Dining Room Makeover!

Husband and I just tackled our latest project - DIY wainscoting in the dining room - AND we survived with both our lives and our marriage in tact.

Phew! It was a close call at times.

You see, Josh sees my little home renovation projects as pointless most of the time... "The dining room is perfectly functional the way it is," he said. And it was. Especially for a room we use approximately once per year. But perhaps with a baby on the way I spend too much time on Pinterest these days... and all the wonder-women who live in Pinterest said that putting up your own wainscoting was super easy.  Which it was for the most part. (Says the girl who didn't do any of the hard work. I was pretty much in charge of painting and holding things!)(Love you, Husband! :-*)

Here are a couple "before" pictures. I always forget to take them and then someone asks. And why wouldn't they... of course you want to see what it looked like before! Duh. Most of you haven't been to our house in person. Clearly I'm a terrible blogger.

Basically, the walls were orange and that was about it. 

Like Josh said, perfectly functional. But it was that color when Josh bought this house and it worked for awhile, but I was over it. It was dark, and once we painted the foyer blue it kind of clashed.


I was originally going to try to tackle this project by myself (minus the hanging of the wallpaper) and do the same basic technique we did in our living room. Which was just to paint the bottom part white, add a chair rail, and some strips of wood to create "board and batten." Like so:

But then Josh got involved because he doesn't trust me with a power saw. And because he came home from work on Day 1 of me being in charge and said, "Why did you buy crown molding and not chair rail?" Ha! Oops! There's a difference? ;) I just picked out a trim I liked.. plus our longest wall is 13.5ft, and there were only two options that came in pieces longer than 12ft, neither of which were chair rail apparently. 

Anyway, he decided if we were going to do it, he wanted to do it "right." I don't think there's a right or a wrong way to do it necessarily... it all comes down to personal preference and what works in your house, but together we decided we liked the "picture frame wainscoting" look better than the straight board and batten strips (which I think would have looked great too! hence, it was my first plan.)

So, our first step  was to measure everything and figure out where we wanted to put the chair rail and then how big we wanted to make our boxes.  I put Josh in charge of measuring because all my measurements for the original crown molding had been about a quarter inch off. Ha! Plus it all involved a lot of math and I quit doing math a long time ago whereas my genius husband gets paid to do math everyday.

Then we went to Lowe's and purchased our supplies:

  • chair rail (not crown molding ;))
  • strips of trim to make "picture frame"  boxes
  • paint (I already had some from the living room project but not enough)

That's all we bought, but other supplies needed that we already had included:

  • painting supplies
  • power saw
  • stud finder
  • nail gun
  • level
  • tape measure
  • paintable caulk

Step two was to paint the bottom part of the wall. I did this while Josh cut all of the trim. 

We decided to go with a more traditional height for the chair rail at 36 inches from the ground. So I painted about 34-35 inches up all the way around. Obviously my tape isn't straight - I just put it there as a guideline of how far up not to go past ;)

Once it dried, I was a little peeved because the color was off. (We'll come back to this!)

I got the same color as our original trim (Pale Linen), but as it turns out - Valspar (Lowe's brand) also has a color called Pale Linen and our original trim paint is a Porter Paints color... obviously they are not the same! Luckily, I took the paint back to Lowes and they gave me a free gallon of the correct color. Of course it was after I had already painted everything.

After Josh was done cutting everything, we sanded and painted it and let it dry overnight. 

The next day, we (Josh) added the chair rail. 

This was already such a huge improvement and I was in love! Even though the paint still didn't match the trim.

But then Josh added the little boxes... *swoon*

Lowes sells boxes like this pre-made, but they are around $15 each, depending on what size you get... so that would have cost us almost $200 just for the boxes, and we only spent about $45 on the supplies to make them ourselves. We also wanted custom sizes. We didn't make the same size boxes on each wall.. we basically took each wall and did what we thought looked good for that wall. So we couldn't have done that with pre-made boxes.  

Anyway, once all the boxes were installed all that was left to do was caulk the nail holes and add the final coat of paint!

