Adding Architectural Elements – Before

Since moving into our home two years ago I have been on a mission to update, improve and add character to this builder basic home. The main entry and staircase are a focal point that I wanted to emphasize with moulding. I am so excited to be partnering with Metrie to use their beautiful mouldings to add the style and substance to our home.

Entry Before Adding Chair Rail & Panel Moulding

Before // Shibang Designs

The Main Entrance & Staircase Before

Rough Planning Sketch of Moulding

A Rough Sketch of the Moulding

I chose this chair rail for its thick profile and rounded shape that would work with the rest of the home. I had been searching for the moulding to use below the chair rail for quite some time then I came across panel mouding from Metrie’s French Curves Collection. It has lines that coordinated well with the chair rail I had selected.

Metrie Moulding Profiles - Chair Rail & Panel Molding

Refinished Banister -- Goodbye Golden Oak!

I started out by painting the walls and doors as well as refinishing the banister railing to get the other main elements in the room ready. Since I knew that I wanted a chair rail, I went ahead and painted the wall white, using painter’s tape to make a clean line on the lower portion of the wall. Going up the staircase I used the shadow that was cast by the railing to get an idea of the angle and adjusted it from there. Painting gave me an instant visual for how the walls would look with the moulding.

The installation of the chair rail has been a huge learning curve. When I started out, I had no idea about the angles so I bought a very basic mitre box, hand saw and nail setter. Thinking about how wood panelling would have been installed by carpenters before power tools gave me the confidence to ease into the project with limited hand tools.

These are the tools that I used to install the chair rail. If I had known how much I would use my mitre box and saw, I would have bought a slightly better quality one. This one works fine but there are others available for not too much more.

How to DIY Chair Rail Using a Mitre Box & Hand Saw -- No Power Tools Necessary!

Here’s a look at how the front entry is looking so far. The moulding makes the space seem larger in this tight space.

Entryway After Painting and Installing Chair Rail DIY

How to Install Chair Rail Moulding

Working through the main entrance was pretty easy once I got the hang of understanding how to cut the angles. What I didn’t consider was how angles would get a bit trickier on walls that aren’t square and staircases that have complicated angles.

DIY Chair Rail in Hallway Using a Hand Saw & Mitre Box

Here’s a look at the upstairs hallway where I’m continuing the moulding for a cohesive look.

Planning Placement for Picture Frame Wainscotting

I’ve begun cutting the panel moulding and I’m in the process of creating jigs to assemble the frames before attaching them to the wall. For this part and the complex angles on the stairs, I am using books for guidance and technical advice.

DIY Panel Moulding -- Making a Jig

Once I start to get the frames cut and up on the wall, I’ll make a tutorial showing more of the steps. What I’ve learned so far is that installing interior mouldings is much easier than I thought it would be when you’re sticking to rooms with square corners. Installing a chair rail in a powder room or hallway could easily be done with a hand saw if you don’t have a mitre saw.

Related Projects:


Black Interior Doors

Black Interior Doors

Renovating with Resale Value in Mind

Renovating with Resale Value in Mind // Shibang Designs

If you’ve been following along with my blog you’ve probably noticed a theme of making improvements based on using what is already there. Sometimes it just takes a creative idea or a fresh coat of paint to improve the look and feel of a room.

Personal Capital is running a social media campaign #renovationrundown and asked me to share my take on how renovating your home would increase its value, how I decide which rooms to renovate and if costs matters or building equity does. You can use their financial software app to set budgets and keep track of your finances during renovations

When we bought our first house my goal wasn’t to make improvements with resale in mind, my focus was making our house into a home that I loved. I started by painting the walls current neutrals, painting over the dated oak fireplace to make it a classic white and refinished the railings to give them a more current colour scheme. After only 18 months living in this home we had a job opportunity in another city and sold our home. We got an offer the day that the sign went up and sold. Working with an agent to figure out pricing gave me insight into what goes into pricing your home for sale.

