The Progress of Redemption :: A Laundry Room Story (with a dash of kitchen) and why we painted over “good wood”

laundry room{hutch // bead & tassels // chair// pillow // stump}

Let’s chat about our laundry room/back porch/front porch–because this is where 99% of people enter into our house and it also has a bathroom just to make it even more weird!

I wrote about painting the floors in this post. But I wanted to answer a few more questions and share our thought process on how and why we made certain choices.

My favorite parts of this space

    • higher ceilings
    • big doggie door
    • dutch door (it truly looks like it was just a regular door that someone cut in half)

You should also know this room is a crazy addition. There was a closet in the house for the laundry room before but then this addition was added. Now this added on porch/room blocks half the view from the bay window in the kitchen–lots of sad trombones for that choice…

laundry room{light & plants: Lowe’s // wood stand: Anthropologie // doughbowl // spotted art: DIY // silhouette: hope*ologie}

On the positive side, it provides an extra bathroom on the first floor (otherwise guests would have to use the one in our bedroom). On the negative side, the foundation for this porch wasn’t built correctly, so it’s slowly falling off the house. The floor is noticeably sloping so we have a big project of having to jack up this porch and rebuild the foundation. Hence, us not wanting to spend money on new floors right now.

back porch/laundry makeover

back porch before

laundry before and after painted wood walls

Here are the two photos from above placed side by side so you can see the difference that paint makes. Paint, and shopping the house for stuff I had –switching out a ceiling fan for a $35 thrifted lantern (I used it in our bedroom in the last house — #ShoppingTheHouse is always a good idea).

laundry room


Why didn’t we just leave the wood?

The smaller reason was that I really, really enjoy white walls. White feels fresh and clean especially when you are moving to a fixer upper where every room needs attention– a room full of orange wood can feel like it’s closing in on you. I LOVED the idea of this room in white and that was a simple solution to freshen up the feel of a room.

The truth is, I LOVE wood, And actually, we DID leave the wood–we just took it off the walls and put it on a floor. When we renovated our kitchen it was the only room on the first floor without wood floors. Everywhere else in the downstairs we have 12 inch wide pine floors that were milled here on the old sawmill on the property.

wood room

The same floors were also used on the walls and ceiling of this, the back porch. We choose to cannibalize some of the laundry room walls and use them for the floor in the kitchen and then we put beadboard on the walls (painting it all white so it didn’t show anyway) and have our floors in the house look cohesive. See the kitchen floor progress here.


This entire wall (along with parts of other walls) became flooring in our kitchen. Thank you walls!


Then the wall looked like this.


And, here’s the other side of that same wall. We still have lots of  wood in our house–there’s a little tiny bathroom on the back porch with cedar walls, so we have our raw wood fix and it smells really great. And of course our floors are wood in the house.

I love wood, I just don’t want it to feel depressing and dark, I want to use it in ways I enjoy it–just because something is wood doesn’t trump the fact that I want our home to be a certain style and look a certain way. It’s okay to paint wood.


cardboard walls

After we peeled the pine panels off the walls of the laundry room so we could use them on the kitchen floor, this was our temporary solution so people could use the back bathroom without us all seeing them through the cracks of the cedar planks. Temporary turned into six months with cardboard and plywood walls held up with bungee cords, then I ABSOLUTELY LOST IT AND YELLED AT EVERYONE NELLIE OLESON STYLE. Then I got some new walls.


Speaking of the kitchen….

kitchen before

Here’s the kitchen and little Dutch door that enters the back porch/laundry room –notice the lack of wood floors and extra wall?

kitchen before

If you backed up even further you had to step through another door way into the dining area. See how you can still see that Dutch door back through there–the dog is standing in front of it? That blue tape on the floor is where my island is now. It runs the entire width of the old kitchen–ten feet long.

kitchen walls down

We knocked out both of those walls, reorganized the kitchen layout and put the laundry room walls down to match the floor–we lived here for three months while we were doing all of this–three months with three teenage boys without a kitchen sink…


Here’s the same view today, only without the walls. I should have removed the rugs so you can see the floors. They are rugged and imperfect but they are WOOD and are hanging out with all their wood friends on the floors of all the other rooms!


So, back to the laundry room, the best part was that it took mostly elbow grease.

Seriously, Chad and I both have appointments to get our elbows re-greased.


