Thursday, May 21, 2020

Laundry Room - Week Three: All About Shiplap

When deciding on the finishes in our laundry/mud room renovation, I knew that I wanted the space to incorporate a more utilitarian aesthetic, while still being beautiful. As we fix up our farmhouse, it has been important to me that it is returned to the authentic styling that is appropriate in a true farmhouse. Shiplap is one of those elements--but only if done right!

This is week three of our laundry/mud room renovation as part of the Spring 2020 One Room Challenge. In partnership with Better Homes & Gardens, the ORC is a celebration of creativity that brings together designers as they make over one room in six weeks. Each week, you'll get to see the progress and watch the project unfold.

And this spring, the challenge has been extended to eight weeks! In case this is your first week following along, be sure to check out the previous posts on our progress:
Week One: The Design
Week Two: Vintage Lockers

This week is all about shiplap! When HGTV and The Gaines' popularized shiplap as the quintessential farmhouse wall treatment, I'll bet they never imagined the impact it would have on home design.

However, there are a lot of choices when it comes to using shiplap in your home, and because it's important to us to renovate our farmhouse authentically, we're very mindful and where and how we use certain design elements. A little background about shiplap explains why...


Shiplap is a type of horizontal wood paneling that was designed to create weather-resistant exteriors that would more efficiently block out wind and moisture. It was never intended to be exposed, and instead, acted as the base layer upon which exterior siding, or interior wallboard or plaster, would be applied.

To be clear--shiplap was used on exterior walls, even though you now see homeowners applying it everywhere.

Shiplap's weather protection comes from the overlapping joints on the horizontal edges of the boards called "rabbets" (no, not rabbits!). These L-shaped notches overlap each other in such a way that moisture cannot easily get between and behind the boards.


Over the years, I have played with virtually every type of shiplap known to DIYers. We added real shiplap, which I cut myself on my router table, to an accent wall in our master bedroom and bathroom. We added engineered shiplap to a wall in our shop space (watch the video of that project here). And I've even used peel-n-stick shiplap wallpaper on the back of a bookcase!

Ordinarily, I choose to use only true finishes around our home. That's why I took the time to cut real shiplap when we've used it in the past. However, for this renovation, I'm doing something a little different and creating a faux wall treatment using 1/4" plywood instead.

There were a few factors that went into this decision, but ultimately it came down to the fact that I haven't decided whether this feature will remain permanent in our home. While I was creating the design for this space, I waffled between shiplap and brick--both being appropriate to the style of our home and the functionality of the space.

I settled on shiplap because it offers more versatility for decorating. Making the decision to keep it faux, for now, came down to the fact that the cost of the plywood and investment of time would not hold me back from ripping it out later should I change my mind.

Coming up in the One Room Challenge, I'll be revealing the completed shiplap wall and giving you a step-by-step tutorial you can follow to install it yourself! Stay tuned for more progress!



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