I will tell you that I don’t like knotty pine or too much texture. I would not have purchased the house unless I could paint the ceilings white. The woods are outside – by bringing that much of it indoors you are just competing with your biggest asset.

  27. We live in a 1970s a frame with tounge abd groove redwood ceilings/walls that were pickled a light grey/white which I love.

  28. I like the texture and knots. I also think the pinkish color will fade away once you have other things in the room. Stop obssessing. It’s easy to be hyper focused when its the only thing you’re looking at, but once the house is done it will look great. And if not maybe stain it then, but wait until everything comes together to see if it still bothers you.

  29. Well, I think you need to start considering the other elements of the room. The flooring and wall color will make a significant difference. And, the views outside your enormous windows are an important part of the color story. I would probably put in a dark stained wood floor to balance the texture. I would consider staining the beams to match the floor or adding a whitewash to accent them. I’d leave the pine ceiling as is. Photoshop/sketch up will help determine if that is a good idea or not. That being said, I will tell you that I don’t like knotty pine or too much texture. I would not have purchased the house unless I could paint the ceilings white. The woods are outside – by bringing that much of it indoors you are just competing with your biggest asset.

  30. Go texture! I love the photo of the whole room – what an improvement! The close up shots of the details – no one but you will get that close. And I kinda like the texture, don’t mind the knots and don’t really notice the color difference in the pulled back shot.

    The other thing is that the color of the wood will change over time in ways you probably can’t predict fully. So embrace it the way it is – or at least wait until everything else is in the room before you make up your mind.

  31. I see what you are saying about the matching undertones, but I think you could probably make it work. Instead of trying to match the floor, how about you go for contrast, like very light wood or very dark wood. That way it does not compete with the ceiling but compliments it. I feel like you could work the undertones into your design and have it work. For example, incorporate landscape paintings/photos with some subtle yellow and pink in them. That would tie into the ceiling more. Just a thought! I look forward to seeing what you do!

  32. i like the texture/color of the ceilings, don’t stain them, I would paint the beams.

  33. I know you’re taking up close/just ceiling pictures to make your point for the post, and likely choosing some of the worst offending areas, but those are definitely the only shots that I notice anything “wrong.” Any more pulled back shot that you’ve included looks totally fine and fully authentic to the mountain house vibe. And if you think about it, the reason some of these treatments are so expensive – aka your vaulted ceiling – is exactly the reason why you won’t be getting up close and personal with the ceiling on a regular basis. When you look at the ceiling as part of the entire room (which it is, by definition) it adds something amazing to the space and is not something people will be focusing on when this is all said and done.

    It is hard to work with different wood tones – we’ve had stained wood trim in every house we’ve owned (three now). It’s hard to pick paint colors (lots of popular ones that look great with white trim just do not work with certain wood tones) and coordinate your floors, but that’s part of what I’m so excited to see you do with this project! Good luck.

  34. We have an MCM with exposed beams and the previous owners tore off the original mahogany veneer (it was thin plywood) and put up this ugly, dark stained poplar. It was pretty terrible. So last year we tore all that down and decided to veneer the beams with mahogany to match the original trim. We used a combination of solid mahogany and mahogany-veneered plywood. It definitely has seams because it needed to cover a 50′ span, but the seams are barely noticeable. I’d be happy to send photos if you want; just let me know where you’d like them sent.

  35. clearly I’m not the only one who feels like it would be more interesting to see how you guys can make it work as opposed to just covering it up.

    I like the idea of treating the beams different than the T&G. They have different undertones, so will always look different. So maybe painting the beams.

    You should look into rubio monocoat. Its a matte finish that can de-saturate wood undertones. https://www.rubiomonocoatusa.com/en/c/kleuren/cat/interior/rmc-precolor-easy?country=us#rmc-precolor-easy

    I think it would totally help de-yellow if you do a white or a grey undertone.

    1. This could be a great solution – I would definitely focus on de-pinking the beams if you are going to do anything else.

    2. The full room “after” shots look good, and filters would give you the inspiration shots for the blog and us readers. And I know that you will furnish and style it so that the ceilings are just a small contributor to the big picture even without the photo touching. But honestly, I think the knots/heavy grain/pink tones are a fairly common design conundrum – and I would be thrilled if you were able to solve it for all of mankind! (tinted wax? Matte Oil?)

    3. Love this product and the color options! Great idea.

  36. I think it looks great. Leave it.

  37. Why not go with a spray whitewash and choose a beautiful wood floor in the tone that you want? I don’t feel like you lose any warmth or interest with whitewashing and it would help cover up your knots and the two different wood tones, which would personally drive me crazy with such a prominent ceiling. It might also look interesting with the rough texture of your wood. I think it would look very Swedish cabin.

  38. I think it looks great as it is and once you get furnishings in it, the focus will be on them, not the ceiling. That said, I know that it’s hard when it’s not as perfect as you’d like. I personally have redone things in my own home that my friends thought were unnecessary.

    Another option that you didn’t mention, and perhaps because it is just too expensive, is paneling over the whole ceiling, beams and all. I love beams, but I think wood ceilings without them can be just as cozy. With this option, you wouldn’t have the problem with the seams of the veneer. Here’s a pic of a good looking vaulted ceiling with no beams visible: http://www.milesiowa.org/42-kitchens-with-vaulted-ceilings-lighting-for-vaulted-kitchen-d22830d774b298fa.html

  39. It looks great! Real, original wood is authentic. You’re never going to make your renovation look like a new build and that is a GOOD thing, it has character. Honestly, the fact that after spending $5700 on walnut blasting you are still considering spending thousands of dollars to make it “perfect” and “pinteresty” is so frustrating and wasteful. Wood is a natural material with variations in color and texture and that is what makes it beautiful. The grain in Douglas Fir is one of the most beautiful grains in softwood. The knots in pine are so interesting because they are the story of each individual tree. I used to stare at the pine ceiling in our cabin and find knots that looked like different animals etc. It’s interesting and not something to cover up or run from. You’re a talented designer but it seems the Instagram world is pushing you to obsess over small details that hold you back from really embracing your talent and moving onto the next step of the project. Yes, your ceiling will never be as clean lined as a brand new quartersawn oak ceiling, but that isn’t a bad thing. Yours is a different wood and has a different story. If this place is meant to be a comfortable family home then it doesn’t need to be so “perfect”. It needs to be warm and cozy and to embrace its story.

    1. I love the idea of celebrating the imperfection of the trees. I was so impressed by how great it looks after the walnut blasting, and was sad that you weren’t excited too! You did great, gold star, all done. 🙂

    2. Hallelujah to this comment! Wasteful is exactly what I was thinking too. And this strive to make something that’s already beautiful even more “perfect” and instagrammable makes me feel sick. I do realize it’s Emily’s brand. But, holy cow this was too much. I almost died at the thought of painting them a dark grey! That would look so dated eventually whereas natural wood, orange undertones and all, will always be gorgeous.

  40. Would this technique work? It would be a win-win between keeping the warmth of the wood by not completely covering it with paint. The grey washed tone I believe would work well with the aesthetic y’all are going for. Too expensive to execute? Wouldn’t look consistent with the varying wood tones and knots? These things I don’t have the answers to, BUT surely you do! 😊 Worth a look! Link below….

    Another option would be to just whitewash it without a stain beneath. Perhaps that would be a fresh look without taking away from the integrity of the wood. Less expensive perhaps? If only I had all the answers!


    1. whoa Shannon -beautiful… thank you for sharing the link : )
      you should totally check it out Emily. it feels like the solution to your quest for “wood ceilings and beams that maintain their ‘natural’ qualities but also leave you with that feeling/ease you get in your gut when you know the something is Right” might be hiding somewhere in the technique used here..? as always, love hearing about your process and can’t wait to see the finished project (which i’m sure will be wonderful whether the ceilings remain as they are now or go thru another transformation ; )

      1. YES. I found that a while ago during my endless searching for solutions and tried HARD to convince Brian of it. He begged to blast it first (which we would have had to do anyway). But i totally forgot about this and will bring it back up to him! I will likely not do it til next winter and see if I can really work with this for now, but I agree – it feels totally natural, yet more modern (and still rustic, but more refined). xx

  41. Seriously? It’s a mountain cabin with beautiful, existing ceilings. I think you’d be crazy to put veneer over that or even paint the beams. Get your furnishings in there and THEN rethink it if you must. I think you’ll find that you love the warmth. I already do!

  42. I would paint it all white. If you leave it as is it’s going to be a looooot of wood once you get the wood floors in. You can leave some accent areas of wood ceiling if you like. The pink tone of the beams do not look good. I’m also not a fan of the cladding, it looks too “finished”, for lack of a better word. DO NOT PAINT IT GRAY!

    1. I love a white ceiling. Sadly I’d get thrown out of this town. I think the wood on wood on wood thing is hard but i’m slowly being convinced that in a mountain cabin, you can and should mix a lot of woods. we’ll see 🙂

  43. The ceiling looks gorgeous! The texture adds character, and although I’m someone who is usually really bothered when colors or tones don’t “match”, in this case it just makes it look natural. With this much wood, I think it would look fake if there wasn’t the difference, and maybe a little flat. I love the knots, which again, add character and dimension but are not overwhelming at all. It’s ok to move on to the next issue…..

    1. Thanks, Eileen. There is a part of me that totally agrees with you. I know deep down that chasing perfection leads to a generic house, which is why I want to make this work because if I can it mike lead to something far more interesting and unexpected 🙂

  44. I’d vote pickle/bleach just the beams to take the pink out and then sand down the rest a little to smooth it out/add refinement. I think you’ll be much happier with the uniformity. I did this with a table I made and the more I sanded, the better it got. Even went so far as applying a dark stain, then a grayish stain and sanding the both back out, which worked wonders for tone. You could also try this for just the beams to adjust color. This ceiling is probably always going to drive you crazy if you don’t do a little something more to make it closer to what you envision (I say this as a fellow obsessor/writer). You’ll find yourself making design choices to make the ceiling “work” instead of doing what you want to do with the rest of the house.

