Country Style, Decorating, new home, Style, vintage style

Tricks to Make Board and Batten Easy

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:


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


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


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:


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.



Behr Paint with Primer, Blogging, glazing, Painted Furniture, painting

10 Tips for Painting Furniture With Latex Paint

I have been blogging a while and painting furniture is a hobby. I always feel like I need to tell you that I am not an expert, just a learner who is sharing what I learn to do and not to do regarding paint.

I do not use chalk paint, but if you do, good for you. It just doesn’t work for me.

We use interior latex paint. I do get asked about how I paint a lot so here is my non-expert advice.

1. Don’t “cheap out” on paint or brushes and quality paint. I personally use Behr paint with primer, but Valspar signature and Sherwin Williams has a good quality paint. There are tons of great paints, but be aware that every brand has a cheap line. STAY AWAY from cheap paint or you will think you can’t paint. I buy quality paint in the oops section sometimes. Buy good brushes. I use Purdy brushes because they are awesome. Cheap brushes will give you a poor quality paint job.

Purdy paint brushes

2. Take the time to prep before painting. Sand, prime, tape off, clean and prepare. This is not time wasted. Take the time to get ready to paint or you will not be happy with the results.

3. If you are painting a lot, invest in a sprayer. We love ours and now have it down to a science. You can even prime your work using a sprayer. We can paint four times the amount of stuff with a sprayer than we could with just a brush. Nothing gives you the smooth finish a sprayer does.
Here is a link to a cool one I want to buy because it uses mason jars to hold the paint. (We have three sprayers now so I am having a hard time justifying the purchase.) sprayer

4. Find a good black, white, red, green, yellow, blue, and brown to keep on hand. Mine are: black suede, sea salt, red red wine, happy camper, jackfruit, sailboat, and revival mahogany. I use other colors but I seem to go back to these colors when I am stuck.
Behr Color Smart
5. Learn use a glaze. I use Behr Faux Effects. Glazing adds depth to a piece. I don’t use it on every piece but I love the look.

Behr Faux Effects

6. It can be too hot, too cold, or too wet to paint outside. Don’t force it. Read the can. If it is too hot or too humid when you paint it will give you a sticky finish.

7. Use paint conditioner. It causes the paint to smooth out and gives the best finish.

Paint Conditioner

8. Let the paint cure. That means after it is painted, leave it alone. I usually leave it to dry a week…because we only work at the Garagemahal on weekends, but at least three days in humid weather before adding a polyurethane finish. If you skip this step you could end up with a finish that just doesn’t seem to dry.

9. Use a poly or oil based sealer on your paint. If your house is full of kids, dogs and messy husbands, you will regret not adding a coat of something to minimize scratches, dings, and water marks..

10. Don’t be afraid to paint it again if you don’t like the color. If you hate it, repaint it…or give it away. I may or may not have done the second choice more than once.

I hope you try painting furniture if you haven’t before. Color is good.

Have a great day.



Behr Paint with Primer, family, Painted Furniture, Repurposed Furniture

Sometimes it is the Story not the Furniture

I know, I know, you are all tired of seeing us turn head-boards and foot boards into benches. I am neck-deep in benches at the moment. I have a slew of them to finish right now. I will try not to bore you with my progress on the benches, but this one is special. Today’s post is not about the bench. It is about the story behind the bench.


Right now it feels like the garage is overflowing with head-boards.

When we started making benches and I blogged about them, and sold a few.  Because of the blog, a dear friend contacted me to ask me to make a bench for her from a bed she has had since childhood.  I told her that of course we would do it for her, but I did not ask a lot of questions.

I went to pick up the bed she showed me where she would put it, the color she wanted it… everything but the bed. When I finally saw the bed, I was a little surprised.
It was one of a pair of twin beds that can be bunked. The bed was made of rock maple with spindles.  The picture below is NOT the bed, because I was silly and forgot to get a picture, but it is similar.

twin bed for bench

If I were in a thrift store looking for a bed I would have passed it up.
It was a twin bed which is pretty small for a bench and all spindles.

It was, well, unremarkable. No fancy woodwork. No interesting shape. Just an ordinary, utilitarian bed.  The part that bugged Hubby was that the foot board was the same height as the headboard.  He had to adjust the foot board height so that it did not look like a three-sided cage (according to him.)

Just like a lot of other unremarkable pieces of furniture, what made the bed special was the history. This bed was a part of her child hood memories. Here is the story of the bed, told by my friend as I started posting Facebook  updates on Saturday of the bed in progress:



She shared the photo above with her granddaughter, Brooklyn when I posted it on Facebook and here was my friend’s response to the Facebook post:

Oh, I love it already, and Brooklyn does, too…esp when I told her it would be red!


