Master Makeover

It’s true. I’m obsessed with wainscoting. Just can’t get enough of that deliciously delicious stuff.

If you have any doubt, I give you our last house. Remember the accent wall behind our bed, where we popped up some board & batten for $20 buckaroos?

Twenty Dollar Board and Batten

Oh, and then, of course, we had to do the closets, too.

Board and Batten Trim on Closets

And naturally, once we’d added some swank treatment to these bad boys, we had to cap things off in our little upstairs loo.

Installing Toilet against knee wall

So of course, when it came time to updating this home, my first instinct was to grab our $20 piece of plywood, and start making the magic happen. Alas, we had a small hiccup that prevented our cheap-mc-master treatment from happening in our new joint. See these chunky beautiful baseboards? Well we realized that in order to do the same treatment we’d done before, that we’d have to rip those beauties out. I don’t know about all of you, but that didn’t sound terribly appealing to me, since replacing it would cost upwards of $200 a room. Ouch.

Thick Baseboards

So, in the name of making our lives easier, I started to think of some alternate star treatment I could add to this room. And ladies and gentleman, it looks like this.

DIY Wainscoting

I seriously feel like our bedroom is legitimately swankified now. I just go in there now and stare at the walls and think to myself – dddaaannnnggg girl, that’s one swank room you sleepin’ in! Granted, this project has been moving slower than we anticipated so these photos are not true afters, since we still have to caulk, and add a bit more paint to touch places up. Hopefully I’ll have a full reveal up next week, but for now, this post will show you the in’s and outs of how to install this look.

Before we started our wainscoting treatment, we did a quick round of painting to get the trim from cream, to white and bright.

Adding Accent Wall

See how grungy it looked before? Cream trim, just not my jam.

Painting Wainscoting

We searched far a low for trim that would work, and in the end, we landed up using exterior molding that was a whopping $2 and change per 8′ piece at Lowes. Definitely by far, the cheapest piece of trim we could find. More than anything, we wanted to find something that was not very thick, since we didn’t want the trim to look abnormally large up on the wall in comparison to the existing trim. We also liked the slight detail on this trim, which gave it some extra interest aesthetically.

Best Trim for Wainscoting

We tested out a few different options, and in the end, we decided that we wanted to have a border of 1 3/4″ around the entire rectangle. So Jay went and cut a stash of rectangles, so that we could pop some up and see how we liked it once installed.

Word to the wise – cutting these suckers took way longer than we expected. It was a super simple miter cut (to create the corner) but I think we underestimated the amount of these things we’d have to do in this room.

Adding Wainscoting to Trim

When he came back upstairs to install them, we had this. Two smaller one’s for up top, and longer ones for the vertical pieces. Now, this step is going to be determined solely on the dimensions of your space, and how much spacing you want between the trim and the edge.

How to Add Wainscoting

Another tricky part for us, was deciding the size of the rectangle. In the end, we decided to find our smallest “normal” section of wall (i.e. not close to a door, or window, where the wall is very narrow) and use that as our general size template for the rest of the room.

Here is the first one going up on that smallest panel. We loved the size, so we decided it was a solid move, and proceeded on with the rest of the install.

DIY Wainscoting

We tried to make each wall as symmetric as possible – trickier than you’d first imagine. For instance with this window bay, we decided to install a rectangle centered on the back wall, and then wrap the sides, to keep things looking as aligned as possible.

DIY Wainscoting

Here is an after shot of how that front panel turned out. We still plan to come back through and caulk and paint some more, so I’ll have true before and after shots (with PAINT on the wall!) next week!

DIY Wainscoting

Not bad, right? We had to make a few of those executive decisions, and in the end, I’m pretty darn happy with how everything looks.

With one week until move-in, we’re hoping to finishing painting this weekend, so that we can start cleaning this space up and get it ready for moving some furniture over!

Laundry Looker

Oh, ya know that corner of your house that just kinda sits there and collects dust. And crap. And dirty underwear. That would be our laundry room. A cold, messy room full of long forgotten articles of clothing and 90% empty bottles of bleach. Yes, not anything to toot your horn about and thus, never highlighted on this little blog o’ mine.

Now I have a dream of having a legit-sauce laundry/mud room with warm wood floors and matching pretty little high efficiency front loading washer and dryer. How about them apples?

