DIY Vent Hood Cover

With the decision made to install the board and batten wall treatment above the eight foot mark before flooring, we set our sights on finishing the vent hood.  It’s right off the main pool area, and near the house kitchen, but we wanted a range for entertaining and summer cooking/baking.  When we found a 48 inch range for a steal on Craigslist, we snapped it up for this space.

As a refresher, here’s the plan:


Before we can attach the batten strips, we have to address everything at or above the horizontal dividing band.


The vent hood straddles that band, which meant it was time to build the cover.  To start, Ben nailed a strip of wood a few inches above the top of the duct work.  A 2 by 8 board rests on top, nailed into the wooden piece, creating the top of the vent hood frame.


High ceilings call for a different vent hood treatment, and I personally prefer a tall vent hood that doesn’t go all the way up to the ceiling.  This example from Studio McGee is pure perfection:

Studio McGee Vent Hood

Holding a scrap of plywood in place, Ben was able to get an accurate measurement for the front of the cover.  Before boxing it all in, he also added 2 by 4 pieces vertically between the vent hood top and the base of the wood structure.


Then wrapped it with plywood, screwing through the upper part of the vent hood stainless and into the plywood to keep the sides as streamlined as possible.


Quarter inch thick by 2 inch wide strips line the edges, covering the seams of the plywood sheeting.


A six-inch walnut band (to be installed after paint) will wrap the front and sides.


Two floating walnut shelves will flank each side of the range.


Until then, we have plenty of work to keep us busy, but we’re rounding the corner from construction crazy to cohesive cool.


If you can ignore the mess of junk scattered throughout the room, that is.


DIY Board and Batten, Step 2

This is the year of the pool house, hopefully the year we get it all (or mostly) wrapped up.  Last year consisted of a lot of ugly, but necessary work inside the walls, but we did finish the tongue and groove ceiling.

With the ceiling complete, walls covered in plywood sheeting, we’ve started adding batten strips to create the tone on tone texture.


Above is obviously a photoshopped version, while below is the starting point of reality.


Initially, we planned to install the tile floors immediately after hanging all of the plywood sheets.  After a discussion, we agreed it would be best to add the batten strips to everything above the eight foot mark, caulk, prime, and paint.  This way we can avoid dragging ladders over the new tile, potentially damaging it in the process.  The lower wall portions will get the same treatment after the floors are finished, allowing the batten strips to terminate into the baseboard.

Before the vertical strips could be attached, we nailed two-inch strips into place along the ceiling, hiding the gap between the wall and ceiling.  A 3 1/2 inch wide piece of pine casement straddles the eight foot mark, covering the plywood seams.


Two inch strips also cover the ceiling seams, keeping the measurements consistent.


The areas following the vault are square strips, while the rest are cut at a 16 degree angle to snug up against the ceiling slope.


Strips also wrap around the beams, with the ceiling pieces butting into those.  Wires for speakers are still dangling.


With most of the horizontal strips in place, we started installing the vertical pieces.  When I proposed the board and batten idea, Ben wasn’t totally on board with it, but he started researching material and prices.  Pre-cut two-inch by half-inch thick strips aren’t particularly affordable, especially when spaced 8 inches apart.  To keep the material cost as affordable as possible, we cut sheets of MDF into two inch strips.  Once covered in oil based primer and paint, we shouldn’t have swelling issues.


While on the ladder, Ben called out measurements, I’d cut to length and walk it over, then he’d nail into place.  Nailing into plywood is much easier than drywall as it has more bite.  As such, we can get away with small 18 gauge nails, leaving tiny holes to fill.


To further speed up the process, he cut a scrap of plywood to six inches wide to use as a spacing guide.  Similar to hardwood floor install, once the first row is square, the rest go in quickly.


Everything above was installed over a weekend, which is exciting because this part of the process should go along quickly.  I spent my Monday afternoon caulking, so this stretch is almost primer ready!



DIY Walnut Picture Frame

Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope you all had happy holidays.  We had several visitors, a mountain of snow (which meant Ben spent most of his time off working), and plenty of time relaxing at home.  Our original plan included knocking out a good chunk of work in the pool house, but snow changed those plans.  Instead, we had little project time, but in that time, we finally built a frame for the Tom Selleck Replace Face print I’ve had for a year.


It’s a non standard size, measuring 28 by 32 inches, so store-bought options don’t work.  Instead, it sat in a cabinet until now, when we built a walnut frame.  Using a leftover walnut plank, we started by cutting four 1.75 inch strips to create the thickness of the frame.  With the strips cut, we ran each piece through the table saw twice to notch out the sides for the plexiglass, print, and backing to rest inside.


To attach the pieces together, we glued each corner, then shot 1 inch long pin nails from each direction.  They’re tiny and only noticeable up close.


