I have always loved the look of plank walls. But... since my house was built in 2004 we don't have any. However, that has never stopped me before (muhahaha. That's my wicked laughter, just so you know.)
I painted my living room green (called promenade by bher.) But I wanted something more dramatic along the back wall, like planks maybe?
These are a few of my children playing wii with my boring wall in the background.
(Stop looking at my dusty furniture! I was in the middle of painting okay?)
My husband (hereafter referred to as CM) was a good sport and went with me to pick up the planks. He usually is not such a good sport about my "hair-brained schemes" but this time he was.
Or maybe he just knew we would go out to lunch after. He came without complaining and made sure they were straight and level and loaded them into the truck.
We found the planks we wanted at Lowes. They were just a plain straight plank. But they had a little lip in the back to help you attach them together. I should have taken a picture of that, but that was before I was a blogger. Or, more accurately before I was pretending to be a blogger.
We brought them home and CM got his saw and his air-compresser out for me. He even put on the nail gun I needed and made sure I had enough nails and then he left me to it. Thinking back he must have had confidence in me because he's not the kind of man that would waste $100 worth of perfectly good lumber no matter how crazy my ideas get.
I used our stud finder and marked the studs all the way up and down the wall so I knew where to nail.
I removed the strip of molding from the floor along that back wall. I was not very gentle, there were holes... lots of them. I also had to cut the molding on the sides back a little with a razor blade until I could fit the plank in between them and the back wall. That took a little bit of time and I'm pretty sure I may have cursed once or twice. There is probably a better way to do that but CM had left for work by that time leaving me to my own devices.
I took the first plank and laid it across the bottom and nailed it up. (Ptchew! Ptchew! That is the sound the nail gun makes) Whohoo! It stayed!!! Then I cut the next piece to size and nailed it up. I wanted the seams to be very random so I took the left over piece of what I just cut and hung it for the next row. Then cut again and hung. And I did that for each row. You can see the seams better in the picture below. But they ended up really random just like I wanted. And I had very little left over wood.
CM ripped the top planks with his table saw in order for me to hang them. I am pretty confident with many power tools but that table saw frightens me just a little. I like my fingers, I want to keep them.
My kids liked this look because it reminded them of a cabin we stayed in during a snowmobiling trip. But I wasn't going for the "hunting lodge" look I was going for more of a "cottage" look.
So I primed and painted it white. Just your basic white from Bher. I did sand the planks, but I did not fill any of the nail holes. I wanted it to look old. CM had to fix the plug outlets because they were now recessed too far in the wall. I also caulked the sides and where it met the ceiling to make it look more built in.
We don't have a fireplace, but that doesn't mean that I can't pretend that we do. So I bought a mantel. I found it in the classifieds. I wanted an older-less-shiny-and-new mantel. But those were all out of my price range (go figure) but this new one wasn't. CM hung it up by screwing a 2x4 into the planks and then screwing the mantel into the 2x4.
Much to my delight CM declared our old TV and TV cabinet too bulky and ugly for the new beautifulness of our living room. (See below... I know, it was bad). So I went to Ikea and got the TV cabinet I had my eye on and then to Costco to get the TV.
Anyway, I was pretty happy with the way things turned out. I was also relieved that I did it! Almost all by myself.
This is shortly after we finished with my spring decorations out. The bench in front was a sofa table that my husband had built a few years ago. He just chopped off the legs and voila! A bench, that miraculously matched the finish on the mantel. You can sort of see what it was like before, it's in the first pic with all of the dust on it.
I was happy with what we had built but, it still didn't "feel" like the look I was going for.
I felt a little bit bad at first with the thought of distressing the wood of the mantel. I have gotten over that. Plus, when I first did this it was spring and I was busy with a million other things like trying to prepare our garden and endless soccer practices and games. So I just left it alone. But the week the kids went back to school I had had enough.
This was the state of my living room most of the summer.
So I decided it was time for a change.
(That kid is not mine, I love him to pieces though.)
I began by busting out the sander and sanding the mantel. I didn't try to get the finish off but I did scuff it up pretty good. Especially on the edges. I mixed up some glaze about 4 to 1 with some dark brown paint. Then I brushed it on. In some areas I did it thick, in some I did it thin. In some areas I did two coats but most had one. After the glaze dried I brushed on 2 coats of polyurethane.
I sanded and spray painted the bench "Ivory" From Krylon. I used the left over glaze to antique it up a bit. Then I coated it with a some poly too. Slap up some fall decorations and I am LOVING the new look.
This is my living room :-) I have baskets to keep toys and books in under the bench. I got that blue ottoman from a thrift store. Sometimes I think I should paint it, sometimes I like the blue. It's vinyl and you can get spray paint for vinyl, but my kids abuse it so much I don't want to risk little pieces of spray paint flaking off all over.
Close up of the mirror and decorations down here. Sunburst Mirror DIY coming later. (After I recover from the headache it gave me.)
Our dog Anikin... yeah, the kids named him. So far he has not shown his dark side but I'm sure he has one.
I will also have to show you how I made the pillows for the couch. Don't let me forget.
It is everything I dreamed it would be. Do you hear people singing
a chorus of "Hallelujah" all of the sudden?
(Haaaallllelujah! Haaaallllelujah! Hallelujah, hallelujah. Halleeee-lu-jah!)
So, what do you think of the transformation?
I'm going to sit here and look at it for awhile now :-)
Thanks! - RM