Friday, January 23, 2015

Board and Batten in the Front Room

Ok guys, I did this project way back in early September, when Caleb started preschool and before I was pregnant.  It took 3-4 days to do it all.  I'm just now getting around to blogging about it because a) this hasn't been a very smooth pregnancy and it's just hard to get around to anything, and b) I finally have it furnished and decorated how I want it (mostly).  Also, our camera is broken (the lens won't open??) so I finally just decided to use my phone.  Forgive the quality of the pictures.  You'd think I'd at least be able to edit them in photoshop since we get it for free through my hubby's work, but no.  I don't know how.  If you know of a good tutorial that will teach me the basics of photo editing with photoshop, send it my way!

Now, let me tell you how this went down.  Ever since I built the window seat this room has felt so much more cozy and inviting.

Just for a fun little reference, this is what it looked like on the listing we saw when we were going to buy this house:
10980 N 6000 W, Highland, UT 84003
Yes, seriously.  

This is how it looked on our home listing when we were going to sell our house last spring:
Yes, I do believe that I like my decorating tastes much better.  ;)  But to me, it was still lacking a little something.

It lacks no more!  Let me tell you what I did to make it look like this:

The first thing I needed to do was decide on a paint color.  You can't tell in the middle picture, but the walls were stained from dust and smoke accumulation (from the fireplace) behind all of the pictures that the former owners had on the walls.  I wanted a nice, neutral "greige" (gray/beige).  I found inspiration on pinterest and painted on samples of Revere Pewter and Analytical Gray, keeping in mind that this room gets tons of natural light.  I ended up choosing Revere Pewter (it's slightly lighter than Analytical Gray) and had it mixed at Home Depot, even though it's a Benjamin Moore color.  I left the bottom portion white, obviously, to make my job easier.

For the woodwork, I started with a little inspiration here and here and here.  I took what I liked from these sources to get an idea of how I wanted the spacing and how fancy I wanted the trim to be.  I didn't want it to feel too formal, because I wanted it to feel like it belongs with the rest of the house, so I decided on a plain board for the top.  This is a pretty big room, so I didn't want to space the battens too close for fear that it would make it look too busy.  I taped the battens up and decided that 19 inches from the middle of one board to the middle of the next was just right.  I also didn't want the top to be any higher than the fireplace, and I had to be careful not to go too high to sort of cut the room in half (that would look a little funny).  I settled on just shy of 48 inches for the total height, since the walls are 8 feet and the vault is 10'3".

I had to replace the baseboards, because the existing baseboards were that cheap, nasty fake oak.  If I hadn't needed to do that, this project would have been much cheaper and faster!  But I don't mind.  I love beautiful baseboards and there's something satisfying about making a mitered cut (with an electric miter saw, of would not be satisfying to do that many cuts by hand!).  If you can use your existing baseboards, this project would require no mitered cuts!  All straight cuts, which is less intimidating to many people.  I wish I could remember the total cost of this project, but it's been too long...I want to say it was around $300?  Worth it, in my mind!

To decrease the cost, I used MDF "Bender Board" as the battens, which is only a quarter inch thick and is 3-3/4" wide.  It is the same thickness as the top of the baseboard, so it has a seamless appearance.  The top board is a 1x4 primed trim board (which is actually only 3.5"x3/4"...why do they call that a 1x4?).  It sticks out farther than the battens, but I prefer that rather than having the battens stick out farther than the baseboards.  It's personal preference, I guess.  But it was cheaper this way, which I'm a fan of.  :)

Also, my walls are textured.  I've seen people put some sort of board all along the bottom to hide the texture, but I didn't do that.  I can see the texture when the light is shining on it just right, but it doesn't bother me one bit.  Again, it's all personal preference, but I don't think it's worth it to go to the trouble and cost of putting a whole extra layer on your wall just to hide the texture.  It still looks great if you don't do that!

After putting up the baseboards, I taped up the battens to make sure the spacing was right (I had to make a few minor adjustments to go around outlets--and I can promise you that no one will notice the imperfections).  Then I nailed the top board on (making sure it was level) then nailed on all of the battens (making sure they were plumb).  I had the battens cut for free at Home Depot, and that made my job so much easier.  There were no gaps between any battens and the top board, because Home Depot's cutting machine is so much more accurate than if I had done it myself.  I love that they offer that service!  After everything was nailed in, I countersunk the nails and filled in and sanded the nail holes, then I calked all of the spaces.  Calk makes a huge difference, friends.  Huge.  It's magical stuff.  The calk also helped stabilize a few of the battens that were somewhat loose since very few of them got nailed into studs.  Not a single one wiggles any more.  ;)  Then was the painstaking painting.  Everything came primed white except for the battens, so I used primer on the battens and then I was able to paint everything with one coat of white.  I used high gloss paint, because that's what makes woodwork look so fancy!  It's also easier to clean, and dust is a big problem in my old house.  :)

Here are some more shots of my new favorite room in the house!

That shelf in the corner was a free score that I refinished for $30.  I have yet to dress the shelves (right now they hold the pictures that I don't know where to hang), but I think it'll be a great place to keep books.
 This room is a great place to enjoy a good book!
 Ah, I love that window seat!

When Nate works from home, he uses this desk.  He hooks up his laptop to the extra screen and keeps a spare mouse, mouse pad, and keyboard in the drawer.

So, what do you think?  I think I can imagine it in every room in my house!

