My Family Room Plank Wall And a Clean Up Dream!

Note:  As per FTC regulations I need to let you know this is a post sponsored by Tide.  I was compensated for writing this, but the opinions are my own.  

Hello!  This post has been a long time coming!  Or at least it feels that way to me!  We moved into our new house at the end of April and it seems like it's taken an eternity to wrap my head around what I wanted to do in each room.  Now after some careful consideration,  I have a long list of projects needing to be completed.  Thankfully school is back in session!

The first major project on the list was to do something with a huge wall in our family room/great room.  We have 10 ft ceilings and a large 20 ft wall in this room.  Putting a TV on the wall looked odd because the scale was completely off.  As a quick and easy fix (and to have a place to put some of my 'stuff') I bought 2 shelves from IKEA.  At $20 each they were a 'good for now' fix, but I never loved them.  

Here's how the wall looked with the shelves.  I really liked it, but we didn't paint the walls this color and I wasn't a huge fan of the shade.  Also, I felt the wall lacked character and charm.  

This is the fireplace and mantel.  I placed this huge (and very heavy) mail sorter up there to fill up the space until I knew what I wanted to do.  The wall behind it was painted this burlap/cardboard box color and was B O R I N G. The mantel was stained but whoever built and installed the mantel didn't do a good job.  There were lots of swirl marks and filler holes.  It needed some help.

I'd been seeing plank walls on Pinterest and I liked the idea.  Then while I was watching an episode of HGTV's Fixer Upper I saw their plank walls, which are actually ship lap, and fell in love.  It was then I knew this would be the perfect solution to our huge and boring wall.  I had a plan!

First thing we did was buy our planking at Home Depot.  We used knotty pine tongue and groove planks.  The planks were $17 for 13.5 sq ft.  I needed a little over 200 sq ft.  So this wasn't a bargain wall, but certainly not as expensive as some of my other options.  

We found the studs on the wall, using a stud finder and chalk line.  

This is my little helper, Hunter, wearing his safety glasses no less, helping to find the stud locations with his stud finder.  

Next up, marking the studs with a chalk line.  Hunter LOVED snapping the chalk you can imagine the mess all over the floors, moulding and surrounding chalk as far as the eye could see!  

Hunter wanted me to make sure I included this picture on the here it is!  He took this all very seriously and help a lot.

After we determined the placement of the studs, we got to work planking the wall.  We attached the planks using brad nails with my Ryobi brad nailer.  This thing made this job a whole lot easier!!

I have to admit, the toughest part of this project was the outlets.  I had no idea it would be so tough to cut them out.  I found a tutorial on Pinterest from Pretty Handy Girl suggesting using lipstick to imprint the outlet placement on the board.  Well, I don't wear lipstick, but I do wear lip gloss and it worked!!

I applied lipgloss to the outside of the outlet.

Then I put my piece of pine plank on top so it would make a mark.

Placed the outlet cover on and drew a line around.  Easy peasy!!

Drill holes in the corners, then use a jig saw to cut out the shape.

One thing I did forget to mention earlier, is we started at the bottom of the wall.  We started at one end and then placed the boards in an offset pattern to avoid seams all the way down.  This planking is made for vertical placement, but I preferred the horizontal placement instead.  

There's that pesky chalk dust everywhere!

That blue chalk dust was no challenge for my Tide Oxi!  I added some Tide Oxi to a bowl of warm water and that chalk dust was history!!  Plus, the smell was lovely!!  

Here are some in progress pictures of the wall installation.  It was like building a puzzle.  Cut pieces to fit, slide them into the groove, nail them in on the stud.  Move to the next piece.

ALL DONE!!!  Hunter was so excited!  This really was a family affair....we all helped out and it was a great bonding experience.

Next step was to caulk and fill any holes.  This was a truly MESSY job!!  I had no idea and really hadn't prepped well enough for the mess.  Again, Tide Oxi came to my rescue.  Hunter helped me as we wiped up the dust using a damp cloth and our Tide Oxi.  It worked great!

After we used the Tide Oxi!  What a difference!

