Beauty and the Bead Board (part 2)

Last time we talked I was lying on the cold hard ground (oh! trouble trouble trouble).  More specifically we had just called a plumber to come fix a busted pipe fitting uncovered during part 1 of the downstairs bathroom reno.  Luckily we have a friend who is a professional and he fixed us right up.  While waiting on him to arrive we went ahead and started painting and did a rough install of the bead board panels.  I had marked the back of each piece as it was cut at the store so all we had to do was mark the studs, place the appropriate panel, and nail in place (using a brad nail gun).  We opted not to use liquid nails so not to destroy the drywall underneath in case we wanted to remove the paneling down the road (in hindsight, it was such a pain to finish that I hereby decree this stuff is NEVER coming down).  This isn’t a high-moisture area like a bathroom with a shower so adhesive really wasn’t needed.  We just made sure to place lots of brads into each stud as well as along each edge.  There were a lot of gaps between our boards due to the uneven walls and not exact cuts (still, free) but it wasn’t anything I knew caulk couldn’t fix.  We just made sure to level everything out as best we could as we went along.

At the end of day one we had all the bead board hung, the paint cut in, attached the existing faucet to the new vanity, and screwed the vanity into the wall.   I took a bazillon pictures of how the faucet was connected to the old vanity top before taking it apart so I would know exactly how things went back together.  I posted this picture on instagram:


“Progress! Looks pretty but the plumbing still doesn’t work (because Chloe chewed the p trap… It’s a good thing she’s cute)”

Oh yeah, did I mention Chloe, our youngest Boston Terrible Terrier, decided the existing p-trap was an awesome chew toy?  Ga-ross.   (good thing she’s cute!)  It turns out however that was the least of our problems 😦

On day two we attempted to hook the plumbing back up.  We had picked up a replacement p-trap for the one Chloe chewed and installed it but when we went to hook up the faucet to the water lines we COULD NOT get the ‘old’ plastic one to go on correctly.  It kept cross threading and therefore wouldn’t seal properly so when we turned the water on it was like old faithful geysering under our sink.  ::cue round two of fetal position crying::

We were all set to call the plumber back in to replace the plastic connector when Matt’s Dad stopped by to see if he could help.  After a few minutes of messing around with the connections he got it to thread correctly!  Somebody should give that guy a raise!  I can’t even begin to express the relief and gratefulness I felt for having a fully functioning sink with no leaks (p.s. every time I turn it on now I secretly fear it’s going to bust open and gush water again).

So that brings us to the finishing touches.  Matt finished rolling the walls (they are Van Courtland Blue by Benjamin Moore in case you’re wondering) and then we started on trim work.

We bought pre-primed 1″x3″ trim boards in 8′ lengths at the same time as the bead board.  Matt cut them down to the measurements I had already planned out the wall panels and then we leveled them, pre-drilled into the studs, and screwed them in.  A few of the shorter walls didn’t have studs so we ended up using the nail gun to attach them.  I wish we had done this for all the pieces because it was much easier and left much smaller holes to fill.  The last step this day was to fill all the nail holes with putty.  As least I think it was this day, it all runs together 🙂

After this I think we let it sit for a week or two.  I was really kind of wishing we had never started the project at all and dreading doing more work.  I finally got up the nerve to finish (it was pretty much a one-man-at-a-time job at this point since the bathroom is so tight) and started by sanding flush all the putty spots.  Then I wiped everything down with a damp cloth to remove all the dust.  We had already picked up some DAP paintable white caulk and I began filling in all those cracks.  I just ran a thin bead of caulk along an entire seam and then ran my finger over it to smooth it out.  I kept a damp paper towel nearby to clean my finger after each swipe.  The first few were fine and then I got to the vanity side of the wall.  In our haste and frustration with the plumbing we didn’t think to caulk & paint before we attached the vanity to the wall (and stripped out the screws).  For fear of destroying all our work with the plumbing I knew we couldn’t remove the vanity however I also couldn’t get the caulk gun into the corners beside it.

Thus ensued round three of fetal position crying (or was it four?  I can’t keep track).  I sat crouched on the ground beside the vanity, squirted caulk on my finger, and stretched to get caulk into those corners.  All the while cursing crying.  We aren’t talking normal cracks here either.  These are most uneven walls in our house which meant both sides had gaps up to a 1/4 of an inch wide.  Maybe not a lot in an accessible place but in a two-inch wide crevice this meant about an hour of ‘squirt, stretch, and spread’ (awkward).  It took me a couple of days to finish it all but in the end it was completely worth it.  The last step was painting the bead board and trim all in semi-gloss trim paint (leftover from building the house) which luckily only took one coat since we bought everything pre-primed.

After letting the paint dry I put back on the outlet covers, re-hung the hand towel holder & picture and added back accessories.

