Planting Sequoias

In which I blog about a life (hopefully) well lived.


Master Bedroom Reveal (in which a room is finally finished after more than two decades of planning)

Well, the time we have all been waiting for has finally arrived.

The master bedroom at my parents house is indeed finished. Well, mostly. We’re calling it done.

It’s come a long way. The wallpaper and trim used to look like this. Please brace yourself–I don’t want anyone falling off their chair in shock. Safety first.

old master bedroom wallpaper with butterflies and moths

Yes, that is butterfly/moth wallpaper. We spent HOURS scraping the gunk off the walls.

But now, Mom and Dad can rest easy (literally) because their room now looks like this:

antique furniture with board and batten, crown molding, and dark ceiling

Let’s recap a little, shall we? And we’ll go waaaay back this time…let’s say 22 years.

Mom and Dad moved into this house in 1992. I was just a lil’ tyke.

The first thing Mom said she would be changing was the master bedroom wallpaper.

That obviously didn’t happen for more than two decades. Time has a funny way of getting away from us, huh? Almost the entire rest of the house was remodeled first. It could be that Mom is selfless, but I think the real reason is that we were all terrified of the ordeal of taking off the wallpaper.

So, on the day I had surgery to remove a kidney stone and was completely bored, we ripped all the wallpaper off. That was last April, and nothing happened after that. Until Christmas. The sibs and I plotted and schemed and settled on gifting my parents with the labor for a master bedroom makeover. Since then, we’ve painted the ceiling a cozy dark gray/brown, painted the walls and crown molding and installed board and batten (and new baseboards), installed craftsman-style wood trim around the windows and doors, removed the carpet, laid variegated engineered hardwood flooring, made cheap $10 curtain rods, hung no-sew dropcloth curtains, and even made some nifty doorknob hooks. Whew. Say all of that three times fast.

Let’s dive into some finished room pictures, shall we? This is what Mom and Dad see first when they walk in the doorway.

ceiling fan, quilt, board and batten and dropcloth curtains

The dark ceiling makes everything feel cozy and warm, in my opinion. And even the dated textured swoops look kind of nice with dark paint.

One of the main reasons for the board and batten install was Mom and Dad’s antique bedroom furniture–we wanted it to really pop off the walls. And it does.

The cedar chest along the far wall serves as sort of a window seat. Dad made it for Mom as a wedding gift back in the day.

antique furniture with board and batten, crown molding, and dark ceiling

We upgraded the ceiling fan with some newer-looking glass light covers. It’s still a ceiling fan, but it looks pretty good, if you ask me. They fit the style of the room better than the frilly flowery shades that used to adorn those lights did.

Mom wove those two rugs you see on the floor (yes, like on a loom…she has three)…they normally live in the kitchen but we stole them for a bit until they find (or make) some rugs designated for this area. (I told you I lived in a crazy talented family.)

We used the ledge of the board and batten to create a couple of nice vignettes filled with memories. For example, do you see those flat round baskets on the ledge to the right? Those are from Mom’s time in Africa as a missionary, before she and Dad were married.

antique dark wood furniture with board and batten

Oh, and my very talented Grandma made the quilt…you can’t see it fully here, but it’s very intricately handquilted by her. It takes her hundreds of hours per quilt, yet she still manages to finish 2 or 3 quilts each year.

craftsman-style wood trim with board and batten

In the corner, Mom created a little reading nook with an antique Stickley chair from the early 1900’s and a bajillion pound antique brass lamp. We’re still looking for a shade for it, as the old one was a wee bit waterstained and gross and one that is on it currently is way too small and a totally wrong style for the lamp. Ignore the cord. We do. 🙂

reading nook with stickley rocking chair

So, there you have it! Let’s close the book on this one.

antique furniture with board and batten, crown molding, and dark ceiling

Now, let’s play a game. What’s your favorite part? The quilt is definitely stealing the show, but I have to say the board and batten still has my heart. And I love the little reading nook. Love.

