The suggestion to use a heat gun is a good one, and I have used those to strip wood in the past. My hands are not as young as they were when I last used a heat gun; I'm positive I would be nearly crippled if I attempted the project using that option.
After removing the chair railing and seeing the original unpainted knotty pine beneath it I was convinced that I would rather not have the rather orangy bare wood anyway, since the fireplace bricks are pinky red with almost orchid colored mortar (those wacky 50's folk and their colorful choices of mortar!)
I've picked out a nice neutral/slightly gray greenish white paint color for the panelling if we can ever get the gloppy stuck paint off the five feet in the one corner. I suppose we could just paint the rest of the room and frame the glop...and refer to it as modern art. I've seen worse sold at six figure prices in art galleries.
At least the green tea paint job looks great in the living room. I'll post a picture of it was soon as a second coat goes on.
I'm wandering around the house with a color sample fan book, trying to imagine what colors to use in the master bedroom, guest room and office. Currently they are painted vivid lime, avocado and taxi yellow, in that order. Hard to imagine other colors when surrounded by those shades.
My interior decorator came and dropped a handful of color swatches in my hand and a list of rooms and numbers to match up.
Not exactly how I was taught to present decorating suggestions when I took interior design in college.
She favored gray: deep blue gray for the living room, dark grayish blue for the master bedroom, deep purple gray for the guest room, gray with a bit of brown for the hallway...most of the rooms are north facing rooms with small windows under deep eaves.
Oh and deep deep gray with a hint of sage for the kitchen. To balance all the woodwork...
In the initial interview with her the only color that I had said we did not like was gray.
At that time I told her that both B. and I work in windowless offices that are painted gray. No gray, please!
Apparently I will soon receive a bill for the two hours of work that were put into grabbing every shade of gray color swatch and handing them over to me. At $75 per hour.
It amazes me that selecting an assortment of gray is billable at such a rate. Needless to say, I won't be using her expertise any further.
Right now we're thinking a midtone coral pink for the master bedroom, lavender blue for the guest room and soft yellow for the office. Or maybe lobster red.
Anything but gray.