    1. I think if it were just a normal ceiling I would definitely play with it. but because its so high the labor cost to do anything on scaffolding is just so expensive. I don’t want to make other choices that I might regret just to ‘work with it’ but I also want to really try to ‘work with it’. AFter being up there this week I’m liking it more and more. The pink in the rafters is the only thing I want to bleach and sanding the underneath of the rafters is something I’m definitely considering.

  45. Yes, the latter! Definitely. You’re being a little nuts about this. I mean that in the best possible way. I think it looks great! And I like the knots. I actually don’t care for the two examples of veneered ceilings without knots.

  46. Paint beams white. Or just clad beams to match ceiling. Ceiling is great – leave as is.

  47. Paint or stain the Douglas Fir beams / rafters. The grooved pine with all the knots and Varitions in color is BEAUTIFUL as is!

  48. Leave it! The result looks very close to the home from the Dwell on Design tour. That ceiling has variation and lots of knots. I think it will all come together once the room is finished.

  49. All of your top inspo photos have knots as well. The texture is perfect for this mountain house, and can still look refined. I say leave as is.

  50. LOVE it as is!! Don’t continue to mess with it.

  51. I’ve totally been there before where I’m obsessing over one thing because everything else is bare, and all you can see is the glaring “imperfection”. Being on the other side of some of these situations, I think you should leave it as is because 1). it adds character, 2). it’s futile and exhausting and emotionally destructible to chase perfection, 3). you always need some old things in a house to make it cozy and if you clad over the ceiling with veneer it would look too much like a new build, and 4). you won’t notice it once other things get in there and get in place–whether that’s the flooring or the redone fireplace or just furniture. Leave it be and you’ll see that you like it in the end 🙂

    1. Anna, I agree! Since the house is so bare it’s easy to over analyze the ceiling. Plus I kinda like it!
      While the exposed wood is a little on the “rustic” side, I feel this is a great opportunity to go more refined with the flooring and furnishings, and I bet it will all meld great. If the concern is all the wood tones in the ceiling, perhaps a different flooring other than wood could be an option? A dark slate comes to mind with beautiful area rugs to cozy it up. Good luck, Emily!

      1. Thanks guys. That is exactly what my contractor and Brian keep saying – stop obsessing on the only thing in the room because once its made a home you won’t even notice. I probably still will, but how much and to what end? 🙂

  52. My parents have a cabin that’s covered in pine and they just used a very light whitewash (actually an ikea white stain) that looks wonderful, so that’s my instinct if you’re really not happy with how it is now. Their floors are pine, too—not exactly the same but close enough. If it were me I would whitewash or alternatively paint the beams white but I don’t think it looks bad the way it is.

    1. I would love some photos if you have any… please !!

  53. I like the ceiling as is, the texture isn’t too rustic, I don’t think. You can bring in more refined elements in other areas of the house. But, I also like the rafters painted white in the above photo. So, I would say paint the rafters white, and leave the ceiling as is (don’t even bother staining it).

  54. HANDS DOWN, LEAVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!! If ever a time to embrace the wood at its hardcore truth, the time is now. I love the knots. The roughness. Own it and make it the visual masterpiece that it is – in all its beloved quirkiness. “…lets get weird!” for sure.

    feel great and pat yourself on the back for finding the sandblasting option. It’s soooo much better than the original and now she’s a supermodel with no makeup. well done.

  55. I quite like the ceiling in its current state, though the pink vs yellow undertones are a little distracting when that’s all I have to look at. In the pulled back shots it isn’t bad though, and ceilings tend to be in the peripheral awareness when you are actually in the [furnished] space! I *might* consider staining just the beams a darker color to deal with the pink. But I really think putting down the tools and calling it just fine is an excellent option.

    I wouldn’t worry about the texture being too rustic – I think it’s beautiful and I think with all the Modern Refined you are going to be adding in, the house can totally handle a rustic element like this.

  56. I would KILL for the ceiling that is walnut-blasted the way it is now in your mountain cabin. I think it looks absolutely gorgeous. DONT change anything. I think a lot of knots in a ceiling totally works, but not on walls. The pink undertones in the beams are just not noticeable enough. The texture is beautiful.

  57. I absolutely love any wood that has aged/ oxidized naturally indoors. I don’t know how long it will take but if you leave it natural like it is now, it should just continue to mellow and warm with age…like the inside of an old barn. Thank you for this post, it is such good information on walnut blasting. An excellent solution to getting rid of coatings gone awry and getting back to natural.

  58. What about bleaching them? It would lighten and refine their tone without losing the character.

  59. I am sure this has been said before – probably by you: if it was a friend’s house, one whose style you like, what would you think of the ceiling?

  60. I vote for painting the rafters. Reducing the pink tones while highlighting the architectural detail (which seems to get lost in the visual chaos of the knots and tone variation) seems like a win win to me. Either way I know the end result will be breathtaking!

  61. Leave it be!! Wood is beautiful BECAUSE it has variations!! Pick the floor you love best, and move on. This ceiling has achieved your goal: warming up the room with a natural material and adding simple mountain style to the space. Check off the box and let’s talk kitchen cabinets!!

  62. Have you thought about using a finish with some white in it? Osmo white gives a really nice white tint to wood while it seals it with a wax based oil. The white is buildable in coats and can mellow out the yellow and pink tones or you can continue with a clear matt osmo. It would probably be best to lose the texture of the walnut blasting though

    1. Benjamin Moore Silver Mist works well for lightening and evening out the tones in Doug Fir ceilings. White tones can look sort of “pickled” – silver mist is more of a greige-white. Good stuff.

      I also love Rubio Monocoat as a clean finish that protects the wood and makes it easier to dust, but when I tried it on a Doug Fir ceiling, it turned the ceiling much more orange. I ended up sanding the ceilings and leaving them raw.

      1. Interesting. Yes, i’m afraid of the ‘pickle’ look. Was your greige white mixed with water and how much? Going to look up Osmo white right now ….

        1. Silver Mist is an Arborcoat stain, not a paint, so I didn’t thin it. I used it to go over an old vaulted ceiling that had been stained in the 60s – my guess is the original stain was Dune Gray from Cabot as that was very popular for Eichlers. The ceiling had gotten some stains from leaks over the decades and it just looked dingy and dark. The fastest/cheapest solution was to have the ceiling sprayed over with Silver Mist – I tested it on the existing stain and on stripped wood. It looked good on both, so I just put it on over the existing stain. It evened and lightened the ceiling nicely.

  63. I think you’re overthinking it!! Let it be. But if you MUST do something, just paint the beams white. I realllllly love that last photo.

  64. Texture is hard to dust! The duster ends up putting MORE dust onto the surface because it’s not smooth enough. My sister just bought a dated house with similar ceilings and there are cobwebs everywhere. When she tried cleaning them it was impossible. I’m sure you have a solution for prevention though! They look SO much better!

  65. Using your inspo pics- Dwell’s beams are rather rustic like yours. The beams painted white is gorgeous- that room is gorgeous, lots of white, lots of nature through the windows.

    The cabin looks like it has a ton of wood especially as the second floor balcony area meets with the ceiling. IDK would painting the beams highlight all the wood or bring it down a notch?

    I don’t think you should do anything else to treat/change the actual wood because the Dwell photo shows once you add furniture the ceiling becomes an accent.

  66. I think it looks fine, even though I agree that the variation in tone and the dark spots bothers me a bit. I don’t think you should paint the rafter white because it might give it shabby chick-look. Maybe a rustic looking ceiling will make it easier for the rest of the interior to be more refined without feeling cold.

  67. “How often do you stare at the ceiling? Not often. ” your own words in this article.

    Follow your own advice! Like other commenters have said, this is one out of many surfaces you have in the home. Work with it and you can always paint the beams white later if it still bothers you!

  68. Try Rubio Monocoat! It’s just rubbed on, sits in the grain, and subtly tones wood. It’ll lighten the grain and even out the color, but you wont need to put on a top layer of finish that would leave it looking shiny. It just sits in the grain as an even, velvety tone.

  69. End of the day, I like the two-toned look. And as a reader of your content, I’d really like to see the room you put together in light of a ceiling like this. To see how/if your color and materials palette adjusts, etc. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with two ceiling tones as long as they are both accounted for in the room, and maybe having such a textured ceiling makes the whole space cozier.

  70. I think it looks very cool now, I think if you live with it a while you’ll be thankful you left it as is.

  71. In this ever-evolving list of options I vote that you paint the rafters and leave the ceiling, it gets rid of the (in my opinion) more problematic pink tone and keeps the character and the budget in check. And… I really do think it would be gorgeous!

  72. paint the beams white.. or navy… or taupe? I think that would look ace. The clashing wood tones will annoy you long term!

  73. The two tones are really bothering me. Pink and yellow don’t work together. I like the option of painting the beams white. Maybe white washing everything? It’s not light or clean enough with the tones and knots. As is, the Scandinavian aspect is lost. It’s just Big Bear.

  74. I really feel your pain. We also have a cabin in the same “neck of the woods”, with the same vaulted, orangy wood ceilings. I am anxiously following your mountain home posts. I would have just painted the damn ceiling years ago, defying the alpine aesthetic BUT…it just didn’t have enough testosterone for my dear hubs…and he spends much more time there than I do. I wish I could offer some insight but I’m a few steps behind you on this trek. I do agree with your assessment, tho’…and hope you can figure out a mutually acceptable solution. Good luck! Once we downsize our Texas home, we’ll be putting more cash into the mountain property. P.S. I highly recommend the new Italian restaurant up there. Impeccable service (the owner will greet you at the door), outstanding food (I’m a real snob there, since I am a self-taught chef), and lovely ambiance.

