We’re one week away from the final reveal for everyone participating in the 6 week, One Room Challenge, hosted by House Beautiful and Calling it Home. Compared to so many of the major room transformations that others are working on, my project is small and could be completed over a weekend.
Right now this is the status of my project — a garage full of wood cut and ready to be stained and put together over the weekend.
I had to make a couple of trips to bring it home but having the planter pieces cut in store was a huge help. For the planter box I’m using cedar decking boards and the lattice will be made with 1″ x 2″ pine that I will cut at home with my hand saw. I decided to go with a solid stain and had it tinted black.
The pieces will all be stained before I assemble them but this is the idea of how the box shape will be. The grey wood in the back isn’t for this project, it’s something else that I’ve been making for a pillow display going into a local decor and renovation showroom.
Here’s a reminder of where the planter and lattice will be going. We’ve had lots of rain so the green is coming back, hopefully there will be some sunny days in the forecast to get staining in time for the final reveal next Thursday.
Tthe progress of the other participants can be seen here.
This was a very quick project made using what I already had around the house. You could easily adapt this idea to work with jars and scrap wood. Since we have lots of these pickle jars, I based mine on using 4 of them.
A few cuts with a handsaw along a pencil line and then was nailed together.
This is the finished box in the raw pine. It was okay like this but I wanted to try out a stain. I was given Minwax staining cloths and was waiting for a project to use them for. This quick wooden planter box was perfect for these cloths because I didn’t need to make a mess getting supplies out. Just one cloth was enough for this and it’s as simple as rubbing the cloth on the wood and then waiting an hour for it to dry. This colour is Natural Oak, a colour new to me but one that I’d use again.
Above was the box before the stain and below is how it was after. This planter is long and low enough to sit on the table without blocking the view and it’s easy to change up what goes inside. This could work for a wedding as well.
The only thing about creating something in a larger size is that you’ll need lots of flowers to fill it. I think I cut half of the daffodils in the yard to fill this. Potted plants could sit inside instead of jars too.
Last post for the One Room Challenge, I shared photos of what our yard looks like and how I plan to build a planter box and trellis to create some privacy. Since this project is all about building one structure, I’ve been working on the design and finalizing measurements before getting the wood. I printed off a photo of the backyard area that I’ll be making the planter for and drew my measurements on tracing paper. Seeing the trellis grid drawn out helped me visualize the final details and figure out measurements.
A lot of the plans I have for our current yard are based on our previous home in Montreal that reminded us of a secret garden. The previous owners had built a pergola and trellises that filled in with grape vines during the summer.
I liked the large squares which I plan to base my trellis on. The dark grey, semi-transparent stain held up over the winters.
We’re still a long way from getting this much privacy in our current yard but the trellis will be a start.
The weather here is still cool and rainy so hopefully next week I can start building.
The progress of the other 200 plus participants can be seen here.
This before and after of our powder room has been a gradual project. A couple of years ago I shared photos of how I installed wooden shelves behind the toilet to create a display area and storage for hand towels.
The first change I made to the powder room was to paint it a dark teal because a small space is perfect for experimenting and trying something bold. Next, I replaced the mirror with a vintage one that I had. Below is the listing photo of the bathroom.
This is the only photo I took of the bathroom before because I was pretty quick to get a new coat of paint on the wall.
In September I won a contest and my prize was my choice of faucet from Delta Canada. I chose this single handle Victorian faucet to go in on our pedestal sink. The old-fashioned style of this reminds me of the taps in the bathrooms in the house that my Grandpa’s family built in the early 1900’s when they first came to Canada. I chose the single lever style to make it easier for kids to use and the chrome finish to match what was already in the room.
I chose the single lever style to make it easier for kids to use and the chrome finish to match what was already in the room.
This is what we had before so the new faucet was a big upgrade and like adding shiny jewellery to the room.
For most of my projects I like to use what I already have, so even though I was changing the faucet I wanted to keep the same pedestal sink.
My neighbour kindly installed this new faucet for us one Saturday morning. He bought shut off valves from Home Depot and new hoses to connect it.
Behind the faucet I added a wide, modern chair rail by Metrie to add interest on the wall behind the faucet. Now that I’ve done it enough times, trim installation is a quick project, especially in a tiny space like this. I did have to use a mitre saw to cut this chair rail because of the 4″ width and 1″ thick profile.
