Greetings, fellow DIYer’s. I’ve got a bad case of the winter blah’s here in Central Illinois where today the forecast is for up to seven inches of snow. The best way I know to un-blah myself is to do a home improvement project. I’ve been wanting to spruce up both my kitchen peninsula, and my fireplace for a while now, and today’s the day.
This project is short and sweet, and is pretty DIY-friendly. It requires simple tools, and not much in the way of skill. Perfect for me! I’ve seen many pictures on the internet where beadboard is added to kitchen islands and peninsulas, and I love, love, love how that looks, but I already added beadboard to my cabinet fronts, and want something different. I also love the beautiful, chunky, ornate corbels and fluted trim that dress up many of them, but grand “ornateness” doesn’t fit my house. So I ultimately decide on a simple wallframe to take both my fireplace and my peninsula out of builder grade status.
I installed wallframe wainscoting in an adjoining dining space and foyer (See previous post, “Wall Frame Wainscoting and the Importance of Architectural Details“, and I thought it would tie the two areas together nicely. I’ll only be posting about the peninsula re-do, but I will post before and after pics of the fireplace at the end of this post.
So as you can see from my before photos, my peninsula is currently my wall color.
I painted my kitchen cabinets white last winter (previous post), and ever since, I’ve wished my peninsula was white to match.
So step one of this project is to patch any imperfections in the wall first so we’re starting with a nice, smooth surface.
Here’s a picture of the spackle I’m using…or not.
It’s shrink-free spackle from Sherwin Williams, and unfortunately, mine is frozen after spending too much time in the trunk of my car. So important tip number one, don’t let your spackle freeze. Looks like I’ll be using drywall mud instead. At any rate, the best way to patch the area is to shine a light sideways onto the wall so that imperfections show up easily.
Once the patches dry, I sand them smooth. I find I have to repatch some of them because my mud shrunk since some holes are too big to fill with one application. Although this next photo looks like an “innie” belly button, it’s actually a photo showing a patched hole where the spackle shrunk when it dried.
If you don’t take a few minutes to re-patch something like that, people will wonder why you have an innie on your wall, and tell you to patch that nasty thing. I usually make it a habit to overfill the hole just a bit, and then sand it down flat.
Here’s a helpful patching tip. If I have drywall protruding from where I removed a nail from the wall, I take the handle end of my putty knife and push the drywall back in where its pulled out so that I create a divot, and then spackle it. After all, we can’t patch a hole that’s not a hole, now can we? Anytime a nail is pulled out of drywall it’s going to pull some of the drywall out with it, and it’ll leave a bump that you can feel if you run your finger over it. I use the “divot technique” to fix these. Here’s a picture of what it looks like after I’ve pushed the drywall back in to patch the hole. Now when I fill my divot with mud, I’ll get a much better result after it’s sanded again.
Here we are all patched up!
After I sand all the patches smooth, I prime the whole area with white primer since my wall is going to end up with white finish paint on it. Sort of ugly with just primer but that’s ok. If you try to take the cheap and easy way out, and don’t prime over your spackled areas, you’ll be sorry because they’ll show through your finish paint. Trust me.
After the primer dries, I put on my first coat of finish paint. I put one coat of paint on before putting up the wallframe because painting around the trim isn’t all that fun. Why do it twice and be frustrated two times when I only have to be frustrated once? I’m using Sherwin Williams ProMar 200 in an egshell finish in the color Pure White. We’re looking better now!
Now it’s time for the wallframe. I purchased my trim at Menard’s at a price of $3.99 each for two 8′ pieces. My fireplace that I’ll show later, also took two pieces of trim. So both projects together cost me $16.00. (I already had the paint, spackle, nails, etc…)
I have a power miter saw, but since I only have a few cuts to make, I decide to bring my miter box inside so I can cut the boards in my nice, warm house instead of my subzero garage. Incidentally, my miter box was purchased at a garage sale for a few dollars, and was still in the box. Score! They’re not that expensive to buy new if you want to invest in one, and they make nice, clean cuts. If you’re a DIYer, I’m guessing you already have one. If you’re a DIYer-wanna-be, go get yourself one! I promise you’ll use it again.
