Upgrading our Basebord Trim: Part 2



Wow! Can not thank you all enough for your comments on Mom and Dad's closet doors! They were so grateful and flattered that so many of you took the time to read the post and check out the mock ups. They loved all your feedback! (Some good points about the mis-matched door hardware.) I will keep you posted on their decisions/progress, but I think Mom's favorite potential paint color for the doors is that medium grey-blue (option No. 3, not as dark as navy, but darker than the lightest blue).

In the meantime, I wanted to update you guys on where we stand currently with the RapidFit baseboard trim we are installing over our old baseboards in the dining room. (Read part 1 of the process here and a little background info here.)

So far we've put in one work day with my father-in-law and we made a lot of progress. Its not all done, but its enough that every time I walk in the dining room I get a huge smile on my face:)

Cue angels singing!!! Isn't it so much better!! I mean, I laugh at that old trim, its just pathetic next to this:) Plus, look at the crisp white line now between the new baseboard and the floor, it makes the floors look so much more finished...now that there's not that walnut stain creating a dirty gradient between the floor and the walls. Yay!!!

A couple things have changed since we last talked now that we actually started this project. (Isn't that always the way?!) First, remember how I mentioned that you are supposed to cut away a small piece of your existing trim (the part right next to your door casings) and use the RF Transition Blocks to "transition" the new RF baseboards back to your existing, probably narrower, doors?

Well, after a brainstorming session, we decided to totally forgo this step! My very handy, construction experienced father-in-law (let's go with "FIL" from now on) was a little leery about how we were going to cut out those pieces of our existing trim. So we decided to test out how the new RF molding would look if we just butted it right up to the door casings. And we discovered that if we were to paint the exposed side edge of it white, we actually didn't mind having it stick out just a bit from the door trim. It somehow looks a lot cleaner than having that back slope of the transition block in there and it will save us a ton of time and energy. Here's what I mean:

{imagine that exposed side bit of MDF painted white and the door trim touched up with the same white paint, as well as the new molding itself (I have to still go back and fill in all the nail holes and paint over all the scuff marks we made while installing)...I think its going to blend pretty well, right?}

Another thing that didn't quite work out as planned was the miter/"chop" saw. Turns out that our new RF molding was too tall for FIL's saw, so we had no sure-fire standard way to cut all the miters for the interior corners of the room (RapidFit also provides decorative corner blocks so you don't have to worry about this step, but I wanted the clean, simple normal mitered corners for our new trim). So at first FIL tried hand cutting each of the 45 degree angles. And it looks good here, but when we put up the adjacent piece (that was also cut by hand), it wasn't a perfect fit (also because our walls aren't perfectly square).

That's when he decided to try and "cope" the corners:

"This age-old carpenter's trick involves cutting the profile on the end of one molding and fitting it against another like pieces of a puzzle."

{from "How to Cope Joints" by the The Family Handyman...and here's a great Step by Step Tutorial from them}Link

Coping allows you to install one of the pieces of molding flat side right up to the corner. For the other piece of trim, you hand-cut out the profile of the adjoining piece, holding the two ends up together and perfecting your shape as you go, getting the coped piece to really fit snug against the non-coped piece. The result, when done right (go FIL!) and filled with caulk, looks just like a mitered corner, but its not:)

So this part of the puzzle was slightly more complicated than I had anticipated. But once we had done one corner, the rest were fairly straightforward and easy...easy because FIL did all the coping:)

Once we had each piece of molding cut and knew it was going to fit, we had to find the studs in the wall so that we would know where to nail. We did it the old school way (as opposed to using a "stud finder")...we took the new trim down and based on the electrical outlets or trying to spot a nail in our existing trim (which we assumed would be at a stud), we tested a bit by banging a nail into the wall until we knew we had found a stud. Then we kept going 16" off center in either direction, hammering more nails into our money spots.

After we had the whole length figured out, we took out the nails (keeping the tape measure in place), put back up the new RF trim and used our calculations to be sure we were installing the new molding into studs. The compressor for FIL's nail gun decided not to work right as went to nail in the first piece of new baseboard (!) so we opted for hand-nailing in the top row of finish nails to hold the boards in place for now and will use the nail gun next time he comes (so much easier and faster) to finish out the bottom row of nails. We also added a line of caulk to the top of each piece of baseboard where it meets the wall to give it that finished look.

We managed to get three sides of the room installed but still have to do the fourth wall (this last wall runs a few inches longer than the 12 feet that the RF boards come in, so we have fit two boards together and do a seam there close to the corner):

Once the last board is up (and we've caulked all the corners and top edge) and we have the nail gun working, we'll finish nailing in all the boards, cover the nail holes with putty, sand them down and I'll repaint everything white (including those exposed edges of MDF at the doors) so it looks fresh and brand new again.

I am so excited with how this whole thing is turning out. I can't wait to complete this room and get going on the living room, kitchen and foyer!! (Guess I should go have Paul call FIL and see if he's free this weekend!)

