All the Trimmings

We have walls, we have a light fixture, and we now have mouldings!

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Oh my god it’s finally like a real room.

We started with the baseboards.  Once again I spent a while agonizing over trim pieces (since trying to duplicate 100 year old moulding with contemporary, mass-produced pieces is a bit of a pain).  We had a little more leeway in this room since the upstairs was already a bit mis-matched so I decided to simplify things from when I did the dining room baseboards.

This time I settled on a 3 part baseboard instead of the 4 part plan I used before.  We picked up a 4″ baseboard, chair rail, and shoe molding.

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We really should have started with the plinths, but I was still painting them.  You can buy fancier plinths at the hardware store, but the ones in the rest of our house are super-simple so I made them myself.  I measured the width of the door casings, added about a 1/4″ (seriously, I just eyeballed it) and ripped some down.  We had a scrap board of 10″ select pine so I used that since it would be plenty tall. Then I took my palm sander and rounded down all the edges and corners, primed and painted… and waited for them to dry.

While the plinths were being finished, we put up the 2 main parts of the base.  We started with the bottom layer, went around the entire room, then added the top layer rather than fully finishing a wall at a time.  My best advice for installing baseboards (or pretty much any trim) is to just tack it in place until you’re sure all the edges/corners line up well.  If there’s an oopsie down the road it’s way easier to pull off and fix.  Oh, and also start with your longest pieces first so if you cut them too short you can still re-use them elsewhere. We were able to leave the right amount of space for the plinths because I had extra one that was originally intended for backup but had a pretty nasty split in the wood.

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Once the baseboards were up we were able to add in the plinths, followed by the vertical door casings.  I was a little paranoid about installing them because my dad and I custom routed them and didn’t have any extra. Matt totally rocked it though!  We went with a simple header cut from a 1×6 since that’s what’s in the 3rd bedroom.

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SHAZAAM! We have door mouldings! (and a door that needs to be refinished, but that’s a project for another day)

After the doors, we moved onto the poor, naked windows.

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Here we started with the sills, which sound intimidating, but they were really easy. First we figured out the depth of the other sills in our house and ripped a couple boards down to that measurement.  Then we measured the depth of the window opening + the depth of the casing (A) and the width of the casing + 1/2″ (B).  This gave up the dimensions of the cutouts we needed to make. The length of your board will be the window width + (B x 2).

SillTemplateI actually added a little more than a 1/2″ to the ends and cut it down after we dry-fit the sill.  We used a jig saw to cut out the corners.  It’s a pretty crappy jigsaw and we probably didn’t have the right blade for this this so my cuts were a little wonky.  I also used my palm sander to slightly round off all the edges and corners.

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All of this will get covered by the window trim pieces though so we’re ok!

After the sills were nailed down, we added the inside trim.  We found a 3 1/4″ baseboard which was shockingly perfect. Yes, ok, there’s a bit of a gap in the middle, but our house isn’t square/level/standard in anyway so we’re used to these things.

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I think it’s easiest to start from the top when you’re dealing with mitered cuts like these.  You’ll know the top piece fits snugly and then you only have 1 mitered edge on the side pieces and shave off extra length with just a straight cut until those fit snugly too.

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Next we added the vertical casings and the header. Thanks to our old house and wonky walls, there’s quite a bit of gap between the header.  We’re going to add some wood filler and no one will ever be the wiser.

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Finally we added sill base (there may be a technical term here, but I don’t know it….).  Again, we just copied what was happening in the 3rd bedroom which was simpler than the trim in the rest of the house.  Here we used a 1×4 cut to an 18 degree angle on the ends… I don’t know how they came up with 18 degrees, but it’s consistent with the other small bedroom.

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And that’s the window!  Lots of parts, but mostly easy cuts.

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After all the trim was nailed up Matt went around and caulked everything.

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Original image via Hyperbole and a Half

I have to give a HUGE shout out to Matt for pretty much everything in this room.  I may write the blog, but he’s been working so hard on and picking up my slack when I need a nap break.  He’s really been the moulding (and painting, and ceiling fan) champ here and installed everything with pretty minimal help from me.

 

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It’s HERE…. Again

You know how we finally got the back-ordered ceiling fan a couple weeks ago?  We went to put it up the other weekend aaaaand it was missing a part.  Awesome.

