DIY HANGING WALLPAPER (THE PERMANENT KIND!)

December 2, 2019

One of the most helpful exercises for people who are trying to design their own home is to of course gather inspiration (pinterest and instagram are the faves for this) but ALSO study the photos you are drawn to and figure out why exactly you were drawn to it.

So I have a million pins on my boards, but when I started reviewing them and observing common themes is when I have began refining my taste and identifying enduring design favorites. I can’t turn down a space with a great WALLPAPER. Once I learned this I noticed myself immediately pin-ing an image, and then when I studied the photo to see why I reacted so strongly to it, I would sometimes see that there really wasn’t anything I specifically liked in the photo except a great patterned wallpaper. And then I am drawn to the whole thing!

Sounds like a pretty powerful design element and quite worth doing! I just love wallpapers in rooms. I wanted to add some wallpaper to our master bedroom!

I was looking for a sculptural pattern in blue green tones. This mimosa print immediately stood out to me and tested samples of “tranquil crop,” “wattle green,” and “red tango.” I was so torn because they were all really good blue based options. After much ado, I made my choice and Milton & King sent me three rolls of the “wattle green.”

We were deciding between doing peel-n-stick or permanent paper. David said he preferred learning to install the permanent kind so we went with it! It was not hard! (At least with this kind!) Here’s exactly how to do it.

MATERIALS

  1. wallpaper adhesive ($13)
  2. foam roller ($9)
  3. foam brush ($2)
  4. snap off utility knife ($12)
  5. knife blades ($8)
  6. drywall knife ($12)
  7. sponge ($3)
  8. seam roller ($5)

PROCESS

  1. Prep the walls by scraping with a drywall knife and patching any holes. After that clean with a damp soapy rag. 
  2. Choose your starting place. It’s recommended to start at a prominent light source (like a window) and work away from that point toward a corner with low visibility (like near an entry door). The seam where you finish papering should be the only place where the wallpaper’s pattern does not line up. 
  3. Measure your wallpaper’s width and subtract 1/2”. Make a pencil mark that distance away from your starting point and create a plumb line using a level or plumb bob. When you install your first piece of wallpaper, you’ll line one edge up with the plumb line and overlap the extra 1/2” on the other side around the corner where you started. Since not all walls or window frames are square, this allows you to start your papering using the plumb line you drew with the pencil instead of relying on the starting corner for straightness. 
  4. Using the width of the wallpaper, measure from the plumb line and make another pencil mark. Continue doing this until you’ve marked the entire room. These marks show you where your seams will be. If any seams will be too close to an obstacle, you can adjust your starting point to change any unwanted seam locations. 
  5. When you’re ready to attach your starting piece, cut a length from the wallpaper roll that’s 4” longer than the space you’ll be covering on the wall. This allows 2” of paper on the top and bottom that can be trimmed. 
  6. Spread an even layer of wallpaper adhesive on the section of the wall you’ll be papering. Use a foam brush to cut in around obstacles and cover the rest with a roller. Be sure to put adhesive about 1” past the the point on the wall where the edge of the paper will be so the seams will stick well to the wall. 
  7. Line up the edge of the paper with the plumb line and gently press the paper on the wall. As you do this, smooth out bubbles with the sponge, working from top to bottom and middle to outside. If something goes wrong and you have to take the paper off the wall, that’s ok – you can spread some more adhesive on the wall if needed and reapply the paper. 
  8. At locations where the paper comes in contact with a corner or the top or bottom of the wall, you’ll need to cut the excess with a utility knife. While being careful not to rip the paper, hold a drywall knife into the corner where you’ll be cutting to create a straight edge. Change your knife blade often so a dull blade doesn’t rip the wallpaper. I changed mine almost every time I made a cut. When the wallpaper needs to go around a corner like on a door frame, you can make a relief cut with scissors at the corner to allow the paper to fold in the right direction to move into position.
  9. After you’ve completed smoothing your first piece on the wall, you can cut another piece, apply adhesive to the wall, and line up the new piece with the edge of the paper that’s already on the wall. Smooth the new piece using the sponge and trim off excess paper. 
  10. Use the seam roller to set the edges of both pieces in place by rolling firmly over the seam. 
  11. Repeat the process of cutting paper, applying adhesive, and smoothing the paper onto the wall until you’ve come to the corner where the pattern will be misaligned. Then return to your starting point and use the exposed edge of the first piece of wallpaper to start going the opposite direction in the room until you reach the final corner. Be sure to always use the full width of the wallpaper sheets until the very last corner so your pattern will only misalign in one place. 

After this project – my verdict: I LOVE WALLPAPER EVEN MORE. I can’t wait to install some more. The experience putting it up was easier than we expected and its effect on the overall room is so strong. I love color but I like, love love pattern and the way mixing patterns feels in a room.

