Architecture & Design

In Yarmouth, Brady Bunch-Era Pine Paneling Launched a Living-Room’s Funky Design

How a designer pulled off a modern look without removing or painting the home’s signature feature.

pine paneling in a 70's themed living room

From our Summer 2023 issue

When a Washington, DC, couple purchased their 1975 Yarmouth place in 2021, they weren’t sure what to do with it. They considered knocking down walls or removing or painting the abundant pine paneling to expunge the Me-Decade patina. But Falmouth interior designer Susie Smith Coughlin suggested they “lean into the wood,” insisting it was inherent to the home’s beauty. Her plan: “Nail a modern look while keeping the original character and flair.” In the living room, Smith Coughlin helped the owners choose a leather Chesterfield sofa, rattan armchairs, and a vintage dining table from Portland Flea-For-All that blend with the paneling. Cool charcoal accents on stair risers, Venetian plaster layered over a brick fireplace, and Rifle Paper Co. wallpaper in the adjacent Sheetrocked office balance the warm tones, while pops of white on curtains, quartz-topped window sills, and an origami-inspired pendant illuminate the moody palette. On the paneled wall, a Dominique Vari work on a Samsung Frame TV and Susan Hable prints provide an intriguing focal point. “This house is not for everyone,” Smith Coughlin says. “You have to be somebody who’s willing to step out on a ledge and be totally different.”