Friday, November 8, 2013

Revealing the Nursery

It is finally done!  Our little one will be here December 10th, and his room is all ready for him.  His mother and father on the other hand...not so sure.
Compared to the empty dingy room that was there when we moved into the house the nursery is now bright, colorful, and simply modern.  {And compared to when we moved in my belly is 15" larger...hello baby.}
As you know I'm not one for over accessorizing...sure it looks great in a magazine photo, but not practical for my life. I have better things to do than spend hours dusting a bunch of little items!  The wall shelves provide just enough stylizing for me.  I also liked being able to reuse those which have been sitting in a closet since we moved.  (From Target back in 2006 - used in my college exit show!)
The little silver items on the shelves are from my mother-in-law.  On the L shelf is a little silver cup she had engraved when my husband was born with his name and birthday.  On the W shelf is a matching pewter cup she had engraved with L-Dubs first name as well as a pewter rattle. 
The glider and the crib are my favorite purchases.  I decided not to compromise on what I wanted for those two items.  The glider is West Elm and the crib is Babyletto, but I purchased locally at New Baby Products since they had it in stock, and it's always good to support local business!  I love my little aqua rolling cart by the crib and glider.  Perfect for stashing extra swaddle blankets and burp cloths as well as the sound machine and monitor.  
The art wall is the bane of my existance...okay not really.  I just cannot ever be happy with these type of projects because I know what I really wanted, but could not justify spending over $400 for it all.  So...other than the vintage camera sculpture art it is all DIY...the center one is actually a wallcovering strike-off from work...The art above the crib was also DIY.  Another truly devastating compromise was the dresser.  Well maybe not devastating, but certainly annoying.  It is super hard to find dressers between 50-58" wide!  All the ones I loved were over 60" and that wouldn't fit between the bedroom door and the closet door...I thought my life was over.  Perhaps that was the hormones...  
For some of the other items:
Crib Skirt & Glider Pillow DIY - Info to Come
Now all the nursery needs is the baby!!  

Friday, October 18, 2013

DIY Blackout Lined Drapery Panels

Hooray for Friday!  As I'm approaching 33 weeks preggo on Sunday the overwhelming exhaustion has certainly found a way into my everyday life.  (As in I thought I posted this last Friday and JUST realized I did not!)  I could seriously do nap time everyday, but there is no time for that!  Maybe I'll give in to that in a couple more weeks...I've been told I should get my sleep now since I won't EVER SLEEP AGAIN....well that's an exaggeration.  Eventually, maybe...when he is grown up, out of the house and married I may be able to sleep again.

On to other things like an almost completed nursery!  A few weeks ago you had a sneak peak at the window treatments with the non-DIY roman shades.  Initially I was going to have custom ones made, but I realized Pottery Barn sold ones very similar to what I wanted for only $148 per window.  I couldn't pass that up.  I considered only having these shades as the window treatment; I love the simplicity of it.  However, given my window condition there is a lot of light leak along the sides of the window.  I opted to add drapery panels to the side.  There is a lot of talk about not having full length drapery panels in nurseries, but I will hope for the best.  If this child is like his father then we probably won't have a problem with him swinging from the drapery...if he is like me...well that could be an issue.  50-50 shot, right?
Underside of Pottery Barn Roman Shade Showing Mechanism

Why stop at just a drapery panel?  I though I should go ahead and make it a blackout lined drapery panel...really should have done this project before my belly expanded 12".  I could have done this as a video DIY and provided everyone with a laugh as I attempted to crawl around on the floor to lay this out and iron over the hems.  This also would have been good to do before furniture went into the nursery since that was the only empty room with tons of floor space to lay out the fabric; while this is a relatively easy project it is a lot of fabric to deal with! 