Living in a house that looks like this takes its toll. Even on the most potential–seeing person in the world.

into the laundry room

This slow progress, with some permanent and some temporary fixes is  just another part of the bigger story. It’s not perfect. But I’m intentionally sharing it anyway.

I can’t help but believe that sharing the mess is always worth it, because it will always encourage the right people.

long way




Decorating Truths You Won’t See on HGTV

Why it’s Worth it to take ONE Microscopic Step Forward



  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE! what a difference! i would have painted it also…the white wood looks amazing!

  2. baileywife@Irishmanacres says

    Good morning Nester! I can imagine that living through a fixer-upper WOULD take it’s toll. Our dreams always come with a price, don’t they? I’m glad you are sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly with us…and so glad this room is finally pretty for you to come into everyday!! ~Kim

  3. I can’t imagine NOT painting the wood. It looks amazing!

  4. Your book is teaching me so much. I always want my house to be perfect. I can’t have people over unless it is perfect. With three young boys, the truth is that it will never be perfect. My kids were missing out on playdates and I was missing out on friendships because I wouldn’t let people in. Your book has helped me realize that a perfect house just makes other people feel less at ease. Letting go and just living here has only been possible by your brave declaration, “It Doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful” I come back here regularly to get a “shot in the arm” when I start feeling less than content with the state of my house. Thank you for some much needed perspective and reminding me that my guest don’t want perfection, they want human…my boys and husband thank you too.

  5. I am so madly in love with this makeover! Who WOULDN’T want to walk into that beautiful space? It sets the mood for the house and it’s so perfect. I’m currently house hunting for a fixer upper and you are my go to for “realness” in the updates. I’m so thankful you don’t make it look like a snap of the fingers perfect space over night.

  6. You are a total rockstar! So real. Love it.

  7. I love that you share your progress, and I loved what you did with the laundry room porch. I would have done the same thing! I’ve followed your blog for years and your philosophy has encouraged and inspired me SO MUCH with my home and decorating.

  8. I absolutely love the walls white. It really brightens it up.

  9. I love that you used the wood on the kitchen floor! Of course you painted the walls, because you are not a lumberjack. The house transformation is beautiful. Thank you for sharing, Nellie Olsen yelling and all.

    • “because you are not a lumberjack”

      best reason ever to paint wood walls!!

      • Our entire house has wood walls. Every SINGLE room. I am not a lumberjack either, but my husband is. However, even he admitted last week that the house was feeling pretty dark, and I jumped on that little comment, and we started painting last weekend. In fact, we spent Valentine’s Day at Home Depot! We’re just painting our bathroom for now, but it’s a start!

        Sidebar – how many coats of primer/paint did it take before your wood walls looked good?

  10. Seeing the picture of the “before” kitchen makes me admire you even more. Oh to have that kind of vision. I have to admit this house would have scared the bejeebers out of me, but you saw it’s potential and turned it into a gem. Love it.

  11. What fun to see all your before and afters! Makes me want to buy o e more fixer upper, but I haven’t been able to convince John to do it

  12. Jennifer Smith says

    I prefer the look of painted wood walls over stained. Your transformation is amazing. You always have the best natural organic accessories!

  13. Thanks for not being one of those bloggers who only takes home-magazine-quality pics with all the stuff required for daily life hidden away. I love seeing your lived-in house and the amazing progress you have made! You give me hope that I can love the house we’re in with a few projects and some thrifting. Thanks so much for sharing your life with us!

  14. That makes complete scence! I would have done the same thing! Your walls made beautiful floors! That was a neat story, i remember seeing the photos along the way, but the way you did the last post looked like it went from nice wood to white! Love your entry way now!

  15. Painting everything is perfect. I love how fresh and clean, and the wood is so much better on the floor.

  16. Boy can I relate! Your house has come a long way and looks amazing, even the temporary parts.

  17. I have you book and love it but this post has pushed you past rock star status! Taking all that wood paneling and putting it on the floor? Genius!!! My home is full of knotty pine walls…ideas galore now.

