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brandytab

Help! I'm stuck - and lurking just isn't working :)

brandytab
13 years ago

Hi talented folks! :)

I used to be the owner of a large contemporary house and I *think* I decorated it beautifully and appropriately with wallpaper, wood, bamboo, etc.

I now live in a small 200 year old farmhouse (divorce, etc) and while I LOVE it, I'm clueless as to how to decorate it. The things I'd tried to do so far just fell with a flop. Taupe and black just didn't cut it in my bedroom with under 8 foot ceilings and exposed wood beams!

So that's where I'm at right now. I've scoured the forums, the internet, etc, and I'm just plain STUCK. The room is bare - all casing off, outlet covers off, ready to go and I don't have a darn idea.

Here's my delimmas: The bottom half of the wall is a mess. The previous owners remodeled to the 2x4s and when they put the sheet rock on they weren't concerned about the bottom half because they put up birch wainscoting. And they did a sand texture forest green on the top half. NOT my style whatsoever.. it was soooo dark. The forest green is primed over, the bottom half is just not worth the time (I think) to patch, prime, sand (there's a spot where it looks like paint was dumped on it and the dried drips are thick), fill in gaps, you get the picture.

So I thought wainscoting, white, made with wood. But my ceilings are low and with the beams up above, I do not want to make it busy. What about wallpapering the bottom half? Is that an acceptable look? In my past house I wallpapered the top half of the dining room - but unsure about doing the bottom half. I'm open to any type of ideas. As is, the bed placement is going to be a little odd (in front of two windows) because I can't get any decent symmetry in any other spot. One wall has an entrance door and a basement door, the other wall has a closet door about 1/3 of the way in, and the other wall is blank but with one small (24" wide) window about 1/3 way in also.

*sigh* any help would be great. I'm starting from scratch - just a mattress on a frame and a cute long and narrow table. I got rid of my large scale stuff - it looked out of place in the room.

I love the blues/black toile looks. The vintage look with matelasse and white. Chenille. Fluffy blankets and pillows. Peaceful, billowy, romantic, but not very feminine as my husband would have a cow :P.

You all are my last resort! I didn't want to bother everyone with my BARE room and lack of ideas, but I'm out of them and it's so unusual since I used to be pretty good at coming up with them. I've changed my decorating theme 215 times in the last 2 years since we've lived here because I cannot figure out what works in here - with the low ceilings (the rest of the house is 7.5, I actually have the tallest in my room) and the "work" that the previous owners did which took all of the true character out of the house and left it with bright red kitchen cabinets and wallpaper border everywhere. Thankfully that's already all been taken care of!

If you are still reading, thank you LOL - and any ideas would be appreciated. I'm good with a saw and have a solid tool box. :)

Comments (42)

  • laxsupermom
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I don't think white beadboard would be too busy. I think it would look nice. And since you're an experienced wallpaper hanger, you could even do the beadboard wallpaper which won't impose as much on a small room as the real wood beadboard. Good Luck and post progress pics.

  • ronbre
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Ok first of all the house and the rooms are not the problem the lifestyle change is..

    when I lived in an old farmhouse and it burned and I moved to an entirely different house..it was like my entire style had to change..you'll likely find that in any move, but more likely all the emotional upheaval of the move makes a huge difference and then are you combining yours and the new his?

    I'd start out with tackling where the furniture will go first..if you HAVE to put it below a window..then you do..if the room is LARGER you can always break up the room with the bed out in the center of the room and do the Christoper Lowell bookcase things around the head of the bed to make it's own wall..(see any of his 3 new books or go to his online site)...

    he puts the backs of cheap bookcases as the headboard and then takes 2 others back to back on either side to make a U to enclose the head of the bed..somtimes he hangs curtains and sometimes not..he always adds a crown moulding to keep them looking like built ins.

    then you can use the back as a storage area..dressing area..or whatever..

    however if the room is small..and you want to put it in front of the windows..make the window treatments into a beautiful headboard..

    try to toss out all your previous decorating ideas and keep only those things you love love love in this new house..or what you have to have now and replace the rest later.

    having lived in a very old victorian farmhouse..I know the differences in what you had and what you have..it is not an easy challenge.

    yes verticle stripes will raise the ceiling..but so will dark paint on the ceiling..scarey i know..but it works.

    you are also right about the wainscot being a problem..i think i might try to use beadboard or to panel the wainscot..a couple of easy ways to panel it is to use thin luan and picture frames spaced regularly..around the room as decorative moulding..

