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75,000 Page Views

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33 page views. That was a watershed moment for me. I blogged about my family pictures (you can go to the post here) from the beach Christmas before last. In 24 hours I had 33 people look at the pictures. Wow. I was really proud of that number. Up to that point I was averaging about 18-20 page views per day.

This week I crossed the 75,000 page-view mark. Thanks for sticking with me or for finding my blog and joining in. I know in blog land 75K is nothing, and I mean hardly a blip on the great blogosphere radar. It is just an ordinary week for Remodleaholic, Shanty 2 Chic, or Roadkill Rescue, but it is a big deal to me.

Because I am an educator, I thought that you might like to know this about blogging:

In 1999, there were just 23 blogs. Today, there are over 1.5 billion blogs on the internet. ( Now you see why I am so impressed you even found my little bitty  blog?)

WordPress.com alone has over 60 million of them. Every half a second, a new blog is created. There are about 31 million bloggers in the US. ( I personally read about 10 blog posts a day so I am not even keeping up with one minute of the blog world per day.)

1 in every 5 bloggers updates his/her blog daily. (Man, I stink in this area!)

Source

If you have read my blog for any time at all you already know this, and I would like to apologize in advance for retracing this well beaten path, but here goes…

I do not get paid to blog. I do not have advertisements on my blog. I do not get free stuff to try out and talk about on the site. I am not opposed to getting paid, and any company that wants me to try out their stuff if free to send it my way, but blogging is not my job. I blog, and repurpose furniture because it brings me joy. I especially like trying new things out to see if it works. I started blogging so that I could show you guys what we were up to at our weekend home, Star Hill. We were setting up a home on a shoestring budget and I got hooked looking for things to fill the home with up there that were functional, creative, and fun to have around. Along the way I have met new friends. I love hearing from you in Canada, and Spain, and other parts of the U.S. I am thrilled when I can show off a project I have done to my friends who do not live near me. I have a full time job that I love and I get paid well to do but I am thrilled to have a hobby that fills my need to be creative.

A year ago I got a Facebook page for the blog. It is a fun place to talk about what I am doing in small snippets.  I do try to check in there daily.   If you are one of the 381 folks who like my Facebook page, thanks for checking in on me from time to time. I enjoy what you have to say and I value your input. ( Because of Facebook I am now trying to replicate a zinc finish on furniture.) I am also working on posting to Instagram more often as I see things that I think might interest you. It is my goal to continue to improve as I go along.  Twitter still vexes me.  I seem to have two Twitter accounts set up, but this is the main one, here.  It depends which device I use where it goes.  Sorry.  Still learning.

This year we moved from our city house of 14 years to a suburban home. That is no small feat for two 50 somethings who had lived in the same community for 24 years. We have been super busy changing jobs, setting up a new home, learning the new area and I have taken a big leap. I have actually sold some pieces of furniture. That was scary stuff for me. I am riddled with self-doubt when it comes to the work I do and up until this year I would never have considered doing what I do to furniture for money. It made me feel good to have someone appreciate my work enough to pay for the projects.  Here is a sample of what I have sold in the past few months:

mid century

 

I am redoing a whole mid-century bedroom set.  This night stand, a headboard and a dresser.

Happy Camper green end table

I have a thing for green mixed with stained wood.  Others must, too.  I have sold more green and red than any other color.

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This was my first ever set that someone requested I look for to purchase.  Scary!

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I sold these two pieces to someone who put them in the same bedroom as night stands.  If I had ever thought they would be together, I might have changed the colors.  She loved them as they were and they look awesome in her eclectic guest bedroom.

finished red headboard bench  twin headboard to bench

 

Red Red Wine by Behr.  I know you are going to ask the color.  Someone asks every time I post these beauties.  We have made four headboard/footboard beds this summer.  I still have four to go.  One will be finished soon.  I love that they are being used by some sweet ladies and are going to be around a while.