    1. Ha. Thank you Debra 🙂 and will research the new restaurant. Maybe we’ll run into you some time and you guys can come see our ceiling in person 🙂

  75. I think the ceiling looks amazing after walnut blasting. In photos that aren’t zoomed in on the wood, you can’t even tell there is a lot of texture (which I don’t mind) or variation in the color of the wood (which I also don’t mind). Once you have all your rugs, furniture, decor, etc in the house, the ceiling will become a beautiful backdrop, not the focal point. I know you’re arguing that this house must be perfect since you’re a designer, but honestly, it will look perfect in photos. As long as you love it in person, you can adjust the colors, lighting, and whatnot in photos. How many images do we see of perfect homes where, if the camera were to pull back, the furniture would be oddly turned, tables would be on blocks, etc just to get the perfect shot. Your #1 goal with this house should be for you and your family to live in it happily.

  76. I’m so happy for this post. We live in a mid century home with cedar ceilings/beams which are beautiful but so orange! And, also a little stained from some previous leaks, etc. I’ve read about walnut blasting but so happy to get an idea of cost and pros/cons. There is hope!

  77. Thank you for the informative post!

    I’m way more in the work-with-it camp for the many reasons put forth by yourself and your thoughtful readers, but I can understand that the pink/yellow contrast may be too much to live with.

    I just googled “two-toned wood ceilings” and there were some attractive options there, mostly with the beams going slightly darker. I guess that may be tricky, as yours are already slightly darker and then you’d be trying to get maximum pink-reducing impact without going overboard on darkening…?

    Which brings me right back to work with it.

    Unless you can’t.

    Okay, off to fix all the other problems of the world with my definitive insights!

  78. Well, it’s super easy to obsess with an empty house. The second you have furniture and other interesting things, the undertones of the wood ceiling will not be noticed (just like the seams on the veneer wouldn’t really be noticed). I think the wood looks pretty cool the way it is. I do like the idea of painting the beams if you NEED to do something, maybe a dark color rather than white would keep the cozy feel more? I think if you try to match all of the wood tones in the house, the house will feel flat and one dimensional. Mixing wood tones is super interesting and helps take away the builder grade/newly completed home feel! I DO NOT like the idea of painting the wood or veneering the wood AT ALL.

    While I see your point that this is for your portfolio, you also want to show people that you can work within their budget with existing limitations and still produce beautiful work without having to just start from scratch/remove EVERYTHING from a home to get those results.

  79. What about whitewashing?

  80. I like the idea of painting the rafters white!

  81. If painting is truly non-negotiable, which it appears to be, then embrace the imperfection. That being said- we are looking to relocate to “that” town… with months of watching real estate while we wait for the realities of life to catch up with our plans. I have realized one thing, beyond all doubt. That town is stuck in an interior design time capsule. Please don’t let the old timers on the mountain dictate whether you paint the wood in your home, or not. If they had their way, everything would be wood and forest green! Or that awful rust color that dominates its primary shopping area! Your husband, on the other hand, is a whole different story! 🙃 If he feels that strongly about it, and doesn’t trust that you will bring in enough wood finishes to satisfy the “mountain” part of the equation (don’t forget it’s a lake house too) then call it good enough. You can achieve a similar balance the other direction. I have full confidence you will win the design challenge with furniture, accessories, and people!

  82. I think you are too focused on the wood in its natural state vs a platform for showcasing the wood. As the other writer mentioned, a light stain can pull it together esp if you use the a tone from your massive fireplace. I think your research is too narrow. Check out the original ceiling stains in Eichler homes which were used across massive amounts of space where you see multiple rooms from any angle, like your very open floor plan. Many people now paint those ceilings white (sadly) but many original ones survive and are beautiful and light.

  83. Okay. So. Not even close to a designer, no matter how much I try to make my husband think I am. But, I did grow up in a legit log cabin. And I have thoughts. In summary, work with it. The texture will look less rustic and more refined with personality when the refined elements are added. The texture is amazing and it’ll shine with refined elements. Undertones can be worked with or offset.

    No your husband didn’t pay me to post this, but I would accept payment.

  84. I once had a piece of furniture that was very “orange-y” and my step dad, who is a wood worker by trade, stained it with a grey wash to take the orange tone out of it. It is beautiful now. Would it be possible to stain just the beams in order to eliminate the pink tone and coordinate with the ceiling’s yellow tones better? Then leave the rest of the ceiling alone? I imagine it would be much cheaper than staining the whole ceiling and would keep the whole ceiling being wood as opposed to painting the beams. Just a thought…I hope it helps!

  85. Texture is good. Tone is good. I think warm (dare I say ORANGE) wood tones are making a comeback. I’m sure you will get your interior decor to harmonize with those tones. You can totally make it work. For me, I keep the rest of the decor in the room very clean and natural and rely on texture more than color, print or pattern.

    Right now I’m finishing up having my ceilings sanded and I plan to leave them raw. It was the least expensive option other than blasting. I opted not to blast my ceilings because of the added texture – the ceilings in my one story house are 8′ – 12′ high, so that texture would be closer in, just too much. I think when the ceiling is further up, sandblast texture is lovely.

    Originally I wanted to paint the ceilings in my house white and do wood floors, but with prepping the ceiling surface and smoothing out all the knots, it would come to around $15k. Yikes! Once I knew the ceilings would be left wood, I changed the flooring from oak to polished concrete. We are doing some of the sanding ourselves, and getting the entire ceiling done, including outside eaves, for around $3600.

  86. The different colour rafters and tongue and groove is troublesome. I would paint it white or whitewash.

  87. Leave it like this. Wood is not perfect and that makes the char of it. Veneer this is fake. So fake. Once the walls have their paint on and a new floor and furniture your won’t look at it the same way. Now the real question is when can we see the finish product ?????

  88. Except for bathrooms, I have wood ceilings in every room of my mid-century modern home so I always notice them in photos. I’m very grateful that previous owners never painted the beams as it spared me the trouble of blasting it off. I see your concerns but I don’t think they warrant staining and definitely not painting those lovely big beams. I’m sure the differences in tones and texture won’t be nearly as noticeable once the rooms are complete.
    Veneer makes everything look fake as does my pet peeve, mounting light fixtures on a beam – you can’t pull electric wires through a solid beam!

  89. I think leave it. See how everything works out. If in a year you’re still unhappy about it, reconsider the options. They will still be available.

  90. Cobwebs are going to love that rough wood.

  91. I honestly think the veneer looks too perfect/cold (and I voted for refined). Personally, I think it would look best if you did something (stain, etc) to even out the tones a bit. However, if you don’t, I’m sure it will still be beautiful, once everything is finished.

  92. Your first inspiration image as well as the 60’s walnut blasted wood both show a tremendous amount of variation in the wood as well as lots of knots. I think you got what you asked for and it looks miles better than when you began. When you look at the living room from afar you really cannot see all the variation. I agree with you that you are losing the big picture of the total design and focusing a lot on the wood right now. The colors and textures of the ceiling will seem less prominent when the room is full and dressed. I might consider a non-wood-toned floor, slate tiles would be like the inverse of the grey painted ceiling but be grounding instead of enclosing. Upstairs where the beams are closer, I would try to mix some of the wooden colors into the decor, not necessarily wooden materials but the colors within the wood in your soft furnishings perhaps.

      1. Yes to slate!!!! And install heat under them- its the best!!

        1. I was just thinking today how much joy the slate flooring in my hallway has given me, and it’s been 25 years since I had it put in:).

  93. I personally don’t mind the beams and ceiling not matching. BUT if it really bothers you, instead of painting the beams white, have you considered a darker stain? 2-toned wood looks great in furniture pieces, so maybe it’d look great on the ceiling too??

  94. I think it is really, really beautiful. I love that you talked us through all the options. Wood is so tricky, and I think it turned out beautifully.

  95. I’ve seen a lot of people say to whitewash or paint the beams, but I’d maybe consider going darker with the beams. Still gives the wood feel, but combats the tone you don’t like. I don’t know how it would look, because I’m brainstorming, but maybe even the dark grey that you considered for the entire ceiling just on the beams. I do believe that with furnishings and everything, it will barely be noticeable and that it’s nice that the different tones are on different architectural pieces and are actually accenting that if you look at it that way. And with other wood finishes in accessories, I think it would just add to the overall warmth. I love the knots, too since they add some of the different tones that you can work with throughout the house. With the furnishings and decorations, it won’t look too rustic at all. Work with what you got!! It’s WAY more appealing after the walnut-blasting than it was before and I think that’s a win!

  96. I think the white rafters are gorgeous and very much your style! They would also fit the style you are going for in the cabin. Perhaps the BM silver (greige) recommended in earlier comment would also work to even things out but might lead to later maintenance issues. The pink and yellow undertones would bother me but I would leave them natural over veneer as you could probably overcome it with textiles and furnishings. I think white rafters would be my first choice. Absolutely do not go over budget.

  97. We don’t have wood beams or ceilings but we went with hardwood floors that had a lot of mineral streaks and knots. I loved the samples we saw but once I saw it layed down on 1500 square feet of floor, I got a pit in my stomach that it was too much “character.” Nearly a year into it, I love it and am so happy to have picked this wood. And ours is an urban/city townhouse – if we can appreciate the rustic beauty of real wood, you can certainly love it in a cabin where it definitely belongs!

    I love mixing woods as well – we have pine stair railings, oak floors and walnut coffee table in the same room. Oak floors, walnut dresser and cherry bench in another room. And you know what, it all complements each other beautifully.

