Category: DIY (Page 2 of 3)

Shiplap vs. Nickel Gap: Making Your Budget Work For You

This is going to sound weird, but I’m just going to come out and say it; one of my favorite renovation projects so far was the powder room in our Charleston house. Really? A bathroom? And not even like a master bathroom with a waterfall shower and a huge tub? Yeah, really, just a powder room. And I can sum up why in one word: “shiplap.”

Actually it’s really two words: “Nickel Gap”. So what’s the difference, and why does it matter? Well, technically shiplap is a type of board with a rabbet joint which allows the boards to overlap. The bathroom above did not use real shiplap, but it essentially looks like it. Instead we used a method called “Nickel Gap” which is simply spacing the boards the width of a nickel. This method is more time consuming, but can be done for significantly cheaper and yields a similar result.

For the boards, we used 5mm plywood, which is about as thin as plywood comes. At about $13.50 for a 4’x8′ sheet, you can really make a room interesting for cheap.  We bought 5 sheets at Lowes and had them cut in-store to 6″ wide strips lengthwise. I think the guy who did the cutting probably still breaks out into a cold sweat when he hears “Customer assistance needed in the board cutting area… bing bong… board cutting area.” I don’t know if they have rules about a number of cuts they’ll make per board, but he did seven cuts for us. He cut all five of the boards stacked, which definitely saved time, though. I could have cut the strips with my table saw, but I never would have been able to cut them as straight and even as in the store.

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Nerding out about Pantry Organization

We have this hallway/laundry room/pantry off of the kitchen area which was in dire need of some organization. I talked a little about it in this post, including how we don’t know what the long term plan is for it.  To give you a bit of a refresher, here is a zoomed in part of the floor plan that shows what I’m talking about.

The “closet” shown is just a bump-out in this hallway, as it is a closet for the guest bedroom.  The washer and dryer sit next to it, and there’s a little (big?) hidden gem on the opposite side of wall behind two swinging doors, as seen below.

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We paid 65 bucks for these pictures…

So I hope you don’t think we’ve got ADD or something.  Our posts over the past few weeks have kind of been all over the place, but that’s pretty representative of our lives right now.  We’re in the middle of balancing coming back from a weekend out of town (traveling with a baby is WORK), setting up a 1st birthday party, juggling HVAC contractors, general contractors, specific contractors, and engineers all at our house almost daily as we try to find the best way to take down this damn wall in the living room, and really overall, just trying to get our work done everyday at work so that we can come home and make dinner and enjoy time with our little dude and puppies.  And maybe trying to get some exercise somewhere in there (those 5am morning runs are COLD! Spring where are you???) So I promise we’ll be giving more updates on the wall removal as soon as we nail down a plan.

Anyways, because life loves to throw you curve balls, a few weeks ago, I walked into one of our currently unused “guest bedrooms” to grab a gift bag for my friend’s baby shower. Yes, I still haven’t really cleaned up all of the boxes and crap from Connor’s baby shower OVER A YEAR AGO… the dangers of having a room you don’t currently use and just closing the door on it.

While I was in there, I noticed some paint flaking off on the ceiling.

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Nursery Crafting

In our posts about Connor’s nursery, here and here, we glossed over a few projects that we worked on for the decor, so we figured we’d go back and talk about them, assuming you’re interested 😉

I grew up as a total cheapo.  My family made fun of me for everywhere we went I always claimed that I “forgot my wallet.”  I’m sure this has some crumb of truth in it, but I won’t give them that satisfaction to fully admit to it right now haha.  Now that we bring in steady paychecks and can live comfortably, and aren’t struggling, broke college kids, we’ve definitely loosened up on our spending habits.  At heart though, I’m still a cheapo.  I had a lot of ideas for the nursery, that big box stores don’t typically sell.  They’re more the types of decor that you find on Etsy.  As much as I appreciate supporting someone to do that type of work, some of the prices are crazy.  So I researched and pretty much decided that I would do them all myself.

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Rewiring the basement

That title sounds a little drastic, don’t you think? Did it pique your interest? Ok, well we didn’t rewire the entire basement, but we had a couple of projects in the basement recently that required some electrical work. So before I go any further…

Disclaimer: This information given on this site is solely for entertainment purposes and is not a substitute for proper training. Electrical work is complex and can be dangerous if not performed carefully. Always consult an electrician as well as your local laws and codes before performing any electrical work. Hams at Home Blog, its creators, and its authors cannot be held responsible for your safety or any outcomes of performing work following the methods or suggestions on this site. Blah blah blah…

There, now I’ve gotten that out of the way, so let’s begin. As I mentioned in my posts about building our bar shelves, we wanted to put a TV on the top shelf so we could have some background entertainment in the bar.

Bailey the model & a small sneak peak into our theater

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Yea, but is it “sitting on the floor” bad?