First you will want to have a space (the floor or a very large table) that you can lay out the fabric.  My drapery fabric is from Premier Prints, so the 54" fabric is actually 55" wide edge to edge. The blackout fabric is from Hobby Lobby and is 53" wide which gave the perfect 1" overlap on each side.  After ironing the chevron fabric and cutting the length I needed I laid it face down on the floor.  I determined the length by ceiling height + 2" double turned bottom hem + 1" double fold top hem + 5" double fold top for drapery pole pocket.
Fabric face down plus blackout lining face up

A double fold hem is when you simply fold over the fabric and stitch.  A double turned hem is when you fold over the fabric and then fold it over once more, so you are folding then "turning."  They really should have come up with better lingo for all that!
Stitch Witch in lieu of pinning
Several months ago I did similar sized panels for our master bedroom that were not blackout lined.  It is much easier to lay out the fabric, iron over the hem and then go sew the hem when you are not worried about keeping the lining fabric in place.  Sure a "professional" would pin it in place, but that is a lot of pins poking out everywhere...and this fabric has a white background...and I am a bit of a it seemed like a bad idea.  Light bulb moment!  I'll just use a few strips of stitch witch (or whatever brand you like) to hold it all in place for me to sew the hems. 
Iron all your hems in place; use 4-6" strip of stitch witch every 12-24"
Double Fold Hem Along Sides

At the top of the drapery I cut back the blackout on the portion I will fold over to create the pocket for the pole - no sense in having the extra weight.  Slight warning: given the thickness and weight of the completed panel the pocket style may not have been the best idea...certainly the easiest, but it does not hang as effortlessly as I would like.  I plan to go back and either add grommets or "button holes" to attach drapery hooks...once I don't have this belly in the way!
Top of Drapery Panel
The top is a multistep process.  First I did the same double fold method as the sides and sewed that hem in place along with the other two sides and bottom.  Then I double checked my length by measuring the distance from the floor to the mounted drapery pole in order to determine how much I needed to fold over the top for the pocket.  Once I determined that distance I ironed that fold and did a quick stitch across.  If you are a more experience seamstress then you would do a blind stitch, but I'm not that experienced!  A blind stitch is barely noticeable on the finished side of the drapery as it just slightly grabs the fabric rather than the needle going all the way through the fabric and back to the other side.
Pole Pocket
Next week I should have all the artwork up and I can reveal the COMPLETED NURSERY! 


Friday, October 4, 2013

Electrical Outlets and Switches Perfect for Kids Rooms

Our 1991 house is covered in almond outlets and pole switches.  We replaced just the switch plate covers when we moved in because the almond is so dingy looking.  For the nursery I wanted an illuminated switch, and also placed one of these in our hallway at the top of the stairs. It's nice not to have to feel around in the dark for that switch. {Especially the one at the top of our stairs - I've come close to stepping a bit too far before!}

Tamper Resistant Outlet

The other item we updated from 1990's almond are the duplex outlets.  We used these handy duplex wallplates in other areas of the house when we first moved. Eventually we will replace all our duplexes that are in "kid areas," but for now we focused on the nursery as the practice round. Rather than using those little plastic inserts to protect L-Dubs from electricuting himself, we installed tamper-resistant outlets. The outlets come in a 10-pack at Home Depot for $19.99 plus $5.90 for the 10 pack of wall plates. I did the slightly nicer kind because I like the clean look of the flush face. 
If you have installed a hardwired light before then you can do both of these updates.  If you have common sense than you can also do this!  {If you stink at following instructions, then please leave electrical up to a professional - don't burn down your house.}

First, turn off the power.  You will need to do this at your breaker box.  Just turning a light switch to off does not mean the power is off; electrical current is still running through the wires.  As additional precaution, use a voltage tester to ensure electricity is not running through the wires before beginning work.

Second, remove the face plate and screws from the oulet you are replacing.  When you pull it from the wall it will look like this:

Old Outlet Hanging from Wall - Oh the Dust
Wires at Light Switch (both are black - they just had paint on them from builder)
Grounding Wire on new Light Switch
A typical duplex will have 5 total wires and a typical light switch will have 3.  The important thing to note is the location of the white and black wires in relation to the finish of the screws for the duplex.  This is intentional.  "Hot" wires {which are usually black, sometimes colored} attach to the brass screws {black to brass).  The "neutral" wires {white} attach to the silver screws.  Our new outlets said on the back plate which went to which side, but it is the most critical thing to know here.  Doing this incorrectly is what will send sparks flying.  In addition to the two white and two black wires is the copper grounding wire which attaches to the green screw {ground to green}.  Also, some outlets may have slightly different wiring if the top or bottom outlet is switch operated.  {If you have a light switch that can operate a lamp plugged into that outlet.}  A typical light switch will just have the two black wires and the copper grounding wire.  There will be more wires if you have a light switch that operates more than one light, and that will require a different switch than what I have shown.

