I’m back to work on the bonus room makeover, and I couldn’t be happier with the results of the project.

I had to prep the back wall for a little something special. And it required removing the baseboards. I saved them to re-install afterwards. Read more

Board & Batten moulding is very popular right now. And why not? It is easy to work with and looks great (after it is painted)! If you remember, I used board and batten in my  my son’s closet turned reading nook last year.

I decided to create a similar look in the boys’ bathroom. Only this time I wanted to round the edges of the battens for more visual interest. I’m warning you now, this tutorial is a bit photo intensive. But, how else would I give you a step-by-step tutorial?

I started by purchasing my lumber at Lowe’s. Did you know you can buy cheap furring strips for your battens? It will save you money. Especially if you don’t mind sifting through the stacks to find the straighter boards and sanding the face of your boards after cutting them. I bought 1x4x8 boards for the battens. And 1x3x8 boards for the upper ledge. I also purchased quarter round moulding and decorative moulding for underneath the upper ledge.

Removing Baseboard Tiles:

The bathroom had baseboard tiles that had to be removed. I grabbed a few tools and made quick work of removing them. The ear muffs and safety glasses were definitely a must!

Score the edges of the tile with a utility knife.

Hammer a flat pry bar behind the tiles.

Remove each tile one at a time.


Take some time to patch any holes that are in your wall. You can view a tutorial on patching drywall HERE. I needed my walls to be as smooth as possible since I wasn’t going to add board behind the battens.

Installing Board and Batten Moulding:

Mark the height where you want the top of your moulding to be. I used 5′ as the height, but then ended up lining up the bottom of my boards on the 5′ mark. So, for the 8′ ceiling room, the top of my moulding was at 65″. Use a level mark as a guide line across the width of your room.

Next measure the widths of the sections that your horizontal boards will be attached to.

Cut your boards to size.

Test fit your boards.

I cut the board that butted up to my mirror at a 30 degree bevel.

Once you have cut all the boards and they fit. Sand down the face and edges.

A nail gun and compressor are not a necessity, but they do make the job a lot easier! Otherwise, you will be doing a lot of hammering and nailing while holding boards in place.

I used the compressor at 110psi, which worked well for the 1″ pine boards. I used 2″ nails for the boards and battens and 1.5″ nails for the quarter round.

Be sure to wear your safety gear. The compressor is LOUD and no need to risk your eyesight. I know, you are jealous of how attractive I look in my safety gear (not!)

For the horizontal top boards, I added some construction adhesive. This is not 100% necessary unless you have monkeys for children. And I do, so the extra adhesive seemed like a good idea.

Press the board onto the wall.

Shoot several 2″ nails into the moulding to hold it in place. Be sure to angle your nails to make it more secure.

That board shouldn’t go anywhere now!



Repeat the same steps for the baseboard boards (minus the construction adhesive.)

Next, measure the vertical distance between the top and baseboard battens. Be sure to measure at the exact location that a vertical batten will go. I’m sure your heights will vary.

Cut all your vertical boards and sand them down.

When you are figuring out the spacing, be sure to take into account if you will be adding a towel bar or other fixtures to the wall. My old towel bar was 24″ wide, so I made sure to space the battens to accommodate the towel bar.

While installing the battens you may run into a few inconveniences. Like, a toilet or something that can’t be moved. To deal with the toilet, I cut a piece of cardstock the same width as my batten. Then I slid it behind the toilet and scribed around the edge of the toilet.

Then I cut along my line and transferred the line to my batten.



Use a jigsaw to cut out the scribed profile (I tried to use my Dremel Trio to cut out the small section, but it failed miserably. I think the Trio is best used for thin stock like the back of a bookcase.)


Then you can install your batten around the “inconvenient” object.

By now your room should resemble something like this:

Installing Quarter Round Moulding:

Now comes the step that requires a little more precision. Cutting the quarter round moulding can be a little tricky, but don’t fear I know you can handle it. Remember the old carpenter’s adage, “Measure twice, cut once.”

Well, I admit it, I forgot! Ugh. Even I can make mistakes, so don’t be afraid to mess up once in a while. We all learn from our mistakes:

You will need to meaure the width and heights of the rectangle between your battens. Be precise for better accuracy and less caulk later!

Set your miter saw at a 45 degree angle.






This is what it should look like. The saw should be straight up and down at a 90 degree angle from the saw stand (in other words, no bevel cut).

 


Cut your quarter round so that the longest point on the moulding equals the measurement you took from the rectangle. You may have to face the “round” edge in towards the fence for some cuts. And it might take a few cuts to figure out the angles. But, I know you can do it. Once you have all your quarter round cut and dry fit, you can proceed with the install.