Because I have stepped up the amount of work we are doing, I have also committed to learn to use all the tools we own. I am learning to use the drill press, the table sander, and the biscuit joiner at the moment. (My first ever all on my own construction project will be coming soon.  I want it to be a surprise for the recipient and they are a reader.) When I add the tools I can already use without assistance, I feel pretty accomplished.  Two years ago I was terrified of a drill.  Silly me.   The table saw and grinder still loom large over me. They are two tools that I fear.

Here is a sample of the projects I have completed in the last fewmonths.  By far the most popular thing we have done is turn headboards into benches.  As I said above, we have been neck deep in benches lately.

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Corn Hole Game- I sewed people!

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Roadside Night Stand- This was a gift for a cousin.

I still love the 1970″s folks!

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The bathroom has been a slow project this summer.

Mainly because I cannot stand a mess in my bathroom

when I have to use it to get dressed for work.

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This $15.00 mirror makes me smile every morning.

I love the look and I learned to use tinted wax on this one.

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Sewing cabinet number 4.  I stained the top of this one.  Numbers 5, 6, and 7 are already spoken for and are hanging out in the Garagemahal.

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A gift for a friend who moved away.    I miss her.

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We built a giant barn door for our Burb Home out of reclaimed barn wood from my husband’s farm.  I treasure this and will take it with me wherever we live.

Coming up in the near future we are going to finish our master bath room. It is going from a builder basic to a rustic retreat. I am so very excited that it will be done by the end of August when Hubby returns to work.

So far Hubby put in board and batten walls, I built a shelf, we stripped, painted and stained a small make up vanity, and the dresser that is going to become the bathroom vanity and mirrors are stripped and refinished in a beautiful weathered wood look. (Restoration Hardware has nothing on me! :))

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This week the electrician came to install the chandelier I made over to look like wood thanks to Life on Virginia Street’s blog.

The sinks for the vanity are purchased, the faucets are waiting and the lights were picked up this week. We are moving along.

During the last few months we have traveled to Costa Rica, been to our family reunion, and while you read this, we are in Durango, Colorado.  I am excited to take the train ride and plan to go white water rafting.

Next up on the big project list is finishing the master bedroom at Star Hill. I love the reclaimed wood wall, the sewing machine night stands, and the door headboard. Still to come are curtains, wall paint, staining and painting the dressers, shelving, and décor. It will be done over two weekends, I hope. dream.

 

It is my wish that if you do not take anything else away from my silly posts, it is that even a mid-life woman with no training and not many skills can stretch beyond her comfort zone and learn new things, attempt new projects, and chart a new direction in life.  If I can do it, so can you.

 

Thank you so very much for taking the time to read about what I do, send me messages, offer advice, and make my day sweeter. I appreciate each of you and feel very fortunate to have this opportunity to share.

I hope you have a wonderful day,

Blessings,

Karen

Keeping It Real- Staging for Photos

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Today I am going to talk about one of the problems that I totally blame Pinterest, the Internet, and HGTV for creating.

Because we humans are so visual, we seem believe that the pictures we see on those places above are how folks actually live.  We buy into the image so much that we forget that it was staged, lighted, set, edited and cropped before we ever got a peek.  I would say it is akin to believing that believing that I could fly because I watched Superman do it on television.

This is not real life, folks.  But it is beautiful!  If the homeowners live like this every day, they must be pretty neat people.  With no pets.  Or kids. Or food.

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Casa Mia

dining room

Homes-House

white dining room

Indulgy

Recently I asked you guys to do a little staging of your own.  I asked you to take a picture of your table as it normally is, then as it looks after you set it for company.  If you did not participate, shame on you.  Not really.  Okay, really a little bit.  The reason I wanted you all to set your tables is that that is home staging you do when you have company over.  Do you live like that all the time?  I will bet the answer is no.

Here are some examples of before and after photos:

tina 3

tina 4 tina 2 tina 1

My buddy had her table ready for a shower, so she sort of cheated in the before picture :)! I love her giant table. It looks great set for dinner.
table setting shahana

 

 

shanaha pict

The photos above are in a newly moved into home! Way to go.

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I really do keep the table at Star Hill pretty neat because it is in the main room of the house and we don’t have much space.  Star Hill is a study in Red, White, and Blue.  And Texas.

