Willow Project: The nursery – part 2

Tools

More than a month has passed since I wrote about the nursery project in our house on Willow street. However, we haven’t been turning our thumbs around and watched the snow melt. In fact, not only are we almost done the remodeling, but we are starting to decorate the room. After all, our little man will be here in no less than 10 weeks.

Jacob and I purchased this house thinking of our growing family. We wanted a house that was big enough for kids, didn’t need major reparations but that we could still work on to make ours. And, as a reminder, the first room we tackled has been the nursery.

Jacob painting late at night.
Jacob painting late at night.

The room was pretty boring when we started. An old beige paint was on the wall, the baseboards were simply primed (not event painted) and the closet was pretty much a whole in the wall. The popcorn ceiling was almost grey when we moved in – enough to say that there hasn’t been a lot of update done to this room in the past 10 years (at least). The only thing that looked okay were the baseboards. A good coat of paint should do the trick, we thought.

Jacob and I took lots of pleasure out of coming up with the concept for the room. We wanted the room to have a rustic feel while incorporating some industrial and modern element. I love everything that has to do with the style of a farmhouse, and Jacob is attached to a more modern, clean look. Blending these two styles could only lead to something interesting. We decided that adding some wainscoting on the four walls would add this rustic feel I was looking for. We also settled on painting three of the walls a light blue, while picking an elegant wallpaper for the fourth wall.

Even I got to help with simple task - felt good to help Jacob out.
Even I got to help with simple task – felt good to help Jacob out.

As we are finishing painting the wainscoting, I thought I would share some lessons learned from our first reno in the house:

Lesson 1: Before starting, check if all your walls, floor and baseboards are leveled. When putting wainscoting up, start by making sure that your floor and baseboard are leveled, as well as the walls. Since we had decided to keep the baseboards that were already in the room, we started installing our wainscoting by putting them on top of the baseboard and nailing them to the wall. However, after 3 or 4 panels, we realized that the top of the wainscoting was not equal, which would create a huge problem for us when putting the final trim on top – we would have gaps between the trim and the top of the wainscoting. Thinking this was because of something we had done wrong, we took everything down and started again. Same problem happened. So we took everything down again. This is when we realized that the floor was not exactly leveled and that the previous owners hadn’t bother putting the baseboards at level. So what we ended up doing was ripping all the baseboards out and re-installing them, leveled this time. That also meant that there was now a small gap between the floor and the baseboard at some places – and so we went to Rona to find a quarter-inch round trim as a finish. Since we don’t have the budget to redo and level the floor, that option ended up the best for us. And installing the wainscoting ended up being easy.

Lesson 2: Plan for extra expenses if this is your first project: Jacob and I had a realistic budget and were very good at respecting it – at first. But we didn’t count on having to buy extra trim for the floor, extra paint for the wainscoting (we thought one coat would be enough), we forgot to include new curtains for the room, we had to purchase more painting tape than we thought. Overall, we had to do lots of small but extra expenses that made us go over budget a little.

Lesson 3: Plan for extra time: Jacob and I had a plan: I was going to New Brunswick to visit my family for about 5 days, and during that time he would paint the room, put the wallpaper and wainscoting up, and probably have time to finish painting the wainscoting. I have been back for two weeks and we are just finishing the final touches. Doing renovations when you have jobs and a life takes longer than we one might think. Not to complain, because I really like this project, but we honestly underestimated how much time it would take to put the room together. Thankfully, Jacob’s mom came over many times to help us out – thank you Sue!

Jacob painting 2

Lesson 4: Even if the renovation is in one room, your whole house will suffer: I just had to get used to having brushes on the side of the kitchen sink, pieces of trim on the floor next to the sofa, measuring tapes in the bathroom (I mean for what reason Jacob?!) and to have dust and pieces of wood pretty much everywhere on the floor. There is just no way around it.

Lesson 5: Be ready to be proud of your work – like REALLY proud: I didn’t expect to feel this good about the work that would be accomplished. Watching Jacob work and helping him out as much as I could made me feel so proud of us. Not only did I see him reach for perfection every step of the way, but together we did something very special for our son. We created an environment where he will hopefully feel safe and sound. We still have to decorate the nursery, but already I can’t help feeling like we have accomplished something great together. It may look like a small project to some, but it is a huge accomplishment for us. And that’s what really matters.

The next post about the nursery will be the final result! And we can’t wait to show you. xxx

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