Third, once you have made note of how the existing outlet is attached then you can loosen the screws and pull out the wires.  Many outlets have a little hole to push a pin through to "release" the wire, but it takes a bit of a tug as well.  At least to me it was more of a tug than I expected.

Fourth, attach the wires to your new outlet.  Remember: white to silver, black to brass, copper/ground to green.  Do a gentle tug on the wires to ensure they are securely attached, and then push it all back in your wall, re-screw, and add your cover plate.  My new light switch conveniently labled "top" and "botton" on the unit.  Now you are done, so turn back on your power!

Newly Attached Outlet - See Green and Silver Screws

Installed Oulet and Cover

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Nursery Walls Part II: Board and Batten...kinda

Are you excited to see the finished walls?!  And because I forgot to take a non-camera phone photo previously you will also see a sneak peak of our non-DIY window treatments.  You lucky duck.

I absolutely love the fresh, clean and bright feel of this room now.  Do you remember the before?

Nursery Before
To start on this you will want to determine how you want your placement and take precise measurements.  Given my day job contains lots of computer aided drawing and detailing I have our whole house (and yard-to-be) drawn up in AutoCAD...that's normal, right?  Therefore I triple checked the nursery dimensions, updated the drawing, and elevated all my walls to aide in my OCD planaholic personality.  A simple sketch would suffice, too...but why would I just do that?  I later decided to delete the crown moulding - with only 8'-0" ceilings it really limited my options for art sizes, shapes and placement.  Trust me - I did about 10 other elevations playing with art and shelving just to be sure.

Elevation Drawings
We made our trip to Lowe's as my research indicated they had the primed MDF boards at the sizes that best suited our space.  We needed eight 1x3x8's for the vertical (which we would cut exactly in half) and six 1x4x12's for the base and chair rail.  For anyone new to lumber dimensions the width and thickness are NOMINAL sizes.  A 1" thick board is generally 3/4" thick (depending on if it is wood, composite, or MDF).  A 3" wide board is actually 2-1/2" wide and a 4" wide board is actually 3-1/2" wide.  Check out more on that at trusty old Wikipedia: Lumber.

I also picked up: Liquid Nails, caulk, and 1-3/4" long primed finishing nails.  Initally I hoped to use our nail gun, but the longest nail it accomodates is 1-1/4."  In our situation we have the 3/4" thick lumber plus 5/8" thick gypsum board which totals 1.375."  A nail that is 1.25" wouldn't even make it into the studs, and that would be useless.  Note: I was stoked about the primed finishing nails.  I didn't use those when we added trim to thicken up our crown moulding downstairs, so I thought they would be the coolest nails ever for this.  Um, no.  After a few taps with a hammer the primed finish came right off 75% of the nails.  {sad face}

Back when I primed and painting the ceiling, I went ahead and primed the walls and used a coat of the cheaper flat finish ceiling paint as my first coat of white paint where I was installing the batten.  As you increase the sheen level in your paint the price increases as well.  Not that a coat of paint is all that costly, but with the set up and clean up process of painting (the paint trays, the rollers, the brushes) it just made it easy to go ahead this way.
Painting Progress

When making my cuts for the base and chair rail I decided not to overcomplicate things.  With the exception of my one outside corner I butted all my joints together.  Why miter if I don't have to?  If you did not see last week's post about removing base board then check that out here: The Nursery Walls Part I.

Outside corner with mitered edge; inside corner straight - overlapping the perpendicular board
First was the base, second the vertical battens, and last the chair rail.  This is a camera phone photo, so it's a little blurry.  Don't fret - the glider was covered in a canvas crop cloth and plastic drop cloth when all the painting occurred!

And I chose neither of those paint colors! Left: SW6218 Tradewind, Right: SW0019 Festoon Aqua
Now ideally you want to hit studs with your nails...and ideally the duplex outlet isn't DIRECTLY  where you want your center batten...ON ALL FOUR WALLS.  Seriously...shut up.  I just pushed the board I wanted to be centered over and slightly respaced the other boards.  I considered just cutting the board at the outlet, but hey...six one way, half a dozen the other.  Whatever floats your boat.  We hit studs with the base and the chair rail, and then about 30% of our vertical boards.  The rest we are trusting in Liquid Nails and the nails that are just through the drywall. 