When I was done, I thought maybe I would keep the wall unfinished.  Maybe it was the thought of all the painting, but I knew I wanted a white plank wall!

Priming was next!  I used a good primer and only needed one coat.  I used a good quality primer mainly for the knots in the wood.  If they're not properly sealed, over time they will bleed through the one wants that!

Of course, in my world, one project leads to another.  I had originally started out doing the wall without having a plan for my boring fireplace and mantel.  I had enough planks leftover I thought I might as well do above the mantel as well.   It was so boring before, anything would be an improvement!

I planked the area inside the already existing frame right above the mantel.  Then, I primed and painted it with the same paint I used on the wall.  When I was done, to add a little more interest, I added some reclaimed wood trim I had leftover from another project.  I cut the wood into thin strips and attached them with my Ryobi brad nailer. 

For paint I used Snowbound by Sherwin Williams in a satin finish.  I wanted a white that wasn't too stark and this one was perfect.  Two coats of paint and I was finished.  All I needed to do was decorate the wall!

And here it is!!  Words cannot express how much I love this transformation.  This went from a room that I really didn't enjoy spending time in, to somewhere I can't wait to sit and have a cup of coffee!  The room went from boring to character filled and bright!

What a difference!!

Here's an up-close picture so you can see the detail of the wall.

Just about everything in this space is vintage.  I love taking unexpected items, like old wood ladders and hanging them on a wall.  They adds character and charm to the space in a way you don't normally see.

One of my favorite vintage finds is this old gaming wheel.  It really pops off the white plank wall now!

One of my newest purchases, my dam sign, yep I just like to say dam sign!  I bought the sign at an all night flea market recently for $15.  Again, unexpected and fun!

Remember above the fireplace and that boring mantel?  Here's what it looks like now!  You can see the reclaimed wood details I added around the already existing frame.

Now, on to the next project on my list!  First, I think I need a few days to sit back and enjoy our lovely new family room!!

This project was a lot of work, but easy enough that anyone could do this.  It was fun to get the the family involved in the project, as well as the clean up!  

The clean up was SO much easier with Tide Oxi!  I had some pesky paint splatters on the hardwood floor, where the drop cloth moved.  I used the Tide Oxi to get them off and they came off like a breeze!  From the chalk residue on the walls and baseboards to the sanding dust and paint on the hardwood floor, the Tide Oxi handled every challenge I threw at it!!  

This really is a wonderful product that can be used anywhere in your home.  "From the hallway to the driveway,  household stain is safe from the virtually limitless cleaning potential of Tide Oxi Multi-Purpose Stain Remover."  

You can find lots more ideas from Jonathan Scott of HGTV's Property Brothers here:

NOW, who wants a plank wall in their house?  Have you already installed one?  If so, I'd love to hear about it!

Thank you for reading,


How To Decorate a Room On a Budget And My Miracle Child

Hello!!  Today I'm sharing some of Hunter's room and how I decorated it without breaking the bank.  Also, I'm sharing a bit about Hunter and how he's our miracle child.  

Ever since I was young, I knew I wanted to be a Mom.  I'm adopted and my Mom got pregnant when I was 14.  It was after my brother, Bryan was born that I knew I wanted to have children of my own.  That feeling of being needed and the overwhelming love was something I wanted in my life.  

However, when I got married and tried to have children, I became aware that this might not be as easy as I thought.   I had a very difficult time getting pregnant.   I had some issues that made it near impossible to get pregnant.  I tried many types of fertility methods and medications, but with no success.  
Finally, when I turned 34 I found out I was pregnant!  It couldn't have come at a better time.  My Mom had been battling cancer for years and was beginning to lose her battle.  She was so happy when I told her I was pregnant.  However, my joy quickly turned to grief when I found out the pregnancy was ectopic and would need to be surgically removed.  My family was devastated and I felt so much overwhelming sadness, loss and guilt.  I must have done something wrong to have this happen...or so I thought.  After my procedure,  my doctor told me I wouldn't have children.  My age, other infertility issues and now a damaged filopian tube made having a baby an impossibility.  She spouted off a bunch of statistics and facts about my situation.  I grieved at the loss of my dream and the loss of my baby.