Not gonna lie, my first thought was holy shit Matt just threw away part of my fan.  He had been cleaning up all the excess packaging that’s been taking over our living room between baby-related deliveries and home improvement crap and he already threw out the styrofoam packaging from the ceiling fan box.  He insisted he checked everything he threw out for stray parts beforehand and I have no reason not to believe him.  Buuuut I still may have went slightly catatonic and then decided I wanted ice cream (Izzy’s!) for dinner.

First I called Lowes, because that’s who we ordered it from.  They then contacted Hunter (the company who made the fan) who gave them a reference number which they passed on to me so I could call Hunter back.

The first person I talked to didn’t care about my reference number and seemed very confused as to why I was even calling in the first place.  She eventually said she was going to transfer me over to parts but instead I got trapped in the Automated Phone System From Hell.  If you keep pressing zero enough times you can usually get to a real person and thankfully that worked this time. I may handle automated phone systems rather badly. The second live person I talked to was actually helpful but apparently shipping just the missing part was impossible and then had to send a whole new fan.  Over-night shipping was also apparently impossible but she eventually caved and requested it be sent out as 2 day shipping (which translates to 2-5 days).  We did end up getting the new fan on Saturday though–score!

Matt handled the installation by himself (I may have possibly been napping….).  I went up to check on things as he was nearing the end and he had a laundry list of complaints.

Some of the screws provided did not actually fit, but he was able to scrounge spare screws from fan #1.

One of the screw holes for attaching the fan blades was miss-threaded making it damn near impossible to get the screw through.

The biggest issue though was installing the plate with the socket.  It attached with 3 small screws that were practically impossible to line up correctly.  It seriously took him a solid 1/2 hour to get that one piece in, it was also accompanied by a level of swearing straight out of the beginning of Four Weddings and a Funeral.

The lesson learned from this is pretty much whoever designed this fan only designed it to be pretty.  They also possibly designed it to give electricians more business because it is a giant PITA to install on your own.

But daaamn is it gorgeous!

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It came with an LED Edison bulb that’s pretty wussy so I’m going to try and swap it out for one of these pretty LED globe bulbs from IKEA.

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It’s HERE!

No, not the baby, that would be waaaay too early, but my ceiling fan for the nursery is finally here!

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I ordered it back in February, knowing it was back-ordered until the end of March.  Ok, I can wait.  At the end of March I get a call saying it won’t be available until the end of April.  Arghhhh.  We were ready to paint at this point, but I couldn’t pick out the paint until I had the fan.  At the end of April my already vivid pregnancy dreams started feeding off of my design neurosis and I had a nightmare in which I got shipped a broken and decrepit version of my fan and was told I couldn’t exchange it because it was the last one on the planet ever.  The next day I called up Lowes asking them to check on the status and they assured me it would be ready for pickup the next week.

Sure enough, I got a call last Thursday (also Star Wars Day, our 3rd Wedding Anniversary, and the official start of my third trimester) saying it was FINALLY ready for pickup.  The employee who called me was officially my BFF of the day.

Matt was hoping we could just pick up paint while we were already out.  Nope, sorry, hardware stores are possibly the worst place to choose a paint color.  That’s why they have all the swatches, so you can take them home and look at them in the same light you’ll be using the paint in.  Luckily for Matt, I already knew roughly what colors I wanted, I just needed to narrow down the exact shade so we were able to pick up paint first thing on Saturday and get to work.

Matt started on the ceiling while I started prepping the radiator.  My spray booth game is really improving.

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How awesome is that ceiling???? The color is Breaktime by Sherwin Williams (flat finish). I think it’s bright and fun without being too candy-colored like sooo much kid stuff.

The radiator was currently a flat beige-y color.  Once we get everything painted and the bright white trim installed it was going to look really dirty.  I went over it with 3 coats of white spray paint* (satin finish). Soooooo much better!

The ceiling and radiator took up all of Saturday, then Sunday we were able to start the walls! Painting goes MUCH faster when you don’t have trim to cut in around so we were able to finish the walls in one day.

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We have paint!  It looks pretty white, but it’s Palest Pistachio by Benjamin Moore (eggshell finish) and has a very faint gray/green tinge to it.  The next step is getting all the baseboards and casings primed, painted, cut, and installed.  Ooof! Our goal is to have the baby room looking like an actual room (instead of a construction zone) by my baby shower at the end of the month.  I think we can do it!

