“The sweat-equity needed to paint the interior of the whole house was immense and required a lot of favors from family. Between me, my sister and sister-in-law, our sporadic-yet-valiant efforts tallied 14 days to get it all done,” Lisa said. “We’re so thankful for all the help.”

Every problem has a solution—for the most part. Homeowners Lisa and Steve Harding were able to save the pink tiles in their bathroom (part 1), which were at high risk of being torn out (part 2). But another midcentury purist dilemma smacked Lisa in the face: the living room paneling. Although an original feature, it just did not work with the wood flooring.

“I truly struggled with the decision [of whether] to remain a purist, or usher in an aesthetic update and paint the knotty pine paneling. The wood floors were stunning and the paneling fought with the floor. I wanted the floors to stand out as a design element; so I asked for forgiveness, and decided to paint,” Lisa said. Two days of sanding, three tubes of latex caulking, two coats of shellac-based primer/sealer to keep the knot holes from bleeding through, and two coats of paint later, the living room paneling project was completed.

“We were drawn to the original wood floors, paneling, the turquoise-tiled bathroom, the ‘Mamie Eisenhower pink’ bathroom and even the charming-yet-drafty double-hung windows,” Lisa said.

“Steve and I had a few discussions on whether to remove or rehab the tongue-and-groove dark wood paneling in the dining room,” she said. “It was saved, restored and painted to showcase the tongue-and-groove lines and wood grain.”

Lisa ushered in vintage décor, including a cherished 40-inch, persimmon Viking glass vase she bought with her grandma in the 1960s. She coordinated the delivery and installation of their present-day purchases, readying the home for its big reveal.

Lisa and Steve learned during the June-to-January renovation that the original owner’s daughter lives across the street. “Getting the stamp of approval from someone who holds cherished memories of growing up in the home feels so special—it’s a privilege,” Lisa said. “Best of all, she was elated we got rid of the hideous remodeled kitchen she always hated. Some bits of history don’t need repeating.”