DIY / Home Improvement / Living Room / Woodworking

Living Room Next steps + Shiplap Tips and Tricks

First some quick housekeeping –  If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been slowly making some changes over here in preparation for a really exciting project I’m going to join this fall (I promise I will tell you all about it soon) and the biggest change was that I’ve decided to brand this little project of mine with a name – so I am happy to officially introduce you to Hilltown House!  I’ve got some more changes planned to the look of the page (and am very lucky to have in-house support to help make that happen – thanks husband) so look out for those too.  I’ve also started to post a lot of progress pics on Instagram (and I am waaaayyyy too into InstaStories) so check me out there to @LindseyJoyDIY

  In the words of my girl Liz Lemon “THINGS ARE HAPPENING!”

Ok, now that that’s taken care of, let me introduce you to Living Room v1.5.  For Xmas, my husband gave me 3 weekends to use at my discretion where he would take the boys somewhere far away and I could spend my time tackling some of the bigger projects in the house.  Last weekend I decided to cash one in and spend it on some of the Living Room Checklist items – the Shiplap Wall, the console table, and the picture ledges.  So as soon as 5pm hit on Friday afternoon I got started!

I know I’ve been promising a ShipLap break down for a while – so here it is!  There are a hundred blogs out there with ways to do this (and there is always the options of going for actual shiplap or reclaimed wood which are of course AMAZING) so I’m going to share with you the tips and tricks that I’ve learned after doing 3 of these.

First – I use 1/4″ plywood use for floor under-layment that I get from Home Depot for about $12 for a 4×8 sheet.  I have them rip it down into 12″ strips and then I use my table saw to rip those into 6″ strips.  Use a sanding block to get rid of any rough edges or splinters.

Use a stud finder and mark out where your studs are on the wall as that is where you will primarily attach your boards.  It is a very good idea to KNOW WHAT’S BEHIND YOUR WALLS especially if you are thinking of installing in a bathroom or anywhere that has plumbing.  You don’t want to end up putting a pinhole into a pipe and starting a slow leak!

Next – it’s time to start attaching the boards to the wall. In this case, I started from the bottom for reasons I’ll get to – but if you can I would recommend starting from the top left corner and install much like you would floor boards – stagger the size of the starting piece so you have a very random feel to the layout. 

I use my Ryobi Brad nailer and alternate between 1 1/4″ nails (to attach directly into the studs) and 5/8″ nails (for the ends of boards and anywhere that pops out).  To keep the space between the boards – I just use pennies.  As I go along I find that I don’t need to use them for every row, but they help keep everything even, especially if you’re doing this solo.

For any outlets, make sure that you use an Outlet Extender box (you can find in the electrical section of the hardware store – they usually come in two packs).  You will need to pull the outlet out from the wall (make sure you turn off the power) and slide through the box.  The top and bottom of the box should rest on top of the plywood – I use a jigsaw to make my cut and you’ll see above where I cut the top a little short so I inserted a small strip of plywood behind the blue box to even it out.  Then you can re-attached the outlet with the longer strips provided.  This whole process will allow your outlet to sit flush with the shiplap wall.

Remember that reason that I started from the bottom of this wall?  Well here it is – way back when we installed the new floors, we ran the speaker cords for our surround sound system underneath the boards in hope of one day re-connecting them.  I was originally going to furr out this wall using 1x2s, but since the cord was really thin I decided to see if I could just run behind the boards.  I stapled it to the wall to keep as flat as I could and besides an extremely slight bump in some of the pieces, it’s really un-noticeable.  And I’m so relieved to report that the speakers are working just fine!  SUCCESS

Once you get all of your boards up – it’s Primer time!  In some tutorials they will prepaint their strips before they install – but after some trial and error I’ve found it much easier to prime and paint once they’re up on the wall unless you have a flat, dust-free place to paint (i.e. not a garage or basement floor).  The primer doesn’t have to be perfect, but you do want to get good coverage to make the painting go a lot easier.  After that, I use three coats of Sherwin Williams Pro-Classic in Extra White, Semi-Gloss finish (which is the same paint I use for our trim).  I am actually really digging different color ship-lap these days (especially black!) and considered doing a different color, but the white ties in really nicely to the fireplace.  I’ve seen tutorials where they use wood filler to make a really clean look – which I also really like the look of – but after getting mine up the wall I was really happy with the rustic look of slightly un-even boards and the nail holes so I purposely left them – but if you want something cleaner then go for it.