    here is an idea..do one of the two above ideas below the wainscot and paint it a soft cream color..all of it including all the mouldings..and the crown moulding..

    paint the walls above a chocolate color..and the ceiling chocolate..and then take a tape and tape off wide stripes..do not change the color in the stripes just the finish..by using a glaze over your chocolate paint..just in the stripes..so that it only gives you a different reflective quality..

    then use your cream and chocolate brown with an accent color..there are a lot you can choose from but one that is often used is a mint green or a very pale blue.

    say blue curtains from the ceiling to the floor on the window with a subtly striped silk roman shade under it in chocolate..use lots of blue and cream and chocolate in the bedding and add some artwork with either gilt or black or cream to bounce off of the walls or blend in (black).

    If you do the bookcases..keep them very dark in this type of room, such as a darker wood, or black..so that they are NOT the focal point..unless of course you want them to be the focal point and then use cream..

    using a bracket on the shelves you can swag tiny chandeliers on both sides of the bed for reading lights..or put a beautiful small lamp on either side on a shelf..

    see Christoper Lowells 7 layers of organizing or his other book One of a Kind Decorating Projects ..or even his older book You can do it small spaces

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  • Janice
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi Brandy! I'm sorry you're having so many continuing stressers, on top of marital difficulties! :o/

    I'm wondering how you would like the look of the higher beadboard wainscotting, painted white in your room?

    You could add a 3" deep top board, above the beadboarding to place pictures on, etc.

    It may make your walls look shorter--but maybe 'celebrate' that feature and play it up as cozy! With the white beadboard,
    you could go so many directions with color above and maybe even carrying it up on the ceiling!!

    Go for the 'feminine' look, now that you can, play up textures of white and maybe a moss green on the walls or
    a spring green or whatever color makes you happy when you wake up in the morning!!!
    White shutters on the windows would look great, too, IMHO!!! :o)

    I've seen a pic. of what I'm envisioning, someplace--I'll look around for it later!!

    Do keep us updated--and I LOVE progress pics.!!!

  • Janice
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Great--lots of action while I was 'constructing' my response!!

    Here's the pic. I had in mind--don't know where I grabbed it from but the wainscoting is done
    natural in this one, which looks good, too, but could be white if you prefer, too!

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thank you for the quick replies!! I'm so antsy to get started.

    ronbre - the bedroom IS quite small. I'm thinking maybe 14x14, max? And you DO understand what's going on - and I think you are totally right, now that I think about it. It's been a lifestyle change 100%. I went from having an elegant dining room with original chippendale furniture (NOT joking!) to my little dining room with an ikea gateleg table paired with old passed down Hitchcock chairs and vintage tins, also passed down. I LOVE the coziness of it, life is mellow now (I'm building a chicken coop even!) and relaxed..... we don't worry about having perfect landscaping lighting or a custom three tiered paver patio. So, this new lifestyle doesn't work with old decor one bit. I garden, I can, I read, and I go garage sale-ing now! I'm a bit worried about going with the blue and chocolate - I guess I see that as a fad right now and I am unsure how long it'll be a "nice" style and how long I'll be comfortable with it. I love the idea of little chandeliers as bed lights!

    hey_j: The marital difficulties are over now, thankfully. Best thing that ever happened to me - in hindsight! I LOVE the idea of higher wainscoting. I saw a link that I saved that had an example of it with the top board also. I worried that it would be too much for the room though. And I'm completely OK with cozy. I'd love to see the pic that you are envisioning!! The shutter idea is awesome - but my other issue is that I swear that they put the windows too low. Although, the windows are where they are supposed to be when you look at it from the exterior. Think farmhouse style with only 4 windows spaced in the front of the house and one door in the middle. Story and a half, no windows of that front side. Saltbox without the cool slope!

    I LOVE vintage stuff. I pick it up unashamedly, sometimes stupidly LOL. Everything from moo-cow creamers in my kitchen to an old toile peter rabbit-ish pillow from an estate to an old container of tinker toys. I (now) have found that I enjoy combining vintage with modern. Stainless appliances in my kitchen with a retro/oval/metal above light, steel storage bars under the cabinets with drop down SS holders - yet a vintage pantry cupboard with peeling paint. Keeps it interesting!

  • ttodd
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I think your home sounds wonderful!