I painted the pieces before installing them. Since I didn’t have a lot of leftover paint from the bathroom I did a basecoat with a different dark paint I had first.
To install I used the same process as my other posts with a hammer and nail setter.
Here’s the room now and another before & after collage with the faucet and trim.
Over the next 6 weeks I’m going to join in as a guest for the One Room Challenge. Basically, over the course of 6 weeks, participants share the progress of their space, broken down into weekly blog updates, for a final reveal on May.11th.
This was a last minute decision for me to join so I’ll be sharing progress on a backyard project I’d already been planning to do. My plan does include plants so I may have to do another reveal later in the summer once things have filled in and leafed out.
This was our yard when we first moved in, during summer 2014. The backyard shares fences with 6 other neighbours and there was not one single plant or tree here even though the house was nearly 20 years old.
At least one good thing about this was that I could choose whatever I wanted to plant. Below is the garden in August last summer (2016). There is no privacy in our yard so my focus was on getting all of the plants growing first before thinking about building a deck or putting in a patio.
I’m a new gardener and absolutely love planning what to put in the garden and seeing it grow. Along the fence by the back last year I turned this empty space into a spot where herbs, swiss chard and kale thrived. It wasn’t the prettiest setup but it added a lot of salad greens and was a good spot for vegetables that grow in the shade.
My plan this year is to build a long and narrow planter box along the edge of the fence where I can plant vegetables and have vines growing up trellises to create a green screen.
In the winter when all of the leaves are gone, the black trellis and black planters will be more interesting to look at than the plain fence. I would really love to stain the whole fence dark grey but right now I’m not prepared to talk to all 6 neighbours who share to the fence to ask if they’re okay with that.
This is a photo of the planned area that I took yesterday – we’re still waiting for spring here in the GTA.
These are some inspiration images of black planter boxes and privacy screens. Follow along on Pinterest for more images of beautiful gardens.
Below are the photos from my mood board which are linked to the original sources.
Sometimes a lot of elbow grease and very little in the way of supplies can have a huge impact. In this case, I’m talking about refinishing staircase banisters. This was something that I tackled early on because the honey oak colour was not my style.
My neighbour refinished her banister and this gave me the confidence to try it myself. This was a lot of work (especially since we have two staircases) and it’s messy but it was worth the effort!
I used leftover paint as a primer on the spindles followed by a topcoat of the leftover kitchen cabinet paint.
I chose a very dark, almost black stain for the railing. There’s a Canadian company, Saman, that I like to use because the stain is water based and it had the topcoat mixed into the product.
This photo is from when we first moved in and before any of my painting & moulding projects.
Here it is after using a stripper to remove the varnish followed by sanding. This is an important step because without the necessary preparation and removal of the varnish, the stain won’t go on the wood evenly.
This is the finished banister.
This is how the staircase that leads to the basement looked when we first moved in. Here I started by painting the walls a lighter colour and then we added a large, statement light fixture.
This is the view from the basement.
The view from upstairs.
The finished banister.
If you look through previous posts there are lots of other photos that show the finished banister from other angles.
Today I’ve got a tutorial and reveal of the completed board & batten wall, created in collaboration with The Home Depot Canada. Since I’m usually learning as I go, The Home Depot staff are who I rely on to answer questions and give advice for whatever project I’m working on.
These are the steps that I followed. It’s important to measure, plan, keep lines level and plumb, nail into studs when possible and when in doubt – ask for advice!
Removing the baseboard was my first step because it was thin and wouldn’t look right with the pine boards. I used a flathead screwdriver to pry it off and it came off much easier than I expected.
Next, I marked all of the studs and finalized the placement of my vertical boards. These boards I had cut to length at The Home Depot Canada. Since I live close to the store I planned to start with only these 1″ x 4″ Pine Select boards and then return to have the horizontal pieces cut. When choosing boards make sure to get ones that are straight. If you don’t know how to check, just ask for assistance. If the boards are warped it makes it more challenging to attach them to the wall.
I used 1 1/2″ spiral finishing nails which were recommended to me since they have more grip than a regular finishing nail. For some boards that don’t stay on the wall flush, I used a few dots of Construction Adhesive to make sure they held.
The next step was to take the measurements between the boards before heading back to get the horizontal pieces cut. The policy is us that you pay after the first two cuts but if you visit when it’s not too busy the staff usually go above and beyond. Having a sketch helps to remember which pieces go where and what lengths are required.
