A Wall Without Wings


So, that title sounds like it wants to be profound, but also wants to be a Hallmark card. But it makes absolutely no sense.

Walls don’t have wings. They’re not supposed to have wings.

I mean, I guess there could be some walls that have wings. Or pictures of airplanes hanging on them. I don’t know. I haven’t seen all the walls. Except it does make sense.

Let me explain.

Two completely not necessary things I wanted in our new house were a gas stove and, at least, one brick wall.

I got the gas stove, and while I got an entire house encased in brick, I did not get an indoor brick wall.

You might recall, I made a video of my ugly ass kitchen the first week we lived here. I shared pictures of my new counters. I love the changes, but I really wanted that brick wall.

So, I decided to have one.

I bought panels of faux brick and planned to just do the back wall of the kitchen. The ceramic tile goes half way up the wall and there is a door and a small window, not much space, but enough to satisfy my brick wall need.

The white faux brick came in square panels. I tried to attach a whole panel, but my manual dexterity lies between “Sleepy toddler” and “Aged squirrel”.

I pulled the panel down, which destroyed the panel. That’s okay, though. I know how my DIY projects go. I need spares. I was prepared.

The directions said an option would be to cut out individual bricks and apply them that way. I could handle that. One brick at a time? Piece of cake. Then, I wanted cake and there wasn’t any. 

I cut the bricks out and stacked them up. I got my step ladder, started peeling the backs off the bricks, and attaching them to my kitchen wall.

I got the first two rows completed when it dawned on me. My stack of bricks?

They were exactly the same length, width, shape, and color as a maxi-pad.

Nope. Not going there. This is faux brick. Exactly what you wanted. 

I got the wall finished and climbed back down the ladder. I stepped back to check my work.

Yep. I just covered my kitchen wall in maxi-pads. 

I took a few deep breaths and tried to quell my panic. I jumped right to my go-to for all failed projects, which is: Fuck it. Cover it in glitter.

No. no no no. That never works. It hasn’t worked even once. And this is the kitchen. But don’t worry. It can be fixed. Probably. Maybe. Don’t go buy glitter. Do you really think glitter covered maxi-pads would be an improvement?

My mother and my sister were due at my house to do some finishing work in our bedroom and office. Both rooms had a significant gap between the hardwood floor and the baseboards. Mom and baby sister put some quarter round down. It looks so much better now, you guys. It felt so dirty with that gap and now everything feels clean.

Well, except for the cat hair dust bunnies. 

They took a look at my sanitary napkin project and were kind.

“Oh…okay. Well, let’s think about this.”

“Yeah, you need to at least paint them.”

“At least they’re not pads with wings.”

So, while they were finishing off the baseboards, I painted my faux brick with the palest shade of gray. And it looked so much better.

Sort of like sanitary napkins, except they were gray.

My mom caulked the quarter round and when she finished, she brought me the caulk tube and suggested I caulk between the bricks to give the appearance of mortar.

You guys, it worked like a motherfucking charm. I mean, I definitely have some finish work to do, but my maxi-pad wall no longer looks like arts and craft day gone terribly wrong. It looks like a brick wall. Any real scrutiny is going to turn up a plethora of flaws, but I don’t think my wall brings to mind sanitary napkins at all anymore.

I can’t wait to finish everything and take a video. I wish so badly I had recorded the whole house before we started working on it.

I got my brick wall. Kind of.

And the gas stove? Well, we haven’t used the oven since we got the new counters because the pilot had to be turned off and we can’t figure out how to light it. It’s an old stove and we can’t find anything online. We can light the burners with a lighter, but the stove is right out.

Still, I got the two things I wanted.

Except the brick isn’t real and the oven doesn’t work.

In less than two weeks, my tile will be white and the little dutch girl and the windmills will be gone. My baby sister is appalled. It’s the original tile from 1952 and she thinks it should be preserved. Hahaha. No. It’s horrible.

Now, all I have to do is sand and paint all the cabinetry before they come to glaze the tile.

My back, shoulders and elbow will never forgive me.