Here is the response when I posted the primed bench:

I’m so excited because not only will this be beautiful and functional, but it was my twin bed growing up. I got bunk beds in 2nd grade (a cousin was given one of them years later). This one stayed with me, became daughter Lisa’s twin bed as a teen, and even spent a little time in my other daughter, Katie’s, college apartment. Lots of history and love going into this soon-to-be reading bench for my grandchildren…so lovin’ this!

I knew she wanted it red (and apparently so did Brooklyn) and she wanted slats just like this one:

finished red headboard bench headboard bench red


Red benches seem to be my “thing” right now.    Behr Red, Red Wine is the color.

She also wanted stained slats like the one above.

This particular bench was a little tricky and we felt the pressure.  If we messed it up, there would be no “throw it out and start over” plan.  We took our time and worked it all out before starting.

After a few weeks, we finished it.  Working only on weekends is slow going.

Here is the finished project.  I think it turned out great, but remember the story in this sweet little bench is in the history.  Hopefully one day Brooklyn will be able to tell her grandchildren about the bench and that it used to be her own grandmother’s bed.

twin bed bench

wooden slats

twin headboard to bench

I would love to hear about a piece of furniture that is part of your history.

I hope you have a wonderful day.





Curbside rescue, glazing, Lake Livingston, reclaimed wood, Repurposed Furniture

1970’s End Table Makeover

A coworker picked up this end table on the side of the road. When she offered it to me, of course I took it but I didn’t need it for our home.


A couple of times a year I offer up free stuff to my Facebook friends. When I posted this, Vicky,who is married into the same crazy family as I am, said she wanted it.


Then she threw me a curve ball. She wanted it for her son’s room that is decorated in camouflage.

I took hubby shopping for paint. Because this table is made of questionable materials, I wanted to spray paint it with a paint and primer. He picked this color for the camo room.

After deglossing with liquid sand, I sprayed it quickly with the spray paint. Hubby helped me cut reclaimed cedar planks for the top. I thought that might toughen up the look of the ornate end table.
I tried not to bug him too much this weekend but he volunteered. He also used the router to round over the edges. It makes the transition between the reclaimed wood and the table not seem so abrupt.


I distressed it a little and glazed it a tea stain color to make it look older.
And put 6 coats of poly on the top. Poly, dry, steel wool repeat.
Here it is ready for action. I like the single knob better than the fussy pull on the faux drawer.

What do you think about it?






Blogging, Real Life, The Garagemahal

Keeping it Real Series- What a DIYer’s Workspace Looks Like

I hear ALL the time from people that they would love to redo furniture or do other projects if only they had the space. I think that there is a perception that without the magical amount of space or equipment to take on projects. I say that is a bunch of hooey. Yes, hooey. We started doing projects in a home we did not own, without a garage, and borrowed tools.

Our work space is pretty great (but often very overcrowded) now, but that is a very recent change.  Welcome to the Garagemahal.
inside the garagemahal

(In case you are wondering it looks this cleaned up about once a year- when I get frustrated and drag everything out to reorganize.  Right after that- it goes back to us stepping over projects that are in progress, furniture I have drug in, scrap wood that I cannot get rid of…)

This is how it looks a lot of the time.  Sometimes it is even worse!

making a bench frame

I would say that most of the bloggers I read started out with nothing more than their garage, the kitchen table, a porch, or some other small space.  Their passion for their particular craft drove them to find the space to do what they love to do, not the other way around.

This is NOT how most craft rooms look. (Although if you want to build on for me like this, I won’t cry.) I do not have a dedicated craft space at my house.  I have one closet jam packed with stuff.
Dream Craft Rooms
dream craft room

Here are a few of my friend’s craft spaces:


The dining room table is a popular spot.  My friend owns the space above.  She has three kids, two dogs, and a shift working husband.  She cleaned up this space to take a picture.  I am calling a foul here, but she paints some really fun pieces, and furniture, and sews, all from this space.

She painted my awesome chicken at that table.


My friend Kelly uses what space she can. For this project it was the top of a plastic tub.
Kelly has a baby and works on projects when she gets her to sleep. I haven’t
seen how this one turned out.  She is a real deal artist and art teacher who is hanging out with her little one right now.

This is NOT how most workshops or woodworking shops look. (Once again, feel free to build one at my house, and drop off all those fancy tools we do not own while you are at it.)
Dream Workshops


Dee, at Deeconstructed uses her garage and basement.



Wood storage is the hardest thing for me to manage. I am jealous of how neat hers is.  Right now I have a ton of cedar on the floor of the Garagemahal drying.

Dee painted the wall in her basement when she started her business.



She makes some pretty amazing things in this space.  This is one of her winter projects.

Porch Bench

My recently retired friend, Margaret, turned old kitchen cabinets into this workshop island. (Yes, I am a little jealous of her set up.)

 margaret's workshop

I found this post from Gail at My Repurposed Life about creating a backdrop, but the last part tells you about her work space.  She is the person who I have used as inspiration for my mudroom bench and the headboard benches.  She works outside and is shutting down her outside projects for winter in this post.