Closing comment – do wallpaper!

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SIMPLE SHED DIY

November 1, 2019

When you have a lot of tools, or kids, or cars, or anything really, your usable garage space quickly disappears. For us, winter is especially a time where everything needs to retreat into the garage and suddenly there’s no space for anything. The things of summer – bikes, grills, lawnmowers, yard tools, and the like all get crammed to the sides of the garage so we can fit cars in. This year I (David) say ENOUGH, we need a shed.

But where to build this shed? We didn’t want backyard space being diminished and front yard is not a choice, so the option that remained was the space to the side of the house near the sunroom. This turned out to be a great spot for a shed because there was an existing structure to build on and a flat-ish area for the shed to sit. With some (very) minor excavation, the space was ready to go and I got to work.

We decided on a classic shed design with T 1-11 siding, double doors, and strips of trim framing everything in visually. The dimensions are about 4’ x 10’ which will give substantial storage without dominating our yard. For a continuous look with the sunroom, we used light shingles and white paint.


MATERIALS

  1. (2) pressure treated 4” x 4” x 12’ timber ($30)
  2. (5) pressure treated 2” x 4” x 12’ lumber ($40)
  3. (2) pressure treated 3/4” x 4’ x 8’ plywood ($64)
  4. (3) 2” x 4” x 12’ studs ($15)
  5. (13) 2” x 4” x 8’ studs ($35)
  6. (2) 1/2” x 4’ x 8’ OSB plywood ($18)
  7. (4) 11/32” x 4’ x 8’ T 1-11 siding ($108)
  8. (1) 1/2” x 4’ x 8’ sanded plywood ($35)
  9. 3” deck screws ($25)
  10. 1 5/8” exterior screws ($9)
  11. 7/8” roofing nails ($3)
  12. 1 1/4” galvanized brad nails ($10)
  13. 15 pound roofing felt ($15)
  14. 20’ drip edge ($20)
  15. (2) bundles of 3-tab shingles ($70)
  16. caulk ($5)
  17. (1) gallon of exterior paint ($30)
  18. (4) hinges ($10)
  19. (1) hasp ($9)
  20. (1) lock ($9)

Total Cost: $548

PROCESS

Building the Base

  1. Level out the area where the shed’s footprint will be by moving dirt around if necessary. Check front to back and side to side for level.
  2. Cut the 4” x 4” pieces to match the width of your shed. These will sit directly on the ground and attach to the frame of the shed in order to keep the rest of the wood above ground contact.
  3. Build the base of the shed with the pressure treated 2” x 4” and 3” deck screws. Joists should be 16” on center.
  4. Attach the 4” x 4” skid pieces to the bottom of the base frame with 3” deck screws. I put the skids about 8” in from both sides of the frame.
  5. Cut the pressure treated 3/4” plywood to cover the top of the base frame, with the plywood flush with the edges of the frame. Use 3” deck screws to attach.
  6. If there is a structure behind the shed that you want to attach it to, make sure the base is lined up correctly for the shed walls to be flush with the structure. I used string to create a vertical line straight down from our sunroom to the ground so I could position the base.

Framing the Walls and Roof

  1. Build the back wall first using the 2” x 4” studs and 3” deck screws. The vertical (shorter) studs will need to be mitered to determine the slope of your roof. We used the minimum recommended slope for a shingle roof, 2:12 or 9.46 degrees. Use a miter saw to cut these angles, then cut the vertical studs to length. Attach these to the longer studs, 16” on center.
  2. Attach the back wall to the base of the frame using 3” deck screws. If there is a vertical surface behind your shed you want to attach the frame to, do that now.
  3. Build the front wall with 2” x 4” studs, including the last of the longer studs on the top of the wall. To strengthen the doorway, you’ll need to put double thick studs on the sides and top of the opening. Attach the wall to the base of the frame.
  4. Now build two side walls using the 2” x 4” studs. Studs should be 16” on center, but I just put one stud in the center of the wall because it was close. The side walls will be the same height as the front wall.
  5. Attach the side walls to the base of the frame, flush with the side of the frame, and to the front and back walls.
  6. Finish the frame by adding rafters for the roof. These will be made from 2” x 4” studs and attached 16” on center to the front and back walls. You’ll need to use a miter saw to cut the ends of the rafters to be be vertically flush with the front and back of the shed frame. You’ll also need to cut a piece off the front/bottom corner of the rafter so it sits flat on the front wall. You can calculate all this, but I just held a rafter up to the frame and marked where I needed to cut, then replicated that for the rest of the rafters. Attach them to the front and back walls with 3” deck screws.
  7. For added support you can add a gable stud on each of the side walls in between the rafter and the top of the wall frame.

