(n.) Cabindo: A condo on a lake, among tall old trees. Half cabin, half condo. My first home. This is a running journal of the renovations, projects, and general shoestring budget craziness.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wainscotting Makes Me Feel Fancy

The image in this pin really got my motor going:

pinterest. duh.
And this this one sealed the deal:

A plate shelf on top? SOLD.

I would be wainscotting/board n batten'ing/panelling. Whatever you want to call it.
It had to happen.
My ugly bathroom depended on it.
I had already put in a new floor, so was ready to tackle the walls.

My dad was excited to help me execute the wainscotting/board n batten/panel walls after I'd showed him a million pictures and gushed like a rabid school girl with a Beiber crush. He might have been simply excited for me to shut up. If that was the case: worked like a charm!
He already had a bunch of lumber lying around that we could use. It was new and matching, but thicker than the MDF most tutorials floating around the blogosphere are recommending. This installation had to content with moisture, so it was just as well to go a non-MDF direction. And 'free' always sways my decision to: "ummm.. yeah we're gonna go with that."

I figured out how the spacing of each vertical board would work in the room by guesstimating how much space one hanging towel would take to look nicely framed (ala the top picture), then measured out as many of those panels as would fit on the large wall.  Turns out the answer was 4 panels, so there would be 5 'batten' pieces for the large wall across from the toilet and vanity with about 14.75 inches between each. The other two walls would follow the same batten spacing.
The elements of the wall are as follows:

shelf board needs to straighten up and fly right

The height of the top shelf is just above my shoulder height while wearing heels, so I wont ever smack into it. Cuz I'm a thinker. And a consummate klutz.

Action time:
We cut all the wood Dad had available, ran to Home Depot for a little more, cut that too, and ended up after dark with a big pile in the driveway. All the boards were given a good edge sanding to smooth out any sharp corners and prevent clothing or towel snags.

I do my wooood cutting at night, so I can, so I can.....
watch the sawdust swirl past my eyes

It made me a bit nervous that this mass of wood was going to be put into my smallish bathroom. As it made its way onto the wall though, the pile (& anxiety level) quickly shrunk as the wainscotting began to take shape.

framed out large wall

All of the boards were held up in place first and given several small pilot holes. A big thanks to my Dad and the Bf for holding up the big horizontal header boards as I leveled and drilled! Each corresponding hole in the wall got an anchor, and the holes in the wood got countersinks.
I put up a frame of the header, footer, and outside vertical boards first, then repeated the process with the remaining vertical battens. These got attached to the wall in about a million points so that even with moisture in the picture, they would not warp.
The top moulding was screwed into the header board, and the 3.25" plate shelf (same width as the vertical boards) screwed into the wide supportive surface created by the tops of the moulding and header board.

Wood filler x a $#!+ ton of holes = a crazy long time

As you see above, all those holes got patched with wood filler. Every place where wood met the wall also got wood filler (ex. sides of the battens), as well as every place a piece of wood met another piece of wood (ex. batten to header board).
Sanding all of the wood filler spots, refilling, waiting, and re-sanding was by far the most tedious part of this project and dragged on for about a month because I was not a fan and kept avoiding it.
I learned afterwards that you can do the edges and joins with caulk.... :|
If I ever do wainscotting again: I will definately be doing that to minimize the sanding portion of the project.
Once I put my big girl pants on and finally finished the sanding, it was time to paint. Everything got a coat of white primer, followed by a slightly off-white semi-gloss to match the color of the tiles. This helped to unify the room and avoided making the tiles look dingy.

For the towel hooks: Ikea's BLECKA hooks had the modern look and inexpensive price I was going for. But what a terrible name!! Poor towel hooks, they are going to get a complex.

$5 for 2 - 2.75" hooks
$5 for 4 - 1..5" hooks

I used 4 of the large ones on the long wall for bath towels, 2 of the smaller ones on the toilet/vanity wall for hand towels, and 2 more of the smaller ones on the back of the door to replace the existing rusted hook.

Fancy, fancy!!

This project gave me a huge boost of confidence that I could see something I liked, and translate it to my space in a high quality and inexpensive way.

Price breakdown:
Wood - Free! (probably would have been about $80)
Hooks - $15
Paint - $20
   Hardware - $15  
Total - $50
(if not for Daddy-o's lumber: $130)


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