Board & Batten with a Sprinkle of New Furniture

This isn’t going to be an informative tutorial on how to install board and batten or baseboards.  Just an editorial of a ugly duckling turned swan.

We didn’t go with traditional baseboards because they are curved on top.  We knew we would be doing board and batten, so we wanted something flat to work with.

Primed MDF boards for baseboards and board and batten were the best route to go.  Baseboards are pretty easy.  Cut them on a 45 degree angle and use a brad nailer to secure them to the wall.  Easy.  That’s your baseboard tutorial.  End of tutorial.

Baseboards

My dad brought over his laser level to make sure my chalk line was straight.

Board and Batten

AS AN ARROW.  I don’t need no laser level.  I don’t want a part of your country club…

Board and Batten

The top rail was super easy.  My dad and I did it in an afternoon.  Same as baseboards.  Make cuts on a 45 degree level, and nail the to the wall.  Make sure they’re level.  End of top rail tutorial.

Board and Batten

The slats were easy too.  Measure, make straight cuts, put some calking glue on the back, level them, and nail.  End of tutorial.

Board and Batten

Look how wicked cool my dad is.  He’s all the good parts of Norm Abrams mixed with a dash of Bob Villa, and the good looks of Scott McGillivray.  But most importantly, he’s a bunch of fun wrapped in layers of awesome dad jokes.  Like your resident Phil Dunphy.  I’m always the luckiest when him and Aaron team up on projects.

Board and Batten

And for dramatic purposes…  Here’s the difference simple board and batten molding can make.  Before.  (Oh hi Chester!  Welcome to the living room.  Hope you like our bums your new family!)

Board and Batten

After.
(It was a rainy day=bad bad light.  Sars not sars.)

Board and Batten

So much pretty.  We did our boards 30″ apart.  I think 2 and a half feet was the perfect spacing for the scale of the room.

Board and Batten

And the stairs wall before (including the coconut gumball light) …

ENGINEER-PRINT

A sexy after (with the orb-licious light).

Board and Batten

Oh, and we got our new couch and rug.  This trunk came from grandma’s garage.  And those chairs are borrowed from the basement.  We’re trying to decide if we want them to live upstairs, or if we’re still going to shop for the perfect piece.  So far, nothing has jumped out.  The trunk is going to get a better “coffee table makeover,” including legs and glass.  But for now, it’s a good place to toss your tired feet.

Board and Batten

Oh, and the board and batten isn’t 100% done.  It needs to be caulked and painted still.  But, you know, I really just couldn’t wait.  You know, bloggers and their patience.  Do those words even belong in a sentence together?

And for the sake of drama, this picture was begging to be included.

Board and Batten

Can you believe how far we’ve come?!  We are almost done-sies.  Seriously, we have TWO inside things left to do.  TWO.

Tree Removal of 120 ft Cottonwoods 

New roof 

-Build new fence (STILL in progress!  But the leveling, post setting, and retaining wall part is done.  It should be a breeze from here on out)

Paint ceiling & walls

Install flooring 

Baseboards + board & batten

-Build new banister (Newel post is in, if you gathered that from the pictures above)

Counter top install

Back splash (Tile and supplies are bought, just need to do it!)

The Great Granite Counter Top Love Affair

What good is a kitchen without counter tops?

About as good as Dunder Mifflin without Jim Halpert.

We lived without Jim for 2 and a half weeks.  It’s a hard life.  No one to make you smile.  No one to play pranks with.  Our beautiful cabinets were a sad sad Pam.  Alone.

But not for long.

Pam and Jim

Our counter tops were ordered through IKEA.  They subcontract to a local company in Salt Lake called Aspen Counter Tops.  And the way it works is this:  they won’t even think about sending out the templater until the cabinets are 100% installed.

Cabinets- NO COUNTERS 🙁  FOR 2.5 WEEKS. 🙁 x 2.5

IKEA Cabinet Installation

And AFTER the templater has made the template, it takes 2 weeks minimum for them to fabricate it and install it.  It’s a horrendous wait… like waiting for Jim and Pam to FINALLY be together.  Yeah.  I know.  It was a rough 4 seasons.  But worth it?  You tell me.

HOME_TOUR_KITCHEN_SMALL_KITCHEN

Granite Counter Tops

HOME_TOUR_KITCHEN_SMALL_KITCHEN

(This is a temporary microwave, and this is NOT where the real microwave will live when we get it!)

Granite Counter Tops

How to Renovate A Small Kitchen on a Budget

Granite Counter Tops

And lest we not forget:

DAMASK_DINING_ROOM

Granite Counter Tops

For this reason alone adding the extra footage of counter space was worth it:

Granite Counter Tops

If this isn’t an epic love story, then I don’t know what else is.

Tree Removal of 120 ft Cottonwoods 

New roof 

-Build new fence (in progress)

Paint ceiling & walls

Install flooring 

-Baseboards + board & batten (supplies purchased)

-build new banister (in progress)

Counter top install

-Back splash (supplies purchased… did you weigh in on the opinion-fest on Facebook?)