 

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I snapped this picture when we were having company over for breakfast.

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Our back deck.  It is a glass topped patio set our neighbors gave us.  It is a sunbaked wilderness most of the day, but in the evening when the shade takes over, it is pleasant.  We have all our large dinners here at Star Hill

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I paid fifty cents for the metal yellow plates at a garage sale.  The funky yellow wine goblets were in the attic of Star Hill when we moved in.  I think the original owners must have left them behind.  They are fun.

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The Southern Belle even played along.  Yes folks, she owns this beautiful custom made table and she keeps it beautiful.  It is mixed with mid century chairs that are upholstered in a cool fabric.  She found the chairs on Craig’s List as is.  True story.

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Here it is set with her Fiesta dishes and bright napkins.

 

Aren’t the tables great?  I love the variety.  If you have ever set the table for company, you are a home stager. You know how to set the scene, make the table “feel” inviting and show off its’ best assets.

The messages that made me sad when I put out the call for pictures were three that I got that told me they would not participate because they were embarrassed about their houses so they would just enjoy what others did for their homes.

If there are things you do not like about your home, you are not alone.

The vast majority of the world has something they wish they could change about their homes and things that they really don’t want others to see.  I will bet that even those bloggers who have amazing rooms have some place in their home that needs work. A friend of mine years ago stuffed a bunch of things into the oven because company was coming over then forgot.  She turned on the oven several days later and scorched some paperwork.  I personally would be embarrassed if someone looked in my garage when we have company coming because it is usually the dumping zone.

I live in a house that currently has four adults, two dogs, a cat, and a fish.  I re-purpose furniture, as a hobby and it tends to spread. My house is far from spotless.  It is lived in.  Every room.  Right now there is furniture in our breakfast space.

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I decided to show you one of the tables we set when the crowd gets large at Star Hill.  Yep, it is my painting table.  Just plywood painted with exterior paint. Oh, and all my paint drips.

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I set the table for two.  the flowers are out of our yard.  The picnic basket is from a garage sale, the table-cloth was a wedding gift almost 33 years ago.  A friend of my mom made it for us.

 

There are times that I am photographing a project when the ONLY space that is neat is what fits inside the viewfinder on the camera.  To the right, left and behind me may be a mess of things I have pulled out and a mirror reflecting light into the cave like space I am photographing in our suburban home.

Photography is not real life folks. Real life is messy. Real life is imperfect. Real life is opportunity.

I hope you have a great day.  Make some memories.

Blessings,

Karen

 

Getting a Zinc Finish on Wood

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One of the metallic finishes I am interested in learning to replicate is Zinc. I came very close to painting he mirrors for the bathroom with a zinc look…but I chickened out. I like the old weathered dullish metal that looks like it has been around a while and has a story to tell but it is expensive. If you follow me on Facebook you know that this was big discussion, with strong opinions. My friends really care about my bathroom mirrors apparently. :)

Restoration Hardware has some beautiful tables, mirrors, and dressers in zinc. I am crushing on them and would buy one, if only I weren’t such a cheapskate.

This particular side table is $420.00

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Restoration Hardware Zinc Table
So I did what any good Pinterest follower would do, I started searching for Zinc DIY.
Here are a few results from my search:

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Source:  Lovely Crafty Home

 

I love it when someone does all the work for me!

 

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My favorite look was this from Freckled Laundry

 

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Source:  Freckled Laundry  Warning.  The videos are informative, but there are a lot of short videos and you have to watch a 30 second video for each.

While we do not have the same taste or style, the idea to use spray paint was something I wanted to try.

 

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Source Segreto Secrets
Even this fancy room got a zinc topped breakfast table using two colors of Krylon spray paint.  I have found some Rustoleum paint I plan on trying.  I am also whipping out the Rub N Buff.

I decided to start with a straight forward oak table given to me recently. It is a simple shape that will translate well with the zinc finish.  Oh, and it was FREE!  I love free.

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My plan of attack is simple:

Sand, prime, hammer in some nails around the edges, paint rub, glaze, rub some more and pray it all turns out.