Building the Doors

  1. Measure the door opening and subtract 1/2” from each dimension. This will allow for a 1/4” gap between the doors and the opening on all sides. The height of the doors will be the door opening’s height minus 1/2” and each door will be the door opening’s width minus 1/2”, then divided by two.
  2. Cut T 1-11 siding to match the height and width calculations, then attach a 2” x 4” frame around the outside of the door on the back side of the siding using 1 5/8” exterior screws. The frame should be flush with the edge of the siding.

Covering the Sides and Top of the Shed

  1. Cut 1/2” OSB plywood to cover the rafters, attaching the pieces with 3” deck screws flush with the sides of the shed and not extending past the vertical plane created by the front/back walls. Add a screw every 6” – 8” around the outside of the roof and every 12” on inside rafters.
  2. Cut T 1-11 siding to cover the walls of the shed and attach to the studs using 1 5/8” exterior screws. Add a screw every 6” – 8” around the outside of the walls and every 12” on inside studs. The siding should be flush with the bottom of the shed’s base frame and flush with the roof deck surface you made in step 1. If you have help to hold the siding up to the sides, you can mark the slope of the roof and cut the angle with a circular or jig saw. If no helpers are around you can position the siding with clamps and make your mark.

Adding Trim

  1. Use a table saw to cut 2” wide strips of 1/2” plywood for the trim.
  2. Attach trim to all edges of the T 1-11 siding using a nail gun and 1 1/4” galvanized brad nails.
  3. For our door, we cut 1” strips to trim all edges of the doors except for the inside edge of the right door. We wanted the trim to cover the gap in between the doors for waterproofing, so we attached 2” wide trim with a 1” overhang on the right door and 1” trim with a 1” shift to the left on the left door. That way the gap was covered and there was space for the right door’s trim to sit on the left door as it crossed the gap.

Prepping the Roof

  1. Use tin snips to cut the drip edge to size and attach to the front of the shed by nailing into the OSB roof deck every 6”- 8” with roofing nails. Cut the the drip edge 4” longer than the roof’s width and bend the ends around the corner and attach, using the tin snips to cut a slit to allow for bending.
  2. Roll out 15 lb felt a few inches longer than the width of the roof (including trim) and cut with a utility knife. Line up the felt flush with one side of the roof trim and the front of the roof and attach with roofing nails every 12” in a grid pattern. You don’t need to attach the top of the felt because it will be nailed down on the next run of felt. Cut the excess felt with a utility knife flush with the other side of the roof’s trim.
  3. Roll out the next length of felt and overlap the previous length by 4”. Nail down, cut excess felt and continue adding felt until the entire roof deck is covered.
  4. Cut two pieces of drip edge for the sides of the roof and attach with roofing nails over the felt. Cover the folded section of the front drip edge by tucking it behind the side drip edges.

Installing Shingles

  1. Now the roof is ready for shingles. Under the first row of shingles, you’ll lay a starter strip which you can make from the shingles you have. Turn a group of shingles over and cut just below the tar strip with a utility knife so the shingle tabs are removed and you have a rectangular piece with the tar strip intact. Adding a starter strip helps prevent wind and water damage to the edge of the roof.
  2. Attach this piece to the roof with the tar strip toward the bottom. The starter strip (and the rest of the shingles on the roof) should overhang the drip edge by 3/8”. Use 4 roofing nails per piece of starter strip, nailing about 1” above the tar strip. One nail near each edge, and 2 nails spaced out in the middle of the strip. Continue cutting and adding pieces of starter strip until the front of the roof is covered. Then use your utility knife to cut the excess off the side to create a 3/8” overhang.
  3. To start the first row of shingles, first cut 6” off one end of the shingle and align the shingle for a 3/8” overhang on the front and side of the roof. Removing some of the shingle will create an offset so the alternating roof pattern will be easier. Nail down the shingle putting a nail in between the cut outs and the tar strip and at the same level on each end of the shingle.
  4. The second shingle will butt up to the side of the first shingle. Nail this down in the same way as the first one, making sure you’re creating a straight line with the top of the shingles. The half cut outs at the end of the shingles will make a full cut out when combined – you can use this to confirm the shingles are lining up straight.
  5. When you get to the other edge of the roof, nail down the last shingle and trim off the edge to create the 3/8” overhang.
  6. Starting the next row will require you to offset the first shingle in order to create the alternating pattern of the roof. There will be a gap in between the beginning of the second row and the edge of the roof, but you’ll fill that in later after installing the 6th row of shingles.
  7. Nail down the second row of shingles and leave the excess hanging off the side of the roof for now. You’ll trim the excess from the second through sixth rows all at once later.
  8. Continue adding more rows of shingles, offsetting the first shingle more and more as you progress through the rows.
  9. Once you’ve completed 6 rows of shingles, use a straight edge to cut the excess shingles with a utility knife. You’ll use the first row shingle overhang as a reference.
  10. Now you can use any scraps to fill in the gaps on the other side of the roof. On the first set of 6, you’ll probably have to cut some of the full shingles since you won’t have much scrap yet. Nail down the shingles and use the method from step 9 to cut the excess off rows 2 through 6.
  11. After completing the first 6 rows, you’ll start another group of six and follow the same steps until you finish another 6 rows or get to the end of your roof. Our shed was relatively small so I only had 2 groups.
  12. When you get to the edge of the roof, you’ll need to trim the last row of shingles to be flush with the edge of the roof.
  13. You can add flashing to the top edge of the roof to waterproof, but I just ran a wide bead of exterior caulk where the roof met the sunroom wall.
  14. To smooth the edges of the shingles, use the rough side of a scrap shingle to rub the edges you trimmed and wear down any jagged parts.

