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October 23, 2012  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.

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Yesterday I mentioned we had one more quicky project up our sleeves before our party this weekend.  Earlier this month, we hinted we were planning on hanging a gallery wall above the couch and I had started laying out a template:

Scratch that.  I take it back.  For the record, I actually did get a gallery in place (with a couple place holder frames and canvases) and I kept it up for a few days before I couldn’t take it anymore.  It felt cluttered and messy and wasn’t cohesive with the gallery we hung above the fauxdenza.

Plus, since we will most likely take a more eclectic approach to pillows and accessories, the array of frames and art was too over the top for this room, in our opinion.  The decision to not hang a gallery above the sofa in the living room turned out to be a great choice for two reasons.  1. We hung a lot of that art in the laundry room and it has done wonders for that room.  2.  It allowed us to revisit and begin executing the original idea we had for that wall–wainscoting!

When we first started revamping this room, we shared a slew of inspiration photos of fully wainscoted walls.  Two, in particular, encompassed our desire for dark walls and paneled walls:

After we painted the room, we wanted to give it some time to evolve before we dove in.  I am happy to say, the time is here.  The room has evolved, we nixed the gallery wall and started hanging paneling last night. Eeee!

But before we bought the wood and started nail-gunning it up, we planned the wall out.  We knew we wanted the clean-lined, shaker-style wainscot–but weren’t sure how many squares (or rectangles) would look best on our wall.  When we initially had the idea to do this months ago, we were in contact with Wainscoting America looking at their prefabricated panels, but ultimately decided DIYing was the way to go for us.  The good news is, their design tool is free to use, and has already made this project a breeze for us.

We just plugged in the dimensions of our wall and how thick we wanted our boards to be, then we could play around with how many horizontal and vertical panels we liked.  We ended up loving this, more rectangular, paneling look.  The tool even told us (at the bottom) the exact width of the inner panel.  Huzzah!  Obviously this is when you could order it from their site, but we were happy to forego that and pick up some 8 foot boards (we used 3 1/2″ pre-primed mdf) from Home Depot.

We are only giving ourselves 3 nights to do this project. Last night, we started by framing out the whole wall first, starting with the top and bottom and then the left and right side.

Once we had that framed, we started on all the vertical pieces.  Most residential walls, like this one, are the standard 8 ft, so it was quick work to measure and trim a little bit off of each 8ft board and nail or glue it up.  Yes. Glue it.  Let me (try to) explain–where’s Chris!?

Ideally each board would be nailed into a stud.  With these vertical boards laid out every 16.778 inches, we missed the stud more often than not, and because they were hung vertical, there was no chance for part of the board to reach a stud like you have with horizontally hung boards.  So, we used Liquid Nails made for hanging paneling and then finished the board by nail-gunning in a few nails on an angle for extra measure.

Less than 2 hours later we had the whole wall framed and the vertical panels hung:

To ease your minds, after all the boards are hung (tonight!!) we’ll caulk, spackle, sand and paint the paneling the same almost-black (Kwal’s Crave) as the rest of the wall.  We don’t watch very many sports around here, and I don’t claim to know much about baseball–but the current state of our living room, with those highly contrasted stripes, makes me feel like I am living in a baseball hall of fame or something.  Am I crazy?  Or maybe just going crazy.  Can’t wait to get the horizontal boards up tonight! See you for part two tomorrow?? Hope so!

Disclaimer: Although we were initially going to partner with Wainscoting America for this project, we decided against it and stuck with our DIY roots.  They didn’t pay or perk us to be mentioned in this post, and I especially hope they aren’t mad that we still used their free design tool for our benefit and then told the blogosphere about it. :)

Update: See the finished results here!

What do you think?

  1. Looking for tips on this same project and found your page. I didn’t realize you could get pre-primed 3 1/2 strips. I will look for those. Thought I would have to cut a sheet and wan’t looking forward to that. Nicely done.

  2. […] it came to the accent wall, I knew that I wanted to knock off Chris Loves Julia’s old living room wall.  They recommended using Wainscoting America’s design tool and it did come in handy when it […]

  3. Were your walls perfectly straight? My fiance and I bought an older home and the walls are just slightly concave in some areas and slightly convex in others. It’s not noticeable to the naked eye but if we put something flat against them I don’t think it would lay flat. Did you guys run into this problem at all?

  4. GibsonGirl says:

    I am wondering about the artwork of the military man. Does it have a name and artist?
    daveandtanyagibson@gmail.com

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  7. Andi says:

    Im so impressed with the evenly spacing of boards..I know you’re thinking “we just measured it.” mm not so easy for me. I was the student in art class that just stared when the teacher said to “start your design about a quarter inch in.” Couldn’t do it.

  8. I’m absolutely SO excited for this! It’s going to be amazing!

  9. Anne @ Planting Sequoias says:

    Woo! I should plan a party to motivate myself into getting projects DONE. But, knowing myself, I wouldn’t be half as productive as you guys are being. Can’t wait to see the final result!

  10. Nicole says:

    ooooh, i’m so so happy you are doing this! can’t wait to see. I definitely agree with taking down the gallery wall…oh man it’s going to look A-mazing!

  11. Ooh how exciting!! Hurry and finish so I can seeeee! :D Just kidding on the hurrying part – can’t believe how far you are already! You guys are busy beavers!

  12. Audrey says:

    Oh my heck. I canNOT wait to see the finished product! It’s gonna look so awesome!

  13. Meggan S. says:

    I LOVE IT! I did something similar on a wall in my bedroom (all white though) and it’s the best thing ever! I cannot wait to see it done in your space!

  14. meaganbriggs3 says:

    So cool!! Excited to see it finished!!

  15. Nice work. This is much better than the gallery wall. I liked the gallery wall, but it WAS a little cluttered. This is going to look much more sleek. Can’t wait!

  16. So exciting! I can’t wait to see the final result!

  17. Jessie McKinley says:

    You are going to love it!!!! It’s looking amazing (even if it does resemble a baseball hall of fame!)

  18. Emily Bufler says:

    Didn’t mean to get creepy and sound like Cassandra word-for-word! Weird!!! Didn’t even read her comment until afterwards. So funny!

  19. Emily Bufler says:

    I’m so pumped that you guys are taking this route with the room! I would love to do a dark wall/room with paneling. It’s looking SO GOOD already. Cannnnnot wait to see the final result.

  20. Cassandra says:

    I am so glad you decided to go this route! I think the rectangle squares of the wainscoting will compliment the gallery on the next wall and not conflict with it. What a subtle yet HUGE impact this will have. Love it!

  21. Heather Gearhart says:

    That is going to look so great! I agree that the gallery kinda cluttered the room up, so I can’t wait to see the gridded out wall painted and everything put back together!

  22. Meagan S says:

    good call – you are right the gallery wall was messy next to the grid of frames. excited to see the wainscoting!

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