 

*Don’t worry, I had open windows and a full respirator.  I would have pawned it off on someone else, but spray paint is a technique and I have trust issues.

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We have WALLS!

And a CEILING!

It’s kind of amazing actually.

A few weeks back my dad and brother-in-law joined up for an Epic DIY weekend.  My dad and I kicked it off with some custom door and window casings.  Matt’s brother, Isaac, got in later, so he and Matt were going to tackle the ceiling on Saturday.

Matt and I had already gotten drywall up on the walls, and all the seams taped and mudded.  The ceiling was going to be a far more intensive job though and a little college boy labor goes a long way. The first step was to rent a drywall lift.  My dad was telling me that he and my mom drywalled a ceiling without a lift back in the 70’s…oof!  It cost us $15 to rent a lift for the most of the day (from Menards).  Totally worth it.

I may have mentioned before that my dad and I make up team Crazed Perfectionist.  We watched Matt and Isaac for a little bit to see if they would need extra hands.  They didn’t really, but we started getting a little twitchy about the lack of crazed perfectionism, so I suggested (firmly) for a division of labor.  Team Crazed Perfectionist would handle the measuring and cutting, and team Grunt Labor would handle the lifting and installing.  This actually worked out pretty well, especially since doing anything on the ceiling gets tiring pretty quickly so this gave team Grunt Labor a bunch of mini rest breaks.

We’re still pretty new to drywall so I’m not going to do a tutorial (I’m sure they are far more knowledgeable people out there who have already written them).  I do have a few useful takeaways we learned though.

  • Suck it up and rent a drywall lift!  We didn’t bother with it for the walls because we installed the sheets vertically, but it was MUST for the ceiling.  If you’re installing sheets on the wall horizontally, you’ll probably want it too.ceilingDrywall1
  • Align the factory edges of your drywall as much as possible.  The edges of a sheet of drywall have a very slight indent in them to help compensate for the thickness of the tape and mud.
  • Mark the ends of your joists on the walls, then use a chalk line to connect the marks to show you where to put your screws.  It’s MUCH harder to eyeball a straight line when you’re balanced and bent on top of a ladder.

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  • THIN coats when mudding.  Seriously. Yes, if it goes on too thick you can sand it down, but drywall dust is horrendous. Thin coats should mean less sanding AND less dry time between layers so you can get more done in a day.
  • Once you’re at the sanding stage, try and tarp off the room as best as you can.  We hung plastic sheeting over the door and kept the door closed at all times.

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  • We didn’t try this, but had multiple people suggest a drywall sanding sponge.  Wet sanding should help control the dust and joint compound is water soluble so it’s supposed to be faster.
  • We tried a sanding attachment for our shop-vac.  Awesome in concept, but according to Matt it was a little unwieldy.  The head would spin unpredictably making things a little difficult.  He did notice an improvement in the dust control though, so it probably depends on the person if they like it or not.
  • Get a bag filter for your shop-vac!  You for sure want one rated for drywall dust because you will be vacuuming up a LOT.
  • Wear a mask and full goggles when sanding.  I really can’t over-state how awful drywall dust is.
  • Make sure you keep a good moisturizer handy.  Drywall is incredibly drying on the skin.

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You can see we ended up with a tiny little strip of drywall, which is usually frowned upon.  Based on where our joists were positioned, this made the most sense for us.  We were able to screw the edges of the second-to-last board directly into the joists and the last little strip was light enough adhere with construction adhesive (because we were drywalling over existing plaster instead of bare studs).  We screwed it in too, but there wasn’t a joist there which we would have needed to secure a larger piece.

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After making it though the weekend without killing anyone, Matt kept working away on the mudding/sanding the seams.  It’s a process and, quite frankly, it sucks.  Actually, the mudding’s not so bad, but the sanding is possibly the worst home improvement task ever.  I was really happy to have solid excuse not to help.  Once Matt got things sanded, he would call me in to give the Crazed Perfectionist opinion and then I’d go around with a pencil and circle all the areas that needed more work.