    Think back to your high school formals, back when we use to dye our shoes to perfectly match our dresses. You wouldn’t do that today would you, you’d compliment your dress with a pair on non-dyed but amazing shoes. You don’t need to match your wood ceiling to your wood floors either – just compliment them. If the ceiling feels very rustic, go with some more refined finishes on the floor that are complimentary and will balance things out.

    Just my 2 cents.

  98. I understand that sinking feeling of, ohhhhh no, this is not what I had in my head. But stepping away does tend to help, and I think you’re right that you’re staring at it too much.
    I really like it, especially in the pulled back pictures from under/behind the scaffolding. I think the knots make it look much more real and it is def mountainy and a bit rustic (but not too much, its not like it’s reclaimed barn wood). I like all the knots they bring in a dark wood tone, and I think it could give you license to go way more refined with a lot of the other decor without losing the warmth and mountain cabin vibe.
    Also don’t like the shot of the veneer ceiling, it looks fake and I think the seam would drive me up the wall.

  99. Emily – I noticed after looking through the images multiple time but the photos that show the pink in the rafters are from the angle with your back to the window. And the photos where your back is to the kitchen, the pink doesn’t really pick up. And from how it seems you will use your home and the direction you are most viewing the rafters (from the kitchen) you won’t really see the pink. From underneath with the light from the window casting a shadow on the rafters (toward the kitchen) it hides it and keeps it pretty subtle. I don’t notice it. I think it’s good. Leave it!

  100. Good Decision! Keep the ceiling all wood and figure out flooring choices after the house is painted and ready for movie in. You dedication to researching all options is admirable. It makes you great at what you do! After time one does realize how much valuable time is often lost in search of perfection. Love and Enjoy living in your beautiful house in its rustic mountain setting!

  101. If you leave them unfinished, the woods will oxidize, both darkening them and giving a more yellow hue. On the bright side (no pun intended) the two woods will become more unified.

    I used tongue and groove pine on my ceiling with the rough cut side up. I loved the unfinished look and the rough side would have absorbed a ton of sealer. After 9 years the wood has darkened and yellowed a lot! Still looks great but different.

  102. I hear you on the warm wood ceiling. We have had both raw wood and varnished wood over a couple years turn yellow/orangey. I would think long and hard about how long you want that color to last vs the investment. Once it sits it will not keep the same color long. (Especially the raw)

  103. Love it with variation! Hear you on the pink beams, paint them grey or stain them dark like the fireplace mantel!

  104. I’ve never done a ceiling like this, so am not your ideal commenter, but I will say: remember your hypothetical accountant with the messy files and incorrect digits? I wouldn’t hire her, but I also would t want an accountant who used a T-square on any files stacked on their desk, and who went through all spreadsheets multiple times to get the columns just the right width and made sure they were entirely consistent in how many decimal places they showed, especially when those were all zeros.

    Design is form and function, making it look nice and work well. But for most of us, it is also money. Sure, we might like to visit Versailles and gasp at he overwhelming expense of it all, but aren’t most of your readers people like me, who want to see how you do this stuff so we can do it in our own homes? Throwing fistfuls of Hamiltons and Clevelands (I just looked that up & have no idea why there are two versions of $1000 bills) does not seem like best practice.

    All of us will make mistakes in our homes. Most of us will have to think creatively to make the best of it without spending as much money as we did for the first round. A lesson in how to do that would be wonderful. Stain the beams lighter or darker, get a rug or furnishingns that pick up on the beams pink tone, mix more woods in your floor… I don’t know the answer, but I’d love to see you walk us through the possible “fixes” the way you did the different types of “sand” blasting.

    1. Oh, and “too much texture”? What does that even mean? Lol. If kiddos were scraping on your feet that’s be one thing, but soaring overhead, it’s got to be big or no one down below will see it.

  105. Leave it! Especially the rafters. You can’t even see the knots on the rafters. If anything, white wash or grey wash or veneer the ceiling— but not the rafters.

  106. Oof, I hear you loud and clear! We have a tongue in groove pine ceiling (unfinished) in our living room / kitchen space. I love the light wood tone, but it definitely set the stage for everything else in the room. This made it tougher to decide flooring, trim, wall paint, kitchen cabinets and countertops – everything! I didn’t want something to compete with the ceiling, as it’s definitely the feature. But, everyone loves it!! I like it but I’m not into the cabin vibe.

    I think you just have to embrace the ceiling as-is and focus on complementary accents 🙂

  107. This was really interesting to read, personally, because we just redid our house, and my designer added whitewashed shiplap and dark faux beams in our kitchen, and we HATE the way it turned out (which is nothing like the designs we saw for approval). Now I too am obsessing over the ceiling, and attempting to figure out a remedy that does not break the bank!

    For your mountain house, I agree that the ceiling is not quite right (yet) but also that it will largely fade to the background once everything else is in place – and we all know you will do a beautiful job with that! I like the idea of white beams (or possibly grey or darker wood, as another suggested). Or, if whitewashing the planks and beams would result in a uniform tone for both, then I could see that looking great.

    Best of luck, and I look forward to following along!

  108. I feel like some sort of stain is needed to make it look more finished.

    Also–did I miss the final announcement of which bathroom design won? Was it definitely option 2?

  109. What does Brian think? Is he bothered by the tones or knots?
    I totally understand the dilemma – Several years ago I renovated my entry and used a beautiful white/silver stone floor. More recently I renovated the kitchen and used the same stone but a different lot. This lot has much more silver and variations and just doesn’t look as “perfect” as the original entry stone. However, my husband loves the floor and reminds me that the variations are what makes the natural stone beautiful.
    He is also not on pinterest and IG all day looking at perfect images. I do think that poisons our perception.

  110. Girrrl…i feel like you are my spirit animal when you lay out your decision making angst like this! Only your job drives you to make decisions and move on, while I just linger in the obsessively considering all the options phase.

    I would have painted those beasties in a heartbeat. But I agree with posters who think that the pulled back shots look good! And I also like the inspo pic of just the beams painted!

    I think you will make magic however, so maybe just move on, and if you find yourself not able to concentrate on conversations with guests in the future bc you are silently rage-hating the ceiling wood color, explore more alternatives down the road? I often find the perfect solution after I’ve committed tons of money to a less than perfect solution…

  111. Leave. It. Alone. It’s beautiful. All your other touches are going to be so powerful in this house. Everytime i want to straight every corner and fix every little old house quirk, i have a professional who could take my money tell me, “I would leave that and embrace it if this was my house.” These ceilings are gorgeous. Leave them.

  112. The two tone really bugs me. I really see the differing colors. No bueno. I am in love with the “lighter” beams with paint….just like your LA house

  113. Hi! Okay, we have refinished tons of woods to make them look perfectly natural, without pulling the pinks or yellows–we mix a few drops of gray (most often for doug fir/cedar/etc) or white (also for cedar/pine/etc) into clear coat and use it like a sealant instead of a “stain”. You can play around with how much white/gray you want in the clear coat to ensure you are pulling the tone that you want. In your case, you could mix two separate clear coats, one for the beam and one for the T and G, and probably come out with a pretty uniform ceiling. It is stunningly beautiful, and will be gorgeous no matter what, but I think that this is the most cost effective option at this point in your renovation process!

  114. I vote to leave the T&G but downplay the beams. The beam style is different than the ones displayed in your images above. Those tend to be more of a box style while the beams in the Mountain House are of the 60s/70s style where the vertical beam height is taller. The darker beam color emphasizes this.

    Pick a light background color from the T&G and paint the beams to make them blend with the ceiling. Maybe mock up this idea in Photoshop to see what you think. If you don’t want to paint the beams (because it is paint 🙂 ), perhaps use one of those stain-fix solutions that a couple of the other commenters posted about. I would just do the beams and leave the ceiling alone.

    Personally, I LOVE the painted beams contrasting with the wood in that last image (Dwell) and have put a copy in my personal file.

    I can’t wait to see your final product as I am sure it will be stunning no matter what you decide.

  115. I love the texture of the ceiling and I think each of the woods is beautiful. I bet the pink tone will fade with sunlight but my suspicion is that the yellow will intensify. I think what may be bothering you as that the cladding and the beams aren’t the same but they don’t purposefully contrast either. What about staining the wood beams darker to provide some contrast? The difference in wood tones would look intentional and you could coordinate the flooring with that darker color or go somewhere in between but with the same undertone. The cost of staining just the beams seems like it might be doable and it would keep the authenticity of the wood for Brian.

  116. Honesty once you have your paint and flooring and furniture and lighting, I think is will look very very similar to the Dwell on Design house ceiling. Or maybe just try and grey-stain the beams? No matter what, you’ll add “you” into this and it will be perfection.

  117. I think what you have are paint grade wood ceilings as opposed to stain grade. You say that the original finish was more of a paint than stain, which is your first clue that its a paint grade wood. Staining is easier than applying gel stains, (which aren’t really stains at all as they don’t get absorbed into the wood, but act more as a glaze that sits on top) So if it the ceiling was the higher quality stain grade wood, they would have come to you stained, as its much easier to apply stain than gel stains. If you do try to stain the wood, or apply any finish really, it most likely will come out super blotchy and uneven, really just a mess. The second clue is all the variations in tone the wood has going on, stain grade would be much more uniform in it’s unfinished state.
    Something else to consider is that the texture is too “furry” as is to finish, the thinner “hairs” are going to absorb more stain and be darker than the more solid parts, also making for a blotchy mess. Did your walnut guy tell you you should expect this rough and not-ready for finishing result? Is there a finer grit blasting material they could use to smooth out the wood?
    If it were my ceiling, and I really didn’t want them painted, I would clad the beams with wood veneer, and I would use a light gel stain on the rest, after proper prep (LOTS of sanding), or leave it be, and hope I didn’t just lay out a buffet for termites 😉

  118. I am currently restoring an old house. It has been modernized in some areas also so it is tricky to decide what to take back to original and what to live with. Sometimes I want perfection but this is not always achievable or cost effective. I have to laugh at myself sometimes when is see old houses in blogs and admire the quirky details and imperfection but then end up panicking over every little fault that my home renovation brings up! I think your ceilings look great, I like the slight colour variations – they look authentic and add texture. I am new to your blog and really enjoying it Emily!

