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DIY Reality + A Small Step Backwards

Here’s the thing. If we weren’t constantly in full blown install-all-the-baseboards mode, I have a feeling that we’d be much, much farther along on our front porch and overall curb appeal (which, right now, is still non-existent. Better, but lacking!). In reality, however, these baseboards are taking forever. Forever!

We started on the living room last weekend, and throughout the course of this week, we’ve been spackling the nail holes, sanding them down and painting our doors. In-between all the trim chatter, we spent an insane amount of time finding the perfect ceiling fan, Googling the merits of deck stain versus deck paint and nailing down a surveyor before we install an exterior fence. All of these are very exciting developments (ha!), but the good news is this: we have baseboards in the living and dining rooms!


You can still see slight gaps where joints meet, but we haven’t yet caulked or painted anything – although my hope is to knock it out over the weekend and just move on with our lives already! (After which, we’ll need another little break before starting on the studio.) There’s also green tape on the walls marking where we’ll need to touch-up paint, and there are a lot of areas of trim that are still raw or have been sanded down to a smooth finish.

For all the doors, we’ve decided to continue adding tall headers, and now that they’ve been finished in semi-gloss white (we continue to use Behr’s Ultra Pure White), the almost black oil rubbed bronze hinges and knobs provide the right contrast. (We had “upgraded” to the darker hinges when purchasing the doors – an extra $6/door.) As much as we (I?) gripe about the task itself, it never ceases to amaze us how much of a difference all this trim makes! Like a frame for the walls. (If the doors themselves look crooked, we assure you they are not [although my wide lens does add distortion] – but is the ceiling slightly angled? Yup. Old house charm.)


All of these photos are caulk-less and paint-less, but man. I told Scott that the bright white trim makes me love our paint color even more, and the raw oak is no longer competing with the warmer wood tones in the room.

Looking back towards the living room (my back is to the dining area, below), we also opted for the same thick headers above our large front window. We’ll still be layering in floor-to-ceiling curtains (they’re on the way!), and we went with a 7″ window sill (which is deeper than any of the others we’ve done):


After tiling the entryway, our wood floors were ever-so-slightly raised in comparison – about an eighth of an inch. To compensate for this, we used an inside corner plinth block to separate the shorter board with the 6″ trim that continues around the entire room. This old beast of a house is crooked in every imaginable, so this was only needed here; the other corner of our arched entry matched up without a hitch, eliminating the need for a plinth. (Go figure!) And finally, we added a seam binder to create a smooth transition from tile to wood. Binders were also placed between the nook and living room, and a new one was installed to the guest room, too. Side note: they came to us as raw wood, but after applying two coats of Cherry Minwax + two coats of satin Polycryclic , they matched our existing floors perfectly!


In other news (!), one other change is happening in our funny little nook – more like, a tiny step backwards. Not really loving our yellow velvet chair against the dark green walls, we moved it upstairs and pulled out the Flor tiles. Something about the whole combination just felt… off? (Or maybe that’s just what happens when you’re watching Orange Is The New Black and staring into the nook every night. The distractions had to go!) We always knew that the yellow chair and the carpet tiles would be temporary (and to keep it from feeling empty, we moved in the chair below for now), but in a moment of ah, what the hell!, I just pulled everything out.


We did order this chair, received it, and sent it back. It was too firm, defective (the arms didn’t align properly) and wasn’t as conducive to lazy day reading (this is our dream scenario) as we’d hoped for. I’m now starting to think that the baseboards are making us moody and overly picky! (Is that a thing?) In the end, we decided we’d rather wait until we found The Chair (something neutral) and The Rug (something soothing). Patience, patience.

Now, to tie up the loose ends on Operation Baseboard and then, can we just play outside some more?! We have porch swing plans printed, a deck to stain and plants to plant. Yeah, summer!

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  • B6.20.14 - 7:11 AM

    So much progress! For the reading nook, have you checked out Crate & Barrel’s Baxter rug? I just got it in grey for my living room, and paired with the thicker rug pad, this is the coziest rug I’ve ever had. It is so plush and dense that it’s comfortable to sit on/exercise on, but also really durable to stand up to my dog pouncing around on it. Not sure if the available colors are what you’re looking for (it comes only in solids), but for cozy factor, I think it would be hard to beat.ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.20.14 - 9:22 AM

      B, thanks for the suggestion! I pinned it for reference later. We sort of imagined something lighter (although solid in color, like the Baxter), but perhaps we can get a white/cream reading chair and the grey rug? We love first hand feedback, so thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Meredith6.20.14 - 8:46 AM

    It looks amazing. I just can’t believe how much you guys have done in such a short time.