And guys, we’re in LOVE, just check it out for yourself:


IMG_0240IMG_0202IMG_0242 IMG_0241   IMG_0244 IMG_0203

Every time we walk past this room Matt and I both can’t get over what a difference it has made.  And it almost makes us forget just how awful renovating it was.  I’m proud of the work we did no matter how many mistakes we made… and I’m glad it’s done!

One more last ‘before & after’


Beauty and the Bead Board (part 1)

When we first moved into our newly built home the half bathroom downstairs looked like this (minus decor):

 A boring beige oddly-shaped box with absolutely no storage.  And although you can’t tell from the pictures every.single.wall was crooked and the drywall work was sloppy at best.  Having experienced drywall work I know it’s not the easiest job but these guys were professionals.  We knew this was just about the last room of the house to be completed so my guess is they hastily threw it together and just eyeballed measurements.

That’s why less than two years after building we needed to give this guy a face-lift.  Maybe guests didn’t notice the builder issues but it was most certainly the most blah room you could imagine.  I wanted to give it some character and color, incorporate storage with a vanity, and also try to hide the sub-par construction as best I could.

I was originally thinking board and batten with dark gray/blue walls and a white vanity.  This was my inspiration:

Traditional Powder Room Design Ideas, Pictures, Remodel and Decor

via (originally from Houzz but I can’t find the exact picture)

However after some measuring we realized getting everything straight would be a nightmare.  There would be no 90 degree cuts for this room and we don’t even own a miter saw.  However after shopping online for vanities I came across this picture on Lowes’ website and was sold:

Shop Style Selections Ellenbee White Integral Single Sink Bathroom Vanity with Cultured Marble Top (Common: 31-in x 19-in; Actual: 31-in x 18.5-in) at

Perfect!  I loved the bead board inlay on the vanity itself and thought bead board on the walls might actually cover all the mess.  We measured our space and actually went with this vanity, the above picture’s little brother to better accommodate our space.

We also decided we like the square trim look similar to this mudroom by the House of Hepworths instead of the more traditional chair rail (also no mitered cuts needed!).

I took lots of measurements, figured out how to best cut the bead board we would need (it comes in 4’x8′ sheets) and we headed out to purchase our boards.  We ended up at Home Depot because their selection was better after selecting our boards we flagged down an employee to make all our cuts.  This is where planning and measuring come in handy – I knew exactly what size panels I needed and had him cut everything in house for me.  They have a sign that says they charge for anything after the first two cuts which I was happy to pay for (again, we have no saw) but they didn’t actually charge me (which I hear is pretty normal).  Our guy seemed a little peeved when I asked him to make all cuts (13 total) but when Matt offered to tip him afterwards he smiled and refused 🙂

So we cleared our calendars for one weekend thinking it couldn’t possibly take too long to switch out a vanity, install bead board & trim, and caulk & paint.

We were so WRONG.

Have you ever seen Renovation Realities on HGTV?  Those naive novices used to amuse me with their exaggerated drama and super bad luck during renovations.  This experience made me realize that perhaps collapsing on the floor crying and covered in covered in caulk all the while yelling at your spouse because you are so frustrated you just can’t anymore might be less staged for dramatic effective and more just plain old normal.  Not that I would know firsthand about that or anything…

There are many great video tutorials on you tube for how to remove pedestal sinks and we watched a bunch before starting.  Everybody’s experience will vary slightly but here is ours: Matt first turned all the water off at the sink faucet valves.  We next disassembled and removed the pedestal for the sink.  Ours wasn’t even bolted in and just slid out of place with a little wiggling.  I cut the caulk attaching the sink basin to the wall while Matt disconnected the faucet from the water supply lines and removed the p-trap, stuffing a rag in to block sewer gases (caution: have a towel handy because there is standing water inside the trap).  Then we unbolted the basin from the wall and removed it.

Here is where things went south.  We had a little trouble disconnecting our water supply lines because they weren’t the typical metal screws but instead some plastic version.  Soon after the basin came off (and we had removed the base board) we noticed moisture behind the drywall on the concrete slab.  Water was dripping slowly down behind the wall into the crack between the hard wood and slab. (see below)

Close up view of the drywall mess left by the ‘professionals’ grrrr.

Water is no joke in your walls.  We immediately called in Matt’s Dad to the rescue and he helped cut the drywall open until we found the culprit:

The connection was leaking between the faucet connector and the pex pipe in the wall.  We guess we must have jostled loose a not-great connection when removing the pedestal sink but this was still a very unpleasant surprise in an almost brand-new house.  The only silver lining was that this probably would have started leaking on it’s own at some point and who knows how much damage would have occurred before we discovered it. blessing in disguise.

We opted to have a friend who is a professional plumber come out and replace the fitting instead of trying to DIY it ourselves because a) the tool alone to crimp the fitting was close to $100 and b) WATER is dangerous and best left to the professionals 🙂

Thus ensued round one of fetal position crying on the floor.

… to be continued (dun dun dun)