  119. I honestly like the way it looks….but I hear you with the pink tones. Could you do a white/gray wash so the wood shows through but the tones are more cohesive???

  120. I think the ceiling does have a bit of a raw/rustic look, but totally think it will change to refined once you put your furnishings in it. The pink undertones of the fir rafters would bug me too though. Have you ever used any of the Rubio Monocoat products? Yes, its more money put towards the ceiling but its a hard wax you literally only have one coat applied. So labor wise its not multiple stainings and topcoats. It wouldn’t totally take out all the color variations but if you use one with the whitish tones it would still look very woody not painted and perhaps even out the differences a bit?? At the end of the day try not to obsess over it (i know, I know, easier said than done) because everything you do is stunning and this will be too even if you dont change it.

  121. I also thought “whitewash”! Not opaque whitewash but sheer. It looks so beautiful, and it will prevent your wood from aging darker again, which it will over time.

  122. I think it is worth painting the beams to reduce the clashy undertones, but white isn’t exciting enough. Would you consider an opaque stain? Black or gray or even brown could bridge the gap to “refined” from where you are now.


    1. This was my thoughts as well. Going with a grey pickle over the tongue and groove like an original Eichler ceiling would help to disguise the colour tones and help to tie in the grey from the fireplace. Then either painting the beams white or dark grey would look great.

      It would read very mid-century-scandinavian

      (my post suggesting this from the morning didn’t seem to make it with my links attached – oh well).

    2. This exactly. The raw pine is great, but the beams need some oomph and to match with the darker knots in the pine.

  123. Definitely leaning toward the latter: it came out lovely. When there’s furniture and decor and people, you won’t notice it.
    I will caveat that thought with: I love the old orange-y 60’s ceilings and paneling (the REAL wood paneling) and have never understood others’ disdain for it. Yeah, it’s kind of orange (which, along with brown, are my LEAST favorite colors), but I’ve never yet been in a house that had it where it screamed ORANGE at you. Furniture, decor, and people take precedence.

  124. I like your results. The 2 shades of wood are pretty. It’s nature. The slightly pink tones add a touch of warmth. Leave it as is.

  125. I would paint the beams white — perfect solution for your modern cabin vibe in my mind. Love your blog — read it daily and learn a lot.

  126. Child of grace!! I totally think you’re obsessing…please leave it alone, put your magic touch on the decorating, and let the ceiling go.
    It seems you’re laboring over every decision and not enjoying the process. Part of the process is compromising with your partner -Brian- And i think those times have been some of your best moments on this project. Take a deep breath and don’t sweat it! It will be beautiful and you will have a great story. XO

  127. I spent a lot of time making a comment and then hit an internet glitch and lost it. I won’t repeat it all again now, but I will make a few points. Darn that Pinterest! It’s not doing good things for our world in so many ways. Also, I appreciate your point about being a professional and needing your work to show your capabilities as an amazing designer, but how many people come to this blog to see the make-it-work option at play? You can’t please all of us because we all have different needs. Some may like perfect, magazine-worthy rooms and others like seeing examples of creatively working to improve what your stuck with while on a budget. Regardless, we come for inspiration and YOU are what inspires us. Whether you’re channeling “perfect” or “make it work” in any given moment/room, we come here to hear from YOU. So take the pressure off yourself. You don’t have to make anything perfect. We just like to see you make it “Emily”.

  128. Kind of related, sort of tangential, but we are considering doing a renovation/ remodel and in California, the law now states that if doing any kind of addition, we have to retrofit house with sprinklers. But we also have exposed wood/ beam ceilings and the options are either super ugly or super expensive. Did you guys come across this issue?

  129. Definitely a big improvement from before. There are so many good suggestions here and within the comments I had to look at the pictures 10 times! I love all of the painted options in the pictures above but when you have perfectly good wood to show off, painting seems like a mistake. I am leaning to just painting the beams or leaving it alone. The wood floors seem like they may be a challenge with all of the variances above – I cant wait to see what you choose! I think this is my favorite project so far!

  130. In my first house all the wood had yellow tones, but the fireplace brick definitely had pinks in it. Picking out colors was frustrating at first and I definitely considered painting or whitewashing the FP, but in the end found colors that worked and tied it together. Pinks and yellow undertones can be unified, it’s just a frustrating process.

  131. It looks really good! You did the right thing and can now move on. But what’s the plan on that stone fireplace though ? And that railing? Cause those are kinda screaming out at me now. We are in the middle of working on our awful stone fireplace. It’s a beast. So very curious what you decided to do on yours?

  132. Kind of related but a bit tangential… did you guys have to deal with fire sprinklers when working with exposed wood ceilings like this? I’m currently trying to renovate/ remodel my house and the new law in CA states that any additions means you need to retrofit the WHOLE house… and we worked so hard to keep in the exposed wood/ beam ceilings… HELP!

  133. Like many of the others, I think the ceiling will look quite different when it is furnished. Only you know what you can live with, but I think there is value in “living with” it for a while to see if it bothers you in the long run. If it does, you’ll have awesome content in the future when you re-do the ceiling. If it doesn’t bother you, then you have saved yourself some money and time right away!

  134. Disclosure: I hate wood ceilings-my own have been painted high-gloss white. However…after the blasting I think they look really cool, modernist in a way that the veneer somehow doesn’t capture. I get that the knots are more clearly seen, but you showed close-up photos. As long as you guys are not walking around with stilts…Maybe you could do some kind of milk paint wash to tone/even it out?

  135. I really love the pictures you’ve posted after the walnut blasting! Maybe it’s hard to tell how overwhelming the texture and variation is in pictures, and you’re feeling it more in person? I do also think that furniture and decor will help it blend in a bit. If you feel strongly that it’s too much, I agree that whitewashing of some sort would be beautiful too. Reeeeaaallly don’t like the veneer – it looks too uniform, which combined with the seams makes it look very fake and sort of DIY-ed.

    If you get other furnishings into the space and down the line still are bothered by the natural ceiling, you feasibly COULD stain/whitewash/veneer/whatever it later, though I’m sure it’s much easier now when the space is empty and you’re not protecting flooring and painted walls. I’m guessing you are trying to avoid that due to deadlines, too, but if it were a normal homeowner making that decision just for their long-term happiness sake, I’d say live with it and you can always change it later. Just seems like a waste to throw money at it now when you’re so unsure.

  136. It is fabulously rustic and real. Just wrap the beams in something smother and paint them white. 🙂

  137. Don’t have any personal experience with redoing a wood ceiling BUT here’s my two cents:

    The different colors would bug me – I would whitewash the rafters or paint them.
    Or maybe whitewash the T & G to tone down the knots and paint the rafters.
    The rough texture won’t be as noticeable as you think.

    Sarah Richardson whitewashed a ceiling in her country home. It still has the warmth of wood, but feels more refined.

  138. Get over yourself. Nothing is perfect. It’s often the imperfections that give a space unique magic. Work with it. If it’s still bugging you down the track and you can afford it then fix it.

  139. If you do terrazzo floors instead of hardwood you won’t have to worry about matching the different woods. Cheap? No. But durable and I love terrazzo!

  140. Fresh fir is kinda pink. But it mellows as it’s exposed to light and air. So does the pine. I would do NOTHING. At least not until it has all oxidized. I believe you will LOVE it once its had a chance to breathe and mellow and you stop worrying so much about it! And I think it looks a great deal like the first photo you showed of walnut blasting. When you have furniture and other finishes around it will become a beautiful feature. I’m definitely in the “don’t paint it” camp! But I am not in the “never paint wood” camp.

  141. Will the wood that’s been uncovered dry out and mellow out the color some? I feel like that is a real thing,
    so leave it and revisit this further down the road!

  142. What about some whitening clear paint, that could work for this now raw wood..maybe? I had done this to my oak kitchen and it is beautiful and very clean looking. Veneer is also the possibility, although other ladies disagree so strongly. I know that for example veneered beams are perfect and you can’t almost notice at all.

  143. The blasted wood looks MUCH better than the old dark orange stain. In the images of the great room, the ceilings just look light and pleasant. I think you don’t notice some of the issues you’re worried about as much because the ceiling is just so high up there. You can’t scrutinize it in detail, and all that really has true impact is the fact that it is wood and that it is light in color.

    Given that, I don’t think it’s worth one dime to sand down or reclad or whatever that ceiling in the main living areas.

    However, I am wondering if you could creatively do something to the ceiling in the parts of the house where the ceiling isn’t quite as soaring and therefore where the eye is more able to see the features you don’t like. For example, maybe in the master, you could paint the ceiling white and do your dream wood on the walls.

  144. Love that you walked us through your process. Makes me think my tendancy towards obsessing is more normal or in the more glorified state “designer-ish.” How about a compromise of keep the wood ceiling as is and paint the beams black, or dark charcoal gray or whatever you’re clever mind comes up with. I am with you on the different tones seeming just a bit too at odds. But honestly with your decorating skills I would never notice I’m guessing. But honestly with your decorating skills I would never notice in the end the different tones I’m guessing. You could even start a trend…:)

  145. I like it. It’s different and good. The more I look at it, the more I appreciate it. There also seems to be an opportunity with the texture being so noticeable. Makes me wonder how you’ll think about the floor such that it will complement it.

