Thursday, March 17, 2016

Herringbone wall

Yay! I'm so excited about this post! I saw some cool home blogs on Pinterest over my very long blizzard break that detailed the steps of taping off a patterned wall. Since I had loads of time, I immediately thought "Yup, I can do this," and I started my planning process. There are a number of cool patterns you can do, but the herringbone one fits our house the best.

Besides your 2 paint colors and rollers, you need:
  • a good measuring tape
  • a level
  • a pencil
  • painter's tape with edge lock. I went with the narrower tape (~1" thick) because I thought it would look better
As for paint color choices, I've seen this done with a flat and a high gloss of the same color, and it looks awesome too!
The project space began as a nasty beige wall in our ho-hum loft. I can't tell you how much I hate beige! This space was really just a carpeted storage unit, as we had no plan for it and didn't really like its layout. A great accent wall would definitely help!

The best "before" that I have. It's the wall to the right, behind all the junk!

I started by clearing away all that junk, and then I painted the wall a crisp white. One coat of paint is enough, because you are ultimately painting over it.

A beautiful white wall. NO MORE BEIGE!

Since I'm a teacher and all my teacher friends had cabin fever after a week off, I invited over a close friend who needed to get out! She helped me through the stress of measuring, calculating, and deciding how I wanted to do all of this.

I thought it looks best if you work with a 3:4-ish ratio, about 12" h x 16" w. We first measured the wall from side to side, and then we divided it by 16". It wasn't exact, but with some wiggle room (I think it ended up at 15.75"), we wound up with 5 columns of the full V pattern, or 10 half-Vs. We marked the measurements at the top and bottom of the wall. We then added vertical tape lines at every mark and checked straightness with the level.

Next, we measured the vertical length and aimed for dividing it by a foot. It worked out to about 13" to get an even number, making 6 Vs top to bottom. I measured and marked on the tape where each V should start and finish. I then took the level and went all the way across the wall, ensuring that all Vs would start and end at the same height across the whole room.

Finally, as you can see above, we started connecting our vertical marks with tape. Instead of on the horizontal level, we went diagonally from top to bottom, using our vertical lines as a midpoint. Things got a little interesting towards the side, since the wall didn't meet the ceiling at 90 degrees, but I just eyeballed the inner angles at the base of the Vs and made them even.

Once we were done, we ran over everything with a credit card to make sure everything was seriously stuck down.

Don't mind all the junk, we ran out of storage space.

Then came the brave part: the paint. This was scary because I knew there was no turning back! I hesitated for a few days... even though the worst thing that could've happened was that I ripped all the tape off and painted it solid. But that would've been so much work wasted! I finally worked up the guts and gave the whole thing 2 coats of our gray paint.

I let it dry for only about 30 minutes and then started to rip it off. It's easier if the paint is still a bit tacky when you start to pull so it won't rip off any of the dried paint. After that dreaded first tape pull, everything was pretty easy and awesome. Just be careful when pulling off: if your paint is still a bit wet on the tape, you don't want to make a mess.

Pull everything off slowly and admire your work!

Now that it's all done, I looove this room! The bookshelf from my last post is on the opposite wall too, so it's a really cool spot. I am still struggling with decorating, so I will happily take any design and decor tips that you'd like to offer. This will be my sewing/craft room for now, so a desk must be against this wall. Leave me a comment with your decor suggestions!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Shelf wall

The new room that we're working on is a huge improvement from the original, but this is definitely one of the more interesting features in it. We noticed that both of our bookshelves throughout the house were overflowing, and I saw this pretty cool post from Not So Ordinary Life that was great inspiration: a cute how-to for a half-wall bookshelf. Now the plans on this blog didn't quite work for our space, so we modified it nicely to fit our needs.

Materials needed:
  • 2x10s for your base, top, sides, and vertical posts
  • drywall for back, sanding and spackle tools for seams/nail holes
  • 1x10 for your top cap
  • 2x4s for your base shelf supports 
  • 2" double beveled trim
  • 3" single beveled trim
  • 4" baseboard
  • laminate shelves at 1x10"- we used three in each section
  • shelf pins
  • primer
  • white high gloss paint
  • white baseboard/trim caulk 
  • long screws + screwdriver
  • nail gun + nails

We already had one half-wall built and knew the bookshelf wall would be perpendicular to it. We measured from the existing half-wall to the stairway to get our length, and then cut top and bottom pieces at that length using 2x10s.

For the verticals and sides, we measured the height of our existing half wall (34" if I remember correctly). We then divided our total length by 4 sections, since we didn't want the shelves to sag with the weight of the books. Each vertical post and side (5 posts total) was cut at 30" to allow for the 2" top and 2" bottom. We screwed all this together at equal increments to make a frame, then screwed that frame to the floor and to the pre-existing half wall for stability. Here's an action shot of hubby at work:

Once everything was all screwed together and super sturdy, we drywalled the back of the shelf, as well as the rest of the room. Everything was spackled and sanded, and then the walls and the outward-facing drywall of the bookshelf were all painted light gray.

I then primed the whole dang thing, top + sides + back + underneath to make it nice and paintable. We knew we'd be adding laminate shelves later, so I didn't worry about the base yet.

The next step was trim. We wanted a solid cap piece for our half wall and bookshelf to defend the wall from any damage by leaners. To make it, we sliced a 1x10 board to size for both walls, matching them in the middle. Then, we nailed in a 3" wide trim piece to the top face, being careful to line it up on top with the new top cap for a smooth feel. Since the vertical posts were 2x10s, we found a lovely 2'' double beveled trim, cut it to size, and placed it along the front of the vertical posts, cutting it at an angle so that it slipped up over the top trim. This hid any visible 2x10 and made a smooth transition between all trim pieces.

We also added a 4" baseboard to our half wall and pushed the carpet back underneath in preparation for the bookshelf baseboard. This involved tack strips and stretching to get the carpet back where it was.

The wood pieces you see stacked on top here would soon become the supports for each base shelf. I screwed those in to the base at all 4 corners. You could technically just cut one for the whole length of the front and back of each section, but we only had a single 2x4 left over so we were being conservative. After, we nailed the bottom baseboard to these base pieces, allowing for a 1" overhang on top to hold the laminate shelves.

We were then ready for the shelves. Adam sliced our shelves at the proper width and hung them on shelf pins, making sure to level everything up. The base shelves tucked nicely down inside the cubbies we made for them.

Sorry, my knee got in the way here.

Meanwhile, I painted the whole inside of the shelf, all trims, and baseboards a crisp, glossy white. After allowing the shelf to dry, we hung everything up and admired. Almost there!

The final step was to caulk the crap out of it to hide any imperfections. I did this in a breezy 3 hours (guh) with the help of my cat Zoe, who was all too happy to be allowed back into her sunny spot for the first time in months.

Ta-da! Happy cat and cute bookshelf. All we are missing is books, but those will be there soon enough.

We have one more cool little feature to show you about this room before we move on to our bathroom reno. After that, you will have to wait a bit to see the whole reveal, since we won't be officially moving in until everything is complete. Here's hoping we're done and moved in by the end of summer!