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: Homemade Curtain Rods (in which we use drawer knobs and electrical conduit to hang drapery)

When it comes to saving money, I am definitely cut from the same cloth as my parents…one could say that I come by my thriftiness honestly.

So when we saw how many pennies the next phase of the master bedroom makeover was going cost us, this was our reaction.

home alone scream saying "that's how much curtain rods cost!?!"

And then we were like this.

angry cat meme says no

So we got creative.

(Let me back up for the new guy in the back: we’ve been making over my parents’ master bedroom. We began by tearing down the hideous wallpaperpainting the ceiling a moody gray-brown, installing board and batten and craftsman-style wood-stained trimremoving the ancient carpet, and putting in engineered hardwood flooring.)

There are two windows in the master bedroom which means Mom and Dad need two curtain rods…and prices ranged from $30 to $60 for ONE curtain rod at Lowe’s. We racked our brains (and by that I mean we went straight to Google) for ideas and found this tutorial from House of Hepworths and embraced it for ourselves, adapting it a little to suit our purposes.

First, Mom and I went to Hobby Lobby to look at their vast array of drawer knobs. It was fairly glorious, and we had a TON to choose from. Mom ended up picking out 4 that had a little crystal knob and some antique brass details. They were all 50% off and we spent about $16 total.

drawer and cabinet knobs at hobby lobby

I found 4 curtain rod holders at a thrift store for $.25 each (they’re meant to hold two curtain rods, but we’ll use them for just one), we found 3 sets of 14 curtain clips at a steal for $3.46 per package, and Mom bought some clearance Rustoleum Antique Brass spray paint for $7.17.

rustoleum antique brass spray paint curtain hardware

We also grabbed two 10′ pieces of conduit from the electrical aisle at only $1.28 apiece and cut them down to size. I measured each window and had brother John cut the rods to be 3′ longer than that so there would be 18″ on each side of the window. Then we coated everything in spray paint (except for the curtain clips, since those will be hidden and we didn’t want to gunk them up with paint).

spray paint curtain hardware antique brass

Once we had everything spray-painted, we turned things over to Dad (no, those are not my hairy knuckles. Mine are definitely hairier :)). I made a little graphic to show you so hopefully it’s pretty self explanatory.

How to make a custom curtain rod for less than $10 using conduit and drawer knobs.

Here’s one last picture of the finished product.

diy curtain rod with conduit and cabinet or drawer knobs

Finally, let’s do a little cost breakdown to re-emphasize the thriftiness of this little project.

Conduit: $1.28 each;$2.56 for both

Spray Paint: $7.17

Knobs: $4 each; $16 for all

Thingie to attach rod to wall: $.25 each; $1 for all

Wood: $0 (already owned)

Caulk/glue stuff: $0 (already owned)

TOTAL: $26.73 for 2 custom length curtain rods! And we totally could have chosen cheaper knobs and spray paint, but decided to get stuff we loved rather than just liked.

We’re nearing the finish line of my parents’ bedroom, but I still have a few more posts up my sleeve (which I’m sure surprises no one). As for the electrical dilemma alluded to in my last post, Dad figured out how to fix it and they didn’t even have to rewire anything. Hooray for that!

So there you have it. Go forth and be empowered to make those curtain rods! You hereby have no excuse for naked windows, unless you’re into that sort of thing, which is really not an excuse at all but is rather strange. Trust me. Your neighbors will thank you.

And perhaps, perhaps, you might even put a smile on grumpy cat’s face. If cheap curtain rods can’t change his mood, nothing can.

UPDATE: THIS ROOM IS DONE! Click HERE to see it. And if you need curtains, check out the no-sew dropcloth curtains we made for this room 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 Makeover: Craftsman-style Wood Trim (in which we cleverly use waxed paper in a carpentry project)

Work on Mom and Dad’s master bedroom is coming along swimmingly (read about the butterfly wallpaper removal, the dark painted ceiling, and the board and batten installation to catch up if you’re new here).

Mom is a big advocate for unpainted wood trim and she loves craftsman style. We aim to make her dreams come true (within reason, of course), so we trimmed out the windows and closet doors in their bedroom just that way.

(I should not that I use the term “we” generously…I was there, but it was mainly my brother John and Dad doing the trimming. I was too busy using the nail gun on the board and batten.) We were also in the process of painting the crown molding…so in essence, everybody was up in everybody else’s business. With power tools. It was a fun day.

craftsman-style wood trim

Behind the trim, as you can see, Dad and John put long strips of waxed paper as they nailed in the trim. The reason? The trim was raw wood and still needed to be stained and varnished, and this is about 100 times easier than outlining the trim with painter’s tape to keep the stain and varnish off the finished wall. I wish I could take credit for this idea, but Dad suggested it.

Unfortunately, they only remembered to put up the waxed paper about 70% of the time and we did have to do some taping, like in the picture below of the trim around one of the closets.

craftsman-style wood trim with board and batten

Next was the staining. Did you know that you can get paint stores to match existing stain? The only tricky part is that stain can look different on different types of wood. The color still turned out pretty great, though. Dad also stained the previously unfinished wood on the windows themself (like the sash) to match.

craftsman-style wood trim with crown molding

Here’s another picture of the waxed paper strips between the window trim and the board and batten (can you tell I was excited about this solution? I took a few too many pictures). When we painted the white of the wall and the board and batten, all we had to do was fold back the waxed paper and paint.

use waxed paper instead of painter's tape

Once we finish the last coat of white on the board and batten (and figure out if we need a third coat of varnish), we’ll gently score the waxed paper with a utility knife and take it out…and hopefully have perfect paint lines.

If you squint at this photo, you can sort of see how things are going to turn out…and actually, I definitely think you should squint so as to mask the uh…artistic (read: bad)quality of this picture.

craftsman style trim with board and batten

Check back for more on the thrilling master bedroom saga…I figure I can draw this out for another dozen posts at least.

Linking up to Evolution of Style Blog!


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.