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Panel, Panel, on the Wall….

November 21, 2012

I think there will always be an ongoing debate of “should you paint it?” when referring to any wood surface.    I’ve learned not to ask the question because in the end we are the ones who have to live with it.    It always seems (without a doubt) that the men say “don’t paint the wood!” and the girls say “do it!”.   This time I am referring to painting the cherry paneling in our den, just like I painted the cherry cabinets in the kitchen (kitchen makeover found here and here).

Before we bought the house our den looked like this:

Then we moved in and temporarily threw a few old couches into the room until we could decide what to do with the space:

I agonized over painting that solid wood paneling night after night.  I even slept on it for well over 2 months.  I finally came to the realization that if I wanted this room to become ‘me’ I needed to suck it up and paint the damn wood.  This cave-like room is located off our dining room and leads outside to the patio.  It’s where we watch TV and relax every night.  It’s where the boys gather to watch the game.  It’s where the puppy’s sleep when we’re away.

The wood is beautiful, but it’s just not me.  I feel like it dates the space and makes the room feel dark.  By removing the blinds and cornice boards we got a little more light into the space but it just wasn’t enough.

A few Thursday’s ago after work I decided to grow a pair and just do it.  I taped-off the crown moulding, floor, and brick fireplace.  We pushed all the furniture to the middle of the room and secured paper to the floor.

Ryan and I both took that Friday off to start this project since it would be the last 70 degree day we would have before winter.  We needed to be able to remove the wood slider for painting plus allow proper ventilation since oil primer over wood is a must.  We would have loved to use my new paint gun to complete the task, but there is absolutely, positively, no way I will allow oil anything to pass through my brand new TrueCoat paint sprayer.  So needless to say we did it all by hand.

Of course I started with my go-to oil primer by Kiltz and covered my paint tray with tin foil.  (I am too lazy to wash a tray and I was out of liners).  I was very nervous on my first stoke, but that soon passed as the fumes started to distort my brain function.

The slider was removed fairly easily and I was also able to apply a coat of primer.  We decided to paint the inside part of the slider black to give the room a modern pop and keep it consistent with the interior door that we previously painted black (found here).

It took the entire morning and afternoon to apply the oil primer to the room, including the built-in’s, but I knew in the long run it would be well worth it (at least in our eyes).  We took a small dinner break then I was back at it later that night.  Apparently I don’t know how to stop.

I broke out the enamel paint (in bright white) and started my first coat on the trim and built-ins.  Because I had such good luck with the Sherwin Williams Acrylic Enamel paint in the kitchen, I decided to spring an extra twenty dollars a gallon and use it for the built-in’s and trim in the den.  This paint is regularly priced $63.99…I got it on sale for $45.   I didn’t necessarily need to use enamel paint on the trim, but because the built-in’s were gonna be enamel I wanted all the wood trim to match.

It ended up taking 3 coats of paint on the crown moulding and trim.  I was really hoping for two, but sometimes you just don’t win.  The trim took about two days, so on Sunday I was able to finally begin painting the walls.  I don’t remember the exact color of the paint, but we’ll categorize it as ‘light grey’.  It’s actually the color we used in the office at our old house…a tribute to our first love, haha.

The paint color actually turned out a little lighter than I wanted, but at the risk of being a perfectionist, I decided to let it be……….for now.  I debated on painting the fireplace, but we’ve decided to live with it for awhile before we make any hasty decisions.  For the record, Ryan’s vote is to paint it grey, like the color of the mortar.

Before I reveal the complete after photos, I’m gonna show you something I did to one of my dumpster dives…ok, it wasn’t really a dumpster dive.  It was a curb pick-up but dumpster dive just has a nice little ring to it.  This traditional table was left to the waste side so I scooped it up along with 4 other matching pieces.

In true Michelle fashion, I bought some oil-based spray primer and got to work.

And while I was at it, I decided to give one of it’s buddies a little makeover as well.

I cleaned both pieced and de-glossed them.  I didn’t bother to sand the surface because I used oil-based primer and because these tables are only temporary until I find something I really like.  After a coat of primer they started to transform.

I used Rustolem’s high performance enamel spray paint in black semi-gloss.

They look decent for now.  One day we’ll upgrade.

I’m thinking about adding some white paint along the grooves on the sides.  See the ‘swirl’ detail on the side and front? Jury’s still out.

Before we started this 3-day-wood-paneling-extravaganza we ordered some new furniture which you may have noticed.  Yep,those tan microfiber-hand-me-down sofa and loveseat are gonzo.  I craigslisted them and we bought a new herringbone sofa and loveseat.  I know the rule now-a-days is that your furniture isn’t suppose to match, but I just couldn’t do it in this room.  With the layout of the room it would look odd if they were different, in my opinion.  So without further ado….our new den sans cherry paneling:

The back wall (where the recliner is temporarily sitting) will eventually house 2 new chairs.  We ordered black leather chairs and ottomans from Broyhill to occupy this space (with a side table between).  Those will become “our seats”.  It’s been 5 weeks, so hopefully they will be delivered within the next week or so.  Ryan didn’t want to give up his recliner for the sake of interior design, but when I showed him how comfortable a club chair and ottoman with nailhead trim can be he caved.  Sort of.

I plan to remove the brass cocktail table and replace  it with something more contemporary.  The table (although beautiful) just doesn’t fit this room.  I still would like something with glass so it doesn’t completely hide the cowhide rug.  Did you see the cowhide rug?!  I am in love.  I took a gamble and ordered it online after pinning about a gazillion cowhide rugs on Pinterest (like this one, this one, and this one).  Yep, it’s real.  It took the dogs a minute or two to accept the new piece into our home, but after several sniffs we’re all good!  The rug itself is fairly soft but has a funny cowlick at the nape of (what I expect to be) the neck.  My friend Felicia won’t touch it…haha.

Obviously the room is still a work in progress but it’s coming along.  It feels more open, brighter, and contemporary.  It feels like ‘us’!  And in case you forgot, let’s take one more look at the side-by-side before and after:

P.S. I love the fact the Tulipai made it into both the before and after shots of the room…#Tulipaiphotobomb

P.P.S. Happy Thanksgiving, Ya’ll!


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