Trimmed-Out Living Room

Who: Kelly and Clay Rankin
Where: Waynesboro, Va.

Homeowners Kelly and Clay Rankin are a match made in remodeler’s heaven: He’s a mechanical engineer and she’s an interior designer. It works like this, per Kelly: "We both come up with ideas, then he builds it and I paint it." And so it went when they decided to add character to the plain living room walls of their 1960s ranch. "We wanted something that would add dimension," says Kelly. They started with a simple stile-and-rail wainscoting made by nailing 1×2 vertical slats directly to the wall and topping them with 1×3 strips accented with decorative chair-rail molding. The whole assembly, which approximates the look of pricey recessed wood paneling, rests on a chunky 1×8 baseboard. Kelly worked out the slat spacing by inputting the room’s dimensions, window and door openings, and existing electrical outlets into a computer-assisted design program. Next on their list was crown molding and casing for a double-wide passageway to the adjoining hallway; the sides are 1×4 and the top is 1×6. They brightened a corner of the room by hanging a stained-glass chandelier, giving the space a dual purpose by designating a distinct area for a dining table and chairs. And in a slight change of the normal pattern, it wasn’t the interior designer who chose the warm autumnal hue for the upper walls—it was the engineer. Kelly agreed with the choice wholeheartedly. "I love fall colors," she says. "They’re timeless."
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