TDC Before and After

Thursday, January 22, 2015

20 Weeks!

I'm so glad to be halfway!  This has not been an easy pregnancy.  From 6-14 weeks, I had pretty bad morning sickness and lost about 5 pounds from throwing up and being unable to eat much of anything.  Then at 13.5 weeks I woke in the night with bleeding, and was diagnosed with placental abruption.  I proceeded to bleed until I was about 18 weeks.  Now I haven't bled for over two weeks and it's been such a relief!

My routine 20-week anatomy ultrasound went well.  The baby is super active and measuring just right (two days big, actually).  My placenta is low-laying, but there is no placenta previa visible, which is good news.  There were two slight abnormalities, though.

First, the ultrasound showed what the doctor described as a "shadow" on the baby's heart.  It's called an echogenic focus, and it's basically nothing.  My doctor said it's the most common abnormality he sees on ultrasounds.  From my research, it sounds like it's a slight calcification in the baby's heart, between the ventricles or by the valve.  It sounds like it doesn't affect the function of the heart at all, which is good news.  They'll do a follow-up ultrasound later on (the doctor said 32-34 weeks) and if it hasn't resolved then we'll just have to notify the pediatrician when he's born and they may or may not want to do an EKG later on.  Thanks to Dr. Google, I found out that an echogenic focus is a marker for chromosomal anomalies, such as Down Syndrome.  There are many markers for DS that can be seen on an ultrasound, so having one marker shouldn't be significant, especially since I'm not of "advanced maternal age."  But having a perfectly clear ultrasound in no way guarantees that your baby will have healthy chromosomes anyhow.  So it's probably nothing, but now chromosome problems are on my mind and I probably won't rest entirely easy until the baby is born.

The other problem seen on the ultrasound is my amniotic fluid.  The fluid levels are fine, but it's very...dirty.  It looks like bleeding for five weeks straight leaves lots of "particles" floating around in the fluid.  If you've ever seen an ultrasound, you know that the black spaces around the baby are anmiotic fluid.  My black spaces looked like they were filled with layers of glitter floating around.  You could literally see them bouncing off of the walls.  It was honestly a little alarming to me.  The ultrasound tech said that we'd need an ultrasound in a month to follow up, but the doctor wants me to have another ultrasound to measure my cervical length at 26 weeks (you know, to make sure I'm not at risk of dilating early again) so they'll just check the amniotic fluid at that time.  The tech did say that she has no reason to believe that the dirty appearance is due to infection, so she would guess it's because of the bleeding...and while I agree with her, just hearing the word "infection" freaks me out.  We have reason to believe that Caleb was born 13 weeks early because my placenta was infected with strep and staph.  It would have killed him had he not been born when he was.  So naturally it scares me to think that there's even a slight possibility of an infection.  When Caleb started getting sick from the infection he stopped kicking (which was my only indication that anything was wrong, even though I was dilated to 4cm by that time and hadn't had a single contraction), so you can bet that I'm going to be hyper aware of this baby's level of activity.  So far he moves around more often than not--he's so active!  So that's very comforting.  If that doesn't keep up, I'm going to be calling my OB right away!

Those were the only concerns arising from the ultrasound.

Otherwise, I've been feeling much better.  I still throw up from time to time, first thing in the morning (it's always taking a sip of water with my medicine that puts me over the edge and sends me to bend over the porcelain throne, even when I eat a few bites of bland cereal before getting up).  The difference between the nausea and vomiting between the first trimester and now is that now the urge to throw up comes on super suddenly, and once I throw up I feel better immediately.  In the first trimester, I would feel on the verge of vomiting for 12 hours before throwing up, and throwing up never provided relief.  It was pretty bad.  Now I honestly can't complain.  It's not so bad at all.  I still take zofran maybe four times a week to control the nausea, but even that is perfectly fine with me.

My cramps have also decreased drastically.  They were awful the week of Christmas, when I was out and about more than usual at family gatherings.  Time spent in the car brought on cramps so awful that I ended up downloading a contraction timing app.  There were a few scary moments there!  But once Christmas was over the cramps went away almost entirely.  I credit the weekly progesterone shots, honestly.  They're designed to prevent preterm labor, and I think that's just what they're doing!  I started them the week before Christmas, so it seems that it took about a week and a half to get in my system and now they're doing their job!  Yay!  I'm still having plenty of braxton hicks contractions, but those don't worry me like the cramps did.

I feel much more stable now that I'm not bleeding or cramping.  I've even allowed myself to be more active (I actually walked through a few stores in the past week) and I haven't had any problems!  I can tell spending over 5 weeks laying low has weakened my muscles a lot, so it'll take a while to build up my stamina, but I'm glad that I'll be able to be mostly back to normal before long, with the main exception of heavy lifting.

I've also seen a decrease in heartburn recently (weird) and instead of my hair getting thicker, it's falling out more and more (I don't mind, because I have way too much hair as it is, but it's not "normal" for pregnancy, and I'm a little concerned about my thyroid levels, which have yet to be checked this trimester).  I don't have any overpowering food cravings, but I have aversions to ham and mints.  Yuck...just the though of mints...just no.  Since I'm able to eat pretty much anything these days, I've finally put on about 5 pounds in addition to gaining back the weight that I had lost.  And the best part of this pregnancy?  My mood is perfectly normal.  With my first two, I had awful and unpredictable mood swings.  I got mad at the littlest things.  I hated the sound of crying babies and whining children...I seriously hated kids during my first two pregnancies.  Now I feel like I actually have control of my moods, which is the most incredible thing!  I'm a functioning person (unlike before), and it feels great.  :)

17 weeks

18 weeks 2 days

1 day shy of 19 weeks

My little boy at 20 weeks 1 day.  Is that a smile I see?  <3 p="">