Hidden Gem #5 – Old Finish Work

Hi everyone!  Happy Friday!  I have a SUPER easy project for you this week that may only apply to older homes, but thought that it might save someone somewhere a lot of hassle and annoyance (and money!) so thought I’d share.  

The house that we are flipping (the 17th Street Project) is a ranch style home that was originally built in 1958.  We believe that it received an update somewhere in the 70’s and during that update, wood wall paneling was all the rage.  And while portions of the house had since been updated and had the wall paneling removed, there were three rooms that still bore it proudly. On. Every. Single. Wall. If you are not familiar with this look, I encourage you to look back at any homes during this era – it was everywhere! Or, you can feast your eyes on this beauty:  

Not only was mass-manufactured wall paneling a fairly new treatment at the time, it was relatively inexpensive and, increasing it’s desirability threefold, it was also incredibly easy to install.  Essentially, you glued it directly onto the drywall and maybe threw a couple of nails into it.  Easy breezy way to get texture and interest and keep up with the Jones’s!  

So, if you happened to buy a home that was built (or received an update) during this era and you find yourself surrounded by dark, grooved paneling but crave the light and bright Instagram-worthy rooms you see today – don’t, DON’T just rip it off the walls! That’s right, like a crazed madman, I ripped it off wall after wall leaving behind this:  

The pictures don’t really do it justice – removing the paneling wrecked the drywall and we eventually had to replace it.  (But not before we tried to fix it and failed miserably, wasting time and money, of course.)  Thankfully, I had an epiphany and changed my plan before we damaged all the walls and had to replace all of them —what if I just figured out a way to make them work and didn’t remove them at all?  Was there a world where dark brown fake wood could look magical?   If only the dark brown fake wood didn’t look like dark brown fake wood, but more like a nice, crisp, shiplap-like texture.  Could that work?  Could I just paint it? Would that really actually work?  Well, we decided there was certainly less harm in trying it than ripping it off the wall and we were pleasantly surprised with the results:  

So, that’s the easiest update we’ve made so far and it may just have more impact than others costing considerably more and requiring more effort!  It was a good reminder for me to slow down, put on my creative problem solving hat and try to work WITH something instead of removing it –thereby uncovering a Hidden Gem!   I hope it helps someone save some time, money and tears! 

Thanks for checking in and hope to see you next week,