Next on the agenda – the console table!  I wanted to build a console table that ran the entire length of the couch and also included storage and a place to plug in my laptop.  I looked through a few ideas but ended up coming up with my own design, and the best part is that I used mostly scrap from my garage to build it!

I used a combination of leftover 2x6s and 2x4s to build some simple frames that would hold the top, but since they would be hidden behind the couch they could look totally wacked.

I also used some scrap playwood and built two boxes that would fit in between the frames and serve as storage and a place to hold an power cord.

On the two ends I built some small bookshelves to add some more interest and also give the kids more space to play with their toys.  I also ended up drilling holes to accommodate the electrical cords.

Once I had all the frames cut, I layed them out in the space and then cut 1x12s for the top and for the two flaps that would open to the storage boxes.  I stained them in my favorite Briarsmoke Varathane to match the coffee table and used my nail gun to attach.  I used some black gate hardware that also matches the coffee table and gives it a little bit of interest.

I still want to add some type of planter and track down some cute coasters – but I’m really happy with how this turned out.  It’s already been so nice to have a place to put drinks and not have to worry about the kids or the dog knocking it over.  The lamps are from CB2 and add a nice dose of modern simplicity to the room.  They have a floor lamp version that I’m debating getting, but I have a weird aversion to floor lamps that I’m not sure I can get over.

The last project I tackled was adding some picture ledges to the sides of the fireplace.  Last summer I tacked the fireplace and the built-ins, and as much as I love how it came out, it always felt like something was missing.  After playing around with a few options, I decided that some wood picture ledges would be perfect.

You can buy versions of these in a lot of stores, but they are so easy to make I urge you to try them!  Here is a simple tutorial from Shanty 2 Chic to check out – make them any size or color you want and you’ll feel like a rockstar (mine are 4 ft long and I used Early American by Varathane on them to add some warmth to this wall).  I’m not done filling these babies up but I will share when I’m done along with my tips for styling picture ledges.

By the time the boys got home the room was looking much different.  Since the last time I checked in there have been a few more additions besides the new couch from Interior Define.

The new rug is from West Elm and I am obsessed with it.  It’s a nice flat-weave wool with a lot of texture and I just love the interest it adds.  They have it in a lot of different colors and sizes and I could buy one of each and feel perfectly happy with that decision.

I also finally started to stock up on pillows for the couch, and tried to grab some pics but someone was not feeling moving out of the way, and I was ready to be done.  The solid gray ones and the macrame are all outdoor pillows from World Market, and the blue striped and multi-colored ones I picked up at HomeGoods to tie in the colors from the kitchen.  Right now it’s pretty neutral in here, so now we need to add some fun and some color!

And just like that – the weekend was over.  It was A LOT of hard word and I basically went straight through Saturday without stopping, but it was all so much worth it.  And getting pictures like the one below of the boys having an amazing time with their dad made it so much easier to keep going

Someone asked me on FB what’s next – and my reply was “the other side of the room” LOL  So this weekend we will start making the steps to install the new media center, and I still need to finish off a few touch-ups, but we are so extremely close to this room being completely done it’s crazy!  Here’s an update of what we still have left to do for those of you playing along at home:

  1.  New Couch and Pillows
  2.  Build new Coffee Table 
  3.  Add Shiplap Wall behind couch / hide speaker wires
  4.  Build Blanket ladder (I’ll share this next time)
  5.  Build console table behind couch / hide cords / new lamps w/smart bulbs
  6.  New rug from West Elm
  7. Window Trim
  8. Hang TV and hide wires
  9. Build new media center
  10. Add floating shelves around fireplace
  11. Add art, accessories and plants


July 15, 2017