    Out of curiosity, why did you choose not to trim the window in the dining room?

    And has there been any cat-sill-sitting or dog-head-resting in that front window? ‘Cause that’s the best curb appeal you could ask for!

    On a side note, I just wanted to say that I’m always so when you guys post a blog. Brightens my whole day. :)ReplyCancel

    • Meredith6.20.14 - 8:47 AM

      *Happy. So happy. Lol. Friday.ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.20.14 - 9:20 AM

      Oh, yes, there is a LOT of dog head resting (or more like, dog paws on the sill, head popped up and big curious grins!). As for the dining windows, we do want to trim those… just not sure how yet. They don’t need sills, so they may be much more simple and framed out with 4 mitered edges. Now I’m wishing we would have just finished that up!

      And thanks for the super sweet comment. YOU made our whole day.ReplyCancel

  • Carrie @DreamGreenDIY6.20.14 - 8:55 AM

    Looking good!! I meant to tell you, we loooove our Harbor Breeze fan in our living room, but now that I’ve tried to find it again, it looks like it’s out of production…Lamps Plus has some nice options though!ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.20.14 - 9:18 AM

      Not surprised! All the “good” fans we stumbled upon were out of stock, out of production or didn’t fit every item on our checklist. We are being PICKY.ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Rather Square6.20.14 - 9:14 AM

    I love that you have a crooked house! I think houses are like people – we should embrace their imperfections because that’s what makes them special. ;-)

    What fan did you decide on?ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.20.14 - 9:17 AM

      Agreed! And it’s very, very crooked ;)

      We ordered the fans, but they haven’t arrived yet. We’ll definitely post more about them when they HOPEFULLY work out! Soon, soon!ReplyCancel

  • Yay for progress! Even if it’s not done, it’s a HUGE step in the right direction. In pictures everything looks fantastic. I can’t wait to see what curtains you chose.ReplyCancel

  • Amy6.20.14 - 9:59 AM

    I’m looking forward to seeing the curtains. I am in the midst of purchasing floor-length curtains (108″) and I cannot believe how expensive they are. I have had some success with JC Penney, though, due to their coupons. But I’m thinking about making plain white muslin curtains for some rooms to save money… and the fabric’s so cheap that my lack of sewing prowess shouldn’t matter.ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.20.14 - 10:02 AM

      We love, love, love fresh white curtains, so that sounds like a plan! However, you could “spiff” ’em up with a unique curtain rod (think about a fun color or bold metal finish).ReplyCancel

  • Katherine6.20.14 - 10:01 AM

    So, I was just looking at the JCPenny’s “Design by Conran” collection (actually, have been looking at it for a while, really nice design) and for whatever reason, everything in that line is on sale now. Seems like a good price for high design and good construction. Check this chair:
    in grey?
    Seems like it would be kinda up your style alley? Just a thought! Nice work on the baseboards!ReplyCancel

  • Hi Kim!
    I love the baseboards – great job – I know it is a lot of hard work but it is soooo worth it. I also really like your paint color for your walls – it really looks great! I can’t wait to see what you do to improve your curb appeal – you always have such great ideas!

  • Julia@Cukoo4Design6.23.14 - 7:34 AM

    I’m on a Orange Is The New Black binge right now too.
    And yay for baseboards!!!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren Messina6.23.14 - 9:51 AM

    I adore you blog! It makes me happy!!!!! Such great ideas and tips!!!! XO!ReplyCancel

  • Cait6.25.14 - 11:39 AM

    Loving all your progress! The doors, trim, and baseboards look amazing, and I love the paint color you chose!

    We recently added the West Elm Paidge Chair to our library, and I can attest to the fact that it is a fantastically comfy reading chair! We bought the floor model, which came in Performance Velvet Lagoon, but were able to swap the legs out from the Taper Chocolate color to Cone Pecan. The Dove Gray is a really nice neutral (my parents have a Henry sofa in that color), and there are a ton of other neutral options. Maybe you could pair it with something like this rug from Home Decorators?ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.25.14 - 2:15 PM

      Okay, can you just come over and buy all the things and put them together for us? ;)ReplyCancel

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