When my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I knew just what to tell him. I wanted a wall treatment. I have drooled over wall treatments for a long time, but hadn't found the time energy, or an excuse to put one in my home. My friend Lisa has the same floor plan as me, and she recently added board and batten, with a small shelf in her hallway. She displays her kids art work, photographs, and other decorative items on her shelf, and I admire it every time I visit her home.
While I like the board and batten look, I don't feel like it fits the style of my home (and existing moldings), so I opted for squares below with a shelf like wainscot on top.
This is what we ended up with, and I am crazy about it!!!
Happy Birthday to Me!
Four years ago, I started painting the doors and moldings, but got distracted, and this space sat unfinished and neglected. Yes, I said four years. Should I admit that? Yikes!
I had some old photos up, and the thermostat is in a random place! I didn't love ANYTHING about the space, except my children's faces in the photos. When I look at the photos of how it was before, I can't believe I lived in that for so long!
We pulled from multiple sources when deciding how to do this wall treatment, and I have documented many of them on my pinterest board.
Here are some basic instructions, and a few tips that really helped us.
First, we decided the moldings we wanted to use. I wanted primed, and chose a 1 1/8" pine panel mold for the squares, and what they call a 4 1/2 inch MDF "crown" mold for the top.
Instead of adding a board, a small traditional crown mold, a shelf, and a quarter round to the bottom (4 pieces)... why not just pay for, cut, and attach one piece that has it all? The 4 1/2 inch "crown," mold I chose is what people use as molding above their doors in many homes. You can see it below. That is one piece, not four.
I got all my wood from, Burton Lumber in Layton, UT. If you call, ask for Curtis Robinson. He is the one who helped me.
Decide how high you want your top rail to be, and mark the walls near the studs. Look at the stud in the blue shirt. Isn't he just dreamy?
Cut your board to size, and round up helpers to hold it in place. With a brad gun, secure it into the studs, using the marks you made on the wall before, as a guide for where to put the brads.
Looking better already.
I painted next. I didn't want to paint before the wainscot was up, because I didn't want to go too high or too low without actually seeing and getting a feel for the molding in the hall before I painted. My, what a difference paint makes!
It took three coats in some places, but this is not a step you want to skip. It will save you work later.
The next thing we did was measure the size of each area where we wanted a square. We ended up needing nine squares. I felt like a four inch gap around each square was perfect. Meaning... four inches between baseboards and bottom of square, four inches from the side of the wall to the side on the square, four inches from the top rail to the top of the square, and four inches between each square. I just used a tape measure for that part, and handed my husband a sheet with the cuts I needed. He is SERIOUSLY the BEST! I didn't want to break up squares for doors, and not all my squares are the same length, but they are all the same height, so he cut 18 pieces the same height for the sides of all nine squares, and the tops and bottoms varied.
My husband made a jig for all the pieces, to help them all be the same size. He said he found a tutorial on youtube about how a jig helps you achieve perfect cuts.
When it came time to attach them to the wall, it was a two person job. We measured, and attached the bottom (middle inf it was a three square wall) piece first, then one side, and finally the other side and top were held and attached basically at the same time.
Be warned... Your walls are not straight, or level. We had up to 1 1/2 inch difference in some areas where we attached three squares. We made it as level vertically and horizontally as we could, and I don't think anyone would even know the areas where we had the issues unless we pointed it out.
We went over everything again with the brad gun to be safe, and then the real work began...
I think the painting prep work is the worst part. We filled all the holes, and I started to caulk. It was such a mess, and I was getting a little annoyed.
My husband told me he had seen on youtube that if you spray the area you are going to caulk with windex first, the caulk will go only into the crack where it needs to go, and no where else, and will be way less of a mess. I was skeptical, and had finished three squares by the time he told me, but decided to give it a try. I was SO SLICK, literally. We finished the last six squares in no time, with way less mess, and a much more professional looking result. I am glad I listened to my husband. Are you reading this honey??? I admit it; You are right!
The whole project took us 2 1/2 weeks, because we started right before Christmas, and were very busy.
It used to feel claustrophobic and tired. Now, it feels fresh and open. This wall treatment has added so much to my home, and I even find myself sitting in the hall reading to my baby, instead of going into his room.
I hope you are feeling a little inspired, and will add a little DIY character to your home. You can do it! My fabulous husband did such a great job with this, that I think he is now on board, and we are excited to plan and tackle the next project. A little hint... I am hoping to put a little crown mold and maybe a full wall of squares in the formal living room.
Have a Happy and Creative Day!