    So far I've really liked the 2 suggestions of headboards:

    The bookcase idea & the high beadboard. I don;t think that the beadboard would look too busy w/ the beamed ceilings. I really like that high height in the pic posted above. What a great feature that would be for you to showcase things on a wide ledge to free up floor space elsewher in your room.

    Can you post any pics of the room?

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    OK - we have the same ideas about the height of the wainscoting. I guess I'm being silly and not realizing that beadboard and wainscoting are two different things! And I've done both in the past, but called it all wainscoting lol. I love the look of picture framing, too, and I contemplated doing a basic few picture frames above, but that business is where I think I may run into a problem.

    Wallpaper. Is there any hope there, besides doing the entire room? I will say that my hubby will be more pleased if I do NOT use wallpaper. What can I say? I love the stuff - done appropriately it's awesome.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Wainscoting

  • ronbre
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    some great ideas..here I scanned those ideas out of the Christopher lowell book to explain them better..you can do them in any style..but this avoids using your window walls ..if you have the room for this that is..6 bookcases.
    here is the room in a contemporary style..

    same room more romantic style..

    just a change of fabrics and colors.

    this would work in any room where you want the bed..or sofa..off the walls with some structure around it..

    even works for a desk area..but I thought with your room it might give you the opportunity to MAKE a wall so you don't have to use your window wall?

  • teacats
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Here's a GREAT blog to check out too!

    They also do lots of consultations -- and check out all of the projects over the years too ....

    Jan

    Here is a link that might be useful: This Young House Blog

  • ronbre
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    i put this on another post but here goes here..pictureframing how to..can also be done with cabinet door blanks.

    this process can be done on any wall, below or above a wainscot..or as a wainscot..

  • teacats
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Here's another fantastic blog to check out -- be sure to search through and see the Before-and-After of their living room, kitchen etc. Its amazing!

    And yes! she does consultations too!

    Jan

    Here is a link that might be useful: The Lettered Cottage Blog

  • palimpsest
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I am going to give a dissenting opinion about beadboard and/or dividing the wall into horizontals with millwork or wallpaper.

    In an early 1800s house, there was a shift away from wainscot in rooms where the furniture was not moved around and placed against the walls. Once bedrooms started to be used as dedicated sleeping rooms, and once wallpaper started to become more accessible, there was a shift to wallpaper from baseboard to ceiling.

    I think if you are planning in papering anyway, paper the whole thing--or repair the walls to an extent that is acceptable to paint rather then just concealing with a layer of beadboard.

    Plain papers were often used in this period, so it needn't be anything fussy.

    I think that anything "anachronistic" in the room has the potential to detract from the original details such as the ceiling beams.

    I am not suggesting you do a "period" room per se, but I find that if the architecture or style of the room remains true, you have an awful lot of leeway in terms of what you put IN the room.

    This is why you can see pictures of houses in Italy that are 400 years old with modern furniture and it looks ok. The room is what it is, and the furniture is what it is, they dont try to reinvent the room itself.

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    OK, here are the pics. The laminate floor, while ick, has to stay - the budget is small. Ignore the clothes pile - I tossed stuff out of my closet yesterday to wash and store yesterday :P. The ceiling fan is going today, like as soon as I'm done with this post! See the DARK forest green? Yikes! The paint I put on the walls (a year ago) wasn't working out right and I just gave up and left it undone. I was so frustrated that I just moved to another room. If you look, the double windows are on the right side as soon as you come in the door. On the immediate left is the wall with the filing cabinet (going upstairs), the wall in pictures with the filing cabinet moves right to the picture with the long table (I included that to show the style I enjoy). The picture of the window without a curtain shows how small that window is in proportion to the wall. The dark border around it is the old forest green paint.


  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I love the tall bookcases, but I have no wall with enough space. Each wall has a door and/or window - three doors in the room (entrance, basement, closet), and three windows in the room. It's a small room, unfortunately!

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    palimpsest - I guess I'm considering doing the walls "up" also because I'm clueless as to how to actually get the place decorated. So, if the walls are decor, I can go simple with the furnishings... white, chenille, breezy, light colors. Or so I was thinking LOL.

    I'm not sure if I can afford full wallpaper right now. While I enjoy the look - the budget won't be there. I think it'll be much more expensive than wood/paint on the walls.