Public Service Announcement: if you want to be a regular reader of ye ole’ blog, “like” the Planting Sequoias Facebook Page to be notified of new posts. It’ll be fun, I promise. 

Linking up here.



Master Bedroom Makeover: Carpet Removal 101 (in which we unearth bushels of antique dirt)

The master bedroom saga continues! We finished painting this weekend and the 40(ish)-year-old carpet was finally vanquished.

(Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 to catch up on this makeover. Parts 6-83 will be forthcoming in the weeks and years ahead until I run out of ideas for how to stretch this out or get my own house to mess around in, whichever comes first).

piles of carpet carnage

Here we are in the throes of carpet removal. Our strategy was to cut/rip the carpet into manageable sections to carry. My brother John and Kenny had a bit too much fun doing this…the dust was a-flying! I stood by and supervised and tried to minimize the amount of cancerous dust I was inhaling.

40-year-old dirt

It was pretty grimy underneath the carpet, which is to be expected with carpet of this age. We at least knew that it was pet-free dust, so that was some consolation…but not much. Unfortunately, since I was the supervisor for the tearing/ripping of the carpet phase, I was the designated grime sweeper afterwards.


But then we were left with glorious, carpet-free floor. And night. Thus the bad pictures (oh, that I would have such a ready and plausible excuse for all of my mediocre photos).

ready for flooring!

I finally remembered to take a whole-room picture, so you can sort of get a feel for the layout. It’s nicely sized, coming in at 13′ by 15′, not counting the his and hers closets. In the photo above, I’m standing in the doorway.

In the picture below, the door to come in the room is on the left (UPDATE: False. It is on the right. I still have directional challenges…), and there is one window on the wall to the left of this picture and one on the wall behind me as I took this picture. Nevermind the plotting gentlemen and the stray hammer.


Next on the list: flooring. And curtains! Mom has great taste and I have cheap DIY ideas, so together we make a formidable force.


Master Bedroom Board and Batten (in which I learn how to wield a nail gun)

The world of power tools is not safe from me anymore. Or perhaps I am no longer safe from the world of power tools?

Either way, I now feel basically invincible.

I used a nail gun.


Let me tell you the full story.

If you have been following along, you’ll know that we’re renovating Mom and Dad’s bedroom at the old homestead. Here‘s where we started from (the brownish butterfly wallpaper had to go), and here‘s where what it looked like after we painted the ceiling a dark gray-brown color. We also painted the walls above the planned board and batten treatment a lighter shade of the ceiling color, which you’ll soon see.

Next on our list was board and batten. This wasn’t on our original list, but Mom and I conjectured that their antique dark wood bedroom furniture would be the star of the show against some crisp white board and batten, so we went for it.

Dad used pre-primed MDF strips for the boards, and as he cut them to size, Kenny and I worked together (shocker, I know!) to spread caulk on the back of the boards and nail them in place. With, of course, the nail gun.

The caulking was actually a nifty tip Dad suggested: since the walls are plaster (as opposed to drywall) and since the vertical boards were not necessarily nailed into studs, the caulk helps to keep the boards stuck to the wall. We also put enough caulk on so that it would squish out the sides when we nailed it to the wall so we would have less caulking to do before painting to hide inevitable cracks/spacing issues.

Here’s what it looked like once Dad painted each board the first time. Pretty sweet, huh?

unpainted board and batten

Since the headboard of the bed going in here is about 4′ 6″ tall, we wanted the board and batten to go a bit higher up the wall, so it’s about eye-level with me, 2/3rds of the way up.  This will also help the dark ceiling and wall color from making the room feel cave-like since so much of the room will actually be a crisp white.