This is when Lowe's tried REALLY hard to ruin my birthday. My birthday was on a Thursday (July 9th) and I had to get everything painted before our Reveal Party that Saturday. When I opened the new gallon of the correct color of paint, I found out they had given it to me in a semi-gloss finish. I'm not sure why but that finish on the walls was not my friend. It was hard to smooth out, dried weird, and just overall was not good. So I took that paint back to ask for the same color in the eggshell finish. I get it home and guess what?! IT WAS THE WRONG COLOR PALE LINEN AGAIN!!!! Seriously, Lowes?! So I had to go BACK to get the right color, in the right finish, AGAIN. Once I got that all worked out, everything was fine, minus the hour and a half I had wasted driving to and from Lowes.... until my wallpaper lady called and said she had hurt her back the day before and wouldn't be able to come hang my beautiful wallpaper on Friday. :( Sad day.

But, it all worked out - not before our party, but the party was just motivation to get this project going anyway :)

I LOVE the wallpaper!!! It really brightens up the room and is so much better than the orange! I have never had wallpaper before, and I have to say I am totally loving it! Even though we may only use this room a few times a year, it's the first room you see when you walk in our front door since it's right off the foyer so I'm excited to finally have it upgraded a bit! 

wallpaper || spirit lead me sign || curtains

So to re-cap, here's the step by step if you want to do this in your house!

  1. Measure everything and figure out how high you want your chair rail & how big you want the boxes. To help with this, I cut "boxes" out of cardboard and taped them to the wall to see what it would look like. 
  2. Go to a home improvement store and purchase supplies.
  3. Paint the bottom part of the wall the color of the trim.
  4. Cut the trim/chair rail to the correct sizes. If you don't have a power saw or don't want to do this you can also have them do it for you at Lowes or Home Depot. Sometimes they charge after the first few cuts and sometimes they don't.
  5. Paint the chair rail and let dry over night.
  6. Add chair rail to wall.
  7. Add boxes to wall.
  8. Caulk all nail holes.
  9. Add the last coat of paint.
  10. Take a bathroom break approximately every 10 minutes. (May only apply if you're pregnant!)
  11. I am no help on hanging the wallpaper because I enlisted the help of a pro!
  12. Enjoy your beautiful new room!

16 hours in the car while 6 months pregnant = no

My husband is currently off on a solo (road!) trip gallivanting in Colorado. 

I had planned to go with him up until about a week ago. On one hand, I wish I had still gone but my pregnant body thanked me for not going when he sent me this picture. What is that? Oh, besides a gorgeous view... it appears to be a giant staircase going straight up a mountain! 2,090ft. of elevation to be exact. Considering I get winded walking around the block and have to stop and catch my breath after going up the stairs in our house, I'm pretty sure I'd be waiting for him at the bottom if I was there. So he's probably glad I'm not.

He's there for GORUCK Ascent, which is a mountain climbing expedition event starting Thursday morning and lasting until sometime on Sunday. Unlike other GORUCK events he's done, I wouldn't be allowed to "shadow" this one (and even if I was, I probably wouldn't, being 6 months pregnant and all.) So my plan was to spend the first few days in Colorado with Josh (he wanted to go a few days early to acclimate to the elevation) and then go to Wyoming while he was actually at the event.  My cousin Brittany and her husband Tyler just moved to Wyoming from Japan and it's only about 2-3 hours from where we'd be in Colorado. So I was going to go stay with them... the problem was, they literally JUST moved there - as in, I'm not even sure if they're actually there yet. And once they get there, they won't have their house until the end of September... so it just wasn't the best time for them to have visitors! 

Plus, for some reason Josh was set on driving and not flying, and 16+ hours in the car each way didn't sound like the best time to me (I pretty much have to pee every 10 minutes these days!) even if he did stop at Mount Sunflower on the way! #jealous

So, I stayed home. My mom bribed me by saying she would help me start painting the nursery!

Josh and I picked up the furniture last weekend and have officially started the game of Musical Rooms with all the rooms upstairs. 

The old guest room is going to be the nursery, so the guest room is moving to the old "junk room" AKA the room that didn't really have a purpose. Then we're moving Josh's office to the basement and turning the old office into the playroom. Fun fun! 

