28 Feb

Oval Mirrors & Wall Panels

DIY Beadboard Wall

Imagine finding the perfect accessory. Let’s say it’s a gorgeous drop pendant necklace. The center stone is your favorite gem – the perfect size and shape.

And let’s say that the pricetag on this particular necklace is way, way, way below what it normally retails for. Would that be ample reason to pick it up even if it meant hunting down a new shirt to pair with it? What if you also had to pick up a new pair of jeans and then find the perfect shoes as well?

How much would you spend on a new outfit to compliment a great bargain accessory?

It’s no secret that I’m not a fashion mogul. I consider it a red carpet day if I trade my pjs in for jeans. So this is a cinch for me to answer. But if you switch it up just a bit and trade out the necklace for a mirror and the jeans for a countertop and then swap out the shoes for a new floor, well, things get a little more difficult.

I don’t tend to allocate much, if any, cash towards my wardrobe. I’m still sporting yoga pants from high school (back when we called them stretch pants) with cartoon characters on them. And the last time I bought new shoes I paid with retail Monopoly money at the check out (Kohls cash anyone?) But when it comes to my home’s aesthetic? I can usually justify a few bucks for some new bling.

Especially when it adds to the resale value.

From the get-go I’ve hated the enormous wall-mount mirror in our master bathroom.

oversized wall mirror

Early on, I tried to disguise it’s size with a wood trim frame. When that didn’t quite work I thought adding a shelf might provide just enough distraction for me to survive the handful of years we planned to be here. I was getting desperate when I actually considered building cubby shelves *over* the mirror, straight up the center.

So when I came across someone selling a pair of these crazy cheap frameless oval tilt mirrors I didn’t think twice.

oval frameless mirror

I hopped in my car and drove 90 minutes round trip to get them. Truly, I was 20 miles down the road before I even had an address to plug into the GPS. That’s how much I hated that overbearing looking glass. I was not sad to see it go.

Simply swapping the one out for the other two would have prettied the room up a tad. Sorta like like putting lipstick on a pig. Instead, I tucked the mirrors aside and proceeded to rip the bathroom apart. When the time came to address the condition of the bare wall above the sink, the simple solution was to install wainscot wood panels.

I opted for unfinished 3/8″ knotty pine wainscot panels. I didn’t want to add much depth to the wall. I didn’t want to remove much cash from my pocket. I had just over 25 sq. ft. of surface to cover so (3) packs of the 8′ boards would do the job with pieces left over for other projects.

Installing individual pieces of wood vertically is a pretty straight forward task. Since wainscot is designed to snap together in a tongue and groove fashion, it’s a great solution for covering ugly or slightly damaged wall surfaces ; none of the original wall will be seen once the installation is complete.

First I measured from the top of the new countertop to the ceiling. Then I put the panels on the chop saw and cut them down to size before priming and painting them white.

find wall center

After measuring to find the center of the wall, I built from the middle out with the scrap wood to dry fit my design. I was *this close* to being able to put (17) panels up for a perfect fit. I assumed I’d need to rip off the last board’s tongue anyhow so an extra 1/8″ wasn’t a big deal to remove as well.

dry fit wainscot

Part of the reason I opted to wainscot the wall instead of installing board and batten like in my living room, was because the back wall had bowed slightly during settling. Or maybe the sub-par builders of this house meant to do that. Either way, it was nothing that a few well-placed shims wouldn’t correct.

add lower wall trim

After securing the lower trim runner, I had Dave run down and flip the electrical breaker so I could remove the light sconces.

remove light sconce

Then I sweet talked him into playing photographer. I applied construction adhesive to the back of the wood panel…

add adhesive to panel

and slid it over the tongue of the board beside it. Tapping lightly with a mallet, I worked my way up the height of the panel.

tap beadboard

Then I made certain the line was level before gluing up the next board.

check level and tap

I shot a few brad nails into the panel to make sure it was secure.

brad nail to secure

And replaced the light fixtures before turning the power back on.

install beadboard

The cap moulding that covers the top of the wainscot is designed to lay flush against the wall. If I was doing a traditional beadboard wall installation that’s exactly how I would have finished it off but since I was at the ceiling I decided to tilt the cap and set it like crown moulding.

install crown molding

As with every project I undertake, there’s bound to be tiny gaps here and there in the finished product. But that’s nothing that a bead of caulk won’t fix.

gaps in wainscot

Once I had caulked all of the seams, filled all of the nail holes and rolled on a final coat of paint {or three} it was time to install the mirrors.

Dave and I agreed that as pretty as the brushed nickel pivot arms were they didn’t work with our chrome fixtures so I removed them and installed the mirrors flush on the wood paneling. I do plan to repurpose those metal arms elsewhere though, don’t you worry!

mirror installation

Wrapping up this part of the project meant there were only a few minor things to finish before the whole bathroom overhaul was complete.

It took longer than planned to put the mirrors to use but when I look into them I think o O (wow. I did this).

…and that it might be time to update my wardrobe.

How to Install Wainscot Wall Paneling

1. Measure for wall center {side to side}.
2. Measure for board height {top to bottom}.
3. Make all necessary wood cuts.
4. Turn off power & remove any electrical components.
5. Prepare wall surface if necessary.
6. Prefinish wood if desired.
7. Apply adhesive to panel back and press onto wall.
8. Tap into place with rubber mallet.
9. Secure with brad / finish nails.
10. Repeats Steps 7 through 9 until all panels are installed.
11. Install cap moulding trim. {If working around a room install 1/4 round trim at corners to cover panel seams.}
12. Caulk all seams.
13. Fill nail holes.
14. Touch up paint and/or seal as necessary.