DIY

Adventures in Wainscoting

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Did you know I’ve had my little heart set on wainscoting in my living room for like ever ?  Have I mentioned this before ?   Perhaps I have. 

So this past weekend was Mother’s Day.  My husband asked the obligatory question, “Dear, love of my life, mother of my children and wife extraordinaire, what is it that you want for Mother’s Day?”  

It took approximately 1.2 seconds for me to shout “Wainscoting!”  

Wish you could have seen him wince. 

I think he was hoping for “Spa Day” or “Chocolate” instead of “Wainscoting” since he had his heart set on a relaxing weekend watching the San Jose Sharks win the playoffs, woot woot !   No, my idea  of relaxation is a home improvement project – call me crazy. 

I started my Saturday morning with some coffee and research.  I learned the following.

thibaut wallpaperWainscot (paneling on the lower part of a wall) comes in many different styles. 

You’ve got your tongue and groove beadboard, board and batten, inverted panel, flat panel, and raised panel wainscoting.  Researching the ‘how to’ is enough to make your head spin.   This Old House has a great article describing all the different kinds of wainscoting.

I had my little heart set on picture frames sitting on top of smooth panels with a chair rail above, or really something that looks a whole lot like this photo to the left. 

Plenty of websites want to sell you prefabricated kits.   Some online articles recommend hiring a carpenter.  For what I had in mind, I was pretty sure we could do it ourselves in a weekend with some simple supplies. 

And so we did ! 

Sort of.  We’re not finished, but we made great progress.

sat a.m.

sun pm

 

Here’s the step by step on our version of this picture frame wainscoting. 

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Curb Appeal: Eight Weekend DIY Projects

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

I get a lot of emails from readers asking for tips and advice on sprucing up their interior spaces or fixing up their thrift store finds, and I’m happy to correspond.  One reader posed this question addressing the exterior of her home, so I thought I’d answer it right here !

“Dear Ms. Kate,  We just got married and purchased our first home a few months ago.   We’re very excited about our new place, but the outside of our house is a tan box and doesn’t look much different than the rest of the cookie cutter houses in our neighborhood.  We’re looking for ways to pretty up our front porch and front yard.  Could you possibly share some ideas on how we can turn our plain Jane into something special, maybe some weekend DIY projects we could tackle ?  Thanks so much for any help.  Jenn R. ”

Congratulations to you and your husband Jenn on buying your first home – what an exciting moment !  Welcome to the world of home ownership where you’ll now spend more weekends than you imagined at the local home improvement store !!!

Since my husband and partner-in-DIY happens to be a real estate appraiser with over 20 years experience in valuing homes, I shared Jenn’s inquiry with him.  Mr. CG has inspected and appraised thousands of homes, so together we came up with these ideas for eight weekend DIY projects that will instantly add curb appeal to any home. 

1.  Paint or replace your front door. 

It’s amazing how much a pop of color on a front door or a fresh coat of semi-gloss can make your ‘plain Jane’ stand out from the crowd.  As long as there are no homeowner’s association restrictions, go right ahead add jazz up your door with a fresh coat of paint.  It’s a good idea to prime it first for durability.  Be the inspiration for all your neighbors – no doubt, they’ll be painting their front door in no time too !

 blue and red front door

black and turq front doors

yellow and teal door The Little Greene; BH&G; Blissfully Domestic; Hooked on Houses; Apartment Therapy; Yellow Front Door

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Go Right Ahead and Paint That Laminate

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

We’ve owned this laminate and particle board media center for about fifteen years.  It was purchased in the leaner years from a discount furniture store.   Back in the 90s, we used it in our family room to store all of our media equipment, but then we eventually moved it to the kids’ play space.  For the longest time (like most moms) I was just grateful for the storage it brought me and I didn’t care what color it was.

Then all of a sudden I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I was staring at the faux maple laminate last week and I decided the day had come.  It was time to paint it!  It’s not that I don’t like blonde wood, I just don’t like faux blonde wood.  It’s the fakeness that bothers me.

So it was time to rid my world of the maple tone and give it a fresh coat of white paint.  This is a relatively sturdy piece, so rather than go out and buy a new system, or build one myself, I determined the best way to save it was to simply paint it.  The best part of all is, I changed the look of this piece in 48 hours!

Here’s the Before:

ent center before

 

Here’s the After:

painted laminate ent center

Here’s how I painted my laminate storage center.   

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