Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Den remodel and how to fix wood paneling

Who else has a problem with wood paneling? Below is a glimpse of what our house looked like before we bought it. My parents actually found it while we were skiing out in Utah and emailed us pictures of it. I can't say I was originally sold on the home, but when I saw it in person I knew it had good "bones." Don't know what I mean by that? Let me elaborate. The house had an extremely open floor plan, which is a rarity with 1960s homes, and beautiful hardwood floors throughout. It had a kitchen island, large bedrooms, lots of windows, nice bathrooms (sidebar - when I say "nice" I mean functional. They were very clean and well maintained but with original PINK tile in the guest bath, including pink sinks and a pink toilet; and blue tile in the master bath rounded off nicely with butterfly wallpaper that was even in the shower). It was also the cheapest house in a really nice neighborhood that had been on the market for a long time. I could see that some simple face lifts would seriously change the look and feel of the house. We were also able to build in some quick equity this way.

I'm trying to upload a photo tour of our home but having some trouble; since I don't want my 4 readers, one being my mom, to go without for a day here is a glimpse at our den (before).

Ummmmm....so much wood paneling EVERYWHERE and crusty blinds. You can see my dad walking around with the realtor. I had never even read a blog when these pictures were taken so I definitely did not foresee posting before and after pictures - I think you get the idea though. Check out the floors! See the potential was there....

You can see a glimpse of the Pizza Hut-esque gold light fixture over the breakfast table in the upper right hand corner. Notice how dark this room was.

And here is what it looks like now! No more dark dreary room; it's now airy and cheerful. We originally planned to rip out the wood paneling, because it had to go, but my interior decorating friend, Tammy, helped us find another solution. It was extremely cost effective but LABOR intensive! For real.

Here is a side-by-side of the difference:

The secret is to use wood putty to fill all of the grooves. I would NOT suggest this if your wood paneling has deep rivets. Luckily, our panels did not and it was relatively easy to fill with the wood putty. The really hard job was the sanding. You need to sand down the wood putty and make sure the walls are fairly smooth and even in order to have a pretty outcome. The end result was only the amount of money spent on wood putty and the price of our hard labor. I don't think I have any pictures of the process unfortunately but let me know if you have any questions.

We then painted everything! The brick fireplace, mantel, ceiling, walls, trim, etc. Confession time - so I didn't actually paint this room myself. Based on prior experience with painting paneling, it soaks up a LOT of paint. The painters covered the flooring and actually used a sprayer on the walls. It was amazing and only took about 10 minutes. It would have taken me a whole weekend just to paint the walls so it was well worth it. Not to mention they gave me a great price on it.

My husband immediately wired the surround sound speakers and hooked up the TV. Hey, we each have our own priorities, right? On the other hand, I immediately needed the Pizza Hut light fixture replaced with this funky pendant.

What do you think? It doesn't even look like the house, huh?

Have a lovely day.


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