So, I recently went down a Google image search rabbit hole, and as I was browsing through deeper and deeper layers of "related images," I was startled to see an image that I thought was housed only on my own cell phone. No, this isn't some story of Russian hacking; when I clicked through to the site showing my photo, I remembered that I had uploaded them to a website back in 2010 as part of a project we submitted to ReadyMade Magazine (which is, sadly, now defunct). A website called shelterness.com picked it up and that's how it ended up in my Google image feed. Because the full steps are no longer available from the ReadyMade website, I decided to write up how we did it and share it with you good folks.
Now, anyone who knows us will tell you that we take on DIY projects that seem crazy, but that's only because we think everything will cost $40 and take 20 minutes. We have a moderate skill level but we frequently underestimate the difficulty and/or time involved in one of these hare-brained schemes. This wood wall covering was definitely one of those projects. It all started because we had seen people use wood flooring and similar materials on accent walls, and we really liked how it looked but we couldn't really afford to spend that much. Then we hit on the idea of doing it with the cedar shims that are used to level and plumb doors, windows, etc. (like these from Home Depot--the price has gone up a little since we did it, but they're still pretty cheap).
In typical Laura and Tiffany fashion, we chose a really big stretch of wall to do it on and also felt we needed to hide our AV cables and add in-wall speakers while we were at it. The AV stuff turned out to be easy--just open the wall behind where your entertainment center and TV will be, remove insulation, if needed, and run cables through the cavity between the studs. The shim project, on the other hand, turned out to be a little more than we bargained for. However, we learned a lot of lessons along the way, so I'm going to pass all of that on to you now so you can do this, too, but with a lot fewer headaches.
First, here are the materials and tools you need:
Second, here are the basic steps:
All of the lessons we learned so you don't have to:
Don't be afraid to bribe your friends with alcoholic beverages, because this is not difficult work at all, but it is quite time consuming, depending on the size of the wall you're covering. Our friend Norm helped us do a lot of it, and he dubbed his part of the project "painting sticks," and called it the worst summer camp ever. All in, we spent about $350 to cover a wall that was roughly 15 ft. by 9 ft. (we don't live in that house anymore, so I can't tell you the exact measurements). This is much cheaper than any floor coverings we could find that we thought looked good enough to be an accent piece. This took us about three months of working on weekends and the occasional week night. Sometimes we had help and sometimes it was just the two of us, and we were making a lot of mistakes along the way that you now know how to avoid. The biggest surprise of all was just how great these little pieces of cedar looked when they were sanded and stained; I mean, really, they have no right to look that good.
I'm not sure if the pictures do it justice, so I'm hoping our friends who have seen the wall in person will weigh in and share their thoughts on it. We hope this inspires you to do something fun with your own walls, and sometime in the not too distant future, we'll tell you about the crazy project we did in our current house, exposing a brick wall.
Oh, and one last thing: if you do this project, you may find that while you're cooking dinner, or getting ready for bed, or watching Stranger Things, or whatever, the room will be very quiet and then you'll hear a little "plink"--occasionally, a shim will slip the subtle bonds of hot glue and take a dive for the floor. We call those "jumpers." When that happens, you just throw some more glue on it and pop it back in place.
The Block Captain
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We're trying this new fad called blogging. I believe its "blogging" or "blowging," it might be a long "O," I'm not sure. But apparently you just write for an extended period of time.