If I like it I am moving on to a mirror as promised.

Wish me luck, I am going in!

Blessings,

Karen

Wrapping Up Two Small Projects

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I actually took a whole day off. I didn’t go anywhere, have an agenda, or have company. For he introvert I am it was bliss. I have been so busy lately I haven’t had a chance for quiet time.

I got up this morning and got to work on the mirrors for the vanity. Here is a peek of how they turned out.

weathered wood finish mirrors

While waiting for stain to dry I got some projects that have been hanging out done and a few more hot worked on.

I got the vinyl lettering on a window that has been literally hanging out in my craft closet for a year.   I started the project with wipe on poly for the frame then a good cleaning of the glass.

 

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I am embarrassed how quickly I was able to finish this project. It took longer to clean the window I bought for $10.00 at Canton a while back than it did to apply the lettering. It is going to hang on the reclaimed wood wall behind our bed at the lake so Hubby remembers to always kiss me goodnight. :)

The rake got screwed onto a piece of barn board to hold the barbecue tools. It now hangs on the wall by the grill for the brush, tongs and spatula. Another project that has been hanging around for way too long.  I bought the rake head at Goodwill for $2.00 right after we moved in the burb house and the wood is  a scrap of cedar barn board.
I like the rustic look. The total cost of this project was $2.00 and the cost of three screws and two wall anchors.

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I worked on a chalkboard suitcase today, too.  The suitcase is painted and the chalkboard is now traced out.  This one is going to look a little more decorative.

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I also got the chandelier base sprayed oil rubbed bronze and one side of the beads primed but you will have to wait to see the progress until I have finished. I am totally copying the look of the chandelier from another blogger.

My battery is recharged and I am back to work.

I hope everyone has a great day!

Blessings,

Karen

Getting a Restoration Hardware Weathered Finish

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The bathroom renovation is under way. Board and batten walls are installed, my cool shelving unit is done, the chandelier is being updated, and, best of all, the bathroom vanity is almost ready for installation.

Are you one of those people who can see what you want something to look like finished? I am and that is not always a a good thing because nothing will satisfy you except that “look”. This time the look was a Restoration Hardware weathered finish vanity. I wanted this look:

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Restoration hardware look

Just for grins, I priced one in the finish I wanted and the size it would take for our bathroom. The vanity, with a top but no mirrors would have been $3750.00. It would have been over $4000.00 for the whole package. In other words… out of our budget.

Sooo, I started looking for a dresser to re-purpose for our bathroom.  It was tricky to find one the right size.  When I finally found to the dresser that would work, it was $200.00.  That is a lot more money than I usually spend but finding an exactly 72 inch dresser that was solid wood or at least wood veneer over plywood was tough. I would love to tell you I got it for $30.00.

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I also started researching methods to get the look of Restoration Hardware.  I wanted it to look like a piece of furniture that was old and has a history with a weathered finish. A quick trip to Pinterest turned up some ideas for me to think about.

I liked the idea of layering finishes here at Deannario.com

Weathered Dining Table

But…

I wanted it to look like it might have been painted at one time and the paint had worn off over time.  I found AKA Design that talked about using Pickling Stain.  I liked the look but without the extreme sanding.

Using Pickling Stain

I used elements of both to get the look I was seeking.

I used the following materials:

minwax weathered oak

Weathered oak

minwax pickling stain

White Wash Pickling

minwax jacobean

Jacobean Stain

Lots of cotton rags- I bought them at Home Depot because I was too lazy to go hunting for cotton thirsts.

Cheap paint brushes- the dollar each cheapo brushes.

Sand paper-100 grit

Citristrip- it took a whole container

Marine Grade Urethane

marine varnish

First strip the dresser.   I used Citristrip and a hard plastic scraper.  And a ton of paper towels. It took a lot of patience.  I remembered why I don’t strip dressers.  Particularly big ones with a lot of drawers, moulding, and doors.

After I stripped it, I had to wash everything down to remove the residue then I sanded it, but not all the way to raw wood color.