About 6 months later, my Mom lost her long battle with cancer.  It was a very sad time, but it was good to know she was no longer in pain or suffering.  I was sad because I knew how much my Mom had wanted a grandchild and now she would never have that chance.  Although, in my heart I knew she was in a better place and I felt the baby we had lost would be there with her.  

My hubby and I lived our lives and resigned ourselves to the fact we wouldn't be able to have a child.  I was finally OK with the idea and actually started to embrace my child-free lifestyle.  During an extremely stressful time in our lives, one of the hardest times ever, we found out I was pregnant.  I rushed to get an ultrasound, fearing the worst...another ectopic pregnancy, but it was a miracle!!  The baby was right where it needed to be and everything was great.  After my appointment, as I walked backed to my office, I realized things were about to change in a big way.  I was overwhelmed with emotions, I was scared, thankful and full of excitement.  It was then that it struck me how only 8 shorts months ago my Mom had passed away and somehow I knew and felt in my heart she must have had something to do with this miracle.  I was going to be a Mother even when the doctors said it wasn't possible.  

8 months later Hunter was born.  It was the best day of my life seeing his head full of blond hair and blue eyes for the first time.  Immediately, he gave me something I never thought I would actual blood relative!  I was adopted at 3 days old and I had lived my life never knowing anyone that looked like me or was actually related to me by blood.  Hunter looked just like me and even had my dimple chin.  That day forever changed my life and gave me a purpose and direction I'd never had before.  Now Hunter is 9 years old, going on 25, and way too smart for his own good.  He makes me laugh every day.  He's encouraging, surprising, full of information and facts and fills my heart with such a deep love every times I look into his eyes, it's overwhelming and takes my breath away.  I've never knew such happiness or unconditional love until he came into my life.  

Yes, yes, I know this is a DIY, home decor blog and I'm getting to that part I promise.  I just felt I needed to write about why decorating and designing rooms and furniture for him makes me so happy.  I really never thought I would get the chance to do this!  Now every time I have the opportunity to make a room special for him, it means the world to me.

When we moved into our new house at the end of April, I had a plan for Hunter's room.  I'm still not completely done, but I'm slowly making progress.  My goal for his room is to make it a room that will grow with him, show his personality and not cost a fortune.  I wanted to share some pictures of what I've done so far in his room and how you can decorate a room for your child without breaking the bank!

Hunter is the typical boy, he loves sports, cars, motorcycles and planes.  He also loves to travel.  Over the years, I've been incorporating all of his 'loves' in his room.  

The first place I started in this new room was shelving.  Hunter's room is big and has a very nice tray ceiling (something else I have plans for!).  He needed a place to nicely display his 'things'.  After building my DIY pipe shelving for my kitchen, I thought it would be a great idea to do something similar, but instead of a free standing unit, attach the shelving to the wall.  I had seen this done on Pinterest so I knew it wasn't hard.  

I used the same wood shelves I bought from IKEA  for my DIY pipe shelving.  Then I purchased all my pipes from Home Depot.  I didn't need any of the pipes cut this time.   I used plumbing pipes and they came in exactly the size I needed. 

Here's what I used to make each shelf:

2 floor flanges ($10 for both)
2 steel plumbing pipes, threaded on each end.  I used 12 inch pipes ($14 for both)
2 pipe elbows ($3 for both)
2 pipe caps ($5 for both)
1 solid wood shelf from IKEA ($7)
Wipe On Poly

The shelves are very easy to assemble.  First thing I did was attach the floor flanges to the wall.    I figured out where I wanted the shelves on the wall and how far apart the flanges needed to be.  I screwed the pipe to the floor flange, then attached the elbow to the other end of the pipe.   Lastly I screwed on the pipe cap on the end of the elbow.  The wood shelf fits perfectly on the pipes and the pipe cap keeps the shelf on tightly.  

I stained the wood in my favorite dark walnut stain and then finished it off with a couple coats of wipe on poly. They were that easy to make!

Here are the finished shelves  in Hunter's room.