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The ONLY period item left in my house (unfortunately!) is the beams in my bedroom. Everything else was modernized in the late 80's/early 90's. Sheet rock, inner studs are metal (had structural issues), laminate floors throughout, new staircase, etc. The only way you can tell the true age is the low ceilings and in the attic and basement. I even have vinyl siding on the house with brown trim (project down the road for sure....).

    I'm unsure if that changes anything regarding keeping with the period.

  • palimpsest
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I am reading that the doorways are different heights. Are the windows differing heights as well? This may also play into your decision of how to approach the millwork.

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The doorways are different heights. 6'3", 6'6", 6'9"... the windows are the same - only the width varies.

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Here is the bedroom as it was. While it wasn't horrible, it was entirely too dark and my furniture was HUGE for the room. We were always running into the footboard.

  • magnaverde
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi Brandy. Welcome to the posting half of our board. As you realized, lurking only takes you so far.

    I haven't been through the family upheaval thing, but I've gone from a streamlined late Deco apartment to a big Victorian house to a 195Os highrise to a 192Os Tudor apartment, so I know all about the part about your stuff looking all wrong in its new surroundings.

    I can't put my hands on it at the moment, but somewhere I have a copy of a wonderful book called "The Englishwoman's House" and while there are a few Stately Homes in the mix, many of the homes in question are dower houses--former gatekeeper's lodges, dairies, laundries, barns & yes, I believe, a chicken coop--that became the new homes of titled women who had spent years fixing up the ancestral castles or country houses of their husbands' familes, but who, upon the death of said husbands, found themselves having to vacate their former abodes to make way for a new generation. Fortunately, they didn't need to move far, just to another building on the estate, but still...

    Totally apart from the death of their spouse, moving had to have been emotionally stressful for these women, especially since much of the 'family' furniture they had lived with over the years stayed with the house, but all of them handled the move with aplomb, dragging down chests & dressers from unused maids' rooms, scrubbing ancient carved oak tables that had spent years banished to greenhouses or potting sheds, reupholstering swayback antique chairs from county boot sales with patched damask tablecoloths dyed by hand in a washtub, and filling their home-built cupboards shelves with chipped transferware plates & cracked tureens. I remember one formerly titled woman--and it may have been an Astor divorced out of the family--who said flat out "I do not own anything of value."

    Yet far from looking like a hodge-podge of other people's castsoffs, these resourceful women's results were never less than charming. And that's the advantage of having small rooms with low ceilings, small windows & crooked, oddly-placed doors: they cheerfully welcome imperfect pieces that would look like absolute junk in a big, important room. Which means that, along with your reduced style of living in your new place, you also acquired one very valuable thing which a lot of people--through accident or choice--have never had: freedom. Which freedom, not coincidentally, was one thing many of the women in that book remarked upon. One woman was pleased to discover that that an informal cottage garden was just the place for a concrete gnome that would never had been allowed to spoil the immaculately maintained formal gardens around the Big House, and when a woman she had viewed as a friend made a sarcastic comment about it, she got rid of the "friend" rather than the gnome. Smart move.

    Big houses with suites of grand public rooms & lots of comfy guest bedrooms often mean that we end up exhausting ourselves entertaining people who don't really mean all that much to us, while downsizing forces you cut the deadwood out of the old guest list, leaving only the people you truly really care about--and who care about you, not your stuff--and who probaly won't notice, or care, if they do, that the silver at dinner doesns't match and that the monogram on the napkins isn't yours. Or that the napkins are actually shop towels from the auto parts store. They'll only notice the prett blue color.

    Anyway, this sounds to me like a wonderful opportunity. So my advice, before you resort to the kind of been-there, done-that quick-fix projects on those TV decorating shows--wall decals, big wide-painted stripes, dark ceilings, picture frame molding & the impulse to hot-glue plastic crystals on everything in sight, projects that may be either too high-style or too tacky for your simple, honest home--is that a less punchy approach may work better.

    So, say, if you do a wainscot on your walls, a simple board-&-batten design, or simple butt-jointed painted pine boards may work better than a complicated picture-frame design, especially since your small walls are already cut up with doors and getting the frames' spacing right will be tricky.

    Anyway, rather than checking out the hot new how-to decorating books (and end up with the same ideas that everybody else is using) try looking for older books, and more importantly, those that are merely picture books without any instructioons at all, and see if you don't find some ideas there--ideas that are not already cliches before you even begin.

