Keith’s Living Room Makeover – Barnwood and Bookcases

We had a great time hanging out with Keith and his family and friends this past Saturday. They’re such inspiring folks to be around!

We only worked on a couple of things, but we sure did have a lot of fun together. First, we stained the old barnwood we got from Southern Accents. We used a color called Amsterdam by Olympic.

Olympic Maximum Stain

That color only comes in a solid stain (vs. a semi-transparent one), so we just dipped our paint brushes in a cup full of water before we applied it to thin it down a little. We tested it on one end of one of our boards first, and to make the drying process go a little faster, we used a blow dryer to see how it would look, all soaked in.

Amsterdam Olympic Stain Lowes

Here’s a photo of the finished product:

Amsterdam Olympic Stain

It dried just beautifully, and it really does look almost exactly like the ones I used in the inspiration photo I put together for Keith:


We’re looking forward to going back over there tomorrow to secure them to the wall above his mantel. Which, by the way, is lookin’ like this right now:

Lettered Cottage Fireplace Makeover

We’ve had those Billy bookcases for a few years, but we couldn’t find a place for them at our new place, and they fit in great at Keith’s. They’re normally not that tall, but with that extension shelf on top, they’re almost the perfect size for those two spots, so we’ll only have to do a little trimming out around and above them. Here are a couple of shots that show how tall the bookcases were without the extension shelves on top, and how tall they are with the extension shelves on top:

Billy Bookcases Ikea

Kevin and Keith took down the existing crown molding this past weekend (so we could run the barnwood up to the ceiling and trim it and the bookcases out at the same time so they’ll look built-in), but we’ll probably wrangle some professional help when it comes to putting all of the new trim on because we want to make sure it’s done right, and semi-tricky wood-working is definitely not our forte. :)

Attaching the barnwood to the wall above the mantel should be a breeze though, and I can’t wait to show you updated pics of that as soon as I’ve got ’em!

After that, we’ll move on to covering the existing floor tile in front of the fireplace with a product called Skimstone, which will create the look of a smooth, polished concrete hearth.

Here’s an old photo that shows the existing tile that we’ll be covering up down there:

Old Tile Fireplace Makeover

Oh- and speaking of “old” things, we also updated Keith’s ceiling fan situation since I last blogged about the room, too. The white, brass & glass one came down…

White Brass Glass Chandelier

…and one of our wood & oil-rubbed bronze ones went up!

Lettered Cottage Stone Fireplace Makeover

Kevin and I aren’t ceiling fan people (we get chilly, and I get vertigo-y), so we were happy to pass one of ours on to someone that’ll actually enjoy it!

PS- If you’d like to check out more posts about this makeover, click here: Keith’s Living Room Makeover.

…and for more makeover pics between posts, join us over on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram!

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  1. Janelle says

    Looks great! If you were to put ceiling fans in your home would you use something like you did here (wood and oil bronzed) or go all white to camouflage it??? We are doing a farmhouse Reno and my husband would die without a ceiling fan (at least in our bedroom) and I don’t know which way to go. Thanks!!

  2. Donna Doble-Brown says

    Layla….the barn wood looks GORGEOUS! really lovely….I would never had thought to use the water technique…gosh you guys are good! Can’t wait to see the rest of the room….
    Keep you guys in my prayers….good things are coming for you both! Stay well…. :-)

  3. says

    Layla that blue stain is looking awesome. I’m a ceiling fan lover really only for the airflow more than anything – any chance Keith would want to remove the lights from the fan? I think the fan would fit the space even better without lights, most fans come with a plate to cover the light portion (they’re kind of distracting and overhead lighting like that is not so nice IMO). PS – borrowed your grey owl for our kids play room, wow does it ever change with the daylight!

    • Layla says

      Thanks, Jaime! I think Keith digs the lights, so I’ll leave that decision to him, but I’ll definitely let him know about those covers! :-)
      I was *just* saying that about our Gray Owl, too! That’s probably my favorite thing about it! 😀

  4. says

    It is looking SO great! Can’t wait to see it all come together! I’m on the hunt for a super low profile ceiling fan since our upstairs ceilings are less than 7ft. tall and we don’t have central air so ceiling fans circulate the window AC unit. :)

  5. Renee says

    Lookin’ good!!
    I was wondering if he was going to keep the coffee table with the little stools….I know a good home with little hinneys that would fit perfect on the stools…if he wants to sell. hehe!! we live in the Gump so we can pick up…seriously!

  6. Becky says

    It’s really coming along! Looks great!
    I LOVE the area rug. Can I ask where you got it? I’ve been looking for one for my living room and really like this one.

  7. Camille Bosley says

    You picked the perfect inspiration for this job, looks great! I absolutely love incorporating natural wood into the home, and the stain is a great blue-gray color.

  8. Lauren Renaud says

    Can you tell me where you got the beam for the mantle? Is it is a railroad tie? What term should I search on the internet to try to find one? Thanks!

  9. Elisa F. says

    Gorgeous! I’m astounded by the ability you have to visualize things before they’re in place.
    I love the idea of using the Billy bookcases but have always been stumped about how to trim them out on the sides to look built in. Could you please git all up in your carpenter’s grill and photograph the daylights out of that process? No step is too minor for me!
    You are such a fantastic source of ideas and resource of how-to for all of us out here. Thank you!

  10. Lin says

    The room is going to look so good. I love the barnwood and the shelves are perfect. Please let us know how the Skimstone turns out. I have a friend that needs to remove her berber carpet and has concrete floors underneath. This product might be a great thing for her to consider using.

  11. Marianne in Mo. says

    Coming along! Can’t wait to see progression. Wonder if that good-looking carpenter you had at your previous home ( who did Kev’s office ) would come help a girl out? It would be nice to see him again! ;0)

  12. Lisa W. says

    As always AWESOME job you two are doing…you have a vision AND I love it.

    I gotta ask though. HOW do ya live without ceiling fans in Alabama??? I live in Michigan and we use them year round. One way for winter and the other for summer. Of course central air is a blessing I might add, Exspecially in this heat wave were having now. Just keep thinking remember a few short months or so ago, it was FREEZING…lol. AND that will come back again to soon!

    Cannot wait to see Keith’s finished room.

    Thanka for sharing!

  13. Jill says

    Your design is wonderful and brings warmth to the room. Your design also brought what we all need; more storage. Did you go to Southern Accents in Cullman, Alabama? To me it is a store of infinite potential! I went this winter hunting shutters, and came home with a fantastic fireplace mantle from a 1870’s farmhouse.

    Thanks for helping a friend and inspiring your online friends with great ideas!

  14. Kelley says

    Love what you are doing in this room. What is the gray paint in your inspiration photo and where is the coffee table from? Thanks! Can’t wait to see the finished room.

    • Layla says

      Thanks, Kelley! The gray paint is just a color I plucked from the color picker in Photoshop, and I *think* I just found that coffee table while Googling for square coffee tables when I cut and pasted the photo together. I wish I had actual sources for you, I’m sorry! :-(

  15. Margo says

    I have been trying to find your post about the new mantel, but can’t seem to find anything about it. I would love to know where you got the mantel and the corbels that appear to hold it up. Any info you can provide would be so appreciated. Thanks and Have a Blessed Day.