  146. If I were hiring a designer, I would want to choose one who thought outside the box and imagined creative solutions to problems (i. e. things we can’t change). Honestly, it would give me pause if I had a designer whose was so willing to throw thousands of dollars at something instead of trying making something that is already beautiful work. Of course something will be perfect and gorgeous if we spent $15k “fixing” it! Have you considered a lighter flooring? Like white or white-washed? It might help give you the refined look you want and won’t clash with the wood in the ceilings.

  147. Paint the rafters – or – wrap them in a wood finish that matches the T and G.

  148. The distance your eyes are from the ceiling it looks good really good… variations, knots, texture all of it! Sure the close ups you really see what you are talking about with the 2 undertones between the beams and the rest. But from where your eyes will be in the house, plus adding in the furniture It will look amazing!

  149. My Swiss family does this on renos with fir: stain with coffee. It looks amazing and evens out the yellows and pinks while keeping the grain and character.

    1. I love the texture, but I couldn’t handle the difference in colors. I’d paint the rafters white if I had the money, but I wouldn’t put veneers on. Looks too matchy. I’ll echo Mandy that staining the wood with coffee or even tea might work.

  150. It’s awesome! Don’t touch it!

  151. Here’s the thing…I’m sure you will be able to make it look amazing. You are muy skilled and can make it work. But I feel like the room will be all about the ceiling…which could be amazing. I could see some super neutral, low, elegant couches that will perfectly set off the ceiling and the stone fireplace.


    You could do a white wash of pure white paint (can’t you reason with Brian?) that will allow the design to be more about…well, the design. It is very raw right now, which is not bad…but it is a “thing.”

    Can’t wait to see what you do

  152. I think it looks lovely as it is!

  153. If that were my space, those pink rafters would drive me nuts. I think you could achieve the refined look you’re going for if you leave the tongue and groove as it is post blasting, but paint the rafters in a rich, moody color that coordinates with your color scheme. Normally, pine tongue and groove is not associated with a refined look, but painting the rafters would bring it all up a few notches. Good luck!

  154. Emily, I have loved your blog for years but I’m finding it hard to relate to some of the content of late, as it seems more obsessive about detail and less inspirational. Maybe this is because you are writing about your own homes. Maybe it’s easiest to have more perspective when it’s a client’s home?

  155. It’s beautiful and I think you’re obsessing just a bit. I think you need to finish the room and watch the ceiling fade into the background. If someone walks in and only notices your ceiling it’s a problem;) Seriously, isn’t it one of those things to change in a few years when finances open up and you need a new blog project.

  156. In this case, good enough is good enough! I have a good eye for color, but I didn’t see the color differences in the beams and tounge-and-groove until you pointed it out. Plus (like you said), it’s the only thing in there right now! It is the only focus point for the time being!

  157. At least it’s not orangey brown anymore! Maybe once you choose floors/furniture you can return to the ceiling and have a clearer idea of what you want.

  158. I have a very similar looking home (built as a 1938 hunting lodge in the PNW), with 30+ foot ceilings. We decided to keep the ceilings as-is, and paint the walls, which were the same color, white, with minimalist black, white, and navy accents. I call the feel of the final product “modern lodge” ;). I am very happy with the decision and would love to send you some photos if you’re interested.

  159. Look into reactive stains WOCA does some, as well as oil treatments. I think if you paint it, the texture will stand out even more. I’d look into a “fumed” like treatment that will even out the colors and get rid of orange/pink tannins in the wood

  160. great post Emily. The nitty gritty of renovation. Thank you for sharing all that detail and your intuition along the way. We’ve all been there. Whatever happens, it will be beautiful. You are very talented.

  161. Can you just stain it with a whitewash color? Or even a graywash? That way it’s softer and you can still see their wood grain but it’s not so crazy with the tones. I vote whitewash stain, and it’s somewhat cost effective too!! Good luck em!

  162. Stop the madness…. leave the ceiling as it is and move on to the next project in the house. Anything you do short of painting the ceiling will never marry the two woods. Appreciate the tones and textures they bring to the house and know that people are not going to lay on the floor and look up to criticize the ceiling.

  163. Here’s my 2 cents; paint the beams white, it looks like a beautiful in that photo you included. Plus it might help with those pink undertones? Then again whatever you decide to do will no doubt be stunning.

  164. It is good enough to just leave, will probably change colour over time and you always have the option of doing later anyway of you don‘t like the final colours. It will probably age to orange and brown which should look fine together. It really depends on whether you can put up with ot over time. Personally I have a hatred of yellow and pink together, so I would look at the options again. Rather than painting did you consider a wood wash or a limewash one on either the rafters or the boards? Re the texture it looks fine to me from afar. I did see however a renovation show where they got too much texture and decided to skim fill (is that a thing?) before the final finish. Is that an option?

  165. The veneer looks LA – the rougher texture looks Pacific Northwest.
    Both are beautiful but when in Rome……

  166. I think, especially for OR that leaving the wood planks is key. Such a beautiful homage to the states main resource. But I agree the two different woods aren’t ideal. I really dislike the idea of painting the ceilings, and not because I hate painted wood, but just because it doesn’t feel right for this house. I think I would lean towards either darker stain on the wood, or painting the rafters white. Can’t wait to see what you guys do with the house!

  167. I had pine shiplap and tongue and groove in my old house that I painted white, and many of the knots bled through, even on the older wood, which is something that we don’t really see when looking at photos on the internet, or in a magazine. That home was very cottagey, and visitors mostly loved the “white-washed” look in some of the rooms, which was actually just primed wood that I hadn’t gotten around to painting, LOL. Had I known how good it looked, I would have saved a lot of money on paint! Our new cabin in the mountains has pine shiplap that we used a water-based sealer on. That supposedly prevents it from becoming orange(which happens to all pine as it ages). It’s been over 4 years, and so far, no orange. I am curious as to whether yours will orange again if left unfinished, and maybe you should ask the contractor, so you don’t have to do it again in 10 years. In that case, I have had good luck with water-base. I personally love the texture and think when you are done decorating, it will be gorgeous. I love the veneer look for a very modern space, and was pleasantly surprised how that first photo has much darker floors than the ceiling, as I haven’t done my floors yet, and usually have OCD, where my floor tones have to match my celing tones. Your spaces always look amazing, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I think it is beautiful.

  168. I can definitely see what you see, with the pink undertones in the rafters and the psychedelic knots; yet that’s the beauty of the ceiling. I think when you think of American mountainside home, I don’t think Scandinavian whites. I think of wood in all its tones and textures. I am thrilled you sandblasted the wood to it’s natural hue. It adds more charm in a hand-built, area sourced, rustic way.

  169. I don’t like the veneer option. How about if you lime wash or white wash the ceiling? Or just paint the beams white and leave the rest of the ceiling as it is.

  170. Whitewash it all so you still get some texture and variance or paint the fir white!

  171. The rustic, mildly contrasting, knotty-ness of the ceiling is gorgeous. Why not give up on trying to make the new wooden floors match, and just stain them grey or something? That wood will SING if it’s allowed to.

  172. It does look very close to the Dwell home you referenced (times a thousand), at least in the photos. I think that painting the rafters would be the other option if you really can’t take it.

  173. I love everything about your ceiling! Your lucky to have such beautiful natural woods. The ones you think are perfect just look like builder grade flooring to me. I definitely feel like they will look outdated whereas the natural beauty of wood never will. I have original pine floors, knots and all in my home and everyone ooh and aahs over them even though they definitely have a worn look. And i think it’s because so many people are so used to looking at bland, trendy, fakish wood that mine just look so natural they can’t believe it!

  174. I love it the way it is! I think removing the dark stain was a good idea, and the resulting texture and knots and colors are so pretty. Your impression of the ceiling will definitely change as you continue with the renovation, and I think that is part of why it feels weird looking at it right now. Also, the wood will change color on its own! Even if you engineer some kind of finish, it’s likely things will look different later anyway.

  175. Honestly, the raw wood is lovely and the issue about different tones will disappear when you put other things in the room. The variation and imperfections of real, unadorned wood are the “wabi sabi” that will add mountain soul to the finished room.

  176. I have the same exact ceiling in my house built in 1975….when we remodeled 6 years ago we did some baking soda blasting in a few areas to see if it was a good result. BUT no, it was too rough of a finish….so I decided to stain match and go with dark beams and neutral stain on the pine t and g. Went with reclaimed Doug fir flooring to match the warmth of the t+g. I’d send a pic but I don’t see a way to post! Good luck and I know exactly what you are dealing with!
    P.s I love my space now and regret it the least(because you always regret something in redesigning) !

  177. Leave it alone for sure! Those raw, rough wood ceilings with all their tones and textures bring authenticity into your mountain home—and will magically ground the stylish fixtures and furniture in the natural landscape. It’s not a city house! Fussing too much over them with whitewash etc will take away from the raw feel.

  178. I hate to rain on this encouragement parade, but I’m not a fan at all of the pink tones in the Douglas Fir. I honestly think you might divert your eyes from your ceiling if you don’t really enjoy it. I would paint the rafters- possibly a warmer gray tone- and work with the pine. That way hat way you can make final decisions with the wood floor. Good luck! I know the final outcome will be lovely.

  179. Something about all those matching slays of wood would make me feel like I was in a sauna…and no one REALLY loves to be in a sauna, amiright? I mean, am I the only one who prefers the differing tones? They look fine. Leave them alone, and move on to the next project. They are way better than they were, and it didn’t break the bank. DEF good enough.

  180. Something about all those matching slats of wood would make me feel like I was in a sauna…and no one REALLY LOVES to be in a sauna, amiright? I mean, am I the only one who prefers the differing tones (and breathable air)? They look fine. Leave them alone, and move on to the next project. They are way better than they were, and it didn’t break the bank. DEF good enough.