    Another book to look for is Carl Larsen's "A House" which shows his family's simple Swedish wooden cottage of a hundred years ago in a series of beautiful watercolors. His house was filled with painted Neoclassic furniture, rag rugs, potted plants in plain flowerpots, and it had unfinished wood on the floors (and in some rooms, on the walls) and simple muslin curtains at the windows, but the place was anything but "cute". Shabby Chic it was not.

    And here's a photo from the same period, this one not the home of a talented & artistically gifted family, but a student's cheap rented lodging. Yet Mr. Lesh's simple room has a charm all its own, even though it's clear he hasn't given much though to the decor: the wallpaper was likely in place when he moved in--probably a choice of his landlady. The woodwork couldn't be plainer, which is why he hasn't hesitated to let the bookcase cover part of it up. Speaking of bookcases, there's a definite makeshift look to them, stacked & unmatched the way they are, with books jammed in every which way & stacked up in piles when he ran out of room on the shelves.

    Art? Real art? There isn't any, but it doesn't matter, because the room is a work of art in itself. Those are probably family photos on the wall at the left, but Mr. Lesh hasn't bothered to frame the newest cabinet photo, which is simply just propped on top of the books, and a cheap calendar looks like it was just tacked up off-center without any thought at all. There's a cheap floral rug laid on top of sewn-together rag rugs, and although there's a clean cloth on the table, it's probably a temporary setup--Mother & Father must be coming for a visit--since there isn't much room between the table & the door. And yet, despite the nothing-special quality of all the furnishings, this room feels warm & welcoming, which can't be said of many rooms of this era, concerned as they are with showiness.

    What's the lesson of the houses in the books I mentioned and of this picture? That the contents of a room matter less in the end than they way in which they're combined. Your old place, with its Chippendale pieces, sounds very handsome, but your simple, old, low-ceilinged new place sounds like a complete delight, so don't try to force it with trendy effects to be something it isn't. That seldom works. But you already know that. Anyway, remember: the less mass-market your sources of inspiration are, the more individual--and appealing!--your decor will likely be. Good luck, and be sure to stop back & share some pics of your progress.

    Regards,
    Magnaverde.

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Magnaverde, your post took my breath away. You hit the nail on the button! Before, I'd have spent my time searching high and low for the PERFECT dried floral arrangement. Today I have 5 daffodils (one for each family member) in a simple clear vase. And I wouldn't have it any other ways now, the daffodils are beautiful beyond words as they are - as they were created. Before, we paid to have people lay our sod and focused on the shade of green that it was constantly. Today? My current husband and I keep tilling more of it up to turn into more garden!!

    I love simplicity, and I love vintage. I only wish they'd let more of the house show it's age instead of hiding it all behind sheet rock and "modern" ceramic flooring.

    Now I have a lot of thinking to do about this bedroom..... phew.

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Is this the idea? Regarding board-and-batten?

    Here is a link that might be useful: link

  • ronbre
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I think that you misunderstood the pictures of the bedroom with the bookcases..they were NOT against a wall..they were forming a wall..around the head of the bed..so that you could use another wall rather than your window wall for the head of the bed..say behind the headboard you can have a passageway to the entry or closets ..form a dressing room or a little vanity area behind the bookcases..they stand out away from the wall..In Christopher lowells books he uses the other side as a desk, vanity, bench area, or just as bookshelves..in one he built one of the shelves out deeper to make a vanity or desk..i could scan that one for you too so you can see the entire point of the bookshelves is to not have to USE your walls that are there now for the head of the bed..but make your own walls..and passages in your room.




    this way you can actually face your window and have the door or closet behind you..behind the bookcase..

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Ahhhhh! I see what you are referring to now! I just went back and read your original post and now I get it. I'll have to look and see if I have the space to pull that off. The extra storage space would be nice.

  • palimpsest
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    There is a saying "Trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear". I think that this can unintentionally make it sound like a sow's ear is a bad thing, but I think it really means trying to turn make something out of something else.

    From what I can see the house is a vernacular house with six different sized door and window openings. (And beams that aren't evenly spaced ) I think trying to impress an architectural order on something so simple could be problematic. I think the room itself could be very simple and charming if you kept it simple. Then whatever happens inside the room (like the one magnaverde shows) it just "grows". This is different that the highly formalized Chippendale dining room experience you are coming from so it is a paradigm shift. But I think you are going to have to keep it very simple.

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Vernacular. :) I don't know whether to feel ashamed or proud.

