Tell me you’ve done this. You have an idea that you think may be fun, head to Pinterest to flesh things out and steal some tips and tricks, and then get so bogged down with all of the potential things you could do, should do, and feel like you aren’t quite qualified to do, that you end up dropping the idea entirely. It happens to me… a lot.
A few weeks back my son showed an interest in calendars. He’s at that sweet age when the concept of tomorrow and yesterday are still a bit fuzzy, and the question of “Is it tomorrow now? Yesterday you said today would be tomorrow…” and so on pop up at least a few times a week. He is also getting excited about watching seasons fade from one to the next and getting better at looking ahead exciting things are just around the corner. It’s the perfect time to create a calendar to feature all of our family’s upcoming happenings, set on a chalkboard surface so that the tots can be engaged in filling in numbers and crossing off days.
After finding the right location, a blank wall in our Mud Room/Laundry Room combo, I headed to Pinterest for some inspiration. It didn’t take long before I just knew that I wouldn’t be satisfied with simply painting a square board on the wall while leaving the surrounding space bare. I needed a chair rail to better define the space. And if I added a chair rail I’d need some wainscoting or bead board underneath. Wainscoting and bead board certainly wouldn’t work around a window with no window frame. I had uncovered a veritable Pinterest rabbit hole, and I was in deep.
Finding myself at a critical juncture, I did what any reasonable person would do. I texted two old friends a complaint about how much I hated Pinterest for ruining my life. Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it was along those lines. I had thrown in the proverbial towel on this idea until a message from Jersey popped up on my phone.
LMAO, you’re in deep.
But it sounds amazing. Is it bad that I want to encourage you? Haha. Mostly because I know you can do it…
And, friends, sometimes that small vote of confidence is all that you need. I was off to the hardware store later that day.
Before going any further, a few “before” shots…
I worked backwards in my mind and realized the window frame needed to happen first. I used this tutorial and found the process to be surprisingly straightforward. If you go with a craftsman style design like I did, you don’t have to worry about any mitered cuts (you know, cuts made at precise angles necessary for more ornate trims) and can likely get most of your cuts done for you wherever you purchase your lumber. Winner!
(Now before you start in on me about the proportions of the side trim, I know, they are too narrow. I was working around the fact that the window is positioned directly against the wall. If your window is more normally placed, you’ll want to use 1x3s or 1x4s for these pieces rather than 1x2s like you see here.)
Next up came the bead board, which I decided to instal prior to the chair rail so that the rail could hide any imperfection along the top edge. I guess its time to reveal my big secret with this project… it’s not really board at all. It’s Allen + Roth paintable wallpaper that looks and feels just like the real deal. A-MAZING. After carefully marking a level line with painters tape, the bead board was installed in about an hour.
Next, I conquered the chair rail and corner trim pieces. I mostly ad-libbed this process, since I don’t actually own any of the tools you need to do it the easy way. For a small project like this, however, a hand saw and miter box were more than sufficient. Good old hammer and nails worked just fine too.
There are a million tutorials about this process online, so the last thing you need is this amateur carpenter telling you what to do, but I will provide a few tips that I picked up along the way:
- Measure carefully and then cut on the short side of your lines. A piece that is just a touch too short but still fits is no problem, as you’ll fill in any tiny gaps with wood putty later. A bit too long, though, and your only option is to re-cut or get out the sander.
- When it comes to corner trim pieces and decorative accents, choosing the right pieces of lumber is a matter of personal preference. There is no “right piece” for a lot of scenarios, and the guys at the hardware store can’t tell you what you’ll love most. Go with your gut, and remember that there’s probably not going to be a real carpenter coming over to check your work anytime soon.
- A $5 nail setter like this is totally worth the investment. Setting your nails into the rail and then filling the holes will give the finished product that professional look you’re going for.
- Caulk is your friend. Use it everywhere one material touches another to achieve a seamless effect as though the rail is a part of your wall.
The final piece to this project was a fresh coat of paint and the addition of the chalkboard calendar. More to come on that endeavor soon.
I am PSYCHED about the final product just love how inviting the space has become. In fact, I never noticed how beautiful our view was from this mostly overlooked window until adding a frame.
If you’ve got a project that you’ve tabled, thinking perhaps it’s too much to take on, let this post be your own little message from
Jersey Utah… You can do it. I totally believe you can!
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