Out with the new, in with the Old

As soon as we closed on our new old place out in the country, we began a feverish attempt to renovate as much as possible and still move in within a 10 day period. One of the first things to go was the cheap 1960s era paneling that adorned the walls of the dining room. Under it we found....wallpaper......not less than four layers of wallpaper.

But that wasn't the problem. We assumed we would find layers of wallpaper attached to plaster walls....the condition of the plaster we assumed would be so-so. The problem is that there was no plaster. Instead it was plywood. Plywood? That made be re-think how old the walls were in the dining room. We knew that it had been the original summer kitchen with a porch off to its south side. We knew that another summer kitchen was added c. 1890 on the east end. We knew that when the bathroom was created in the old summer kitchen, they enclosed the porch. And these are the walls that had plywood....probably from the 1930s. The top and bottom pictures are the way we found the dining room.

So, we got an estimate to remove all the plywood, install drywall and finish it. And not that the cost was too high, but I stopped and thought.....gee, what I'd really like to do is cover the walls in wood planks.

The former owner, whose family had owned the farm since 1865, told us that there was wood stored in the barn from when the house was first built. She believed that since her great x3 grandfather operated a sawmill that it had come from the property. I climbed up into the rafters and found more than 50 oak planks, between 8-10' long, an inch thick, and anywhere from 12-18" wide. It was gorgeous old growth wood, probably not less than 100 years old when they were felled almost 150 years ago. The top picture is what we lived with for almost 2 years, the bottom picture is the oak in process.

So the new plan was to use the boards to cover the dining room walls....not only did I think it would look cool, but it also would keep the boards which had a history with the farm, with the farm. I pulled the boards down, picked out the very best, and off they went to an Amish mill to be planed and squared.

An then back they came. Our carpenter used all but about 6 of the 45 boards we sent to the mill. He created a plate shelf at the top of the boards, which reach to the tops of the doorways. We used the boards on the south entry hall wall as well. Then to give it a look like they've always been here, I applied a light base stain and did my best Karate Kid impression of furniture wax on, wax off. The result is fantastic....makes me feel like I'm in a lodge most of the day. We have the crown molding to install in the dining room, and some minor trim yet in the entry hall, but after almost 2 years of a whole lot of ugly.....my wife couldn't be happier. We plan to use the other boards for a new top for the dining room table, and we're having an "innaugural dinner" tonight with the carpenter's family. The bottom and top pics are prior to stain and wax.


5boysrock said…
Scott told me I wasn't allowed to be jealous:) They look great! Happy for you guys. Progress is always nice in a fixer upper:)
Jim said…
It looks great!
Shelly said…
Looks great, Kurt! What a wonderful idea!!
Linda Jacobson said…
Oh my gosh Kurt...this is Linda Jacobson..it looks fantastic. What a wonderful idea and still leaving history with the home. Congratulations
vanilla said…
Absolutely the right thing to do. Couldn't have been a better choice.

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