Decorating an enormous, blank wall is often a challenge for anyone, even designers. Interior designer Haden Long and her husband, Brady, were faced with this challenge—specifically 1,000 square feet of blank drywall—when opening Ellecor Design & Gifts (2144 E. Republic Rd., Springfield, 417-720-2602, ellecordesign.com), an eclectic design and gift store in Farmers Park. To break up the space, they decided to create several wooden wall features.
The inspiration came from vignette pieces Haden saw while at market in Las Vegas. Vendors had displays on rollers and used them to separate items into 1,520-foot spaces. The Longs took the idea in a different direction by inventing wooden structures designed to distinguish space while making a bold statement on the blank walls of their business.
Haden says the wall features are not only aesthetically appealing, they’re versatile and practical. “The nicest thing about them is they finish off a space without you having to have a bunch of art,” she says. The creation itself can function as a piece of art, or as a one-of-a-kind background to other pieces. One Ellecor client has a recreated form of the display used as a headboard. Another client uses a version to hang a deer mount. It can also be used as a collage wall, a place to hang the television or even a rustic backdrop for wreaths. Depending on the wood and stain used, the look can fit in almost any home. If a rustic look isn’t your thing, add a coat of paint in whatever color suits your taste.
If you love the look and you’re up for creating the piece for your own home, you’re in luck. Brady, who shares step-by-step directions on the following page, says the construction is fairly simple, and a 10-by-9-foot piece can be designed in about eight hours. But probably not if you’re building it all by yourself. The work, while doable, does require an extra set of hands, especially if making a larger piece. The wood is extremely heavy.
1. Choose your wood. Brady used maple and poplar. Choose something that has the look and character you want. You can use equal or varying widths. Buy a little more than you might need.
2. Sand the wood just enough to smooth any roughness that might cause splinters.
3. Lay out pieces to determine exactly how you want them to look on the wall. Stagger the lengths, and the widths if desired.
4. Using a tape measure and saw, cut a couple of small scrap pieces equal to the space you want between the horizontal boards. These will serve as spacers when hanging the wood.
5. Apply finish. Brady used natural Danish oil and wiped it on with a rag. Do this before hanging the wood.
6. Also before hanging the wood, locate the studs in your wall using a stud finder.
7. Secure the 2-by-4s vertically to the studs with construction adhesive. Then, add the 3½-inch screws to the 2-by-4s about every foot. (This thing is heavy, so there needs to be plenty of support to keep it from ripping out of the wall.)
8. Have a partner help you hang your horizontal wood pieces. With one person standing on each end, attach the bottom board to the 2-by-4s using an air nailer. Place the spacers you cut on top of this board. Then get the next board, and rest it on the spacers to ensure a correct width between boards. Continue this process until all of the boards are placed where you want.
9. Drill 2-inch screws into the center of the boards on each side for additional security.
10. You’re finished! You can leave the wooden fixture as is or decorate your new wall feature as desired. Hang art on it, use it as a headboard... there are plenty of options.