Progress Report: Fixer Upper Week 17



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I’m doing something a little different this week.  I’m showing you what we did to the house day-by-day.  The main reason I’m doing this is to show you how much you can get done even when you can only do a little at a time.


Apparently we’re going to work on the living room and dining room next.  David removed the trim on the wall between the dining room and living room.  He’s either going to leave it off and sheetrock the edges or repair it and put it back.  Here’s what it looked like before:

Dining Room

Living Room

And here’s what it looks like now:

Dining Room

He also installed the door on the microwave cabinet in the kitchen.  Here’s what it looked like before:

Microwave Cabinet

And after:

Chalkboard Cabinet Door

Chalkboard Cabinet Door


I didn’t really expect David to get anything done on the house tonight because he worked all day and then went to the gym to teach a class.  But he still got a fair amount done.

He removed the trim boards on top of the bookcases between the dining room and living room.  They’re badly stained.

Bookcase Trim

He also removed the crown molding in the living room and dining room:

Living ROom

And he removed the base shoe that was easily accessible from both of those rooms and the entry.


Base shoe

And here’s the construction lesson for the day:  Base shoe and quarter round are NOT the same.  People frequently use those terms interchangeably but they are NOT the same.  The trim at the bottom of a base board is called base shoe.  It’s a little smaller than quarter round – about ¾” tall and 1/2 “thick.  It’s rounded on top and flattens on the front.  Quarter round is exactly what it sounds like and is NOT intended to be used at the bottom of a base board.

You know how I know this?  I called it quarter round and David immediately corrected me.  I guess that’s a pet peeve of his.  So now we all know the correct term for the piece of trim at the bottom of a base board.

In the photo above, you can see where he removed one piece but not the other.  The piece remaining can’t be removed until we move some furniture.


Thursday was all me.  I’ve started doing some scraping on the outside of the house whenever I have a chance.  David can’t stand watching me do it.  Instead of sticking with one area until it’s done, like he would do, I move around a lot.  I get bored with just one spot.  I’ll eventually get it all.  That’s all that matters, right?!

Scraping Paint

Scraping Paint


Saturday was a big day and a messy one!  David removed the overhead lights in the living room.  They were pretty ugly.  Sometime during the week, before he could remove the lights, he had to track down the wiring and take care of that.  Then he physically removed the lights and patched the holes.

Living Room Lights
These were the lights “before”.

Living Room Ceiling

He also removed the tile in the entry.  It was a small area but it was a lot of work!

Entry tile


EntryThe wood floor under the tile has adhesive residue on it but we should be able to remove that by scraping or sanding.

David also spent time this week and weekend working on the garage and the garage door openers.  We’re getting closer to having openers!

So that’s it for this week.  But we do have a question for you.  We’re trying to decide what to do about the living room and dining room walls.  We were originally going to leave the paneling as is and paint the other walls.  But we’ve since realized that our target buyer will probably not like the paneling (we’re guessing this house will be purchased by a young family.  If that’s the case, we need to do something different.  Our current options are (1) leave the paneling as is; (2) remove the paneling and install drywall (there’s no drywall under the paneling) and then paint; or (3) paint the paneling.  What’s your vote?

Previous Progress Reports are available here.
Other Remodeling/Home Décor articles are available here.

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Born in Kentucky, I am a wife and mom to 1 son and 2 daughters . I have an ink pen obsession, as well as a love for all things planner. I have been married for 10 years to my high school crush. I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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22 thoughts on “Progress Report: Fixer Upper Week 17

  1. Absolutely paint the panelling, it would lighten both those spaces so much. And I’m 30 something with 2 kids!

  2. Either paint the paneling or install drywall and paint. The dark paneling makes the room appear much smaller than it is, and looks dated. Either way you go, other than keeping it “as is”, will be a winner!

  3. I would paint the paneling. It can be a really nice look if done well. The room definitely needs to be lightened up, and painting it is not only cheaper and easier, but makes the walls more interesting than drywall. Love seeing your progress!

  4. Remove the paneling and drywall. I don’t think there is anyone left on the planet who prefers paneling, and the amount of work to prep and paint it isn’t worth it for it too look lousy.

    It’s probably for the best anyway – there are always weird problems hiding behind paneling and their easier to deal with when it’s removed.

  5. Paint the paneling first. If you don’t like it for whatever reason, you have other options.

    Oh—love the microwave door! Do I spy chalkboard paint???