I kind of think Lola thinks we're creating this room for her. She thinks she's the princess, after all. BTW, I got the best deal EVER on this glider! I'll share on the details once I share the finished room... which will hopefully be sooner than later. We've got pretty much all the big stuff purchased, so it's just a matter of getting it all done.

This little room is quickly becoming my favorite in the house!! <3

Our 1st Wedding Anniversary

Number 1 is in the books!

Our anniversary kind of snuck up on me... I know, it's been on its way for a whole year. But for some reason August is always busy for us. Almost every single year we've been together (6 of them now), we take a vacation in August. If not August, then early September it seems. This year, we're doing both. Plus doing our best to prepare for the arrival of, oh you know, OUR BABY.

So when August rolled around I was like, "Oh hey! Our anniversary is in a couple weeks!" And then I was like, "Holy crap! It's already been a year?!"

Josh has been asking me what I wanted to do for it. But with two trips coming up and our bank account rapidly depleting at the purchase of ALL THE BABY THINGS what am I supposed to say? Plus, I'm really not that picky. He's stuck with me for 6 years now, so I don't really feel the need to make the man prove his undying love for me by purchasing me some absurdly expensive gift. I'm sure I can come up with something though, if you really want me to Husband ;)

So we just spent the day together. One of my love languages is quality time, so it was perfect. Plus he brought me a dozen donuts. One for each of the 12 months we've been married. Way to a pregnant girl's heart right there.

We saw a movie (The Man from U.N.C.L.E - it was okay), had a late lunch/early dinner at P.F. Changs, and ran a bunch of errands in Louisville... the baby store, the outdoor store for Josh, hit up Trader Joe's.. you know, totally romantic.

Then we got home and I took a nap because that's what you do when you're pregnant.

Then we cracked open our anniversary cake that had been sitting in our freezer for the past year!

 I was a little nervous.. I thought it would taste stale. I mean, with it being a year old and all. Which is kind of a mean trick to play on a pregnant girl.. "Hey, here's some cake. JK it sucks!" But much to my surprise, it was actually really good!!

Then I think we went to bed at like 9pm, because we're old & pregnant. ;)

And that was our first anniversary. No better way I can think to have spent it. <3

1 year/6 years down....

I can't believe it's already been a year since our wedding! Time flies when you're having fun! They say the first year is the hardest... if that's the case I think we're set! ;) Happy Anniversary, Husband! I love you!

It's starting to get real - a Bumpdate of sorts.

The other morning Josh and I were both in the bathroom getting ready for work and he said, "Wow! You're starting to get a belly."

Welcome to the party, Husband. I'm 5 months pregnant! Where have you been?! :)

I meant to keep a better journal (blog) during this pregnancy, but really it's been so easy so far there hasn't been much to report. In fact, sometimes I forget I'm even pregnant. (At least until I look in the mirror, go up the stairs, or try to put on any of my old clothes!) I feel like my weekly updates would say something like: Baby and I are both a little bit fatter this week.

I have been taking weekly photos though, and I haven't missed one yet, so I'm hoping to continue at least doing that every week. Made it over half way so far! Of course, the first few weeks I was really ambitious and had fun in photoshop adding the piece of fruit they compared her to and little updates from that week... but that didn't last long. Now it's just a picture, but that's better than nothing!

We did buy the nursery furniture this week though, which makes it all start to seem more real! I'm still not sure I'll believe we're actually having a baby until I get to hold her. Which I thought about yesterday - holding her for the first time - and I started crying. Of course. Although overall I really haven't been as emotional as I always expected I'd be while pregnant.

The most common question we get is does she have a name? The answer is - maybe!? We did finally decide on a first name that we both like, but it's not set in stone yet. We may hear something else we like better by December?! I do love this name though, and we have been calling her by it. And it has family meaning as well which I think makes it even more special. I think we're going to keep it secret though ;) We'll see!

So that's about it for now! I have gotten a lot of questions about what we're doing with the nursery, so I'll post some updates on it once we get started! :)