Trim: Office

While planning my office, I fell in love with a box pattern so much, that we added it as trim.  The custom cabinets Ben built were already in place, so we wanted to have the top of the trim match the top of the cabinets.

Our cabinets are 36 inches high, not including the Brazilian cherry top, so our total trim height is 36 inches.

After determining the trim height, measure each wall, marking the center.  If you have cabinets, mark the center of the area between the wall and cabinet to make the design centered on the visible area.  Then, mark the center of the height.  The easiest way to calculate the center is to add the height of the baseboard and top trim pieces then subtract that number from your total height.  For example, we used 5 inch base board, 2 inch top trim and a 1 inch thick ‘shelf.’  Subrtact 8 from 36 to get 28 inches.  Now, divide in half and mark.

To create your box grid trim, first install the baseboard.  Now you’re ready to start creating the boxes.

We wanted 10 inches of space inside the boxes, so Ben marked 5 inches each side from his center lines.  We cut 3/4 inch thick MDF sheets to our dimensions, but you can also use square stock trim.

After ripping down the pieces, Ben cut the horizontal box trim 14 inches long to allow the vertical box pieces to butt into the horizontals.  Secure the horizontal pieces to the wall, keeping level.  Once the horizontals are in, add the vertical pieces to complete the box.  After completing one box, measure from the outside of the box to the baseboard and top trim.  Cut several pieces to length, ours are 7 inches on all sides,  nailing centered on the box.  Use the additional pieces as spacers to continue creating the boxes.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  Then, fill the nail holes, sand, prime and paint both the trim and wall.

Trim: Main Bathroom

Before we remodeled our main bathroom, it had pink on nearly every surface.  Even the walls were covered in a metallic pink floral wallpaper.

Before the wallpaper removal began, we planned to have 18 inches of white trim at the top of the walls, a shelf below and lilac paint covering most of the walls.  We thought the paper would be easy to remove becuase it was peeling.  With our trim plan in mind, we began tearing down the wall paper.

It turned out to be far more difficult than we initially thought.  After hours of scraping, peeling and subsequently damaging the sheet rock, we had removed about 18 inches from the ceiling down.  And that was on one wall!  Time for plan B; we opted to install sheets of beadboard to cover up the remaining wallpaper.  A few more hours of scraping and we had the top 18 inches of wallpaper removed from the entire bathroom.

Once we had the paper removed from the areas we knew would be visible, we cut our sheets of bead board from 4 foot by 8 foot down to 76 inches, leaving them four feet wide.  Ben used an air nailer to secure the sheets to the wall, going in to the studs.  Then, we covered the bottom of the bead board with baseboard, hiding the unevenly cut ends and gap between the panel and floor.

To build the shelf to display and store items, Ben cut a sheet of 3/4 inch thick MDF into 3.5 inch,  3 inch, and 1.25 inch wide pieces.  Then, Ben nailed the 3.5 inch cut piece to the wall 77 inches from the floor, checking to keep it level.  He added shims in areas because this piece was partially covering up the bead board panels.

Once the trim was secured, the 1.25 inch pieces were added to provide additional support for the shelf.  Keep the tops of the trim flush with one another.  Cut the trim pieces at a 45 degree angle when approaching doors or other vertical trim.  Finally, the 3 inch shelf was installed on top of the trim pieces.

Then, of course, fill, sand, prime and paint.  This can be modified to any height.  If a shelf is added, be sure the height works for the use of the space.  You don’t want to bump into it.

How To: Update a Room with Trim

Over the weekend, a few readers asked about our trim and how we make it.  Well, it’s your lucky day, because I’m here to do just that.

I’m going to explain my how to with the dining room as my example, but it’s almost the exact same for each room.

First, determine the design you would like to have.  In our case, we needed a plate rack and that determined the 67 inch height of our trim.  We already had our 5 inch tall baseboard installed, so we left those.  Ben had installed chair rail, so we removed that.  We decided to place the top of our horizontal piece at 36 inches from the floor.  We measured the length of our wall to find the center.  Once the measuring was done, we bought our trim and got started.

