The Glorious Whitewasher

Bob’s new living room ceiling uses tongue-and-groove barnboard we recycled from demolishing the walls. He’s aiming for a rustic look, so we can use knotted and chipped pieces no problem. But to give the barnboard new life (and to contrast the ceiling with the dark exposed timber joists), we’re whitewashing the boards before we install them.

Last week we exhausted our meager supply of whitewash, which brought our ceiling-building operations to a standstill. So early this week I swung by Bisbee’s (the local hardware store) to pick up a fresh supply of white pickling stain. Then I spent most of an afternoon whitewashing as many salvaged boards as we could find. I stained one side of each board as well as each tongue, in case it shows through a broken groove. Instead of a paintbrush or roller, I used a pad slightly wider than the 5-inch-wide barnboard, and the job went pretty quickly. I arrayed the pieces against a couple walls to dry.

Painting station in the living room, with whitewashed barnboard drying against the wall.

Painting station in the living room, with whitewashed barnboard drying against the wall.

But do we have enough barnboard to finish the ceiling? My calculations indicate no. Bob thinks he can find the same product new, and he’ll pick up the remainder sometime soon.

Quantity calc. (I've retrogressed to doing math on paper rather than on lumber.)

Quantity calc. (I’ve retrogressed to doing math on paper rather than on lumber.)

Several non-whitewashed elements are also popping into existence. Hans and Mark framed out the new shower upstairs as well as the remaining walls of the spare bedroom. In addition, they started sheathing a storage nook that Bob will access from the basement stairs. Looks great!

The storage nook takes shape.

The storage nook takes shape.

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