Laundry Room

Ohhh, how my heart longs for that day. I mean I might actually DO the laundry if I had a room like that. With a glass of Merlot in hand, me thinks, that room is just too classy to not be sipping on some wine. Alas … today is not that day.

Today looks more like this.

Laundry Room Messy

Like a dumping ground. A little of this, a little of that. Not the most functional room. Plus, it was cold and dreary. And had borders of flowers and random paint sampling’s up on the wall.

Oh, and stenciled watering cans. It had that, too.

Flower Border

See when we painted the basement bathroom a few months back, I thought I could sample the color up on the laundry room wall, since the rooms were right next to each other and I had extra paint on my roller – might as well, right? Thing is, with the poor lighting in this room it looked kinda purple. So I nixed the idea, but we’ve had some psychedelic walls happening in this joint ever since.

So, with the house going on the market, we started to brainstorm and think of ways that we could make the space a bit more spicy. And our budget … Nothing, nada, free, zero. More than anything we really just wanted to make sure the room wasn’t offensive, so we figured the best strategy was to work with what we got. First stop – board and batten, baaabbbyy.

If y’all haven’t figured out that I have a hard core penchant for board and batten accent walls, than ya just don’t know me my friends. Out came the table saw and some white paint. It was trimming time!

Board and Batten DIY

We had some leftover wood, so we figured, what the hey. Might as well pop that bad boy up and call it good. While we had the white paint out we also decided to tackled our lima bean green door. It’s at these moments when I ask myself why we didn’t paint this door earlier. Srrrioussly.

Updating Laundry Room

And ya know, after we had some neutral paint up in there and cleared all that clutter, things were looking better! But, well, still missing something, right? Clean, but not mean. We’re going for fierce over here.

Cleaning up the Laundry Room

So, we honed in on some final details. And given our freebie budget, we thought it would be a good idea to attempt to raid our household supplies versus reinvent that wheel. So, remember the plush flooring we added underfoot in our attic? Well given all the nooks and crannies we had in the space, we had lots and lots of scrap left over. And after thinking about it for a hot second, we thought, ya know, why not slap that stuff down in the laundry room? It’s free, and it certainly looks better than the cement we had rocking the joint before.

Carpet Remnant

And with some cutting and trimming, we had ourselves a nice cushy floor underfoot. Purrfect.

After moving all our shelving and storage out, the room was feeling mighty empty. Cushy, but empty. So in the spirit of getting things done we decided it was time to cheat. How you may ask? By staging this joint, aka by buying something, keeping those tags right on it, and returning it right after this little house of ours sold. I figure it can either look good sitting at the store waiting for someone to buy it, or it can look good sitting in the corner of my laundry room. I chose the later.

So we hopped on down to Homegoods and found this little beauty. Small enough to fit in our little nook, but large enough to fill out the space a bit more and simulate the look for storage in the laundry area for all the buyers we’d have trouncing through the house. Awwww snap. That’s down right perfect.

Homegoods for staging

But alas, once we got it in, we had another problem. Gazing up we noticed our water shut-off lines were rather unsightly. Just a big old hole on the side of the wall. Uggglllyyy.

Covering up water lines

So keeping with our I don’t wanna spend a dime theme, we started searching around the house to see how we could recycle something chillaxin in another location and re-purpose it in the laundry room. And lookie what I found. A big old poster of purty little butterflies. Previously smattered above our computer, now smattered above our water lines.

Large Butterfly Poster

Ahhh yessss. Me likey. That is one nice looking butterfly montage hanging out there. Added bonus, it adequately covers up those water supply lines, too. In our further searching, I started to get in my head that it might be kinda cute to pop our laundry basket up on the wall, for some more free art. Well nearly free. .99 art 😀

Best Thrift Stores

Dang. I’ve been using this laundry basket since my college days, so I consider a 7 year run for .99 cents pretty stinking good. And although it’s certainly no Monet, it looks better than the bare wall we we’re rocking prior.

Hanging Basket on Wall

Plus, any time we need to fold our freshly laundered clothing, we’ve got that basket just chillin’ like a villain up on the wall. The best of both worlds.

