INSPIRATION: Wood Paneling

My recent Farmhaus Dining Room Reveal made great use of wood paneling.  I choose to add the shiplap paneling in the entire Farmhaus because the walls and ceilings are textured. I wanted to draw the eye away from the texture through the use of lines.  If you didn’t know this before, your eye will naturally gravitate to lines, especially when they are repeated.  This got me thinking about wood paneling and how it can be used to great effect to add interest to any room.

To some wood paneling may sound retro or rustic, but it is far more versatile than you might think. Check out how it can be used whether your style is New Traditional, Modern, Scandinavian, Rustic Modern, or Original.


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Whether stained or painted these examples of new traditional wood panels feel fresh. Repetition, geometry and modern paint selection help bring these rooms out of the 19th century and into today. Many of the examples above use low profile molding to create details on the wall that blend seamlessly with a home’s more traditional architecture.


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If your decor style is modern, wood paneling can add interesting textures and patterns.  That’s where I was going with my choice of a clean shiplap look.  But don’t you love the look of the gray stained plywood? It’s moody and modern. I hope I can use this look in a future project.  So, I’m not one of those chevron loving people, but I do love a chevron or herringbone pattern with wood. Maybe it’s because the oak floors I grew up with in Paris were chevron. Either way, I think it works well with wood, either on the floor or on the wall because the effect of the pattern is subtle.


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If you want to go for a clean, simple, yet warm aesthetic, nothing beats the Scandinavian look.  In this case, I think what really captures the spirit of this style is the spare design and the use of simple, functional materials. In fact, you can take a utilitarian sheet of plywood and transform your home into your own version of a Stockholm apartment.


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Recently, however, reclaimed wood has really been on trend (read hipster bars and restaurants all feature this material) What’s nice about reclaimed wood is that it’s a recycled material and the patina of the wood gives it its charm. If this is the look for you, you can easily replicated it using a product like Stikwood which comes in many finishes and literally sticks on the your wall. No tools needed. But if you want to go for a modern rustic look, reclaimed wood isn’t the only way to go.  Board and batten can be super rustic modern, as can shiplap or vertical planks.

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But why stop there?  You can create your own original pattern, add greater depth, mix materials, etc.  Heck, the only limit is your imagination. Just make sure it works in your particular space.  One of the best most, original wood panel wall treatments I’ve seen is from Vintage Revivals. A multicolored hex wall may not be for everyone, but in her space it is absolutely brilliant.

If you want to try some of these looks for yourself, you can find DIY tutorials for some of these looks here:

Traditional Molding Squares

Faux Shiplap

Reclaimed Wood

Board and Batten

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Before and After: Rustic Modern Scandinavian Dining Room

Update: 9/21/16 If you are visiting from Apartment Therapy, welcome to my blog!  I’m so honored that our dining room was featured. Be sure to sign up for updates and like us on Facebook as I will be posting many more Before & Afters of the Farmhaus in the weeks to come.  You can also check out past renos here.

If you follow me on instagram you know that my family and I have been on vacation for the last few weeks. But we’re back now and ready to get into the swing of things. To get things up and running again, I thought I’d start with a Before and After of the dining room at the Farmhaus. Remember what it looked like before?  Just in case, here’s a reminder:

FARMHAUS BEFORE - Dining Room copy

Technically this was the simplest room. We changed the floors, expanded the opening to the deck to bring in more natural light, added dimension to the walls with a shiplap look, upgraded the lighting and painted everything white. Aside for the upgraded electrical, we handled all the other work ourselves, so we are extra proud that it now looks like this:

Rustic Modern Scandinavian Dining Room 01

When I envisioned it, I was going for a rustic modern scandinavian look.  For me that means a light, neutral color palette, clean lines and natural wood tones.  From the progress posts, you know that we chose a white oak look laminate floor.  While we would have loved to put in real wood floors, we couldn’t justify the cost within the limited budget.

Selecting the furnishings for the space actually all started with the huge abstract painting you see on the wall.  One of my very best Vintage Finds.