I put up a “pretend” frame made of tape first so I can decide exactly where I want my frame to go. I make sure my paint is nice and dry so my tape doesn’t pull the paint off the wall. Also, no need to press the tape down all the way. I just lightly tacked it up for a visual. When I remove my tape, I always pull it off by pulling it sideways against itself as opposed to pulling it directly towards me perpendicular to the wall. That also helps in not pulling my new paint off the wall.
Now that I’ve got my measurements, I cut my trim to size at 45 degree angles, being sure to cut opposing pieces at exactly the same length so my frame will be perfectly square. I pre-drill holes into my trim where I want to put my nails, since I’m not all that great with a hammer. It also helps to have a hole at least partially drilled ahead of time so my nail will hold itself in the wood. This frees up my fingers to hold the trim, a level and a hammer.
I make one tiny dot with a pencil, not a pen where I want to put the end of my trim piece. Since I’m using a level, there’s no need to draw any lines. I tack up my top piece. Yet another helpful tip–never use a pen on a wall that’s to be painted because it will manage to successfully bleed through a ridiculous number of coats of paint. Or you’ll have to buy a primer that’s specially formulated to stop ink bleed-through. If you have small children, you may already be knowledgeable in this area.
I don’t drive my finish nails in all the way until all four pieces of trim are in place, just in case something isn’t quite right. That way, if I need to remove my trim for some reason, I won’t damage it during removal.
I use nails that just barely go through my trim, and into the drywall because I know I have water pipes running through this wall. My plumber’s a great guy and all, but I’m not wanting to see him today. I use 3d Finish Bright 1 1/4 inch trim nails.
There is no need to nail the trim into a stud because after the trim pieces are nailed up, I will be caulking around them, and the caulk will help secure the pieces to the wall. There’s no need to glue the pieces before nailing for this reason also.
Next the two side pieces go up using only one nail in the center of each piece in the beginning so I can still move the pieces back and forth on the tops and bottoms. Even though the trim will be moveable, I make sure it’s plumb before tacking it up. I’ll secure the ends of the side pieces after the bottom piece has been tacked up.
Now for the bottom piece. Again, tacking the side pieces up in the centers only allows me to make slight adjustments at the corners while adding the bottom piece. I can now tack in the four ends of the side pieces.
I stand back, and take one final look to make sure everything is up to snuff before I drive my nails in all the way. I use a punch to sink the nail heads below the surface of the trim. Good heavens, my hands look like man hands! Goes with the DIY territory, I suppose.
Next, I putty all my holes, being sure to overfill them a bit. It looks like I’m just being sloppy, but it really is a better result if I overfill, and then sand down the spackle rather than to try to get it too smooth initially.
I sand the puttied areas, and then prime over them with my primer–not finish paint–so they won’t show thru the paint. If you skip the step of priming over the spackled holes, you’ll regret it on a sunny day. You’ll see a different sheen where you spackled, and you’ll say to yourself, “Gee, I should have listened to that lady who wrote that post.”
Now it’s time to caulk around all sides of the trim. (For a more detailed explanation on how to caulk trim, please refer to my post on wallframe wainscoting–click here.)
I also caulk where my corners meet, even if they appear to be snug. Caulking the corners is messy, and if you’re a dude with big fingers, you can use a wet cotton swab or rag to remove excess caulk from the grooves on the trim.
Caulking everything takes your project from, “Did you do that yourself?” to “Wow, who did you hire to custom trim your gorgeous peninsula?” OK, maybe not, but it does make a huge difference. Check out my progression photos of the corner joints before, during and after caulking.
Once the caulk has dried, it’s time to put on the final coat of paint. I start with the trim itself, then move quickly to the inside of the box. I use a brush on the trim, and then a small roller on the inside of the box. I work quickly so that I roll over my brush marks that lap onto the wall before they dry. Then I paint the wall surrounding the box. And there you have it!
It’s my life’s mission to rid my house of all things builder basic. Giving my peninsula and my fireplace a little boost adds a bit of personality, and it’s nice to know everything in my house isn’t just like my neighbor’s. Here are my before and afters of both my peninsula and my fireplace which were both done using the same technique.
And here’s my fireplace. The added wallframes on the sides just make it a little more prominent, and a little more interesting.
I’m trying to find the time to complete my foyer area by running wallframes up my stairs. The challenge on that project will be the funky angles I’ll have to cut. Stay tuned!
This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.