Once you have completed attaching all your boards you can caulk away.  Follow the instructions on your caulk to determine how long you need to wait before painting (usually 2 hours).  Since the boards and walls were already primed and the walls already had a coat of paint, I only had one full coat of semi-gloss white paint to do plus a little touch up here and there. 

See...this paint color is kinda in between the other two swatches...SW6477 Tidewater

See that annoying outlet placement?  Oh well.  Speaking of week we can talk about updating our old almond colored duplexes and light switches to white ones.  And just like our walls were so much more than paint...our electrical updates ARE MORE THAN JUST A COLOR CHANGE!  I know you are on the edge of your seat in anticipation...


Friday, September 20, 2013

The Nursery Walls Part I: Removing Base Moulding

Last week I revealed the ceilings of the nursery and hinted at the SO MUCH MORE THAN PAINT work we did on the walls.  I've been seeing stripe wall tutorials out the wazoo lately, so I'm sure that probably crossed your mind.  BUT NO!  That is the feature in the "green guestroom" next to the nursery, so no need to repeat it.  I was inspired by several possible treatments with just a little more flare.

Pinned from a Broken Link via White|Gold Design

Pinned from a Broken Link  via
Ultimately I choose to stay timeless, and go with board and batten.  Nothing but the best for L-Dubs (the tots nickname). Well, semi-board and batten.  True board and batten uses wide "boards" pieced together along the wall with the "battens" being the thin pieces covering the joints of the boards.  The majority of tutorials out in blog land (along with this one) uses only the batten part of the equation.  The added expense of the boards is not necessary in my situation; however it could be a good solution if you are dealing with damaged walls.
Our home was built in 1991, so our first step was to remove the existing builder grade base moulding which has the curved top edge.  A straight top edge is needed for the vertical elements to extend from.  The new base moulding would be just a tiny bit taller than our existing which makes the removal a little easier.  You will need a utility knife, painter's multi-tool like a 5-in-one tool, screw driver, pliers and hammer.  You may also want a pry bar and a small spare piece of wood (about 6-12" long x 4-6" high).  We were able to remove the base without those last two items, but it will depend on how yours was installed.
First, use an blade and cut along the top edge of the existing base and then go back with either a caulk remover tool or a 5-in-one painters tool to remove all the existing caulk.  This is an incredibly important step as you do not want to pull the base off with the gypsum board paper still attached - it could rip all the way up your wall, and that is no fun to repair!  As I removed the caulk with the 5-in-one tool, I pushed the tool between the base and the wall to continue the separation by loosening the nails from the wall.  At times I wedged the screwdriver between the wall and the base board a foot or so ahead of me to help as I pulled the base off.

Loosened Base Moulding
Now that you will not be ripping the paper face off your gypsum board you can really start pulling out that base.  I used the pliers to reach behind the base and loosen the nails from the wall.  I initially tried the pry bar and spare wood method of removing, but the nails were ripping up the drywall.  Sure, it would be covered with the new base moulding, but it was making me cringe to watch it happen.  Most of the base could be pulled about a 1/2" from the wall making it pretty easy to reach in with pliers and continue to loosen the nail.  Once your nails are loosened the base mostly pops right off.  Your corners - where the base is connecting to another run of base - will be the more difficult part.  We had one pesky corner where I grabbed my Dremel saw attachment and cut through the attached corner because it just would not separate.  No pictures of that - no need to see a pregnant lady's hormonally induced moment of rage!  I actually forgot to take photos during most of this demo process, but I did remember a few when installing the batten.

Oh right, most of this was done with my belly looking like this -

A week after this photo we found out his body is in the 61% and head is in the 98%...
Let's hope he evens out towards the 61%.
All the squatting and bending would have been much easier if we tackled this project around the 20 week mark instead of 23ish.  Holy growth spurt.  Oh well, mentally I simply wasn't ready to work on the nursery at that point, but that's a whole other story.
Next week I'll walk through the installation of the battens!  It is a mostly easy process with the exception of one wall of ours that is a little wonky.  Wonky = curves slightly outwards which makes keeping those boards flush a SUPER FUN PROCESS.  Again, may have had a few hormonally induced moments of rage...


Friday, September 13, 2013

Sayonara Textured Ceiling!