I can handle a little pain, though. My kitchen isn’t finished yet. It will be at least another month. Maybe longer for the new floor. But when it is finished, it’s going to look better than I hoped. I’m reasonably sure of this.

If any of you decide you want to put faux brick on your walls and need advice? Send me an email. I literally did everything wrong. I made mistakes so you don’t have to.

I’m not good at many things, but I excel at being a cautionary tale.


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  • That’s how I feel about everything I do. I end up thinking everybody else is going to make the same connection that really, only I am actually going to make, and it drives me nuts. Or else, yeah, maybe it really did look like that to everyone in your case. Either way, if you’ve got to live with it, it’s good your mother had a brainstorm.

  • I don’t know how or when I subscribed to your blog but I’ve been deleting it from my emails forever it seems- along with all the junk mail I get with no time to read. I just happened to open yours this week to see what it’s all about and girl-you are hilarious! Now I’m sad I haven’t been reading you all along! I can totally relate to your remodeling adventures…especially since I’m in the midst of painting every wall in our recently purchased 1960’s home!

  • Lot of work but sounds great. I inherited one side of a duplex and the renters did real brick and mortar on a wall in the kitchen. Not done well. It was not a positive selling point. The mortar was about 4 inches thick and had many drip spots!

  • Very nicely done. You are a great worker!! Respect.
    Put a big bowl with glittery pine cones on your new counters.
    I can’t wait for the video.
    I’m sad about the Dutch girl too…

  • So does this mean your back is feeling better?
    I had wings on my wall when I came home from the hospital, as Brenda had painted a butterfly on there, and really, butterflies are mostly wing.
    I’m not very good at placing things one at a time and getting them to be even, so in my mind you deserve props for that.
    And living in the Bay Area, I try to avoid living with brick walls, or as they are referred to by earthquake scientists, “unreinforced masonry” whenever possible. That warehouse space where Brenda painted the butterfly had the external walls retrofitted after the ’89 quake, which toppled the freeway literally behind the building, and the reinforcements were never very confidence inspiring to look at…
    There should be a button under the stove, usually red or blue, that you hold down for 90 seconds after you light the little pilot flame with with one of those BBQ lighters or a long match, and than let go, and if it stays lit, you’re good, if not, try again.

    • I can’t find where it lights, much less a button. Damn. I will look again.

      My back isn’t better, better…but it is a lot better. I had to redo a bunch of my caulk and I’m not quite finished. As soon as my back started to twinge, I stopped and was fine. I just can’t ignore the signs that it’s acting up.

      • I just looked it up and it seems that a lot of ranges don’t have the button thingie. So just follow the gas line and there should be a smaller one that ends in a pilot. As to where it is, they said either in front under the broiler, or in the rear under the oven element.
        Chances are that if it doesn’t work, it’s blocked (read that dirty) and can be made to work again with a little cleaning.

        • Ahhh…thank you SO MUCH. Follow the gas line. I think I can handle that. And as far as it being blocked goes, that is a possibility. Everything else in this house was filthy.

  • You’re an inspiration. Seriously. Although I believe you’re better at DIY than you give yourself credit for (mainly because you really are better at a lot of things than you give yourself credit for) your determination is really inspiring. Your bricks may be faux but the effort you’ve put into it is very, very real.

  • Is the picture the actual brick you used? Because it looks very nice! I’m just happy you didn’t paint it red. Can’t wait to see all the befores and afters, especially considering what you started with!

  • I’ll take your ‘cautionary tale’ status and raise you a ‘never do that again.’
    That’s how some…. most… of my projects go, so I am applauding and praising the team effort that turned your plain wall into soothing grey bricks.
    I also seem to get exactly what I want…with a sprinkling of caveats.

    It’s like the Universe knows better than to completely deprive us, but wants to see just how badly we really want it 😉

    We will need a virtual house warming… you can take us, room by room via video, and we can have cocktails and even smoke while we take the grand tour and post real time comments 🙂

    Nice ending, Luv 🙂 Congratulations!!

By Michelle

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