We made sure we found studs in the walls, then screwed the flanges into the studs.  They're very sturdy and can be used for years to come.  

A few comments about the things on his shelves.  The Hunter license plate sign I purchased at the Country Living Fair last summer.  This would be an easy and inexpensive DIY project.  Tin snips and some license plates,  then attach the plates with nails to a simple painted board and there you have it!!  

The picture frames with maps are from a previous post I wrote about his room I decorated in CT.  You can see more details here.  These are SUPER inexpensive to make.  I got the frames at a local thrift store and some vintage gas station maps and attached the maps to the frames using a staple gun.   I spent about a $1 for each one. 

The license plates I've been collecting over the last few years for his room.  The most I've ever spent was $7 for a license plate.  Some I've bought for as little as $1.  I purchased most of them at yard sales, flea markets and estate sales.

The hub caps, Hunter picked out at an estate sale last fall.  They were $5 each.  

The most expensive item on the shelves is the hand painted Wrigley Field sign.  I bought that at a local flea market for $25.  

The globes are part of my collection.  My favorite globe is on his desk.  He has 2 light up globes in his room that he uses at night.  I love them!!

Hunter likes to add things to the shelves from time to time...Last week, he added this little helicopter he built out of Lego.

The little Hershey Chocolate truck tin is from Goodwill and it was $.50!

One of my favorite things on the shelves is that large vintage light bulb.  I bought that for $3 at an estate sale awhile back.  I like how unexpected it is.  

The newest addition to his room, is the number 9. It's a big plastic number that was used in a store display.  The hubby and I bought it for him at an antique while we were in Nashville.

For curtains in Hunter's room I used IKEA curtains.  Normally I'm not a fan of grommets on curtains, but these were fun and the perfect color for a kids room.  I sewed on some red and cream trim to the inside edge of the curtains to give them a custom look.  

The window in Hunter's room is long and the curtain rods I had from his previous room were too small.  I needed a long rod and didn't want to pay a lot so, I used electrical conduit piping, two pipe elbows and 2 flanges.  The whole rod cost $25 to make....much cheaper than a long curtain rod from a store.  I added a curtain rod bracket in the middle for support, then I sprayed all the pieces a brushed nickel.  

I hung more license plates and an ALL WAY sign above his window to tie everything together.  

The day bed, I found free on the side of the road a couple summers ago.  I had stripped it down and upholstered it for my office a few houses ago, but thought it would fit perfectly in front of Hunter's window.  I reupholstered it in denim fabric and now it's a great place to sit and read a book.  There's a nice view of the pond and all the birds that live there.  

Decorating a room for yourself or your child is easy.  All it takes are pieces that have meaning.  Nothing in these pictures was expensive.  The desk was free, given to me by a friend...I just painted it and gave it new life with some maps (you can read more about that here.)  The solid wood library chair was an estate sale purchase for $10.  The art on the desk was $5 at an estate sale, the clocks were $5 from Goodwill.  

You don't have to spend a fortune to make a room special.  Overall, I wanted this room to feel collected.  I think it looks collected because I didn't go to one store and buy everything at one time.  It's possible to go out and buy everything you need for a room at one store, but it's a lot harder to get a unique look that's all your own.  This room reflects Hunter's personality and interests and that's what makes this room special....also the kiddo who sleeps in this room! 

Figure out what you love and see what you have around the house.  Maybe you have a collection that you have spread out in several rooms.  Bring that collection together and display it in a room you spend a lot of time in.  There are no hard and fast rules for decorating...there might be some out there who don't agree.  I feel like a room needs to be a reflection of who lives in and uses the room.  If that is achieved, then it's a success.

I hope this post has helped inspire you to decorate your child's room or even one of your own. 

I let Hunter read the top portion of this post before I was finished writing.  I wanted to see what he thought.  It was wonderful to watch his facial expressions as he read what I wrote about him and our joy when he became part of the family.  He smiled from ear to ear.  Who doesn't want to read about how special and loved they are?!  

 In the end....this is all just stuff.  The stuff will come and go.  The stuff isn't important, it's the people and the memories made that something.  

Thanks so much for reading!