    1. You did indeed spy chalkboard paint. And I already used the space to jot down some menu ideas for next week. My granddaughter drew a picture and my daughter-in-law drew a picture, too.

    1. He used a pry bar and gently pried it loose. It was a small area but took a fair amount of effort. We also removed tile at our old house and it came up in big sheets. It was a much larger area but went faster. It just depends on how it was installed. But you can always remove tile.

  6. First of all, Patty, I love your microwave cupboard. That is a clever idea with the chalkboard paint on the big panel!

    In our previous home, we had painted paneling in my dining room. What we did was to paint the grooves in our contrast color and paint the main portions of the “planks” in the lighter color. We chose a golden beige for the grooves and used a French Vanilla for the panels. The wood floors pulled the colors together. The dining room furniture are hand carved by my grandfather and are beautifully finished. We upholstered the seats of the chairs in a pretty floral print with the same tones as the other colors in the room. It looked great!

    If there are problems in the walls with the paneling, then you will have to fix them from the outside, but if no problems are apparent, then you have saved a bundle of money and made a focal wall without having the expense of teardown and drywall, spackling, and sanding. If that paneling was the cheap kind with just a coating on it, you could rip it out easily. Real wood boards installed as panels are not so easy to remove.

    Problems in the exterior walls are easier to fix from the outside by removing the siding. The typical problems there will require “house wrap” at the very least to stop water from entering. While you are at it, you can insulate the wall. The paneling in your pictures look like real wood panels, are they?

    1. Dianne – interesting technique with the two-tone on the paneling. Wish I could see a photo of that.

      The paneling in real wood paneling. That’s why we hesitated to cover it because it’s really nice wood.

      1. Sorry to disappoint, Patty, but we sold that house and are now contemplating making changes to our current home. We don’t need to add rooms or anything drastic like that. The room colors need updating and I want to change the ceilings and wood trim. Your husband is right. That small wooden piece at the bottom of the trim at floor level is not “quarter round” . My father was a Master Carpentr/Cabnet Maker/Millwright. He taught me so much! My husband is retired Navy and has no idea what I am talking about until I take the time to explain. In my mind, it is like “Why doesn’t everybody know this stfuff?”. Ha ha!

  7. I would drywall. Our Family room had paneling on the one wall & I was going to just paint it but my husband prevailed & we pulled it down. it was a good thing. When the furnace was put in there was not any space between the wall & the chimney. when we pulled the paneling off we found the wall was scorched from the heat of the chimney. Another time the house we had had paneling on the one wall in the kitchen & there was a lot of damage to it. There was some kind of paper our friend put over it & then wallpapered it. another option: our son’s room had cork on the one wall, which when we tried to remove it. tore up the wall pretty bad so we just got the thinnest drywall that we could & put right over the damaged wall.

  8. My parents painted paneling in a house we lived in and it looked really good. I’m
    In my 30s and would be fine with that. Painting it shows people what they could do with it (other colors if desired) whereas leaving it doesn’t give people who are less imaginative anything to dream about, if that makes sense.

  9. I am in the minority, but I would hesitate to paint the paneling. It looks like really nice real wood, not the fake plywood stuff. I think in your updates, as the rest of the house gets looking better the wood walls look better. A rug under the dining room table would break up all the wood in that room. I think it is a feature of the house, very mid-century! Now, if it was several walls of knotty pine with a shellac finish I might have a different opinion,

  10. I vote drywall! If you are planning on selling you don’t want to reduce the amount of potential buyers. Not everyone can see past wood paneling. At the very least, paint it to lighten up everything. Just my two cents. I’m sure whatever you decide will turnout perfect!

  11. I’m exhausted just reading your list of what you’ve accomplished this week! wow.
    if I were the buyer…I would prefer option 2. 🙂 Since you’ve done so much updating already, that seems sensible. However there are plenty of people that would be just as happy with the wood, but I agree with the above reviewer…smaller market perhaps. I dunno. helpful eh? 😉

    1. You actually were helpful despite your wavering. Your leaning was #2 and that’s what we’re looking for. We definitely don’t want a smaller market.

  12. Personally, I love the look of painted paneling (actually, I like the natural wood as well). We actually had paneling in our bedroom (it was an extra living room to start) before our never-ending remodeling project began so as you might guess, my husband votes you should sheetrock the walls. By the way, I’d probably move around when scraping that paint also.

    1. Thanks for the input even if the two of you do cancel each other out!

      Glad to know I’m not the only one who would move around while sraping. It just gets so boring in one place.

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