  18. Gorgeous. I love that molded chair. Is that a goodwill find or something you bought??

    • there’s a link to it under the first pic they are available on Amazon–I wish I would have found it at Goodwill! it’s a great chair that we’ve used at our picnic table, our inside table, our boys’ desks and now in here–we have two of them and I really like the quirky/modern style they add to our rustic home! xo

  19. Wow, what a transformation! We bought a fixer too so I can totally relate to the exhaustion and frustration that goes with living in a reno zone. There have been days I wanted to rip my hair out but living without a sink for 3 months definitely takes the cake. You are amazing! It so hard living in the mess but I love the satisfaction of seeing a project completed and the excitement that it will always be pretty and I never have to go back to the ugliness. :) I love watching the progress of your house, can’t wait to see what you do next!


  20. We always entered my Grandparents house through the back porch/laundry room/ kitchen and I find this wonderfully normal.

    I love it.

  21. I love it all!! Your style is such a breath of fresh air:) May I ask, what color gray are your doors painted?

  22. You might have just given me the courage to paint my wood floors. They’re light and skinny and on the diagonal and I’ve always hated them… But, you know, who paints perfectly good wood floors?! Me, maybe?! :)

  23. Your mess always encourages me! It regreases my elbows! Keep it coming!

  24. Bristol Sunset says

    I love what you’ve done. Laundry on the porch with a half bath there, too is SOOOO practical! Essentially it’s your mudroom. (We recently created that combo just inside our house; with two “all-boy” sons, it’s given us some sanity.). The kitchen looks beautiful and I can tell that it functions well for you.

    Myquillyn, your blog remains my favorite. What you post both calms and motivates me. Likewise, your book is a permanent fixture at my reading chair.

    Many blessings to you and your family — especially during this Lenten season.

  25. LOVE the kitchen!!!! What is the name of the white paint that you used for the kitchen walls? Thanks!

  26. Wood: to paint or not to paint? Reminds me of a funny story.
    I inherited a west-Texas built Eastlake-style secretary from my great-aunt. Loved the shape and storage, but time had not been kind to the finish. It was dark, and flat, and dark — a towering hulk in the corner of my kitchen.
    I wanted to use milk paint, but hubs protested “It’s WOOD!” “It will still be wood after I paint it,” I said. Noting that it was mine, he gave his blessing.
    When he came home the next day, I’d done the deed. Hubs looked at the secretary in its new glory, said “I don’t not like it as much as I thought I would.” Now it’s the centerpiece of the kitchen, home to cookbooks, vintage linens and antique kitchen tools.
    We’re living happily ever after. 8)

  27. This is a beautiful transformation.

    “Living in a house that looks like this takes its toll. Even on the most potential–seeing person in the world.” <<< I found this statement to be very encouraging.

    I bought my first home about 9 months ago. It needed some minor cosmetic updating, but wasn't purchased as a fixer-upper (it passed a home inspection with flying colors for an older home). Minus some painting, it seemed move-in ready. However, immediately after I moved in, the house turned into a plumbing nightmare; the only bathroom, which had been newly renovated by the previous owner, had to be completely dismantled. It took 4 months to get the plumbing issues corrected and operational. Because it took so much time, money, and energy to have the problems fixed, by the time I was finally able to live in the house, I had lost all the Shiny New Home Owner Excitement & Motivation. For the last 4 – 5 months I have struggled to see the beauty in the mess; living amongst the house-dismantlement-fall-out and feeling paralyzed because I can't fix the cosmetic-y things when/how I envisioned has taken a much greater toll on my emotional well-being than I ever would have imagined.

    Thank you for the reminder that these things just take time sometimes & there is hope.

    Could I make a request? I feel kind of silly asking this in a blog format of people I don't know, but could y'all pray for my home? That I would see the beauty in the ashes & that my home would be a reflection of God's goodness & a blessing to others?

    • Oh my, sweet lady I wish I could pour you a cup of tea and chat. Having gone through something similiar eight years ago, I can painfully relate! I will certainly pray for you and your new home

      • Thanks, Jenny :) I really appreciate it & it’s comforting to know you can relate.