 

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The first stain I added was Minwax Weathered Oak.  The color was not as vivid as I thought it would be and I worried. Rub it in, then remove the excess. Once the stain was totally dry I applied pickling white wash and wiped it off immediately.  If I could have had help at this point it would have been nice because the pickling white wash dried really fast.  It dried so fast on the doors that I ended up having to have it stripped again and start over.  The lesson here; don’t use this stuff if it is too warm. This worked best in the morning. Thanks Hubby.  I just couldn’t strip those doors a second time.

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Here it is right out of the can.  It is super thick and sort of goopy.

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This is what it looks like wiped down.

I lightly sanded once the Pickling was dry but not all the way back to raw wood and not evenly. The final coat of the layering stain was Minwax Jacobean.  I was so worried that it was going to be too dark but it was perfect.  The color over the pickling white wash produced a color just like you would see at Restoration Hardware.

 

 

1-IMG_7321 weathered finish Restoration Hardware Look using pickling and stain for Restoration Hardware finish Restoration Hardware cabinet doors Restoration Hardware Finish

I am really hard on myself and always see every mistake but I was really thrilled with how this turned out.

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I stained the sides of the drawer with Jacobean stain to add contrast.

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The hardware got a coat of Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze.

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The final coat for this vanity is marine varnish in satin finish. It will give the piece the waterproofing that it is going to need in the bathroom. I decided to keep the wood top instead of adding a stone top to the dresser. That means a lot of coats of varnish but if they use it on boats it ought to hold up in a bathroom.

Here are what the sinks we are going to install look like. They were exactly what I was thinking of when I started this process and are going to look great.

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Lowe’s Link
An oil rubbed bronze faucet and we will finish it off!

I decided to post this even though we are not finished because I have had a lot of requests to talk about the process. Honestly, anyone can achieve this finish. I hope it inspires you to give it a try.

I would love to hear your thoughts on my work.

Blessings,

Karen

Making a Corn Hole Set

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One sweet memory I have from The Southern Belle and Big Cat’s wedding last summer was an outdoor family gathering where we got to meet the families. Big Cat set up his corn hole set to play. Lots of folks got in on the action, even my sweet mom, Me Mie. Ever since then I have wanted a set to use at our lake house, at school and for neighborhood parties in the burbs. Corn hole is a little like horse shoes except it is played on a slanting 2 foot wide, four foot long plywood surface. There is even a corn hole association! Because I am working crazy hours this summer, but I wanted the set ready for our 4th of July family reunion, I charged Hubby with researching the rules, board dimensions, and DIY instructions. He is a math teacher in real life so dimensions, diameters, and angles are right up his alley.

As the 4th of July approached, I started to gently remind nudge nag him to get on it. He bought the wood. Pre-cut 2 X 4 sheet of a/b sanded wood so it would be smooth and 2 2X4′s. It hung out in the back of his truck. The nagging increased. The weekend before the 4th- with company at the lake house- arrived. He promised he could have them built in 30 minutes. So the timer started! In reality it was closer to an hour but still assembly was quick. The hole is 6″ centered 9″ from top edge. The legs are cut to length so that the top edge is 12″ from the ground.  He attached the legs with a bolt so that it can be loosened and the legs stored under the board.

Once he finished I jumped on the painting. It had to be red, white and blue… because pretty much everything at our lake house is red, white, and blue. The creamy white is the paint we used for our rockers and swing. No clue what the color is, but the paint was hanging out in the Garagemahal. The blue is Behr Sailboat blue. It has been used on out coffee tablethe beverage station, and Sweet Amanda’s chair at our chair party. I had to buy the red. I am not going to tell you the color because I made a bad choice with the red. I hate Glidden paint. More on that later. Once it was all painted the creamy white and dried overnight, I taped off stripes. Mr. Math helped me figure out the width of the big stripe then after he left, I very unscientifically taped off a thinner stripe the width of the skinny tape. The trick to painting clean lines is fresh tape ( don’t try to use tape that has hung out in the garage a year getting all hot and cold) and paint the base coat color over the edges of the tape. The paint seals the edges and any that seeps under is the same as base so you can’t tell. The Glidden paint was so thin it still bled in two spots. Not. A. Fan.

