We’ve finished week 6 of the Better Homes & Gardens One Room Challenge, I almost cannot believe how quickly this is going.

As I’ve read back over the posts thus far, I realize that I have consistently said “not much has changed.” A lot of our projects in this room have required a significant amount of planning and trouble shooting and less time executing. I’ve also realized that doing this type of challenge while working full time with a family is really very hard. I’m someone who has a lot of ideas but a lot on my plate. And when life ultimately slows a project’s pace, I rarely give myself any grace for that. I come on here and say “I know, I didn’t get done, I promise next week I will” when in all actuality, I am working really hard and there has been significant progress. There just isn’t as much that will show up in a photograph. SO, I’m going to stop saying that and, instead, will just tell you what we’ve accomplisted.

Here is my project list from the beginning of the challenge, with some updates on what we’ve done:

Recessed panel wainscoting on two-story wall: I believe I’ve done all I can in terms of fixing what the original painters messed up. It’s not perfect, but I’m fairly certain I’m the only one who can tell that. One thing that is happening and I cannot for the life of me figure out, is some of the joints where the vertical and horizontal boards meet have very fine little cracks along the seam. We originally used wood filler, like I think everyone would, to fill in the space between the boards where they meet but, after the paint and caulking was done, we had fine little cracks all over. I messaged with the person whose tutorial I read in advance of installation of our wall and she said that sometimes that just happens and then they just do the wood filler over again. I ended up finding a millwork finisher (I had no idea one company would install the wood and another would finish before this project) on Instagram from pictures of his work and asking him what to use. He told me about a product that included a resin compound and an activator that you mix and then fill in the cracks. That took a very long time and tons of sanding, but they looked great…for about a few weeks. Then, the fine lines started to reappear. They aren’t on every single seam but they’re on enough that it’s driving me nuts. At this point, I think I’m going to hire out this work to a local finisher.

DIY two-story recessed panel wainscoting wall
DIY two-story recessed panel wainscoting wall is just about finished.

Mantel and Fireplace Surround: We added a 5-sided mantel box over the original mantel and we love how much more we can do with the additional 4-5 inches of depth. Ok, fine, I personally like the depth and what I can do with it now. Paul liked that he could use his tools to build the new box. 🙂

I still need to paint the gold strips on the top and bottom of the fireplace (using heat safe black paint I now have) and finish painting the marble veining and epoxy top coat on the surround to match our new kitchen counters. That’s happening this week.

TV Console IKEA Hack: We’ve glued down the top piece of hickory on the 3 Eket cabinets we have had in the living room. We glued the 3 cabinets together and then also added the base Paul made. We added the tulip shaped feet, which match the front entryway table. I decided that I’m going to use textured wallpaper, let’s call it grasscloth-adjacent, to cover the 6 flat panel doors. I’m hoping I can wrap the entire door, but I may have to settle for just the front of the door if the doors are too tightly fit together. I still need to get the trim for the front pieces to cover where each cabinet is glued to the other. I now have everything I need for the formula and technique to reproduce the wood tone of the World Market Everett table in my foyer, which is on the same wall as the tv console. More to come, but let’s just say I’ve discovered cerusing and I am PUMPED! 

DIY coffee table: As I explained in one of my last posts, we changed our plan for our coffee table from recreating a classic/traditional Restoration Hardware-looking table to the Pottery Barn Folsom Coffee Table. Yesterday, we picked up the wood we need–14 pieces of 4x4x8 white wood (light pine). This is one of those parts that took an awful lot of research, searching, and planning. But, we have our plan, we have a planer coming Tuesday night, and we have our materials. This table is going to be finished soon!

Stairway and Bannister: We have torn up the carpet from the stairs going to the second floor. We removed all of the staples/nails (and there were A TON) and have cut off the current bullnose from each step. We also have hard board, quarter inch white oak ply board, and oak strips that will be the replacement bullnoses ready to rock. This will be this week’s nightly project. We have to measure and cut each riser from the white hard board and each tread from the white oak ply board. Then we’re going to take each 2×2 strip of oak and use a rounded edge router to make them into the right shape for the bullnose. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m painting/staining on the new stairs and to find a runner. I cannot believe how hard it has been to find a runner I like, but once I know what color the steps will be, I have a feeling one will stick out. I have to act quickly so we have it installed in time.

As for the bannister, I’ve decided to go with a black gel stain from General Finishes. I have to give it a light sand and then the gel stain will sit on top and cure. I have everything I need, just need to go ahead and do it.

Art lights & framed art: Now that the wainscoting is in place, I can see we clearly should add art lamps to the box on each side of the TV with two pieces of framed art below that. Rather than paint the art myself, I found several prints I absolutely love on Etsy that I’ll print, frame, and hang. I’m pretty certain I have the frames I want to use; I’ll only change them if they look too small in scale with the rest of the materials. I also have the lights now. We decided to go with battery operated lights so that we do not have to run electric to it. Each part of this area will go up during the week.

Large scale art: Tomorrow, we’re making the canvas and then I’m going to have the kids help me make the large scale art. I’m thinking 4 foot by 6 foot, but I may just change my mind before that. The boys are going to be so excited because the first part is going to include adding joint compound to the canvas–right up their ally.

Furniture: We have figured out the furniture arrangement we’ll be using going forward. We actually already got rid of one of the old sofas. I’m fairly certain I know what I want for a sofa–it’s going to be long (100+ inches) and leather. While we’re a little still worried about what the dog could do to the leather, we’re fairly confident our kids won’t destroy it. Either way, almost everything I’ve entertained has required several months lead up before the sofa can be purchased. So, for the reveal, we will not likely have much new furniture to show off. But it’ll happen more sooner than later.

Ok, that’s where we are for each project. There’s a lot left to do, but we have our plans and schedules and I’m excited!

Stay tuned for more updates to come, including during the week on my Instagram page. Your follows, likes, shares, and comments keep me going even when IG isn’t as fun as it used to be, so thank you!

Also, be sure to check out the other talented participants transforming one of their rooms right now! I’m telling you, there are some impressive projects! I’ll be sharing some of those in my IG stories as well this week! Until then friends,

XOXO Alicia

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