When I got home I started figuring out spacing on the wall. I did have to adjust a couple of boards with my hand saw because I had taken the wrong measurement.
I started with the top pieces and made sure they were in a level line. It turns out that our basement height is quite uneven so to create a level line across the top I left a gap (which will later be covered with moulding). These smaller pieces are held up with 2 -3 nails. Along the bottom edge, I wanted to make sure that in the future if we were going to replace the flooring it would be possible to easily remove the bottom boards.
Painting the bottom pieces before adding them to the wall would have made it much easier. To save yourself some hassle, paint them first!
Where the boards intersected I used a wood filler and sanded once it was dry.
When it comes time to paint, if you’re using a product that has a primer built in you can paint directly onto the wood. Along all of the edges where the boards meet the wall, I ran a strip of caulking along it. I have a caulking gun and have found it to very worthwhile to have. It allows you to purchase tubes of caulking or construction adhesive which are easier to apply than little containers that you squeeze out.
After final sanding, painting and caulking.
This reveal wasn’t about changing everything in the room. The paint colour stayed the same but now the basement has a feature and interest that it didn’t have before.
Thank you to The Home Depot Canada for helping make this vision a reality! If you have an idea of a project but don’t know where to start they are a wonderful resource of information and guidance.
Here’s a little reminder of where it started and some of the steps along the way.
Time for another project! This time I’m going to be adding an accent wall to our basement thanks to The Home Depot Canada.
Throughout all of my home improvement projects, The Home Depot staff have been there to give me guidance and answer any questions. There are so many possibilities to create furniture and home accents without having a workshop at home. I like being able to show up with a plan and leave with the wood cut so that I can begin building, sometimes right in the living room when it’s too cold to work outside.
The plan for the basement is to create a board and batten style accent wall using Pine Select 1″ x 4″ Boards. I am choosing wood since it’s for the basement and I plan to paint it the same white as the walls currently are. Above are a couple of sketches I did to figure out the spacing and corresponding measurements.
Here is how the basement looked when we first moved in. Below is how it currently is after I painted it white for a lighter look and refinished the banister. Paint has quick and inexpensive results, but the addition of paneling takes it to another level and can expand the sense of space, which can be very useful in a basement. Natural light enters from the stairwell which should add some extra dimension to this wall once the wood is installed.
Once the wood gets up on the wall there will be photos of the process plus more behind the scenes on my Instagram.
After finishing the moulding installation throughout the staircase with Metrie I had a bit of extra panel moulding, just enough to do one more project. After seeing how much depth and interest trim brings to the walls I decided to do a quick project above the kitchen table. It gets so much easier with practice and something this scale could be done with a hand saw, mitre box and hammer, no special tools required.
This is the wall before.
I put scrap pieces of moulding up and tried different placement, taking photos to get an idea of what would look best. Then, I did a sketch with the final measurements before cutting the moulding to size.
These boxes are 54″ in height and since I was only doing three, I put the pieces up one at a time. With the height, I left enough room at the top so that if one day we wanted to add crown moulding that could still be an option. Not every step is pictured here but there are more general instructions in my first tutorial.
This is what the area looked like in the real estate listing.
If you’ve been following along on Instagram or previous blog posts, I’ve been sharing glimpses into my staircase makeover. The wall had been painted for two years, waiting for moulding and thanks to Metrie it has become a reality. There was no major renovation involved. I broke down the steps, starting with painting the walls & staircase spindles, refinishing the banister and finishing with chair rail and panel moulding that starts at the front entry and continues to the upstairs hallway. The painting and refinishing had a lot of impact, but it wasn’t until I added the moulding that the staircase became a strong feature.
This was a big learning curve for me, but it’s not impossible, it just takes patience and attention to detail. It’s amazing to see how much dimension the moulding brings, and it makes this formerly overlooked space seem larger. Immediately after finishing I made a fresh garland to dress up the staircase since it’s now a main focal point and I was feeling the holiday spirit.
This is the view from the main floor.
That’s the kitchen off to the right.The view from the kitchen.The moulding continuing through the front hallway.
This is a reminder of what it looked like when we first moved in and what I did to get here.
With this project now completed I definitely have my eye on some other plain walls in the house that could benefit from some architectural elements. Are you thinking about adding some moulding to your home? If so, I have shared my process with lots of photos in the blog posts below.