For five years, Emily Wright stared up her house's "stomped stalactite ceilings" wishing they'd disappear:Then she came up with an inexpensive solution, DIY beadboard paneling, that she and her husband, Shane Pribbel, were able to install themselves right over the existing plasterwork.
Emily and Shane live in New Castle, Indiana, and she chronicles their home improvements in her blog Lifestyle and Design Online. "Most couples do normal things like go to dinner for quality time," says Emily. "Not us. We rip apart our kitchen and start over." Self-taught remodelers—"actually Shane did have a construction job one summer in high school," says Emily—the two have jointly tackled all of the work in their house themselves, including adding new windows and a new roof ("yes, I actually got up on the roof," she says) plus a gut renovation of the kitchen.
"We're both attention-to-details people. We watch a lot of How To videos on YouTube, then we jump right in." The ceiling solution, Emily reports, was by far the most satisfying of their design solutions.
Photographs from Lifestyle and Design Online.
Above: For a long time, the couple couldn't figure out an obvious tack to take with the ceilings: "We felt stuck with them because tearing them down or re-drywalling are both messy, painful tasks," writes Emily in her blog. "We didn't want to go through the trauma of all that work."
Above: Thinking about coffered ceilings put Emily on the right track: "Our ceilings are only eight feet tall, so I knew a traditional coffered ceiling wouldn't work, but I finally figured out that we could cover them with beadboard and trim to create a lightly coffered look." The black pendant lamp is the Hektar from Ikea, $29.99.
Above: The couple tackled one room at a time, including the ceiling in their newly overhauled kitchen. They used 4-foot-by-8-foot sheets of White/Satin Hardboard Panels from Lowe's that cost $19.98 each. They nailed the pre-made beadboard directly in place—it holds well thanks to the fact that the existing plaster ceilings are backed with lath board. "Once the panels are up, the ceiling just needs to be trimmed out," says Emily. For the trim they used 1-foot-by-4-foot MDF boards installed in a grid. "Some paint and several tubes of caulk later, and you have a coffered-looking ceiling."
Above: "Caulking and painting were by far the hardest part," reports Emily. The walls, trim, and ceilings are painted in Valspar Ultra White from Lowe's. The small dining area, shown here, has extra chairs cleverly hung on the wall, and a DIY Lindsey Adelman light—have a look at our post today, A New $60 DIY Lindsey Adelman Pendant, for a similiar (but easier) project.
Above: The couple's black and white bedroom was where they first tested the coffered ceiling idea. Writes Emily in her blog: "Our bedroom is an 11-by-15-foot rectangle, so the layout was pretty simple: we needed 6 sheets of 4 x 8 beadboard. Then we purchased enough MFD 1 x 4 boards do the trimming...we measured and used chalk lines to plan out the grid. Since we have a hanging light in the center of the room, we wanted a seam to run through the fixture. We liked the idea of the light being on the 'beams'." Read Emily's full report on the ceiling project at Lifestyle and Design Online.
Above: "I'm not sure what the technical term for our ceilings is, " says Emily. "We referred to them as awful...just plain awful."
Above: "On top of the texture, we had years of previous water damage and terrible repair jobs to portions of the ceiling." Shown here is a section of the dining room that Emily describes as "really not so terrible in comparison to other spots that I wish I had photographed."
Tacking your own place? We recently featured a Kitchen Remodel for Under $500 that also makes use of DIY beadboard. And for another inspired budget kitchen remodel, see Ikea Upgrade: The SemiHandmade Kitchen. On Gardenista, have a look at a Garage Turned Studio Apartment.