  181. Dear Emily and family,
    The walnut celing looks great as it is and for sure it needs cleaning to remove the 30(only 30?) years of grime, dirt, grease and nicotine-but LEAVE IT AS IT IS! You and your team can and will do great things to REFRESH AND UPDATE the mountain home to it’s unique, EH-inspired 2018 glory! You are fortunate to have this house and to ME, the challenge is to take the unique and local character of the home as it was built and refresh it. You obviously bought the home because you loved it and saw an appeal to you and your family and the memories you will make there. Don’t worry about the world and how it will judge your home-it will be FAB! We are reading your posts because we appreciate your style, SO CHILL-don’t totally re-do the house and lose the original character -make it your own and you(and we) will love it.Hugs to you and your team and family!

    1. Nice picture. Its upto the house owner to keep the place neat and clean. Thanks https://www.digitalwhatsup.com/

  182. Um dude, that Dwell design tour house you like so much has, like, four different tones of wood in that one shot including the ceiling and floor and IT LOOKS AWESOME. I like what folks said about whitewashing/painting the beams or using darker wood floors that relate to the knots. Whatever you and Brian decide it will be great but don’t mess with it anymore than necessary. You got this.

  183. I haven’t read every comment so I’m not sure if i’m In the minority but the two toned thing is just not good. Not good in that way that if it was my house I’d notice it every time I walked in the space. I don’t think veneer is the answer.
    Can you contact one of the big stain manufacturers and see if they’d consider partnering? Maybe they have the expertise to blend both wood tones into a color that meets you’re design aesthetic and won’t affect all of your other choices.

  184. We’re building a timberframe house in the CO mountains – the T&G ceilings are white pine and the beams are southern yellow pine. I’m sanding everything and finishing with a UV protectant outdoor clear sealant (low VOC, and the windows aren’t installed yet). I’ve heard that the yellow/orange tones come from UV exposure, so I’m hoping to keep that light Scandi pine look by sealing the wood. Our painter sprays on the sealant.

  185. Hi,
    We recently treated our Douglas fir beams with WOCA wood lye and the results are amazing. It took away the orange tones completely, subdued the knots, and the wood now looks like natural white oak. Lastly we applied an oil, which comes in a few different colors, enabling you to fine tune the color even more. Perhaps similar to what you did in your LA home. Good luck!

    1. If you visit the instagram act of dreamy white lifestyle, she used the WOCA lye and a white oil on her black oak floors to tone down pink. I love the natural wood in your ceiling and I think the texture is beautiful, so wouldn’t want to see anything painted, but the lye might be worth a try to neutralize the pink.

  186. I’m all for keeping the wood raw (especially because of my profession), but your ceiling has SO MANY KNOTS, typical of cheaper wood as you mentioned. I think in the end all those knots will be visually distracting. You won’t be happy with the raw color either with all the mixed tones. A great water-based stain could help you achieve the Dwell on Design tour house’s ceiling wood tone; it too has a lot of knots but they got lucky with their cuts of Douglas fir (less pink)! In the end I think you’ll need to tweak your wood color to be happy SINCE YOU CAN’T WHITE OUT YOUR CEILING (which is killing me but I get why it’s not an option).
    Good luck with your decision(s)!!

  187. I’m putting tongue & groove up in our attic bedroom this year and I’m already wondering if I’ll end up white washing it. Your wood ceiling looks wayyy better than before. And don’t go with the fake looking veneer. Something feels very wrong about covering up a real wood ceiling with fake wood!! But I also understand when something doesn’t feel right. If it still bugs you, I’d go with a very very light white wash, best of both worlds.

  188. I’m all for keeping the wood raw (especially because of my profession), but your ceiling has SO MANY KNOTS, typical of cheaper wood as you mentioned. I think in the end all those knots will be visually distracting. You won’t be happy with the raw color either with all the mixed tones. A great water-based stain could help you achieve the Dwell on Design tour house’s ceiling wood tone; it too has a lot of knots but they got lucky with their cuts of Douglas fir (less pink)! In the end I think you’ll need to tweak your wood color to be happy SINCE YOU CAN’T WHITE OUT YOUR CEILING (which is killing me but I get why it’s not an option).
    Good luck with your decision(s)!!
    Cadence – @thewhiitehouse

  189. I’m all for keeping the wood raw (especially because of my profession), but your ceiling has SO MANY KNOTS, typical of cheaper wood as you mentioned. I think in the end all those knots will be visually distracting. You won’t be happy with the raw color either with all the mixed tones. A great water-based stain could help you achieve the Dwell on Design tour house’s ceiling wood tone; it too has a lot of knots but they got lucky with their cuts of Douglas fir (less pink)! In the end I think you’ll need to tweak your wood color to be happy SINCE YOU CAN’T WHITE OUT YOUR CEILING (which is killing me but I get why it’s not an option…although it’s part of your signature style…).
    Good luck with your decision(s)!!

  190. I’d put a light white wash on the tongue & groove. I have worked with tongue & groove pine. The oils in it resist covering, so you don’t have to worry that it won’t have variations in it & possibly look too solid. Anyway, all that wood equals DARK. Who wants to live in a dark hole?

  191. Not a fan of the veneer either. The rawness of the ceiling after the walnut blasting is amazing! Please leave as is I think it will be wonderful.

  192. I like it! I think that you should finish the design first and if it still bothers you maybe you can paint or stain the beams.

  193. Paint it white, please!

  194. I REALLY don’t like the fake look of the veneer, but I can also see how all of the knots in the pine are distracting. I would try to find a stain color that you can live with. Please don’t paint it. The natural wood will be so cozy in the winter!

  195. Texture is lovely and unexpected. Adds character.
    Perfection is something out of stepford wives.
    Even if you stare at the ceiling, the flaws will become friends.
    You’ll know all the nooks and crannies. This is why I love reno and not new builds.
    Be at peace. I love it.

  196. I think it looks WONDERFUL!!! And I totally think that it will look different (better) when the fireplace is all finished, furniture is put in, and it becomes more of a home. With all those in place, I think it will really come together in an organic way and have that perfect mountain home feel.

    xo Mary-Katherine

  197. The AFTER looks so much better! And the knot proportion is the same as the inspiration. The veneer and even the wood in the picture with the white beams looks weird – like you put the floors on the ceiling.

  198. Hey Cutie! I too am renovating a mountain fixer upper in Colorado and I’ve been following your story intensely! I laughed when I read about your ceiling debacle, because my ceiling situation was almost exact. I decided to paint it white. I know, I know…crazy! But I couldnt handle all the drama around the color, tone, texture, pattern of the wood, etc. In an effort to embrace simplicity, which is why we bought the place, I’m painting it white, to match trim and walls. I hope it’s not a huge mistake!! You’re awesome!

  199. omg–I’d leave it–the ceiling looks so gorgeous. It may not be as refined as you’d like, but the wood has such a soft, textural look now and the knots and slight color variation make it look like it isn’t trying too hard to be anything other than beautiful natural wood.

  200. I think it’s beautiful as is and will look even more incredible when you style it out. I personally love the character in the wood!

  201. Emily – I think you need to waittttt before making another big decision on the ceilings. Once all other finishes are in the house including windows, floors, furniture, etc, then take another look. You don’t want to make a mistake of spending more, just to not like it later once the other pieces are in the puzzle. I would wait wait wait.

  202. I think the ceiling looks wonderful with the walnut-blasting! SO much better than before. I know it’s hard not to overly obsess since this is your house AND your livelihood, but the house is quirky, the wood has character, and I really think you should leave it as is. You got this!

  203. Coming from the land of the midwest, it is oh so common to have log cabins and wood-clad walls and ceilings in older homes. Many a friend has modernized by painting part of the wood, some have stained. Some white washed, and some just learned to live with the color by choosing contrasting paint choices. For instance a common oak you see is the yellowed nineties version. To combat that my friends chose a navy paint color in one room and a lighter tone of the same, and in another version used white and black to balance and now the orangey-yellow oak isn’t a moment off point. It all looks cohesive and intentional. Not jarring at all. I think you might be focusing too much on one element than seeing the full picture. Since you already went ahead and did this, honestly I’d leave it be. Finish the house and in an year take stock, how you feel then, you may find it doesn’t bother you one bit once it is all put together. Remember life isn’t about perfection but rather excellence. If it excellently works with the rest of your design a year from now, resign to not tweaking, and embracing.

  204. I think everything will be fine once you start filling up the rooms, but I also obsess over things and would be concerned that I would be forever bothered. A semi-transparent stain would knock back the impact of the knots and even out the color.

  205. I love the accentuated texture. What if you stained just the rafters much darker — to conceal the pink tones? If you search two-tone wood ceiling, there are a lot of examples. I think this appeases the need to keep the wood. Also, the last thing you want is to see pink vs. yellow every time you look up for years and years to come!

  206. I think the veneer is pretty but fake looking. As an owner of a mountain house, I’m exploring walnut blasting myself. The problem is our roof retains moisture causing water stains on the wood, and I can’t bear the idea of blasting without fixing that root problem. So my thought is, embrace the wood as is, smoothed but still rough, and multi-tonal instead of that perfect color. The wood will develop a sheen and bleach irregularly over time anyway. Or: play with a non-orange stain.

  207. My last house had 100-year-old doug fir floors that we sanded and applied a clear water-based poly finish to. Within a few years they looked quite golden which was probably from the natural yellowing of the finish. Polyurethane is known to yellow over time.

    So maybe you could just put some sort of finish or wax or stain on just the beams to tone down the pink. Perhaps something with a bit of green to neutralize the red tones. Put color theory to work!

    Also, I don’t think your eye will be comparing the tones of the ceiling and floors as they are pretty far from each other, except maybe in the loft area.

