What is it when one area of your home is seeing improvement that makes you feel the urge to spruce up everything else? With our landscaping already looking so fabulous, I was staring at the plain drywall on the upper half of the fireplace dreaming of something better.
See what I mean? Just kind of bland. Plus I hated those outlets with a passion. Why would you stick the phone jack right there? Or perhaps place the plug on the side of the wall instead of front and center? I don’t know. As my mom would say, “A man designed this.” Or just somebody not nearly as nitpicky as she is 😉 When I woke up Friday and saw the rain pouring down, I was bummed out that it meant we wouldn’t have landscaping work done that day. We’d only made it to the dirt spreading phase and were supposed to see gravel, mulch and plants. Instead of pouting, I got to work! I had a wild hair to try the barn wood look. So, I walked over to the barn, found a large pile of old fence pickets and started cleaning them up. I used a vinegar/baking soda mix and just sprayed the wood down and wiped it off with a stiff paint brush. As soon as I sprayed it, all the bugs scooted right out to find a new home. Make sure there aren’t any termites though. Most bugs hate vinegar, but I can’t attest to termites, and you sure don’t want to bring those inside! Anyway, here’s what I started with:
And just under two hours later, here’s where it ended up:
My husband works half day Fridays, and I had hoped to be done before he got home, but he caught me red-handed with a cut board in the garage. He’s pretty used to that by now! Luckily when he walked in he loved the look. And then promptly took the ladder away from me to nail in the high half. Apparently people take umbrage to a nine and a half months pregnant woman climbing a tall ladder with wood and a nail gun. Who knew?
I don’t have a step-by-step tutorial because overall it was very simple and straightforward. I cut off the dog-eared tops and any rotted portions, then used 2 1/2″ nails in my nail gun to secure them to the drywall. I wanted to be able to easily remove the boards should we have any issues down the road. Once I had one long board down, I measured the short distance to the opposite end. Then I just staggered long boards and short boards so they wouldn’t look too even. I cut around the electrical outlet, and simply covered over the phone jack. The first three rows are full rows, then the next four are short and only go a few inches behind the tv set. Then I have 4 more full rows and my “header” row.
Because of the rock base, as well as the uneven edges of the old fencing and the angle of the ceiling, the top row was a bit angled. I didn’t want to try and mark and cut a complicated angle, so we just nailed the boards over the rest. It makes it kind of like a header. It’s not very noticeable in person, plus it was a simple fix to something that could have taken a lot of time and error.
As far as the sides, I decided to leave them drywall and flush up the ends of the boards. I was afraid that if I tried wrapping the wood around they would be too brittle and split when I nailed them.
We took another easy road for now and cut a square of fencing to cover the electrical outlet. The nail and washer act as a pivot point so I can just swing it over. This should come in handy around Christmastime.
As far as the decor, I may have gotten a little heavy handed with the whole Rustic Western theme. I used an old deer skull Jacob found in the woods (it’s been lovingly munched on by some squirrels) as well as some axis antlers. I threw in the hat for some interest in the center with the sunflower, and the old gear thing with a mason jar of bullets and an old beer bottle. I’m planning to switch the last two up with some sort of interesting antiques when I find them. Right now our decor budget is pretty low
I kind of had to laugh that our living room is brown-on-brown-on-brown! We have quite a few natural textures, from woods to leathers to the jute rug. Then there’s also the stained concrete floor. Even the coffee table is neutral! I need to bring in some color! Or just let Charlie decorate with all her duplo blocks and Potato Head pieces. Jacob and I are both really thrilled with how good the fireplace looks now. I mean, it looked great before with the stone, but now the wood adds so much interest and character. Plus, you’ve probably noticed that the more rustic the better with us!
I highly encourage you to give planking with old fence pickets a try. It’s super easy, and a lot of fun. Plus, it’s simple enough to remove if you get tired of it. Just a few dozen nail holes to patch and you’re good to go!