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!

 Linking Up:

Friday, September 6, 2013

Making a Come Back

So...been a while.

Life has been pretty busy, and I am not so sure if the blogging thing is really for me.  At least not in the capacity in which I began.    Sure DIY projects can be entertaining to post about, but it is not a subject which I can write solely.  However, I think I will give this another go around as life around this place is changing. 

Initially my departure was a result of long hours at work.  This little venture of creating a "real" design arm within an already successful purchasing company seems to actually be working.  Luckily three more people have been added to our now team of six which is helping greatly with reducing the long hours.  And to think, less than two years ago it was just me and my boss!  It is a good thing we expanded when we did...

The husband and I took an early anniversary trip to the Biltmore the first weekend in April.  We had just started talking about trying to start a family maybe sometime in May.  The night we returned from that weekend in North Carolina, I had a strange thought pop into my head, hey you...before you bust open another bottle of vino go take a pregnancy test. 
At the Biltmore

The instructions said I should do it in the morning, so I held off on opening that bottle of Pinot, and the next morning did what that strange little voice in my head told me to do.  I had done one of these tests before back in November when I first went off birth control and was unsure of this whole basal temperature tracking method of natural birth control.  This time the second line began to appear before I could even cap the thing and turn it over to wait those three grueling minutes.  I quickly flipped her over, and thought, you're seeing things.  Just wait the stupid three minutes.  So I waited...

I was not seeing things.  Two lines.  Holy mackerel.  Two lines.  I just spent the weekend drinking about as much wine as our 1 year anniversary trip to Sonoma.  This little nugget is drowning in alcohol.  Dear Lord...I'm already the worst mother ever and I'm only two weeks in.  This poor kid doesn't stand a chance.  And then I ate a turkey sandwich for lunch...crap, I'm not suppose to eat deli meat!  Ugh.  Epic Failure.

Then, I snapped out of it.  Seriously; women go months without knowing their pregnant.  Not really sure how, but apparently some people are truly disconnected from their bodies.  As far as I know they don't have kids walking around with three eyeballs or a foot for a hand. least I started taking prenatal vitamins when I went off birth control in November.

{Now before there are a zillion comments about if it is or is not okay to drink alcohol, consume deli meat, or why some children are born with abnormalities let me be real clear.  Go post somewhere else.  I do not care what you think; I do not mean to be rude.  I am just being honest.  I will not post your comment, so do not even bother.  I have my own convictions I live by, and for the most part respect what others choose to do for themselves.  This whole guilting and shaming other women into feeling horrible about themselves is out of control.}

Back to fun things!

Over the next several weeks expect to see a transformation of this dingy ugly space into a fabulously modern little boys nursery. 

We have a good bit completed now, but why reveal it all at once?  You can join in on the nearly month long process of updating the ceiling, walls, trim and electrical.  All DIY of course!