5 Building Tips

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Tip #1

Wood Block Wainscot

Tip #2

Upgrading Basic Cabinet Doors with Trim Board

Tip #3

Wood Flooring on a Budget

Tip #4

From Floor Joists to Open Beam Ceiling

Tip #5

Getting Creative with the Walls

Wood Block Wainscot

I stole this idea from George Washington, who created a faux stone façade at Mount Vernon. The treatment, called 'rustication', was commonly used in the 18th century to add the look of cut stone to wood building. Wood siding boards were beveled, placed uniformly on the walls, painted and dusted with sand while the paint was still wet.

I've used the idea (minus the sand) indoors as an alternative to bead boarding. Watch this video to see how it's done.

Upgrading Basic Cabinet Doors with Trim Board

The cabinets in the kitchen are a combination of finds from Habitat for Humanity's ReStore shop and some pre-fabricated cabinets. The doors on the Habitat for Humanity cabinets have a nice Shaker-style trim that I wanted to duplicate on the plain pre-fab doors. It was easy enough to do with 2 x ¼ inch board, glue and finishing nails. It's an idea that you can use to jazz up your cabinets too. Check it out.

Wood Flooring on a Budget

I went over budget on the windows, roof and fireplace so I had to cut corners on the floor. What I chose was unfinished, natural grade pine flooring and I actually think it's going to give the house some flair. Natural grade is also referred to as #2 grade. It will have more knots and color variation, but the price is just right for our budget. We'll paint the floor with a low VOC floor paint so these characteristics won't be visible anyway.

From Floor Joists to Open Beam Ceiling

To cut costs in the living room we skipped the dry wall and transformed the floor joists into ceiling beams by bulking them up. We added a 2 x 12 to each joist. We capped the “beams” with a 3-inch wide board that juts out on each side about 1/8th of an inch. A coat of paint will finish it off. A perfect solution for a rustic cottage like this. Plus we added an extra foot of ceiling height to add to the openness of the room.

Getting Creative with the Walls

To add some Southern rustic charm to the house we opted for a mix of number 2 grade 1x8 and 1x6 boards instead of drywall. I just love the look and the cost turned out to be less than drywall. Again, a number 2 grade lumber has more knots and variation, but I think the imperfections add character; farmhouse chic. If you are going to do this in your home, be sure to select kiln dried wood. You want as little moisture as possible because the spaces between the boards will expand over time as the wood dries. So you will want to start with the driest materials possible.

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