Rustic Modern Scandinavian Dining Room 11

I found the painting at a local thrift store for a mere $59. It’s gorgeous, huge and signed by the artist.  It has presence, and yet is very soothing.  For months I’ve been moving it around the Farmhaus waiting for it to assume its rightful position on the wall.  Hopefully its presence is sufficient to draw attention away from the in-wall heater.  Again, we would have loved to install central heating, but couldn’t justify spending the money, especially as this in-wall unit a) works, and b)kicks off a very decent amount of heat. I spray painted the heater white and called it a day.

This is what that same wall looked like before:


Months later, at the same thrift store I scored the dining table for $60.  I was immediately drawn to it because of it simple lines and chunky legs. It had a small ding, but as I looked under the table I discovered it’s actually from West Elm.  What?  The brand new version costs $900. So, I knew I had to snap it up even ifI knew it was a little on the small side for the scale of the room. Here you can see it in the room during construction.


Hubby and I discussed various ideas for extending the table, but none of them were quite right.  Until one day, I suggested we simply nail on some left over wood planks we had salvaged from the closets we had demoed. Such a simple elegant solution.  Plus the wood was free.  Can’t beat that!

Rustic Modern Scandinavian Dining Room 12

He carefully selected the planks and ran them through a planer to even them out. And pouf, within an hour we had a beautiful, bigger table and it had an even more rustic vibe.  So perfect!

Rustic Modern Scandinavian Dining Room 09

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I had always intended to use a modern windsor style chairs. I have a tendency to accumulate random vintage chairs, but this time I felt that that these grey chairs from Target would be perfect. They are comfortable, provide good support and a very well priced.

Rustic Modern Scandinavian Dining Room 07

The real pièce de résistance in the room is the gorgeous brass chandelier from West Elm. Nope, didn’t score this one second hand. I coveted it for a while on my pinterest board and decided it would bring the room together.

Here’s another view.  So, happy with the way it turned out.

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And just for fun, here’s a little before and after video:

The bonus?  The plums that are on the table are from our own plum tree!

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Kathie - Love what you did with this room…it is beautiful. I can’t wait to see other rooms!

Maddie - Hello! Stumbled here from apartment therapy. II love your transformation – this is exactly the look we are going for with the condo we just bought. Do you have a source for the laminate flooring? I’m also curious if you have any thoughts on it so far, as it looks very similar to ones we’ve considered. Thank you!! Hope you are loving your new space.

isadorag - Thanks. Lots more to come, I promise. 🙂

kim domingue - Wow! Popped over from Apartment Therapy…….love this room! The hubs and I are DIYers and doing it all yourselves is way more work than most folks realize! Y’all did a lovely job!

isadorag - Hi Maddie,
The flooring is Armstrong Premier Classics Lakeside Oak. If you search online you can find vendors. However, shipping does add up. I got an online quote, then got a local company to price match the sq ft price, plus no shipping. So far, so good. A lot of people who’ve come through are surprised to find out it’s laminate. Ask me again in a few years to see how it wears. 😉 Good luck with your reno.

isadorag - Thanks for leaving a comment Kim. Always good to hear 🙂 Since you do DIY, you should check out the construction posts I did. You can read all the nitty gritty of the not so pretty stuff and appreciate the effort that was put in. Be sure to stay in touch. I’ll be posting more reveals soon.

Jo - I LOVE this room! We are moving into a house with a very similar room that we want to brighten up. Please let me know where you got the plank wall siding! Thank you!

isadorag - Hi Jo, glad you like it. We went to our local Lowe’s and bought sheets of paint grade 1/4″ plywood and had them cut it down into 8″ strips. Then we secured it to the wall with a finish nailer. Then we primed and painted. You can see us putting it up in the living room in this post: Good luck with your project.

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DIY: Easy Star Wars Gift Bag + Free Printable

Star Wars Gift Bag Printbale 1 copy

Last week, I finally wrote about Monkey’s 5th birthday.  I didn’t go too crazy on the DIY elements of his Star Wars party. Work and the Farmhaus have been eating up all my time, so I tried to keep things on the down low.  One thing I really did DIY was the gift bag.  I couldn’t find a Star Wars gift bag so I decided to make my own.  I love keeping designs simple and graphic and I have a love for all things Black and White (see here and here for evidence of my DIY design inclination).

