From Outdated to Show Piece

How one husband/wife team takes DIY to the next level

by Molly Cooper, Cooper & Co.

When you think of a lake house, your mind goes to a place of retreat filled with fishing poles and swim suites, light blues and water themed décor and stunning views of the lake from the back porch.

What my customers had was all together different, well except for the lake views, but the dream they had for their vacation home was exactly the same, and they knew they could make it a reality.

The main living area, complete with popcorn ceilings and dark paneling walls, foggy sliding doors and drab brick make for a less than appealing lake home.

Cooper & Co LogoI first met the Dennards over the 4th of July holiday weekend in 2019. They stopped in to look at some tongue and groove and stain options for some up coming project they had. Over the course of the next two years, don’t forget the pandemic that threw a wrench into their timeline, they have surely outdone themselves, working on the home on the weekends for the most part by themselves. After meeting them, they had me come out and look at the home a short time after that to possibly give ideas on stain colors, where the tongue and groove might go and layouts of furniture.

They were well on their way in the remodel of the home, which in all honesty, had been outdated for years. A mid-century modern, tucked into the trees on the banks of Dale Hollow Lake, wasn’t something you often saw, but this husband/wife duo was surely bringing It back to life. From ripping out drywall and all the insulation to rerouting drywall and adding in new electric fixtures, there is almost nothing this couple hasn’t tackled themselves.

Installing the tongue and groove is not for the faint of heart in this home, the scaffolding required for this project kept going up and was surely not for those scared of heights.

This home has a very large feel with soaring ceilings that was once covered in the ever dreaded “popcorn finish” and windows to enhance the views, their lake home dream is coming along nicely. They have added new tongue and groove lumber to the ceilings in the main living and foyer areas and using Permachink stain products to bring the beauty of the wood to life, beautiful is an understatement. We decided to go with “Light Natural” by Permachink to give the home a nice clean and not to dark feel, like what they had ripped out during demo.  They love the look of wood and bringing earth tones inside to give it a nice cozy touch.

With newly painted walls and the ever-popular shiplap wall covering finished off in a bright white, the old drab brink was screaming for attention. They decided to remove the stove you see in the picture above and the brick hearth, but really love the idea of a focal wall, so the brick stayed with the intention of doing some type of finishing treatment. After much research and debate on which we all preferred, an old technique known to many as “German Schmear” won out.

According to Google and a host of educational YouTube videos, “German smear mimics the look of irregular stones and heavy mortar joints, a style often found on centuries-old cottages and castles throughout northern Germany. The technique is akin to whitewashing bricks, but instead of using diluted latex paint, homeowners coat the brick with a layer of wet mortar”.

This was such a fun project, one that I, nor the homeowner, had never executed but always wanted to try, there wasn’t any rhyme or reason to how we did it other than applied wet mortar into the brick joints and smeared it around. After finishing a section, we used a tile sponge and took some back off of random bricks to expose more of the surface.  It wasn’t difficult and lots of fun and something I will surely tackle again.

“German Schmear” brings new life to an “old” brick wall and gives new texture as well.

From old paneling, popcorn ceilings, dark drab walls, and old brick, to fresh drywall and paint, nicely stained wood ceiling and German Schmear brick accent wall, this home is truly shaping up to become the dream lake home. While they aren’t quite finished just yet, they are so close, and they are so excited to finally enjoy their nice, beautifully remodeled lake home retreat.

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