Budget Kitchen Remodel: Wood Planked Feature Wall

In going with our modified kitchen remodel approach, aka, the budget remodel and not a full gut… we also sacrificed being able to modify the layout. So, one main wall remains the central hub of the kitchen. Previously, it was dark and sliced up by ugly cabinets, a design that did not fully appreciate the angled vaulted ceiling above.

Kitchen photo plan

So, to remedy this ugly wall, I found a budget friendly way to make this wall a true feature of the kitchen, avoid lots of tedious drywall repair from the damage the previous tile removal made, and make the wall function reasonably as a backsplash without the cost of tile. Originally we were thinking maybe beadboard, but I was worried it would look too “country”, and instead I found this idea for a planked wall on another blog, Sweet Pickins. We used plywood utility panels we found at Lowe’s, cut into 6″ strips, that were maple as opposed to artificial wood so it was slightly more expensive than it appears Sweet Pickins used. But this project for our one wall rang in at $100 in materials ($25 per 8′ by 4′ sheet) and about 3 nights of ‘after the baby goes to bed’ effort, maybe 6-8 hours total including prepping for paint.

Since we were aiming for a level gap appropriate for a caulk line against our counters, we set our cut counter pieces in place temporarily for the first plank, started at the bottom and worked our way up. You will need a good long level for this, checking the board as you work your way across with nails and hammer (or a nail gun if you have one). We were quite thorough and put two nails through at each stud. See how nasty the wall behind still is? Since we’re covering it all and sealing it all up with paint after, this let us get by with little effort on repairing this main wall.

hammer first plankWe took our planks full length across the right side, and let all the seams stack up above the oven area on the left because this would mostly be covered by oven, microwave, and cabinet. It seemed like a better option to make the cuts and puddy a few seams in the few small visible areas there than have them scattered all over in more visible areas of the whole wall. Made the process pretty easy too. We paired our boards that would be side by side ahead of time based on their width matching up since the cuts from Lowe’s were not exact (bad enough actually they didn’t make us pay for the cuts in the end!).

plank measuring

planks stacking up  planks almost doneOne factor we were pretty proud of in this project is we used no power tools- save for the few times we used the electric mouse sander for some edges. This was all the old fashion way with straight edge, pencil, hand saw, hammer, and nails.

handsaws at nightIt took us about 3 nights of cutting and nailing planks, trying to feed O whatever was on hand for dinner- like “here’s a whole tomato, kiddo. have fun!”plank break O eats tomatoAfter the final pieces were in place, Chad used a nail set to sink all the nail heads, and I used wood putty on all the nail head holes and visible seams above the oven. Sanded, repeated on the seams, and we were ready for primer, paint, and polyurethane to seal it. What do you think?

finished planks

We dropped all our cut countertop pieces and sink in just for a photo op. It’s these moments that keep us going on this!

List update:

Redo backwards plumbing to sink and dishwasher (currently reversed and feeds only cold water to dishwasher!)

Remove floating cabinet, repair dining room floor (done, coming soon!)

Remove upper cabinets

Remove backsplash tile

Replace countertops (done, coming soon!)

Install new sink and faucet (done, coming soon!)

Replace hood with over the range microwave

Sell current hood and microwave (added: and dishwasher) on CL

Install backboard to backsplash wall to ceiling

Install open shelving

Install backboard on island, bar attachment?

New ceiling light

Install undercabinet light

Paint inside pantry, new door knob

Install hutch to dining wall, paint, move light switch

Paint remaining kitchen walls

Replace flooring (done-ish, coming soon!)