Dave makes mid century modern wall panels for his living room for $250

1959 mid century modern living roomDavid and Kristin have the eye for mid century modern decorating, and, it turns out that Dave is one handy guy. Adave and krisfter I declared that orange is the Retro Renovation color of the year, he sent me photos of his living room of his 1959 split level house, with all the gorgeous orange accents. Of course, I also noticed the fantastic mid century modern panelled, or latticed, wall in the room. It turns out that he designed and installed the wall himself — for only $250 — and it’s 24 feet long!  Today, he tells us how to make a panelled wall like this one.. and gives us peek inside his and Kristin’s lovely home.
1959 split level houseOf course, I asked Dave to start us out by explaining his “Retro Renovation story.” He writes:

My wife and I searched for a house for about a year, going to open houses every Sunday. My requirements were brick, 2 car garage, a driveway that we didn’t have to move cars around to get in and out. We hadn’t seen anything that met our needs for the right price until we saw this house for sale by owner.

syroco black catsIt is a trilevel built in 1959, and has a pink bathroom in perfect condition that we both fell in love with. I am sure most buyers were scared away because the house needed “updating” but we just fell in love with it. We put in a contingency offer, hurriedly got our house on the market, and sold it in less than a month.

decorating ideas for the stairway of a split level houseWe started loading up on design magazines and quickly discovered that mid century design fit our house to a tee! Items have been purchased for the house from 2 great mid century shops and several different antique shops in town.

grasscloth walls in a mid century bedroomWe have been here for over 4 years now and continue to take on new projects, one room at a time. I found your blog early on in our renovation and read it every day for ideas and inspiration.

mid century modern living room with orange accessoriesI thought you might like to see pictures of our living room. Our accent color is orange and it is my favorite room in our house.

build a mid century modern paneled wall from mdfI did the wall myself. It is just strips of MDF. It was a time consuming, low cost project. I have about $250 in the whole project (including renting a paint sprayer). The wall project evolved from a picture in the now defunct Metropolitan Home magazine. My wife brought it to my attention and asked if I could replicate it. I kind of took it on as a personal challenge. I spent two days laying out the lines on the wall. The wall starts in the living room and continues into the dining room approximately 8′ tall by 24′ long. The next step was cutting 1 sheet of 3/4 MDF (medium density fiberboard) into 3/4 x 3/8 strips on the table saw. Yep, only in 4×8 sheet ! I set up a miter saw outside the front door and cut pieces to length, one at a time, using my lines on the wall to mark the strips (not a tape measure) because that was more accurate. I then adhered each piece using powergrab adhesive and pin nails. I only worked on it about 2 hours a day, maybe 3 days a week.

how to make a mid century modern paneled wallAfter about 5 weeks, and about 6 hours of caulking, it was ready for paint. I rented a HVLP (high velocity low pressure) sprayer from a local rental store for the weekend, primed first, then added 2 coats of latex paint. It has been done for about 2 years now and it still makes me smile every time I walk in the house! Note: the tone-on-tone curtains are from Penneys and were $30 a panel and fit PERFECTLY with NO alterations. What a lucky break!  — Dave and Kris

That is so impressive, Dave — like I like to say, “some therapy.”  You now move ahead in our overachiever of the year award, ahead of Uncle Atom, who has not actually finished his tiki totem pole, and TroySF, who is resting on his 2010 laurels (so far.) Thank you so much for sharing, the house is really truly stunning. I love the living room — with its mix of white walls, light gray upholstered furniture, the blonde Heywook Wakefield and the puches of orange. You two really know what you are doing — in your next career, you need to be a decorating team, truly!

  1. Mariah says:

    Dave and Kristin, What a lovely house, thank you for sharing your projects! I have saved the instructions and pics for the accent wall in my ‘idea file’ for our 1963 Cape Cod. Is that copper colored grasscloth wallpaper in the bedroom? It looks great with the light colored bedroom furniture.

  2. Dave Bramblette says:

    Thanks Mariah ! The wallpaper is a bamboo/grasscloth and is actually more of a chocolate brown.

  3. Edwin says:

    W O W – that is one of the prettiest homes I have seen on this site. It is perfectly balanced from the amount of decor, to the size and scale of furniture, to the color palette.


  4. Gavin Hastings says:

    It’s GREAT!
    The colors, the furniture placement and proportions-everything.

    The wall ADDS (without stealing) so much interest to the room. Good Job!

  5. Charlotte says:

    Wow, how beautiful! I especially love how the living room retains so many MCM details but manages to still look modern and livable, not kitschy or museum-like. Well done! Also, I am very happy to see another pink bathroom has been preserved.

  6. MikeD says:

    Great work guys! Had a similar idea but passed it off because of the amount of work and now knowing how it would turn out. Thank you for sharing, now I know it would work!

  7. pam kueber says:

    Dave, I also love the large artwork on the long wall behind the sofa. Can you tell me about it? Also, what color white did you use for paint?

  8. Puzzy says:

    Dave and Kristin, Your house is FAB! I love, love, love the living room! Where did you find the sofa and matching chairs?

  9. Jeanne says:

    That living room is absolutely gorgeous! It has perfect furniture arrangement and amount of texture / color / accents. The wall treatment really completes the look in a subtle way. The room wouldn’t look the same without it. I love the lamps. Where did you find them? The room looks like it was featured in a period magazine, yet very current. I love the artwork, too. Excellent job!

  10. Janice says:

    When I first logged on this morning, I thought the opening picture was from a magazine! Wow – Dave and Kristin, you two nailed the perfect mid-century look in your loving room. Would love to see more pictures of your house! Beautiful job!

  11. Jenny says:

    I just showed this post to my love and asked him if he could do this to our living room. Seeing the expression on his face, which was a mixture of awe and incredulity, I think the answer is “no”. Love it, though!

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