Remember those “inconvenient” objects. End your quarter round right before the toilet.

Add a 30 degree angle when butting up to objects like light switch covers and outlets.

Load the 1.5″ trim nails into your nail gun. Aim your nail gun into the quarter round at an angle so the nail ends up going through the quarter round and into the battens.


Hey, you are about 80% of the way done with installing the moulding!

Installing the top ledge and decorative trim moulding:

Cut the top ledges to size and sand them down. It is a good idea to round any exposed corners with the sander. This will undoubtedly prevent future dents to the head.

Lay the ledge boards on top of the upper battens. If your walls are uneven, your ledge will likely look like this.

No biggie. Grab your grade school compass. And set the two arms to the width of the widest gap. Then drag your compass along the ledge and the wall.

Get out your trusty jigsaw again and cut off that scribed line (have I told you how much I love my Porter Cable Jigsaw?! It pays to buy good quality power tools.)

Ahhh, much better. Any smaller gaps will be filled in with caulk later.

Nail the ledge into the batten below it. You can use construction glue for extra stability. (Yes, it is monkey protection for us.)

My favorite part of the moulding project is adding a little extra “bling”. I chose this decorative moulding to sit below the ledge and to give it extra support (again I have monkeys!)

Don’t forget to cut a 30 degree angle wherever you cut a batten at that angle.

Nail the decorative moulding onto the batten just below the ledge.

Now doesn’t that look beautiful?!

Fixing a few nail problems:

Remember how I said I make mistakes too? Well, here are two easy mistakes to fix when using a nail gun. When the nail doesn’t go all the way in (this usually happens if you don’t keep pressure on the gun when you squeeze the trigger), simply use a hammer and a nail set to hammer it into the wood.

Occasionally a nail may hit something when entering and end up popping out. Grab the end of the nail and pull it all the way through the wood. You may take some wood with it, but you can patch it with wood putty.


I’ll be back to show you how to caulk and paint this beautiful moulding! And then the final reveal of my Boys’ Fishy to Fabulous Bathroom! Finally, a bonus post on creating a branch towel bar.

 

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Come see this Closet Reading Nook Transformation! Learn how I turned this closet into a Reading Nook in a weekend. This area could also become a built-in desk area at a later date.


Boy's Red, White & Blue Themed Room | Pretty Handy Girl

When is a Closet not a Closet? Reading Nook Transformation!

Have you seen all those cute closets on Pinterest? The ones that were closets but are now a new space like a reading nook or a home office? Well, today I’ll show you how you can give your closet a makeover by turning it into a reading nook!

Boy's Red, White & Blue Themed Room | Pretty Handy Girl

The Back Story:

My husband took the boys camping! Translation: A free weekend – by myself – peace and quiet!

{insert sound of hammers, jigsaw, table saw, and more hammering}

Well, forget the quiet part, I decided to tackle another DIY project I have been thinking about for almost two years. My son’s closet!

My three year old has two full-size closets in his room. And, yet, his toys were always strewn around the room. Here is the “keeping it real” BEFORE picture:

Boy's Room Before | Pretty Handy Girl

Last year I took the doors off one of the closets and put up some curtains so he could have a little hideaway. That was an easy task, but I wanted to give him more storage and a fun spot to sit and read books during quiet time. When I saw this picture in a magazine, I knew I had the perfect solution.

Kym, the homeowner, turned her son’s closet into a private nook. I thought, no problem, I’d complete this project in an easy 2 days. After all, how long can it take to renovate one 6′ x 2′ closet? During stopping points I could squeeze in a pedicure, swim some laps and possibly have a friend over for wine and some chat one evening.  Truth be told, it ended up taking a full 3 days (and nights). If I had a helper, I probably could have knocked it out in a day and a half.

Before and After:

Ready to see how I transformed a standard 2′ x 6′ closet into a multi-functioning reading nook, toy storage, sleepover bed, and creative play space?

How to Turn a Closet Into a Reading Nook:

First (after cleaning up all those toys, of course), is removing hardware, base molding, and patching holes. (This is where I found I didn’t know my own strength and ended up having to patch a larger drywall hole after trying to remove the closet cleats.)

Once the closet is empty it’s time to build!

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Optional: trim molding & shelving

Home Office Desk Option:

If you want a home office in your closest, skip the base and only build the framing for the bench, but install it at 29 inches (standard desk height).

Measure and Cut Lumber:

Measure the floor of your closet to determine the size for your base and bench.

Cut all your lumber to size, then build two frames. One for the base and one for the bench.