Beyond keeping your home in good condition (keeping up with maintenance) I believe that it is important to keep choices neutral and appealing to a larger audience. Personality and design can still be reflected. When making decisions for our home I do keep resale at the back of my mind but I also want our home to be a place that I love. Since I do a lot of cooking and it is the centre of our home that is where we decided to renovate. After our first experience of selling  I knew that I wanted to make bigger improvements this time that we could enjoy while also increasing future resale value.

From speaking with agents, reading and following the book How to Add Value to Your Home by Scott MacGivillary the consensus is that the kitchen is the best room to invest money and add value. I highly recommend this book because it is very practical and works with different budgets.

It is important to know the context of your neighbourhood to know what the market will pay for. For someone thinking about adding value to their home it’s a good idea to talk to a local agent and ask them specific questions, for instance stone countertops are appropriate for that particular market. They will have an idea of how your renovation project may or may not add value or how much return of investment there will likely be.

Kitchen Improvement


If the cabinet fronts are in good condition and are a classic shape they may be a good candidate for refinishing or painting.

If the cabinet doors aren’t suitable for painting but the inside cabinets are in good shape and the layout works then refacing could be an option. Home improvement stores, like Home Depot can come in and install new doors for a lower cost than replacing the whole cabinet.



In some markets quartz & granite counters are a big selling feature and this amount spent can be directly factored into the resale price.


This can finish the look of the kitchen. Stick to something neutral so that’s not too personalized, for example simple glass or subway tiles.


Keep it simple, future buyers aren’t necessarily going to want to pay extra for specialty hardware.


In addition to major renovations there are some smaller changes that add to the overall impression of a home which can influence buyers.


Inexpensive DIY Updates:


Exterior Paint

Paint has so much power and potential to change a space with very little money spent.

Paint rooms, paint doors and trim, if the garage door is wood and in good shape that can be painted too to add curb appeal.

Change Light Fixtures at the dining room or another focal spot. Adding a dimmer to a chandelier adds so much ambience.

Shibang Designs // Kitchen Banquette

Replace Door Knobs – Replace shiny brass.

Plant a Tree – There may even be a subsidized backyard tree planting program like LEAF that supports the Toronto area.

Refinish Banisters – This can be a DIY which is labour intensive but low material cost.



 A few references:

How to Add Value to Your Home by Scott MacGillivray gives good insight into how to add value based on your budget.

Houzz 5 Remodels that Make Good Resale Value Sense- And 5 That Don’t

Houzz A Designer’s Top 10 Tips to Add Home Value


An Example

This advice from Becki Owens on how to create a stylish kitchen on a budget demonstrates how with a neutral base you can add personality with accents and so can a potential homebuyer in the future.

Becki Owens Affordable White Kitchen

There is so much more to discuss and read about on this topic. Thanks to all of the sharing of information online there are lots of resources and inspirational photos. For me I also believe that it is important to do a job properly if you’re going to do it otherwise the next owner may end up just wanting to replace what you did.

Shiplap Planked Wall

DIY Shiplap by Shibang Designs, original tutorial by House of Smiths

Here’s a look at the shiplap wall that my friend Kate and I installed in my living room. Since we won’t be knocking down this wall that separates the kitchen I decided to make it an accent instead. Originally I had wanted to do a brick veneer but the cost was 10 times more than going the wood plank route.DIY Shiplap //Shibang Designs This was the wall before. The wood planks were  cut at the hardware store from a larger sheet of plywood.DIY Shiplap // Shibang Designs Around the top edge I wanted crown moulding and since I do not have the tools to cut it I used these pre-fabricated corners. It was tricky for us to install this part.
DIY Shiplap // Shibang Designs DIY Shiplap // Shibang Designs DIY Shiplap // Shibang DesignsWhat I didn’t expect was how the ceilings would appear so much taller with the moulding.
DIY Shiplap // Shibang Designs Since I like neat and tidy edges I added corner guards where the panelling edges meet because this wall is exposed from all four sides. Shibang Designs

The tutorial that I followed for this wall was from The House of Smiths. These are my process photos but for lots of information I suggest going to the original post from The House of Smiths.House of Smiths DIY Planked Wall TutorialThis was an inexpensive project that adds lots of character to the space. It is relatively easy if you have a blank wall without many outlets or vents and requires very few tools to complete.

