Our living room was a bit... ordinary when we moved in. Ordinary is generous. Sky blue walls and the warn out berber carpet had to be replaced by something more energetic and lively. We had a lot of ideas that we narrowed down to create the perfect "first page" of our home diary.
The transformation started with ripping out the old carpet and linoleum in the entry. Before we put in the new floor we took the opportunity to paint. You finally get to see some paint colors. While looking for homes, we'd seen several great applications of board and batten (also called wainscoting) in both internet photos and in a couple houses of friends and family. We knew we had to make our own. It's quite simple. It just takes some time.
|Carpet is gone!|
When we decided to do board and batten in this front room, we concluded that the thin baseboards wouldn't match the style. So we knew we would replace them in this room. We then felt that it would look terrible if two different types of baseboards met at a corner, which it would have. So we decided to replace all the baseboards on the first floor. And we are so glad that we did!
|Steph getting the job done removing the old baseboards. Nice blue walls huh?|
The first step for the board and batten was to decide our two toned paint colors. Board and batten looks amazing in white and a mid-value color. Too much contrast has the potential to be overwhelming. We chose one of our favorite home colors. Gray. I know I know. Seems boring. It's such a great backdrop for decor though. So white and a mid-value gray. What a great canvas. The gray we chose is Valspar's "Urban Sunshine" and the white is Glidden's "Dove White." We matched both of these colors to Behr's Premium Plus Ultra Interior Paint with paint and primer in one. We needed the primer to help cover any remaining dog smell, and help cover the thick blue color on the walls. And it did its job.
We went to work measuring the wall for the split between the two paint colors and defining exactly where the vertical slats would go. It took some time but with Steph's dedication, (after I had run out of patience) we found the perfect measurements so that the vertical slats wouldn't fall too close to the edges of the window. That would be just plain uncomfortable.
Then we started painting. It took several coats of each color (especially white) to cover the blue walls.
White bottom. No need to cover the wall in paneling. We just painted the wall directly.
What a difference some paint can make.
Then came the trimming. Our sister-in-law introduced us to a GREAT trim brush so we didn't tape off a single thing. It's called a Wooster Shortcut and we got it at Home Depot. We highly recommend it. (That's nice blue paint all over the window trim isn't it?
Before we started putting in the baseboards and vertical slats we had to put in the new floor. It would have been impossible to get the floor planks underneath the baseboards.
|My parents came all the way from Idaho, (a five hour drive) to help us for a day.|
In choosing baseboards we knew we wanted a very simple square shape. In the limited time we had to find them we ran across 5.5 inch and 3.5 inch tall plain baseboards. We liked them but we wanted something in between. I was walking down an isle in Home Depot and found a stack of door jams. (The inside part of a door frame.) At 4.5 inches tall, these were perfect. However, door jams are only about 7 feet long as opposed to 16 feet for an average baseboard. We were not deterred! There would be more seams but we were ready to patch them all up.
|Nailing baseboards. Finish nailer = my new favorite tool. Get one... and a compressor.|
Then it was on to the slats for the board and batten. We felt the best sized slats for this room were the 3.5 inch baseboards we passed up earlier. Kind of backwards, but it worked so well. Both the vertical slats and the horizontal top piece were the same 3.5 inch boards. I would have used glue to stick the boards to the wall because nailing them straight into the drywall isn't ideal for strength. But we thought that if we ever want to change this space at some point, removing glued boards would be a little much for the drywall to handle. Angled nails and caulk on both sides did the job just fine.
|We had some great help painting. Thanks everyone!|
|Vertical pieces going up.|
|Horizontal top piece. It's all starting to come together. See the trim around the window? We love it!|
Then came the BEST part. Filling all the cracks and holes. I can't think of a more interesting task. We had great help on this as well. Steph's sisters came to lend a hand. Thanks Lindsey and Brit!
|Lindsey filling the cracks and nail holes.|
So, in putting up the vertical slats we encountered a problem that we knew might happen but didn't know we had such bad luck. We have four outlets in our living room, three of which would be covered in part or completely by the vertical slats. We addressed each differently.
The first outlet we removed completely and covered the hole with the amazingly perfectly aligned vertical slat. The next was the biggest problem. It was on the same wall as the first outlet so we couldn't remove and lose all power on that wall. It didn't fall in the middle of the slat either. So we decided that since it would be virtually covered by the couch, we'd notch out the slat to fit around the outlet. Worked pretty good.
|Exposed outlet on the left wall. Problem solved.|
The third was also in a spot we needed power. It fell in the middle of a slat like the first, plus we had run out of full vertical slats and had to work with two shorter pieces. Two birds, one stone. We made a notch in each of the shorter boards to fit around the outlet and attached it directly to the board. Pretty effective solution if you ask me.
|Notch in first board.|
|Now with some spackle between these, you can't tell there are actually two slats.|
So much work in so little time. Not done yet though. For several months before we bought our home, Steph and I had our eye on a furniture set at RC Willey that was just too expensive for us. In December we took Jack to RC Willey to meet Santa. On our way out we stumbled upon our furniture set and what would you know, it was on sale. We went to meet Santa and left with a living room set. Perfect. Since we didn't have a house yet they held onto the set until we did. We borrowed my brother Cam's truck and picked it up as soon as we had a floor to put it on. It sat on that floor for a few weeks until we were finished and could set it up.
|I wasn't about to take two trips.|
|Sitting and waiting to be loved.|
|Putting the legs on the furniture... almost ready.|
After setting up the couches it was on to decor. We'd seen a few things at Ikea we thought would go well in this room. One of which was a big square vase with curly white sticks and straight brown sticks to match the floor. We brought it home and put it together and realized it was a perfect choice. We also grabbed a gray and white rug at Ikea, but we're still deciding on whether or not it's appropriate for the space. Let us know what you guys think about it.
That's a lot of gray and white so we had to liven the space up with some color. Mustard yellow was the perfect color to give this room some energy. We picked out a couple accent pillows and a matching lamp at Target.
We wanted to keep things fairly modern but not uninviting so the texture and shape of these accents were very important.
Since the lamp had no business sitting on the floor we had to find a good table for it to sit on. I didn't really want a lot of Ikea items in this room so off to the local DI I went. And I hit the jackpot. For $15 (marked down from $25) I got an amazing contemporary table that just needed some work.
A lot of sanding and some white paint brought this table up to par. This is right after it was sanded.
Since we both love plants, Steph had the great idea to bring one into this room. A big, full palm was not only a great space filler but makes the room very inviting and fresh. We scored the plant from Home Depot for $12 and the gray pot we got from Ikea for $7.
Steph and I both wanted to have original art hanging on our walls. And by original, I mean created by us. We wanted portraits of each of us somewhere in the house and decided the living room was the perfect place. I didn't want traditional portraits but I did want to bring in some more yellow. So I created these three "portraits" of us just using the silhouette of hair and eyebrows along with something around each of our necks to further communicate who the portrait is of. Since the room is quite simple I wanted to keep the portraits as simple as possible while still being recognizable.
|Left to right: Brandon, Steph, Jack. Can you tell?|
So, were you able to keep up with all of that? I hope so. We love our new living room. It's warm and contemporary. It's fun and creative. We hope you love it too. Want to see it again?
THE FINAL RESULTS:
And now some before and after comparisons.
We still have a few things we want to finish up such as the still-empty wall above the short couch, a new light fixture and a coffee table. We love where it is from where we started though and couldn't be happier with the results. What do you think? Did we do a descent job on our first room makeover?