        • Carly, I read your comments and nearly cried …been there,done that, and still doing it! Yes, I will pray for you, and would you pray for me? I was 6 months pregnant in 1977 with our first child when my husband informed me that we were buying a house on the same street as his mom and dad. I was totally opposed as the house did not have a basement and small bedroom closets (4 ft. wide). But buy it we did, and I consoled myself with the belief that it would be our “starter” home, and my dream home was down the road. We did a few minor updates…money was tight since I was by then a stay at home mom, working part-time. The house was built in 1956 and the kitchen counters were turquoise…I was able to change them to butcher block before hubby left me in 1989 for someone he favored more than me. He did give me the house, and since I was unemployed for several months and knew that renting would be more costly than my $207 monthly house payment, I stayed where I was. I was a single mom for 11 years until I met a marvelous man and married him in 2000. He was paying college tuition for his two children so we planned to wait until that obligation was met and then start looking for a home for us ….probably around 2004. But then 9/11 happened…. and the company I worked for suffered…and my job went down the tube in 2003. Five months later I was able to land a job but at nearly $4 less on the hour from my previous hourly pay. The dream house was farther down the road. I have now been in my present job 12 years, and my salary has only increased by $1000. BUT, in this economy, I feel fortunate to even have a job. Circumstances happen, and the dream house is now totally out of sight. My husband retires next year, and I retire in 2017….to even think of selling our house and buying another now would mean house payments during retirement years…a ludicrous idea. So I need prayers to be able to accept the fact that I live in a house that my ex picked out…a house I didn’t want to buy…a house with closets 4 ft. wide, and a laundry room that can only be accessed by going outdoors to a utility room. Do I have days filled with anger and resentment? Absolutely! We are being honest here, aren’t we? Yet I know God has taken care of me all these years, and He will continue to do so. I’ve given up on the dream house…there comes a time when reality has to be faced. So we definitely live in a fixer upper and have had more than our share of plumbing problems. Our kitchen is 18 ft. long with 32 cabinet doors….the original cabinets…metal with metal drawers. I’m not exactly into the Retro look, so I have yearned for a major kitchen redo for years. When we began pricing new cabinets…well, it was obvious it wasn’t going to happen (over $20,000 just for cabinets). And then a funny thing happened. We visited former President Eisenhower’s home in Gettysburg, and discovered that when the house was built in the late 50’s …they installed the same kitchen cabinets as we have. So in trying to accept my circumstances I have to keep a sense of humor—-every morning I walk into our kitchen and proclaim “If it’s good enough for Ike and Mamie, then it’s good enough for me”. You gotta have a sense of humor! So I will pray for you, and you can pray for me as we both try to see the beauty in our ashes.

  28. Love the lightness of the white and gray floors.! Just a few thoughts here – why not place the tall plant on the dresser under the hanging basket on the wall next to door?…that spot could use some greenery. And maybe add some big dark painted hooks (3 above and 3 below) on the wall space next to the stacked machines and remove the standing coat rack and just leave the round basket underneath. It would definitely clear up some much needed floor space leading into the kitchen door. In the pics that particular space it seems, at least to me, a tad bit cluttered between the white chair, tree bark, round basket and standing rack all within so close proximity of each other.

  29. Esther @denofsix says

    Another great post! Love the transformation

  30. Your blog has been such an inspiration to me and my home! I love the way you encourage everyone to embrace what they have, even if it isn’t perfect. I just wrote a post about an old house we lived in for a year ,that I spent the entire time hating. Looking back, I realize now that that house was special and I missed it. Thanks for always being so authentic!

  31. I just love you. That is all.

    Well, that’s not quite all. I also love the fact that you cannibalized the wood from the walls in the addition to create your kitchen floor. I think you found the highest and best use for that wood! And now that addition looks smashing with its bright white walls. I like the fact that the whole thing looks great but is also unashamedly utilitarian. Funny how sometimes we try to make our useful spaces look like something they’re not instead of being glad that we have them to be exactly what they are. Does that make sense?

    Okay, now, I’ll say it again. I love you. And that really is all.

  32. I love this transformation! Love it. I’m glad you are showing us how to live in the middle instead of waiting for just right or exactly how you want it. You’ve taught me well, Nester! :-) Also, I forgot you busted down walls for the kitchen reno; so, that was neat to see the before and afters of that again.

  33. I absolutely love this space! I love the white! It looks so clean and bright! I also love the little decorations! Great job!

    The Office Stylist

  34. “It always encourages the right person” ! love this! So often we seek to impress or people please ALL. We are to share our lives because we trust the right people will be encouraged by it. I always admire your bravery in all areas of your life. So inspiring! And way to let those wood walls know who was boss of the house. ;)

  35. Barbara Mawdsley says

    It looks great. You inspired me to change out two ugly light fixtures. I feel so much better.

  36. I love all the changes you are making. Your home is going to be so amazing when it is finally all finished. Then what will you do?