How To Install Laminate Flooring… for dummies and pregnant women

Remember when I told you about this amazing deal on flooring I scored?  If you’re new, that post covers the reasons we went with laminate and the amazing price we got it for from Lumber Liquidators.  Let’s just say that it cost less than a mounted microwave.  With NO compromise on quality.  🙂

Laying laminate flooring is so easy a 5 month pregnant lady on bed rest could do it.  A literal statement.

Each box of flooring had a diagram of instructions in like manner to IKEA.  Aka, no words.  It’s pretty straight forward.

how to install laminate flooring

how to install laminate flooring

how to install laminate flooring

how to install laminate flooring

how to install laminate flooring

Okay.  The biggest thing to be learned from the steps is to make sure to put a doormat down.  You never know when the destruction of ghost feet will find you (as referenced in step 19).

We bought a flooring installation kit for about $15 and I highly recommend you do the same for your flooring installation.

how to install laminate flooring

The spacers go around the edges of the room.  Don’t be worried about gaps.  Your baseboards cover that.

It’s a pretty ingenious idea from IKEA to have the toe-kicks snap on and off.  We ran the flooring under the cabinets and were able to just snap the toe-kicks back on and it looked AMAZING!

how to install laminate flooring

The picture below shows the underlayment we used.  It’s called Traffic Master, and I picked it up at Home Depot.  I bought 600 sq ft for $28 total.  Which is a heck of a lot cheaper than Lumber Liquidators wanted to charge for underlayment.  They wanted to charge $0.40 sq ft.  Almost as much as the flooring itself.  So keep that in mind when pricing flooring.

how to install laminate flooring

When you start a new row, cut a random length, so you get a lovely staggered look.

how to install laminate flooring

The next piece snaps to the previous row nicely, but it’s almost impossible to avoid a gap between the next-door neighbor piece.

how to install laminate flooring

Which is where THIS GUY comes in handy.  Beat it with a hammer a couple times and…

how to install laminate flooring

BAM.  No gap.  Pretty sure this method crossed my mom’s mind a few time when considering braces for us children.

how to install laminate flooring

For the odd shaped pieces that needed to be cut (like for vent holes) we used a jig saw.  It was pretty simple!

Having the same flooring run throughout is like the day I realized wearing make up shouldn’t look like you’re wearing make up.  Bye bye white eye liner.

how to install laminate flooring

And to remember how bad that metaphoric white eye liner really was:

Laminate Flooring

how to install laminate flooringq

Check-in time:

Tree Removal of 120 ft Cottonwoods 

New roof 

-Build new fence (in progress)

Paint ceiling & walls

Install flooring 

-Baseboards + board & batten (supplies purchased)

-**newly added to the list** build new banister (supplies purchased)

Counter top install (done but you haven’t seen it yet, unless you creep on Instagram)

-Back splash (supplies purchased… did you weigh in on the opinion-fest on Facebook?)

We are getting close to being done.  Our new furniture has been arriving.  We have all the rest of the materials purchased, so we are ready to buckle down and get it done!

How To Build A Brick Hearth

Did you have an enchanting Labor Day weekend?  We enjoyed a nice little holiday up to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park.  It was most excellent to have a break from working on the house.

We did all our hard laboring the previous weekend.  With the completion of paint, I was all riled up to start flooring.  But Aaron buzz killed reminded me that we needed to decide on a hearth before we laid flooring.

The previous hearth was tile.  And not just tile, but tile that had the pattern of dirt on it.  I wasn’t too keen on having tile again.  #PermaDirt

DIY Brick Hearth

We kept tossing back and forth the idea of doing the same tile as whatever we decided on for the backsplash.  But I didn’t want it to be too matchy matchy.  I told Aaron he could 100% decide.  And then I immediately regretted it when he said “Red brick.”  He knew I was really hesitant, and said we could white wash them if I wanted.  However, I didn’t really want to.  I know every other blogger is all about painting and white washing brick these days… which is kind of why I didn’t want to.  I just needed to trust him on this.  A task much easier said than done.

We have a really great friend who is a brick mason who volunteered his time to help us with this project.   The total cost of this was less than $60, and we way over estimated the amount of brick needed.  We needed bricks, mortar, and wire meshing (lath).

The bricks were $0.42 in the store, the mortar was about $5 a bag, and the lath was about $7.

We used 1.5 bags of mortar for our hearth.

How To Build a Brick Hearth

I was really bummed they wouldn’t let me help… but you know, 5 months pregnant and everyone feels like they can boss you around.  Apparently there is only one type of “brick laying” I should be doing, and that should be happening in the bathroom… so…

The first thing they did after telling me I couldn’t help, was nail the lath to the subfloor where the brick would be laid.  We put a layer of the same underlayment we would be using for the rest of the flooring under the lath as a moisture barrier and extra layer of protection.  It’s not necessary, but recommended.

How To Build a Brick Hearth

How To Build a Brick Hearth

Then they mixed the mortar in a bucket.  Joel had a fancy beater, but if you didn’t have one, I’m sure the old “shovel in a wheel barrow” method would translate.