Most of the trim we use throughout our house is MDF (medium density fiberboard – pretty much sawdust glued together).  I will note where we have used real wood.  We use MDF for several reasons.  1.  It’s cheaper than wood and we know we’re going to paint it anyway.  2.  MDF is very flexible, especially compared to wood, so it’s easy to work with.  3.  Because MDF is mostly sawdust, it’s a green material.

We went to a local home improvement store and bought several pieces of 3 1/2 inch wide by 1/2 inch thick square style trim.  This trim does not have any decorative cuts, but does have slightly rounded edges.  We also got one piece of MDF crown moulding , 2 pieces of wooden symmetrical trim for the horizontal center, one piece of 3/4 inch wooden quarter round moulding and one sheet of 3/4 inch thick MDF.

As I said before, we left the existing painted MDF baseboard.  We knew we wanted the reveal (the amount on each side of the symmetrical piece) of the horizontal piece to match the width of the verticals.  Our vertical trim pieces are 3 1/2 inches wide, so we doubled that and added 1 1/2 inches for the symmetrical trim spacing.  So, Ben cut an 8 1/2 inch piece from our 3/4 inch thick MDF sheet.  Then he nailed that piece at 36 inches from the floor, making sure to nail into studs.

Ben cut another piece from our MDF sheet for the top horizontal, to be almost completely covered by the crown moulding.  To determine the size of this piece, measure the height of your crown moulding and add 1 inches.  Secure the trim to the wall 3/4 of an inch lower than your final height.  Nail your crown moulding in, making sure the top of the crown is even with the top of the MDF piece.  Cut another piece from the MDF sheet 1/4 inch deeper than the crown moulding and MDF backing.  Secure this piece on the top of the crown, leaving a 1/4 inch overhang, completing our ‘shelf.’  If you choose to display plates or rest other items on top of this, add your quarter round trim.  Keep the quarter round flush with the edge and nail it into the 3/4 inch MDF piece.

After completing the plate rack portion, Ben started installing the vertical trim pieces.  First, he placed one in the very center of the room.  If you can’t locate a stud, angle your nails toward the center of the piece, helping keep the trim on the wall.  Next, place verticals in the corners as shown on the diagram below, leaving a dead space.  This will leave the same reveal of the corner pieces.

Depending on the length of your wall, you can place additional verticals centered between the middle and corners or break it up in to thirds.  Our verticals are 12 1/2 inches apart.  Do this to the entire room and you’re ready to fill and sand about one million holes.  Caulk all the seams and smooth out.  Prime and paint all the trim pieces as well as the wall.  The end result will be a seamless panel look.  Stand back and enjoy the view.

Additional Notes:  Measure the depth of your trim.  It is much easier to create a wall of trim if your depths a slightly different (1/2 inch and 3/4 inch).  If you use all of one depth, you may have uneven joint that will require sanding until smooth.

If you don’t already have baseboard, it may be easier to install square stock.  This will allow butting the verticals right up to the baseboard, rather than notching out the baseboard to accommodate the verticals.

If you have any questions or need clarification, please ask!

Our First Finished Room

Remember the before?

Well, here are the very shortly after photos.  This room has since been converted to the nursery.

First thing Ben did was install new, larger windows.  Then we trimmed around them and added decorative trim to the walls.  We threw our bed in (without a frame) and some of the furniture we had, which was very little.

Then we got real furniture…

And the man dresser stayed.  You’ll notice there is a shelf atop the white trim that wasn’t there before.  That’s because I can never leave pictures where they are for very long.  The shelf prevents a million and one nail holes while giving the trim a more finished look.

Let’s Take it From the Top…

 This blog has been four years in the making and I have a lot of catching up to do, so here’s our story:

Ben bought this house in 2004.  It definitely lacked style then, but had an efficient  layout and strong bones.  He saw the potential right away and quickly purchased the house.  He tore out the dated, nicotine stained carpets, added a wood-burning fireplace and cut out and installed egress windows in our unfinished basement and new windows in the upper level. 

We met in 2005 and got married in 2006.  We started working on creating a home that reflected my style (and soon Ben saw the proverbial light).  Our first few projects involved a lot of MDF trim, an air nailer, and a lot of paint.  After two months, we had two bedrooms finished!  Check out the before pictures!  Yes, that is a man-sized dresser (built by Ben) and the red swatches are paint, not blood.