  37. This post is total eye-candy and soul-candy. It’s so fun to see a space transformed and so refreshing to see that it doesn’t have to be perfect or even ideal to be so much better than it was. We’re currently house hunting and most everything we can afford in the area we’re looking has flooring issues. I needed to see the power of paint!!!

  38. Don’t get me wrong, I love wood but who could deny how beautiful this looks in all white?! I would stop drinking Dt. Coke to have walls like this (I’m actually in the process of trying to plank and panel every wall in our new house!) You have done a beautiful job so far!

  39. Whew! I know how good it must feel to get those small (but cumulatively big) irritants out of your brain. I am still waiting for my man to build 2 corner cabinet doors on our otherwise finished kitchen remodel. Seeing those things everyday wears a girl down subconsciously. I see you got a new hutch bottom with butcher block and moved the old one to the porch. Looks great!

  40. I can’t imagine not having a kitchen for 3 months! God bless you. We lived without a kitchen for 2 days so that we could stain and seal our wood floors – and I had a brand new appreciation for families who live in their houses during renovation. I do have a 2 year old and 8 month old, as well as 2 teens, so that made it extra challenging … not to mention our house is already snug for 6 people! But anyway, I just had to say that it looks amazing … and I absolutely the painted wood walls. Gorgeous!

  41. We bought our first house six years ago. Our house has a beautiful wood veneered front door with carved patterns and such, but when the inside of our house was painted almond (yuck) before we moved in, the inside of the front door was painted. Less than a year later, my then 1yr old picked and peeled huge chuncks of paint off the inside of the door with relative ease thereby exposing the lovely wood. So we spent months trying to get the rest of the paint off so we could see the wood. But it just wouldn’t all come off, and we decided that it would take sanding and maybe even taking the door off the hinges. So for nearly five years, we have lived with the partially painted front door. Then a yr ago while pregnant with my third child, in a fit, I took white paint and painted my door. Oh joyous clean white. I have watched you paint things white for years and marveled over the transformation and cleanness that results. So I did it. And I’m glad what I done! A good friend walked out my freshly painted door and commented that it was like a portal to a new world. Just 10min and a bit of leftover paint. Thanks for encouraging us to break the rules and paint the wood.

  42. Everything has come together so lovely!! The wood mud room looks amazing!!!!! Such nice work!!


  43. It looks fab! I love white walls too, although I can appreciate the timber. Its just not my style however. I would LOVE to have white wood panelling in my home with raked ceilings, DIVINE! :)

  44. Your remodeling efforts are amazing! It looks lovely. I’m not really up on the latest trends. Are ceiling fans out of style? We have them in all our bedrooms and kitchen and they help so much in the summer. I’m under the impression that they have fallen out of favor. Am I right?

  45. Oh, you always make me laugh and brighten my day. And I love imperfection, and white walls, and eclectic arrangements. That’s why I love visiting your nest. Keep it real – that’s why we love you.

  46. Can you tell me what that door color is? We are working on painting lots of wood trim and replacing baseboards with wider, white ones. I have an orange wood tongue and groove vaulted ceiling I’d love to paint, but I fear the knot bleed through and associated maintenance.

    I really like the paint color on your door and have a great spot in my house for something similar.

  47. Love the look of the white. I’m going to paint the wood in our funky entry after seeing this.
    We have some foundation problems too. Can you tell me what you are planning to do. Ours is an attached porch and is only on piers?

  48. Love the transformation, great job!

  49. I bought a house full of fake wood paneling and when I declared my intent to paint it all, I had pushback from just about everyone–my dad, my uncle, my sisters. “But it’s such a pretty light wood tone,” they all said. But since none of them actually live with me or pay the mortgage I painted it all. Every last scrap of fake wood paneling–five rooms and a hallway’s worth–in whatever colors I wanted and I LOVE it. The uncle that gave me grief about it ended up liking it so much he painted the paneling in the house he had at the time.

    So as you said, you hafta do what’s right for your style…what makes you happy. Personally, I love the look of all that painted wood in your laundry/mud room. It’s so fresh and looks a lot like the painted shiplap that Joanna Gains does so much of on Fixer Upper. ;-)

  50. So encouraged!!!! Thank you! My fixer upper has some similar quirks, and it is very inspiring to know that we’re not alone, and that we can paint those floors – and maybe even our dark (wood paneled) ceilings!

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