In lieu of real glass, we used a 30 inch by 36 inch sheet of plexiglass.  Slowly feeding the sheet through the table saw cut like butter, without shattering, as I had pictured in my head.  A sheet of 1/4 inch MDF serves as the backing, sandwiching the print between, keeping it in place.


The print hangs in the theater room, directly in front of the room entrance.  I adore the combination of deep greens and walnut.


Tom Selleck is a favorite in our house, and I like that it’s kind of movie themed without being too serious.


The colors work really well with the room, and play well with the over sized engineer print.  What is your favorite way to frame/hang art?  While I love store bought frames, sometimes, they just won’t work.

Pool Liners and Water Colors

Though premature, I’ve begun researching pool liners as the liner we select will have a dramatic impact on our finished space.

New-House-Pool-Room April 13 2012

When we bought this house, the pool had an old, sagging, faded liner with a lovely border detail.  We were told the pool hadn’t been operational in several years, and as such, have never seen water in here.


Not clean water, anyway.  Just stagnant green water that had dripped in through the then leaking roof, with a few dead mice, for good measure.


Surely this pool was a vital selling point to most people.

Due to the way the pool was constructed, it requires a vinyl liner which I’m realizing are surprisingly difficult to shop for.  Maaaaybe even more difficult than rug shopping, because the commitment is even greater.  Once finished, the walls and ceiling of this space will be a crisp white, with a black slate floor.


If you’ve never shopped for pool liners, you are probably in the same mindset I was a few months ago.  It’ll be easy, like picking a paint color.  Boy is that wrong.  The liner color and pattern determine the water color and mood of the pool.

Fantastic Inground Pool Liners Design with Unique Shaped Decoration

Dark, saturated patterns will create a deep abyss looking pool, which we kind of already have considering ours is about 9 feet at the deepest point.  Deep colors also show color fading much quicker, whereas light colors absorb sun less and don’t fade as quickly.  For our space, I’ve always imagined a light water, similar to a full bath.  After a lot of online searching, I’ve found our winner:


It’s fun, whimsical, and I love the idea of swimming along a coral reef without leaving my home.  Haha, actually, I want something a bit more simple than that, which is why I’ve settled on this:

Royal Dolphins

What can I say, dolphins just really do it for me?!   That’s a big fat lie, too.  It just seems the majority of pool liners are similar to mid 90’s decorating.  Bright, patterned, and theme-y, like the Tuscan vineyard kitchens or beach themed bathrooms complete with wall paper border.

Here are my liner requirements:



Small pattern

Not kitschy looking

This pebble look is okay:


Royal Pebble

Water/waves, not so much!

White Diffusion

Clearly fake mosaic border, nope!

White Santiago

A speckled terrazzo look however, checks all of the boxes, with a pattern that fades into the background.

White Terrazzo

It’s classic, yet modern and shouldn’t look too fake, even for a vinyl liner.  After lots of internet digging, I found a photo with the simulated water color on a similar liner design.


Doesn’t this pool look spa-like tranquil, but still inviting?


Now to turn my internet shopping into actual local shopping to make sure we can get the same thing (or something similar) and have it installed.

Installing a Vent Hood

Sometimes, when doing the same thing over and over again, you have to switch gears.  Though we don’t have much sheeting left to hang, over the weekend, Ben decided to hang install the kitchen vent hood.


We bought this one over three years ago for our main kitchen, but after opening up the kitchen wall, I didn’t want anything blocking the new open feel.  Plus, we have a big whole house fan about ten feet away, so it seemed redundant.  Having purchased a 48″ wide DCS range off Craigslist for the pool house, we knew it would eventually be put to good use.

To install the vent hood, Ben first secured a 3/4 inch thick strip of wood at the vent hood back height.  There’s a little lip for the housing to rest on, making it a bit easier to screw into the wall.  While Ben held it in place, I screwed into the predrilled holes to keep it in place.  With the frame up, Ben installed the fan and duct work to get it all in working order.


The venting angles into the dead space between the main house and pool house roof lines before angling up and out the roof.


Next, we’ll build a frame around the hood and duct work, sheet over it, and paint it when we get to the walls.


Everything is great, except the buttons on the front, which I had completely forgotten about as the fan had been in storage all this time.


While not detrimental, the button placement does play into the walnut accent I want at the bottom of the hood.


Ben and I discussed various options such as forgoing the walnut strip and leaving the front edge steel.  Or building the frame out around the hood, leaving a 1 to 2 inch gap to reach in a press the buttons.


Each option wasn’t perfect and had issues, so we’re planning the simplest: notching out the walnut strip around the buttons.  It’s not ideal, but a solution we can both agree on.  I know we have much more to complete, but I can’t help getting excited over the details that will finish off this space.