Friday, September 7, 2012

The Nursery Project: Step 1, Chair Rail

We've had a nursery in our house since the day we moved in.  I can't remember what the nursery set up was anymore, but even after we moved in the color was clearly very nursery-ish and since we had three 'guest rooms' we had to come up with ways to distinguish between them.  The Nursery eventually became The Round Room when we purchased a round bed, a round light, and a round mirror to decorate.  But when the Round Room stuff moved into the Activity Room, it became the Nursery again.

Even so, we thought quite a while about which room should be OUR nursery.  We agreed on the Nursery because it doesn't have an exterior door and has a smaller closet.

I'm not sure when exactly I envisioned our nursery, but my vision hasn't really changed much since, although I tried.  My first dream was a chair rail.  The rooms I saw online and in ads looked so nicely divided with chair rails and two colors.  But it seemed so hard, so I convinced myself we'd be fine with a border.  But I couldn't convince myself enough, and eventually I started researching how to install a chair rail.  I never thought it looked 'easy' but I thought it looked 'doable'.  I made a plan (a very detailed plan, unsurprisingly, including measurements, schedules, price estimates, work order, and resources.  There are bridge projects that don't have such organized planning).  Like any plan, it was adjusted along the way both as we encountered hiccups and as we learned, but at least it was a place to start!

Most of the information I read agreed on what we would need, so list in hand we headed to home depot.  Overall the project wasn't particularly expensive, we spent around 120 dollars all told at home depot for the materials and ended up with a few returns (coping tools, more on that later).

Actually, like all good projects we started with a hardy breakfast at Denny's, THEN to Home Depot.


The pictures are a bit dark, I was too busy getting ready to work to focus on great pictures!

Here's a sneak peak of Gavin at our 'work station.'  I had intended to use our desk, but it didn't seem to be sturdy enough to handle all of the sawing that was necessary!

We encountered a few challenges

  1. In my planning, I had expected that chair rail was sold in 8' segments.  The rail we choose (to compliment the floor boards) was cut to purchase in the store.  Not a setback, but it did mean some quick recalculations on the floor of home depot!  One of my better ideas was labeling each piece with a number as we cut so when we got home we knew what went where. 
  2. Inside Corners.  In my research I had absolutely decided that coping was the only way to do corners. The method seemed easy enough and the results are said to be far superior to using miter (45 degree cuts) in the corners.  Maybe.  I'll never know.  It turned out to be a huge hassle and we decided to miter the corners.  They came out fine!
  3. Precision.  I'm a Bridge Engineer, so I absolutely understand the value of measure twice cut once.  Our measurements were right on, our equipment wasn't so exact.  Using a hand saw as opposed to an electrical saw made it a bit more challenging to cut to our very precise measurements.
  4. Outside corners.  I love our house and all of it's lovely softly rounded corners.  But trying to install molding isn't so easy on a rounded corner!  Instead of a quick 45 degree cut, we had to carefully measure out separate pieces to work around the corners.  It was even more challenging because our closet is inset in the wall with a few inches of drywall.  I probably didn't know that about our home until after this project!

Here comes the Rail!
It took us about 2 hours longer than I had anticipated to complete the project, but my time estimate was fairly rough.  I tried to space out the overall nursery completion schedule to give us plenty of time so it wasn't really a problem.

And we were incredibly happy with the results!

Overall, we were very happy with the results.  

My overall thoughts on the project is that it was about as difficult as I anticipated, although obviously we ran into challenges we weren't expecting.  We were able to borrow an electric saw which would have made the work much easier if we'd had it the entire time!  If we were going to do a bunch railing/molding, I'd buy one.

There are also a few things I would do different.  First, despite everything I read suggesting painting after installation, I think it would have been easier to paint first.  Also, we initially thought the rail looked fine with only minor areas of calking, however while painting, we realized the calking line was needed for a more finished look, so next time I'd calk right away.

Up next: Painting!

1 comment:

  1. I didn't even know you guys installed that chair rail! Great job!