Our house is a track home built in the early aughts. There are pros and cons.
Pro: it's like a blank canvas! So many possibilities!
Con: zero personality. It's the Ann Veal of the housing world.
As I sat feeding my baby at 3 AM a few Saturdays ago I realized I had nothing scheduled for the day ahead and thought, "I'm going to start on my bedroom today! It definitely needs paint. And a headboard! And I think it needs some brick. OMG BRICK YES IT'S ALL SO CLEAR NOW."
The exhaustion of 3 in the morning makes me strangely ambitious. But once it had been thought it could not be un-thought and so I got to Googling.
There are quite a lot of ways to do faux brick- you can do brick veneer made from real bricks cut in half (too pricey), styrofoam (worried about how it would hold up long term, especially with a headboard against it), stucco (messy + I'd have to paint it to look realistic). Fortunately, Lowe's carries these 4'x8' faux brick panels for $26 apiece. They're not very pretty or convincing on their own but they're a decent starting point since they've already got some texture and color variation.
Here's my wall inspiration:
After the planking in the nursery this seemed very doable.
And it kind of was. It would have been FAR easier if The Caboose saw fit to nap for longer than 20 minutes or if I had another set of hands for the whole project. Neither of those things happened so the project had some frustrating moments BUT it all worked out.
I picked up 5 sheets of faux brick paneling from Lowe's and hauled it home in Aaron's truck. The stuff is pretty stinky so I let the panels air out in the garage for a couple days before I got started.
I started by figuring out where the headboard would go and then I messed around with the arch until I found a size and position I liked.
I used my jigsaw to cut out individual bricks from one panel, cleaned up the edges on a belt sander, and arranged them on my paper half-arch to figure out spacing and all that.
I did some math and measuring on the wall (then had Aaron double check my work because I really suck at math and measuring) and used liquid nails to stick the individual bricks up.
The nice thing about liquid nails is that it takes a while to dry so I was able to adjust the arch a bit after it went up. It was a little wonky and I was able to nudge bricks around and get it more symmetrical.
This was the part of the project where I was like, "WHAT THE BLEEP WAS I THINKING." Because that always happens at 10% in. I had to remind myself to trust the vision.
Aaron helped me haul the rest of the panels upstairs and then he went back down to his office and I attempted to get to work. The panels are 4' x 8' and kind of heavy. It was really hard to just maneuver them around, much less get them up on the saw horses, cut properly and installed. I swore a lot. I crushed one of my toes. I gave up halfway through then came back a day later determined to finish the darn thing. More swearing.
Last year I bought a massive roll of brown paper off Amazon to wrap Christmas presents with. Turns out it was also super convenient for tracing the arch so I could cut the panels to fit.
I attached the large panels to the wall using liquid nails and my old friend, the pneumatic nail gun. I freaking love that thing.
|At this point I could tell Aaron was getting...concerned.|
Once all the paneling was up I gave it a wipe down with a damp rag and did a good deep cleaning and vacuuming. Poor Aaron's allergies were going crazy with all the sawdust from the jigsaw.
For the paint I watered down some cheap white primer I already had on hand, brushed it on then wiped it off with a rag. It was messy work but didn't take terribly long.
The crazy long part of this project was in the grouting. I knew when I chose to do the arch that I'd have to do grout in order to cover up all the cut lines. I made my peace and forged ahead.
I bought a bag of grout from Home Depot, mixed up a small watery batch and started painting it in using a cheap cruddy paintbrush I nicked from my kids' art box. Audiobooks exist for projects such as this. I made it through the complete oeuvre of Jane Austen (minus Emma. Still on the waiting list for that one) as well as a fantastic book about a girl who escaped polygamy while doing the painting and grout. I spent Valentine's Day with the grout. I ruined a mixing bowl when I forgot about the grout. I often dreamt about the grout.
I grouted 90% of the arch when I realized it looked pretty terrible wherever I had smashed the grout in to fill large gaps. I ended up chipping out all the grout I'd already done and using cheap, paintable caulk to fill the gaps. I smoothed it with a damp finger, let it dry, then painted on watered down grout. It was a pain but it gave a much prettier end result.
I let the grout sit for a couple days while I did the headboard and then I finally reassembled my room. Living in a construction zone stinks- putting it all back together felt so very good!
There's still a lot left to do (bedside tables, lighting, a bench, crown molding, FLOORING, etc) but we've come a long way!!
This post was featured as part of a Wayfair Homemakers Housewarming party over at Wit, Wisdom and Food!
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