Friday, February 14

Chair Rail and Kitchenette

Installing Chair Rail and Creating a Kitchenette:
We purchased our little farm a couple years ago and have been remodeling the house ever since.  We have an area in our lower level (basement) that makes no sense what so ever. This room is off the Man Cave and Mud Room, and has a winding staircase that leads upstairs.
I decided to make it a usable space by adding bookshelves and a kitchenette.
The “new” kitchenette area had to wait until we remodeled our main floor kitchen so I could reuse the old cabinets.

While waiting, I began refinishing the walls of this LL room.  One wall is drywall and 3 walls are finished with wood  paneling, in excellent condition but
dated and hideous, (in my opinion) as you can see in the photo.

Before:  paneled walls, peach winding stairs, greenish blue carpet
After removing wallpaper and having tile floor covering installed, I began work on the walls.
I added and or replaced any missing or damage baseboards and ceiling trim.  When installing the baseboards I left parts of the wall without baseboards so I could build bookshelves that would fit flush with the wall.

Carpet has been removed but not the wall paper
New flooring, chair rail, baseboards and primer on the walls
I wanted to add a slightly formal and more updated feel to the room so went with a chair rail.  Chair rails are easy to install; no really.  If you are installing a chair rail that will remain a natural wood finish, now that becomes a little trickier.  The wood must line up PERFECT in the corners or where mitered together along a long wall.

I am not a professional carpenter, let me tell you. But I found an easy way around the perfect wood cuts.
Using wood that is going to be painted forgives a lot of sins (cutting mistakes and nail holes).
Take a look at the two photos below, the first is the corner with the not so perfect cuts.
The second photo is with caulk and spackle applied and covering less than perfect cuts. 
New chair rail, uneven cut and finishing nails showing
Chair rail with corner smoothed over
and nail holes filled, but before painting
Then once painted, the less than perfect cut is hardly noticeable. Except maybe by our professional woodworker friend Jim, who was kind enough to give me praise, but I knew he knew his cuts would have been perfect.  And would have also cost me an arm and a leg!  His skills we used for all our main kitchen woodworking jobs.
A saying we jokingly use around here is:  "You can’t see it from an airplane".

This LL room appears as if it was finished years ago and there are a few places the wall is bowed slightly.  After the chair railing was up I used caulk to fill in any slight gaps that occurred because of uneven walls.
Once all the finishing nail holes were filled and corners smoothed over it was time to paint. 

I applied a primer to the wood paneling, not only to seal it to lock in any stains that may try to seep through the paint, but also to have a base that would actually stick to the paneling and not peel off later. The primer is white in color.
I tried to choose two neutral colors for the final paint colors, and am happy with the results. 
The winding stair case in our house is amazing but the wrought iron had been painted peach at some point, I kid you not, Yikes! This I hand painted (my gosh, it took me hours) with a black metal paint, (windows open and a fan running for ventilation) .

Winding stair case leading to the main floor, after remodel
Winding stair case before, Yikes!
The indoor outdoor carpet,  what nightmares are made of.....
Now that my main floor kitchen remodel was under way, I was able to set aside the cabinets that would fit together in the area I had picked out for our LL Kitchenette. 
New kitchenette (off the mudroom and door to the garage)
I did not install a baseboard on the wall of the proposed kitchenette, so the cabinets would fit flush. 
In the same way the cabinets were installed upstairs, they were installed here, screwed to the studs in the wall. I reused 3 old cabinets and 2 spacers on top and three old cabinets on the bottom.
The old kitchen refrigerator became the kitchenette’s refrigerator.

And the counter top is easier than you might think.  Because this kitchenette will be primarily for the kids and their friends to use, we chose an inexpensive in stock slab counter top purchased from The Home Depot. They even cut it to the desired length.  We also installed a small microwave and pizza cooker (not shown). 
The room didn't turn out too bad for amateurs and I think even pretty good considering this was my first attempt at installing a chair rail.

There is also a full bath off this room, which was included in this remodel.  The original bath had a wall hung sink, commode and space for a shower (never finished).  Look at that lovely 80's? flooring and toilet rug!
The same paint colors were chosen as in the adjoining room, except the paint on the top half is a slightly darker shade.

Using neutral color paint allows you to change the color scheme of the rooms without changing the paint. The full bath now has a new vanity with quartz counter top, new commode. The shower was built and finished with tiles in neutral colors.  Everything in this bath was replaced, even the window.  Installing a glass block window allows for privacy while still letting in lots of light and adds a little more security.

I built bookshelves to turn this room into a small library. Lets just say I have too many books, Yowza!
The bookshelves were constructed from oak we salvaged from an old barn. We also added new 6 panel doors to the Man Cave and Bath.
After remodel:  new flooring, chair rail, doors, book shelves, and updated wrought iron stairs.
Before remodel with peach stairs, indoor outdoor carpet, ugly paneling and missing door and baseboards.
What projects are you working on?  Once spring arrives it will be back outside for me, with lots of patio and garden projects planned!

I hope all your home remodeling and DIY projects are turning out well,

Elizabeth




21 comments:

Anonymous said...

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Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Why thanks! Yes, I'll look at your blog and offer what help I can. And stop back anytime!

Anonymous said...

Great blog post, looks like it was a lot of work to do and also to write this. Good quality based information and details in the post, thanks for sharing. Michelle

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Thank you Michelle. Putting the chair rail up was the most detailed work, along with replacing missing baseboards. Once I got the book shelves started, they were pretty easy to build. But painting is not one of my favorite things to do, ugh.

Anonymous said...

Just wish to say your article is just amazing. The clearness for your post is simply cool and you seem knowledgeable on remodeling. Well I'm grabbing your RSS feed to stay updated with upcoming new posts. Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Thanks! But my remodeling work is usually trial and error, haha. Glad you liked the post. I have a greenhouse project in the works and am remodeling our farm's original chicken coop so hope you get a chance to read about those.

Anonymous said...

It's actually a nice and helpful piece of info you posted. Almost makes me think I might be able to do a project like this and glad you shared your know-how. I've never been able to make perfect cuts either! Thanks, Jim

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Jim: I would suggest you start small, like a half bath or similar room. The fear you may not be able to do it is the biggest hurdle to overcome, IMO. Take your time, measure twice and always finish the project. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Highly descriptive blog, I enjoyed that quite a bit. Will there be a part 2? More remodels? Thanks for sharing.

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

I am always remodeling it seems! We did a complete kitchen remodel, plan another full bath remodel, and hope to build a greenhouse so will hopefully have a blog post on each one of those projects. Thanks for the comment and asking about future projects.

Anonymous said...

You ought to begin promoting your blog with YouTube videos. Video marketing has brought a new dimension to the blog promoting world. Elaine

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Yes, everyone wants videos of everything now and you're right about them being a great tool for promoting a product, service or blog. I may get on the band wagon but really am not that comfortable with seeing myself doing something live yet! Thanks for the suggestion!

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Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Oh yes, but all means share my blog. It's a compliment that you think it share worthy and I love knowing someone may find my blog useful. Thank you!

Anonymous said...


Wow, that turned out really pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful article. I may even attempt a chair rail. Thanks for providing this info.

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Thank you, I was pleased with the outcome too!

Anonymous said...

Hello! Very helpful advice, and it's amazing what adding the chair rail and paint did to that room! Little changes made huge difference. Thanks for sharing the how too's! Devan

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Thanks. And you're welcome. And I like that the room can be changed pretty easy by changing the paint color if I decide to do a different color scheme.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, Impressive! Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Whoa, this blog is excellent, I love reading your articles. Keep up the good work! Ralph

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Thanks Ralph!