Your base frame only has to have one center support because it doesn’t have to hold much weight. The bench seat frame needs two center supports at 2′ intervals.

Find and mark the studs in the wall. (Here are 5 different ways to locate studs without a stud finder.) Then secure the base frame to the studs using a few screws.

Cut your finish grade plywood to top the base and bench frames.

Scribing Around Molding:

Here is a little trick for scribing the profile of trim or other obstacles onto your board. Use a compass and set the width to the same distance from the wall to the outside of my door casing. Then draw a line around the casing being careful to keep the compass perpendicular to the casing. Then you can cut out the profile with a jigsaw.


Set the plywood on top of the base. Secure the plywood to the base with a few screws (or wood glue and trim nails.)

Next build the second frame the same way (but add two center supports for the bench.)

To simplify things, you may want to prime as much of the framing as you can before nailing it into place. It is easier to prime wood on sawhorses.

Installing the Bench:

If you have a helper, this process will go easier. If not, you need to temporarily hold the framing before securing it. Cut some scrap blocks to hold the bench or temporarily drive in a few screws.

Measure up 18″ from the floor. This is standard bench height.

Use a level (both a carpenter’s level and laser level if you have them) and level the bench platform before screwing it into the studs. Use at least two screws on each side and several into the back and one on either side of the door frame to secure the bench in place. Set the plywood on top of the bench framing. Secure it with a few screws or wood glue and  trim nails.


Remeber that note about having a helper? I wish I had one because at some point the right hand side of my bench shifted while I was securing it, which resulted in a slight slope. Seriously, I really did level it! I even have the pictures to prove it! Shhhh, don’t tell anyone! My lesson learned is that next time I will either screw the frame in place to hold it or put a brace underneath to keep it from slipping.


Bench Cushion:

Cut the foam cushion for the bench seat. If you haven’t heard, the best way to cut foam is with an electric carving knife! (Huge thank you to my friend and neighbor Karen for the use of her 1970’s electric carving knife.)


You can sew a bench cushion later to cover it. Here’s how to sew a simple bench cushion with piping.

Decorative Molding:

Sewing will have to wait, for now we’re going to finish off this closet reading nook with some decorative molding. This is a personal preference, but I chose to install board and batten molding for the back like I did in this bathroom.

But, if you don’t want to use board and batten, you may like the DIY shiplap look instead.

Then I added decorative molding under the shelves. Did you know that some of the molding in your home, especially crown molding, is made up of several different molding profiles? You can make molding more decorative by using several different pieces and then caulk seams to hide the edges?

Painting Prep:

Before priming all your wood, caulk all the seams and let it dry.


This is the Pretty Handy Girl’s tried-and-true caulking method:

  1. Squeeze out your bead of caulk with a caulk gun.
  2. Keep your finger at the front of the tip of the caulk and use a baby wipe smooth the caulk as it’s dispensed.
  3. Follow up with a clean baby wipe if necessary to smooth any spots.

It’s easy to caulk like a pro if you follow my tutorial.

Once the caulk dries, prime all the wood and trim. Let it dry.

How to Tint Primer:

After trying some Benjamin Moore paint swatches, I settled on a deep navy blue called “Symphony Blue”. I knew I’d need to use some tinted primer before trying to paint such a dark color on the light walls. You can save money by tinting your primer. Simply add 1 part paint to 3 parts primer.


Isn’t the marble effect pretty! Mix well.

Painting:

Always use at least two coats of paint. This makes it easier to clean the walls and eliminates any missed spots.

Paint the trim first. Then cut in around trim with a good quality angled brush.

Use a paint roller to paint in between your cut in lines.

So, are you ready to see this Closet Turned Reading Nook?? The drumroll please…

Boy's Red, White & Blue Themed Room | Pretty Handy Girl
Can’t you hear the Symphonic Chords playing?


The copper wall sconce was also from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I scored that gem for only $5! It has a cord that I snaked around the molding and then plugged into the outlet just outside the closet. Click Here to Learn How to Add a switch to a Hard-Wire Light.


Plenty of storage bins for all the toys a three-year-old can hoard.


Star pillows were super easy to make with cloth napkins and fabric I had on hand.


Finally, a nook built for reading, sleepovers…


…or just hanging with big brother.

Wall-mounted IKEA LILLÅNGEN Mirrored Cabinet turned Stuffed Animal Storage | Pretty Handy Girl
Boy's Red, White & Blue Themed Room | Pretty Handy Girl

Boy's Red, White & Blue Themed Room | Pretty Handy Girl
That’s all folks! Bye-bye!

Did you like this transformation? If so, you’ll love more custom spaces in my home!