Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fake Board and Batten

Or how my husband learned to stop worrying and love my the blogosphere's ideas.
Some time ago I had a small fiasco involving exterior paint, paint stripper, and a large mess.  Paint stripper on painted walls is kinda a no no I learned.  I should have busted out the sand paper instead, lesson learned.  I needed something to fix or at least cover the mess I made on the wall between our kitchen and dining area.  I happened to have some wallpaper we'd bought at Home Depot an even longer time ago for like $1.  I put up the wallpaper and my husband cut some chair rail for me to finish it off.  

This is what it looked like for quite a while.  A couple of spots got torn while I was putting it up, but they weren't super noticeable.  The seams got kind of gappy too (that part was a little more noticeable.  When we started getting the house ready to sell, I knew I probably needed to do something else with those walls.  I wasn't too keen on pulling off the wallpaper (remember the whole messed up wall thing?)
After seeing so many versions of faux board and batten wainscoting online I decided it would be a good thing to do for these walls.
We had already installed new baseboards after redoing the floor, we already had some chair rail put up too.  We even had enough left over to continue the chair rail around the other little wall to the kitchen.  After getting our granite counter tops put in, we had a big gap at the top of the half wall (the old tops were sloped by a whole inch!) We got a piece of baseboard trim and installed it upside down underneath the counter to cover the gap and the area where the old, thinner piece of trim used to be.  We bought some inexpensive white screening and some wood corner guard pieces.  My husband manned the saw and cut the pieces for me.  I used liquid nails to attach the screening to the wall over every wallpaper seam.  I dug out the rest of the wallpaper and continued the wallpaper around the small wall (that wall was a mess too, totally unrelated to paint stripper).  My husband installed the chair rail in that section.  I continued with the liquid nailing parts, and then the caulking.  Caulk is definitely your friend when you're working with trim.


That wasn't even the worst part.

I debated adding more vertical pieces, but decided it was fine the way it was- with pieces over each seam and corner guards over each outside corner.  I primed everything with zinsser primer (I'd read that it was good for sticking to all kinds of surfaces) and then painted it all with a semi-gloss white paint.  I wish I had not used cheap paint (I might have to do another touchup coat at some point, plus the cheap paint took three coats as it was).  Good paint is definitely worth it!  I'm very happy with how it turned out and the reaction to it has been very positive.  Would I have done this if the wall hadn't been messed up?  Probably not, but I think it will be helpful in selling just because it's one less problem and might even be another reason for someone to like our house.

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Five Awesome Things: Transformers

The idea for this feature has been rattling around in my brain for some time now.  I want to post about five awesome things that bring me joy or help me in some way.
This first post is about five things that have helped me make awesome transformations, the catalyst for the before -> after reaction if you will.
1. Spray Paint- Many a project I've done has involved spray paint.  It is very handy for painting a wide variety of things.  I've done light fixtures, plastic lids, wicker baskets, picture frames, a dishwasher, cardboard boxes, trim, outlet and switch plate covers, railings, and more.

2. Caulk- What can I say, caulk covers a multitude of sins!  If you've ever put up trim of any kind, you know it's true.  Caulk is what makes trim projects from looking awful to finished and chic.  It's also great for keeping water out of places where it doesn't belong.

3. Rub n Buff- A few months ago, I didn't even know what Rub n Buff was.  I learned about it on other people's blogs.  People were using it to fancy up picture frames or to spiff up the metal hardware on furniture pieces they were restoring.  I bought some at the craft store (I didn't find any at home depot) and boy did it make a difference on our porch light.  It's a wax paste that I believe has some kind of magical properties.  It's held up beautifully these last few weeks through rain, wind, and falling tree debris.

4. Restor-a-finish- My mother in law told me about this product a couple of years ago when I told her I wanted to paint our kitchen cabinets.  I ended up painting the kitchen cabinets any way, but I bought a can of this stuff to fix up the finish on this railing.  I had absolutely zero desire to try and refinish that thing so this was just the perfect product.  All I had to do was rub it on, wait, and then rub the excess off.  It took just a couple of minutes and it made a huge difference!

5. Mulch- Can't grow grass?  Have a bare patch of dirt?  Put some mulch on it and say, I meant to do that!  I don't know that it would work in every case (random little islands of mulch in the middle of sea of lawn might look a bit weird, though with enough effort, you could make it work).  We put mulch in our front slope yard regularly.  The tree blocks out a lot of the sun.  We've put some in our back yard as well and it's turned the ugly, muddy, perma-shade into a "we meant to do that!"


Now that the house is on the market and I'm not constantly working on projects (just constantly cleaning) I'm going to be posting a lot more. I have a large backlog of projects to post about and fortunately I can go back through my pictures to jog my memory. Hooray for digital cameras and cell phone cameras!