    That said, you are correct regarding things. The windows are the same height and distance from the ground - one varies in width, but the other two (behind the bed) are identical. The beams are even spacing though, in a pattern sense. The two in the middle have the same spacing and the other two have the same spacing and equal distances from the wall. I imagine the symmetry was there quite nicely until the previous owners did such things as add a walk- in closet. That added a door and now you cannot see the matching window on the bedroom wall, and it now seems to be a lone window. Without that remodel, this would have been considerably easier. Unfortunately that remodel also included an expansion of the bathroom (including plumbing) and changing that feature would be much more intensive than I desire. My husband is a pretty busy engineer and has been working crazy hours (as he is an R&D Engineer in the automotive industry - you know how that's going right now with the push to redesign for efficiency!), and this project will be done by myself alone!

    So, I have to work with what I have.

    Magnavarde, do you believe that a basic board and batten style would work? And maybe with a "weathered" touch on some level. I'm leaning towards that currently.

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Ah, and I just realized that there have been points made that actually verify what I've already realized.... like I said initially, I started doing taupe and black. Modern-ish, VERY pottery-barn-ish. I looked just plain silly.... after reading all of your thoughts, I now realize why!

    I just sold all of my pottery barn things (which I did buy in the last two years trying to "do" the taupe) in a garage sale and donated the rest to the local community re-sale warehouse. I don't live in Pottery Barn world anymore :)

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    We have this type house, except our additions are behind instead of beside - just to give an idea of the overall style that I'm working with in and out.

    Here is a link that might be useful:

  • palimpsest
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    That is a beautiful Greek Revival House, looks most like the NY state form but they were all over really. Vernacular is not a bad thing at all, it just means its an interpretation of the higher style version. Greek Revival is arguably the first truly American house style.

    Again, I think what you put In it becomes less important than what you put ON it.

    Some of my favorite pictures are documentary photos taken of historic houses in my city that were endangered. Because they existed in an area of (mostly benign) neglect, the Rooms themselves hadn't really changed from the 19th c. So, what one sees is a (usually) Greek Revival room with some kind of later victorian wallpaper and sometimes even the old pelmets and drapery. Then put in the room is a variety of furniture from the 19th and 20th centuries including a console radio and cabinet TV more often than not. They are beautiful rooms just because they evolve.

    Today, we tend not to have the time nor the inclination to let things evolve, but I think the easiest way to set up for evolution is to Not create a new "theme" in the room itself by adding new details.

    We are so informed by half hour decorating shows where the "theme" and the "outcome" and the instant gratification are such a focus that the longevity is neglected.

  • magnaverde
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Brandy, that's the exact kind of wall treatment I'm talking about. For a Craftsman style house, that's perfect, but it could be done in paint just as easily and a whole lot cheaper. I said I live in a 192Os apartment building, and down in the basement, there are these huge wooden storage bin things where I wouldn't leave anything unattended for an hour, let alone a year, but the cool part is they're built out of wonderful heavy wood planking, with 8O years worth of nicks & gouges. The front side of the wood has about twenty layers of paint in differnt colors--whatever was left over from some project, all chipped & flaking off, but the backside has age-darkened to the color of wet coffee grounds. I would love to line a room with the darkened wood, but it would look just as interesting painted. Anyway, here's a painted version of board-& batten in the pretty living room of Zuzu, another poster here at Gardenweb:

  • artlover13060
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Welcome Brandy. I haven't read every post but I can see that you've gotten some great suggestions. I am a personal lover of the tall beadboard and would do that if it were mine. However, if you want to paint you could cover the walls with 1/4" sheetrock. It's not hard to do if you are handy, which it sounds like you are. You don't even need a saw. It is possible to do this by yourself but a whole lot easier with one other person. It's a lot of work but inexpensive.

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    artlover - should I add sheetrock over the existing sheetrock? Is that to give it an extra dimension? Or would I be perfectly adequate with framing and painting the interior with the same semi-gloss or however I do the wood?

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    palimpsest- I would absolutely enjoy to see that sort of documentary. I am always eager to find information about our town and especially the hamlet. I am getting a survey done so that we may add more land to the back of the house, and the surveyor said that while surveying the next parcel over he actually lost money because it was so time intensive! I now have the names of the original builders (1834) and the fact that a carriage repair shop existed here with the house and a blacksmith's shop across the road. It's just so interesting. I never realized that owning such an old home could spark such a curiosity!

