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  • Bridgette

Building a wall, building a family

I know what you may be thinking and no, I'm not building a wall to keep out my family. Believe me! We've lived in our home for just over 13 years. Here, we have brought home three babies, shared countless memorable meals with family and friends, celebrated holidays, and lounged for more hours than I would care to admit, like every other couch potato, in our family room.

This room is directly off of our kitchen and when you look into the family room all you see is a gigantic bare, blank wall. It has no windows, no center of interest. Just a wall, keeping us safe and protected from the outside elements (so, it IS doing its job!), but it was B-O-R-I-N-G. Pardon that I have no pre-project photos to share, but it just wasn't a memory worth capturing!

A big, open boring wall...ugh.

So, what were we to do? Well, thank you HGTV and Pinterest for saving the day! We found plenty of inspiration for taking a boring wall and turning it into something with character and, unexpectedly, memories. Let this fun journey begin...

If you spend any amount of time on social media, websites or any of the popular DIY television channels, you are bound to see any version of a reclaimed wood wall. Pallet wall, barnwood wall, (shiplap, anyone?) you name it, it's out there and we explored all of the options. Here is what we decided on: Unfinished cedar fence post slats, Minwax stain, and good old elbow grease.

Unfinished pine wood slats for the wall

Minwax wood stain

We used three different stain colors: a gray, a deep chocolate brown, and more of a burnt wood tone (seen below).

Minwax Jacobean wood stain

It was a pretty simple process: sand the wood to get rid of the rough edges, stain each slat with a combination of one, two or even three of the wood stains using either a foam brush or hand-rubbing on the stain. We let the wood slats dry for a day or two and then began the process of hanging the finished wood on the wall. Pretty simple.

Staining the wood slats

The different variations and textures of the stained wood slats

But here's what I didn't expect - it became a family affair. Everyone pitched in and not only did we make a part of our home more inviting and distinct but we built a memory. We built a connection. We built...a family. That is priceless. We took turns sanding, staining, measuring, and building. My little babes turned into quite the work horses with this project. I am so proud!

Up the wall goes!

So, now, I look at this wall in our home and see what wallpaper or a coat of paint couldn't give us. This wall is now a symbol of team work, dedication, creativity and family. I'm glad we waited so long to do something with this wall.

Sometimes you don't cross a bridge with intention but yet wander across it, just enjoying the journey. This is one wall that I'm glad was built because it was built with love - open and free to all that we welcome into our home.

Yes, that's a teepee in my family room. I have kids!

Oh, and yes, that's a tee-pee in my family room. I have kids and thus, a kid-friendly home. Plus, it's a fun, creative way to hide toys!

The proof is in the pudding so here's the details and cost behind the finished wood wall:

Minwax Wood Stain: Gray Finish, Honey Finish, and Jacobean Finish (we chose three different finishes to create a more rustic look): $6.48 per quart

Air Nail Gun with Compressor - you can rent this from most home improvement stores

We had the nail gun on hand and only needed to buy a few additional accessories such as cloths for rubbing in the stain, the foam brushes and heavy duty gloves for staining. All in all, this wall was built for a little under $200.

A few tips: 1.) make sure you find the wall studs and measure the wood cuts to match the wall studs for attachment. This will ensure that the wood slats attach correctly to the wall. Every wall is built different, so be sure to do this ahead of time. 2.) sand the wood before staining. This will make a big difference in how the stain sticks to the wood. It will still provide a rough texture, if that's the look you're going for, but believe me, sanding the wood makes a BIG difference. 3.) Be creative. Don't be afraid of the stain. There's no wrong look to the finish. It looks aged and unique, just like when nature does it on its own. 4.) Let the wood slats air dry for a day or two before hanging. This will allow the wood to shrink to its final state and won't pull against the wall (causing bigger gaps between the slats). Also, it's less stinky. ;0)

Till next time -



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