Mom also wanted to be able to put pictures and artwork up on the ledge at the top of the board and batten, so Dad made it a little wider (2ish inches total) than is typical to accommodate her. What a guy. It looks like it sticks out pretty far in this picture, but it isn’t at all evident in person. It’ll be great for layering pictures on in a way that can be easily switched out if Mom changes her mind, and it will be really nice not to have to pound too many holes in the plaster walls.

board and batten with ledge

And, through the magical timelines of the internet, here’s a peek at what it will look like all finished. We put two coats of white paint on the previously tan crown molding but still have  a few touch-ups to do. And we need to give the board and batten another coat of white before it’s actually finished (you can see uneven spots in the gloss of the paint in the picture). But it looks pretty good now, no?

painted board and batten

I’m pretty excited about how it looks, but I’m even more excited that I didn’t shoot my eye out while nail-gunning. And Mom is pleased, so that’s always a good thing.

Next on the list: tackling the flooring. That carpet has got to go.


Master Bedroom Makeover: Dark Painted Ceiling (in which I embrace a new trend whilst having a terrible haircut)

Sometimes, the world slaps you upside the head and you become aware of something about yourself.

I had a recent, not-so-pleasant realization that I’m less than thrilled about.

(Have I done anything about it yet? Well, no, because I’m very cheap and kind of busy.)

But more on that later. Anyway, my brother and sisters and I gave my parents a bedroom makeover for Christmas. You can check out the hideous wallpaper we started with here (it’s worth looking at).

The room has great crown molding that we’re keeping, and we wanted to highlight that fact. But it was a nice light tan color, and we didn’t like that so much. So the next thing my mom did was select paint colors–3 total. One for the ceiling, one for the walls, and one for the board and batten (stay tuned) and crown molding.

We were somewhat limited in color choices, but for a good reason–my mom wanted to use ReCoat paint, which is recycled paint that West Michigan paint chain Repcolite produces.

I was a bit confused as to how someone could recycle paint, but it turns out that they take leftover/unused latex paint and refine it and remix it and recolor it. So people can clean out their basement and actually do something with all of their unused paint.

Mom chose a white color for the trim work and then went a little crazy (with me egging her on).

She chose this color for the ceiling.

recoat petoskey stone paint color

A little unorthodox? Definitely. I was proud.

Here’s the color she chose for the walls.

recoat stone paint color

Mom and I got right to work painting the ceiling. She cut around the crown while I used the roller.

painting a ceiling dark whilst having a terrible haircut

She was also the official photographer and got this shot of me, which I am horrified to be putting on the internet.

But I am doing it anyway. For you.

Seeing this picture made me realize that my haircut looks like a bowl cut mixed with a mullet when I crane my neck like that.

Cue excuses.

1. I’m in a weird place of not knowing whether I want sideswept bangs or if I want to grow them out. Therefore (and obviously), I’ve done nothing.

2. I haven’t had a haircut since the post-wedding chop. I’ve been busy using my free time blogging instead of performing basic hygiene. It’s a sacrifice, but I do it anyway.

3. Not to sound like a broken record or anything, but I don’t really like to spend money. And haircuts are one of my least favorite things to spend either time or money on. I need to learn to DIY my own haircut.

But you will be happy to know that since this photo was taken, I’ve become convicted of the value of a good haircut. It’s now on my list of New Year’s resolutions to get one in 2013.

Annnnd, back to the master bedroom makeover.

For a solid 50% of the time we were painting, mom and I were both freaking out a little over how dark the color looked on the ceiling.

dark gray painted ceiling

But, as it dried (a bit lighter and less mottled than the photo above, thankfully), we convinced ourselves that it was actually awesome.

So, now I’ll leave you with some eye candy of some other dark painted ceilings we liked on the path to making this bold decision.

dark painted ceiling 1

Click on either picture to go to an interesting article with other dark-painted-ceiling examples.

dark painted ceiling 2

So, have mom and I gone off our rockers? If we have, don’t tell us because at this point we’re blissfully unaware.

And keep checking back for updates on the master bedroom progress–we’ve got a loooong list of things to do. And hey, who knows? I might even get a hair cut one of these days.