Kitchen Makeover on a Budget

All White Kitchen // Shibang Designs

Here are some photos of the backsplash installation. This part dramatically changed the feeling of the space.

Subway Tiling // Shibang Designs

White Subway Tile Backsplash // Shibang DesignsHere you can see a little look at the honey coloured wood that used to be here.
White Subway Tile Backsplash // Shibang Designs White Subway Tile Backsplash // Shibang Designs

I added some wood corner pieces on the corners of the walls to conceal the tile edge as well as  crown moulding along the top of valance. It took me several weeks to complete all of my finishing touches when the tiling itself was only 5 hours when done by someone we hired. I like learning and every time it gets a bit easier to install moulding and other architectural details.

White Kitchen and Herbs // Shibang Designs

It looks like a different kitchen and it still the same elements, just a lot has been added on to embellish it.

How to get your dream kitchen on a budget

Related Posts 

Shibang Designs Painting Progress

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

White Quartz Samples

White Quartz Counters

Thrift Store Table Refinishing

Thrift Store Dining Table Refinished




Kitchen Makeover – New Counters

Shibang Designs // Quartz Counters

Now that we have almost completed our kitchen update I wanted to share a bit of the process, starting with changing the counters. This is the before shot, a basic kitchen with wood cabinets, laminate counters and a painted wall backsplash.

Kitchen BEfore 3

Kitchen Before2

Shibang Designs Painting Progress Last year I painted the cabinets and lived with it like this before making the decision to replace the counters.
White Quartz SamplesI knew that I wanted to go with white quartz that looked like marble but when I saw the small samples in the showroom it was difficult to tell how the patterns would look on a larger scale. I asked if it was possible to go directly to the supplier to see the slabs and luckily it was nearby. By seeing them in person  I ended up choosing a different sample which was closer to what I had in mind.

Quartz Slabs quartz deliveryThis is how the counters arrived and installation process was so quick and took less than two hours. The biggest inconvenience was having the water shut off in the kitchen for several days because I got the plumber to come too early. Quartz Counter

White Quartz Counters & Painted Cabinets

Quartz Countertop Installation This is the after which doesn’t look too dramatically different but once the faucet and tiles go up the whole look comes together. I posted the old counter and sink on kijiji and someone picked it up right away so it didn’t go in the garbage.

Quartz Countertop InstallationI still have to sort through my photos of the tiling process and then I’ll share those too.


Spring Florals

Floral Pillows // Shibang Designs

I started Shibang Designs as a way to create functional pieces of art, in the form of purses and accessories, each embellished with my signature wool felt applique style. After working small scale for several years, I am now shifting my focus on my textile technique by creating large scale pieces. These large textile art pieces and cushion covers are part of the new line that I will be showing next week at the Toronto One of a Kind Spring Show.

These are some process photos and pieces that I have been working on lately.
Gold // Shibang Designs Shibang Designs Spring PillowsHand Dyed Wool Drying Rack Textile Art // Shibang Designs Shibang Designs Nursery Decor

For anyone in the Toronto area who is planning to come to the show I have a few tickets that I’m giving away from my Facebook page this weekend.

One of a Kind Show

Staining a Sofa Table with Steel Wool & Vinegar

Shibang Designs Sofa Table DIY //Rogue Engineer PlansDuring the winter months it can be hard to work on furniture projects that require chemicals and make big messes if you don’t have a heated workspace. I was determined to make a new sofa table and decided to build it right in the living room.

Shibang Designs Sofa Table // Rogue Engineer Plans

I’ve had my eye on this plan by Rogue Engineer and I adjusted the dimensions to fit our couch by making the table lower and narrower. Getting the wood cut at the hardware store and using the Kreg Jig (which makes pocket holes for easy and secure joints) made it come together quickly. I am a total beginner but thanks to the great plans available by talented people it is so easy.


After building the table this is what it looked like unfinished. I decided not to add the x braces in the original plan because I liked the simplicity of it like this.

