Why would I want to share our family room?
- Well, some of us are just curious. We like to see how others live.
- Some of us are looking for ideas and inspirations for our own living spaces.
- But mostly, there's this one wall in particular, that I want to share, and think someone out there might be able to use this idea. And I have to say, most importantly, this was an easy project for amateurs, with zippo carpentry skills. An yet it gives the room "mood".
This room was part of a kitchen remodel in 2008. We had an open floor plan with the kitchen, casual dining and family room, previously. We wanted a separate family room from kitchen, with eat-in area in the kitchen. So, we added a wall, separating the kitchen/eating area from the family room. The wall was erected where a visible, heavy ceiling beam supports the attic above. It seemed to be a natural dividing line between the kitchen and new family room.
In building this wall, we found some oddities, which needed camouflaging. So, it seemed the quickest option was to lay plain, very thin, mahogany panels, on the family room side of the wall.
We hired someone to actually frame the wall and lay sheetrock on for us. (Like I said, no carpentry skills whatsoever, and we didn't want this wall, umm, leaning, when a wall probably shouldn't lean.) And he nailed up the mahogany luan paneling (he had tools, we didn't). Mahogany luan is typically very thin, and very smooth, but could have imperfections, so it is primarily used where it will be painted. Also, it's very inexpensive. Our local lumber store sells it for about $20 per 4-foot by 8-foot by 2.7 mm (about 1/10-inch) thick sheet. This type of very thin panel is designed to lay flat against another smooth surface (like sheetrock).
While we did this pseudo wainscoting on the smooth paneling (to camouflage some issues in the wall underneath), this project could also be done on smooth-finished sheetrock.
What we used --
- 2.5-inch wide by 5/8-inch thick, MDF, plain rectangular trim (the silhouette, from the side is a plain rectangle, no fluting, carving or ridges
- 3.75-inch wide by 1/4-inch thick, 48-inch long strips of unfinished, birch trim
- 2.5-inch wide by 1/4-inch thick, 48-inch long strips of unfinished, birch lath trim
- 3/4-inch coved, corner moulding
- nails (finishing nails to attach birch trim to mahogany panels) and ordinary hammer
- inexpensive miter box and saw
We used the plain, 5/8-inch thick, MDF trim as a chair rail, the whole length of the wall, the 3.75-inch wide birch trim as vertical stiles, and the 2/5-inch wide birch trim as the horizontal base and top stile. The coved corner moulding "finished" the ends of the wall and transitioned into plain drywall.
Our total cost (not including primer/paint) was under $150, for a wall about 20-feet long and almost 7.5 feet high, or about 150 square feet. The luan paneling (only necessary to cover some wall problems) added about $100 in materials-cost. So, without luan, about $1 per square foot, or $1.66 per square foot with luan cost.
Prefab wainscoting averages about $7 per square foot, for materials only (not labor). For 150 square feet of wall, that would have cost about $1000.
Time spent --
My husband and I worked on this wall, 2 Saturdays in a row, about 4 hours each day, for a total of 16 man hours. If we had known what we were doing (neither of us had a clue when we began, and wasted a lot of time trying to figure things out), we could have done this in about 6 hours, working together. As it was, for a savings of about $750, divided by 16 man hours, that's an "earnings" of about $46/per hour.
What we did --
We had already installed the crown and baseboard moulding, prior to this work.
Dividing the wall in half, horizontally, we worked on the upper half first.
We used the 3.75-inch birch to cover the seams between mahogany panels, from the crown moulding down. After covering the seams, every 4 feet, we added an additional vertical stile, in between every seam-covering stile. So, our finished vertical stiles are 24 inches apart, center to center.
After the upper vertical stiles were in place, we placed the MDF chair rail, just below the bottom of the birch stiles.
Once the chair rail was installed, we added the 2.5-inch birch strips, cut to fit, as horizontal stiles, at the top and bottom of each panel (just below the crown moulding, and just above the chair rail).
With the upper section of the wall finished, we duplicated this work, below the chair rail, cutting the birch pieces to fit.
Ends of the wall were finished with by dead-ending the horizontal stiles against a piece of vertical cove corner moulding. A mitered cut was made on the chair rail ends, up against the adjacent walls.
After caulking and filling nail holes, we painted the entire wall in the same color as the rest of the room (Cookie Dough by Glidden).
Above the fireplace we did a similar trim. The above mantel area was covered with plain panels, then we added the birch strips for accent, and painted all.
The mood we were trying to set with this room is cozy English country hunting lodge or rural farmhouse, if that's possible.
This room is most used in the late fall through winter. It's the room with a television, so we watch videos on those cold winter evenings, for home entertainment. The wall color is darker than the living room. It's meant to wrap you up in warmth, like an extra blanket on a chilly night.
We duplicated this idea in our entry hall, on the wall below the stairs. This area is painted in white, and only on the lower part of the wall.
There's a bedroom in which I'm wanting to do this same sort of wall treatment. I'll update you if/when that ever happens.