The design I ultimately came up with was clean and simple.  It features the silhouette of a stormtrooper and some text that reads, “Thanks for coming.  You’re a real trooper.”  Cue cheezy music, I know.  But hey, it’s a kids party.  The bag was super easy to make once I came up with the design.  I just printed 2 per sheet of paper and stuck them on store bought white paper bags.

DIY Star Wars Gift Bag Printable 2 copy

At Michael’s I found some black sparkly tissue paper and I know I had to include it.  The paper looks like a starry sky, perfect for a DIY Star Wars party.  Inside the bag I had a small selection of Star Wars themed goodies I bought at Target, including baggies of Star Wars gummies.

DIY Star Wars Gift Bag Printable

If you’d like to make your own DIY Star Wars gift bag. Download the free printable here.  Enjoy!

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Celebrate: Semi DIY Star Wars Party

Semi DIY Star Wars Party 1

I’m taking a break from some of the Farmhaus reno to catch you up on some of the other things that have been going on. Namely, our little Monkey turned 5.  We had promised him a few years back that when he turned 5 we would take him to Legoland. Even though we were juggling many different things, we wanted to keep our promise and so we packed our bags and took the boys to Legoland for a couple of days. Here are a few pics of the boys:



They had so much fun and particularly loved the Chima waterpark. Between airfare, hotel and park entrance, these kinds of family trips start to add up quickly and I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend more on a birthday party. But 5 is kind of a milestone. He’s headed off to Kindergarten and wont see many of his preschool friends anymore. So, I decided to throw a low-key Semi-DIY Star Wars party.

First up was the banner.  I bought ready made banner triangles at a party store and printed up the birthday message using a free Star Wars font.  Easy.  High Impact.

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Then for some simple cupcake toppers from here.

Semi DIY Star Wars Party 2

Semi DIY Star Wars Party 10

Aside for a few black and white balloons and didn’t do much else in terms of decor. For games, we had them all make pool noodle lightsabers. I cut all the pool noodles in half ahead of time. Then set out some duct tape and black electrical tape so that each kid could make their own lightsaber. Depending on the child’s skill level/age, this activity can require adult assistance, but they loved the end result.

Semi DIY Star Wars Party 7Semi DIY Star Wars Party 3

We had a couple of girls at the party and when the boys we running around with lightsabers, they were truly overwhelmed.  So I made sure to also have a couple more low-energy games. First up, Bingo. I bought a Star Wars bingo template on Etsy, but I’ve seen a free version here.

Semi DIY Star Wars Party 5

Then we had a sort of scavenger-hunt, where they had to find the matching cards to some ready made Star Wars matching game I had bought ages ago.

Semi DIY Star Wars Party 9

Finally, I had a pinata. This might be the last year that I do the pinata. The boys are getting too strong!

Semi DIY Star Wars Party 12

We finished it off with pizza and cake. He was so happy.  It was totally worth it.

Semi DIY Star Wars Party 6Semi DIY Star Wars Party 4

Next week, I’ll follow up with instructions and a printable for the DIY Star Wars gift bag.



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In the Mood: Modern Rustic Scandinavian Bedroom

We absolutely LOVE the bedroom we have at home.  We love its serenity, and how it comforts us in times of stress.  We love that it has the intimacy we seek, but is also a great place for us to have tickle sessions with the boys.  So, designing the master bedroom for the Farmhaus to hit just the right notes of calm and rustic is high on my priority list.

I took inspiration from these bedrooms:

farmhouse bedroom inspiration 3


farmhouse bedroom inspiration 2


farmhouse bedroom inspiration 1


farmhouse bedroom inspiration 4


Each has a very restrained color palette with ample use of white. They also bring in touches of wood to add that rustic element, and keep patterns to a minimum.

Here is the mood board I’ve come up with for the Farmhaus master bedroom.  I’m calling it Modern Rustic Scandinavian.  Relaxing, right?

Rustic Modern Scandinavian Bedroom Moodboard

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