blue corn hole set

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corn hole set up

red and blue corn hole set

corn hole legs

I stitched eight bags. Four blue and four red, six inches each and filled with corn. They will have to be upgraded to a tougher fabric, but they will work for now.

corn hole bags

We are still working on the mechanism to attach the two boards to store and carry.  The handles worked well, but the latches did not work.

using a latch

connected for travel

handle and latch

corn hole handles

 

The boards turned out well and they will be used at events for years to come.

playing corn hole

corn hole boards

We are not the only ones camping with a set. I thought I would share a few others who were camping near our family reunion:

corn hole nfl

A UT set with football shaped corn bags.

corn hole easy

This is a really easy set to fold and the little guys loved it.

corn hole camping

You have to look carefully at this camp site to see them.  They are located on either side of the smoker.

I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July. Blessings, Karen

Tricks to Make Board and Batten Easy

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I like our newish suburban home. I can’t believe we have lived here a year already. It has plenty of room, a good lay out and a covered back porch. The home doesn’t have structural issues or maintenance problems.   I should be happy, right? Even with everything that the house has going for it,  I don’t love the house. It is missing character. Soul. Uniqueness.

We are slowly working to add the touches to the house that make it feel unique. More like home.

Right now the focus is on the master bathroom.
It is the most dysfunctional space in the house at this time. You can read all about it HERE. There is not enough storage, the counter is too low and it is BORING!

Project number one is to add board and batten walls.

I read on one of the blogs I regularly read that board an batten is over done right now but I love the look and it adds texture to the walls. It isn’t necessarily unique, innovative, or show stopping, but I think the bathroom will look like it has been around a while and it won’t look like the other 80 homes in our master planned neighborhood that have the same floor plan we do.

Hubby got most of the walls up in a couple of days and he actually told me I needed to write a blog post with tips for adding board and batten to a new home with orange peel texture walls and rounded corners. I am pretty impressed with his ideas to solve the issues. I am shocked that he suggested I write a blog post!  We are not going to finish the wall until the vanity comes out in preparation for the new vanity to go in.

Here are his tips to making this project as easy and nice looking as possible:

Buy pre-cut poplar in three inch width by quarter inch thickness. They come in four foot lengths at Home Depot. That was perfect for our walls. The wood is uniform, and easy to paint. You can have hard board ripped bu Mr. Math ( Hubby) was concerned that they may not be true and straight so they would look off.

poplar board

Use quarter inch press board that comes in four foot by eight foot sheets to smooth out the texture of the wall. Under the hardboard the texture is still in tact in case the next owner wants it returned to normal (boring).  Below is the hardboard and the primed top board on the wall.

board without the batten

 

To solve the rounded edge problem, use inside cove moulding turned over. The cove part fits perfectly on the rounded corner.

cove moulding

Here is a close up of how it fits on the corner:

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Buy primed 1 X 6 for top. The primed wood has less knots and blemishes so the top board that is most visible is in great shape.

Caulk every edge. Use your finger and a spoon to clean it up. If you want your job to look professional, take the time to do it right. Use paintable caulk so it is hidden under the paint job.

Prime everything. If you want a smooth even finish, it has to be primed. Believe me, I wish paint with primer eliminated that step. It doesn’t.

Before caulk and priming

battens up

compressor

Love that compressor and air nailer.  It speeds up the process so much!

After

caulked and primed

primed wall 2  primed walls

I am really liking this look and can’t wait to get it all done!

Beadboard bathroom

Next will be the dresser I am painting to look like a Restoration Hardware piece. It is almost done. I know … I have been saying that for a while.

This is the look I am going for:

Restoration hardware look

Here is a sneak peek at the drawers I have done:

IMG_7110

There will be tutorial for the steps I used to get this finish, and save over a thousand dollars on the vanity.  Possibly you can avoid stripping your dresser down twice  like I have had to do.

What do you think?

I hope you have a wonderful day.

Blessings,

Karen

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