There has been a project I have been wanting to try since purchasing our house a little over a year ago.  Fearful is an understatement of why I have yet to tackle this.  First, I thought I'd give it a try in the powder room since it is such a small size.  But that never happened...along with taking the flamestitch wallcovering down in that room, but that is a project for another day {or year}.
A couple weeks ago West Elm began their 15% seating sale, so I pulled the trigger on the glider for the nursery.  With less than a two week lead time the nursery renovation had to begin immediately unless we planned on having the glider hang out in the hallway when it arrived.   Time to go to Home Depot.

We already had some of this KilzPrimer, Sealer and Stain Blocker
You see where I'm headed with this?  This horrid 1990's ceiling was about to meet his end.

Prep 1: Lay down plastic.  And if you do not plan to give your walls a make-over as well than you should cover your walls in plastic, too.  This is a messy and dusty process.
Prep 2: Fill a spray bottle with water.  The room I did is about 10x11, so a basic spray bottle worked well.   The tool I purchased was a life saver.  I know the reviews are mediocre, but I say 5 stars.  It hooked up to the end of the extension rod we use with our paint rollers.  I recommend using a midsized thick plastic shopping bag to attached to the tool - like one from Old Navy or another clothing store.  Not a grocery bag and not a big trash bag.  It doesn't take much before the bag becomes heavy.  Rather than taking off the attached bag and hooking on a new one we just dumped the debris into a large trash bag, and we continued with the process. 

Step 1: You are ready to officially start.  Put on some goggles and a mask and begin working in small sections (about 4 foot x 4 foot).   Spray the ceiling with water, wait about 60-90 seconds, and the begin scraping.  As the tool instructions tell you, apply even pressure.  Surprisingly, it doesn't take much pressure at all for the nasty popcorn to just peel away and fall nearly perfectly into the attached bag.  A little debris misses, but I'd guess 95% goes in the attached bag.  Do not dig into your ceiling - it's more for you to patch and repair later.  You can always go back and squirt more water and do another swipe, but once you pull away a chunk of drywall paper or actual drywall you can't go back!  As your attached bag becomes heavy empty it into a large trash bag - do this often and save your arms the pain.
Texture all Gone!
Step 2: Once you have successfully removed the textured ceiling you are ready to patch, repair and sand as needed.  To me this was the messiest step.  You will probably have a few areas that have a thin layer of texture remaining.  This is where some medium grain sand paper will come in handy.  Do that first and then use spackle to fill any areas where you may have removed chunks of drywall.  I had a few areas at the beginning while I was becoming used to the necessary pressure.  And then some areas at the end when my arms hurt and I was becoming lazy!  Once the spackle dries go back and sand using a fine grit sand paper.  You may also need a small hand tool to scrape any remaining areas of texture particularly around the perimeter of the room or around the rough-ins for electrical or HVAC.
Step 3: I have read so many tutorials on this that skip this step!  If you didn't notice during step 2 this is a dusty process.  That dust is everywhere.  Any surface that you have not covered in plastic needs a good wipe down; especially your ceiling.  I recommend a sponge mop and two buckets of water - a "clean water" bucket and a "rinse bucket" {like the way you should wash a car}.  I emptied the "rinse bucket" 8 times for this tiny room because that is how much dust and dirt came off the ceiling and uncovered walls.  {Certainly you don't want to paint all that into the room permanently!?}

Step 4: Once the ceiling is dry you can begin to prime and paint.  I use Kilz for priming because it's what we use in contract jobs.  Not only does it prime but it seals the surface and most importantly is a stain blocker.  There was a small area of former water damage on this ceiling.  The leak had been fixed long before we moved in the house, but a 2" wide by 5 foot long stain was visible when we removed the popcorn.  The stain blocker element of the Kilz will ensure that will not reappear later.  Of course if a new leak occurred than a new stain would appear.  Do a good even coat of primer, wait the recommended two hours, and then start your first coat of ceiling paint.  We needed a second coat of ceiling paint and a couple touch up areas.

Primed & Painted
And that is all there is to it.  Seems like a lot, but really the priming and painting took the most time.  The prep and scraping took less than an hour and a half, and that was the part I was most fearful about.  In the end, I look up that glorious white ceiling and think, I am so doing this in our master, in the hallway and in the great room!  We've tenatively determine we should do a new space every six months...seems realistic.  Out of all my projects thus far, this is the most rewarding. 

Next week? Onto the walls - it's so much more than a coat of paint, and I LOVE it!

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