Thursday, September 12, 2013

Board and Batten Master Bedroom

I absolutely love the look of architectural details in a home.  They are -in my opinion- one of the greatest statements to a home.  That and paint of course.  When we were looking at purchasing a home in 2008, I had a "dream" list, if you will, of what I wanted in a house.  Moldings, clean white trim, beautiful floors, archways.  You know, magazine style houses.

Well, let's just snap back to reality for a minute, mkay? This was 2008, the year the market
was just starting to go down hill so home prices were still pretty astronomical.  We also were a newly married couple with 1 small child, another on the way and my husband had just graduated and got a "big boy job" We weren't exactly livin' it up over here.  Certainly not enough to afford the dream home I wanted.

We ended up with our current home on sort of a whim.  We weren't having any luck finding one we could afford and the people who were selling this house were looking to move out of state so they were doing a for sale by owner deal.  This ended up putting the home right into the price range we wanted once we factored in the amount of money we were saving by not having to pay Realtor commissions.  We came and looked at the house at 6:30pm one night and made an offer the same night.  They accepted it right away and we moved in two weeks later.

  - seriously, don't you wish all transactions for home buying went like that?-

The house is beautiful but unfortunately, all the other homes look pretty much just like it.  Cookie cutter. The builders use the same flooring, the same cabinets, the same honey oak hollow core doors.  Nothing set our home apart from any other on the block and that really bothered me.

I wanted my home to be a reflection of who we were; starting with the Master bedroom.

The board and batten style is a classic look that I love about craftsman style homes.  And while our home isn't that style, I felt that it fit the look we were going for so I brought it up to Mr. Serene.

His response? 
Can we at least finish the other projects we have going on before we start another?
My response?
Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!! No. 

He wasn't budging on this one so I did what any normal wife would do.  I took all of my measurements and went down to Home Depot and had them cut what I needed.  Then, I brought them home and stacked them in my living room.  The only other place for them to go was up on the wall! Mr. Serene came home and had no other choice but to agree to do the board and batten in our Master bedroom that coming weekend :)

Does that make me sound evil?

( and just to clarify, I'm pretty sure that project really gave him a sense of our house could change because he's been jumping on board immediately with every project after that.  Maybe it was because I actually finished a project.  From start to finish. )

The materials I purchased from Home Depot were:
  • 1/4" MDF (cut into 3"x4' strips for the vertical pieces)
  • 1/4" MDF (cut into 5"x8' strips for the top horizontal pieces)
  • liquid nails (4 tubes)
  • caulk (white, paintable)

The total cost to redo our bedroom came in at a whopping $60.  Not bad, eh?

You can choose how high you would like you board and batten wall to extend too but we chose 4 ft.  It's all personal preference.  We also already had smooth walls so there was no need to place the board part of the board and batten up.  No one can tell that we only put up the slats. If you have textured walls, you would need to place them up to make it look cohesive.

We measured carefully on where we would place our vertical battens and decided on a 19" spread.  Some of the pieces come in a little under that to make sure that all the battens would work with the corners of the room and also with the windows and doorways.  The outlets also played a part on whether or not we needed to make an adjustment to the width of the spaces.  We sort of just used the 19" spacing as a reference and to be honest you absolutely can't tell that the spacing is different.

And yes, that is a Garfield and Otie bathrobe.  Keepin it real, folks!

Once our measurement lines were already marked on the walls, Mr. Serene began cutting out notches in our existing baseboard.  We chose to do this in order to make the battens look like they were part of the original room.  He used our Craftsman rotary tool to cut the notches out.  Oak is a very hard wood so it took a lot of time but totally worth it!

Once each baseboard notch was cut out, we took our MDF pieces and dry fit them in the space to make sure they would fit.  If they were too big, it wasn't a bit deal.  Caulk is our friend :)

One thing that I wish we had done was paint the walls and battens white BEFORE we put them up. You live and learn I guess.  It would have saved us a tone of time in the end.

We glued the pieces to the wall with liquid nails rather than using a nail gun.  Why? Well, because I don't own one.
-My birthday was on Sept. 1st just in case you feel the urge to buy be one in celebration of my life.-

Each batten was place onto the wall and then held up with painters tape to prevent it from slipping or falling off. It doesn't take long for the glue to dry but you should wait at least 24 hours to paint, caulk or sand anything that has been glued.
not the best picture, but you get the idea.  

We chose not to miter the corners and instead just butted them up to each other.  Once they were caulked, you wouldn't know the difference.

Once each slat if placed on the wall, you can place your 5"x8ft MDF strips on top of those to create the shelf of the board and batten.
 I have seen others use pieces of molding to make even more of an impact and it turns out beautifully like here and here.

The look were were going for was pretty basic so we left ours as is.

After each piece was in place, we left it to dry for 24 hours and then began caulking each and every seam. My fingers hated me for days!!!
A nice trick for flawless caulking is to wet your fingers down before you press down along the caulk.  This will make the caulk much smoother and it will look more professional.

Let the caulk dry and start painting!  Use a great primer/paint combo so you don't end up doing four millions coats like I did.  Learn from my mistakes.  Please.

                           The colors in these photos are hideous.  I swear it looks better in real life.

Step back and enjoy what all of that hard work and spousal coercion got you.


  1. The board and batten makes such a difference! What color did you choose for the top of the walls?

    1. Hi Ceci! I apologize for not seeing this comment earlier! The color on the top of the walls is Sherwin Williams Pavestone. It's such a beautiful greige color and seems to change with the lighting! Thanks for stopping by!