Monday, March 17, 2014

Bead Board in the Kitchen!

Ok, so ONE YEAR AGO, Tony and I made some major changes in our kitchen.  I have yet to blog about them.  My thought was, well, I'll wait until it's actually done, with the little finishing touches and everything, before I blog about it.  Yeah, well, those didn't happen.  We pretty much finished the major part of it, scraped the ten inches of caulk out of our hair (ok, me, that was me.  i did 100% of the caulking), and then quit entirely.  Is our kitchen perfect the way I would love it to be?  No.  Are there some areas where I still haven't painted raw wood yet?  Yes.   But is it good enough?  Certainly.

Thursday, while Harper was at her children's morning out, I tackled a deep clean of the kitchen.  It took me quite a few hours, and it's been an unspeakable amount of time since I last cleaned like that.  Since I had actually scrubbed the flung food off the walls, I thought it was as good a time as any to take some pictures and put this thing out there in blog land.  Also, I probably won't clean it again until August when the baby is almost here... let's just be realistic. (But it was also morning and the sun was intense - forgive my terrible photo skills, please).

SO - the befores, shall we?

These are from waaaay back in the archives, but this is how our kitchen looked for many years:

It was a muddy brown color (which I picked out and replace the cream and PEACH it was before) with a random chair rail and everything was brown.  It felt oppressive after a few years.

As you can see, the opening from the kitchen to the living room was narrow, about the size of a regular doorway.  It felt so closed off and you could never talk/see each other if you were in different rooms.  Blah.

 Here's that tiny door from a different angle (and a different rug era, apparently).

We began scheming with my dad on how to open that doorway to give the rooms a more open plan feeling.  He insisted it wouldn't be that hard (it really wasn't).  

I blogged about that initial process about a year ago (womp womp).  But here are some pictures of them opening up the doorway.  They also raised how tall it was.

The process was helped tremendously by removing this large cabinet that blocked all view and was massively oppressive. 

Then, they cut some stuff.

And more stuff.

Big whole chunks of stuff.

And voila!  A large opening, with unfinished sides, tile to replace, and a big mess!

Oh, by the way - I'm so tardy on this post that Harper looked like THIS when all this was happening:

Ahhh chubby happy squishy baby!


Somewhere in the process (I forget all of the details at this point), I painted the walls.  I couldn't take one more minute of the brown.  The color is Sherwin William's Sea Salt (Behr matched), which I had seen so much online and loved.  In our kitchen, it came out more minty green than I anticipated, but I still love it.  It's fresh and bright and happy while still being subtle.  And a tiny bit beachy.  (the colors in my pictures here don't really do it justice).

We made plans to install beadboard on the lower portion of the walls, higher than where our chair rail had once stood, so I didn't waste my paint.  Annnnd it sat like this for a good 3 or 4 months probably.  Classy!

We wanted to wait until we had 1. the time 2. the money to do this project right.  So we were patient. (ish).

Here's what the inside of the newly-opened doorway looked like for a while.  The drywall had to be repaired in some spots where we took the cabinet out, but it was so much better anyway!  

Slowly but surely, we got molding up around the new opening, on both sides.  My dad reinforced the drywall at the top, knowing we would soon be putting a jumperoo-ing baby in that doorway!

 We also had the exposed sides of these cabinets to deal with, now that the big one was out.  We figured we'd bead board those suckers too.  So we looked at this for quite some time. 

Next, we put up the bead board.  This was a bit laborious, since we had lots of cuts to make (and an ancient borrowed table saw!) and our walls and doorways are painfully un-level.  Thank goodness nobody expects tutorials from me, because we mostly winged it.  I did use House of Hepworth's tutorials a lot!  My biggest tip is - remember, caulk is very forgiving!  I was trying to be a perfectionist about it, but some spots just had gaps.  The caulk worked wonders.  (also, read HoH's tips on how to install outlets safely with bead board surround - they require special outlet extenders).

We made some mistakes here and there, but overall I was pretty proud of us!  We did this part on our own and only tried to kill each other once.  

{{Funny story:  we were exhausted one weekend but determined to finish because we needed to return said table saw.  I was in charge of marking the measurements on where to cut.  This included outlets.  So, I measured well, marked away, and we went out and cut a very intricate, large piece of bead board (it was for under the window, so it wasn't just a square piece.  We had to cut out part where the window would be, as well as notch out for the molding around the window).  I'd say it was about a 30 minute cut job alone.  We then cut out the square for the outlet.  Welp, we came in to hold the piece up... and the outlet hole was wrong.  I drew it on the wrong side, so it was exactly lined up with...the space right next to the outlet.  It was a low moment.  But, luckily Tony was able to somehow laugh it off...}}

We took off our baseboards and reused them when possible.  We bought big bead board sheets and cut to size (having Home Depot cut them in half first for transportation purposes).  We used MDF for the top rail.  It's brown still in these pictures.  I knew I wanted the look of a thick top rail, without fussy curves or details, so this was a great, cheap way to achieve this.  I will say - it's not as smooth, even once painted, as I wish it were, especially for such a high-profile area, but it works.  There are so many other things we had to do - like mitered edges in corners, cutting complicated patterns into big pieces of bead board so we could have our seam under the window instead of next to it, making sure our height was level, even though our floor was not, etc --- but any good tutorial out there will walk you through all that stuff.

