Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Anniversary #2 - Cotton

Hubby and I made it to our second wedding anniversary amongst all of the curve balls that were thrown our way since our wedding day. I'd have to say it's nice to be (finally) living together like a married couple should be. Jobs seem to rule our lives, don't they?

Based on the traditional gift-giving chart that is referenced on last year's anniversary post, our second year anniversary gift challenge is....{drumroll}....cotton or straw.

I bought Hubby the silliest underwear I could find (not pictured, gladly!) Hubby bought me some tea towels that made my eyes well up. Anthropologie's embroidered storybook tea towels brought back memories of our wedding. It was perfect!
They fell in love, they got married, they lived happily ever after

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Getting Your Wood On

Don't judge a blog title by its figurative realm, you sick people! Not that kind of blog!

I'm talking about the literal meaning of wood. To be more specific, wood paneled walls. I'm guessing after making this clarification, you went from a warm, piqued interest to a cold shiver to the core in a matter of seconds. 

As you may have remembered from one of my past posts, Hubby and I purchased a new mid-century home. The innards of this home possesses wood paneled walls throughout 40% of it. When we first moved in, I was pretty irked by the paneling. But this house is a-m-a-z-i-n-g, otherwise.

I have run into several home decorating "advice" columns where "dated" fixtures of the home--wood paneled walls being one of many--are uncouth. Worse yet, these old retired fixtures may impede with successfully selling your home later on. I agree with tasteful updates, but trends come and go. Why are vintage items that were once thrown away, now sought after today?

With ongoing renovations in our San Antonio bungalow, I did not want to even consider any large projects at this house. The thought of tearing out all of that paneling makes me want to collapse. Besides, this paneling was true 1950s real wood. Not to be confused with the 1970s printed-on wood grain that your neighbor had in his man-cave.
Up close and personal, our wood paneled walls

The next thought that came to mind is to whitewash this stuff, as a means of lightening the room while allowing the wood grain to proudly show.

As I began to research whitewashing techniques for wood paneling online, the finished outcome began to look like lipstick on a pig. Not to be controversial, but if paneling supposedly sucks, why paint it? If you go through the trouble to mask it, just remove it. Additionally, painting paneled walls gives it a country look, and I definitely don't want to bring that look to this killer mid-century home.

Hubby and I started settling in. We plugged in some warm lighting. We purchased a new charcoal sofa and set it up. Suddenly, the paneling started to creep its way into my subconscious on a better level. 'Maybe it's not that that bad,' I thought. There is an abundance of natural lighting in this area too. 'Plain white walls would be blinding in here,' I thought again. And so begins the transformation of loving the wood.
New charcoal sofa snapped the room into shape

As we played around with some items we had, we took note that grays, neutrals and greens look terrific with wood. In fact, we have found a few other pieces of furniture that are different shades of wood, and the mixture of woods add a type of textural interest. While we are coveting the living and dining room having wood paneling, we are most likely going to tear it out of the kitchen and hallway, mainly due to low-lighting in those areas. That will come later...much, much later.
Before and after: Changing generic big box store lighting back to a period-correct vintage light. (Yes, that popcorn ceiling needs to go.)

Our first mission with the house was to tackle the awful lighting fixtures that are all over the house. The basic hardware store and colonial lighting made the wood paneling look plain icky. After scouting and finding some period-correct vintage lighting fixtures, it was amazing what transformation took place. We managed to find lots of vintage fixtures, but have not connected them all yet. More photos are forthcoming.

So I will leave it at this: Do you know how rare it is to find a home with original, non-painted wood surfaces? Although I will agree that painting wood white tends to brighten up a room, I also believe that wood brings its own vibe too. We just need to understand what kind of partner it needs to shine. Might I also add the caveat that wood paneling comes in many forms (boiserie, wainscoting, beadboard, flat paneling,) and should stay in its respective age-appropriate home.

If you have lived through the 1980s, it's likely that you now cringe at the fashion we once wore at that time. Yet, it's back full throttle on the fashion runways. Just as 80s fashion is the hottest thing since sliced bread, I surely have faith that wood paneled walls will too, come back in style. In fact, there are other believers out there. I found numerous resources and forums where folks are researching mid-century color palettes to bring out the original features of the home (read: pink tile, paneled walls, turquoise sinks.) I have actually found a few articles out there that mention that wood paneling is back in style given the retro craze.

If we embrace and understand our history, we might just come to love, maybe even enhance some features of our home that are initially under-appreciated. Through understanding the history, we can better pair it with other fabrics, textures and colors to accentuate, rather than punish original features.

Lastly, the take-home key point on wood paneling is...Lighting and color pairing are key components to living with (and loving) paneled walls!

Here are some inspirational woody interiors from the nets:
via midcenturia.com
via mid-century-home.com
via takesunset.com
via apartmenttherapy.com