Painting

  1. It’s important to treat the T 1-11 siding with stain or paint or it will quickly get water damaged. First use exterior caulk to fill the seams and screw holes on the exterior of the shed.
  2. Apply at least 2 coats of paint with a heavy duty paint brush and thick nap roller. We used a porch and floor paint for durability.

Hanging the Doors

  1. After the paint is dry, put the doors in place and mark the hinge locations. To create the 1/4” gap I wanted, I used the thick ends of some cedar shims to hold up the doors and maintain the spacing on the sides.
  2. Pre-drill the screw holes on the doors and door frame, then attach the doors to the shed with the hinges.
  3. Install a locking mechanism to keep the doors closed and secure. We used a hasp and pad lock, pre-drilling holes then attaching the hasp to the trim at the center of the doors.

Costing just over $500 and taking a few solid work days to complete as a one-man operation, building our shed felt really worth it. Being able to design things that fit in your space both spatially and aesthetically always feels like a win and this project was a prime example.

This was probably my favorite DIY project I’ve ever done. It was surprisingly easy and there’s something about building something with walls and a roof that’s particularly satisfying. Not to mention I’ll have room to walk in the garage now.

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Ikea Hemnes Dresser Makeover

October 21, 2019

We bought the old ikea hemnes dresser right after we got married and I feel like it didn’t take that long afterward for me to realize it wasn’t what I wanted. BUT THE IKEA ATMOSPHERE IS STRESSFUL AND MAKING ON YOUR FEET DECISIONS ABOUT FURNITURE IS NOT EXEMPLARY. I bought multiple furniture pieces I didn’t love that trip. I shop for furniture way differently now. (Not just going to ikea needing general furniture and picking what seems right. Seriously who was I?)

I think this is the only piece left from the incident, the rest have been sold off. It’s not terrible but it’s an ikea piece that has become so popular that just in my own mind now it screams MASS PRODUCED IKEA. But mainly, in our bedroom I didn’t want a bright white anymore.

So with some simple changes it’s a whole new dresser! An ikea hack, as they say. Also this is how to paint ikea furniture that has that weird slick surface. There’s a wonder primer I use!

David used a 5 and 1/4” baseboard, which was the shortest trim that would still cover the gap between the bottom of the dresser and ground. We needed about 10 feet to trim out the front and sides, leaving the back as is so it could push up to a wall. For the corners, David used a miter saw to cut 45 degree angles on each adjoining piece and attached the baseboards to the dresser with a brad nailer and caulked the seams.

I pretty much never sand to prep when painting furniture. David rolled on two coats of our favorite primer. Then we did two top coats of the wall color in a porch and floor paint, actually. I use latex porch and floor paint for lots of things because it creates such a strong slick surface. He did a light sand in-between coats to get things smooth and because he has a wonderful attention to detail I do not.

Because that primer can be odorous, we let the dresser cure outside for a few days. It’s maybe excessive. But once we brought it in to our bedroom there was no odor.

For the top row small shelves, I was hunting for some good ceramic knobs on etsy, and was ready to buy these, but then found the I think EXACT SAME ones at hobby lobby. They’re $5 each, but hardware at hobby lobby goes on sale every other week for 50% off. I love them and they were only $2.50!

I’m in a mood lately where I really can’t stand shopping online. I’ve never liked it, just the way you feel gross after clicking through 1,000 items across 26 pages of a retail site. So I was just not in the mood to source the bin pulls. I went on home depot and was willing to spend like 10 total minutes on sourcing these. I ordered three types to return the ones I didn’t like. These small ones, these bigger ones, and these other bigger ones.

I ended up keeping these (the third one above). I really like how they turned out. Slightly copper, but feel antique. And a good metal that works well with mixing other metals. Which I do constantly and love.

That’s the story on this hemnes! It is so much better! The transformation turned out even better than I had hoped and it fits the new direction of our master.

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