Tuesday, June 19

DIY Shiplap Fireplace

Sometimes I just need a little kick in the pants. Or a little bun in the oven. I've wanted to update our fireplace ever since we moved in (two years ago) but it wasn't until this spring when I was in full pregnancy nesting mode that I finally decided "I AM DOING THIS. RIGHT NOW." Naturally the "I" translated to "husband" because we were in the late-pregnancy stage of nesting. And he isn't one to let his round wife balance on a chair with a nail gun. He's a keeper.

And so, with a little help, we managed to check it off my nesting to-do list just in time before our newest guy was born. (you can see my entire living room nesting to-do list here) One of my favorite details is the faux shiplap we installed above the fireplace.

I love the texture and charm it adds to the living room. I've always dreamed of a casual, cozy space for our family to gather, and I feel like this was a step in the right direction.

Here's a little "before" action. Just drywall painted the same gray as our walls.

Now it's even lighter, brighter, and totally beautiful. And I really need a full-fireplace photo. Not gonna lie, I probably shot close up because the floor was a hot mess. But I don't really remember. Because newborns don't sleep. It's all a blur.

The best part is the whole project only cost about $15 for wood! We also had to buy nails for our nail gun (I lost that price in the newborn-blur). But I we saved a few dollars on paint by using the leftover from our cabinets... which doesn't quite match exactly, but that's a problem for another pregnancy.

We started by cutting a $15 sheet of thin plywood into 7" strips. Then the process is pretty simple - just nail them to the wall - but as we know, nothing ever actually fits the "simple" mold. In this old house, nothing is level. Nothing is square. So our next step was cutting the top edge of the top board at an angle for a snug fit against the crooked crown molding, so the rest of the boards will sit level below it. We started with the front of the fireplace since it's the most important and we wanted to make sure it was right.

We wanted the front boards to overhang the side boards so the seams didn't show on the front, so we cut the front boards 1/4" longer than the fireplace so they  would overhang the side boards. We used small scraps of wood (you can sit it in the pic below) to make sure our front board was centered with enough overhang on either side. Then we attached the board with a nail gun.

We also used the nickel trick and pinched a couple nickels between the boards to create the gaps that give it a "shiplap" look. I wouldn't go any smaller than a nickel. That gap is what gives it the charm!

See the nickels?

So we worked our way down the front with nickels and boards until we reached the mantle. This time "we" means Husband and my BIL. I very helpfully watched from the couch. Go team.

Then "we" started on the sides.

This is when we learned just how wonky the walls are. All kinds of wonky. So we had to measure the top and bottom of each space and cut our boards at an angle to fit. Then up they went with nickels and the nail gun.

Almost done!

We did run in to one little road bump with the nail gun. Turns out there is brick behind the plaster (duh. but we totally didn't think of it.) and our nails were too long. They stuck out like this:

So I (this is an actual "I." See? I totes helped with this project.) ran to the hardware store to pick up shorter nails. And just like that, the boards were up!

Then I taped around the edges...

...and gave it a coat of white paint. Should I have primed it? Probably. But our plywood was "pre-primed" (you can see a few boards are backwards in the earlier pics) and I was using one of those "paint and primer in one!" deals. AND I was basically a ticking time bomb. So it is what it is and we'll see how it holds up.

This was the first of three coats.

If you want a sharper finish, you can fill the nail holes and corner seams with caulk before you paint. But I liked the more rustic feel of the visible nail holes and imperfections. And the less-work of not filling the holes. Double-win!

As soon as the paint was dry, we got our antique wooden start back up. I found this star at an antique store with my SIL for like $6 to use with our Christmas decor. When I got home I walked in the door, thought "I don't want to take this to the basement right now" and hung it on a nail that had been in the wall since we bought the house. And now it's been there for a year and a half. Turns out we love it!

I've changed up the rest of the accessories about five times. Just because mantles are fun. 

But I'll tell you what I know about decorating with boys in the house - don't use anything you can't afford to lose. They will most likely break everything. It's just a matter of time. I love using things like books, wooden accents, and plants (in $0.50 pots, so it's no sweat if it takes a fall). And this adorable little globe I found on our local yardsale page.

It was a pretty quick weekend project - just cut boards, nail them up, and a few coats of paint - with a big impact! The whole fireplace feels like more of a feature instead of... just a fireplace.

You can use this same technique for bigger projects like a feature wall! It would be great behind a headboard, in the dining room, or in any little nook that could use some interest and texture. We even helped my SIL install some in her breakfast room. And it's amazing. You can check out the "after" on her Instagram at Clay + Dust.

I know shiplap is super trendy at the moment, but it also has a timeless, cozy quality. It's a great way to add a little charm and give your home a more comfortable and lived-in vibe. You know my dream is a casual bring-your-friends-over home for our boys, and shiplap was a perfect accent to fit that goal and still make momma happy that it's looking pretty in here. 

Have you jumped on the #shiplap train? We'd love to hear how yours turned out!

Tuesday, June 5

DIY Travel Map Pinboard

This little project is almost too simple to even mention. But it's also so easy and so fun that I don't want guys to miss it! It's a little framed map pinboard to mark all your travels. It's easy dress it up or down to match your decor by switching out the frame or changing the map style, plus it's a great family keepsake!

We only have a handful of pins so far. My first thought was to only mark the places we'd all been together, as a family of five. But now that already doesn't make sense because we just added a new baby who hasn't been any of these places! So we might as well go back and add everywhere we've been since we were married. Maybe we'll use a different color pin to show how big our family was for each trip.

This map was a great fit for the new adventure gallery in our dining room. You can see it up on the far left above the mountain painting.

Thursday, May 31

DIY House Painting Tips {how we painted our huge house and saved thousands}

Last fall we took on our biggest project to date. It was a doozy. But a very necessary doozy that would have cost thousands of dollars to hire out. We painted our house! It was an enormous job but we're here to tell you that it is actually totally doable, and it can save you a big chunk of change.

We knew when we bought our old yellow farmhouse that it came with 90-year-old wood siding. Which was pretty cool. But in our new house excitement we maybe overlooked just what condition that siding was in. After our first winter, we started to notice that it was looking a little worse for the wear. Then we found out from a neighbor that it hadn't been painted it about 15 years. And it showed.

We spent the summer trying to decide if we should paint it now or hold off until next year. And then we had a hail storm that knocked off huge amounts of paint (so I guess it did some of the work for us!). Now it was painfully obvious that we needed to do something before things got any worse.

Fortunately I had spent those summer months thinking about what color paint to buy. Which is good because I used every minute right up until my husband called and said "I'm on my way home and we are buying paint tonight. You have to decide." Seriously, it took me months. (You can see all the top contenders here. Including the one Husband hated the most. Just do me a favor and don't tell me if I was wrong. M'kay? We are not repainting.)

It was so pretty in the fall!

Tuesday, April 10

2x4 Simple Outdoor Table with Benches {two styles!}

I've always liked the look of Ana White's simple outdoor table & benches. With the popularity of our 2x4 building series, I thought I'd just make a quick twist on her original design to make a 2x4 version!  I dream of eating outdoors on summer evenings, and I feel like this set-up with a roomy table and long benches would be the perfect place for the family to gather. Plus it would be a great compliment to a 2x4 outdoor sectional!

I made two simple variations for the table top - one with the top boards running length-wise:

And one with the top boards running across the width:

The dimensions will be the same for either table: 67 1/4" long x 33 1/2" deep x 30" high

I'm also including plans for matching 2x4 benches to tuck under the table.  Perfect for some backyard summer fun! Ready to get started?