  208. Hi Emily – I just had to comment, because I had the EXACT same problem in my living room. And I solved it with the flooring – please check out California Classics Versailles collection in Dune finish. I live in an old historic, rustic home (in your favorite little getaway town near LA BTW) and the ceilings are just as textured/knotted, with a combo of those pink/orange tones, mixed with grey. They are original to the house, which was built in 1940, so I can tell you that your ceilings will darken somewhat and mellow with time, so there is that. I hated those pink/orange tones (which are in the entire ceiling and beams, as everything is constructed of the same fir). Changing the ceilings was not an option. We had dark wood floors that were depressing, and needed replacing. The oak flooring I mention above perfectly picks up the pink/orange/grey tones, but in a more even and subtle way, and is just slightly lighter in shade than the ceiling. Remember, light will reflect from the floors to the ceiling, so the floor’s tones can help even out the look of the wood in the ceiling. We painted the walls a warm white, which also separates the floor and ceiling with a neutral expanse. Our walls are textured plaster, with old rustic wainscot (also original to the house), and we painted over all of it. We too have a giant stone fireplace, slightly more rustic than yours. All of the texture and tones of flooring, ceiling, rock and walls works beautifully now, and because they are all natural colors and materials, within the same range of tones, the room simply reads as warm and welcoming. I agree with your readers who say no one will be staring at the ceiling anyway – mine is much lower than yours, so people do notice, but what they actually comment on is the beauty of the wood (including the rough texture and all the different colors in it!), and they LOVE the floors. So, my vote is leave the ceilings as is, find flooring that complements it, furnish and decorate it, and live with it. And, if you want to practice styling a room in a more rustic theme than your usual style before you start on the mountain house, come visit me!

  209. You have so many knowledgable readers, I love all the comments.
    My 2 cents:
    The texture needs smoothing or you will have a dust/ cobweb nightmare.
    A semi transparent finish that marries the pink and the yellow undertones is your friend.
    If you leave the wood unfinished, the color will change substantially. I think this is the time to nail down the look you really want or you’ll have a logistical nightmare in a couple of years when the wood will have changed enough to be clashing with your other elements. Much easier to work in an empty house.
    The veneer looks fake and too smooth for a semi-rustic mountain house.

  210. I always say present over perfect! I could not see much orange undertone to start with but I believe you. I like how they turned out. I, too, can obsess over designing for a perfect aesthetic but then I remind myself that I don’t want to model for my kids that they have to be perfect. Ya know?

  211. You’ve sure thought it through and then some….The pinkish beams against the yellowish t&g would personally bother me too much to keep it as is. I know I would be staring at it while everyone was enjoying their wine. But I have a picky eye.
    I really liked the painted beams with the wood t&g as the way to go. You have the old and the new.

  212. Whitewash. It’s a good compromise for you and your husband. The contractor gets no say in the matter.
    You’ll still get some grain but it takes away the “off” tones.

  213. The Mountain House ceiling is really gorgeous, and initially I felt leaving them as is would be preferable to any other options mentioned. However, after returning several times to view the photos, I agree that they need something–not uniformity, but congruence.
    I look at the Mountain House project, and it’s kind of high desert meets a mountain lake. The ceiling texture is gorgeous, and immediately reminded me of the beautiful finishes on the heavily textured early Monterey Furniture, specifically the ‘Straw Ivory’ finish — you might consider a wash.
    There are great wood restoration experts out there who have those recipes for the techniques used on the glorious old Spanish Revival style wood finishes.

    Thank you Emily for your ever evolving visions. I’m such a fan.

  214. Friendly FYI – I am not sure how many different workers you have in your home throughout the remodeling process, but workers should be made aware that walnut blasting was done. Because my son has a peanut and tree nut allergy, I follow a lot of allergy groups on facebook. I remember a story from last year about a subcontractor that died after stepping into a building that had been walnut blasted. He had an allergy to walnuts and wasn’t warned that the sandblasting had been done with walnuts.

  215. I think that whether or not a particular element works in design is always about context. Your ceilings aren’t really different from the inspiration photo, but the inspiration is “done” and minimalistic. Those ceilings ARE the texture in that space. With a refined design, they would be as well. I actually love the beam texture. The pine knots are a bit much, but I’m sure the rest of your design will make them fade into the background (pun intended). Good enough! It will be beautiful!

  216. I LOVE your ceiling so so so much as it is right now!! For me, original wood texture IS ALWAYS perfect 🙂

  217. I like it the way it is now after walnut blasting. You can’t tell the pink/yellow tones very much because of the shadows that the rafters are in – leave it the way it is!!! Or if you must do something, maybe stain the rafters darker walnut colored and leave the pine alone?

  218. Oh my gosh. I love your obsessive overthinking, but definitely let this one go! 🙂 The walnut blasting was a great call—now just enjoy it!

  219. Walnut blasting has given these ceilings a warm, “mountain house
    texture that I really like. Too smooth and finished might detract from the character of the house. It looks like there will be quite a bit of “new and shiny” going in; the ceilings give it depth. I say more than good enough.

  220. Ok, I am exactly like you and tones in everything are “everything”……… I loved the white ceiling of course, but I really love wood also. My only problem with the ceiling after the sandblasting is the pink toned beams. I 100% can see your issue with pinkish wood. My dad was a cabinet maker and wood worker and every once in a while a piece of that pink toned wood would creep in and ruin the the whole process. It was always my job to do the finishing. The only way we could match or diminish the pink tone was to spray some matte polyurethane mixed with stain a color that would pull it in the other direction. Like a Japan paint but not black or a mixture of naphtha and stain. If I remember correctly to diminish pink tones we would mix a very very light yellowy green ash stain with poly which would not allow the stain to absorb into the wood but rather sit on the top somewhat. We would then stain the whole thing the color we wanted to it would turn out pretty good. I guess the theory is just yellow/green are opposite red on the color wheel so it’s just basic color theory. I think if you spoke to a wood refinisher they would tell you how to pull all the wood together into one more cohesive look. Whew, after all of that being said, I also 100% agree with the statement that all of the effort that goes into worrying about this will probably be a non-issue once you do your beautiful “thing” with the decor. Who would notice slightly pinkish beams?? Can’t wait to see what you decide.

  221. Sooooo… not having read all the comments this is my idea. If it helps I have worked in construction pretty much my whole life except for the four years I went to school for art/graphic design and then did interior design after for a year ( soul sucking desk based computer life). I left and went back to work in construction on million dollar ocean front homes with my dad ( yay happy life). My experience in dealing with pine and fir in New England is extensive and my antique house is loaded with it. My secret to getting an even non gold color is mixing stain in with wood conditioner roughly 50/50 I like the way it absorbs and looks natural but let’s me control the tones. I f’ing hate orange pine so my 200 year old floors got sanded to hell and got a water based finish so they would look natural but not cheesy they are light blonde without looking fake! That said after drinking my two glasses of rose is this…. color the beams only, choose a deeper grey stain or go white a white mix it with conditioner on a test area and see what you think. Leave the majority t&g ceiling bare. The white on fir may bleed to an even pinker color so I would personally go with a grey or blue grey to make it more contemporary rustic. Other than that the sand blast looks great!

  222. I thought the pic with the beams painted white looked dreamy and serene.

  223. I follow you religiously, a huge fan of yours. While I love both ends of your design-high and low, my passion for you started with your ability to work with what you have. I am in favor of working with the results of the walnut blasting. I know you will make this home gorgeous, in spite, of your disappointment over the results. There are many designers that have very deep pockets and show us perfection. I adore you because you show us how to make beauty without endless funds. That is what makes you unique and fun to follow. Well, that and your honesty and terrific personality. Carry on.

  224. I know, I’m writing this with almost 300 comments already being made AND a few days late, but I want to chime in. I love the ceiling with the blasting. I like that the woods are a different color. To me, this screams mid-century construction which I believe is what you want. Also, except for laying in bed and relaxing on the sofa with a book, you won’t notice it. SAVE your money for a needed redo later on (and there will be a needed redo).

  225. Your walnut blasted ceilings look just great. They look very much like the photo of what you want that actually shows natural wood. The veneers look like floors you’d buy cheaply at Ikea. And who knows what has been done to all of your inspiration photos to make the colors and tones look “perfect?” Please think of that black wooden chair that you often use in photos that is gorgeous and has so much character. It’s wonderful because it is unique and full of personality and authenticity and history. Once there are other things in your house, I can’t imagine that ANYONE would look up at the ceiling and even notice a “pinkish” tone to the beams, and if they did, it wouldn’t be negative. Your ceilings are not bad. Trying to bring them into some greater platonic ideal of what’s currently on trend on Pinterest will only make them look dated in five years, when they look great now anyway. Hope this helped.

  226. It looks great. Leave as is. Literally no one but you will notice what you’re pointing out.

  227. I think the wood ceiling post-walnut blasting looks awesome! (And, for a reference point, I’m a paint-all-wood-white kind of gal). I actually gasped when I saw the ‘after’ pictures because, to me, the wood looked beautiful and so, so much better than when you bought the place.

  228. The ceiling is BEAUTIFUL just the way it is now….walnut blasted!

    Remember the overthinking with the backyard trees? Let it be. Wood is quirky, natural and every bit is different, as is nature, just like people.

    Stop. Be still. Breathe. Focus on the next part of the house.

  229. Emily, Did you ever see Canadian designer Sarah Richardson’s vacation home? The inside was all a very orangey, knotty pine. She covered with a sheer whitewash. It allowed the wood grain to show but got rid of the weird orange tones, and gave a consistent, refined finish that was still acceptable to her wood-loving husband. It still had a slight rusticity to it and provided her more options with flooring color. Just a thought.

  230. Have you thought about doing a light white wash, rather than a full saturation paint? The tones could still come though, keeping the natural wood element, but toned down.

  231. live with it for now, have the beams painted or stained down the road if you never fall in love with it

Comments are closed.

Go To Top