Monday, May 30, 2011

Dining room wainscoting = Done!

I have to say, this is definitely in the top 3 favorite projects I've done to a house. Relatively small cost and effort for a huge impact.
I had been wanting to do wainscoting forever, and our dining room was the perfect area to try it on. I was worried about how the boards would meet up with our baseboards, since it was only 1/4 " thick, and I didn't want to replace those and have them not match the rest of the house.

Then I came across this tutorial and knew it was the perfect and easiest way to achieve the look. Since the boards were only 1/4" thick they would line up perfectly with my existing baseboard. Problem solved!

So I made my measurements and took a trip down to HD. I had around 254" of wall length to cover, so here's how the materials broke down for me:

(10) 1/4" x 4" x 3' poplar boards
(8) 1/4 x 3" x 3' poplar boards
254" of chair rail trim

It worked out best for me to space the vertical boards 16.5" across (it was originally 16 but then I found out the boards labeled 4" are actually 3.5" wide! Why do they do this?)

Then I would use the narrower poplar boards and run them horizontally across the wall on top of the vertical boards, then top that off with the trim.

I ended up finding my poplar boards in cubby's below the larger wood pieces. For those of you who always get lost in the HD aisles looking for the right wood, I snapped a pic:


They came in quarter inch and half inch thick pieces, all 3 feet long, in various widths. In the tutorial I followed, she used the same 4" thick (err 3.5") pieces to run across the top, but I was worried it would look too thick with the chair rail so I opted for the 3" (which is also actually 2.5").


FYI, they only had 7 of the narrower poplar boards left so we had to buy one oak in the same size. Ugh. Stay away from oak, it has horrible rough grain that you can see when you paint over it and it's really hard to cover without turning yellow. Stick with poplar!


Anyway, here are all my pieces at home, ready to cut:



I wanted the height to be 3' (plus the existing baseboard), so I carefully measured the cutting point for each vertical board by mocking it up against a yardstick:




After making all the straight cuts and miters (with only one small miter disaster that we later fixed with caulk) the boards were ready to go up!

Here I'm leveling the board for the nail gun:





And board #1 is up!

Here's two more...



I'll fast forward through all the rest—here is the end of phase one:




In phase two, we attached the narrower poplar boards across the top:





Then in phase three, we added the trim:




All that was left to do was caulk and spackle and paint! Which ended up taking 80% of our time.

Our plan and our measurements were just about perfect... but we forgot that this house was not built perfect. The walls are not completely straight and level, so we ended up with some gaps here and there where the boards didn't quite meet:



Luckily we were able to fill it and sand over it and you can't really tell unless you're looking for it.


On to the results!

Here is the before before, as in when we bought the house....




Here is the before we started, as in yesterday morning:



And...... after!








Ahhh... worth every second of sanding and painting!


Here is the project cost breakdown:

10 vertical boards: $24.70
8 horizontal boards: $18.45
Chair railing: $29.91
1 gal Behr paint + primer (we were out): $33.98 (minus $5 mail in rebate)

Total = $115 ($110 after rebate)

Timewise, it took a couple hours to get the wood all cut and mounted, another few hours to caulk and sand at least, which carried over to the next day where it took a good half day to paint and put the final touches on. In hours I'd say we spent a good ten hours on the project (again, most of it spackling and sanding out the problem areas).

All in all, I'm so happy it's finally done, and I want to do our bedroom next! It will take some time to convince Brad to do this all over again though :)

Be back in a few days with another kitchen update!




Just linked up with the DIY Showoff!



Thursday, May 26, 2011

Good news, Bad news.

Ah... where do I begin.

How about with Tuesday night, when our kitchen was looking like this:




Brad and neighbor Joe were demolishing the old countertops in preparation for the new granite that was to be installed the following day.

All was going well... when from inside my office I heard an "Oh crap... you better come see this Jenna"... so I walked in to find this...



I still have no idea how it happened, but somehow in the removal of the countertops a pipe in the wall was broken and had to be surgically repaired from the dining room wall. That was our bad news.

The good news to this story is that I'm now finally forced to install the wainscoting I've been putting off for months in the dining room. Yay! That is our official Memorial Day weekend project and I can't wait.

Moving along...

Good news:

We have granite counters!!



Brad took a half day at work to watch and document the installation, which began with our lovely new sink (free with the counters!)



Here's the granite slab on the truck:



Yes, I know the faucet is crooked... this was pre-faucet installation!

I absolutely love the way it looks against the white bar cabinet. Pretty soon we'll have the rest of the cabinets painted to match!



Ok.... ready for the bad news?

This was not the granite we ordered.

Yep... somehow, they installed the wrong color. Brad was so busy documenting the process that he apparently didn't notice, but I knew as soon as I walked in the door.

Not that I dislike this color.. it was actually my second choice—the only thing that threw me off was the cranberry coloring. I wanted to stick with greys, blacks, tans and whites.

Here was the granite we ordered:



And here is the granite they installed:



You can't really tell from this pic, but those dark larger circles that kind of look like stains are in fact reddish.

This isn't much better due to the lighting and focus, but you can tell a bit more here...


We immediately called the granite company, who tried to tell us there was no way they made a mistake and we probably just saw a sample that didn't have any red in it. Uh, no dude, this is straight up the wrong granite.

So Brad has been back and forth on the phone with Lowe's and the granite company today trying to figure this all out. After they come and confirm it is in fact the wrong granite, we could get them to replace it.... but I would feel like a horrible person just wasting all that nice expensive stone. And, not that it really matters, but the granite we got was actually $52/sq ft. and we only paid $39/sq. ft for ours.

I guess we'll see what unfolds, but I'm hoping Lowe's will offer some sort of refund or credit to their store for making such a huge mistake (it actually wasn't their fault, it was the granite place, but it's their vendor and the contract is through them, so...)

But wait... there is more bad news!

Take a look at this picture and see if you can find the problem:



No, it isnt that we have no backsplash yet....

or that the salt and pepper shakers are arbitrarily placed on the stove...


Here's the issue:


The custom wine fridge cabinet was built at the standard 36" counter height to fit the fridge and line up with the stove, however our existing kitchen cabinets are only 34.25" tall for some reason. We did not know this until after the counters were installed.

Wop-wop.

The good news? The boys are in the kitchen fixing it as I type :) They are simply removing the cabinet from the wall, building a new base out of wood to fit the gap, and setting the cabinet on top of the wood pieces. Then adding a trim piece around the bottom to cover up the seams.

So that's it for this week! Our sink was just hooked up an hour ago so we are ready to rock and roll onto the next step... backsplash and floors. Which I still need to decide on. Ahh too much pressure.

But first we'll be figuring out a plan of attack for our new wainscoting in the dining room. I'll be back in a few days with the results. Happy 3-day weekend everyone!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weekend in Savannah

We took this weekend off of house projects to celebrate our two year anniversary in Savannah, Georgia.


What a beautiful city...


We went on a bus tour and got to know a little bit of the history—like how the Forrest Gump bench scene was filmed in one of the park squares, and that it is the most haunted city in the US.


We were both in awe of the architecture of all the old houses and buildings...









Of course we had to hit up some of the local bars for peach tea mixers and daquiri's...









We also had a chance to make the drive over to Tybee Island—a quiet little beach town on Georgia's coast.



And on our way out of town we spotted a wildlife sign off the highway and turned around to get a closer look. Turns out it was the Wildlife Preserve, and this hidden gem was probably the best part of the trip!













That went by WAY too fast.... so not looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow, but it was a much needed break for the both of us.

Granite going in on Wednesday! I'll be back with updates soon :)