    Great point about the half hour shows. I'm working on detoxing from that idea. I'm getting there ;). Obviously not completely as I've torn apart my bedroom already and sold the furniture without having a darn clue as to what I was going to do with it!

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Magnaverde- what a beautiful living room that you posted! I went into town today and I stopped by home depot quickly to pick up some pine. I'm going to pop it up a little and check the proportions and go from there. I'm going to try and figure out the height!

    PS: palimpsest - I forgot to reply to something you wrote... I am in fact in upstate NY. It seems as if in the eastern section we have this style farmhouse, and in western NY they have a different style with only half of the house being two story from the front view; if that makes sense.

  • artlover13060
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Brandy - You can put new sheetrock on top of old. Actually for us gals, that is the easiest thing to do because that way you can use 1/4" drywall. If you are attaching it to bare 2 X 4s you have to use 1/2" drywall, and that stuff is heavy. The purpose of doing this would be to cover over the walls that are a mess - the way you described them in your first post. Is the birch paneling and molding still on the wall? If so you could just sheetrock over the upper portion so it would be smooth for painting. To me this would be easier than trying to sand off all the texture. Been there, done that.

  • palimpsest
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    One particular treatment that was done in the 18th and 19th c. when it came to paint, was to paint the entire room in the same color, trim and all. The modern interpretation of this would be to do a higher sheen level on the millwork. This could address the issue of the different sizes of doors and such and minimize the horizontal banding effect of a wainscot.
    * * * *
    Mount Pleasant, a Georgian house that has slowly been taken back from colonial revival notions of what it looked like to what it Really looked like --based upon physical analysis-- had very Interesting paint treatment: The entire room, including all the heavy Georgian detail, was painted in one color (a rather drab gold if I remember) The cupboards had a bright paint treatment on the interiors, and there was a brownish black band of paint that ran around the lower 6-9" of the perimeter, intersecting EVERYTHING: door jambs, doors, fireplace, etc...a cut line straight across. (Apparently to hide the splash marks from washing the floors and muddy clothing and such)

  • ronbre
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Well Brandy sounds like you have a lot of really great ideas..now that you have realized that you have let the pottery barn self go by way of garage sales..maybe you are looking for a totally new look.

    my suggestion is to start fresh with some new magazines ..spend a few bucks or go to a library and look through a buch of newer decorating magazines..just leaf through..cheaper at the library..and then you can photocopy any ideas that really hit you..if you buy..tear them out..and make a pile..

    then observe what new ideas you see that you are loving that you never loved before..and you will then observe how your tastes are changing with your new life and new house.

    also make a list of priorities that you need or want for the room/house..obviuously you have a large closet..that is now taking up most of your bedroom..so storage might not be a priority, but if it is..write it down..light..surfaces..less light..too bright..????

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Artlover - GREAT idea. I didn't think of that, and I hadn't started sanding so I wasn't 100% sure as to what I was up for. But I DO know that sanding and sheet rock probably aren't a great pair? :)

    Now... could I get away with only double sheetrocking the bad wall and leaving the other three? Or would there be a noticeable difference in depth? I'm unsure if that 1/4" would show when you are working with 1" thick wood.

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    palimpsest - good idea about using one color. I have purchased a quart of BM Palladian blue and I cannot decide if it's the right color (hard to gauge on my taupe walls).

    Anyone have any other color recommendations, or is Palladian a great color?

    Light, breezy, cozy, bright but not BRIGHT (lol), romantic (but not pink!). Goes well with a vintage style.

    Has anyone found luck with finding that sort of color?

  • artlover13060
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I would just sheetrock over the bad walls as long as the others have a smooth texture. I'm not sure what you mean by, "I'm unsure if that 1/4" would show when you are working with 1" thick wood." Where is the 1" thick wood? Does the wall you want to sheetrock have windows and doors? If so, you would have to remove the molding before adding the sheetrock. Door and window molding go on top of sheetrock.

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I mean that the extra thickness of only one wall - if it would be noticeable. The "batten" that I'll be using is 1x2 wood.

    All of my moldings have been removed throughout. I'm unsure as to how I plan on framing in the windows now... the modern casing isn't going to fly with the style I'm looking for.

  • brandytab
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The top half of all walls is perfectly fine - it would be the bottom half of one wall in particular. So, I could add 1/4" SR to the lower half of the wall, where I'll be wainscoting.