Two weeks later we were ready to prime!  I’m specifically holding off on installing trim until the room is fully painted.  Painting goes SO much faster when you don’t have to worry about cutting in!  We knocked out all the walls in about an hour one evening after work. Unfortunately, it was starting to get a little dark at that point and the “fancy” bare drywall primer is nearly impossible to see until it dries so our first coat turned out super crappy.  Oops.  It also highlighted some spots that still needed a little extra smoothing (though not as many as I expected!).

The next evening we tackled the touch-up spots and the ceiling.  We’ll take another look at everything in full daylight, but it seems to be going well.  I’m planning another coat of regular primer just so we don’t get any surprises when we paint.  And when will we get to the actual paint?  Well, my ceiling fan is now back-ordered until the end of April and I need the fan to decide on the ceiling color and I need the ceiling color to decide on the wall color.  Matt just sort of shakes his head and asks why we can’t just get a white fan.  I tell him he because he married a crazy person which he really should have been aware years ago.

Until my beloved fan comes in I’ll be sanding (with a mask!), priming, and painting all the trim pieces.

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Nursery Inspiration

Who’s excited???  It’s been a while since I put together a mood board and possibly the best part of pregnancy is brainstorming decor!  I had a few ideas floating around, but wanted to wait until we knew if we would be having a boy or girl.

Well, it’s officially a boy!

So here’s what I’m currently thinking:

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I wanted something fun and child-appropriate without being overly cutesy.  Baby won’t have any opinions on decor for a while (if ever), so the nursery is really more for mom and dad.  I also wanted to keep the basics of the room pretty gender-neutral so if we have a girl sometime in the future we can reuse our baby gear easily.

As I mentioned before, my starting point was a set of Zoo Portraits–fun and whimsical without being sickeningly cutesy. The ceiling fan I fell in love with early on and nearly talked myself out of it! Everyone thinks I’m nuts when I start gushing over a ceiling fan, but isn’t this one just fabulous?

I didn’t want to fall into the muted, monochromatic trap that a lot of baby rooms fall into.  Bold colors and high contrast are easier for a baby to focus on, so I wanted pops of brights, especially in the mobile. Plus, it’s just more to my personal liking. The lime and redish-orange I plan to work into some more accessories and storage pieces.

My current thoughts on paint are to paint the ceiling the same minty-aqua as the light fixture and then go pretty neutral on the walls.  I think by the time I’m done there will be a lot going on around the floor and walls that will be better balanced by a bolder ceiling.

The Eames elephant probably won’t make it into the final room since it’s definitely splurgy, but a girl can dream, right?

 

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Oh BOY!

Looks like we’re officially expecting a little man this July!  This also means first baby pics!  Wheeeee!

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I am notoriously bad at deciphering ultrasound images, but I could usually figure out the head and spine.  Once the tech started pointing out the stomach and kidneys….. um, sure.

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I just think this shot’s kind of hilarious.  This is a frontal view of the face and if you look for it you can see the left eyeball, the nasal cavity, and the mouth open in a fish-faced little pucker.

Everything’s looking normal for the kiddo, but I do need to go back in another 4-6 weeks for them to check if I may have Oligohydramnios (ie Big Scary Word Thing that may or may not be an issue). In the meantime I’ll just be trying to drink water like it’s going out of style.

Now that we know the gender, I can finally get cracking on the nursery design!  My current inspiration is a selection of Yago Partal’s Zoo Portraits.  I picked up a calendar a few years back just to dissect it for the artwork (calendars are an awesome source of cheap art!).  We had them in the hallway in our apartment, but I think they’re awesome for a baby room–whimsical, but not overly cutesy.  It’s harder to find bedding to coordinate with art than vice-versa so the prints may possibly get swapped out.  We’ll see…

Next week my dad and brother-in-law are coming to work on the nursery.  All the drywall is up on the walls, but we still have to tape and mud (and sand and mud and sand and mud), and do the whole ceiling.  It also looks like we’re going to have to route some custom casings, because despite the fact that the door and window casings in this house are the simplest design ever (apart from just a plain 1×6) they are impossible to find.*  Hopefully my dad will save the day with his router!  This also means we should have actual house stuff to show in the near future! Woot!

 

*We found something really close once, but despite the fact that it was the company’s standard back-cut knife, there would be $200 setup fee plus the cost of materials.  For 2 doors and 2 windows (and only the vertical casings) that seemed excessive, so we’re DIYing this shit!

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