How To Build a Brick Hearth

There is no exact ratio of water to mortar mix.  It should be thick, but wet enough that it sticks to the brick.  It’s hard to explain what exactly that is until you start working with it.  But you’ll know if you need to add a little more water, or a little more mix.  Just think of it as cement frosting.  It’s always easier to start with much less milk… otherwise you’ll be adding powdered sugar til the end of time.  (Which is usually what happens in this house)

How To Build a Brick Hearth

Buster supervised.

How To Build a Brick Hearth

We used a spare piece of plywood as a trough.  Anything you want to dump the mortar on will do.  Use a trowel to spread a thin layer of mortar across the lath.

How To Build a Brick Hearth

After this step, it was go-time for laying the brick.  It’s definitely more of a craft than you would expect.  We were so glad to have Joel here to help.  He was able to teach Aaron and I some tricks of the trade that we wouldn’t have known.  There were a couple bricks that needed to be cut.  Like a tile cutter, you can rent a brick cutter at the home improvement store.  Luckily Joel brought one along.

How To Build a Brick Hearth

You mortar the sides of the brick that you are sticking to something, and level as you go.  It’s a lot of squishing and wiggling it around to get it to fit.  Much like getting into a pair of skinny jeans after the holidays.

How To Build a Brick Hearth

How To Build a Brick Hearth

How To Build a Brick Hearth

How To Build a Brick Hearth

And Indy just sat upon my lap while I watched.

How To Build a Brick Hearth

They worked from the outside to the middle.

How To Build a Brick Hearth

We told Joel that we were thinking about white-washing the brick.  He said we could get a more authentic look if we were a little “messier” with the mortar.  It would give it a worn 100-year-old brick wall look.  Perfect.  The more I thought about it, the more I loved it.

How To Build a Brick Hearth

The last step Joel did was use a little tool to even out the mortar between each brick.  And smile, of course.

How To Build a Brick Hearth

I was extraordinarily pleased when it was done.  I surprisingly LOVED it.  It has just the right amount of rustic touch.  And we decided to leave it as it.  NO PAINTING!

How To Build a Brick Hearth

It takes a full week for the mortar to dry and the color to be what it will actually look like.  A week later, this is where we’re at.  (AND you get a bonus taste of the flooring )

How To Build a Brick Hearth

How To Build a Brick Hearth

I obviously need to clean the inside of the insert… since you know, it hasn’t been cleaned since BEFORE we did a crap ton of dry walling up in this business.

How To Build a Brick Hearth

And when Buster saw the camera out, he wanted to be in on the action.  He put on his best Tyra face.

How To Build a Brick Hearth

And for the sake of enjoying a good before/after shot… I give you:

How To Build a Brick Hearth

Let’s review the list:

Tree Removal of 120 ft Cottonwoods 

New roof 

-Build new fence (in progress!)

Paint ceiling & walls

-Install flooring (in progress!)

-Baseboards + board & batten

-**newly added to the list** build new banister

Counter top install (done but you haven’t seen it yet, unless you creep on Instagram)

-Back splash

Ain’t Nobody Got Time For Half Walls

I think almost every blogger has the impulse gene.

Here it was, Sunday night, and Aaron, Karl and I were sitting around the table talking about the fascinating world of freeze-dried foods.

And I was blabbering about what a horrible DIYer I am, since I did nothing of “blog worth” this weekend.  I had a sisters night, Orchestra rehearsal, and watched a whole season of One Tree Hill.  

Aaron jokingly said, “We could knock out the wall, and that would give you something to write about.”

Aaron and Karl looked horrified at how serious I took that comment.

We decided that if we had a lesson about “The Walls of Jericho” coming down, we could make knocking down the wall our Sunday activity.

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Build Decorative Pillars Around Studs

It’s Monday, and the weekend is over.  How was your weekend?  I went to orchestra rehearsal #nerdalert.  Then I helped my sister Gina mercury glass some vases for baby molly’s room.  And ate Second Sunday Supper #dinedlikekatemiddleton.

As promised, I have a basement update for you.

If you are new to the blog, let me give you the basement run down.  The goal was building a nook under the stairs.  It quickly turned into a wild room makeover.  The design inspiration has been industrial vintage.  Indiana Jones would punch nuns for a family room like ours.

This project was 100% Aaron.  Every time I’d look at what we were working with, I would have a mini melt down.  Usually I am the creative one, but I could not comprehend how to fix the problem.

He took all the initiative on this one, which I am extremely grateful for.  I know my limits, and when there are projects I can’t do.  This was one.  But I was really good at taking pictures.

The drywall complication:

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Cuz She’s So Hiiiiiiiiiiiigh!

There are times in my life where common sense does not prevail.  It’s in-explainable.  In retrospect I’m always like, “Kenz.  You didn’t think that through.  How could using a car GPS in a plane ever be a good idea?  How could a bag of ice be used as an anchor?”   This weekend, I had another “moment.”

It began with my desire to put up the Christmas tree.  However, this is not a tale of decking-the-halls.  “Before I put up the decorations, I should really paint the mantle.  The stockings would look so jolly on a fresh piece of mantle.”  (If you give a Kenz a cookie…)

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