Since it’s too cold to do a wood stain in the garage and I didn’t want to leave it unfinished until spring I did a steel wool and vinegar stain. It’s not an exact science and from my experience there is not a lot of control in the colour. Each board takes the treatment differently and I’ve even had some cedar turn black. To make the mixture just put steel wool and vinegar in a lidded container and wait a couple of days. Then brush it on the wood.

IMG_8977 The photo above shows the contrast of the wood that has the vinegar and steel wool and the bottom part doesn’t. Shibang designs wood detail

I learned the hard way that if you miss spots and try to go back after and fill them in it doesn’t work too well.

Sofa Table Staining With Vinegar Before Whitewash

These pine boards took the vinegar pretty well but the board used for the legs was different than the rest of the table so I did a dry brush whitewash with leftover house paint. I went pretty conservative with the white dry brush because I plan to do a proper treatment in the spring with some stain over it. If you’re hesitant to use wood stains or don’t have the proper space to work then the vinegar can work if you plan to do washes of paint over top.

How to Stain Wood with Vinegar & Steel Wool // Shibang Designs Table Plan by Rogue EngineerDoing a dry brush treatment or doing a light wash of paint over top of the wood is the way to control the finished look and conceal flaws.

Vinegar and Steel Wool Wood Finish // Shibang Designs

This is a detail of the finished product and it’s already being put to use as a prop for photographing my spring pillow collection.

Spring Pillows // Shibang Designs

New Neutrals

Shibang Designs Textile ArtAs I find myself drawn to neutral home decor I have begun introducing cushions in that style. Here are a few that will be coming up on my new website at the end of the month. These have metallic branches in bronze, gold and nickel for some subtle shimmer too.

Shibang Designs Pillow

Shibang Designs Pillow Detail Brass Zipper
Shibang Designs Winter WhiteOf course colour also has a place in neutral decor and I’ll still be using colour in my new pieces.

Shibang Designs Dyed Wool

More process and photos that don’t make it to the blog can be found on my Instagram account @shibangdesigns.

Before & After French Provincial Dining Table

Some Tips on DIY Furniture Refinishing // Shibang DesignsThis is my latest piece of furniture that I’ve refinished. After doing the last dining room table I think that I was so happy with the results that I chose to forget how much sanding and time had been involved. I think that for people who see the potential in secondhand objects it can be hard to pass up a project. When I saw this French Provincial style dining table with queen anne legs and a pretty scalloped top I had to restore it!

This is a more process oriented post than normal because I documented all of the steps it took to get to the finished product. Hopefully all of this trial and error will help someone about to start a refinishing project or in the midst of one.

This is what I learned along the way…

Shibang Designs Table BeforeThis is the before and while the shape was beautiful, the scratches, worn edges and finish needed some work. What I didn’t expect was that this top would be very hard to sand down evenly and the staining process gave me more trouble that it ever has before.Shibang Designs Table Refinishing ProcessAfter using a stripper (which did nothing) and sanding there were uneven patches.

Shibang Designs Table Refinishing ProcessI tried the darkest stain I had to try to balance out the uneven colour with a red cherry stain I already had.

Shibang Designs Table Refinishing ProcessThen I applied a light grey stain but this colour wasn’t the look I was going for.
Shibang Designs Table Refinishing ProcessI ended up having to buy another stain, a dark grey which is pictured above. I also used chalk paint in graphite as a base layer for the bottom.Shibang Designs Table Refinishing ProcessThis is it after a couple coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in white. After all of the trouble with the stain not working how I wanted, the paint was so easy and enjoyable to do. I distressed the base with some sanding and then added a coat of light grey stain and sealed it with a matte varnish.IMG_8475Since this table was going up for sale after being completed I took some photos for fun.Shibang Designs Refinished Table Shibang Designs Refinished TableFrench Provincial Table Before & After :: Shibang DesignsI keep saying that this is the last time I’ll refinish furniture that isn’t for our house but I think that if I come across the right piece I’ll do it again.

Shibang Designs on Apartment Therapy

Thanks Apartment Therapy for the feature!

This is another table that I refinished in a different style if you want to see more.

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