I thought I’d keep things green around here in honor of St. Paddy’s day. I hope you’re enjoying a pint of beer and pretending to be Irish for a day. (I know…I know…you’re Grandmother was 1/8 Irish…sure.)
I’ve got a story for you about a tree plant.
Last week we had my mother in law’s car while she was on vacation. It was great! We bought so many large things, and forayed to places usually inaccessible to those without cars. We went to an outlet mall people! Urbanites don’t get to experience such things.
While we had a car I wanted to get a new plant. Odin is finally over his “eat all the plants!” obsession, so I went in search of a plant. I wanted a fiddle leaf fig tree. They’re beautiful and fancy and people on the web say they’re cool, so I needed one. Problem is, they can be expensive. However my main squeeze Ikea carries them. So off to Ikea I went in search of froyo and a fiddle leaf fig.
I get to Ikea, waited in line for my froyo and wandered the store eating my yogurty goodness and ended up in the plant department. I looked around and…NO FIDDLE LEAF FIGS.
Sad yet determined, I picked the prettiest palm I could find, grabbed a basket and headed to the car.
First problem: Plant is too big for car. That’s okay, I can put the seats flat and lay down the plant. Huzza!
I drive it home willing it to not roll around and get dirt all over my MIL’s car.
Get it home, and wrangle it out of the car. I’m starting to get the feeling that this plant is a bit big. I get it into the house and carry it upstairs.
Oh wow, this plant is really big…I have to squish it through the hallway.
I place the plant in it’s intended destination, the alcove outside our master bedroom beside a full length mirror.
Oh…the plant completely hides the mirror and it sticks out blocking our bedroom doorway and the hall. Sh$t. Now what?
Oh! We have a big guest room (big in comparison to the rest of our house) I’ll put it in there!
*Squishes plant down long tiny hallway.
In front if the bay widow maybe?
Well crap. I don’t have anywhere else to put it. The only other place is in the corner where the hot pink chair lives.
So I move out the chair, and slide in the plant, shoving his leaves against the
Wall and forcing him in. Ta-da! It fits(ish).
What about the chair?
One can only do so many things with a hot pink bankers chair.
I know, I’ll shove it in front of the closet. No one needs to go in the guest room closet. The only thing in there is extra duvets and old clothes.
And. like. if you need to open the closet, the chair totally can be moved. Right? RIGHT?
It was time to add some charm to our guest bedroom in the form of board & batten on the walls & some new (not yellow) paint. The room is big in the scope of our house at 12’x12′. It has a lovely bay window, double closet and original 100 year old ash floors. It also has amazing baseboards & trim (as does most of our house). When starting the board & batten the last thing I wanted to do was change, futz or in anyway do anything to the trim work. I wanted it to stay where it was, and do the board & batten up to it. Problem is, the baseboards are sloped and hit the wall with only 1/4″ space from the wall. This means that the material for my battens could only be 1/4″ thick, or else I’d have an unsightly overhang.Eeep…that doesn’t leave a lot of options.
These were the possibilities that I could find:
1/4″ x 4 foot long poplar lattice at almost $5 each…hurmph
1/4″ x 8 foot vynal trim pieces at almost $6 each…ack
1/4″ thick 4×8 sheet of hardboard for $17
The hardboard was looking to be the best option, but we don’t have a table saw yet (it’s still on my wish list). So we’d have to get the Home Depot guys to cut it down for us at $1 a cut, then somehow get it home. It could work, but it also wasn’t the best case scenario…I needed to think this one out.
I then called my local lumber yard Downtown Lumber. They’re always really helpful and I thought they may have some ideas. Turns out Downtown Lumber carries 1/4″ MDF in 4×8 sheets for $15, and they make custom cuts for 50 cents each. I like using mdf much better than hardboard (as it doesn’t have that glossy surface), and the lumber store is waaay closer to our house, and easier to walk home with big lumber.
So better + cheaper + less work = happy Kristen.
So I did my math, settled on 2.5″ battens, and placed the order to have 2 mdf sheets cut into 2.5″ strips. We headed over after work to pick it up and lugged it all home along with some trim. The getting it home was an epic fail (I’m talking all of it almost falling off a dolly, practically killing a cyclist and an epic argument) dammit we should just get a car already…
So after we got the wood home, and had a few drinks to forget the ordeal, I set out sanding the edges of the mdf for a nice smooth finish, and putting a coat of Behr Premium Plus Ultra in pure white on the edges. I didn’t paint the flat part of the battens for one main reason; I was going to have to fill & touch them up anyways, and to get a smooth finish I would really need to re-paint them entirely. Rather than make myself more work. I decided to paint them once they were on the wall with a small foam roller.