That’s what David said to me as I finished cutting in the paint around the window in the first floor bathroom over Christmas break and told him “well that’s not what I was expecting.”

A few years ago when we lived in our SC house, I picked out this beautiful navy blue for the fireplace wall and a wall in our dining room.

I wanted a color that would complement it pretty well, so I chose a pretty grey that looked great next to that navy blue on the paint cards.  I should have realized my mistake there, but I didn’t.  I went ahead and bought that 5 gallon pail of that grey paint, because that was going on the rest of the walls in that main room.  That was a BIG room.

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Bringing the Outside In – Connor’s Nursery Part II

Read Part I of this post in case you missed it!

With all of the ideas together on my idea board, we got to work.  First off, we got started on the planked/shiplap wall because we knew it would probably make a big mess in the room.  I think we’ll probably write a whole post on this wall, so for now, we won’t get into any details.

I sent this picture to my in laws to show them the nursery progress we were making, and they told us we should just keep the wood grain.  I think its a generational thing?  Older generations want to keep the grain to show the quality, whereas we just want to paint everything.  I had that conversation with my mom once.  I’m just generally not a big fan of wood grain unless its on the floors or furniture. What do you think?

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Bringing the Outside In – Connor’s Nursery Part I

I was so excited to do a nursery.  I mean, check out our [facebook] birth announcement:

Geez, I kind of miss my long hair. 🙂  Anyways, when we found out we were having a baby I started planning right away.  I loved the outdoor/adventure theme because it could easily be for a boy or a girl and I always knew that no matter what gender our baby was that the room was going to incorporate navy blue in it… my favorite color. I always had a blue room growing up, usually navy, sometimes a sky blue on both the walls and ceiling complete with huge white clouds (sorry Dad!). Although, I guess I did go through that Little Mermaid phase at one point…

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Building The Shelves That Weird Nook Was Meant to Have – Part II

Check out Part I of this post to see the building of these shelves!

We wanted a dark wood stain for the shelves.  We’re a little atypical with painting and staining in that (except for walls and ceilings) we apply finishes to everything before the final install. It just makes it easier to pull together the final project without worrying about taping and touching up already painted walls. This means I had to deconstruct the shelves for staining and mark each piece inconspicuously with it’s location so I could rebuild it easily.  It’s extra work, but we think it’s worth it in the end for a high quality finished product.  We’ll probably write a blog about our reasons one day.  Carolyn did all the staining and top coats because she’s way better at finishing touches than I am.  In case anyone is wondering we used Minwax Dark Walnutfor our stain color.  It very closely matches the hardwood flooring color we chose for the house.

Staining the shelves

Just look at this beauty… and the stain looks pretty good too!

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Building The Shelves That Weird Nook Was Meant to Have – Part I

Let’s face it, sometimes houses have weird, little nooks that make you wonder what the builder or contractor was thinking.  We have one in our basement.  One of the previous owners had the basement finished and created a strange cavity between a support post and a closet.  Ever since we first looked at it, we thought “That nook needs some shelves.” Our plan for this section of the basement is to make a bar area, so we thought the shelves would be a good place to store the growlers we’ve been collecting from our favorite breweries.

We also inherited a TV from my Dad.  It’s the only other TV we have besides our projector, and its on the smaller side, so we figured the shelves will also be a good place for a TV.  A bar needs a TV, right?

Carolyn found some “pinspiration” from these shelves, but couldn’t find a tutorial, so we decided to improvise.  She loved how they had a slight rustic, but built-in look to them, without actually cutting into the walls.

First, we measured everything and decided how many shelves to build.  We decided to go with four shelves, which would comfortably fit the growlers and the TV on top.  We went to Lowe’s and looked at the standard size pine boards and decided that it would be much cheaper to buy a sheet of 3/4″ plywood and cut it into sections for each shelf.  I had them cut the shelves to an approximate size because we brought our smaller car that day.  I over-sized the cuts by 1/2″ in each direction because although their cuts are super straight, their measurements aren’t always accurate in the store and I could easily do the final trimming at home.  If you don’t have a table or circular saw at home, you can have Lowe’s do all the cuts for you, but you’ll want to double-check the measurements before and after cutting.

Our design was a floating shelf so we wanted to see as little support or screws as possible.  To hide the screws I used pocket-hole joinery, a technique used in woodworking to join pieces of wood together with a screw drilled in at an angle. The screw can even be covered by a wood plug.  This was a perfect practice project for the Kreg Jig Kit that Carolyn bought me for Christmas.  The Kreg Jig is a tool to make pocket joinery simple. The kit she got me is amazing and is a bit of overkill for this project, but I plan to do a lot of built-ins with it in the future.  Kreg has plenty of jig optionsto match any budget.  Even the Mini Kreg Jig Kitcould get this job done. No, our tiny blog is not sponsored, I just really love their tools!

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