Our family room was a cave. 1970s dark wood paneling covered the walls and the bookcases that flanked the pinkish brick fireplace. It was a look stolen right from the set of The Brady Bunch. I dreamed of revamping the room to reflect my favorite place on earth–Ocean City, NJ. The task seemed monumental. Tear out the walls and start from studs? Reface the horrid brick of the fireplace? Dollar signs danced before my eyes. In the end, all that was needed was a little paint and a lot of elbow grease.
I opted to keep the paneling on the walls and paint over it. First, I “washed” the walls with Liquid Sandpaper to remove any dirt and wax. It took a first coat of heavy duty primer and 3 additional coats of white paint (Benjamin Moore’s Atrium White in an eggshell finish) to cover the dark wood. I used a roller to apply the first primer coat, but every seam between each panel had to be painted with a brush for full coverage. The tedious work was worth it–the painted paneling looks like bead board, contributing to the desired beach cottage atmosphere.
Next, I tackled the fireplace. I scrubbed the brick with a wire brush and detergent to remove any grime. A thorough vacuuming removed any lingering dust. The same routine of primer and 3 coats of paint (same color but a semi-gloss finish) covered the brick. I learned my lesson from the painstaking chore of painting over each panel seam by hand and used a heavy-knap roller for the fireplace. Much better coverage!
I’ll chat about how the room got the blues in my next post…