And although this room is still very, very rough, it’s staged enough that I think it meets our goal of being non-offensive. Oh, and all painted garden implements are now washed away from our wall. Sa-weeet!! And, our only cost. Ummm … nada, nothing. Leftover paint, leftover art, borrowed furniture. Now that my friends, is how to stage that house and get it sold. YES.

Budget Laundry Room



Batting Eyelashes at Our New Board & Batten

Every once and a while, I come across a new project that I know will be a back pocket move for ever and eternity. Like your favorite song or your Mumzie’s meatloaf, there are some things that are ok to come back to time after time. This board and batten project falls into that category. Thanks to our nail gun (purchased last spring) and our spankin’ brand new table saw (best. tool. ever), this project was super fast, super easy and super cheap. Like $20 cheap. Whoaaaaa nelly.

Here is the wall we started out with in the attic.

Accent Wall in Bedroom

We had a few ulterior motives for boarding and battening the heck outta this room. Mainly, a lot of the seams were a wee crooked. Remember when I said that the first drywall installer was kinda crappy? Well, let’s just say it was a wee obvious once we finished priming. In the end, it didn’t land up being a big deal, since we were able to essentially use the top trim piece to cover up our drywallers boo boo. Like my elementary art school teacher use to say – when you mess up – just make it look intentional and make something out of it. Advice heeded.

First, I’d like to start out by introducing you to my new best friend. The Ryobi Table saw. Lurrve it.

Ryobi Table Saw

This bad boy set us back $120, but it’s almost paid for itself in savings from the first project alone. We priced out the cost to buy trim (vs. cut it ourselves) and right there we were pretty much cost neutral.

One caveat. Table saws are hella dangerous. It scared the bejesus out of me just helping my main squeeze with this thing – so word to the wise – watch your fingers ever so closely when using this beast.

How to use table saw

Our first step in this project was to take the plywood boards we purchased ($20 each at Home Depot) and cut out a bunch of 3″ strips. We knew that we wanted to make a square board and batten pattern (like this), and 3″ seemed like a reasonable width for each piece. For our wall, which is 16′ x 5′, we only needed on 8×4 board, cut into strips.

This is what your strips should look like after you’re done. Nice and long and lean. 😀

DIY Board and Batten

Our first step after cutting was to add trim pieces along the top and the bottom. We knew we’d need this border no matter what, so it provided an easier first step where we didn’t have to worry quite yet about what size we wanted to make the square, etc.

Adding Board and Batten

Once we had the top and the bottom boards up, we had an executive decision to make. How big to make those squares. Now, you’ve got some obvious limitations on height, so we just took the straight forward route on that one and split the difference between the top and bottom trim piece.

To get our horizontal dimension, we measured across the length of the wall and then we had to do some math. Ugghh. Since each strip added 3″ to each section, we had to account for that as well. After we had a rough idea of the number of squares we’d be looking at, we took a pen to the wall and jotted a line where each vertical strip would go. Since this measurement was a bit more complicated, it definitely took a bit longer on this step, but well worth it to avoid any snafus as we went along.

Adding Casing to Wall

We also pulled out our trusty level to assist with the installation of the middle section. We had the floor and ceiling to help guide the install of the top and bottom border, but with this section, we had to use the level to help guide our placement.

Voila – fancy pants.

How to install board and batten

After this baby was up, we were ready to finally add our vertical lines and complete our board and batten squares. Now, as a reference point, we installed a similar board and batten trim in our basement entry, and I have to tell you that this one was SO much easier with our handy nail gun. Plus, everything looks so much better since you don’t have to worry about a hammer dinging up your trim.

DIY Board and Batten

Here is how it looked after we had all the boards up. Can you see where these is headed? Bootiful.

Square Board and Batten

And after a coat of paint, things are looking mighty classy in this joint. I’ve basically told the hubster that we’re hearby installing this in every single house we ever live in until eternity. Just can’t beat the class act punch you get for the moolah. I’d say it’s $20 well spent. 😀

Square Board and Batten

And a few more close up shots, since I can’t get enough of this stuff 🙂

Twenty Dollar Board and Batten

We also popped some up in our bathroom! Love the detail it adds to this tiny little space! We’re working on laying the tile tonight, so I’ll have some shots of that action later this week.

Board and Batten in small bathroom

Anyone else out there tackled board and batten? It’s definitely my new favorite project!