I caulked and painted for what felt like months (truly, because it took me that long!).  There were just so.many.edges.  And nail holes!  I was so sick of caulk by the end of it, I could have screamed.  Then I had to paint it all (with the same paint we use for our trim). No pictures of this unhappy process... but the end result!

On top of all this, we still had that doorway to finish off.  Once all of the frame molding was in, it all had to be caulked and painted.  but the hardest part was smoothing off the inside of the jamb - both sides and the top.  My dad helped us get started, but basically we pieced in drywall, and used joint compound over that to smooth it out.  We then used his shop vac with an attached sander plate to smooth it out.  I must have done 10 coats of this stuff... scraping it on piece by piece, then sanding it all down, then filling in low spots, and starting it all again... And yes, I did most of it because it was a detail job, and I just didn't quite trust Tony on that!  He did help with a lot of the sanding.  It took months of spotty weekend work.  It's still not perfect, but the imperfections are barely noticeable.

There were a lot of evenings and nap times spent like this:


But... we finally finished sometime last summer I think (mostly).  And the afters make me quite happy.

A much better view, right??  You can actually see in the living room!  And the sun from the big kitchen window filters through to the darker living room.

Like I said, we aren't fully finished.  We lost steam before we could finish this little wall.

 One day I'll tackle that.  One day.

We are really happy with how it turned out.  I know bead board isn't everyone's style, but I've always liked the look, and I feel like we were able to make a substantial impact with somewhat minimal effort and cost.  The space is lighter and brighter, and a much happier place to be in!  The one benefit of me taking so long to write this is that I can gladly say we still like the look and it's all held up beautifully.  

Of course, my kitchen wish list is still a mile long:

  • The cabinets.. Oh the cabinets.  Ok, they aren't even cabinets.  They are long pieces of plywood that someone put up and put 100 doors in front of.  Seriously.  You could slide a marble from one wall to the next inside the cabinets.  They have no dividers.  And 100 doors. (ok 26).  And don't get me started on the paint and lack of primer.  They weren't primed, I don't think... and the paint is the type that gets oily from touch and stains and is flaking off in large chunks everywhere.  We are going to have to majorly repaint them or have them resurfaced or something... neither sounds fun.
  • That terrible square fluorescent light?  Ugh.
  • New little rugs - ours are sad.
  • The two exterior doors have that same paint issue - they look awful and need repainting - but they are going to have to be completely sanded down first....
  • Tony is going to build us a new table!!  So excited about that - I can't wait to have a low one kids can easily sit at.  But that project's on the back-burner since we have nursery/office tasks to complete first.
  • Our Ikea Billy bookcase turned pantry that we currently have in the laundry room will soon be coming out into the kitchen so we can do more with the laundry room (more on that later!).  So that will be sitting where our completely non-functional wine rack currently sits (oh, well it does hold all of our misc junk now...).

Anyway, hope you liked this terribly long post.  Glad I finally wrote about it... over a year later!


  1. It looks AMAZING!!! I love that chunky molding on top of the beadboard. It is PERFECT!! The wall color is AWESOME!!! Great job!!!
    And one year? pft. I have a bathroom project that's been stalled out for longer than that. ;)

  2. Woot!! I love it- it's so much brighter now!! Funnily enough, we just repainted our kitchen a similar(ish) color. I totally need to blog about it too but the lighting hasn't been right lately to get a decent shot. Excuses excuses, I know. I will get on that soon- kiddos make it so much harder to get anything done in a timely manner don't they? Good thing they're cute! ha :)

  3. I love the color choice & the bead board added so much! Everything looks great. :)

  4. Looks great, Claire! Very impressed that you did the beadboard, and I love the opening between the new rooms. The fact that you did it, even if it did take a while is awesome. Any you finished it. I would have lived in the unfinished space for ever. Because Lazy is my middle name. Also, who ever put in your cabinets is the same person that did my kitchen. I have awful particle board cabinet doors over makeshift shelves. It's so horrible and on my long list of things to do. You know, when I win the lottery.

    Anyway, Looks great, and Oh, love the paint color!!

  5. It looks great! I love the new wall color. And I would have never noticed the unfinished parts.

  6. Hello claire,

    I saw your blog for clubbed foot. My baby boy also has one clubbed foot. He is 2 months old. I would like to contact you for more details and some helpful tips and answers for some of my questions. I am more worried about his foot. We are in his process of casting through ponsetti method. Please give me your contact information. Thank you so much in advance.

  7. Ok, this reminds me of BrotherVSBrother on HGTV. Knocking out your own wall to give it more of an open concept feel.
    Along the lines of DIY, I'm really curious what you think of our site: Our DIY phone speakers:


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