It's week 3 of our bathroom renovation and things are starting to look very different around here. Unless you've been living in a cave for the past few years, you've seen the return of wood walls. Thanks to Chip and Joanna Gaines, shiplap has become an everything-old-is-new-again trend in farmhouse style, so let's take a fresh look at wood walls.
Let's face it, wood on walls is not a new phenomenon. Most of us grew up with some type of vertical wood (or faux "wood") walls in our childhood homes.
In the 1950s, cedar tongue-and-groove paneling was a popular choice for making the walls of new-fangled dens feel cozy and lodge-like. It didn't take long for the building and DIY trade to create a faux shortcut, in the form of 4x8 sheets of lauan paneling with dark grooves separating pre-finished wood "planks." In the '80s and '90s, beadboard "wainscoting" became a popular trend in bathrooms, kitchens and hallways - first as planks, and then as panels made to resemble the planks.
In the 21st century, wood walls are back. Fixer Upper showed us that old homes sometimes have cool feature walls hiding behind sheetrock and wallpaper....we just have to embrace horizontal - not vertical - planks. Almost three years ago, Sherri and I (with a little help) put up this reclaimed wood wall in our booth within a nearby antique mall - it was pallet wood and cedar fence planks. Not only did it cover up an ugly cinderblock wall, but it was a great focal point in our space and gave us a sturdy wall to hang things on. Win, win, win.
When I began thinking about potential changes to update our master bathroom, I wanted to make it into something special. Our home is a modern farmhouse style, so it made sense to incorporate some shiplap. Pinterest has lots of shiplap-covered walls behind and surrounding tubs, and that got my mental wheels turning. The only time we use our bathtub is to bathe #MajorTheShopDog, so shiplapped walls and inevitable splashes and splatters from a shaking-it-off pooch didn't seem like a good combo. However, the alcove-type walls around our two vanities could definitely benefit from some interesting backdrops. These days, you have several choices in shiplap...from 4x8 faux panels to individual planks of real cedar or pine shiplap, primed MDF, and several thinner tongue-and-groove products.
Before we could start putting up shiplap, those plate mirrors had to come down. The builder had glued them to the wall <shakes fist at builder> but this video helped us get them down quickly and safely. You can see the patch on the wall where the glue pulled off the top layer of drywall. If we were painting the walls, we would have had to patch these holes, but since I was putting up boards over them, I didn't bother. (It'll be a fun surprise for the next owner of this home when they pull down the planks.)
Mr. Official ran the nail gun and I ran the chop saw. Row after row, they quickly went up. (Note: you could nail them in with thin wire nails, but a nail gun is way faster.) Just be sure you start straight and level, and make sure you lock them together to keep everything straight as you go up the walls.
This phase took us three different nights to complete because we had just a little bit of time to work on it each time. But if you can hit it hard, you and a partner can knock it out in a few hours.
Here's the before-and-after of both vanities. I didn't replace the light fixtures, but I did replace the shades, - an easy update for anyone of any skill level. And after the shiplap was hung, I added two new mirrors I purchased while Hobby Lobby had their every-other-week sale on them.
What do you think? Relatively small changes really can make a big impact on a room. It's why builders and flippers are constantly seeking new materials and colors - they need that "wow" factor without breaking the bank. And as you can see from the running tab, paint really is the cheapest thing you can do to update a space.
Since I'm keeping it real, you can see we still struggle with all the "stuff" that accumulates on our vanities....and I have some ideas for getting more organized.
But before I focus on the finishing touches, I have two more big changes to #reinvintage these builder-grade countertops and cabinets from "hum-ho" to "how cool!" The first one involves concrete. Stay tuned....next week should be interesting, to say the least.
WHO WRITES THIS STUFF?
I'm Terry Lea, owner of Re-Invintage Home, a vintage home goods shop just south of Nashville in Murfreesboro, TN. A lifelong passion for vintage picking led me to open a shop with my picking pal, Sherri in 2017. Come see us!