Real Room Dilemma: To Paint or Not to Paint



Hi! Thank you so much for all your super nice comments on the updates to Mom and Dad's master bedroom! If you don't mind, I'm going to talk about it a little more today. (Sorry, it took me way longer to put this post together than I thought, so I wasn't able to publish it last week.) Mom, Dad and I are hoping you guys can help us figure out if their bedroom has a problem or not, and if so, what to do about it. Heads up...this post is kinda long, hang in there if you have time:)

Mom and Dad are thinking that their room is visually a little bit off balance. They have major things going on three of the walls (with a lot of contrast and color), but one of them, the wall with both their closets on it, is kinda blah with no real focal point or drama. (Its all very light - two sets of large white closet doors, three small white storage cubby doors and a big white armoire.)

Here's the culprit wall:

To help you guys understand the layout better and give you an idea of how the color is spread throughout the room, I quickly put together this floor plan:

And here's the accompanying photos as if you are walking into the room via the hallway on the wall of closets - on the left is the bed wall, then straight across is the wall of windows with the built-in bench and painted dressers, and on the right wall is the slider (with new window treatments) out to the deck:

They are worried that the room is just too heavy in specific areas and want to remedy that by doing something to the fourth wall that will tilt that side of the room back into balance and leave everything feeling a bit more harmonious. Their first thought (other than admitting they think they have a problem!) is to paint both sets of closet doors something other than white. Therefore giving your eye a place to travel to on this side of the room. (We also thought that instead of touching the closets, that they could paint that white armoire something other than white, but I did some Photoshop tests and we think its not enough.)

Now, Mom and Dad are no strangers to painted interior doors. They are not afraid to take the risk. They had all the downstairs doors in their old home painted high-gloss black (don't mind the Christmas decor)...

Here's where you guys come in. Do you agree with them that the room does seem a bit off balance? Do you like the idea of painting the closet doors and think this will help? Do you have any other suggestions for a solution?

If you do agree that painting the doors might solve the problem, here's some Photoshop mock-ups I did for you (and Mom and Dad) to test out some possible colors (I've tried each color in three different views so you hopefully really get a sense of how it would look):

No. 1: A similiar mushroom/taupe color as the two painted dressers and accent pillows/throw on the bed.

No. 2: Some dark shade of navy blue

No. 3: A medium, muted grey-blue

No. 4: A subtle, light grey-blue (maybe like slightly darker version of the wall color?)

No. 5: Something more on the green side, but still light and muted.

Phew! If you are still reading, thank you so much for your time and help! What do you think? Do you like any of these color ideas? Is there another color we haven't considered that you think might be better? Thoughts on this in general? You guys are awesome!!

Real Room Update: Adding Layers



If you guys remember, back in November I shared some pics of my parent's master bedroom in their Cape Cod home. Since this room was just added on a couple of years ago when they renovated the whole place, they're still furnishing and designing this space. Mom's made some recent updates and I thought it would be nice to share...plus we're going to ask for your help soon on one design dilemma that's puzzling them:)

This is the perfect example of how layers are built up in a room as you go. More often than not, beautiful and personal rooms don't come together in a day. You acquire bits over time, tweak things, keep refining and fine tuning.

The real focal point in this room (besides the bed) is this huge wall of windows and built-in bench and storage. To kick off the room, Mom had custom seat cushions (in an oatmeal and blue window pane) and two throw pillows (in blue and green plaid) made by a local seamstress. This is where we left off last time.

{before pillow update}

I suggested that Mom get some more pillows to keep these guys company. We all agreed that some more pattern would be helpful. And in the comments, Holly said ""If they are up for it (your dad really I should say) I think some throw pillows in a large floral would be nice...".

Mom was reading and paying attention! Last time we went down the Cape to visit, she couldn't wait to show me the new pillows she found at a local consignment shop. For like $14 each! And she said they looked brand new:)

{after pillow update}

I love the floral with the plaid and I really like how this one small accessory adds a lot more colors (than just blue and beige) to the room. (I'm finding that I like rooms with more than just one or two colors in their palettes.)

The next layer that Mom recently added was "better" drapes. When they first got settled in this room, they needed something quick to block off the slider here to the deck, mostly just for privacy. So Mom hung these white curtains from Ikea on an oil-rubbed bronze rod (also from Ikea). It did the trick, but she always had real plans for this slider.

{before drapery update}

She had Pottery Barn linen panels in pretty much that same beige/taupe/oatmeal color as the seat cushions stored away from their previous house in PA (as well as a thicker, chunkier ORB rod and rings) and thought they would work well in this room. Once up, they are definitely more suited. They just feel more substantial and dramatic, add organic texture, tie in better with the other fabrics in the room and even closely mimic the color of the painted dressers. This time Mom hung the rod right up to the ceiling which makes a big difference.

{after drapery update}

Lastly, for now, Mom and Dad had these two framed landscape prints that they wanted to put somewhere in the room. I suggested stacking them vertically to the right of the slider in an effort to start creating some other little moments in the room, as well as begin to bring your eye around from the adjacent huge and dramatic window wall.