I did however paint the bottom of the wall so it would save me trying to paint in between the battens (yuck). Deciding where the paint would stop (where the top rail would go) was the hardest part. The storefront is not the least bit straight or level, and when I drew a level line on the wall it looked like I had done it drunk. So we fudged it, and made it kinda sorta parallel to the ceiling and floors. We used a chalk line to line it up, then used tape to mark the line, and to keep me from painting willy nilly everywhere.
After the paint had dried (the next day) we installed the top rail out of the 2.5″ mdf battens on the nice line we’d made with the tape the day before.
Then the vertical battens got added. We had to custom cut each and every one, as they were all different heights. I would measure a few, and head out to the garage to do the cutting, then lug them all back upstairs, over a baby gate (that was keeping the dog from free roaming and destroying the house) and then back into the guestroom. I made countless trips up and down those stairs.
We went with 12″ of space between battens, cause, well it looked good. The front wall under the bay window the spacing is fudged so that battens framed the windows (technically they should have not two battens touching eachother, but it looks correct once its all painted).
We did have one instance where hitting an electrical outlet was unavoidable. It was on a small wall that had 2 switches, an outlet and an a/v outlet. The battens were almost the same size as the outlets, so we placed one batten directly centered on the outlet, so we could make flush cuts against it. We then measured out our 12″ on either side. The wall is not perfectly symmetrical, but you wouldn’t second guess it.
To make the spacing easier, we made a spacing jig out of some old lumber, and spaced & leveled then brad nailed each batten.
It went very quick, the most time consuming part being the measuring and cutting (especially if I’d measured wrong, and had to go re-cut). We labeled each batten corresponding to what wall the were working on (Left, Right, Front, Back) and gave them a letter (i.e. Left-A was the first board on the left side, whereas Right-I was the last board on the right). This made it so much easier as you couldn’t loose track of what board went where.
After we fished installing all the vertical battens, we also decided to add some horizontal battens about a foot from the top to add a bit more visual appeal, and it matches the shaker paneling on the front of the storefront. We had lots of off cuts from the vertical battens, so we cut down a bunch of 12″ battens and brad nailed them in place. (and of course custom cut ones for the odd places.)
Next up was to fill all the damn holes from the brad nails. I filled the nail holes with spackle, and the cracks and seams with paintable caulking. I used the spackle this time so that we could easily sand to get a perfect finish on the flat battens.
We then added some cove moulding on top of the top rail. I was going to add a small plate rail above that as well, but that proved to be too difficult with our wonky walls. Our walls just bowed and dipped so much that there were huge gaps at points. So we decided to call it done with the cove moulding.
After all that filling, sanding and caulking, I got to painting. I cut in the edges of the battens where they met the wall. I had given one coat of paint to the battens before I had installed them, but this second coat covered all the caulking and finished the sides beautiful. I painted the flat part of the battens using a small foam roller. I made sure not to use too much paint so that it didn’t overflow into the “board” part, and it went quite quickly. I was running extremely low on paint (had only bought one gallon) and decided to brush on my second coat. The foam roller gives a beautiful finish, but it was looking like it was going to take three coats (which I did not have enough paint for) So I switched it up and painted the entire second coat with a brush. The trick to painting a flat surface with a brush without leaving brush marks is a light touch. You want to evenly distribute the paint without pulling any back up. I paint the whole piece, and then go back over it quickly with a light brush. When the paint dries this should leave you with a nice smooth finish.
After it dried for a day, I went back and painted the rest of the wall with a nice medium grey, which really made the board & batten pop!
2 – 1/4″ 4×8 sheets of mdf cut into 2.5″ strips: Downtown Lumber
1/2″ cove moulding: Downtown Lumber
DAP Spackle : Home Hardware
DAP Alex Plus Paintable Caulking: Home Depot
Paint (Board & Batten)- Behr Premium Plus Ultra Pure White in Satin: Home Depot
Paint (Wall) – Behr Premium Plus Ultra in Anonymous in Eggshell: Home Depot
After measuring and planning, and cutting and nailing, and caulking and painting, its finally done. Our guest room now has a board & batten wall treatment (althou I think its more shaker paneling…but tomato tomato)
Without further adieu, here is our completed Board & Batten treatment in our Guest Room.
When we purchased the house, we envisioned a cottagy guest room, and both of us instantly thought yellow. We picked out a sunny buttery yellow, and purchased the paint prior to moving in. Our first weekend in the house we painted, and it was….BRIGHT. We decided to try to live with it, see if we liked it any better. Then when Holmes Inspection renovated our house, they colour matched the room and re-painted, but the colour was even BRIGHTER. Now when the sun pours in the bay window every morning, it’s a bit…well…neon.
We did do a few things right, we bought a nice bed, linens, hung custom blinds, and re-used some dressers. It just needs a bit more “lipstick and mascara” (and maybe a pair of killer heels).