My Repurposed Life


repurposed life

I loved this picture from My Repurposed Life’s post because, just like the Garagemahal, there is always a riding lawn mower in the background!   You can click on the photo to see the cool night stands she made from this piece.

I hope I have hammered home the fact that you don’t need a space to be creative, but I promised you some solutions.

First, use vertical space.  Second, make it portable.  Here are two options that I will be making… once the list thins down a wee bit.

I want to build something like this rolling bad boy for the garage.  It needs to be heavy weight enough to hold the chop saw, the router, and the sanders.   I want industrial wheels on the bottom so that it can make the slope.  We are always dragging them out to the porch and it would be great to have a rolling closet that uses vertical space, not horizontal for the tools.

vertical craft storage

Dee, at Deeconstructed, shared Redoux Interior’s  idea with me and I will be making myself a rolling work bench.  Soon.  What a great idea.

rolling work table

Dining Table to Rolling Work Table

My third and final tip is not to let your work space or lack there of,  convince you not to do creative things.

I would love to see where you work and your projects.

I am going to have a few projects coming up to share then I am going to add to this real life series talking about staging for photographs.  (Spoiler alert… don’t believe everything you see in pictures.)


I hope you have a wonderful day.




the suburban home

Our First Attempt at Raised Bed Gardening

This year we put in two raised beds for vegetable gardens.  What a great year in our part of Texas to decide it was time to grow some veggies!

We bought two kits for the beds.  They were simple to assemble.

Hubby picked up a truck load of garden soil.  That part was not so easy.  We do not have a gate in our back yard big enough for the truck to get in so that meant lots of wheelbarrow loads to the backyard.

Here are the plants and bed the day it got planted.
Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, basil, oregano, okra and dill.
raised bed garden


garden plants

Here is our garden today. We get a couple of squash a day at least one zuchinni and jalapeño pepper daily, and all the herbs I can use. The cucumbers are coming along and so far we have gotten two tomatoes.

This is proof anyone can grow a garden. Even a super busy couple. The hot wire stays off most the time but our rescue, Lumi, would not stop digging in the garden until it got installed. It only took one day for her to Lear to leave it alone.







We enjoyed salmon and grilled veggies from our garden tonight on the back porch.



Life is good.

I hope you have had a wonderful week.



Blogging, mid-life, Rubbish Rescue, the suburban home

(Not) Measuring Up

It has been a while since I wrote a post for the blog. I have been in a real funk for several weeks. It has taken me a little while to work through what had me feeling down. I realized that along with a hurt back, my main problem was that I just didn’t measure up out here in blog land, in my life, or with my projects. I started to believe I did not have anything worth sharing.

It took me a while to figure out that I was using an unrealistic ruler to measure my life… the Internet, Pinterest, HGTV…I also forgot for a little while that hobbies are supposed to feel like fun, not pressure. I started to feel stressed about my projects. Would they measure up?

When I log onto some of my favorite blogs, I found myself comparing my home to the beautiful images on the screen. There is a home tour right now that has some beautiful homes. You can start the home here:

Isn’t that a beautiful room? I love the light, the classic furnishings, even the pillows are plumped and chopped.

I don’t live there. I live in a home with a husband who frequently forgets his shoes in the family room and must have a reclliner, two dogs who drag in dirt daily, a cat who causes the big dog to jump up on the furniture in hot pursuit at least once daily, not to mention my clutter and projects making a mess. That room would look like a tornado blew through in about five minutes at my house.

Here is my family room, as I found it this morning. All I did was turn on the lights.
See the dog? More on that in a moment.


Here is what she was up to.

One water bottle shredded.

And that was after she chewed on this bill.


We have wires that are unsightly.


And the men in my home seem to have a vendetta against pillows. One is missing a button now and my pretty ruffled down pillow apparently was sat on recently. How about the coffee table?


I am sure you have seen enough by now. My home is not Pinterest worthy. I started to feel like I had nothing to offer, nothing to say.

So… I had to reexamine why I blog, who I blog for, and regain my own personal center.

I blog because I like to connect with folks I may never meet in person. My home and projects are a creative outlet for my sometimes stressful and high pressure job. I really do like hearing from you all and I love the suggestions you make. I never would have tried my new favorite red color- red, red wine without the suggestion.

Over this summer I am going to work on a series about keeping it real. I am going to beg you all to send in pictures from time to time, so be prepared.

I have some really cool projects planned this summer, but those projects don’t define me.

I hope you stay tuned, but I am okay if you don’t. No hard feelings.

Now, I am off to tackle my garage.



Now you go check out that home tour. Just don’t measure your own home by what you see, please.

I hope you have a blessed day,