Its just these continuing little additions of layers that add depth and personality to a space. Aren't we always looking around and thinking about what small tweak or change or extra thing will make our homes that much better?

Next up...Mom and Dad and I need your help with a potential issue in this room. I'll be back to talk about it and present some photoshop mock ups in my next post. (Not sure when that will go down, hopefully by the end of the week.) Thanks, guys!

18 months!!



Thank you so much to everyone who participated in and took time out of their busy lives for our Mood Board Monday linky party this week! I loved seeing what you did with all that beautiful etsy artwork. We even had some new faces, which is awesome! Hope you all can join us next time too. I'll try not to space them so far apart again! Anyone have any ideas for an inspiration category that you'd like to see?

On a more personal note, Maura turned 18 months this past weekend! Seems like such a huge milestone to me. A year and half?! How did it go by so fast? Yet at the same time, it seems like forever ago that she was just a teeny tiny thing unable to move or to speak. Crazy!!

Here are the past two months' bunny chair pics:

{showing off Tow Mater}

{making the monkey kiss the baby}

18 month check-up stats:
  • Weight: 24 lbs. 11 oz.
  • Height: 34 inches (97th percentile for height!)

The largest change in the last couple of months is how much she's talking and how many words she says. Every day there's new ones (today we learned "stretchy" when she got a hold of a rubber band!) and she always tries to repeat what we say (and most of the time does a pretty good job of it). It's so cool to be able to communicate with her and to watch her growing and learning so quickly.

She can recognize and say six shapes (circle, square, triangle, star, heart and squiggle). And if her mood and the circumstances are right, she's been known to count to ten! We're working on colors, but she doesn't quite get it yet.

She's learning the meaning of opposites and knows pairs like "wet and dry", "clean and dirty", "up and down", "big and small" (we're trying to learn "medium" too!).

Maura finally figured out how to color and do stickers (before she always used to just try and eat the crayons), so we have a lot of fun with that. Especially Mama:)

{we never really put away her Christmas stuff after the holidays...she likes reading about Santa and playing with her Little People Nativity set too much!}

On the food front, we have taken a slight step backward. All of the sudden she has stopped liking a couple of the foods that she used to love:( And she still will not eat any real vegetables!!! She loves "scooping" with her spoon though, so eating yogurt on her own is one of her new favorite things. Can any of you moms with toddlers help me out with this? Have you noticed its harder finding things they like to eat? Are your little guys still in high chairs or are they in booster seats, etc.? (Not sure where she's supposed to be in terms of this.) Do you guys sit down with your toddler and eat dinner as a family? Does your toddler eat what you eat and if so, what if they don't like it? Do you give them a back up or "let them starve"? We feed Maura dinner earlier and then Paul and I eat later once she is in bed, its our only real chance to sit down together and relax. Not sure if this is hurting Maura's food chances or not. Any and all advice, comments, suggestions would be great!!

As of a few weeks ago, we are finally completely done with bottles! I had been putting off getting rid of her night time bottle because we had such a nice thing going...and I was worried that she wouldn't drink as much milk out of the sippy cup and therefore maybe wake up in the middle of the night hungry or something. It actually went much better than I expected! She does drink just as much milk, although it takes a bit longer. What is really different is just the feeling/experience of putting her down...she used to get that bottle and immediately her eyes would start to close and she would be calm and relaxed, now its sort of a struggle to get her diaper changed and she's chatty and squirmy, etc. She still falls asleep ok, so I guess I can't complain! Hopefully once she gets a little more used to the change she'll go back to her easy bed time self;)

She has been loving the book "Someday" (by Allison McGhee and Peter H. Reynolds) and it has quickly become a new part of our nap and bed time routine.

Maura's favorite things right now are her matchbook characters from the movie Cars. They were hand-me downs from her friend Brady, who's six years old and not as much into them anymore! She takes them everywhere...into the tubbie, to the grocery store, and they end up all over the house in crazy spots...they are pretty much like her "lovies".

One of her favorite things to do with her cars (or really anything in general, including herself) is make them "tall". She loves to build towers out of blocks and balance the cars on top. She also loves to step on anything (it could be a book a quarter of an inch thick!) to make herself "tall".

We still go outside and play every day (no matter the temperature, unless its pouring). We go for walks:

push baby and/or Mickey in the stroller:

ride in our car (we got a really good parking spot here!):

play in the driveway (with sand, rocks, sticks, the soccer ball):

play in what little snow we've had:

{making a snowman with her uncle/godfather and Dada}

play on our swing set:

{Maura and Cameron}

and just do general nature loving stuff! (Maura is a legitimate "tree hugger". She literally gives the trees in our yard hugs. Here she is saying hi to a tall, skinny tree that struck her fancy while we were hiking in the woods. I love this pic!)

Every day gets better and better with this girl!! Mama and Dada love you and are so proud of you, Lovie!!!

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